An Outline to Esports Event Coverage

                        In 2016, two major news companies created dedicated staff for esports. With Yahoo’s and ESPN’s entrance comes an expected level of quality content, interviews and opinions that we see from their traditional sports departments. Up to now, that expectation has not been met, though there has been growth in story-telling from major team organizations as well as continued personal interviews in the League of Legends community. For other titles, unfortunately, the amount of analytical writing and insight has been sporadic. In particular, the lack of opinionated editorial, that goes beyond traditional topical discussion about the scene, as well as lack of in-depth match coverage is an essential missing quality in today’s coverage. However, the largest gaffe that esports news sites have yet to provide is on-site, in-the-now event coverage. The bar of entry for on-site event/match coverage is low and a key missing feature in the journalistic world of esports.

collageDespite the Mid-Season Invitational for League of Legends as well as DreamHack Austin occurring, only one site of the three are currently doing interviews and event coverage. To note that theScore Esports have been uploading their videos via their YouTube page.

                        There are inherent issues with most current forms of event coverage, specifically interviewers using those events as a means to talk about a player’s career instead of about the matches (what fans are watching the event for). And perhaps the reason for the lack of consistent coverage of esports events throughout all games is both due to cost and inability to gauge value or assure consistent viewership. During my time working in the journalist field, from the early days of StarCraft II [2012], news curation for ESGN TV [2013-2014] and managing editor for an esports magazine at Aller Media [2014-2015], I firmly believed that the viewer and readership is strong for this type of coverage. That is if planned early and executed properly – with enough support from both staff at HQ and on-site. Below are some notes I have relied on in the past when planning event-coverage. Published content (both video and written) can range from six to five digits in hits. To reach these numbers, consistency in quality and rate of coverage (# of articles/videos) helps improve results.

 


Planning Stages

 

First Steps

When preparing event coverage for a variety of competitions, it is important to establish both expected budgetary costs for each event as well as for the year. This includes, but not limited to:

  • # of events per quarter
  • Flight and hotel accommodations for each event
  • Expected # of crew members and necessary equipment (rented or not)
  • Spending stipends

Most of this can be approximated as close as possible and altered accordingly as you get closer to the dates and figure the finer details. With some organizations, you also have to project the total runtime of all planned content and assume # a range of viewership (depending on the game, recognition of the brand to the community and value of content).

 

Planning an event

When it comes to preparing for a specific esports event, I start as early as a month in planning. First you need to figure out the Who, What and Why:

  • Who: Determining your team to cover an event is important. The number of people should be decided before-hand depending how important the event is, what are the budgetary costs (sending 5 people to an event that is only a two-day competition [e.g. ESL One, a recurring event] may not be the most efficient use of your resources).

The number of people to send can range from 2 to 5 members with roles ranging from videographer, editor, host, producer and even social media. In the past, we’ve ran three-man crews with myself acting as Producer, Social Media and Business Relations to represent the organization and establish meaningful relationships. These relationships are important to confirm tentative interviews and to relieve the editor and host to focus on what matters: content.

  • What: Content planning goes a long way to not only setting goals per day, per event; but also how you want to structure the type of content you want both in terms of atmosphere and duration per form of content. You must determine the following parameters for your content:
    • Interviews
      • Over-the-shoulder? Side-by-Side? Absent Interviewer?
      • # of Interviews per day
      • Duration: The longer the interview, the more you may lose your audience or having your interviews feel directionless or caught on smaller details rather than getting through to the subjects that matter. I generally run 5 to 10-minute interviews, with 12 being the hard-stop.
  • Photography
    • Priority of subjects players, venue, fans/cosplayers/attendants, moments
    • # of photos per type (see above), per day, per style (portrait, waist-up, etc.)
  • Why: As you set up your team with a variety of responsibilities, you have to prepare your host for the subjects he/she can expect to be speaking to as well as the type of questions you want. As mentioned above, questions about the matches and strategies happening during the event are what I think the audience wants to know the most about, at the moment of publishing (during the event). However, that doesn’t mean your host cannot prepare ahead of time with some career/over-arching questions about the scene, teams, etc. This can be helpful for two reasons: 1. It gets your host in the right mood and knowledge of the key players and 2. It’ll help him/her have questions just in case there isn’t much to say about a particular win or loss for the interviewing subject.

Overview

Booking People, Places, Event PR

                        The PR teams for each event and publishing company can vary greatly. From Valve, who outright don’t assist (or allow) news organizations to work at their Majors to Riot Games who are more welcoming. DreamHack is hands-off when it comes to assistance in booking interviews (you have to go to the player’s lounge and ask talent directly) whereas ESL makes a strong effort to reserve time for them, though sometimes are unable to follow-through (it happens). One thing to know is that no matter the PR team, they cannot force teams, players or talent to do an interview if they don’t want to.

For these events, try and keep in close contact with the PR members. Be forward about what you want and make sure you confirm many times over before or during the event about X interviews you’d like to have. Not only do these PR departments get swamped with requests, but are also handling different areas of an event. While you may seem annoying (I surely was), you won’t get half the content you planned if you aren’t forward. Ultimately, they want to help you if it means more publicity and value during/after their event.

Having said that, even after confirming the possibility of interviews (no guarantee) with a PR team, you should start contacting teams directly in regards to possible interviews. This is to secure interviews, despite any unfortunate scheduling complications that may arise but also due to the players themselves who can be too moody or disinterested in talking. I’ve also learned that some teams will outright not talk to you depending who you represent. For example, TSM refuses all media interviews (with small exceptions) while Cloud9 will not do interviews by companies that conflict with their sponsors. Knowing this will save you a lot of headaches, but also help evaluate if attending an event is worthwhile or not.

When requesting interviews (before the event), there is an order of confirmation to ensure you get what you want. Avoid contacting players directly for an interview. They may be your personal friend, but they have one job at the event (to win) and you may end up undermining the player-manager in the process. In the end, it’s about balancing long-term relationships and knowing who makes the decision-making.

Sometimes, the player-manager will not give you a straight-answer on whether you can get an interview with a player or not. Don’t give up! Just puah further. At Aller Media, we were a recognized brand in the Nordic Region, making contacting sponsors (SteelSeries, Logitech, Razer) sometimes the easier route. Sponsors want the exposure of their brand and the teams they support out there via media outlets. There is no reason why you cannot reach out to the sponsor to receive a more definitive answer. Even agencies such as Good Game, can be a better alternative route when the player-manager is unsure. Nevertheless, keep in good contact with the player-manager, as he will be your contact on-site and can follow-through after receiving confirmation from affiliated parties (sponsors/agencies) but remain persistent in what you want.

Now with your double-confirmed and booked interviews via event PR teams as well as directly with those teams, you are ready to set off for your event!

 

Questions

Depending on the person, having questions prepared ahead of time for review can be ideal. These questions should be mixed alongside those the host has prepared to ask the player or talent about the match or event itself. A nice mix of questions can keep the interview interesting for the viewer and also avoid your host being redundant or questions that focus on too small of detail.

As a last note: when booking your hotel. Try and book at the same one as the players or event staff. This can lead to fluid scheduling where you can strike out one or two early pieces of content with key talent before the event and ultimately have more time on-site to create more video-content. Also, it makes networking much easier and in some countries, the after-parties happen at the hotels directly.

 


At the event

Coordination

            As you depart, make sure your team back in HQ is aligned with when and how the content will be presented in regards to social media, uploaded videos and content strategy. For example:

  1. Video content should be embedded into the website with a summary blurb
  2. When shared via community sites and social media, ensure you share the URL of the website containing the video as opposed directly to the source video page
  3. Rely on Social Media for on-the-ground visuals and tagging

 

Collaboration

            Establishing alternative types of content is an efficient way to use your time before, during and after an event. What you will realize, when waiting for interviews (each post-event day) is that most interviews occur either after a team is finished playing for the day or is eliminated. Leaving your team a lot of time with nothing to do between matches. In the past, we remedied this by not only interviewing people not directly involved in the matches, but also creating alternative content such as post-day summaries, predictions for the next day and highlights. Examples include:

 

  • Before an event day
    • (previous day) match results, predictions and highlights
    • Venue Tour
  • During an event day
    • Venue
    • Discussion Panels
    • GoPro Style partnerships with team
    • Documentary footage
  • After an event
    • Raw recordings of any press conferences
    • Event Summary (crew travel to arrival, highlights of key interview moments, crowd and venue shots, etc.)

ESL One Frankfurt video from Alliance and player, Loda, was always a favourite of mine. It requires no effort, almost no budget and offers a tremendous amount of infotainment for the user.  It lets the fans at home get a feel for what it is like to be a player and be at the event.

Key Notes

  • In the past, I have seen many producers or reporters flat-out abandon their team to hang out with pros or their friends rather than stick with the team. Even during the off-hours, for the sake of future working relationships, it is ideal you stick with your team and build them up to have as many relationships as you do, rather than to seek out your own fulfillment and interest. It goes without saying that during the event hours, all members should be near or in communication and not loitering around. There’s always something to do, even if the cameras aren’t rolling.
  • When it comes to deciding who you want to be your host, I found that choosing someone new, but who is enthusiastic and earnest to work is better than someone who is recognized and has their own brand. On the one hand, if your new person is not meeting expectations or getting the right atmosphere to how you want to do your event coverage, then your audience won’t take and will dismiss your brand/content. However, if you choose someone with experience, the cost can get much higher and should they leave for a better gig, their established audience may depart as well.
  • Use your host to note down key times in the matches of when something large happened. A lot of VODs for matches come out later in the night, making it difficult for the editor to screen through hours of matches and footage just to use as B-Roll for a video. Since your host is watching the matches regardless, he should note down the time a key action sequence happened and help give context for the editor, who may or may not be familiar with the game.

schedule

Planning costs on a both monthly and annual basis can help not only sort the budgetary expectations for the future, but also help breakdown costs associated with travel and paying for your freelance staff.

 


Conclusion

                        When it comes to content, your published works should achieve consistency in quality and complementary of the event for viewers at home. With the right team and execution your content can fill a gap that has long been evaporated since the earlier days of esports. As more companies get into this space, the desire for current content sites to set themselves apart will be high. While the initial interest in your event coverage may be low; to organically grow an audience and fill a void that needs further emphasis can yield a return after attending only a few events and building up the right team to represent your organization.

Competition Shift: The Live-Streaming War

In 2010, the emerging of the esports market lead to an interesting power struggle of branding in terms of player and team representation. Comparison of a player’s value was upon who would bid the highest and which teams had the most authentic sponsors; legitimizing their brand. As new games emerged such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike and Dota 2, it became clear which team brands withstood the test of time. Similarly, tournament brands also competed throughout the years for top-tier player attendance, sometimes overlapping with one another in scheduling and fighting for the best reputation in terms of prize-pool, accommodations and consistent quality production.

Now it is the turn of live-streaming companies to compete. With the international circuit becoming consistent in scheduling and player and team brands establishing presence, content-value is improving. As Twitch starts to wrap up their exclusive contract with ESL in 2016; new live-streaming platforms such as YouTube Gaming, Azubu and Hitbox will be looking to bolster their audience numbers through these competitions. An open war is starting – to win an ever-growing audience in gaming and esports – but only the service that incentivizes both the viewer and empowers the broadcaster can outclass their adversaries.

Winning an audience and broadcasters is beholden to one key area: features/exclusive incentives. This is what sets traditional television, and its divide between content and passive viewers, different from live-streaming – which has a more active audience who can become your content (broadcasters). Incentives not only create reasons for communities to visit a platform, but a justification to return, despite alternatives readily available. With Twitch being the early bird into this market, their ‘incentives’ has become their core service: a unique community culture (Twitch chat/TwitchCon) and broadcasters (LIRIK, summit1g); distinctive brands that bring in tens of thousands of viewers monthly. Since then, they’ve continue to build features and opportunities that achieve two areas: to create a viewer’s customized experience and enable their broadcasters to a personalized production.

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On top of homegrown popular broadcasters on their platform, Twitch also hires many front-facing talent from games like Hearthstone (Dan “Frodan” Chou), StarCraft (Sue “Smix” Lee) and Street Fighter (Mike “Honda4Life” Ross) to serve as relation pillars for their largest esports titles and for events or in-house segments with key partners (from launch events to weekly discussions)

(see the article: Community Engagement: Identify Yourself for further detail on Twitch’s ability to rapidly establish a trusting identity per a game’s community base)

Platforms purchasing exclusive streaming rights of teams are creating initial reasons to visit a platform but not the necessary tools to retain their audience. In essence, they create a passive, divested audience that are not a part of a platform’s community, but a following borrowed from the signed professional team. A live-streaming company can continue purchasing exclusive rights to bolster their initial numbers, creating a forced viewership, but that cost will rise each year with marginal results and few converting into organic broadcasters. As the event calendar for 2016 starts filling up, the gaming and esports scene will start to see those same initial reasons to visit live-streaming websites, as events, ranging from all ESL esports events to traditional gaming conventions, start to become simulcasted. It will be up to those companies to find innovative ways to retain that audience. For example, in June 2015, Twitch allowed all broadcasters and users to ‘co-stream’ the event; bringing more eyes to the event, but customized for the viewer (meshing the E3 brand with their favourite personality) and the broadcaster who could supply their own graphics and commentary to it. Alternatively, Hitbox had an exclusive AMA with their sponsored team, OG, who had just recently won a Valve-sponsored Dota 2 Major in Frankfurt, Germany. Although the Frankfurt major was not live-streamed on Hitbox, they meshed their brand with a sponsored team, bridging a borrowed following of a professional team to their site.

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Another example is where Azubu tapped into those with limited internet connections by providing audio-only broadcasts to reduce bandwidth usage. This allowed users to still enjoy some of their favourite content without necessarily depleting their data plan.

The importance of being able to grow and engage your audience is crucial for companies, especially when talking to advertisers. Having returning individual broadcasters and levels of viewership means winning your third party: advertisers. With large corporations jumping into esports, from FanDuel to Turner Broadcasting to ESPN, advertisers are cluing in on this new, soon-not niche market. As the big names clue in, everyone holds out; hoping for their big break, akin to Twitch TV, or to maintain territory, notably YouTube Gaming (and YouTube Music). Despite the amount of money raised from these companies, including Hitbox’s new funding round from Wargaming or Azubu’s new debt-financing of 59 million from Sapinda, competitors need to consider how best to distinguish themselves from each other. Hitbox, for example, expanded their revenue share program to all live-streamers whereas Azubu opted for customizable modules to better personalize a user’s channel with key information – both companies empower or incentivize the broadcaster, but don’t do enough for the viewer. This is where they consider exclusive programming as a bid to attract viewers. But exclusive programming should be considered a compliment (not a complement) to your product. That is to say, it is better to use exclusive programming, whether it is an event or individual talent, to showcase what your product has to offer. For example, Azubu used a featured called “Live Overlay Statistics” during their LCS World’s broadcast, an event that was on both Twitch, Youtube Gaming and Azubu. The response about it were positive, highlighting Azubu’s uniqueness and even spurring discovery of its other great feature: “Live Rewind”. This kind of momentum can lead a platform to stride past its competitors, so long as they keep the momentum up. That momentum can be in the form of any opportunity: showmatches, Q&A with a developer for a game launched (either indie or AAA), exclusive surrounding content of an event or receiving item drops from watching an epic play if you join your game account with your broadcasting account. It’s a question of leveraging your relationships with other company entities and providing something unique for a curious audience. These incentive-based invitations need to be unique, but also consistent to remind an audience. What can a platform do to better fulfill a viewer’s desire to be there, whether playing a game or attending an event? What can a live-streaming service facilitate to broadcasters so they can be a part of this moment?

Taking advantage of what makes live-streaming unique: being immediate and thus enabling engagement between broadcaster and viewer – empowering both – will lead a platform above others and ultimately win the streaming war. As esports and gaming moulds itself as content to play and watch, the platforms to establish themselves as networks will become the default places for gaming entertainment.

2 Years, 100 million: Dota Builds Project Overview

This is a continuation of last year’s article: “1 year, 40 million: Dota Builds Project Overview”

It’s been two years, well, actually two and a half year as this project started by in February 2013. But the project has been collecting data of its growth since October 2013. A lot has changed since the 40 million mark/1-year anniversary and where we are today. Growth has skyrocketed, my understanding of the game has expanded but my time has also shriveled; straining updates and ability to stay on top of changes.

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For those new to some of Valve’s Dota 2 features, back in February of 2013, Valve announced a feature called Hero Builds: guides that can be accessed directly in-game and during a match, you are suggested what items to buy and what skills to level. For each selected hero, you were given explanatory prompts that made learning a hero or the game incredibly easy, accessible directly during matches without pausing or needing another window open. Overall, it was a part of Valve’s approach towards approaching Dota 2 easier alongside their other features, such as coaching and their tutorial.

Today, we celebrate reaching over 100 million subscriptions across 145 guides (101,613,471 as of October 14th, 2015) and a full of year of statistics to inspect and analyze.

 

40 MILLION TO 100 MILLION – A YEAR OF STATISTICS


As a summary for this portion, we’re still growing. In fact, consistently 4 million a month since Late-May 2014 (19 months consecutively). Total number of Hero builds have remained smaller in expansion (5 new hero builds compared to 34 of 2013 to 2014). Reasons for this will be explained further.

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After the initial growth to Oct. 2013, there has been a steady growth rate throughout each month of 4 to 5 million new subscriptions a month. Individual guides hitting 1 million unique have skyrocketed in 2015

 

Not including the 5 new hero builds planned (Arc Warden and Pit Lord minimum), we’re expecting an additional 109 million (2.1 million minimum unique) new subscriptions in the next coming full year (210 million total). It is assumed that Valve intends to implement a more robust guide system, potentially expanding the subscribing userbase (estimated currently at 1 to 2.7 million depending on the hero).

As opposed to last year, fluctuation of new subscribers is relatively unchanged regardless of a new patch release or a major event. Monthly growth has not risen beyond 5 million or dipping below 4 million. Largest growth seen is when a new hero is released such as Techies, Winter Wyvern or Oracle. What is more remarkable is both the average subscription number per hero build has risen from 300,000 to 700,000 – further emphasizing consistent growth for the past year.

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The average number of subscribers has shifted from being around 300,000 to now 700,000 in a year’s time.

 

In addition, specific hero builds hitting their own unique 1 million active subscriber base underlines that consistent growth across the board; heightening the average and displaying a regular consistent group of users relying on all builds within the project; not just one in particular. From 2014 to 2015, over 23 new hero builds have hit 1 million unique subscribers; something unseen from 2013 to 2014 (only 1 hero build has reached its million unique). 14 more hero builds are looking to hit 1 million before the end of 2015, bringing the total to 28.
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Without accounting for any future hero builds, we can hope for over 200 million total subscriptions; about double of this year’s current total.

 

That consistent growth is met across the board, but at a slower pace as the leading competitors: Greyshark, Purge and eXplosion still show signs of doubling their user-base. This is both a good thing and an issue as these hero build creators have not updated their builds (with the exception of Greyshark, who continues to just create new guides) since 2014 at the latest. This is an inherent flaw with the system that neither rewards nor punishes users for not creating/updating their Hero Builds. Another flaw with the system is that it still promotes guides that were ’early enough to get the worm’, deterring new guide creators from putting in the effort to support their work (since it may never receive enough exposure/ratings to be integrated within the Dota 2 client).

On the subject of ratings, user ratings have been marginally on the decline from 30% last year to 27% this year (despite the average nearly doubling from 99,000 to 200,000).

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Both eXplosion and Purge are inactive, however Greyshark has recently restarted in creating new builds, never updating his old ones. His growth has matched our own.

 

MOTIVATION AND CHALLENGES


When I first started this project, it was both for educational purposes and frustration with the current player base. 7 years ago, I relied heavily on the PlayDotA Guides to break into the scene and now the project is taking that mantle and ensuring a consistency that is reliable; as reliant as I was to the PlayDotA community then.

coments1

It remains a strong motivator to read past and new comments about how the project has helped people get into the game, Dota 2.

 

As of late, it has been difficult to find time to keep up with all that is changing with the game and how it affects heroes both coming into each new meta and those who get left behind. With my career still taking a good portion of my time (incl. travel and day-to-day expectations), the guides have taken a backseat unfortunately. Thankfully, there are still proactive members in the community giving me feedback and reminding me when things are becoming dated or flat-out wrong, but the changes and initiative is still spear-headed myself; both due to how hero builds can only be changed by the original author, but also a lack of consistent help to share the workload.

In terms of challenges, it remains the same. Valve’s lack of attention to key bugs within the guides makes updating them a real chore. From having to publish and confirm each hero build individually, to having specific guides completely bug out, making them impossible to fix (e.g Beastmaster, until a user created a script to correct it thankfully). I have been trying to keep this dev.dota bug report up for visibility for the past five months (with issues dating as far back as Feb. 2013) but Valve’s inattentiveness to the system continues to bog down following-through on interest (for both current guide creators as well as new ones).

In terms of work load, the hero builds have expanded to the point of it consuming either my evenings or mornings. To break it down:

  • Daily: 2-3 hours for feedback collection, evaluations, application and, if possible, testing.

  • Weekly: 28-35 hours demanded if a crucial part of the project becomes dated: for example, updating hero text for all heroes/items/abilities, approximately: 188,500 words to be rewritten in a month).

  • Patch Release: 9 to 24 hours (within two days) depending on its size, the work ranges in a two-day period, with the following two weeks’ time reaching up to 28 to 35 hours as the meta rolls out and standardizes.

 

Time constraints remains a challenge in my life since 2014 and also a reason why the system keeps the “Lane/Jungle/Middle” categorization to reduce the number of builds created. I am also hard-capping the number of hero builds under my account to 150 to avoid being overwhelmed.

 

SETTING POLICIES


Last year, we underlined expectations from our targeted audience ranging from “trusting and appreciating their ability for choice” to “mixing popular playstyles into expected builds”. The project has expanded on that and has incorporated key polices to ensure consistency in quality and direction. They aren’t necessarily rules in that there is as much flexibility and consideration in them as the heroes’ playstyle themselves. Overall, I try to maintain and execute them when receiving conflicting feedback that needs a definitive direction.

 

Text:

  1. General descriptions must outline a hero’s role/strengths and one line for their weakness.

 

  1. Tooltips are currently being updated to almost always include a “cheat-sheet” in the ability’s pop-up textbox to help players learn how to be effective with a hero.

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  1. Tooltips avoid repeating anything written from the item itself and aims more to explain the overall goal of purchasing X/Y item or ability.

 

 

Skill and Item Builds:

  1. Initially, hero skill builds were accounted for how difficult a hero was played, thus their skill build would be leveled in a way that was easier to understand or execute for the hero (Storm Spirit, Meepo, Invoker). That’s been changed to how a hero is just traditionally played instead of the best entryway to play a hero. The balance between deciding what new subscribers wanted and what purposes the hero build were for made this an especially difficult decision.

 

  1. Different tabs of an item build have different purposes and order:
    • Early Game and Core Items are placed in sequential order of purchase.
    • Situational Items are items intended to be bought before, during or after the Core Items sequence.
    • Situational and Extension Items are ordered by cost and not by priority due to too much difference in opinion and fluctuation in how fluctuating matches end up being. Users are to read Extension Items as choices depending on what’s needed.
    • The Luxury Items tab seldom appears in a guide, only when a hero is especially diverse late-game and there is a dual-stage priority in the items suggested.

 

  1. ‘Safety items’ are always promoted (Stout Shield [for melee heroes], Black King Bar and Magic Wand). This is due to the common issue of players often skipping smaller items to go for their Core. It’s important to instill good practices when choosing which items to purchase.

 

Structure:

  1. All hero builds are built under the assumption that the player is doing well (and if not, an item in the Situational Tab should alleviate initial challenges faced). The assumption is based on confidence and reassurance that the player is playing more comfortably thanks to relying on a guide as well as the instructions concisely written out both in the order of item-purchase sequence as well as the helpful text that pops up.
  1. Dual builds that was promoted last year, have nearly all been removed and a singular build has been kept in-place.
  1. All hero builds are updated immediately within 48 hours of a patch released despite the patch going relatively untested throughout the public. The reason for this is two-fold:
    • I want to remain consistent in being prompt with updates.
    • I want to avoid users going to other highly-rated builds when there is no guarantee the build creator accepts outside feedback nor may continuously update their builds as the patch further evolves.
  1. In that same vein, I create guides for newly-released heroes that can be played in multiple positions, despite only one being traditionally played. This is a question of covering all my bases to avoid losing
  1. If a hero build is in a position that is no longer played or is suboptimal, we either repurpose the build, swap it with what is currently being played or simply delete it. Examples of this include:

Some guides are maintained despite being dated in terms of playstyle (Ancient Apparition – Middle). A reason very few guides are removed, despite low numbers or being suboptimal in the current meta, is because it is difficult for newer guides created to gain any ratings, thus will not be found in-game. For example, the Leshrac – Middle guide has been around since late September 2014, but did not gain popularity until June 2015. That’s a challenge with the system and removing a guide only to have it be potentially played in the future makes deleting, then returning, guides an annoying process.

Another example is the Lifestealer – Lane guide which has been around since February 2014, but has not remotely reached popularity of its Jungle counterpart (230,000 to 1,600,000 respectively). We have not swapped the two builds because their difference in numbers is far too great and may alienate subscribing players. A final policy I try to ensure is not to force players in telling them what is the ideal way of playing a hero, but redirect them to the most suited. For some previous hero builds, it was simply unplayable or contrary to how a hero is played (e.g. Legion Commander – Jungle), for others; it is just a question of preference (both for the player and his matched teammates).

 

THANK YOUS


As always, the project remains a prideful part of me. No matter my situation in life, I think about this project every day and it fills me with a satisfaction that I’ve completed something and followed-through with it. This initiative started small and ambitious, but has now exploded as a beacon of trust and reference for newer players. Whether it was meeting professional players who recognized and commended my work (which was a huge boost of confidence) or day-to-day talks with public players who reach out to help in any way possible, it feels good to remain an integral part of the community and a direct contributor to a game that’s been with me through some real alienating parts of my life.

Pro Gamer using Guides

Arteezy trying out Hero Builds for the first time to play Pudge. He did not like the distraction of ability icons flashing when leveling up

 

Of course, this project would not have succeeded with as much reverence without the knowledge and feedback from these users and more (if you have made a suggestion in the past and did not receive credit, please let me know). These users come on a near weekly basis to give their thoughts and opinions on how a build is structured, build and communicated to hundreds of thousands of new users and without their instruction, this project would not be as accepted as it is now.

Thank you – TheYango, Doomblaze, Dead, Sn0_Man, maru~, a slow decay, lazyfailkid, ChrisXIV, Synapse, Cragus, Chaosquo, Vaelone, Jetaap, Rayeth, Comeh, Nevuk, Firebolt145, CatNzHat, Skamtet, Whole, Pokebunny, cecek, idonthinksobro, Tobberoth, LonelyCat, Coil1, Decency, LuckoftheIrish, SpiritoftheTunA, Alurr, BluemoonSC, tehh4ck3r, Logo, Buckyman, BluemoonSC, Belisarius, LemonWarlord, SKC, CosmicSpiral, Laserist, Evilfatsh1t, Nevuk, ahswtini, Velzi, nas, Get In The Robot, Harbinger_of_Llamas, eieio, Thetwinmasters, Doctorjoke, Pankra.

Sincere thanks to the following communities and its staff: Team Liquid/LiquidDota, /r/Dota2 and /r/LearnDota2, Steam Community
Dota 2 Hero Builds Main Hub
Twitter: @TorteDeLini
Steam Profile: Torte de Lini