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A design flaw turned a feature: Llook at Gold Incentives and Alternatives

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  • A design flaw turned a feature: Llook at Gold Incentives and Alternatives

    The last hit gold system is at a glance an obvious design flaw; A result of faulty incentive crafting: Given that in the absence of player intervention the flow of creeps on the lanes is constant, and the number of creeps perishing over time is therefore also constant, then, if gold was given to players regardless of how creeps perished, this would mean there would be no incentive for players to try and defeat creeps. To counter this obvious problem, a solution was presented: Only the last hit for a creep grants gold to the person who delivers it. This way, there would be a reason for players to push the lanes forward towards the towers and eventual victory. The problem with this solution is that it's incomplete and flawed: When a team mate assists another in defeating the creeps, they receive no gold and therefore make no progress. It also causes that there's now a reason for the opposing team to defeat their own creeps, which seems highly counter-intuitive, to prevent their adversaries from advancing.

    Nevertheless, from this system arose a player culture and a skillset, in which denying and last hitting creeps became a feature. Perhaps there are some valuable qualities to this feature, and while the underlying problem could be rectified, it does not necessitate doing it in a way that completely abolishes the feature. I already proposed one solution in an earlier thread, and still feel like the same solution - Distributing part of the gold to each player in the team always - would improve the game.

    A major downside of this last hit and denial culture is that it's somewhat anti-social, and makes the team members compete with each other over what should be a common goal, in addition to being a counter-intuitive feature. It would make more sense to tend to your creeps, and help them survive, instead of denying them from your opponents. It is also part of the reason why a culture for support playstyle emerges that makes the game less fun: By avoiding to get farm in order to resolve this conflict inside the team, some players may now face a situation where they're incentivized to not do everything the game is about - which is getting this gold farmed and pushing your lanes - but instead save the gold for your teammate and watch somewhat idly by and allow them to progress faster.

    Even if last hit gold and denial culture was preserved to some extent, I feel that an overall look at this underlying problem, and finding a design solution that caters to the issues would help the game's environment. Simply distributing part of the gold would steer the game towards a more pro-social environment where team members would collaborate to defeat the creeps, but that alone is somewhat insufficient. I could probably come up with a workable solution if I invested enough time into this issue, but I also think that most design-oriented people would find a solution after considering the phenomenon from this perspective.

  • #2
    Your idea about gold being rewarded to the team, is a great one, but it should be aoe instead of globally given. The person who gains the last hit, they should be rewarded slightly more gold.

    Denies? I think reducing the gain/decrease from denies is what should happen, rather than removing the entire system.


    • #3
      Originally posted by zeroHr View Post
      Your idea about gold being rewarded to the team, is a great one, but it should be aoe instead of globally given. The person who gains the last hit, they should be rewarded slightly more gold.

      Denies? I think reducing the gain/decrease from denies is what should happen, rather than removing the entire system.
      "Area of Effect" gold distribution presumably by this you mean, that when a creep is last hit, the gold is distributed to the team doing the last hit, and this is done by having a specific radius around the creep, or alternatively, by having a radius around the hero doing the last hit, which is used for the distribution. If you consider the underlying issue, this solution might have some benefits, but there's also a danger that players would optimize around this by making sure that support roles stay outside the radius of distribution, thus potentially making the underlying problem even worse than it currently is. While when the distribution is global, it is also unavoidable, and therefore there's no avoidance optimization the players could come up with.

      This would also mean that people who get very low on score would have another means of staying in the game. If you would happen to be the sandbag of your team at 0/10 and 1/2 the gold value of your other team mates, their performance might keep you in the game through the gold distribution. Additionally, even if carry roles would still get most of the gold, some of it ending up to support characters would enable them to participate in team fights more fully.

      On the downside then, looking at the individual performance rates of each hero, the weight of the individual performance would be slightly less. Such as your total gold value being somewhat more from team derived gold vs. personally accumulated gold. So what exact share of gold could be distributed to the team? A tenth? Quarter of it? Half of it? 60%? Less than a quarter?

      I think the Area of Effect solution has some potential, to be incorporated into this in some fashion. Not sure if the development team is still actively looking to make this sort of change,
      but I believe that a well designed rework into the gold and last hit system, would steer the game towards a bit more friendly an environment. Social and psychological teamwork dynamics would work better if the game system would reward working together on a fundamental level. I think this last hit gold system is one of the most important issues DOTA2 has, and it's potentially even fairly simple to improve on. Global gold distribution for the team might do it (e.g. if 20% of gold is always shared to team mates, then a player during the course of the game would receive 5% of the gold of each other 4 slots on the team (meaning 20% of player average) + the 80% they're accumulating themselves.

      Example team members A to E:

      A 15k net
      B 10k net
      C 10k net
      D 10k net
      E 5k net

      Before taking into account gold distribution. Average being 10k.
      The same values after adjusting for 20% of individual gold shared to each other team mate.
      (Equivalent of 25% shared when 1/5th is distributed to self):

      A -> loses 20% of gold farmed -> 12k -> Gains 5% from B,C,D,E -> +1.75k -> total 13.75k -> effect 1.25k LOSS
      B -> loses 20% of gold farmed -> 8k -> Gains 5% from A,C,D,E -> +2.00k -> 10.00k -> effect +-0
      C -> loses 20% of gold farmed -> 8k -> Gains 5% from A,B,D,E -> +2.00k ->10.00k -> effect +-0
      D -> loses 20% of gold farmed -> 8k -> Gains 5% from A,B,C,E -> +2.00k -> 10.00k -> effect +-0
      E -> loses 20% of gold farmed -> 4k -> Gains 5% from A,B,C,E -> +2.25k -> 6.25k -> effect 1.25k GAIN

      So looking at these example values, the change would on networth level just flatten the differences between the outliers, peak and the lowest performer.
      Whichever numbers would be used, the main purpose though is not to help the weakest performer in the team, but to try and allow the environment to be more pro-social,
      such that each player feels welcome in participating on farming / the like. What system would do this best, I don't know. This is one suggestion.