Dota 2

I have fallen back into dota 2 this weekend, after dropping it for about 3 and a half months. The last time someone asked me if I liked it, I had to say “I am not sure”. I still feel the same way about it, but I am starting to hone in on the bits of it that I do enjoy (and the ones that I don’t like so much). I think it say a bunch for the game that it took me around 30 hours of play to gain an opinion of it, or maybe it is illustrative complex the game is.
Much like the RTS games that it is descended from, much of the moment to moment play in the game is a micro management game, which comes down to understanding animation timings and clicking at exactly the right time. I enjoy this much more than the micro in star craft 2, which I find to have to many moving bits to really feel like micro management, and starts to feel like an interface management problem.
The larger macro game is a bit harder for me to enjoy, as it is quite broad in terms of the decisions that can be made. I think this is my beginner reading of the game however, I am still at the level where I don’t understand the buy orders for each of the various moving units on the field, much less how I need to balance my purchases against the other team. This may all be a moot point because I have yet to perfect the micro game, and can’t really purchase the items as quickly as I need to keep up with the level of play in the rest of the game. Valve has made this a bit better by integrating user build orders into the interface that help you decide what to buy and when.
I think that this may speak to my larger issues with the game, which is that the level of play needed to keep up with other players is so far beyond what I am capable, even after 30 hours of play.
Those thing said however, I still really enjoy playing the game, and there are a number of things that I would borrow from it for my own design. the fact that they didn’t seem to ever throw away any content. If you can think of an element for the game, it is in there. Weapons that do major modifications to the behavior of some of the heroes, but don’t do anything for the other heroes, strange item delivery systems. It seems like the design was one ongoing shit sticks session, and I really enjoy that. I wonder what got taken out, if anything. It does seem to lend itself to a game that has a bunch of breadth, which the depth comes out of. The system starts with a bunch of branches, which are quickly pruned as play goes onwards, and then converge on correct builds. The points in the game that allow for branching decisions seem to be centered around the play within a team, the hidden information around what the other team is doing, and the specifics of how a player approaches the micro game.

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