Perfect Imbalance – Extra Credit

A video from the guys at Extra Credit focusing on an issue of game design that is extremely important in any competitive game, exactly how balanced do you want it? Citing examples such as Chess, Starcraft, League of legends and Dungeons and Dragons Extra Credit point out that imbalance in games is desirable because it gives the player something to play around with in the metagaming process.

They cite League of Legends as the perfect example of this ‘imbalance’ and although I do not fully agree with them (I would argue that balance is ultimate aim in LoL, it is just extremely hard to realise), their argument about 10 – 15 % of the game being unbalanced is a good benchmark for thinking about this concept. What percentage of a game is really imbalanced? Does that really add to the appeal? These are two questions I think need asking increasingly as games get patched more regularly and issues of balance are taken more seriously with the rise of e-sports.

What would be the counter to this? Does balance = skill / knowledge based fun whereas imbalance caters to casual playstyles more? Food for thought.

Also see this reddit thread about this concept:

Lots of interesting ethnographically relevant perspectives on balance ingame (in particular see mrpineapplehouse comment).

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