Firstly, I need to identify the role of the character: Is it a warrior, an assassin/carry or a support character? Is it melee or ranged? What’s the difficulty of playing this character? Will it be a good fit for the existing character web?
Secondly, I would like to define the traits of the character. Make sure the character has unique mechanics among other characters.
Thirdly, design the background of the player that fits in the game world.
The mechanics of the character are the most important traits for hardcore gamers. But it doesn’t mean a super complex mechanic will be accepted. It’s very important to design mechanics that both attacker and victim can understand without too much burden of knowledge.
The mechanics match surrounding gameplay
For the character, all his/her abilities should be well matched with each other and with the character his/herself.
Besides, it’s great to be unique, but it should also fits in the existing game mechanics. For example, it may not be a good idea to design a character that can push over the static walls in the battlefield since it break the balance of surrounding gameplay and it’s a burden for the development team as well.
More importantly, the mechanics should allow healthy and interesting interactions with teammates and opponents.
Firstly, the mechanics should be consistent with the character’s personality and roles.
Secondly, the appearance and voice acting should also be well-matched with the personality and background story.
Meet the market needs
When designing the character, it’s important to think about what kind of audience to target. Thus it’s easier to tailor the traits, skills and appearance of the character.
key drivers of balance between the characters
Possible to response
Make sure the opponents have choices to react to the character. For example, if you can stun a player by click her, it’s almost impossible for her to response. A better approach could be change the stun to a shot-skill that is less reliable but more about timing and strategy. Thus the victim also have chance to dodge.
Make sure the character can create opportunity for teammates. Nice combos usually increase the cooperative interactions.
Less burden of knowledge
If the character takes an action, it’s important for other players (especially for the victim) to notice and understand what happens.
Consider about the different demands from both novice and experienced players.
Create interesting gameplay
Avoid dominate strategy. High reliability always makes the gameplay flat. Timing and payouts are more interesting for players.
How do players evaluate their options of characters
- Appearance/Animation/Personality of the character
- Role and functions of the character
- Traits and abilities of the character
- Difficulty of playing the character
- Win/Pick/Ban rate of the character
- Background story
- Characters of teammates (if it’s possible to know)
How to ensure dynamic gameplay
Reinforce the fun of challenge
- Clear feedback about adversarial play
- Add bounty to well-performed player’s life
- Temporary power ups
- High risk, high reward
- Implement chat system and alert ping system to encourage communication
- Offer high rewarded tasks that player cannot achieve alone