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Thread: Higher Zoom Height: A Feature

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    Higher Zoom Height: A Feature

    Rather than bury this in a bug discussion thread I wanted to start a thread discussing a higher zoom height as a feature. Let me preface this by speaking directly to Valve. I will not buy Dota 2 with the current zoom height limit. I find the excessive camera movement unnecessary. The screen feels congested at times. I would rather focus more on my hero (fun) and less on fighting the camera (not so fun). I mean this sincerely and I believe having a higher zoom height maximum will actually make the game more competitive and more playable at the same time.

    The primary argument for keeping the zoom level so close to the ground is that it increases the skill cap of the game. This is only true when looking at zoom level in a vacuum and not considering other aspects of having a higher max zoom level. I'll keep this simple by laying out several points I feel must be considered.

    1. last hitting and accurate targeting becomes slightly more difficult as you are zoomed out farther. The relative size of the models are smaller thus requiring more accuracy. Good players will stand out because they can maintain their accuracy and speed even at a higher zoom.

    2. All players will gain a quicker sense of their immediate surroundings with a higher zoom height. Some say this makes the game easier but in reality it will make the most important aspect of the game more critical. It shifts some of the micromanagement burden from camera management to hero management. Ganks in some situations become more difficult to pull off. Team fights naturally become more coordinated when you can see more of the battle at a glance. This will make tactical positioning and coordinated execution more important in all fights.

    3. The game becomes more accessible in a good way. The newer players will be more aware of their immediate surroundings. Players that didn't grow up on RTS games that might be excellent at hero management but poor at camera management will become more competitive. The top players will remain the top players but overall the games will be better.

    4. The disadvantage of the Dire side because of the camera angle showing more of whats behind them will be slightly lessened. Currently the Dire side player must move the camera more to see as far South as a Radiant player would see North but with less camera movement.

    I can honestly say I enjoy the game much more by using the cliffs to zoom my camera out more. Based on other threads about this subject I am not alone in wanting more zoom height. With fog of war I can't see any reason outside of engine limitations to not allow any level of zoom. However I would be happy with a max height equal to what using the cliffs bug to it's maximum effect offers.

    Thanks,
    Het

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    I understand your points, and they are fair arguments. That being said, I highly doubt Valve will allow the user to zoom out much more than what we currently have. Perhaps a 2-5% increase in camera distance, but nothing as dramatic as the cliff-zoom bug abuse.

    This point has been argued to death and the points you make have been argued over in previous threads. This debate has also been held for other games with comparable gameplay requirements - a great example is Starcraft 2. There are no technical limitations around it, it was based on gameplay and Blizzard chose not to allow further zoom. In the points you listed, all 4 have significant impact on gameplay and balance of the game. Much of this has already been discussed previously. I am sure Valve have thought long and hard about this issue, and are aware of the divide in the community regarding this. There is really nothing any one user can add to the discussion at this point - it lies outside of our reach.

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    Well I haven't seen every point I made mentioned elsewhere. Higher zoom height has absolutely no impact on balancing. Fog of war is there for the same reason regardless of zoom height. The "skill" arguement has also been completely refuted. There is no reason to keep a dated game mechanic in Dota 2 because of fallacious reasoning.

    BTW everything Blizzard does is no longer golden. I remember as far back as the Diablo 2 beta they argued that having a small stash size was good for gameplay. They said making tough decisions on what to keep was a good thing. I guess they never thought that having more items makes the decision on what to wear more difficult. The end result of their poor decision was everyone having mule accounts. Have you had a look at modern action RPG's lately? Large stashes.

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    how did you arrive at the thought that camera management is any less important than hero management?

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    I had a lengthy post in a previous thread about this topic. Just quickly, your points and how they have an impact on game balance:

    1. last hitting and accurate targeting becomes slightly more difficult as you are zoomed out farther. The relative size of the models are smaller thus requiring more accuracy. Good players will stand out because they can maintain their accuracy and speed even at a higher zoom.

    Trend moving from technical/timing based last hitting to also include accuracy. This will cause a decrease in total farm attained as players will miss last hitting more frequently due to smaller model sizes. Item prices will need to be adjusted accordingly.


    2. All players will gain a quicker sense of their immediate surroundings with a higher zoom height. Some say this makes the game easier but in reality it will make the most important aspect of the game more critical. It shifts some of the micromanagement burden from camera management to hero management. Ganks in some situations become more difficult to pull off. Team fights naturally become more coordinated when you can see more of the battle at a glance. This will make tactical positioning and coordinated execution more important in all fights.

    You sort of hinted to it on your own, but there are other side affects. Heroes who have range/surprise based attacks will need tweaking. Pudge is 1400 units away and you can see him coming. You can see the hook traveling for longer. Mirana arrow - you can see the arrow coming from further away, have longer to dodge. Blink based heroes, charging heroes - the list goes on.

    3. The game becomes more accessible in a good way. The newer players will be more aware of their immediate surroundings. Players that didn't grow up on RTS games that might be excellent at hero management but poor at camera management will become more competitive. The top players will remain the top players but overall the games will be better.

    Really similar to your 2. Not sure how it will make the game more accessible, you could argue that zooming out to see the entire map would make the game ultra accessible then? Not sure what the cause of the accessibility is. Whats the point in seeing more when everything is covered in the fog of war?


    4. The disadvantage of the Dire side because of the camera angle showing more of whats behind them will be slightly lessened. Currently the Dire side player must move the camera more to see as far South as a Radiant player would see North but with less camera movement.

    Very minor issue in my opinion - if this had a significant disadvantage we would see a trend in competitive gaming indicating this.


    My example for Starcraft 2 was not in argument that it was a perfect decision, it is an example of a premier esport title that is undoubtedly the biggest esport title available now, which has opted for a very locked/limited zoom capability. Blizzard themselves have stated that the locked zoom actually promotes micro and game play speed - these are subtle things that have big impact on gameplay. Like I said, I'm certain Valve and Icefrog have considered this topic very carefully and made their decision based on many variables - much the same way Blizzard have done for Starcraft 2. Now that SC2 is out, nobody even mentions the zoom level. The same will happen for Dota 2.

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    Het,
    there used to be a map hack in Dota 1 on WC3 that adjusted the field of view to twice the size of what was normally seen.

    Personally seeing my friend using, I can tell you that it is not balanced at all. He clearly has a heightened sense of awareness due to the field of view and it was also easier for him to notice heroes coming from the sides as well as positioning in teamfights.
    It was also easier for him to last hit and time "skill" shots like PotM's Arrow and Admiral's Ghost Ship.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vladhood View Post
    how did you arrive at the thought that camera management is any less important than hero management?
    Flicking the camera around constantly is not interesting or fun in any way. It is only a tool that gets us to the more interesting and enjoyable aspects of the game. As I mentioned in my post, with a higher zoom max, the burden of micromanagement would partially shift from camera management to hero management.


    Quote Originally Posted by HMAN911 View Post
    Trend moving from technical/timing based last hitting to also include accuracy. This will cause a decrease in total farm attained as players will miss last hitting more frequently due to smaller model sizes. Item prices will need to be adjusted accordingly.
    This is purely speculative. On further testing with the cliff exploit I can say that last hitting is not more difficult simply because of not having to move the camera so often. It tends to balance itself. We aren't talking about satellite imagery here.


    Quote Originally Posted by HMAN911 View Post
    You sort of hinted to it on your own, but there are other side affects. Heroes who have range/surprise based attacks will need tweaking. Pudge is 1400 units away and you can see him coming. You can see the hook traveling for longer. Mirana arrow - you can see the arrow coming from further away, have longer to dodge. Blink based heroes, charging heroes - the list goes on.
    First off, if any hero comes into my revealed fog of war I should be able to see him! You bolded the wrong portion of my comment. You should have bolded the part where I said "This will make tactical positioning and coordinated execution more important in all fights. Less about ganking the noob and more about quality of execution. It is possible a few skills would need some slight tweaks but nothing major. These types of tweaks will be happening throughout Dota 2's lifespan regardless of zoom height.


    Quote Originally Posted by HMAN911 View Post
    Really similar to your 2. Not sure how it will make the game more accessible, you could argue that zooming out to see the entire map would make the game ultra accessible then? Not sure what the cause of the accessibility is. Whats the point in seeing more when everything is covered in the fog of war?
    It makes the game more accessible buy shifting the burdon of micromanagement from the mundain and unnecessary to more interesting and enjoyable aspects of the game.


    Quote Originally Posted by HMAN911 View Post
    Very minor issue in my opinion - if this had a significant disadvantage we would see a trend in competitive gaming indicating this.
    An issue nonetheless that having a higher zoom slightly alleviates. Another positive in the higher zoom camp. Companies are too afraid to innovate and simply haven't addressed the issue. For the future one solution would be to flip the view perspective of all Dire side players 180 degrees by default. Minimap stays the same. Top is still top, bot is still bot, problem solved.


    Quote Originally Posted by HMAN911 View Post
    My example for Starcraft 2 was not in argument that it was a perfect decision, it is an example of a premier esport title that is undoubtedly the biggest esport title available now, which has opted for a very locked/limited zoom capability. Blizzard themselves have stated that the locked zoom actually promotes micro and game play speed - these are subtle things that have big impact on gameplay.
    A premier esport title that has been surpassed by League of Legends which happens to be Dota 2's primary esport competition. League of Legends has a higher effective zoom max compared to Dota 2.


    Quote Originally Posted by d.phoenixxx View Post
    Het, there used to be a map hack in Dota 1 on WC3 that adjusted the field of view to twice the size of what was normally seen. Personally seeing my friend using, I can tell you that it is not balanced at all. He clearly has a heightened sense of awareness due to the field of view and it was also easier for him to notice heroes coming from the sides as well as positioning in teamfights. It was also easier for him to last hit and time "skill" shots like PotM's Arrow and Admiral's Ghost Ship.
    Now imagine having a greater zoom height as a feature. I'm not talking about scrolling all the way out ala Supreme Commander. I'm talking about a max level similar to what can be achieved with the cliffs bug on the Dota 2 map. With everyone having a greater immediate area awareness and less need for constant camera adjustment, interesting things like tactical positioning and well coordinated execution become more critical. Burdensome things like constantly having to mess with the camera less critical. This is a positive thing.

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    Starcraft 2 example was an example of an esport that is successful that uses what valve have opted for here. I think it has been proven many many times on these forums and via personal experience that LoL is not close to Dota 2 in terms of complexity and depth. It is aimed at the more casual/young players, and it is successful in that aspect. The fact that lol is free also pads their statistics. LoL is horribly unbalanced and I dont agree with other decisions they have made as well. Thats not really the point of this discussion.

    Read up on the old discussions for starcraft 2 for this exact topic. Read up on Blizzards stance and realise that there are reasons for WHY they do this. If this is a perfect improvement without any cons, why have they not done it? Do you think Valve dota 2 devs have not analysed LoL HoN and all other mobas before beginning development? It is not a lot of work to make an adjustment like this - the source engine allows it freely. It was a problem in WC3 because it was only enabled by 3rd party hacks. The thing is, Dota has found its balance and gameplay from the limitations of the host engine - that is what makes it unique. It has evolved using the limitations. 6 item limit for heroes, for instance - hard coded.

    The short answer is camera management is just as important an element of the game as item builds, or team composition, or last hitting. It is not mundane or un-necessary. You could make this argument about any section of the game - I could say we should not need to deny - that it is a mundane/un-necessary feature, much like LoL have done - what has it done? It has simplified the game and removed a level of depth from the laning phase. You will see in many competitive games where denying has massively affected the outcome of the game in Dota 2 - that aspect and that depth cannot be seen in LoL because the mechanic was simply removed.

    The camera management is just another element of the game. With closer Zoom using control groups becomes more important, using the chicken requires more dexterity, and staying aware of the game requires more concentration, because vital information is not seen at a glance. The player needs to actively pan and risks ganks/lane control by doing so. Every decision, even camera movement, has an impact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Het View Post
    [..]League of Legends has a higher effective zoom max compared to Dota 2. [..] I'm not talking about scrolling all the way out ala Supreme Commander. I'm talking about a max level similar to what can be achieved with the cliffs bug on the Dota 2 map. With everyone having a greater immediate area awareness and less need for constant camera adjustment, interesting things like tactical positioning and well coordinated execution become more critical. Burdensome things like constantly having to mess with the camera less critical. This is a positive thing.
    Not really, unit sizes of LoL are similar to the ones in Dota2. While observing the size of all elements (units, walkable paths etc.) you will notice that in LoL the map itself just is smaller than in Dota2.

    Plus:
    If a SC-like zoom is no option you still need to keep track any actions outside the visible area, so you only reduce the amount of camera-movement (and actually not that much). Dota is a team-game and in case of a team-clash you got a total of 5 people to cover/check the important area, should be enough to set up a proper positioning (while only using a basic amount of camera-movement).
    Last edited by kanedat; 03-29-2012 at 06:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kanedat View Post
    Not really, unit sizes of LoL are similar to the ones in Dota2. While observing the size of all elements (units, walkable paths etc.) you will notice that in LoL the map itself just is smaller than in Dota2.

    Plus:
    If a SC-like zoom is no option you still need to keep track any actions outside the visible area, so you only reduce the amount of camera-movement (and actually not that much). Dota is a team-game and in case of a team-clash you got a total of 5 people to cover/check the important area, should be enough to set up a proper positioning (while only using a basic amount of camera-movement).
    Good point regarding encouraging team play - communication and teamwork has a higher role/value when you cant check everything constantly - you ask your support for rune, you ask team to call missing etc. It influences so many things.

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