Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DOTA 2: 1 Million Dollars of Fail

As a avid League of Legends player, I am very excited about DOTA 2 from Valve because it is the sequel to the original multiplayer online battle arena that started it all, Defense of the Ancients. I have never played the first DOTA and of course, I would love to now jump on the sequel thanks to my experience with LoL, Heroes of Newerth, and Demigod. The game has been in development for a while and details have been kept under wraps since its announcement until a couple of days ago when several screenshots were leaked. Earlier this morning, specifically around 1:30am, Valve finally unveiled the game via a live stream from the Gamescom convention in Germany, where they are holding "The International" DOTA 2 Championships tournament with a $1,000,000 cash prize to be won - the biggest in eSport history. I managed to keep myself awake to watch the stream - that was severely delayed from its scheduled time of 1am - despite falling a sleep between 11:00pm - 12:10am. I played some LoL matches before then and then I was watching some streams when I woke up from my quick sleep before the countdown stream started at 12:30am. It was one of the longest waits in my life.

The heroes look pretty darn cool.

Once the match commenced, I really liked the look of the game. It has that cartoonish presentation but it's a lot more refined than LoL. I especially love that the creeps are not miniature minions but they are as big as the champions. That adds a lot to the epic feel of the game. I don't like the interface too much. It looks a bit boring and old. Overall, it is the best looking MOBA to date because of its clean visuals and its consistent art design. Unfortunately, things didn't (and still isn't as I jump back on the stream after my short 3 and a half hours of sleep) go very well for the unveiling. The first problem was the co-caster TobiWanKenobi. Having listened to him before while watching HoN competitive matches, I immediately cringed. Listening to this guy is like listening to a mad person in an insane asylum who screams and yells out randomly before scurrying into a corner making sexual noises and uttering really, really, REALLY bad puns and jokes. His technique to create excitement is quite unprofessional because he just likes to yell out things and it's really quite annoying rather than exciting. Whenever something remotely exciting happens, he would act as if the earth is being pulled straight into the sun and that we are all about to die. I am not kidding you. Bad decision from Valve to allow this guy to cast this event. Then, the technical meltdowns happened... The actual game would lag and freeze very, very often and the stream would be taken down as they try to fix the problem. This scenario is still occurring now beyond the first match and it is very possible that this is going to happen continuously throughout the tournament. Utter. Failure.

Too much lag is not good for the body nor the mind.

It is obvious now that this game is not ready to be played in a tournament yet because of the game-killing lags/freezes. It's frustrating for us viewers because what would normally be the average one hour per match has been stretched out way beyond that because it takes a long time for Valve to get the match and the stream back up again whenever they are taken down. It's happening right now as I am typing this. I bet it's even more frustrating for the competing teams but well, they got to work hard for that $1,000,000.00 even if the technical disadvantages they are forced to deal with are quite unfair. Valve, this is very disappointing. DOTA 2 definitely has a lot of potential for success and I have already signed up for the beta access because I do want to play the game. Valve doesn't make many bad moves but this poor showing at Gamescom is going to go down as their most embarrassing moment ever. It doesn't help that they have not even managed to apologize for this as of yet and yes, things are made a lot worse by TobiWanKenobi. Can someone give him his ADHD medications please?

Update Note: 08/18/2011 - The live streams I have watched today were very smooth without any visible technical issues. It is a great recovery from the awful initial impression the game left me yesterday. The only bad news with seeing DOTA 2 being ran this smoothly is that it makes me want to play the game even more!


Anonymous said...

well the game freezing i can say was not in fact the game it's self rather than an error with the caster or cameraman that freeze is what happens in hon and LoL for me when i d/c and it may have just been the caster if you watched the time in between freezes and when the game started up again unless they paused the game the game time would jump up a few minutes doing nothing more than showing us that it was the caster that d/ced more than the game its self

Loner Gamer said...

That is possible though it wouldn't change the fact that it was a poor showing for the game, especially with the kind of first place prize money it offers. I did notice that on some of the replays, there were awkward moments when the players just stood still all of a sudden, a result of the freezing perhaps? There were also several times in the replay when heroes got killed because they were lagging: quite funny to watch. I'm going to check out the live stream now. Hope they have worked out the kinks.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is a couple of days old, but for one thing you are talking about the first game.

In that first game, there was something like 2 million streamers which is difficult for anyone to prepare for. It's also why in the second stream they cut all commentaries except for English.

While there was some lag reported in early games, it had cleared up by later games and so had the live stream lag.

2 million streamers is a pretty impressive number. Especially when you consider that Riot only ever top'd 400,000 or something.