DOTA2: Problems with Captain’s Mode

Captain’s Mode in it’s description just makes sense, why oh why not have this?

It appears to me that Captain’s Mode is perfect for Team Leagues, professional play, and any arranged Team vs arranged Team match.  In fact if two teams every face each other, this should be the only mode they should be allowed to face each other with.  I’m that confident in this mode’s ability and purpose… not confident in how it is presented.

Captain’s Mode by it’s description allows each team to have a captain who will pick the heroes for the team.  This sounds great, except it’s not.

First problem is captain selection.  The captain is randomly selected for both teams at the beginning of the game.  Random selection is by far the worst way to choose something.

Imagine if you will there was a bag full of job titles.  There is a perfectly qualified doctor out there but he can only become a doctor if he pulls the doctor job title out of the hat.  Unfortunately he pulls out the clown.

This is basically how leadership is chosen in this mode, completely random.

This means that someone who is completely new to the game mode will have no idea what to do.

The second major problem with this mode is that it’s not obvious who the captains are.  The captains are the first players on each team on the loading screen and are the closest to the middle on the team screen.  There is no special indicator to show who is captain.  Very often minutes will pass before the team realizes the captain isn’t aware that he has to do something.

A fix to this would be to have a voting system setup at the beginning in which people can vote for who they choose to be captain.

The third major problem is the time limits…. they’re too long.  The Captain’s Mode picking can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes.  It is actually faster to leave Captain’s Mode (with no penalty) and queue for another match than it is to actually go through the voting process.

To fix the rampant Captain’s Mode leavers the process needs to be sped up, this means lower timers.  On top of this it means the process will be more involved and it gives a real advantage to one team for picking people fast.  In it’s current form it just drags out and seemingly people can waste all of your time without hitting the slow punishment.

A good time is differing in DOTA2.  But for sure there are a set number of carries, possibly a jungler, so many nukers, an initiator or two, a lane support, and a support.  You combine these into appropriate team models.

This means that in this world of Captain’s Mode not everyone will get to be the hero they want to be.

This mode gets treated as a glorified All Pick in which the team mates say what hero they want to play.  But after there are so many carries or tanks on a team the Captain is forced to make the decision to pick up a pure support, jungler, or nuker.  Of course no one wants to play these heroes.

This causes fights.  People will take heroes they didn’t call because they feel more comfortable playing it leaving the last person to select a hero to choose that they don’t want to play.

Team synergy is ruined as now the black doubt has been placed on the team and two people hate each other over this situation.

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This Hero Sucks #3: Timbersaw

Modeled after goblins from Warcraft 3, Timbersaw is a mean mother…. worthless piece of crap.  If you talk to the DOTA purists they will say no heroes are bad they’re all just situational.

But we all know that’s not true, some heroes are just great in all situations… and others have very limited situations.

This is one such hero whose use is very limited.

Timbersaw is not completely useless (as none of them are).  Early on in the game he is very powerful with whirling death doing an insanely high amount of early game damage which makes him very good at ganking very early on.  As well his chain is a relatively good escape mechanism presuming you are not on the hard lane.  And to be fair his ultimate does make for a pretty awesome team snare.

But this is where my praise of this abomination ends.

Timbersaw is one of the harder heroes in the game to play.  Difficulty of play is an easy indicator of how bad a hero is.  Generally speaking the more difficult is is to get equal results the worse balance is that said hero.

The same is true in RTS games.  In Starcraft 2 Terrans were the best faction in the game.  Pros were winning with all factions, but terrans were overall the best.  However it was imbalanced because it was easier for terrans to get the same result as a zerg who had to work 3x as hard for wins.

Timbersaw’s first weakness comes in his definition as a “Durable” hero.  He is not durable.

Timbersaw’s durable talent allows him to build a healing over time effect and armor up to 16 stacks and lasts 16 seconds.  So this means presumably this hero would have to get hit 16 times before engaging in hero fights or he will simply die.

Second complaint comes in the form of his ultimate.  Although it does provide a snare it doesn’t represent quite large enough of a target area (compared to Warlock).  Since the ultimate makes it impossible to actually use your auto-attack it is a complete trade analysis, IE: is it worth me doing no damage for this massive snare?  Very few times is this true.  You would need to trap 3-4 heroes in it to make it worth while… which basically never happens.

It becomes insanely situational and many of the defendants of this hero will talk about the times he has been useful.  “I threw the snare as I was running away and recalled it to give a massive snare on my opponent!”

Tree dependent heroes also pose a risk of being bad in another way… they destroy trees that they need.  When playing in the hard lane this hero does insanely terrible specifically because there are so little trees to grapple onto to escape and absolutely no chance for Whirling Death to clip trees.

In fact in the hard lane any tree you destroy could just cost you your life.  This means this hero can ONLY be played in the easy lane and will be severely punished in group fights if he is anywhere without trees.

Did I mention there are basically no trees in the bases?  This means when you get to the bases your damage and value will go down immediately, offense or defense.

Much like all heroes he has situations where he is good.  However these are exceptions, not the rule. This is not a good hero and definitely not good for people who are newer to the game.

Avoid at all costs.

This Hero Sucks #2: Storm Spirit

All heroes in DOTA 2 are useful.  There is no doubt about it.  Some of the ones that suck can even be quite good at times.  But that doesn’t matter, this is a bitch session and it’s time to talk down one of the most beloved heroes in the game, Storm Spirit.

Storm Spirit has four abilities.  One ability creates an energy clone of Storm Spirit and will explode when it impacts with an enemy.

A second ability lassos the enemy pulling them to storm spirit.  It has a 3 yard range.

A third ability is passive and causes his attacks to randomly gain bonus damage and create area of effect damage.  As well this ability will slow the enemy.

The ultimate ability causes the Storm Spirit to turn into a ball of lightning and quickly travel anywhere on the map.  This ability drains mana as he travels.  When the Storm Spirit emerges from the lightning he will do an initial burst of area of effect damage valued based on how far he has traveled.

So all of these abilities are seemingly fine.

Until you of course realize that Storm Spirit is a very squishy ranged character…. and all of these are melee abilities.

All of these abilities would be great… for a strength based melee.  But Storm Spirit is unfortunately very easy to kill and it makes these abilities much harder to use than a ranged unit who has ranged abilities.

That’s not to say Storm Spirit isn’t a winnable guy. He is.  His ability to move fast means no one will get away from him.  His snare is valuable very early for getting ganks.

But the skill level required to do as good of a job as almost any other ranged unit is unreal.

When you watch gameplay videos of people playing as someone like Drow, they are often just right clicking on a person and killing them.  With this character you are almost constantly moving, kiting, and narrowly avoiding death.

This ends up meaning that unlike most heroes in the game… you can almost never play aggressively.

I’m sure this guy shows up in tournament play quite a bit.  However his high skill level requirements make him an obvious bad choice for anyone who is looking to play casually.

This Hero Sucks #1: Brewmaster

As part of a new DOTA2 based series, I have decided to make videos on which heroes I think at their heart suck.

This doesn’t mean they are useful.  Very often the complaint is made that just because a hero is useful that they are good.  A channeled area of effect slow (from Warlock) is useful, however it is not very good.  This is an important distinction that needs to be made as many times people will want to argue about how useful a hero is instead of trying to figure out how this hero is actually good.

The Brewmaster is a shade of his former DOTA glory.  Having been re-skinned due to copyright violations from Blizzard.

This hero is characterized as a Carry, Durable, Initiator, and Pusher.  These four attributes should make him one of the top heroes in the game.  Instead he is what he is… a weaker hero.

Melee heroes often start off very weak in their own right.  They have problems pushing lanes and can easily be focused down by the enemy.  Brewmaster’s power comes in that he can split into three spirits when he is weak and continue fighting… or use it to run.  This ability ends up being awkward because you will spawn as the hero closest to the front lines.  This means if the enemy is successful in trapping one as you escape…. you’ll get instagibbed anyway.

As well his abilities are also problematic.  He does a lot of melee damage but his abilities are pretty lackluster and tanky.  He can area of effect slow down people’s speeds and can increase their miss chance.  Many times these abilities seem so weak it doesn’t even feel worth wasting an auto-swing to cast them (yes casting abilities does in fact cancel auto-swing).

The biggest reason why this hero sucks is that you have to be very much better than everyone to play it.  While most heroes are dealing with 4 commands, when the Brewmaster splits up he transforms into three different units, of which each has different commands that you have to quickly move around and use.  If you don’t cycle around these abilities properly (along with your other two abilities as Brewmaster) you become very easily owned even when you have your three spirits.

It’s not by far the worst hero, but it is a pretty terrible hero to play.  Since stopping my 50 hours straight of playing him I have not seen a single person pick him in an All Pick public game.