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So much blood!

July 9, 2008 - Robin Walker

Well, we were expecting some response to A Heavy Problem, but we severely underestimated just how much interest everyone had in contributing. If you're one of the many folks who emailed us proposals and haven't received a response, please accept our apologies, because there's just too many for us to reply to all of them. From the large amount of feedback and forum activity, it's clear that many of you found this interesting, so we'll definitely be posting more design goals. For those of you still thinking about it, here are some more tools to use in evaluating ideas:

  • Does it affect the main weaknesses of the class? What could opponents do against an entire team of this class armed with your idea? Class balance is more a function of the weaknesses of each class than their strengths. Weaknesses provide population control, where the value of a counter class rises as a class's population rises. i.e. Snipers become more valuable the more Heavies there are on the enemy team. As a result, we're very wary of reducing a class's weaknesses.
  • How does it affect the core interactions between this class and other classes? To help here, it's useful to coarsely determine the standard interaction for this class and each other class at short, medium, long ranges, and varying terrain layouts, assuming roughly equal skill on each player's part. Then think about how your idea affects each of those interactions.
  • Does it also solve other goals we have for the class? We usually have several goals we're trying to achieve with a class, and ideas which solve multiples are more valuable.

The last one raises another question: What other goals should we have for the Heavy update? Half the battle of good design is choosing the right goals and the right constraints. In A Heavy Problem, we specified a goal for you, and the constraints that had to be kept in mind. Try taking a shot at defining the overall set of goals that the Heavy unlockables should be trying to achieve. Watch out for the common circular logic trap of finding an idea you like and then trying to extract goals from it. We find it's best to not think about ideas at all at this point, and to focus entirely on more abstract goals. What are the biggest problems in the Heavy class? In what situations is it the least fun? Like idea evaluation, goal generation is a big topic in itself, and one we'll go into in a later post.