February 21, 2008

DotA Game Mechanical Analysis: Part 2

Part 1

As previously stated, there are three lanes between the two sides' bases. All have an identical three towers and standard creep generation. They are, however, asymmetric. The top and bottom lanes are longer than the middle lane. Either the top or bottom lane (depending on which team) is uniquely far away from an important "secret shop" that is necessary to purchase high-level items; this lane is therefore less convenient. The middle lane can be ambushed from both sides, and is thereby more dangerous than the others.

What if certain lanes had more or fewer creeps or towers, amplifying the asymmetry? What if players received a stat boost in certain lanes based on how long they had spent in that lane?

Let's zoom in to the level of a standard battle involving Heroes and creeps. If a Hero attacks another Hero near creeps, the creeps will all attack the attacking Hero. This serves to dissuade players from targeting enemy Heroes when creeps are nearby, as is usually the case when both characters attack at melee range. When one Hero's attack is ranged and the other's is not, the melee Hero must be very careful to avoid attacks, sometimes disengaging from the battle. When both Heroes have ranged attacks, they can rarely attack each other during a creep battle.

What if players could order nearby creeps to attack nearby enemy Heroes? What if Heroes were strengthened or weakened due to proximity to creeps? What if Heroes gained greater attack range when closer to creeps?

When a Hero kills a creep (i.e. strikes the final blow), it gains gold. Whenever an enemy creep dies near the Hero, the Hero gains experience points. The only exception is when a creep is "denied", i.e. it is killed by a Hero on its own side. By denying nearly-dead creeps, players prevent their opponents from gaining experience.

What if denying actually reduced an opponent's experience? What if it gave the denying Hero a stat boost? What if players could only deny creeps at full health?

When a player kills an enemy Hero, that player gains a large amount of experience and gold, while the killed Hero loses gold. This produces a strong positive feedback loop; early kills tend to make later kills easier.

What if we turned this into negative feedback through, for example, giving an experience bonus to the killed player, giving a passive stat penalty to high-scoring players, or giving a temporary stackable stat penalty to all nearby Heroes allied with the killing player (thereby ensuring that most multi-Hero showdowns would end with a similar number of casualties)?

There's more to say, but I'll stop here for now.

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