Dota is about to get two new heroes, and the community couldn’t be more excited — the last time we had a double release was back in the days of Dota 1, with Oracle and Earth Spirit. Very little is known about the upcoming heroes, however there are some reasonable speculations regarding what many describe as “Pangolin”. While we will refrain from speculations on the new heroes themselves, this announcement raises some interesting questions regarding some underused Dota mechanics.
It is possible that new additions to the Dota roster will come into the game with their own, new concepts, but if the core rules of Dota are not to be expanded further, there is a chance we will see some of the more underused mechanics come into play.
In the teaser-trailer we see the “Pangolin” cut needles off from Bristleback, and by many it is seen as an indication of introduction of another “Break” source into the game. “Break” effect disables passives on a hero, and so far there are only three instances of it in the game: Aghanim’s Upgrade for Doom and Shadow Demon’s ultimate, and Silver Edge’s active ability.
Break is a very powerful effect in certain situations — it can make killing Bristleback less painful for your team, add consistency during ganks on Phantom Assassin, and even allow for nuke-bursts against Anti-Mage. It is a very narrow, “Silver bullet”-type mechanic and as such, it being hidden behind Aghanim’s upgrades for some heroes and an ever-growing paywall on Silver Edge is understandable (do note the Silver Edge also reduces outcoming damage from the target by 50%, which is a separate effect from “Break”).
“Break” can quite literally break the hero for the duration, leaving them a little bit too vulnerable and stripping them of their identity. Currently, of the heroes who are the primary “Break” targets, only Bristleback poses a definitive meta threat, and only in the professional scene. Everyone else isn’t even a problem in pubs at the moment, with win rates ranging from 49% to 51%.
With the “Pangolin” release we might be getting an answer to a problem that doesn’t currently exist. Furthermore, it can put these currently rather well-balanced heroes into underpowered territory, or at least have an impact on their popularity.
That said, it is almost certain that both Valve and IceFrog understand the issue and how important timing windows are for Phantom Assassin, Viper and some other heroes who rely on their passives. If the enemy won’t even have to climb a paywall to get to an answer to one of your core heroes, it is bound to create certain problems and it will be interesting to see how the issue is going to be designed around.
One of the most interesting relationships in Dota is not Crystal Maiden and Lina rivalry or even the Tidehunter-Kunkka enmity. It is the weird relationship Alchemist and Ancient Apparition have had ever since the 6.79 changes for the former. Almost four years ago Alchemist lost flat HP gain when using his ultimate and instead got a massive increase in regeneration — something that was problematic even before the introduction of Octarine Core and the ensuing Radiance+ Manta Style shenanigans.
Alchemist is supposed to be a massive beast, with many early big items, who is somewhat hard to nuke down and who pretty much ignores any chip damage. Add to it the prevalence of supports with saves, the popularity of Force Staff even on core heroes and you might have a bit of a mid-game problem. The problem has a very radical answer in the form of Ancient Apparition, but the fact that these two heroes are interlocked in this weird relationship is an issue in itself.
You can’t make Alchemist or any hero with strong healing or regeneration too strong — there is a single answer to them, which can be easily banned out, allowing them to rampage through the game.
Similarly, you can’t make Ancient Apparition too good — being a definitive answer to a whole subset of heroes as well as being a well-rounded hero overall would push him into objectively overpowered territory.
Because of this dichotomy and the possibility of the AA ban, we constantly see some minor, yet painful nerfs to Alchemist. Slowly but surely, Alchemist has been losing tools to get ahead in net worth and during TI7 it was common to see him break even or pull ahead by measly 5-10% net worth, compared to the enemy cores. And the hero simply doesn’t properly function in such environment — he pays a massive stats tax for his gold income and when the latter starts dwindling, the hero breaks.
But what if there were more answers to the massive regeneration or strong heals? For one, Necrophos wouldn’t be a nuisance he is now. But more globally, it would become possible to have strong heals and still have strong regenerating heroes in the game without creating imbalance. The most important part of it is that the heroes would be able to retain their identity.
These answers don’t have to be as definitive as the one AA provides, potentially only reducing the effectiveness of regeneration and healing, rather than stopping them outright. But they are needed, preferably on an overall slightly more flexible hero.
Turn rate is a very important Dota mechanic. By simply existing it allows for a much bigger variety of playable heroes, without the need to slap a gap-closer on every single melee character. That opens a much bigger design space and the 95.5% of the hero pool being picked during TI7 is, in large part, a direct consequence of heroes spending time to turn around. This thought sounds funny, but there is absolutely no room for argument.
Being so objectively important, it is quite peculiar that only two heroes in the game have ways of affecting the enemy turn rate — Medusa and Batrider. But there are valid arguments both in favor and against more heroes being able to slow down turn rate.
On one hand we have an interesting interaction with Lycan, Weaver and Dark Seer Surge and an additional way of dealing with their persistent high movement speed, without hard disables. Their massive movement speed, which persists even through hex effects, will be of little use, when they have to run in circles to chase a target, or even have to slightly modify their path from a straight line. To a lesser extent, it also serves as a way to outplay opponents, who have powerful spells, which rely on the direction they are facing — Tornado/Ice Wall from Invoker, Dark Seer’s Wall of Replica, Magnus Skewer, any form of Blink etc. Moreover, it adds a slight delay to otherwise instant cast point abilities.
All of this can serve as a ground for some interesting interactions and potential counter-plays. On the other hand, there is one argument against further implementations of this mechanic — it is excruciatingly annoying for the receiving side. While it might not sound as much of an argument, not the objective one at least, it is important to understand that Dota is a game and games are generally played to have fun. Turn rate slowdown is rarely fun and the actual effectiveness-annoyance ratio for it is skewed towards the latter, even when compared to other forms of disable.
Dota has a lot of very interesting and engaging mechanics, and it is a marvel that all of them come together to create the most well-balanced and diverse game in the genre. The addition of new heroes will surely shake up the existing meta, as heroes don’t exist in a vacuum, but given the state of the game during the last two Internationals, there is no need to worry.Given how flexible Dota is, there are probably hundreds of ways the game could be expanded, and it is interesting to think of what the future might hold for our beloved game.
we certainly need more "break" mechanic
Mute (silencing items) could also be used more
After reading this, I realized that indeed, Dota doesn't have a single hero who lowers the effectiveness of healing spells and regeneration, even though we have heroes who amplify it.
Oh, maybe that Sylph fairy will fill that niche? One could only dream, it'd certainly make Necro, Dazzle or Juggernaut ward lineups much less obnoxious to play against.
^^^^ yeah I think if the new armadillo guy could break passive for abilities and items (echo and heart would disable) but the item can still activate. (if you had mango, you could eat it, but it wont give 1 hp regen+ because its "passive" is muted/broken)^^^^
Great post! Thank you for writing about it, since I was especially willing to talk about the 'Break' and 'Turn rate' mechanic for a long time.
A suggestion that might sound OP at first, but could potentially make the heroes decent/meta, especially in pub games with lack of teamwork and coordination, thus helping '1v9' players.
Add the 'Break' mechanic to Huskar's ultimate, which ironically is called 'Life Break'. He could be situationally strong against heroes that rely on their passive rather than just forcing the hero into a cheese strat comboing him with a defensive/healer support like Oracle. Adjusting the health loss/damage dealt OR slow would be necessary.
Remove the mechanic of 'Turn Rate' entirely from IO. The hero is undeniably strong in the hands of pro players, but again, only because of their strong coordination and ability to combo it with another hero in the middle lane, thus adjusting the draft in the other lanes to synergize well. Rarely seen in the pub scene, especially where the hero's winrate is abysmal. Also, would be logical owing to the hero's actual character design.
Io has no turn rate mechanic, it attacks and moves instantly actually.
I think the biggest challenge of the dota right is vision deficiency.
All i want is hard counter for bb i know viper is good against bb but still
I'd actually argue that it would force him into a support role as the low cooldown of life break AND the no mana cost would mean you could spam break onto a bristle and keep him out of every fight without sacrificing a stronger mid pick. The same thing happened with Pudge, and even though he still doesn't see a lot of play on the pro level, it's TONS more than it used to be.
Overall it's still too OP, but considering that you would be sacrificing better lockdown from a CM or something you could possibly make the case that it's fine.
I don't want more turnrate slows though.. Very obnoxious to play against
Another interesting mechanic that you haven't mentioned is 'Fear' or 'Taunt' that Lone Druid's Savage Roar has.
I remember there were a few hero's in HoN that had this mechanic.
How about an item that can disable/silenced an item. I think only doom and disruptor had that, but that was their ultimate.
Direct quote from gamepedia:
what wisp also doesnt require to turn when auto attacking?
that would make him godly for kiting and running + hitting
"After reading this, I realized that indeed, Dota doesn't have a single hero who lowers the effectiveness of healing spells and regeneration, even though we have heroes who amplify it.
Oh, maybe that Sylph fairy will fill that niche? One could only dream, it'd certainly make Necro, Dazzle or Juggernaut ward lineups much less obnoxious to play against."
you ever heard of the hero called "ancient apparition"? and btw, necro lowers regeneration.
don't know what u are talking about...
I was really surprised while looking thru a list of the heroes just HOW MANY of them have a non-0.5 turn rate. It seems just a couple get adjustments to that stat each patch but it's added up!
Actually, it was probably even after my first 1k matches I remember feeling smart when I heard that Shadow Fiend's turn rate is double everyone else's [1.0].
You ever heard of the concept called "reading comprehension"? and btw, necro's aura is negative regeneration.
Oh wait, I just called you out on your reading comprehension, I can't just assume you understood what I just wrote, so I'll spell it out. AA doesn't lower regeneration, he flat out disables it. Necro's aura doesn't lower regeneration, it's a type of damage.
Lowering the effectiveness of regeneration would mean having a spell that, if a target was affected by an hypothetical debuff that lowers regeneration and healing effects by 40%, then something like Omniknight's level 4 Purification would heal only 180 HP instead of 300 and Juggernaut's healing ward would take almost double the amount of time it does now to fully heal its allies.
Oh wait, you are thinking, why would we need that if there's Ancient Apparition who already disables regen? Well, for starters, you could slap that skill on another hero instead of depending on the ULTIMATE of one that sucks balls in several situations, could easily be banned and who not many people actually enjoy playing because he's also boring as hell if you are not using some kind of meme build.
@[Lk].Zano Thank you.
I was low on energy and starting to lose my sanity, so it feels good when someone helps out.
You are referring to a Mute effect, and there currently seven sources of Mute:
Disruptor (only with aghs)
SS and Lion Hex
Sheepstick (also Hex)
Legion Commander (applies to both duel participants with aghs)
Tusk Snowball (only applies Mute to Tusk, disables anyone else in snowball)
Mute is extremely powerful in its own right, and having more heroes with Mute would severely imbalance the game. Blink Dagger is already put on cooldown with damage, but Force Staff would have almost no utility if you could buy an item early in the game that disabled it as well. Hex is on a very expensive item, and that's probably where mute should stay. The same goes with a full stun on the very expensive abyssal, and break on an ever increasing priced silver edge. Even Orchid is pretty expensive. I'm not saying Mute cannot be a more prevalent effect in the game, but if Valve is to do so, it will have to be in very small amounts. Short durations, low damage, etc.
Turn rate slow in Dota 2 is nothing compared to DotA. Do you remember Jakiro and his clunky turn rate? Earthshaker? You don't have that anymore in Dota 2.
^ Jakiro and Spiritbreaker are litterally gliding when they turn in dota1. lel.
Anomalina, it's great that you pointed out that Io has a turn rate, still it seems that you don't quite understand what you quoted from Gamepedia. I won't claim to be correct, I'll leave testing of the obscure mechanics to the experts, this is just my own opinion. Io turnrate does not affect movement, auto attacks and tether, but it does interact with certain items. I'll only talk about force staff, since that's the only one which I am remotely sure about, based on the quotes from Gamepedia . When enemies or teammates force staff Io, depending on the switch in direction of Io, it will be force staffed in either its original direction, or the direction it switched to, based on whether the 0.5 seconds for turnrate have passed or not. Thus, it mostly doesn't matter whether Io has turn rate or not as it will not interfere with the mechanics of the hero, auto attacks, tether, movement, etc. As to why it was not removed entirely for Io, it may be that removal of turn rate for Io will cause force staff to be broken when interacting with Io, i . e. causing Io to be force staffed in random directions due to a lack of a marker. (pure speculation on that last part)
I only want the mechanic to be removed from IO so that the hero is not affected by turn rate. There are very few mechanics or abilities in the game that affect it in the first place, as the blog post itself explains, but nevertheless, I'd like the hero to have that slight edge.
I understand what you just described, and it might cause problems with force staff interactions, but I don't say his "face" or "arc" should be removed.
Could you clarify the edge that Io would actually receive if turn rate was removed for it entirely? I'm pretty interested.
I believe having a hero or an item that effectively reduces healing could potentially (and drastically) affect another source of HP regeneration: lifesteal.
Lifesteal grows directly proportional with any increase in right-click damage. At the moment, there are many ways to deal with strong lifesteals (w/o hard disables): increasing armor, active abilities (i.e. Bane's Enfeeble and Medusa's Mana Shield), passive abilities (Underlord's Atrophy Aura), active items (i.e. 50% damage reduction from Silver Edge), among others. That being said, adding another mechanic that could further lower the effectiveness of lifesteal could render the said mechanic to the "almost useless" category. That's not to say I disagree implementing mechanics to "reduction to healing effectiveness" in-game, but I'd like it to be a skill or item that has to be set through "stacking" to be relevant, very much like how Sticky Naphalm" works, instead of a direct point-target skill that does an instant "reduce heal effectiveness by X%". And maybe... let's say name the skill "Fairy Dust"? Mehehehe.
Well anyway, I am personally not THAT sure if lifesteal does count as health regen, but feel free to criticize my point.
I suggest item with a mana leak/drain other than diffusal should be added in game.
@Noir Lifesteal is not HP regen but a burst heal, like Purification. If an ability specifically stated regen it should not impair Lifesteal. However stating healing on the whole being reduced by 10% then it would of course work on Lifesteal.
This was the worst article i think you guys have ever posted tbh
@bogey654 I'm sorry for the confusion, but I used the word "regeneration" in its broadest definition: regaining health.
May it be from "heals" (sudden burst of health regained in a short amount of time) or the conventional understanding of "regen" (health gained back through time, a.k.a. "Heal Over Time" or HoT), both are affected by factors and mechanisms that increase/decrease heal/regen effectiveness (i.e. Necrophos' Ghost Shroud not only increases health regained through "heals" aimed at him, but it also multiplies his "regen" - either from his natural HoT or from the passive regeneration from Death Pulse - during its duration.
It's also interesting to note that if you hit a hero utilizing lifesteal, say Lifestealer, with Ice Blast, the hero will not be able to regain HP through right-clicks despite the lifesteal animation still procing. This shows a relationship between heal/regen and lifesteal, where I based my original comment on.
OH NO GOD FORBID WE CREATE HEROES THAT HAVE GOOD MATCHUPS AND BAD MATCHUPS - THAT WOULD AFFECT THE BALANCE OF THE GAME
Quality Socks article, as ever.
WE also need actually support PURGE items mechanics gee and debuffs for supportings