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CowboyNeal On Dota 2, Modern Games, and Software Development

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

Games 148

CowboyNeal writes "Unless you don't care about PC gaming at all, by now you're aware of Valve's entry into the MOBA/ARTS genre, Dota 2. Despite still being in a closed beta, it's currently the number one game on Valve's Steam gaming service, and judging from Valve's earlier declaration regarding Steam on Linux, it's only a matter of time, even if that time be a year or more, before we see Dota 2 come to Linux as well as Mac. Valve has big plans for Dota 2, no less big than what happened with Team Fortress 2, even if it took them a few years to get to where Team Fortress 2 is today. What makes the current state of Dota 2 noteworthy, however, is that it has managed to displace Team Fortress 2 as Steam's most popular game, while still being tested in a closed beta." Read on for the rest of CowboyNeal's thoughts on games, and what it's like being a Slashdot poll option.The term "closed beta" here doesn't really directly apply, either. Starting already last summer, Valve invited sixteen Dota teams from around the world to compete in a Dota 2 tournament, which naturally, featured the then-current state of Dota 2. What's interesting to note is that while Dota 2 at that time didn't sport all of the available heroes from its Dota All-Stars ancestor, everyone involved felt comfortable enough with the game to stage a tournament. Even if the game was lacking dozens of heroes at the time, players from the professional Dota scene were able to adjust to Dota 2 quickly, given that Valve had successfully recreated the nuances of the original mod within the Source engine. Following The International 2011, Valve resolved to open up the beta to more people, and sent out several waves of invites last fall, over the winter, and this spring. They gave out beta access as prizes during their Christmas Sale event. And now, for $39.99, or whatever that equates to in your local currency, you can buy an invite to the beta, directly from the Dota 2 store in-game. In this way, it's not very closed anymore, save for in name.

All of this is a long way from how games, and software in general, were handled in days of yore. In the before-time, the long-long-ago, one would go to the store or mail order some disks with the software on it, install it, and that was that. Patches were next to unheard of. After the advent of the internet, one would still likely go to the store and buy a game on discs, and then begin the process of downloading patches off of the internet, if one was so lucky to have their product see post-launch support. Today, it's not uncommon to see a game be patched once or twice in a week's time, especially so if it's a game with an online component to it.

With games like Dota 2, and recently-released Tribes Ascend, and the wildly successful Minecraft before that, the entire software development cycle gets hazy at best. PC Gamer recently asked its readers whether or not they should review Dota 2. There's still a list of things to come for Dota 2. There's also already a selection of purely cosmetic items available for purchase for your heroes, tying in closely to Valve's hat-based strategy for revenue. It's no wonder that reviewers are left wondering. Buyers are wondering too. There are plenty of people playing Dota 2, and presumably some of those players are having fun doing it. I think it could also be successfully argued that Minecraft was "done" long before Mojang slapped a 1.0 version number on it. On the flip side of the coin, it's been five years since Valve released Team Fortress 2, and the TF2 that players play today is very little like the one that was bundled with the Orange Box on release. Games developed, or even merely published by Bethesda are notorious for launch-day bugs, some of which are so egregious that they come perilously close to breaking the "sacred bond of trust between gamer and gaming mega-corporation." Sometimes Bethesda fixed up their games with a post-game patch, other times we have to just wait and bear it, and eventually at some point, like the days of yore, post-launch support just ends, and bugfixes are left to the community to handle.

I think that in the end, the "release early, patch often" approach is beneficial to consumers. It allows developers to get player feedback in an early and ongoing fashion, and adjust their product accordingly. In the long run, it makes it easier to decide whether or not it's worth plunking down our cash for a game. It does, however, make it much more difficult to decide to do so on launch day. It's difficult to see the future and know if and how a given title will be supported post-launch, which is now a reasonable issue to consider before purchasing a AAA title that can cost between $50 and $60. The hard part, of course, is waiting for our old ideas about game reviews to catch up, since a review doesn't get patched, unlike the games they cover. The best a review can hope for is to be revised during an expansion pack.

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Who's this CowboyNeal? (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 2 years ago | (#40617407)

I thought he was a punchline on the surveys. He's actually a real person?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Buccaneer Waggerstrm (2682059) | about 2 years ago | (#40617451)

Yes, he is a real person and has worked for Slashdot before. Currently he is employed by Microsoft.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#40617491)

Says the 7 digit ID to someone who has been on Slashdot for 10 years WITH CowboyNeal. I can only assume the GP was being facetious.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (2)

mat.power (2677517) | about 2 years ago | (#40617695)

Because the number of digits on your ID indicate how long you've been reading slashdot... I've read slashdot for many years now and only recently bothered to make an account. Perhaps you're correct and he was being facetious. It's equally possible that he really didn't know who CowboyNeal was and was genuinely curious. No need to be an elitist.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (2)

ranton (36917) | about 2 years ago | (#40617865)

Because the number of digits on your ID indicate how long you've been reading slashdot ... No need to be an elitist.

I wouldn't take any crap from someone with only a 6-digit ID either. Since when is that considered low?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (5, Funny)

RobKow (1787) | about 2 years ago | (#40618495)

I'm skeptical of low IDs--back in the day, you were distrustful of identifying yourself and all the cool people stayed anonymous.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (2)

Rotten (8785) | about 2 years ago | (#40618619)

... back then nobody bragged about the ID number...

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619063)

Anonymous Coward (01)

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618693)

That is because half of the posts were about natalie portman being naked and petrified with hot grits.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

Buccaneer Waggerstrm (2682059) | about 2 years ago | (#40618843)

What is an hot grit? I see this constantly.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618907)

It's just like a regular grit, but its atoms have a higher average energy.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 2 years ago | (#40619103)

You had to be there, I guess.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

iceaxe (18903) | about 2 years ago | (#40619089)

Yes, and?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

Rotten (8785) | about 2 years ago | (#40619257)

The other half was trying to Imagine a Beowulf cluster of that...

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40619757)

Exactly. That's what I did.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618515)

I've got a three-digit UID, and I don't respect anyone with a longer one.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619199)

Exactly. I've been lurking since the late nineties. I finally created an account this year and then only to avoid site bugs (like the comments slider not working on touch devices).

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (2)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#40617843)

I was actually the first user on Slashdot. I am just so leet haxorz that I changed my ID so I look like a newb. You know, so I can blend in with the little people.

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#40618285)

Commander Taco? Are you back?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

denvergeek (1184943) | about 2 years ago | (#40618481)

I trolled for years before creating an account. Someone has to post NSFW links (you know the ones)...

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617905)

Currently he is employed by Microsoft.

Did he ask for Mark Lucovsky's old chair?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | about 2 years ago | (#40617507)

He's real [wikipedia.org] . If he wasn't, what was the joke?

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (1)

spads (1095039) | about 2 years ago | (#40617619)

According to Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, from whom he borrowed the reference Cowboy Neal (ie. Cassady) was "at the wheel of a trip to never-ever land."

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618369)

it's actually a bus, a reference to the merry prankster days

Re:Who's this CowboyNeal? (4, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40617681)

Dear Editor--I am eight years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Cowboy Neal.
Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."
Please tell me the truth, is there a Cowboy Neal?

What poll option?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617419)

I did not see anything about a poll option!

Re:What poll option?!? (4, Informative)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#40617471)

Just like polls don't have a CowboyNeal option anymore, the story doesn't have one either

Re:What poll option?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618059)

The story is like a broken pencil.

Pointless.

Linux support (-1, Flamebait)

Buccaneer Waggerstrm (2682059) | about 2 years ago | (#40617437)

it's only a matter of time, even if that time be a year or more, before we see Dota 2 come to Linux

Nobody has said so. Stop putting words into Valve's mouth. You get Windows if you want to game like pros.

Meh..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617441)

Would rather have HL2 E3 or HL3.......

Re:Meh..... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40617631)

Bah, I regulatory work on HL7. and HL7 has been around sense the 1980's

Re:Meh..... (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about 2 years ago | (#40618677)

Haven't worked on HL7 in a few years. Is it still as bad as it was? It was so convoluted that no one supported most of the elements, and every vendor stuffed everything useful into the catch all Z segments?

Re:Meh..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617739)

HL2 E3 or HL3

Valve actually made both of those years ago. But they got so tired of listening to whiney-bitch fans cry about it like 3-year-olds, that they decided to shelve them just for fun. True story.

Online Multiplayer (3, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40617485)

Is the cancer killing videogames.

Nobody gives a shit about an enthralling story or character development anymore. Developers have to give players multiplayer rewards for anyone to want to go play their 6-9 hour poorly written story now.

Im sure I am not alone in yerning again for the days where you got a real story that took a damn long time to finish it, 40-50 hours was considered to be short once now Its an "epic".

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Buccaneer Waggerstrm (2682059) | about 2 years ago | (#40617525)

That's because Stories, like Google, are boring. Online action is where it's at.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40617587)

OTOH, I personally have probably played DotA for over 1000+ hours, and unlike most of those super-long "real story", that wasn't 70% grinding to level-up (which a lot of them had a lot of). Anyone can do a long single-played game. Hell, I've played an RPG that was developed by one guy that was probably 50+ hours long. But a near-perfectly balanced multiplayer game refined over the course of approaching a decade? No offense, but that is better than pretty much any of those old-school stories.

Now, COD? Yeah, that sucks. But a few multi-player online games really do know what they are doing and are more fun than most of those older games.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40617687)

Im not saying all of the mare bad and yes "a few" of them are great. The problem is that the market is saturated with bad ones, because the current focus of the industry is trying to make the next Team fortress 2 or DotA.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40617867)

I know. But the market has always been saturated by bad games, multiplayer or not. The companies making bad multiplayers games were never going to make good single-player games, so it ends up not really mattering much, in the long run.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40617943)

Bioware would like a word with you.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40618181)

Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 would like to have a word with you (I never played them, but apparently they weren't very good). Yes, I'd rather they made a single-player sequel to KOTOR also instead of SWTOR, but ever since they got bought out by EA, they've been rather unreliable anyways, and frankly I've lost most of my faith in them. Which is sad, because they used to be amazing (KOTOR is still one of my favorite games of all time, and I keep meaning to find and play a copy of the Baldur's Gate series, which I never did play).

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40618739)

"I never played them"

Dragon Age 2 was ok, not great but not bad. Mass Effect 3 was poorly written and terribly short and had (suprise) online cometetive multiplayer shoehorned in.

Re:Online Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618823)

I never really got that into the ME series... I don't know why, I love sci-fi and typically like Bioware games. So ME3 didn't really bother me. It was a fun game overall, with a really great story, with a really shitty execution on said story. Meh, like I said I was never very far into it anyways. DA2 OTOH, damn near made me cry. I absolutely loved DA, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale etc. DA2 was so wrong for so many different reasons it's not even funny. DA2 would have come close to being forgivable if they had done like in ME3, where they only made one crucial mistake as regards the story while still having a really great fun game. They didn't, they screwed up everything.

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/baldurs_gate_the_original_saga
http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/baldurs_gate_2_complete

Re:Online Multiplayer (3, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 2 years ago | (#40619109)

I keep meaning to find and play a copy of the Baldur's Gate series, which I never did play

Baldur's Gate [gog.com] and Baldur's Gate 2 [gog.com] are both on GoG.

Re:Online Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618605)

Im not saying all of the mare bad and yes "a few" of them are great. The problem is that the market is saturated with bad ones, because the current focus of the industry is trying to make the next Team fortress 2 or DotA.

One could only hope that a somewhere out there developers are working on an objective-based team FPS that will get weekly updates for the next five years. Unfortunately, the current trend is to shove a rehash of last year's AAA multiplayer with quarterly DLC totaling the game's MSRP, at the end of which all support for the game is abandoned in favor of the next iteration.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

mutherhacker (638199) | about 2 years ago | (#40617609)

Online Multiplayer Is the cancer killing videogames.

I strongly disagree. Online multiplayer is the best thing that's happened to gaming. Instead of fighting Stupid AI or solving puzzles, you're up against human intelligence (or lack thereof). After I started playing online multi-player games single-player lots it's appeal. Is it because they stopped trying or is it because playing with people is more fun? I bet the latter.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 2 years ago | (#40617655)

I don't think so. Deus Ex:HR was shit, and it was singleplayer. Prototype was shit, and it was single player. FEAR was shit and it was single player.

I think it's actually the opposite of the phenomenom you describe: People flock to online multiplayer because they EXPECT the singleplayer to be such shit that they want to make sure they have a game with some redeeming worth. I know that's what I do. I also want games I can play with my friends. I think the cancer killing videogames is the lack of story, not the multiplayer. You can do both at the same time. Consider Baldur's Gate or NWN. Consider Secret of Mana.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 2 years ago | (#40617685)

Ooh, or System Shock 2 (assuming you could keep it from crashing). Multiplayer actually got harder by virtue of needing to spread out the finite resources between more players.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40617775)

I see it more as a cause and effect. Halo 2 multiplayer hit the consoles and was VERY popular, and a lightbulb went on at the publishing departments that they could make more money if every game had good multiplayer. I say Halo becauase thats when the storyline in most videogames started to degrade and more multiplayer functions showed up. So to the detriment of the story, multiplayer was shoehorned into every game possible.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#40618093)

FEAR was actually pretty damn good. It picked up some good bits from Max Payne , The Ring and Firestarter and ran with it.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 2 years ago | (#40618275)

Okay, I'll admit that maybe the first one wasn't actually TERRIBLE. The second one was just god-awful though.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 years ago | (#40619379)

The first one was a really fun shooter with a lame a predictable plot, but a plot filled with humorous bits - it's usually the clever bits thrown in, not th story per se, that make a single player gam good. The first expansion was OK. The second expansion was worse. The FEAR2 was just bad - a bad console port, mostly missing those "good bits" of writing to liven up the bad plot.

Re:Online Multiplayer (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 2 years ago | (#40617691)

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-to-tell-youre-getting-too-old-video-games/ [cracked.com]

It's a pretty thoughtful article written by someone who enjoys video games.

As for my personal preference, I don't have a lot of time for games so I don't find beating my head against a wall to get past a boss to be all that rewarding. This coming from someone who used to do just that on platformers.

I think it's just a process of changing tastes. I remember when I didn't like to read books without pictures. I remember when black and white movies didn't have enough going on to sustain my attention. Would any teenager appreciate a reflective story about the loss of youth the way someone in their 40's regretting past mistakes would?

I think there's room for games aimed at adults, it's just that the market isn't yet willing to go there. It's sort of like people thinking women don't like porn. Hello? Romance novels? They love porn. You're just doing it wrong.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617783)

Doom (not 2, not 3, just Doom) had multiplayer. It wasn't like the current version because it was multiplayer by modem, so pretty much just two-person somewhat cooperative of the normal maps.

There are games that are like mildly interactive novels, there are games where your choices actually make the outcome different, and there are online brawls. Some people prefer one, some people want different ones at different times. SWToR is an interesting hybrid of KoToR and an MMO, but that doesn't make it the perfect compromise for everyone either.
Feel free to gripe that your favored playstyle isn't getting as much attention as you remember it getting in the past, but to make a good, long story-driven game, first you need a good story. To make a good online brawl, you need some reasonably entertaining game mechanics.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618501)

It also worked over network, with up to four people. (Novell's IPX, not IP networks -- the modular network drivers came later.)

Additionally, in the early IPX-only versions, you could set up three PCs on the network, with the second and third slaved to provide left and right views (with -left and -right options) -- AFAIK making DooM the first game with panoramic multi-monitor support.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 years ago | (#40617815)

There's plenty of solid stories available, and your selective memory is showing. While games like the FF series did take around 50 hours to complete, these still exist in forms such as Skyrim, Mass Effect, Mount and Blade, and of course the other. The 40-50 hour games were never considered short and were always considered epic, its just their also-rans have been forgotten. What you're forgetting about is that parallel to the releases of FFVII-X were the 5-10 hour capcom shorts like Devil May Cry, Onimusha, and the Resident Evil series. The difference is that these games now have competitive modes tacked on and can become an online fad rather than play and throw away. Add to the fact that FPSes have gained a heavy showing on consoles and they never traditionally had any sort of long single player mode, and you get a bit of confirmation bias.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40617919)

Mass Effect 1 was a refreshing change in the market, and still is a great game. Mass Effect 3 was poorly written, and took maybe 15 hours to finish if you did every tiny detail. The difference? Mass Effect 3 has an online competetive multiplayer mode.

Re:Online Multiplayer (5, Insightful)

jxander (2605655) | about 2 years ago | (#40617975)

Disagree in theory, sadly agree in practice.

I fully believe that both can exist. You can still have your sprawling story- and character-driven games, full of intrigue and lore, lasting hundreds of hours, and you can also have online multiplayer arenas.... but they should be kept separate. Games like DotA, League of Legends, Team Fortress 2 etc make no pretence about story, characterization(*), plot, immersion or anything like that. They don't try to be anything other than a way to play tag with your friends over the internet.

The problem comes from lazy studios, which is why I agree strongly with your original point. In the real world, there are just too many lazy people; production companies that want to pad out their games, sell a few more copies (or perhaps sell some online widgets) by cramming multiplayer into a game where it doesn't belong ... looking at you ME3. Or trying to sell you a character driven story mode, that ends up lasting all of 3 hours: your generic Call of Modern Bad Company Field 37 is probably the biggest offenders I can think of in that category. Either way, a studio diverts resources from what the fans really want, into a line of programming they're not very good at, and the end result is always to the detriment of the player. We can also dive into the issue of MMO style games being "ruined forever" by the advent of PvP and the balancing issues inherent therein ... but that's a can of worms I'll leave closed.

(*) for the record, despite being in the non-story, just-here-to-shoot-our-friends category... hats off to the TF2 guys for actually building enough characterization through their "Meet The Team" videos to make the classes feel fun and unique. *doff*

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#40618081)

Thank you. You said what I was trying to much better than I did.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

tuck3r (987067) | about 2 years ago | (#40618051)

No you are definitely not alone in wishing that games were much longer than 6-9 hours. But then again, I'm one of the people still playing MUDs..

Too often do companies make a game that has a weak story, that is just about worthless, and release it hoping that the multiplayer, DLC, and update patches carry it.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618065)

I will note that in not a single part of your rant did you mention gameplay in any sort of positive light, if at all. Yes, you can have storytelling in a game, but it sounds as if you're focusing on that at the expense of what makes a game a game, which is actual gameplay. This focus is what I consider to be a malignant cancer in the world of GAMES .

In fact, it's sounding a lot like what you're looking for are these heretofore little-known inventions called "movies" or "books". Don't worry, if you want to, we can tear random pages out of your book and hide them around the city, forcing you to wander around lost for your requisite 40-50 hours trying in vain to trigger the next page of the story. I'm certain we can jury-rig a DVD player to stop every minute or so until you win a boxing match against progressively harder opponents. And we can easily charge you $60 for the "privilege", too.

Re:Online Multiplayer (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40619191)

No, the problem is that somewhere along the line, video games became "a story" instead of, you know, playing the game. That's the cancer, and it killed video games a long time ago.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

spagthorpe (111133) | about 2 years ago | (#40619513)

Completely agree. Occasionally when I see a new game mentioned like this one, I get excited for a moment or two thinking that maybe I'll find something I want to play again. Almost always ends the same though; some online multiplayer game that I have no interest in.

Thankfully GOG is around, as well as the old Steam games I bought many years ago that are fun to occasionally replay because few have any interest in putting the time into making great single player games anymore.

Re:Online Multiplayer (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | about 2 years ago | (#40619695)

40-50 hours was never short.

Has an Asian kid died playing it? (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40617489)

Because it's not a real RTS unless at least one has.

Poll Option Opinion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617621)

Is this the full summary because this AC doesn't see his thoughts on being a Slashdot poll option?

I don't see a problem (1)

Muramas95 (2459776) | about 2 years ago | (#40617677)

I am a big LoL fan and I was excited for DOTA 2 and when I played it, I was quite disappointed. Its game pace is quite poor and you feel like you are sitting around a lot doing nothing. League of Legends is the way to the future, not DOTA2.

Re:I don't see a problem (1)

ifrag (984323) | about 2 years ago | (#40617889)

League has evolved the genre whereas Dota 2 is basically just a graphic UI and matchmaking upgrade of Dota. Dota is ridiculously unbalanced in low and mid tier play as well, although I'm not entirely certain about high tier play either way. League at least tries to maintain a consistent experience across all levels of players.

Really there is only a couple features which Dota 2 will have to compete with League. The biggest one is that you don't have to individually purchase each champion or just use the champions of the week. And the second is strongly related which is more selection in game modes, many of which have some impact on champion selection.

Overall, the market for Dota 2 players is existing Dota players (what's left of it) and maybe a few new people checking it out because it's on steam. Anyone who is heavily invested in League at this point has no real incentive to switch.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618331)

All heroes unlocked isn't a feature. It's the difference between playing a game and being exploited. LoL pretends to encourage and foster a competitive scene while also committing one of the worst acts possible on competitive gaming (gameplay affecting unlocks). Lol has the a horrible inconsistent play experience across levels. Anyone 30 isn't even playing the same game as people at 30 due to runes and masteries. Then on top of that you have hero selection where one team can have a better team by default based purely on heroes owned.

Regardless of which game has the better gameplay one game is exploitative, the other is built up on good will to consumers.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618743)

Then on top of that you have hero selection where one team can have a better team by default based purely on heroes owned.

I remember playing World of Warcraft way back in Vanilla as a Warrior, and there was a saying on the warrior forums: "Skill>gear>level", which said that in PvP, someone with more skill would beat someone with better gear would beat someone with only higher level. There's a similar thing in LoL: Skill>Farm>Champ; your skill as a player will beat a better farmed oponent will beat a counter-pick. Champs can build multiple ways that violently change their role in the game, and a skilled player will know how build for the situation. That will beat someone with less skill but more farm (to a point, of course), and more farm will beat someone who is less farmed and skillful but merely counter-picked you.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618995)

In Lol/DotA Farm is skill. So is the draft. These are things you control that happen within a game

It doesn't matter the order of the skills. In a competitive game it should be Skill > Nothing.

Lol doesn't have this. Lol is Skill > Champs unlocked > Runes/Masteries. It may still mostly be skill but it's not a real competitive game if there's anything after Skill.

It doesn't matter how small the advantage is going into the game, any concrete advantage is a flaw in the game. When that flaw is a major portion of the game then the game is flawed and horrible and shouldn't be played by anyone who enjoys competition.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617899)

I agree very much with this. LoL seems much more fast paced.

Also, as far as DOTA2, I am not sure if this has been fixed within the last couple months, but I always had a horrendous delay between when I issue a command and when it would happen. My avg latency was ~80-100, yet it felt like a good seconds worth of delay between a click and the actual action.

The shop UI was horrible when DOTA2 first started. It seems to have gotten a little better, but it's still nowhere near as robust as the on in LoL.

Also, there are still inherently unbalanced game mechanics that haven't been addressed since. No scaling of active abilities with stats, overall lack of effectiveness of the intelligence stat in the long run... Good luck trying to kill Tide Hunter, Anti-Mage, Faceless Void, Leoric (all agi/str heroes) 25 minutes into the game as an int hero.

Re:I don't see a problem (1)

psycho12345 (1134609) | about 2 years ago | (#40618197)

Umm those Heros are all late game carries or tanks, and are all very vulnerable to chain disables early on. Int are early game pushers/gankers and late game support/disablers. Ever tried fighting Rhasta + Lion? It's not fun, you chain disabled for 30 seconds (and dead nearly every time). Good teams recognize the carries and kill them to prevent them from getting powerful.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618673)

Early on, as in the first 5minutes until they get a vanguard / hood of defiance.

Good luck trying to effectively keep 2-3 "carries" from getting powerful. You and your team will be chasing them around so long losing out on creep kills. Anything beyond 1 int hero with a few disables and you're gimping your team for the game.

Also, the Rhasta + Lion combo... silence? BKB?. Additionally with 2 support/disablers your teams effective damage output is going to be pretty pitiful. Combine that with the abysmal survivability of int heroes and what you get is 2 support/disablers chain disabling one target, while the rest of your team is tickling it to death and the opposing teams strength/agi heroes ripping you a new one.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618449)

Lack of scaling is built into the game balance and mechanics, the game isn't intended to be a 1v1 affair and teams need to pick a mix of early, mid, and late game heroes to have a strong game. This opens up the possibility of teams being geared more for early game or later game depending on their compositions.

DotA2 will feel a little unresponsive. Part of the problem is that heroes have a turn speed that's not instant which causes them to feel a little sluggish. In terms of pacing though DotA2 actually has a faster game development and pace than LoL which level 1-6 being much more active in terms of hero vs hero conflicts. LoL, by comparison, tends to be very passive for the first few levels. DotA2 games will also progress through the mid and late game much quicker, though the game's resolution can take longer.

Re:I don't see a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618989)

Lack of scaling is built into the game balance and mechanics, the game isn't intended to be a 1v1 affair and teams need to pick a mix of early, mid, and late game heroes to have a strong game. This opens up the possibility of teams being geared more for early game or later game depending on their compositions.

I'm not really sure what you mean by having a strong game? You either win or you lose. Half of your team can have a absolutely miserable early/mid game, but anyone of those heroes above can essentially 1/2v5 your team in the end. You can compose your team with int pushers/gankers/support, but it's high risk and essentially useless against experienced players and teams that have any sort of map awareness.

Lets look at the stats:
Str primary: damage/hp
Agi primary: damage/attack speed/armor
Int primary: damage/mana/mana regen

With the lack of scaling on effectiveness of active abilities and cooldowns, it's clear that int is an abysmal primary stat. How is that balanced? And with items such as hood of defiance and vanguard (which are easy to acquire), and BKB (a little less so), the game ends up favoring characters with passive abilities such as reincarnation, %change to do extra damage on hit, crit, spell damage reduction, and so on.

  That's also not to mention that a good portion of agi/str heroes have disables of their own, cheap mana cost escape abilities, abilities to stop other people from using active abilities and so on...

No silver bullet (2)

MachDelta (704883) | about 2 years ago | (#40617747)

This style of development is not a panacea for gaming. Some of us don't like MOBA's (A game with one map and the second coming of the CS crowd are not selling points), some of us hate what TF2 became (grind to unlock gear! buy stupid crap! deal with screaming 12 year olds! fun!), and from the looks of things Tribes:Ascend is hemorrhaging players like it was shot in the head (which is what you get when you ignore the playerbase and try and bait-and-switch the game into a gear grind).

There's still a place for a well developed game with a reasonable price point and attentive developers. Sadly, there's more money to be made in catering to the masses and begging for their pennies.

Re:No silver bullet (1)

Bevilr (1258638) | about 2 years ago | (#40618811)

Strange that it has come to this isn't it? Gaming has always been an investment, and early game consoles and games were relatively more expensive that they are today (see: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2010/10/an-inconvenient-truth-game-prices-have-come-down-with-time/ [arstechnica.com] or http://www.1up.com/news/90s-game-price-comparison-charticle [1up.com] ) and the truth is well developed games at reasonable prices simply aren't as safe an investment as a develop as you go/DLC-centric product. If you spend three years developing a title, and after the second year of development realize that play-testers and focus groups aren't responding well, or you've reached the realization that there is some technical (or other) limitation you can't overcome, you've lost at least those two years of development with no releasable product. If instead you try to cram the general mechanics into the game as rapidly as possible, and get the community play testing for you, and then monetize them to support continued development, not only do you take significantly less of an initial investment risk, but you also stand to profit off of your product for significantly longer than just the title's couple weeks or month at the top of the release charts. TF2 is of course the king of this, and the long lifespan of it probably reflects valve's business acumen. If I was a game developer, and you told me I could not only sell my title, but then, as sales began to drop of re-monetize the user-base through micro-payments literally YEARS after the game's release, why wouldn't I say yes? Especially after the considerable (and probably costly) development that went into the original release (many years. and more than one total overhaul), and the subsequent updates before you could buy things for the game. The Mann-conomy update (introducing micro-payments) went live on September 30th, 2010 but there had been 11 major content updates, and two addition community content updates since TF2's release nearly 3 years earlier (October 10th 2007).

Re:No silver bullet (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 2 years ago | (#40619567)

some of us hate what TF2 became (grind to unlock gear! buy stupid crap! deal with screaming 12 year olds! fun!)

Er... grind to unlock gear? There are a grand total of 27 weapons (3 per class) you can grind to get out of the 200ish weapons in the game. The rest are gained about 6-8 per week at random, or if you don't want to wait, you can grind up the unwanted weapons you have and craft it.

Also, the screaming 12 year olds is why there's a Mute button on the main menu (which appears if you hit Esc).

Wow, another 4X game (-1, Troll)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 2 years ago | (#40617787)

Wow, another 4X game that's exactly like Warcraft III, which came out, what, a decade ago? /snore

Re:Wow, another 4X game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618211)

i don't think you understand what the 4X genre is..

Re:Wow, another 4X game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619617)

Not only that, but he doesn't understand what DOTA is either. Basically his comment was entirely worthless: I award him no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.

Re:Wow, another 4X game (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | about 2 years ago | (#40618373)

4X games are generally Turn-Based Strategy (TBS). The Real-Time Strategy (RTS) genre is very different. I prefer TBS games but they're hard to find nowadays. Ever since Age of Empires and the Warcraft series popularized RTSes, developers just haven't been making TBSes, which is a shame.

Re:Wow, another 4X game (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618511)

try 'endless space'

Re:Wow, another 4X game (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 2 years ago | (#40618563)

Which is kind of surprising, considering turn-based games are much easier to make. Unfortunately, most people don't like thinking about one move for hours and prefer a continuously-engaging clickfest.

Re:Wow, another 4X game (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 2 years ago | (#40619165)

Ever since Age of Empires and the Warcraft series popularized RTSes

I'm positive you mean Dune and Command & Conquer

Re:Wow, another 4X game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619581)

Nobody bought Dune II. It didn't popularize anything.

C&C is closer, but Warcraft outsold it by a ton. The other poster was right.

Diablo 3? (1)

heezer7 (708308) | about 2 years ago | (#40617795)

"release early, patch often"

Wake me up when (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617909)

It is available on Linux,
At the moment I will stick to my guns, and play Heroes of Newerth, its being before DOTA2 for ages, it is polished and crossplatform. One of best looking games on Linux. Frankly I had opinion of a few DOTA2 players, who said that DOTA is not better than HoN. For those not in the know, HoN is DOTA like game. In fact, its more DOTA than DOTA2!!!!

Tribes: Ascend is a bad example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40617997)

Tribes: Ascend (TA) is advertised as an "esport" by the developer (HiRez Studios) and lacks basic functionality, compared to other games which are played competitively (e.g. Quake, CS), such as demos/replays, dedicated server files, first person spectator mode, map editing and modding support. The game is somewhat fun but the novelty of the skiing/jetpacking wears off and I was left with the feeling that the game is a rather incoherent mess. The free-to-play model isn't conducive as it forces/compels the developer to introduce new weapons/items for players to buy which, in the case of weapons, causes unnecessary balancing issues. IMHO a game meant to be played competitively is required to have a fixed set of rules/weapons/items which usually clashes with the free-to-play business model.
I've stopped playing since TA's official release as I didn't have enough time to play but also because I didn't like where HiRez was taking TA and, additionally to the lack of the above mentioned functionality, there was also a lack of good maps which is essential for a game meant to be played competitively. The game overall just didn't feel finished. Color me unsurprised that when I was reading an article on the current state of the game by one of the players involved in the competitive community that the game suffers from pretty much the same problems that it had during its beta. The same problems were reported by members of the community of HiRez's previous game (Global Agenda) and will very likely continue with their current title in beta called Smite.
If you're interested, here is some further material:
http://www.spinfusor.org/2012/07/04/of-horizons-potential-death/ [spinfusor.org]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EzA8WOBmnc [youtube.com]

And Dota is? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618327)

In the summary and article, the name Dota appears about 15 times, but not once is it explained what it is. With all those words, why do I still have to follow a link to find out what it is? I'm an avid gamer (far far more than I should be), and play mostly RPG, RTS, TBS, Adventure, and similar games. So what is Dota?

Re:And Dota is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618459)

http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=dota

Re:And Dota is? (2)

gknoy (899301) | about 2 years ago | (#40619037)

DOTA started out as the "Defense of the Ancients" mod for Warcraft III ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_the_Ancients [wikipedia.org] ). It basically had you control a hero, working in a team with some other players versus others. Just like CounterStrike started as a Half Life mod and grew, so did DOTA -- League of Legends is another game (spiritual successor?) that is basically similar. Past that I have no idea, other than that it appears to be very popular.

I'm certain that anyone who plays DOTA or League of Legends (or DOTA2) has lots if insight into the subtle differences (much as I could expound on the differences between Global Operations, Counter Strike, and Call of Duty multiplayer). For you, it's probably enough to know that it's a team-based RTS-like action game where you control your hero, level them up, and try to kill the opposing team's ancient in a manner that requires teamwork with two other people. :)

Dota 2 improves on Dota 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618489)

The reconnect to games feature is an awesome innovation by valve. I just which there wasn't a penalty for leaving the games early beacuse it is so frustrating having to stay past a loss, unlike dota 1.

The $4.00 hats ($20 for the whole uniform) are pretty overpriced but i'm not the type of person that would buy it for even a $1 so I guess I don't mind. I literally can't notice the difference between heroes wearing them or not also but I bet that will change.

Honestly not that surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618549)

It's not that surprising that DOTA 2 sitting on top of Steam even if it's in beta. The game is basically finished, Valcve is just adding characters and tweaking things at this point while preparing to have some big official release event. The nature of MOBA games and the evolution of e-sports (Counter-Strike, Starcraft, fighting games) have combined to whip people into a frenzy about any competetive-looking online game. It is kind of interesting to notice that DOTA 2 was originally a paid product with no cash shop....now it's free-to-play with a cash shop, but that's also part of an entirely different problem (DLC, episodic content).

I'd like to have a moment of silence for Counter-Strike, for its almost decade-long run as the top game on Steam. With its fall from the top spot to Team Fortress 2, we saw an evolution in video games themselves from paid-for games with free updates and content, to free-to-play games with cash shops and meta games and all that. It will be interesting to see where gaming goes from here.

Re:Honestly not that surprising (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 2 years ago | (#40619419)

The downside of TF2 becoming the top game on Steam is that TF2 doubles as Valve's guinea pig.

What do I mean by this?

Almost every new feature added to Source multiplayer games originates in TF2. If not originating there, they'll be ported to the Source MP engine and appear in TF2.

The most obvious example of features originating in TF2 are:

Achievement System unlocking in-game items. This was re-used in Portal 2.

Replays: A year out and replays still have problems where it'll crash the server on map change if replays are disabled via the server console (or remote console aka rcon) mid-game. Replays will, of course, appear in DOTA2 and CS:GO.

In-game Store: Also appears in Portal 2, DOTA2, and likely CS:GO.

Even if it didn't originate in TF2, it will likely be backported.

Left 4 Dead in particular has had a lot of system backported to TF2:

Glow system: In L4D, Survivor players have a glow based on their health visible to their teammates and enemies (in Versus mode). TF2 reused this for its sticky bombs, payload cart, and intelligence briefcases. TF2 also supports making player entities glow in the exact same manner that L4D does (this is used in the Freak Fortress 2 user mod).

Particle effects system. The L4D particle system got back-ported to TF2.

Different visuals: The L4D system that lets certain players see the world differently than others got backported to TF2 (although TF2 upgraded it and made it enable based on specific items being equipped).

fuck the usa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618873)

fuck the usa
rinse repeat.

I care about games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40618919)

meh to that one

Quick way to turn off your readers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619163)

"Unless you don't care about PC gaming at all, by now you're aware of Valve's entry into the MOBA/ARTS genre, Dota 2.

Yes, that's brilliant, start off with an insult.
I'd never heard of this game (and looking into it, don't care), and I almost exclusively game on my PC.

Hats and Trousers? (2)

Kohlrabi82 (1672654) | about 2 years ago | (#40619363)

"Valve has big plans for Dota 2, no less big than what happened with Team Fortress 2, even if it took them a few years to get to where Team Fortress 2 is today."

They will never match the amount of hats TF2 has, their only chance is to add farm-able trousers.

DotA is: (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40619635)

DotA - Defense of the Ancients
This is a 10 player (5 per side), team game that pits the Sentinel (Now the Radiant) against the Scourge (Now the Dire).

It is based off of Aeon of Strife, originally a game mod for Starcraft.
There are 3 "lanes" in which creeps (low power mobiles) spawn every 30 seconds and march towards the enemy base at a set pace.
Each lane is guarded by 3 Towers of increasing power.
The team territories are split in haf diagonally by a river of more or less nuetrality.

The point of the game is to destroy the other teams source of power (World Tree vs Frozen Throne, Nexus if you're playing LoL) which is located approximately in the center of the base.
Your character gains levels similar to an RPG, by defeating enemies. You become more mowerful by purchasing in game items with gold earned by killing enemies and enemy creeps. Gold is also earned at a set rate of 1g/sec.

DotA has a long and sordid history with many people attributed credit for creation, modification, and stewardship. Icefrog, who currently works for Valve on DOTA2, is the one responsible for the updates and modifications that made it a worldwide popular E-Sport.

I've been beta testing for Icefrog for somewhere around 6-7 years (I should really make a /. account) and can tell you that this "Update often" strategy works very well for a game like DotA.
Because the metagame shifts often depending on player skill, playstyle, and strategy; a constant cycle of buffs/nerfs is esential to keeping it from becoming stale and one sided.
It also helps as new content is added periodically, most often this content is pulled directly from the fanbase's suggestions. This keeps the fanbase avid and active, as there is always a chance one of their ideas makes it into the game.

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