Musings on Fun and Clunkiness

So fun has been a hot button topic over the last few days, I thought I'd give my opinion on what fun is and preserving fun after reworks. Generally speaking, when Fizz could WQ and just instantly kill people that was fun and as a Fizz Enthusiast, that was some of the most fun I've had in League of Legends. Unfortunately, that has consequences. If playing Fizz like that is a 10/10 and assuming everyone else on your team is having 10 amounts of fun. If Fizz having 10/10 fun is causing everyone on the enemy team to have 2/10 fun, then your holistic fun is 60/100. Now imagine if Fizz post rework is 6/10 fun, but everyone on the enemy team is having 3/10 fun, then you're having more fun 61/100. Obviously a very contrived and marginal example, but that is the holistic benefit of doing a game health driven rework. In this case, if the thing we were trying to fix was both unfair and fun it's going to be very difficult (but still possible) to replace that "thing" for the Fizz player to give them 10/10 fun - the rework has to be exceptional in that "doing a fair thing" can produce that extra 4/10 of fun. For this reason, reworking popular champions is always going to be difficult - if they're popular and need a rework, they are almost certainly doing something that's unfair and you'll have to add something exceptional to make them equally fun. If they are less popular, mains will almost always have more fun after the rework, because their gameplay was probably just bad and unfun to begin with and anything will be better - eg. Taric. This is one of the reasons why I personally think the Katarina rework was good (some of it still needs ironing out, but I believe it can be solved) because the daggers system added that 4/10 fun back for Katarina, while increasing fun and play against for the opponent. Now to the clunky argument, this is more of a theoretical discussion, so bear with me. The reason why clunkiness exists is because we can't have 133 Lucians. If we keep making Lucians and Yasuos who are extremely smooth, everyone will only play Lucian and Yasuo and every other champion will feel clunky and bad by comparison. Lucian and Yasuo are both amazing and unique designs, but their mere existence can cause us problems. Do you remember the time 6 months ago where there was a Yasuo and Lucian on both teams in every game in blind pick (no bans)? Because I surely do and it was horrible - not because Lucian is awful to play against - he's pretty fair, but just because there was no variety in the games. The bad thing about that situation was that Lucian wasn't even powerful by any objective measure (he had a sub 50% winrate and subsequently drew relatively few bans). People eventually just started banning him, because they were so sick of seeing him in every game. Some of my friends who only play normals even stopped playing as a result. If Jinx and Lucian are the same strength, who would want to play Jinx who is slow and has no escapes when they can play Lucian or Ezreal or any of the non-"clunky" characters? The thematic or alternate gameplay hook has to be really strong to overcome this for Jinx to get played (and luckily it is). This is why designers get triggered by people complaining things are clunky, because they know clunky = sustainable. Imagine if Jinx (our most popular marksman by thematics and gameplay) was also the least clunky character. You would see Jinx in every single game. Imagine if the game had no cast times on all of our champions (of course that would make every character more fun to play and less clunky), but suddenly half the roster becomes unplayable because they have no dash so they can't dodge any abilities. Lucian suddenly becomes picked every game, because he's the only character with an instant dash that can dodge Malphite ultimate or skillshots without flash or maybe tanks and AP mages become the only things that are playable, because even Lucian can't dodge the damage that Annie can shit out in 0.05 seconds flat with no cast time on QW or R - she wouldn't even have to aim. As a lot of people know, Dota has turn speed. Turn speed is clunky as hell, but you know what? In TI6, 104/114 heroes got picked. The very first thing that would go out the door if turn speed got removed is hero diversity, because Garen (and melees) can actually be played in high ELO in Dota to great effect - in part because their ranged carries cannot fluidly auto attack and move at the same time. There is a movement cost to be paid every time Drow Ranger attacks. And even after having played Dota for so many years of my life, I simply can't go back to it without craving the smoothness of League again. My worry is that having clunk-less champions is just not sustainable and the game will eventually die or become a shell of its former self. Maybe this is a pessimistic outlook and maybe there's a way to make every champion not clunky without alienating half the roster, but I don't want us to take that risk without knowing exactly what we're doing and see the game I love die. So yes, just general musings. As always leave comments. EDIT: Of course where optimal, we'd like to add gameplay without clunkiness. Cast times and projectile speeds are a way that we can add gameplay without making the character feel overly clunky and unresponsive. Camille is a good example of where we can have a lot of gameplay without having the kit feel unresponsive using travel times and lockouts (on Q) that feel natural and Jag did a good job on those.
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