I 've spent some time playing with those. So today, I want to share my experience.
Of course, they are not too relevant to each other to create a good comparison.
Dota 2 & LOL are PC-based MOBA.
Clash Royale & CATS are mobile-only Arena hybrid.
And each has many differents from others.
But they are all game, regardless the fun created by the depth of the game, I want to talk about the casual fun in these 4 games.
Competitive games are trending these days. On every platform, people try to have fun by kicking others.
And in many cases, fun is winning, or at least you don't have to tolerate losing (too much).
In Dota2, there are nothing called casual fun, I think so, the time you get your ass kicked is mostly more than 40 minutes. The game feels slow and punishing. As a noob, every time I move around to explore more about the map, someone jumps out of the jungle and kill me, nothing I can do to get the losing situation better, feel like playing a horror game. And then, trash-talk is everywhere. Almost nothing I can do to get better. No surrender,... so hardcore. As a result, I have to tolerate losing for more than 40 minutes. That's very bad. I could not play anymore after about 20 games. Maybe the game requires more than casual play to have fun.
In League Of Legends, there was some fun I had. I played more LOL than Dota 2. It's much lighter, brighter, easier than Dota 2. But the casual fun is hard to find as you get higher. One main problem is the friendly good players are hard to find. People keep lecturing, blaming every time someone does anything wrong, according to their view. No AFK remake like Dota 2, you have to play 4 v 5 or even 3 v 5 for at least 20 minutes to surrender if all teammates accept. And the time you spending losing is about 30 minutes. And trash-talk/taunting is everywhere too. LOL has national based servers so I will have to deal with those in my native language. Very frustrating. So occasionally I switch to play All Random All Mid to try to have fun. This game mode has shorter time and players have random champions. I had some fun with this, at 50-50 rate. This game mode presents to me the you-lose-before-you-start. It's all random so your team may have no ranged attack/skill champion while enemy team has strong poking skill. So sit there and watch your team losing with little less nothing you can do. At least you will only have to tolerate it in under 20 minutes.
And here come the mobile king, Clash Royale. I can say this game is super well-designed. From gameplay to game balancing, the team did exceptional works to make the game heart-pumping fun. But as I get higher in this game, the casual fun is gone. All game are ranking so there is no testing here, you will lose so hard trying your new desk carelessly. The time you have to tolerate losing in this game is under 3 minutes. But the loss fell so punished, it does not just pack the ranking point lost just like ranking game in LOL and Dota2 but also pack the helpless of the all random mode, you feel you lose even before you start playing when your opponent has a counter desk, again, nothing you can do. And those are not all the hate you feel, here come the most frustrating thing, spammed while watching your ass kicking - The super invoking emoji. Even when muted.
Clash Royale put me in the core loop which is less fun day by day. To the moment not much I can do, the cards are expensive, the game is punishing, other players are paying. To the point, winning has no real benefit, I don't even accept a 3-minutes-frustrating game in order to get some casual fun in a winning game.
And the last candidate, CATS - Crash Arena Turbo Stars. I have spent some weeks with this game. And I can say, this game is fun and is the most unpunished game here. The game is not real-time action arena, so there is no emoji or taunting. You don't have any action in battle, just watch. And the game has super short battles, You will have to tolerate losing in just under 3 seconds. Core loop: You collect parts, update and watch your cat mobile fights in two main battlefields: tech ranking and player ranking. The Player ranking arena is random and is rewarded with ranking point and chest to get new parts. The Tech ranking arena is grouped by 14 players and you can advance by beat them all in one (this make the strong player go out of this group, so you don't have to deal with him more) or try to rank 7 or upper till the promoting day which comes each 2 days. And in the Tech ranking arena, you can fight anyone in the group anytime, so right after you lose, you can think and change some parts of the mobile in order to win. I think this loop make players feel improving and actually doing something meaningful to get better. Not just that, you can watch how other players mobile does weird and interesting things to win or lose. I can call those fast casual fun. The downside of this game is balancing, with multiple parts have bonus attack/health up to 100%, the game will become imbalance fast. And I think the day not much I can do will come soon when other players in my rank group have five to ten times stronger than I can imagine.
So that's it.
As a game developer, learn from those frustrating, I conclude:
- To have fun, players have to understand the game. So to have casual fun, faster fun, make the game as easy to learn as possible.
- Multiplayer interact may cause hate. Never support negative invoking in any way. Never support scorn emoji. This makes players tolerate.
- Try to minimize the time watching-you-lose-and-nothing-you-can-do by design a better gameplay. Reduce players hard time watching themselves losing.
- Rewarding at all level. Keep the fun of getting something new.
Above are all my opinion. Hope to learn more from your comments. Thanks