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Multiplayer games like League of Legends design content with specific strengths and weaknesses. When one strategy or “meta” becomes dominant, the counters to that strategy balance it out.
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(Original air date: July 18, 2012)
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50 COMMENTS

  1. Warbandit100 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    But League of Legends never gave me an option outside its predetermined choices 🙁 sure, it's more elastic than DOTA2, but always feels too confining for me 🙁

    Reply
  2. tonytranvn Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I dont like fast forward sound

    Reply
  3. SinZeto Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    why not making a rock-paper-cisor system instead? ouo'

    Reply
  4. Jake Exsists Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Can I be last?

    Reply
  5. Kevin Koger Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Thanos just broke out in tears.

    Reply
  6. Spacelyz Rockit Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Imbalance in games limits choices rather than create more of them. In most MMORPG's, if you want to be at the top tier level of gameplay there are only a couple of viable race and class combinations and abilities and everything else is just a red herring to hamper "noobs". It's not going to change. Game designers know that the money is in providing win buttons to angry 12 year olds whose parents have deep pockets.

    Reply
  7. Kai Labuschagne Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Where Dani he drank milk

    Reply
  8. Allen Fogarty Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    IF you play at 1/2 speed…. it sounds like he is very very drunk. I noticed by accident but it was to funny not to share.

    Reply
  9. Uhohhotdog Gaming Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Rock Paper Scissors

    Reply
  10. Huey P. Long Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I miss these old days

    Reply
  11. DoctorX17 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    It's 2020 and people are still playing the crap out of LoL

    Reply
  12. Jordan Gonzalez Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    This holds up as one of my favorite Extra Credit videos

    Reply
  13. julius gregorio Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Come on balancing and no DotA 2? We have a god called Icefrog. Who mind you is the original Balance and gameplay genius.

    Reply
  14. JanoschNr1 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    It's easyer to point of the rare caces of perfect imbalance rather then ust unbalance

    Reply
  15. Rodrigo Parra Palma Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Thanos: angry sounds

    Reply
  16. Marco Gonzalez Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    all of Supercell!

    Reply
  17. J P Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    This used to be the Pokémon meta until they made all the legends disgustingly overpowered

    Reply
  18. Joseph Michael Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Care to expand on cyclical balance a bit more? I'd like to see your more in-depth thoughts on it, seeing as it's not ideal to make it "rock always beats scissors." It should be more like "Rock usually beats scissors, but a well-equipped/skilled scissors (plus team or other factors) can beat rock"

    Reply
  19. Michał Maciej Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    this is nowhere near true for league is the past 3 or so years lmao. the balance team are a bunch of retards who are also motivated by monetary schemes rather than actual gameplay improvement

    Reply
  20. Lucas Fisher Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Sword beats axe, hammer beats sword, axe beats hammer.

    Then lux comes in and stun locks you and constantly beams you because you picked a melee character.

    Reply
  21. Netherwolf6100 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Honestly, part of what makes imbalance a bad thing in many respects is the "Meta" that you guys were talking about. In fighting games or card games or even strategy games, creating a meta means that until another form of power creep comes into play, the majority of players will use a certain group of characters or tactics, basically creating mirror matches because of the high level of utility some aspects of a game has over others that go completely unseen or unused. Its like choosing between gun or a sword to fight.

    Reply
  22. Zerarch77 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    The video that set competitive game design back a decade.
    The issues of Chess and Starcraft (if you even consider them issues) have absolutely nothing to do with balance.
    If anything, the huge number of openings in Chess is proof that balanced games have more viable strategies, not less.
    Actual game designers have largely discredited this video: http://sirlingames.squarespace.com/blog/2012/7/18/a-discussion-of-balance.html
    For quality game design, check out https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JB7TSe49lg56u6qH8y_MQ
    and http://critical-gaming.com/gamedesign101/

    Reply
  23. Alec nolastname Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Halo 3 The Pit (fuck pit stop)
    Perfectly Balanced.
    Only difference is red or blue armor.

    Oh I miss the good old days of bungie run servers.

    Reply
  24. Peter Smythe Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Chess definitely has a meta though. Look at the evolution of any neural network chess engine during self-play?

    Reply
  25. Ggman2002 Goudeos Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Clash royale

    Reply
  26. Anon the Homosapian Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Ahhhhh… That old intro…

    Reply
  27. Francis Luglio Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    It's not balance that makes chess "solve-able" unless you're defining "balance" wrong. It's how finite the game is. If the queen was slightly OP that would translate into having fewer strategies because of everyone focusing on that one piece

    Reply
  28. Lebensgott Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    So age of empires 2 is also perfectly imbalanced, isnt it?

    Reply
  29. joseph jackson Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Life is unbalanced

    Reply
  30. Tomáš Mačák Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    wow this is OLD

    Reply
  31. Anders Korsbäck Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Then, this goes for games like League of Legends, where the player plays a single character out of a selection of several dozen. Such cyclical imbalance wouldn't work well in something like Starcraft with its three factions, it'd only make it a game of "soft" rock-scissors-paper.

    In a strategy game like that, the factions should be externally balanced towards each other. Internally balanced, though, there's room for what the video calls perfect imbalance, between different units of the same faction. Mass spam of one unit shouldn't be a viable strategy, or at least it should be highly counterable. However, certain units can and should be more viable as the mainstay "grunt" of a faction. A good game design is one where the mechanics are such that there are viable simultaneous uses for different kinds of units, and there's a diminishing return to too much of the same kind of unit. A real game-mechanical reason for why combined arms warfare is good for you.

    The good part about game mechanics that result in diminishing returns for having too much of something is that there will always be a sweet spot somewhere of just the right amount. The game developers don't even necessarily need to find it themselves, just make a design that makes it inevitable that there is one somewhere, and let players figure it out and the metagame form around it.

    Reply
  32. Dry Guy Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    3 years late but I’m here to say Mario Kart Wii k thanks bye

    Reply
  33. Thegame .Dev Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I'm really confused as to how Starcraft doesn't qualify for everything mentioned about asymmetrical balance. Warcraft 1 is a perfectly balanced game but Starcraft has different playstyles and strategies. This was like the blizzard forums perspective where it's just the 10% of players who like to complain louder than the other 90%.

    Reply
  34. Kalenz Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    If League would just allow the metagame to develop on it's own instead of forcing a meta changing patch down the players' throats every two weeks.

    Reply
  35. Mason Silvers Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I had this idea:
    So A is better than average
    Thus it is used alot.
    People find B, witch can beat A, leading to a drop off of A.
    The A player' find C, witch can defeat b, so they look for something to defeat c.
    A can defeat C, leading to about even number's of player's using each.

    Reply
  36. isei8388 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I miss these EC episodes. Can't believe it's been 7 years, learnt so much about game design and decisions.

    Reply
  37. ManiX207 Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    brigitte in ow, being good at healing slefsustain, cc, dmg and utility …. perfect imbalance …… -.-

    Reply
  38. Tom Hawkins Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    If this came out in 2018 ther would be so many thanos jokes

    Reply
  39. ABortnite Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Im waching this instead of sleeping

    Reply
  40. NightFore Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    5:44 Mario Odyssey Prediction (:()

    Reply
  41. Sir Nesbit Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    How’s this system work? Basically, I have three classes. Laser, Gas, and Melee. Laser shoots with quick mid-damage far-ranged attacks from strategic placements. Gas uses mid-ranged high-damage motion and timed bombs to take down enemies.
    Melee uses shields and heavy damaging rush attacks to approach enemies and take them out.

    Laser beats gas due to range, gas beats Melee due to it’s range and ability to attack around shields, and melee beats laser due to its shield rush. However, melee has a competitive edge over gas as well due to it’s rush down tactics, allowing it to be only slightly edged out in terms of tier by it.

    These are just the basic three enemy types, and I would add more fighters later on that would possibly counter more powerful types.

    Also, gas has a heavy attack that launches a large range high damage bomb (although this leaves it open to attack if missed).

    Is this an example of good imbalance?

    Reply
  42. Cthulhu's Socks Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Imperfectly balanced, as all games should be.

    Reply
  43. Tas Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    2:50 XDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD i know its an outdated video but its funny to hear XD league and balance is no near to eachother

    Reply
  44. Someone Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Well kids, now let's talk about Clash Royale.

    Reply
  45. Bala Murali Shanmugam Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    Yeet! 100!

    Reply
  46. Max Kline Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    honestly i dont think the creator of this understands how to make an actually fun balanced competitive game. League of legends is probably the worst example of a game that is fun and it is dying specifically because of what he is talking about. It's not fun to be forced to play specific champions because they are flavor of the month.

    Also he ironically criticizes starcraft for this, but is actually wrong in a lot of ways. Firstly starcraft 1 was literally impossible to master, and that was kind of the point. You didn't "need to reach a certain level of play in order to develop strategies". Day9 talks about this in more detail in his "starcraft remastered rant" video.

    Starcraft 2 is probably closer to what he is talking about, but even that is incorrect. I played at a high masters(which is effectively top few thousand people in the country) level of play on all three races, but my "APM" which is a common indicator of your ability to play the game fast was less than half that of a regular professional starcraft player(it was around 100). But i could still take some games off of people who were signifcantly faster than me because i played the game constantly and developed strategies that were extremely hard to stop, but relatively easy to execute, and knew the game well enough to develop a long term game plan that again was hard to stop but easy to execute.

    My point is that imbalance creates less variety, and makes a game stale even if you change what is imbalanced every couple of weeks.

    Reply
  47. alex_oiman Posted on July 6, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    i have some big issues with this video:
    1> its a horrible game design for competitive games.
    every game that uses this system ends up a system that constantly needs nerfs/buffs. because its practically impossible to balance since every modification in one area affects one or more areas.
    for pro players this is a major problem since they constantly have to figure out the best options after each new patch.
    the only way to perfectly imbalance a game would be to have a perfect ai that can play the game and make the changes
    2> chess is a horrible example. its a slow game, with slow learning, and slow gratification. but some of the most popular multiplayer games in history are balanced games: pong, tron, bomberman, doom online, unreal tournament, halo. the only imbalances are created by the player.
    how many sports in history dont have the rules and tools in the game balanced for both sides? i for one cant think of any, besides activities that involve animals or vehicles
    3> the only reasons people enjoy imbalanced systems is because they enjoy overpowering others and enjoy having different options to execute a task.
    4> the name is stupid. even it implies the design is bad. it sounds like two cubes of the same size but different materials, which are imbalanced.
    what people should instead try to design is an imperfect balance. where things look and feel different but are ultimately the same

    Reply
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