~Beyond the Border~ > Genji's Battle Arena

Silly item names/icons in DoTS

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--- Quote from: Captain Infinity on October 06, 2014, 07:01:55 AM ---tl;dr

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I sorta miss the days this image was relevant to the meta

Whoops, I certainly didn't expect so much of a backlash  :ohdear:

First and foremost, this thread is probably mainly made because of the release of DOTS 2 or DOTS for dota 2. Certainly because of the much smaller userbase this game has compared to DOTA I do not expect to see any further development on the warcraft map either, it would be silly and far better spent on working with the source engine instead. So you can read the 'changes' as to happen to DOTS 2, naturally.

Now it is imperative to understand that game balance is best served if the game becomes widely played. Due to the rather large amount of variables in a DOTA style game the only real way to properly balance the game, e.g. make any hero a viable choice to build a team around and have a reasonable chance at winning that is as close to 50% as possible, is to gather actual play data. As you are probably aware not every hero gives you the same skill/reward curve, and this is by design. If you want to know more about the reasons for this, I'd recommend watching the relevant Extra Credits video. So in general, the statistics to be used for game balance should be those of the upper N% of games in organized gameplay on a standard map with the standard prevalent tourney format. For DOTA, you would translate this as 'Captain's mode', while for Starcraft it would be 1v1 on a selection of approved ladder maps. In general, optimizing N is a tough question in itself, it needs to be big enough to prevent statistical bias from creeping in, yet small enough so that all games reviewed are significantly relevant to the metagame. What all of this means is that more players is great for actually objectively balancing things out. As an example, in 19x19 ko, black's advantage (komi) has been well established at 6.5 stones, yet only in recent times. About 100 years ago, a more usual value was 2.5 stones. The actual rule got adjusted to what is probably the correct value through many millions of games being played.

Now with the introduction of DOTS2 to the steam workshop,  there's a unique opportunity here. I suspect that within one year the steam workshop for DOTA 2 will leave its alpha state and perhaps even offer server access for custom games in order to host public matchmaking of these alternate game modes. In other words, there is the potential of a far greater audience than the few dozens of people that regularly played the warcraft III map. As for its side in china, I suspect it was bigger there, but not by more than one or two orders of magnitude. Even if only 5% of current dota players tried out this mod, that would still be 40,000+ players, a very sizeable potential playerbase. Some of these will be highly skilled at the game and have the ability to define a competitive metagame for it whereupon the authorities can base balance decisions. 

But let's not go on a tangent too much, the notion that more players = good for the game should be clear. Now in order to appeal to a wide audience, you need to understand that the 'appearance' of a software product is highly important, perhaps even moreso than its functionality. End-users are weird like that, speaking from a programmer's perspective. Little things like UI looks that can be changed in no time at all receive a lot of undue attention from clients. It needn't appear fully finalized, but sufficiently detailed to 'look' completed and professional. A very big part of that is internal consistency. And all I'm saying there is are large gaps in consistency between item pictures and names for various items. There are some that just clearly stand out as being downright too silly or low quality compared to the rest, and just 'feel like' placeholders. There's a difference between the rather nice looking hakurei amulet with all its backstory and the MS-paint blue llama that seems to have randomly been dropped in for lack of imagination by comparison, and it's about as big as the difference between the blue llama and a  plain blue square ITEM_001 would be. And hey, I'm suggesting helping the developers get rid of these rather 'ugly' quirks, but at least with something that is more appealing, 'the eye also wants something', polish and consistency.   

Now I'm not saying that 'ANY' reference and fun material is bad, I'm supposing that there is a difference in how you can still do this. The 'brother sharp' reference is basically thrown in your face. It's about as relevant as a picture of Albert Einstein, W.A. Mozart, or C.F. Gauss would be for an intelligence item, and really begs the question why. Sure those are famous people, but they're still random real people that quite frankly aren't something I'd expect to see as a video game weapon, armor, dress, or other piece of equipment, meme or no meme. Now if 'all' the equipment was like that it would make some sense in a sort of Salvador Dali-esque fashion, but it's not, and that's exactly what appears 'jarring' in a way.

On the other hand going to an example from DOTA itself, Eul's Scepter of Divinity does not present you with something unexpected compared to the rest of the item set, even though it contains a reference, nor does, say, Youmuu's Ghostblade in League of Legends, even though that as well contains a reference. The item still appears to be consistent with the rest of the item set, and finding the reference is an actual implicit 'exercise for the reader'. In other words a new person would not be bewildered by the item, and if not acquainted with Touhou be able to 'miss' it instead of feeling bewildered. Even now that I've researched the reference I still don't really see the clear correlation between a homeless man that happens to look like a model and a melee slashing weapon. Your reference becomes far more 'clever' by being able to pass it off as a normal item, and arguably this should be the only way to reference something from outside the game's scope. 

Aa lot of the DOTS items are not like the ghostblade at all. Items are highly inconsistent with eachother, and 'historical reasons' do not really hit the mark to let this slide. On the other hand, certain subsets of the DOTS items do have this consistency to them, and these subsets happen to be far easier to memorize as well, for example the 'Cat mint / Cat Ears / Cat Claws' set that makes you more agile. It's nice and coherent with eachother, which aids memorization. They also have recognizable pictures of decent quality, and are arguably related to the subject matter (touhou contains several catgirls). Or say the jeweled pagoda, which is an actual item from Touhou in being a sort of magical focus, which has an arguably fitting effect in the game as well. Now compare that to the 'HJ bug', probably the worst offender. The icon appears to be either some badly drawn mutant creature in MS paint, a drawing by a small child, or a drawing by a postmodernist painter. Looking just at the picture and title you would have no idea what it does if we left out this item and its descendants from the collection and gave you all the other items to compare it to, nor give you an idea why this bug would greatly improve health and mana, the bug could've given 20 armor instead. Why not have a consistent line of hats or something along those lines instead? There's plenty of material there, for sure.

Then there is also the issue of 'Quality!', e.g. the 'polish' part. Concordia is the main example here, it's a red MS paint star. Really, for the equivalent of the divine rapier?  :wat:
Can't we at least have some 'legendary' touhou item instead? I suggested a 'demon book', in particular the 'Necronomicon' because of its association with the Cthulu mythos, which is why it could be the most powerful item, as well as the most dangerous one (you drop it if you die). And for bonus points it's an actual Touhou thing as revealed in Forbidden Scrollery. Other examples of items with graphic quality issues are the 'cards' and the llamas, which both look like they were done as quick scribbles as well. Last time I checked about half of japan was making touhou images, most of it for fun too, so there just might be some better quality stuff available... It's just so sad we have these weird things instead of something that looks awesome like say the mask of madness does, ever seen it on drow?  ;)

And, last but probably not least, there's some issues maybe with 'copyright' on some of these images. Taking direct imagery from another video game for your item (even if done badly at a pixelated resolution such as the armor item) might not be the best idea with this in mind.

As a sidenote: I like the quelling blade and the tangoes in dota 2. I'd love them in dots 2 as well. The first post gives an idea of what could be a tango-equivalent (the cherry blossom things from PCB), but haven't thought of a tree-cutting implement that would be touhou-ish. That's partly what this thread was actually originally for you know, seeing if we can get some better 'ideas' for the silly items.  I'm certainly not satisfied with the suggestion as-is, some of the possible suggestions are maybe a bit bland, that's why more input is definitely needed for the betterment of the game.


--- Quote from: Amraphenson on October 06, 2014, 03:39:02 PM ---I sorta miss the days this image was relevant to the meta

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Inorite. Although the hyper late game carry is coming back at least. Too bad rat doto died to get it.

Captain Infinity:

--- Quote from: Aphid_MOTK on October 06, 2014, 05:14:14 PM ---GIANT WALL OF TEXT

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First off, DotS2 is no where near ready. It isn't complete, there's still a lot of work to do and there's a lot of room for improvement (t'was so in the WC3 map too). A good programmer wouldn't prioritise aesthetics over functionality (not that I think the devs are great programmers).

Secondly, you're taking this way seriously. DotS wasn't exactly ever serious and it never really took itself seriously. It'd be less fun if it did.

Thirdly, let us remember that the original mask of madness in WC3 DotA was a Captain America mask. Lest we forget. Also HJ Bug is a distorted Doraemon.

Fourth, if you're going to talk about copyright, Touhou itself isn't exempt from copyright y'know, as are the Touhou images that half of Japan make, which you talk about.

Fifth, I'm fine with DotS/DotS2 not being a direct DotA clone. If we were going to do that, why don't we just replace models, icons, names and be done?  They were always moving away from being a DotA port (at some points bringing in a lot of things from LoL).

That said, DotS is still a WIP, and the way I saw it, they were adding a lot more serious items as the game developed further.

As long as there is some decent balance and doesn't turns into League of Maidens with skills and items, I could personally care less what silly item got introduced into dotS2.

In fact a lot of awesome silly items got removed in the past D:  RIP Primaterator


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