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  1. Keep the meta advantage low % and pregame choices of limited importance. You don't want rock-paper-sciccors with a 15-30 minute delayed, "rock beats sciccors"scissors" screen.

  2. To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.

  3. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  4. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  5. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  6. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  7. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  8. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  9. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  10. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  11. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  12. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

  1. Keep the meta advantage low % and pregame choices of limited importance. You don't want rock-paper-sciccors with a 15-30 minute delayed, "rock beats sciccors" screen.

  2. To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.

  3. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  4. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  5. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  6. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  7. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  8. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  9. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  10. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  11. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  12. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

  1. Keep the meta advantage low % and pregame choices of limited importance. You don't want rock-paper-sciccors with a 15-30 minute delayed, "rock beats scissors" screen.

  2. To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.

  3. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  4. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  5. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  6. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  7. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  8. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  9. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  10. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  11. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  12. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

2 deleted 936 characters in body
source | link
  1. Keep the meta advantage low %. Don't make the meta "hard". Also realize that meta should mostly play a role at the highest skill level. Players playing below a certain skill ceiling should have more freedom, otherwise it feels like a math game where you are too lazy to calculate the best strategy and you stop playing.
    Less hardcountering, more softcountering, give player a margin for skill, to outplay their softcounter with smartpregame choices and mediocre apm (which is well spend). If character 1 beats character 2 in 100% of all cases, then the meta is gonna be hardlimited importance. If character 1 beats character 2 in 50You don't want rock-60% of all cases or is generally more easy to play against against character 2, but character 2 can win by playing smart and without having the apm ofpaper-sciccors with a korean, then the meta is softer. The softer the meta, the more choices players have15-30 minute delayed, the more skill they need"rock beats sciccors" screen.
    To

  2. To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.
    The game shouldn't be rock-paper-scissors, where you choose before the game and just play and win in 60-100% of the games because you picked better at the start and then have to play loosing and unfun game for 15-30 minutes.

  3. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  4. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  5. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  6. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  7. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  8. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  9. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  10. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  11. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  12. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

  1. Keep the meta advantage low %. Don't make the meta "hard". Also realize that meta should mostly play a role at the highest skill level. Players playing below a certain skill ceiling should have more freedom, otherwise it feels like a math game where you are too lazy to calculate the best strategy and you stop playing.
    Less hardcountering, more softcountering, give player a margin for skill, to outplay their softcounter with smart choices and mediocre apm (which is well spend). If character 1 beats character 2 in 100% of all cases, then the meta is gonna be hard. If character 1 beats character 2 in 50-60% of all cases or is generally more easy to play against against character 2, but character 2 can win by playing smart and without having the apm of a korean, then the meta is softer. The softer the meta, the more choices players have, the more skill they need.
    To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.
    The game shouldn't be rock-paper-scissors, where you choose before the game and just play and win in 60-100% of the games because you picked better at the start and then have to play loosing and unfun game for 15-30 minutes.

  2. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  3. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  4. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  5. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  6. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  7. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  8. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  9. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  10. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  11. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

  1. Keep the meta advantage low % and pregame choices of limited importance. You don't want rock-paper-sciccors with a 15-30 minute delayed, "rock beats sciccors" screen.

  2. To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.

  3. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  4. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  5. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  6. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  7. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  8. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  9. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  10. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  11. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  12. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.

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  1. Keep the meta advantage low %. Don't make the meta "hard". Also realize that meta should mostly play a role at the highest skill level. Players playing below a certain skill ceiling should have more freedom, otherwise it feels like a math game where you are too lazy to calculate the best strategy and you stop playing.
    Less hardcountering, more softcountering, give player a margin for skill, to outplay their softcounter with smart choices and mediocre apm (which is well spend). If character 1 beats character 2 in 100% of all cases, then the meta is gonna be hard. If character 1 beats character 2 in 50-60% of all cases or is generally more easy to play against against character 2, but character 2 can win by playing smart and without having the apm of a korean, then the meta is softer. The softer the meta, the more choices players have, the more skill they need.
    To accomplish the above, characters need a well rounded kit, that is standalone and does not rely on roles that are stiff, or a lot of hardcounters. Every character should have 2-3 harcounters, but keep the rest soft.
    The game shouldn't be rock-paper-scissors, where you choose before the game and just play and win in 60-100% of the games because you picked better at the start and then have to play loosing and unfun game for 15-30 minutes.

  2. Another way is punishing stupid wins by quick games. Your players can create more fun games for themselves by choosing games. If a player gets dominated so hard in the first 5 minutes of the game, because 1 hero is totally broken and the enemy chose him, then the player should be able to leave. There is no point in playing a game where 1 team will win in 10 minutes after the result is already apparent. Your enemy looses or knows he will loose and should not be forced to play.
    Suddenly short wins and breaking the game is less fun. People play for fun. Someone winning 12 games in 1 hour with the same hero has less fun, than someone winning 2 games in 1 hour, with well earned victories and close games that he could potentially have lost. (This also makes cheating less apealing, remember as a kid, you break the rules and noone wants to play with you ? Yeah, basically that, you cheat, you get 5 minutes or less wins and don't have fun.)
    This is going to make people choose less broken strategies, because while fun once in a while, it get's stale to win quickly and be able to "earn it". A quick victory because of a broken champion isn't going to feel nice, especially if the matchmaking takes longer than the actual game.

  3. Limit resources. Force players to compete for resources with their own team and also the enemy. If you have a game with (nearly) unlimited resources then the game becomes trivial, it's just get the most resources as fast as possible, the character able to gain them most efficiently and beeing able to use them most efficiently will become meta. The character list becomes ordered by those factors and suddenly you have a clear cut tierlist, with little dynamic in it.

  4. Give the ability to deny resources and produce stalling in progress for both sides. While this sounds boring at first, stalling is important to some degree. Those stalls should not be easy to accomplish and not last forever, but they act as equalizers.
    If both sides don't gain any resouces during a period and need to battle for them or show of their skill to gain them, this will stop snowballing. If 1 player got a small/medium advantage and can just progress to the next goal without needing to risk anything, then this is going to be the easy strat. Gain advantage, defend it pretty easily, cause defense is always easier. Wait for upgrade, overpower enemy or deny him resources more easily. Repeat.
    With stalling, the advantage has to be actively defended. If I don't get closer to my upgrade because both me and my enemy deny each other resource gain, then we have to fight it out tactically, my enemy even though slightly behind has a valid strategy before I snowball. I can't snowball by just defending I need to actually get 2-3 kills to gain an item, or outskill him in cs in dota, to be able to buy an item in the early/mid game.

  5. Don't make it easy. Don't give the defender a too big advantage. But the give the attacker checkpoints that put up a fight if they are attacked ahead of time. In dota every hit counts, playing defensively will barely regen my hp if I ran out of regen items, which cost gold. The tower makes it hard to get cs, loose hp. Still the tower puts up a fight and shoots ahead of time if I directly click an enemy. My enemy can comfortably stay in range of his tower at the start with medicre/full health, but can't really rely on staying there forever, cause his cs is hurting.

  6. Realize that if you skill ceiling is below the maximum human capabilities, then everyone is basically at the highest level in skill in the higher ranks, the only thing to be abused then to gain rank is the meta game/strategy which can be complex to figure out perfectly without using complex math. You can't do anything about that, beside try to balance it so no hero hard counters more than 3 other heroes and that most things are softcounters. This keeps the game dynamic, the meta becomes less tight and you have more variety, even at the higher level.

  7. Balance, real balance. This means that anything that doesn't softcounter each other should have a 50% winrate against each other.
    Softcounters shouldn't be auto-wins and not exceed 60% winrate. They should still have a hard game and some trouble with their enemies.
    Hardcounters should be able to be adressed by lane swapping, so keep hardcoutners few.

  8. Everything needs a downside. Anything that is just plainly good is broken. Things good in the early game shouldn't scale. High burst dmg should have high mana cost/cooldown. Put stuff into conditions in general. Keep kits unique and have a large ability space. No hero should be comfortable just doing the same thing without beeing killed in a game, the enemy team should always have counter plays.

  9. Don't go overboard with variance in mobility. Blinks and teleports, slow and high movement speed should be rare. They should have a very very good design reason. If there is to much variance it's impossible to balance in the long term.

  10. Give the player tradeoff upgrades (items), which can be used to counter 1 thing, but give up/weaken another thing. Spending resources on it usually is not a tradeoff (unless it's cost inefficient, but it should not be an auto include for a dominating player).

  11. Limit lategame potential to a constant. If growth in a game is unlimited snowballing will never stop, so a dominating player is never going to loose his advantage.