Removing The Rust – Working through a DotA hero suggestion

Last Updated: January 17th 12:59PM GMT

It’s been a while since I’ve really taken the time to sit down and think about game design. I’ve recently left Shanghai, so have been celebrating and saying farewell to friends and colleagues. I’ll get the Great CityVille Race started after Christmas, but until then I feel like getting back into the swing of things. When I want to do that, I like to design a DotA hero.

As mentioned a while back, creating DotA heroes is a fun process that makes you think about lots of activities relevant to game design; theme, gameplay and balance in particular. I’ve designed a few heroes in the past. Since they’re never put in game, it’s hard to really evaluate them. However, feedback has sometimes been positive, sometimes negative and sometimes neutral! For this post, I’m going to design one completely from scratch. I want to take you through my thought processes as I go from “I want to make a new hero” to the completed idea.

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Of course, I’d like you guys, the readers, to help out! As I update this post, I’d love to hear some comments and ideas about the direction I head. Unfortunately, not many people read the blog yet (just broke 4000 hits though!), so please do comment if you see this. It would be much appreciated!

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Part I – 22nd December 3:58PM GMT

I like to start a DotA hero suggestion by looking at the current state of the game. I’m not a veteran, much like my League of Legends status, so I’m not the best person to comment on balance issues. I’m aware that farming is often more beneficial than ganking, but that’s about it. What I am aware of is what themes, roles and skills are used in the current game, and what could do with a little more love.

In Part I, I’m going to answer the question; “What new hero does DotA need?“. A fair question for a feature update on any game.

Gameplay

While I admit to be inexperienced, there are some ways to analyze what is overdone and underutilized in DotA. The SMM tournament is highly respected and the statistics regarding picks/bans can be used to establish trends. Competitive games should always be balanced around the competitive scene. Hardcore players are few and far between, but they understand balance better than the rest of the player base. Sylencia, from the PlayDota forums, has gathered statistics from the SMM tournament which I will quickly analyze.

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From the Ban/Pick % (A ban or a pick = powerful hero), I’ve looked at the heroes over 50%. Correct me if I’m wrong, but quickly classifying them I’ve got the following roles;

Carry: 5
Ganker: 3
Support: 6
Pusher:  2

For support, I combined general support and disablers. These stats aren’t surprising, since it’s been true for a while that ganking is not the winning strategy. Carry = farming, so it’s likely a team will have a carry and a couple of support heroes at least.

What I intend with my hero suggestion is to create a hero that bucks the trend, but is banned/picked because of its power. An anti-carry and anti-disable style hero would be a strong pick. I would like to make that hero a ganker at the same time, because I want to promote that style of gameplay. The most enjoyable style, in my opinion.

Anti-Carry/Anti-Disable Ganker

This is my start.

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Of course, a role is very general, so I need to get a little more specific for this first part. After looking at the various heroes, and their skills, I have a few thoughts…

  • Semi-Ranged Heroes (151-549 range) – Only 9 exist in the game.
  • No More Intelligence – The strength tavern has 4 free spaces. Agi has 3 and Intelligence is full now.
  • Underused Skills – The following types of skills have less than 4 abilities in the whole game…
    • Replenish Mana: 1
    • HP Regen: 4
    • HP Drain: 2
    • Mana Degen: 1
    • Mana Drain: 1
    • Mana Burn: 2
    • Purge: 2
  • Stuns and slows should never be used again – There are 59 stuns and 55 slows in total. The next nearest is DoT (40) and then Silence (9).
  • There is no melee intelligence hero for the Sentinel, only 1 for Neutral (Ogre Magi) and 1 for Scourge (Dark Seer)
  • There is no semi-ranged hero in the sentinel strength tavern. There are no scourge semi-ranged heroes in strength or agi taverns.
  • There is 1 sentinel strength ranged hero (Io). There are no neutral and no scourge ranged strength heroes. There were none at all until 6.68.

Some of these contradict each other, but it’s a good start for finding a unique type of hero. After looking at these, I have made my gameplay conclusion.

A Semi-Ranged Anti-Carry/Anti-Disable Ganker of the Strength persuasion.

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Theme

I’ve got my gameplay goal, the role of my hero. However, I’m creating a hero. Heroes should be epic, inspiring and super cool. I’m particularly a fan of back stories and themes. One of the oddest oddities I’ve noticed from many DotA hero suggestions, is that they’re so dull. You don’t need amazing English or a lengthy back story, just a bit of originality and thought.

darkseraphim created a list of hero themes currently used in-game. The emboldened themes have less than 5 instances. I’d like to ensure I avoid anything which is represented more than 4 times, if possible, something that isn’t in-game at all. The list is pretty long though, so the hero will probably fall into one category.

  • Fire 13
  • Water 4
  • Storm 7
  • Frost 8
  • Earth 7
  • Arcane 9
  • Arcane/Mana Manipulation 4
  • Nature 4
  • Nature/Elune 2
  • Holy 2
  • Shadow 26
  • Shadow/Life Manipulation 11
  • Blood 2
  • Poison 5
  • Wind 1
  • Light 1
  • Neutral 19

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Part II – 22nd December 5:18PM GMT

Now I have the role and style decided, I need to think of the abilities the hero must have. This isn’t as specific as skills, but there are objectives he has to fulfil and thus he has to have certain abilities. Once those abilities are decided, then they can be translated into skills!

Anti-Carry

To start, I thought I’d brainstorm quickly about what defines a Carry and then what will counter each nuance. Carries universally have high damage, it’s their point… they carry the team alone, and thus need to be able to destroy multiple enemies. They also have a massive dependency on items. A carry would be completely overpowered if it could carry from minute 1. They need to farm creeps to gain enough gold to finalize their powerful item build.  Finally, carries are often capable of surviving, either through raw HP and armor or by escaping easily.

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To counter high damage, one needs to be able to reduce the damage output of the enemy, or increase the protection of themselves and allies. It’s important that it boosts allies also, because a carry is designed to kill multiple opponents.

To counter survivability, there are a few methods. Amplifying damage taken by carries is a common tool. Skills which directly reduce HP, like pure damage and HP % abilities, negate armor and HP values (which are high late-game). To prevent enemies from using escape tools, there is really only one option; Disables. Stuns are very prolific in DotA because of this fact, it’s the only way to prevent some people from escaping, bar silence. I’m undecided at this stage, but it appears that my hero will require some form of silence if he/she wants to be a solid Anti-Carry.

Finally, the hero must have some way to prevent a carry from generating enough cash to achieve their carry status. The ways to do this are through lane harassing, to prevent last hits (often done with orb-attacks or low cost spells) and through ganking, which reduces the time spent farming (since they have to respawn) and their bonus cash. One reason why carrying is preferred over ganking is that the gold penalty for dying (or the reward for killing) isn’t high enough. My hero must be able to harass like a madman and gank relentlessly in order to truly act as a powerful anti-carry.

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Anti-Disable

Anti-Disable is a much simpler role to prepare for. Disables pretty much come in a single form, spells. While there is perma-bash, none of the heroes in the top 50% of the ban/pick list had such an ability.

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Disables are all spells, so this one is easy. Draining an enemy’s mana is a great way to prevent them disabling. Many disablers use spell combos also, spending massive amounts of mana to disable for as long as possible. These combos won’t be possible if they cannot pay for them. Spell Block and Magic Immunity are similar parts of the same thing. While a few disables go through Magic Immunity, it really is the best way to prevent being disabled. This is why Black King Bar is such a powerful item, and why Omniknight and Naix are a real pain for any disablers, they are perfect counter-picks. Generally, the most effective and common tactic against disablers is to disable them yourself. In the role of an anti-disabler, a longer range disable spell would be a strong counter… or a spell cast by a pet.

Part III – 22nd December 10:32PM GMT

When I decide what type of hero I want to create, I then like to think about the theme. Anti-Carry is a rather generic theme, although I could imagine some form of life-draining death theme. Bane Elemental is a good example of that. Anti-Disable is also rather ambiguous. A ganker, on the other hand, gives me particular feeling. Of course, you could create a cow, for example, and give him a skill set which functionally makes him a ganker. However, outside of skills there is the mental impact of being a victim or a hunter.

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Barathrum the Spiritbreaker - Holy cow!

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Certain gankers fill me with fear in DotA. There’s the very simple Lion, who scares me because he can just pop-up and destroy me before I can do anything. But then there’s Barathrum. You know when he’s closing in, you don’t know where he’s going to come from. You know that if he reaches you, and you’re not with friends, you are going to die. The final part though, when you actually see the shadowy bull charging toward you, that‘s what makes him a perfectly themed ganker. The fear of being ganked is almost as powerful as the skills themselves. In an anti-carry role, that hesitation will reduce gold income and make enemy carries behave in a certain way. People know that if they split up from their team, Barathrum could get them.

It is now that I will choose a model and theme for the skills. For a game that’s 8 years old, there are still a lot of models available from the Warcraft III engine. I’m actually amazed how many brilliant models haven’t been used yet. I want to find a ganker… a hunter… but with some form of disable skill (the main common factor between Anti-Carry and Anti-Disable). I want the character to be at all places at all times, to really scare farmers into playing safely. Here are some models I’m thinking about…

 

Bandit Spear

 

Gnoll Archer

Harpy Witch

Obsidian Statue

 

 

 

 


 

 

A pretty varied bunch, I’m sure you can agree! The first two models, I have a similar idea about; the idea of a hired hand, a mercenary, who springs out from the forest and disappears without trace. A real hunter.

The Harpy Witch’s main benefit is its flight, which lends itself to the ‘be in all places, all the time’ idea. What I dislike about the Harpy is that she seems rather weak and would not fulfil an anti-carry role. It could take it in a David and Goliath style direction, but it’s just difficult to imagine her being able to really cripple the destructive force of a carry around the 35 minute mark.

The Obsidian Statue is a model I absolutely love, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been utilized already, even by seasoned hero suggesters. This sort of ganker would be more the impending doom style of Barathrum. Would suit the anti-carry and anti-disable style very well, since I can imagine it being the idol of a vengeful god. It would even fit ganker quite well, like a grim reaper. The only problem is that Darkness is one theme which is incredibly over-done. Making the Obsidian Statue different to the Obsidian Destroyer, and not using a Shadow theme, will be quite a challenge. A good thing is that it can be reskinned and recoloured. Could take it along Sisters of Battle lines.

But hey, I relish the challenge!

Part IV – 23rd December 4:30PM GMT

So it’s a new day and I’m back with my hero suggestion. Lets summarize where we are…

Holy Vengeance Golden Recoloured Obsidian Statue

The Anti-Carry/Disabler Ganker

Got a long way to go! With my holy vengeance theme, and the abilities I need my hero to have, I can start looking at skills.

 

Abilities

Looking back at what I wanted my hero to do, he will need some of the following tools…

  • Direct HP removal/% based HP damage
  • Anti-Disable Disable
  • Impressive movement ability/Escape tool
  • Protection for allies (including Magic Immunity)
  • Damage reduction on enemy attack
  • Damage amplification for enemy
  • Mana Drain
  • Harassing spell
  • Psychological fear (!)

From a first look, it’s possible to combine some of these.

‘Damage reduction on enemy attack’ and ‘protection for allies’ essentially grant the same thing. They reduce the ability for the hero to destroy entire teams for a period of time. Unfortunately, they’re pretty boring skills in general. Unless they use some sort of sacrifice mechanic (protect an ally but hinder yourself), which is more of a support skill than a ganker skill. The whole idea of ally protection (except on yourself), is much more suited to support.

Reducing an enemy’s mana is often a powerful laning tool, since a mana-less hero is vulnerable to ganks. This means we could combine a ‘harassing spell’ with the ‘mana drain’. There are two ways we could go with this example. Having a harassing mana drain is more prolonged, and better for laning. Having a burst mana drain is much more effective for intermittent attacks (i.e. Ganks). Both help achieve anti-carry status, but the former forces the hero into a laner. A burst mana drain is much better suited to a ganker, since they attack quickly and use the mana drain as more of a disable than a pestilence.

  • Direct HP removal/% based HP damage
  • Anti-Disable Disable
  • Impressive movement ability/Escape tool
  • Protection for allies (including Magic Immunity)
  • Damage reduction on enemy attack
  • Damage amplification for enemy
  • Mana Drain
  • Harassing spell
  • Psychological fear (!)
  • I want the mana drain, but it will be burst. Harassment is good for a laning, supporting anti-carry, but not for a ganker. This is also the case for defensive skills, which suit the supportive role.

    The ‘anti-disable disable’ is the most interesting ability. To counter disablers, we need to be able to hit them before they hit us. A simple solution would be a very long range disable, similar to Elune’s Arrow or Dwarven Sniper’s Headshot (although the latter is more of an interrupt). Simple is often boring, however, so I want something different. Another way to hit them before they hit you, would be to force it. Right now, I’m thinking some short term magic immunity which would disable the enemy if the hero could get into range before it expired. This means that the hero would always hit their disable first. A perfect anti-disable. A positive side-effect of this would be that it would work as an escape mechanism too, if used defensively.

    Another couple of tools that could be combined are ‘psychological fear’ and ‘impressive movement ability’. The ability to pop-up, anywhere and at any time, is pretty scary. It’s the reason people fear roaming gankers so much. The unpredictability is a weapon in itself, putting enemies on edge and forcing them to act with hesitation. One problem is that many of these abilities are already taken. Prophet has Teleport, Spectre has Haunt, Barathrum has his Charge of Darkness. A straight up teleport is too dull, as is a simple movement speed increase. Invisibility doesn’t suit the theme very well, nor does hiding inside a creep (like Naix). I do enjoy dependent movement speed increases, like Nightcrawler’s Shadow Dance and Bloodseeker’s Strygwyr’s Thirst, but I have to think of something else to use as a dependency. As my hero is an uber-ganker, who is meant to scare people, perhaps he can depend on enemies being distanced from their allies. It would be similar to Spectre’s Desolate, but not a damage ability. When an enemy drifts too far from their allies, perhaps the hero will be able to cast a spell on them which increases his movement speed within X range of that enemy. The enemy will know that if they play alone, the Obsidian Statue can get them. The more I think about it though, the more I think it’s still too boring. I think I’ll come back to this one!

    Part V – 28th December 7:37PM GMT

    Well it’s been a few days! Christmas has come and gone, so I’ve got a fresh head (although it is a little hungover)! Now, where were we?

    Before I was looking at the abilities needed in the role, and assigning them to skills. So far, we had…

    Skill 1 – A burst mana drain

    Skill 2 – A magic immunity shield followed by an AoE disable

    Skill 3 – A fear inducing transportation skill…

    And this is where we still are.

    Before, I was finding it difficult to design a global presence ability which is original. Many global movement abilities have already been done, so it was difficult to come up with something new. However, I have been playing League of Legends online recently (for the first time). It’s been a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. One thing I really noticed was the importance of vision. I always knew that warding and calling misses was very important but, after playing in some low level games (with no wards and poor calling), it’s shown me the true fear of being ganked.

    What would be scarier than a missing enemy ganker? One that you didn’t know was missing.

    My idea is that my hero will have a global/very long ranged teleport, which would leave behind an illusion. Therefore, the hero can make his way towards a gank, but the enemy won’t know for sure until much time has passed. There won’t be a called miss. With convincing use of illusions, enemies will be 5-10 seconds behind a gank attempt!

    So, from the original list;

  • Direct HP removal/% based HP damage
  • Anti-Disable Disable
  • Impressive movement ability/Escape tool
  • Protection for allies (including Magic Immunity)
  • Damage reduction on enemy attack
  • Damage amplification for enemy
  • Mana Drain
  • Harassing spell
  • Psychological fear
  • Some form of direct HP damage or damage amplification are the leftovers. These are often difficult skills to make exciting, because they’re just damage. Visually, you can do lots of crazy ass stuff, but I’ve not got the ability to put this idea into practice! This is a highly important skill though. The mana drain is a drain, not a burn. Therefore, my hero does not actually have any damaging skills so far. As a ganker, this is a bit weird! Of course, I will probably add a damaging component to his magic immunity blast, but he does need a more reliable nuke. In addition, as his role as an anti-carry, I’d like to have a skill which separates him from his allies, namely tanks. Keeping the enemy far from allies is also great for anti-disabling, giving them a disincentive to getting close and doing their job.

    My main idea is like a satellite beam, like Invoker’s Sunstrike, which strikes an enemy and leaves an aura around them. That could work. It would keep allies away from the area, splitting the carry from their team and making them easier to focus fire. One other option is to use the trail mechanic that Spectre’s Spectral Dagger has. I like the trail mechanic because it forces enemies to think about where they run. Because the area is based on movement, it acts as a disincentive for moving… which is brilliant for a gank attempt. When attacking multiple enemies (3v2, 4v3 etc.), it adds a nice tactical consideration. Cast it on the guy in the back and, if they’re forced to flee, then this skill effectively cuts off the escape route. Cast it on the guy at the front and enemies will have to run through the path to get in range. Since I want the skill to really force enemies apart, the effect of standing on the path should be stackable. Sounds good, I think!

    Right, so the skill ideas are done…

    Skill 1 – A burst mana drain

    Skill 2 – A magic immunity shield followed by an AoE disable

    Skill 3 – An illusion spawning teleport

    Skill 4 – A nuke which leaves behind a stackable damage amplification path.

    These are very unspecific, so now it’s time to get into some mechanics and then work on creating some synergy!

    Part VI

    Skills

    The abilities of my hero work together very well to create a strong counter hero. His ability to steal mana, amplify damage and teleport around the map, make him a powerful ganker and give him the ability to really counter any disablers or carries. Yet, there is still a lot more to be done. Specific mechanics are what make the gameplay fun.

    League of Legends’ LeBlanc doesn’t sound like that much of an exciting champion just by looking at the result of her skills. She has a silence, a blink AoE attack, a slow+snare and a skill which casts her last spell and adds damage. Whoopty-do, so much fun! But the specifics (Sigil’s silence requirement, Distortion’s return functionality, Chain’s time delay) make her immensely enjoyable. How the skills synergize is what the good design is. Anyone can come up with a list of skills, making them fun and synergistic is the challenge.

    When I come up with synergy, I like to think of the objectives, advantages and disadvantages of each ability. I then try and add functionality to other skills which can alleviate downsides, boost advantages or work towards the objectives.

    Burst Mana Drain

    Objective: To prevent casters from escaping or using spell combos

    Advantages: Can work like a silence, grants mana to yourself, forces the enemy to restore mana.

    Disadvantages: Mana drains are anti-fun

     

    Gief me your mana!

    “a strong mana burn is NOT desirable — if you drain someone to 0 you feel kinda good, and they feel TERRIBLE — so the anti-fun is exceeded by the fun. This is important because the goal of the game is for players to have fun, so designers should seek abilities that result in a net increase of fun in the game.”

    From Riot’s Official League of Legends Forum

    So, how can I get around the anti-fun?

    My first idea is to make it a temporary mana drain. Our hero will gain the mana permanently, but the target will have the stolen mana restored after a short period. What this allows us to do is grant a much longer duration than a silence (since enemies still can cast spells, they just might have to restore their mana), yet not ruin the fun factor for enemies. They won’t have to spend 2 minutes running back to the fountain, but they will have to plan their build and their items in order to counter the sharp drop in mana. It also lets us take more mana than would usually be acceptable, since they’ll be getting it back. That grants us more possibilities regarding our hero’s other skills.

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    An Illusion Spawning Teleport

    Objective: To transport you to ganks. To deceive enemies into thinking you’re still in lane.

    Advantages: Teleports… they’re always super useful and versatile. Grants you an illusion, which boosts your damage output if not used like a teleport

    Disadvantages: Once the illusion is discovered, the enemy team automatically knows that something is up. If the illusion doesn’t cause or take the same damage, it will be discovered. An illusion that does 100% damage is a skill a carry would have, it would double his damage output!

     

    I want your mana, your gold and your experience (Arnie, like, totally teleported)

    This is a tricky one. Every hero that can spawn illusions of themselves, is a carry. This is meant to be used purely for deception, without the ability to turn our hero into a carry. Then again, being able to cause damage with the illusion will help for burst damage gank attempts and will add more flexibility to the skill. Choice is good! One way to fix this would be to have a long cooldown, which would make our hero a poor carry. If he doesn’t have access to his illusions too much, then the team cannot rely on him to carry. This is quite an easy fix, since a teleport skill needs a decent cooldown anyway, to prevent it being overpowered.

    The time of the illusion is also an interesting variable. The longer it exists, the more time our hero has to plan its gank. But, the illusion should not be permanent… at least unless you pay for it. Because of the increased mana from Burst Mana Drain, we could make it a mana per second ability. The illusion exists until mana runs out, or when it’s toggled off. Then again, mana is needed for spell combos and the burst mana drain is needed in the spell combo.

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    Stackable Damage Amp

    Objective: To cause damage, to split up enemy teams and to weaken carries

    Advantages: Burst damage which also works as a support spell in team battles. Works as a beacon/mark on priority targets.

    Disadvantages: Cannot be spammable (it should only directly affect one target and hero is not a mage), but needs to be readily available for ganks, will this be possible?

     

    Don't mess with Holy Vengeance Gold Recoloured Obsidian Statue... bitch.

    This is the main damage skill of our hero. It deals pure damage and causes increasingly amplified damage to the target, and any allies that stick around the area. In a typical battle, our hero will teleport nearby, hit the enemy with the mana drain and then drop this on him to force him to flee (and spread the amplification) or put him into enough trouble that our allies can quickly take him down. This synergizes with his illusion and, with good timing, his magic immunity blast.

    One way to make the mechanic a bit more interesting, and the interaction between this and his mana drain, would be to make it a mana per second skill. The initial blast can toggle the skill on, which will slowly start increasing in damage amplification for anyone who stays in the path too long. The path will continue on the target until the skill is toggled off again. The effect would linger on a target for 5 seconds, increasing in power by 5% per stack up to a maximum of 10 stacks (which increase per second in the area). So, to make it a long term 50% damage amplification, our hero will have to have a decent amount of mana (which he can gain through using mana drain). If he wants to use it as a nuke, he can just toggle it off and use his mana for other things. This gives it a dual role, for ganking and his anti-carry role in a team fight. For a gank attempt, it’s unlikely he’ll need the full 10 seconds to achieve 50% amplification (ganks are usually quicker!).

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    Magic Immunity Blast

    Objective: To assist with ganks, and to disable disablers before they can disable you or allies.

    Advantages: Prevents your allies being disabled. Works as an escape mechanism (since you cannot be disabled, except by a few physical stuns/snares). Causes damage to nearby foes

    Disadvantages: Must get close to deal damage, which is risky and difficult

     

    Can't touch this.

    Pretty self explanatory. It will cast a shield around yourself, I’m thinking a bubble, which will explode once the duration is over, silencing anyone nearby.

    The Magic Immunity Blast has nice synergy with the illusion teleport skill. With proper timing, it can be a powerful initiation tool, much like Puck’s Waning Rift+Illusionary Orb combo. It will take a lot of skill to hit moving targets with, which will be challenging but rewarding. This synergy encourages players to use the illusion teleport in a variety of ways, which improve the enjoyment of that skill. Yes, you can use it to quickly get back to the fountain. Yes, you can use it to join ganks across the map. But, you can also use it in short range to help reach targets and hit them with magic immunity blast.

    These will be my four skills.

    Tomorrow I’ll start writing down some fluff, then name and visualize the skills!

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    Part VII

    Theme

    The DotA universe has no link to the Warcraft universe, but they generally play under the same rules. As mentioned a while back, there are some themes which are overused. From looking at what DotA has a lack of, I’d decided on a Holy theme. However, this isn’t all healy and supporty and forgiving, this is angry, Old Testament style, God at his very best. Ironically, The Ten Commandments is on TV in the background right now.

    In Warcraft, there was originally a ‘God’ but it was later phased out. There is a Church of the Holy Light, but there aren’t many specifics as to what the church believes in… other than ‘the light’ and ‘good’. The Scarlet Crusade is a group who are most similar to the sort of theme I’m going for, they are a bunch of fanatical believers who vanquish evil by any means necessary… often committing evil in order to do so. However, The Scarlet Crusade are just a bunch of crazy dudes. They’re not exactly the vengeful hand of God. My hero is going to be the hand of God himself. My hero, the Obsidian Statue, is going to be an Idol of the Old God… forgotten, ignored and blasphemed against for generations, the Old God is angry and ready to smite some mofos.

    Idol

    Hand of the Old God

    Once feared and praised by all life, the old God has been forsaken for centuries. Displeased with paganist beliefs and the worship of false dieties, He has decided to intervene. Through His holy contruct; Idol, the old God seeks to persecute the heathens and ensure that the world no longer blasphemes against His way.


    Skill 1Consecrating Spear

    A divine ray of power strikes the target and consecrates the ground around them. Damage is amplified on consecrated enemies and spreads to nearby heathens.

     

    Skill 2: Divine Shield of Vengeance

    The almighty grants Idol a shield which protects against the heathens. His divine presence consumes nearby foes with awe, silencing them as the energy is released.

     

    Skill 3: Forced Tribute


    His supreme power causes an enemy to grant the Idol their power for a short duration.

    Ultimate: Omnipresence


    The vengeful God is everywhere and nowhere. Teleports Idol to the target location and leaves a lingering shade of His power.

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    So there’s his name, title, background story and skills!

    Because Warcraft has such a distinctive style, it’s often best to select icons that have already been created. The game has a ridiculously large variety of icons and, if you change the borders, you can also choose from World of Warcraft icons. Here is the best compilation of icon compilations. Sometimes it’s often necessary to change the name of the skill, if you can’t find any items.

    Tomorrow should be the final part, setting the actual numbers for the skills

    Part VIII

    Well, it’s been a long delay but I’m back and ready to finish this mother! For the final part of my hero suggestion, I need to come up with the numbers for my skills. The way I usually do this is by looking at other heroes in the game, and how similar skills are balanced. As you all know, I’m still a theoretical game designer, I haven’t created anything and playtested it for balance issues. In addition, DotA isn’t my game… so IceFrog probably knows best!

    My final approach is that I come up with the level 4 numbers first (the most powerful version of the skill), and then work my way backwards. I find this to be an effective way to start.

    Consecrating Spear

    Consecrating Spear is my damage amplification pure damage nuke. It’s a pretty complicated skill, especially when it comes to balance. It needs to be slightly spammable, so that Idol has a nuke (he is a ganker, remember?). However, damage amplification is a very powerful effect and is usually held back for Ultimate skills!

    There are 3 heroes in DotA who have damage amplification skills; Shadow Demon, Shadow Priest and Slithereen Guard, with Shadow Demon being the non-ultimate version. Due to the way armor is calculated, -15 armor = 60% damage amplification. So Shadow Demon causes 50% damage increase for 12 seconds. Slithereen Guard causes 60% damage for 25 seconds. Shadow Priest causes up to 71% damage increase over 30 seconds (-20 armor is the cap for damage amplification, 71%). These are all big numbers and for long durations. This gives us room to add in a new form of damage amplification which is more of a minor effect.

    Due to the workings of the skill, the target of the spear will always achieve maximum damage amplification. This is a good place to start balancing. The target is likely to be the enemy carry, so we need to think of how much damage amp we want on the enemy carry at the highest level of end game. However, this damage amplification debuff also applies to wherever the enemy runs. We must take into account the possibility that the whole battlefield is covered with consecrated ground.

    Shadow Demon’s Soul Catcher causes 50% damage amplification for 12 seconds. It is hampered slightly by the targeting system, making it tricky to pull off sometimes. Consecrated Spear is targetable, so immediately more powerful. Consecrated Spear also causes initial damage. To balance this, I must take away duration or damage amp. Removing duration is actually a good thing, since it allows Consecrated Spear to be cast more. Due to the AoE nature of the skill, the targetability and need for spam, I believe a maximum of 30% damage amplification would be a fair amount at level 4.

    In regards to damage, I usually find 300 to be a good number for a level 4 spell. A number of heroes have nukes around this level, so it’s fine for Idol.

    Consecrated Spear – Deals 300 true damage and amplifies damage by 3% for each second enemies stand in the consecrated ground.

    .

    Divine Shield of Vengeance

    There are 2 current heroes who have magic immunity; Naix and Omniknight. The former is 4.75 seconds with an attack speed increase. The latter is 12 seconds, on a 14 second cooldown. Divine Shield of Vengeance is an interesting skill, as the duration is part of its power. If the duration is too short, Idol won’t be able to get into range with disablers in order to silence them. If the duration is too long, Idol won’t be able to effectively use the silence (a lot can happen in 5 seconds, for example). I’m leaning towards a shorter duration. Shorter durations make it more reactive (which is more fun), and the distance issue can actually be overcome with the use of Omnipresence. While it is a global skill, you can use it to initiate in short range if you really need to.

    For the silence effect, I’m looking at Drow Ranger and Silencer for balance. Both these heroes can silence upwards of 5 seconds, with easily targetable spells. Divine Shield does have the spell immunity, but it is also risky and difficult to hit with. A silence comparable in duration would not be overpowered.

    Divine Shield of Vengeance – Grants spell immunity for 5 seconds, silencing enemies in a 400 AoE for 5 seconds upon expiry.

    .

    Forced Tribute

    The great thing about Forced Tribute is that it can take a massive amount of mana because it’s going to give it back anyway. It should work like a pseudo silence, preventing victims from escaping with skills. It can also shut down disablers who rely on spell combos. Another great thing about it, instead of using just a standard silence (which Idol happens to have also), is that it acts as a big mana potion. This allows me to increase the cost of other spells and include a mana/s mechanic on Idol’s ultimate.

    Regarding balance, both Lion and Invoker, have mana drains (although Invokers is a burn) that take 400 mana. Since I need mine to scale until late game, a percentage would be much more effective. However, some carries don’t really use spells at all and thus have tiny mana pools. If there is a fight without a disabler (the natural target for this spell), then this is rather useless. Therefore I’m going to add a ‘which ever is higher’ value to the skill.

    Forced Tribute – Steals the greater value of 400 mana or 50% of target enemy’s maximum mana pool. Mana is returned to the target after 5 seconds.

    .

    Omnipresence

    As an ultimate, this has to be powerful. Global skills are quite hard to balance in general, but this is going to be a tough one for sure. A global teleport is powerful already. Only 2 heroes have such a skill; Furion and Spectre. What’s most difficult to balance is that there cannot be a channel time or animation upon casting. If it was obvious that Idol was casting Omnipresence, it would lose the intended effect of surprise ganking. However, this means it is now possibly used as the greatest escape mechanism in the game… a global instant teleport. The only way I can see this being balanced is if the cooldown is very significant. Idol does have plenty of tools to make him a powerful support ganker and team supporter, so he doesn’t need to have this available at all times.

    In addition to the global instant teleport, it creates an illusion. I think this is my favourite mechanic on the whole hero. It’s a skill which will take a lot of time to master, and some impressive micromanagement in order to convince enemies that you’re still in lane. What it also does is gives you a way to double your damage output. As said previously, the illusion must be a complete clone of Idol. Same health, same armor, same mana, same movement speed. It is the most powerful illusion generating spell. While it should definitely be usable as a quick damage burst, it shouldn’t be a long term illusion at all. The way that this can be balanced is to add a mana/sec cost to the skill. Once you cast, the illusion is created and your mana starts ticking away. It has to have a hefty cost to encourage players to turn it off after a few seconds (5-6 would be ok). This cost can be counter balanced with Forced Tribute, so that spell combo is very powerful and will reward smart use of both abilities.

    Omnipresence – Teleports Idol to the target location and leaves behind an exact illusion of itself. Costs 80 mana per second to maintain.

    So, there we have it. This is my final hero suggestion. I will be posting it onto the PlayDota forums to get feedback, and to really finalize all the numbers. It’s always nice to see it in a template format too.

    I’ll create a new post with all the feedback I get, then we can work on ironing out problems! Thank you for reading, it’s been a long one!

    .

    .

    Sam

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    4 Responses to “Removing The Rust – Working through a DotA hero suggestion”

    1. dont u wanna join playdota.com

    2. Hi indorser, I already am on PlayDota.com

      My forum name is KyonoRocks. I’ll post a link to my suggestion once I’ve got a bit more feedback

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