Saturday, October 15, 2011

It Only Does Everything™

Whenever S2Games releases a new Hero, the Community is skeptic to say the least. This isn't a new phenomenon, and can be viewed empirically by quickly glancing at YouTube or Forum posts left by disgruntled members of the Community when the Hero is first announced. When this first started happening, I was somewhat confused, because it seemed like no matter what Hero came out, no matter what skills or weaknesses it possessed, it would be quickly dismissed as the newest overpowered garbage to grace the game.

If you read my last article, you might be scratching your head asking yourself if you are about to read the same article twice- but there is a distinct difference here. A hero like Emerald Warden or Tremble didn't just carry the illusion of lower-bracket chaos, they literally delivered it. No matter what the highest tier competitive player says, these Heroes dominated the lower game brackets and left players frustrated. Players who claimed they saw this coming a mile away were quick to remind everybody that "they told you so".

But that's not why I'm here writing to you today. Because for every "I told you so" there are at least one hundred unspoken "I told you so, but I was wrong"'s that are sadly never uttered. What I am talking about is the insanity- no- the literal hysteria that is ignited when a new Hero is announced.

This deafening hysteria quickly consumes the forums in a wave of panic and utter disgust. How could S2 dare to create a Hero of this caliber? With skills like that, why would I even bother picking anything else? These questions are tough to answer because they might as well be rhetorical questions, carefully cherry picked from a garden of stupid. When critiquing a new Hero, players continue to fall into the same traps by regurgitating the same arguments. To set the record straight, I don't have any problems with people criticizing a new Hero, but I do have a bone to pick with the following strategies:

"The Counter"

This argument revolves around simply counting up everything a Hero does to make it sound overpowered. It sounds something like this: "It has a huge Nuke, a Stun, a Slow, Crit, Invisibility, a +300 attack speed buff, increased movement speed, AoE silence (goes through magic immunity), near permanent invisibility, free wards and counter-wards". Sound ridiculous to you? That's because it is- I just described Scout to you, a Hero that I don't think anybody has a problem with today. Good job Sherlock, by counting up every single thing the Hero does you can literally make anything sound overpowered. I hate to break it to the population- but Heroes have to be able to do something in order to be useful.

"The Contextless"
The context-less argument is all about throwing out random information that sounds ridiculous because it has no context at all. This usually sounds something like "780 magic damage every 11 seconds at level 16", a hilariously out-of-context statement written by an Anonymous writer impersonating [S2]DivA. We can only assume what he meant to say was "Buffs you and 2 random Heroes around you if they are in 600 range- if both you and the two random units that get the buff happen to attack twice within a short interval you can deal around 780 damage- also you are playing a squishy Int Hero that has one of the lowest base HP in the game and has no ultimate". But technicalities like "the hero has a passive ult, of course his base abilities are going to be better" usually fall quickly (and silently) under the table.

"The S2 Conspiracy"
There's an ongoing conspiracy theory that S2 designers are secretly sexually insecure and overcompensate for this by creating overpowered Heroes to "one-up" (no puns intended) the original DotA cast. Fans of this theory like to attribute this fact by the fact that "all S2 Heroes have stuns, long range and good attack animations"- statements that aren't just false but also, again, don't provide any context for the Hero that is coming out. S2 Conspiracy theorists tend to be DotA loyalists who don't understand that a Stun is actually an Immobilize, a Disarm, a Perplex and Silence balled into one and are then disgusted when an S2 Hero contains two or more of these abilities split into separate skills. These are the same people who don't understand why Hammerstorm and Magmus are good roaming Heroes.

"The Astrologer"
The astrologer, similar to the S2 Conspiracy Theorist, prides himself on being ahead of the curve. He is quick to recognize something he's seen before, which can only mean that S2 is all out of ideas. Sentiments from the Astrologer include statements such as "Another Invis Hero?", "Ranged, has a Stun, AoE ult- big surprise!" or "can you guys create anything other than Int Heroes?" when the 2nd Int hero in a row comes out. The Astrologer, like the others, is fool-proof, because no matter what the last Hero was that came out was, he will always be able to somehow connect the two to confirm his ongoing suspicion that he's got S2 all figured out. His predictions are, and will always remain, completely flawless.

So, all these bases covered, how is it possible to actually judge a Hero before it comes out? Simply put- you can't, stop trying. There's no way to judge exactly how balanced a Hero will be when he isn't out yet because you simply don't know how he will synergize with other Heroes, how the finer points of his abilities work out- Mana costs, Cooldowns, Armor values, Stat Gain, etc. All these finer details mesh together and often paint a much different picture once the Hero has sunk into player's minds. So the next time you watch a Spotlight video and you're absolutely sure Flux is going to be the next pubstomper- do everyone around you a favor and keep it to yourself until the Hero has been released and is at least 1-2 weeks old.


  1. Was a good reading, just to bad that the people that do this stuff won't read this blog

  2. True, true. Too bad that none of the whiners will read it and even if they do, I suppose the only conclusion will be "Damn, scout is OP!" :S

    Oh, and one more thing...NIGMA FOR PRESIDENT!

  3. I was really impressed when Ra came out, his 3rd skill was giving too much hp regen and ppl could figure out how to counter that. I was about to play with some friends and someone insta-picked Ra, my mates started calling "gg op hero", i picked Slither, Ra regen gone, Ra ravished. Just easy as that, i focused Ra for the whole game, and he was basically unable to do all his rambo things.

    What im trying to say is, every hero has a counter, if you're incapable to figure this out, then you should read/learn more about the game before calling OP or weak some hero, either new or old.

  4. I like it I like it, someone's actually defining the insanitiy of our community.

  5. It's just hard/frustrating for a new players coming to this game and deal with "this" kind of people...

    Nigma keep up the awesome work. Question is ur Prodex being updated?

    Cheers from Portugal mate!

  6. Still... RA is a retarded hero. I won't take back my word.

  7. good one, nice attempts to explain the behaviour of a majority of HoN players and i may say you are right.
    Whats sad about this is in first place, those you are talking about wont take the time to read this. Those taking the time to read this explanation and taking the energy to really think about it are not the ones complaining mindlessly about the last new HoN-hero.

    I for myself played HoN since the early closed beta, maybe 1 month in.
    I was really impressed by the goals you set for yourself. I really loved the way you were dealing with the game and the community at this point.
    But in my opinion, there are two major faults you did with the game.
    first, you tried to make it a new dota, the game you guys loved to play and the game you wanted to get players from. This is nothing wrong, it was a good chance for DotA players to get a game that resolved most of the problems dota had while keeping its great gameplay and the feeling they enjoyed. From a company side of view it was a good idea since there was a huge playerbase already waiting for the game taking it to the next level.
    So you decided to go for a game that wanted to compete with dota.
    And to be true I guessed it would win with ease.

    I do not know what went wrong from this point. There are a view rumors out there so i can only guess. A theory that makes sense for me is the arguement about the dota ports. There were a time when you guys pleased the whole community with ongoing dota ports. All the players waited for the game to become just dota in better engine, this was what you made them believe it will be.
    But then things changed. I think it was after the implementation of bubbles as the last true dota port. I do not know if you stopped porting because you wanted to change the game and form it into something new, as you like to tell from time to time or if it was just the unability to go on with your strategy. There are a few things leading me to the second scenario. There were a few rumors why icefrog stopped to work with you guys and its not me to decide what really happend there but infact he stopped it so maybe S2 wasnt allowed to go on porting the heroes like exact copies. A hint on this were the "contests" about what hero should be ported next just never resulting in anything.

    But whoever, if it was due to you not being able or not wanting to go on with the ports, this is were things changed.

  8. The community wasnt happy about that and this goes on till now. They just couldnt get over the decision that HoN wont become dota 2.0.
    They can not stop comparing everything to dota, they think of HoN as a cruel monstrosity and S2 being the retarded incompetent developers fucking up their game.
    And to tell the truth, you made them think like that. You started with a copy of DotA, you built up this concept and the dream of a new dota and then slowly converted it into something else. For those having the dream of DotA 2 in HoN it was like a slow ongoing corruption. While you as developers thought you were following the right path and going for the right decisions, the people coming from dota saw you doing mistake over mistake since they thought you going a totally different way. Ofcourse the path looks wrong if the assumed goal is a different.

    And then you guys ran into another problem. You had to change your buisness model. I am not sure and i do not want to sound offensive here but for me there are only two logical explanations here. The first is you turned greedy. Aka WoW you tried to get more and more money out of a fine working game and charged too high. The other one is you run out of money. HoN was creating a good profit out of the sells from closed beta and release but i for myself believe in someone doing the maths and recognizing the threatening depression you would run into with your old buisnessmodel. So you did not change the buisness model out of it being a good decision community or gameplay wise but an economical need to create an ongoing input.
    At this point most of the playerbase playing since closed beta started to felt betrayed. There were promises of access to every item without paying for it (and come on, collecting 9800 silver coins is not really what you can describe with accessible). There were unpredictable problems like the DDOS attacks. There were promises about a mapeditor in the near future but infact people are still waiting for you to satisfy their expectations.
    I am sure there are legit reasons for you not to meet these promises and reasons legitimating your decisions and steps but infact from the point of a player coming from dota with the expectations of an improved dota you just disappointed.
    the reactions you described with your article are the result of anger and disappointment expressed in the most primitive but emotional honestly way.

  9. I assume you read the forums frequently so you have to admit while there are a growing number of ragethreads and people cursing on S2, there is also a growing number of people blaming those rager for their inappropriate behaviour and expression.
    So i come to the result that most of the dota-patriots will leave HoN or left it already which will be even more likely due to the ongoing betainvites to dota2. You will lose those customers waiting for a dota2 since they now found the product they were waiting for and i am really interessted to see how the HoN community will develop afterwards.

    Thanks for reading and sorry for textwalling your blog :)

  10. Regarding "the counter"

    Imagine if S2 invented pebbles...

    oh the endless rage..

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  12. Gotta say, awesome article and this crap has been bugging me for a long time as well. It's like the guy above me says, imagine what would happen if S2 invented SS or Pebbles ... After 1 day there would also be a DRD youtube movie about it where Moon destroys people with the new hero, to "prove" he's OP, even though he could have done basically the same thing with any hero in the pool that isn't hard support, because he's just a very good player.

  13. @Dario:

    First and foremost, please don't confuse this Blog for official S2 information- I am not employed by S2 in any way anymore and anything written on this blog is my personal editorial and nobody elses.

    Secondly, you are 100% right when you say that the people I poke fun at in these blog posts will not read them- that's not the point, though. I'm not trying to actually try and get people to stop trolling/raging/whatever, what I write here is merely my own little counter-culture to the trolling and flaming, a little analysis and classification of behavior I have witnessed in the past and present that I like to catalogue. I think by "organizing" the trolls and irrational flamers into little drawers you sort of take away their ability to troll you if what they do is repetitive. The same way people can troll S2 over and over for things they don't understand, I can poke fun back at them. This blog is my own little counter-culture bubble for the not-so-vocal HoN community- the quiet HoN community that is rational and tends to enjoy the game through and through. Its for these people that I write these articles, because they are the true fans.

    About what you say about DotA ports and stuff: I can't really talk about any of this. You'll have to draw your own conclusions.

    I never had any business influence over at S2, so I can't really comment on why or why not S2 changed their business model- but for me as a spectator it only makes sense, if HoN is going to compete with LoL and DotA2 in the future it's going to need the F2P edge. Going F2P was a crucial step in HoN evolving and staying alive- whether or not you agree with every fine detail (Early Access, no option to buy Legacy Accounts, etc.) is something you can form your own opinion on.

    Again, I don't poke fun at the Community in this blog because I disagree with everything they say- there are tons of legitimate complaints and feedback that people post. I know lots of people are going to misinterpret this blog as "you guys are a bunch of crybabies!"- which isn't the case, the Community makes a lot of valid complaints, I merely satirize the more ridiculous ones.

    Concluding, I don't claim to know the future of HoN- and I don't claim to be able to influence it. It all rests in S2's hands at this point, and in the hands of the gamers. HoN will have a future no matter what- depending on how things progress, it can either be great or amazing. HoN has already exceeded all of S2's original expectations. We'l just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.

  14. The problem i see is that HoN can't be taken seriously as an e-sports title anymore, i played HoN in the closed beta but couldn't keep up with it due to personal intrests and focus but now i came back after playing a lot of LoL and wanted to start over again with it but seeing that S2 decided to move to an full f2p modle it just shut down my interest imidetaly. I allways saw LoL as an more casual version of Dota and HoN as the improved version of it that wants to keep things hardcore wich is fine with me. But the split between having players with an Legacy Account and people with an normal f2p Account kills every aspect of an balanced match up. Having people with a lot more power (beeing able to play every hero) then others is just wrong and scares off new players (no to mention the redicoulus gold coin prices). And in my opinion this will lead to an slow death of HoN. It has to compete with LoL and Dota2 and i don't see where HoN stands out from both.
    Well it was fun while it lasted....

  15. I have to admit i havent got the right image of you doing this i guess. Sorry for the confusion for readers. Though this post wasnt made as a post meant for a S2-member especially. I just went for my opinions the HoN-community is driven by at the moment, my guessings on the things happend the last years and a little bit of my expectations for the future. Infact your answer sound like a defense and while i have to admit my thread contains some points that might sound offensive thats not what i tried to go for :). I appreciate your answer and hope to read and comment some interesting stuff by you soon again

  16. HoN has one of the worst player community I've ever experienced, mostly are easy insulting and irritating kids, althought I know the best is just /ignore them, but with time gets me tired of this kind of people. I really like the game and still play it almost everyday because I think it is a really good game, it is something natural that forums gets overflowed with rages, crys, doomsays and other stuff like that just because one thing, mostly are mostly are easy insulting and irritating kids, both mentally and phisically.

  17. while i agree with your claims i have to say not all of them are right. unfairness exists and must be removed. if all arguments are to be summed there are only 2 ways to play HoN - get 5, INSANELY good, and TMM. the ew problem, i can show you, is INSANE when you go solo and the other side has 2 good players EW n support or smurfs or what not that will whack the living SHIT out of you no matter how hard you try or you may be so lucky you have the best teammates in the world (no bans remember?). OR go play public. This is unfair, and this is what the masses are talking about. HoN is about rubbing in the defeat, and MM does this too well. Cant blame it though less players means lesser choices to team up with which regurgitates this problem.make the game more attractive, ie at least free the heroes or make em cheaper on Silver basis, and then you will have more players which will fix this issue. look at it this way, local time @ur place after midnight, and very few players online 28k suppose and MM teams you up with a pink who has 10 games and a blue who has 2000? just because their MMR is the same? god fuck that..and then the win based attitude is a rapist. if you dont win you get NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. get 11 kills and 20 assists and lose and mm will rub you by giving you 3-6 coins. come on wtf? thats the reason why most people press red when the other team calls a RMK vote if they have a dc. i mean who doesnt want to win, but more importantly who doesnt want to gain? how long will it take to win a game with dc'd opponents? they will just whack you, win, take their coins and leave which will make them better off in the future they can buy more heroes and play better games while you can suffer a ridiculuous drop in ur MM and get nothgint just because someone dced..lmao greed motivated community,,as someone who beleives in fair play when it comes to hon thought i really wanna click the red button these days (suffered many injustices). less players is the culprit - you will not get fair games and your hard work will not pay off, and so the rage will continue. Make losers get more coins, and the rmk RMKable incase of DCs with less of the other sides consent and then the rage will slowly decline. good players with good players will control your EW, and playing with your own skill level cant make it imbalance, like a smurf against a beginner.

  18. nice reading up until you say that i cant predict how a hero is going to cope with the metagame...well i say i can do that and with a smudge of ease. break down the hero into what he can do as stun, auras, magic nuke etc. then try to find him a good comb to destroy the lane...and make sure that the whole team is synergised with him for some late game...profit.