Wrooks: Lets start with, Can you tell me a little about yourself for anyone who might not know you?(gaming and dota History)
Captain Planet: well I guess my gaming started with Prince of Persia (the original game). that’s where my enjoyment of computer games began. Growing up I didn’t have that much, since we never owned a console of any kind. Boom, SimCity and Age of Empires II were my childhood. I first heard of Dota about…6 years ago now.
My first WCIII custom map, however, was Enfo’s Team Survival. DotA came a bit later. My first ever match I randomed Necrolyte and bought 3 Plainswalkers Cloaks and boots. Mostly I played vs bots because, having only Mac computers at home and a pirated copy of WCIII, there was no Battle.net or 3rd party client I could use. that was more or less the norm until I got my own laptop that I partitioned between OS X and Windows, so I was able to utilise Garena and Dotalicious. that was about 2 years ago
3 years. 3 years ago was when I really started playing WCIII online. I didn’t play much, but I kept following updates and whatnot. my Dota playing really took off when I was offered a beta key by IceFrog himself. this was in November 2011. I played 30 hours of Dota 2 over a single weekend and since then I’ve played most days. I play other games as well, like Skyrim and Neverwinter Nights, Minecraft, Halo, Age of Empires, and others
that’s more or less my gaming history
Wrooks: You said you’ve been playing for 6+ years does that mean that you were on dota-allstars?
Captain Planet: indeed I was. for all 87 forum posts I made. I think I joined DotA-Allstars in mid to late 2008, so I was only there for about 6 months before playdota.com came along. I did a lot of suggestions and guides lurking, though. a LOT of lurking
Wrooks: Lurking is good you learn what to say and what not to
Captain Planet: I was a slow learner 😛
Wrooks: i see
Captain Planet: I know there’d be a few who’d say I’m still a slow learner 😛
Wrooks: You said you were invited to play dota 2 by icefrog does this mean you’re on the beta team?
Captain Planet: no, I got my invite via PM on the forums from IceFrog. I think at the time there were, maybe, 600-700 people in the beta and only 3 servers. 4. US W/E, Europe and China
Wrooks: Can you tell me a little about your username and the history behind it?
Captain Planet: well my usernames have gone through many iterations. as many on the forums may remember it was “The_Juggernaut” then “The][nquisitoR” Captain Planet I chose because Captain Planet is awesome but also we’ve only got this one planet, so his message resonates with me
The][nquisitoR was a reference to an episode from the british sci-fi comedy “Red Dwarf”. it was a timetravelling robot who visited every single person throughout history who’ve ever lived and judged whether or not they’d lived a worthwhile life. those who he judged had wasted their lives were replaced with “the sperms who never made it”, to quote the show
as for “The_Juggernaut”, well that was because Juggernaut was my favourite DotA hero at the time 😛
Wrooks: So with that in mind do you say your very intuitive?
Captain Planet: am I intuitive? well….my mind can be a strange place, even for me at times. so I guess I could say “not always am I intuitive. but I try to be reasonable as much as possible
Wrooks: I was looking at your disease cloud item and was thinking that you do come up with some strange ideas. Not as strange as others though. It fits dota though atleast in my opinion so its not totally random
Captain Planet: that’s one of my oldest ideas. I’ve since moved on to others that are less…out there
Wrooks: can you link it?
Captain Planet: though I try to maintain as much originality as possible http://www.playdota.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72422#post394455
you’ll have to ignore about the first page of comments. since they’re all about a VERY retarded idea that got removed and remade into something completely different namely “ranged cleave damage”. I was very wet behind my balance ears and didn’t know much about item CONCEPT balance
which I guess makes the first page of reading a good laugh for anyone wanting to poke fun at a nooby suggestion 🙂
Wrooks: icefrog took it somewhat serious we have valdmirs and aquila which seem to be concepts taken from your idea
Captain Planet: well Vlads has been in DotA for longer than I’ve been playing. personally I didn’t see aquila as anything related to what I’ve done, but I guess the idea of low cost aura items is more popular than it used to be
what with the advent of Aquila and Drums
Wrooks: When did you start visiting the suggestions forum?
Captain Planet: right from the start. I still remember when the entirety of the suggestions forum was 14 threads long. that’s a while ago now, though. that was a time when you had to label what your suggestion was in the title i.e. [HERO] [STR-SCRG] or [ITEM] [ITEM NAME]
just so people knew what it was you were trying to post. it was a bit of a mess. the admins got their act together, though and we have what we have now. by no means is it perfect and there’s lots of room for improvement, but its workable
Wrooks: if you were to improve that system of how the suggestions forums work how would you change it?
Captain Planet: that’s a very open ended question. my views are also probably somewhat…controversial and time costly as well both to implement and to police but a while ago I wrote up a series of proposals that would enforce a pre-post filter much like how Balance Debates used to operate. each thread, before being made visible to other members, would be moderated by forum staff and either approved or rejected based on a number of principles. I’ve still got it on my PD.com blog. essentially it was a quality control system aimed at reducing the number of useless/ridiculous suggestions mostly in the hero suggestions forum “quantity is no substitute for quality” kind of thing
Wrooks: Suggesting is fun and all but have you ever considered any other parts of the dota scene such as the proscene, lore making, shoutcasting or video making? In other words, Dota has many other areas in its world a player could be a part of, what brought you to the suggestions forum?
Captain Planet: I’m not very good at making lore in that sense. the hardest thing I find in my own hero suggestions was writing the backstory. I try to follow the pro-scene as best I can. when I have time I’ll catch up on replays in the Dota 2 client or watch vods from dotacinema.com. a friend and I did some practice casts with replays a little while back and they went pretty well but having the terrible internet that Australia has, streaming is more or less a no-go. I *am* part of a team, but it’s completely non serious so I have no professional aspirations, either.
Wrooks: Lets get down to business, What heroes do you consider to be needing of a serious change?
Captain Planet: well, first and foremost and this will come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen me in DotA Chat: Treant
Leech Seed is a rubbish and unfitting skill for both his lore, his hero concept and from a balance point of view there is nowhere in fantasy lore where you will find Treants who have abilities that direct harm others, aside from when you make them made and they go pounding you with their limbs
but that aside most of his problems arose simply due to the fact that a few people complained he was boring and wanted him to be more active. which is also completely counter to a Treant’s nature. just listen to Rooftrellen’s voicework in Dota 2. nothing active or offensive about it Leech Seed is a massive balancing issue as well his invis has been nerfed into the ground to accommodate it and his armour has been dumbed down. his ulti is, actually, pretty decent because it has a large AoE, a good duration and is excellent in counter-initiation if used properly. I think he needs to be balanced around a 0 damage output concept if he is to become as stable as he was prior to v6.68
I think Drow needs a complete rework. she’s a useless hero who’s good for nothing else other than pubstomping. she’s seen less professional use than Spirit Breaker. I think Crystal Maiden needs some minor buffs. +10 to her base MS would be enough, i think. I think Spirit Breaker’s Charge of Darkness needs to have its Magic Immunity feature returned, because one lucky right click from Sniper and BAM no more charge. I think his aghanim’s upgrade needs to be incorporated into his STANDARD ultimate. when I mentioned Charge of Darkness, you wouldn’t become magic immune immediately. the way it USED to work was you would get faster the further you charged and when you hit maximum movement speed you then became magic immune. with the hero turning a very dark hue (hence the name). there aren’t that many heroes, actually, who are in serious need of a big change
Drow, Treant and Spirit Breaker are probably the only 3 I can think of off the top of my head (although the changes I’d like to see on SB are more balance changes than wholesale remakes)
Wrooks: if you were to keep anything the same about drow what would it be?
Captain Planet: hmmm probably Frost Arrows. their simplicity allows them to be incorporated into any number of potential remakes while maintaining her theme as an icy ranger. thier simplicity makes them flexible in the creation of something new. extra effects can be added. inter-skill synergy with any debuffs the arrows might place. there are lots of possibilities with such a simple ability
Wrooks: Concept wise though would you keep her squishy if she had a total skill remake?
Captain Planet: almost certainly. you pick any RPG or similar game and you’ll find that rangers are squishy, stealthy and deal plenty of ranged damage. they’re also relatively light on their fight, or mobile if you prefer. these, I feel, should be at the core of a god drow remake
but again, that’s only personal opinion
Wrooks: Though the problem with that is that ranger’s sometimes have pets for comfort instead of humans and are not always archers or ranged attackers
Captain Planet: well yes indeed. my current Neverwinter Nights character is a bit like that. however again I say, those criterion were merely my personal opinion. I guess then one could say “ranger” is the wrong word to describe what I’m imagining
Wrooks: Frost archer?
Captain Planet: well that’s the general idea, but then when one is going to flavour “ranger” sounds better than the generic “frost archer”, doesn’t it? it brings with it connotations and images of such things
This may be an unpopular thing to say, but I think that Ashe, from League of Legends is a far better hero (or champion) than Drow has ever been in Dota 2
better design concept
yet an almost identical theme; yet an almost identical theme
Wrooks: We haven’t covered this yet, but what are your general ideas on Hon and Lol?
Captain Planet: I played HoN a bit back during the closed beta. I got roflstomped by both my friends and the UI but UI is something one can adjust to. I didn’t like the visual concepts they applied to some heroes (Spectre was one that really grinds my gears). I think both games have their place
HoN appears to be more…innovative. both in hero design and new mechanics. their click-and-drag casing mechanic is very very cool and I think a few Dota skills would greatly benefit from it. Dark Seer’s Wall and Invoker’s Ice Wall being 2 I can think of.
I think LoL is a lot more of a casual-yet-competitive game. in that there appears to be less of a middle ground between the low and high ends of the player spectrum (though that may just be from my personal experience). I also think the lack of a spectator and replay system in LoL is a massive problem
it hinders player connectedness with the competitive scene of the game. reducing it to only VoDs which I feel have a sort of glass wall effect. in that you can see what’s going on, but at no point do you feel connected to it. its just something thats happening. whereas live spectating feels a lot more involved
especially in Dota 2, where you can literally follow every mouse click a player makes
Wrooks: what is the “click-and-drag” casing mechanic like?
Captain Planet: essentially, you click a location, and then drag along in the direction you want the skill to be executed. so if you want Wall of Replica to be cast perpendicular to your hero, you would click in front of the hero and then drag either left or right before releasing the mouse. Equally. if you want to cast it vertically in front of you, then you’d click and then drag away from your hero. this would allow for much more accurate castings of such skills. as they would no longer rely on the angle at which your hero is facing when you cast them
Wrooks: that essentially could make people lazy though and require less positioning
Captain Planet: not really, it opens up for better positioning opportunities. so you could close off the Roshan pit with an ice wall or wall of replica far more accurately. you could close off escape attempts from the low ground. you could defend your rax much better. because your ice wall now closes off the ramp
it also raises the skill ceiling on those abilities by improving the casting mechanic, you open up new possibilities for what can be done with the ability. you’re giving more control to the player but at the same time, since extra action is required to cast ir well
lazy players would be HURT more by this suggestion
rather than helped by it. hence why it raises the skill ceiling. the floor has been brought up as well. you would need a bit more skill to cast it, but at the same time, there is so much more you can do with it
Wrooks: I see your point, I was just thinking that its harder as it is now and requires more skill in where you face/are at and planning
Captain Planet: that depends by forcing the player to actively decide what direction they are going to cast the skill in. they have to think about it a bit more
that extra thought is rewarded by the extra control you have over what you do. no longer will a sudden and unexpected SURPRISE CREEP SPAWN, for instance, ruin your currently facing direction when casting from beside your raxes. it also means your casting isn’t held to ransom by Sticky Napalm or anything else that rapes turn rate speed
risk vs reward
yes there are situations where this becomes “easier/lazier”, however the skill floor has been raised. so it’s also much eaiser to botch this casting mechanic. that it was before and that’s why I think its a worthwhile mechanic
Wrooks: I think what dota could do is add a time limit like you have a certain amount of milliseconds before it stays in the position your trying to achieve or it gets stuck their.
Captain Planet: that feels…broken. forcing you to stand still for longer, if I’m reading you correctly
Wrooks: no its like your dragging is limited
Captain Planet: oh, so you have a short time limit to get the dragging done?
Captain Planet: well any good player would chose their casting point and direction before they reach their destination so I don’t see that being an issue. but it should be longer than a few miliseconds.
probably 0.5 to 1 second. if a limit is to be imposed. personally, you shouldn’t need to have to have a time limit. once you’ve clicked down. it should be up to you. when you lift the mouse button
after all the longer you take, the worse it will be for your positioning anyway
Wrooks: how so? you’ll have to explain for anyone who hasn’t used it
Captain Planet: well if you’re trying to initiate a fight. you can’t spend 2 or 3 seconds getting the angle right. you have to get it right within the space of under a second
any longer and either the initiation has failed or you’re now completely out of position and going to be snaffled up by the other team’s carry for some delicious delicious gold
Wrooks: Let’s take a break from dota suggestions. You said earlier that you chose your names because of some shows what other media are you interested in? (Shows/Movie series/ comics/anime/ etc)
Captain Planet: well there’s quite a few TV shows and anime: Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, The West Wing, Doctor Who, Elementary, Sherlock, Red vs Blue to name a few TV Shows
Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, When They Cry, Dragon Ball Kai, to name some anime
I don’t read comics, never have
but I enjoy a good book. I would have to say my all time favourite book is hard to place but Frankenstein is up there, The Hobbit, Sabriel, Temple. I really like Matthew Reilly’s books
they’re action packed and a reall blast to read and at the end of the day, I do love a good comedy
shows like Red Dwarf and Yes, Minister are 2 of my absolute favourites
Wrooks: what types of music do you listen to?
Captain Planet: I do listen to all sorts of music, from game soundtracks to anime soundtracks, power metal
I have some by Atlas Plug (most famous for Let Truth be Known, the theme to the Dota Cinema top 10 weekly videos)
I’ve got a whole bunch of invidiual songs I found on YouTube. most of it cover versions of other songs but mostly its power metal and symphonic metal, bands like Nightwish, Epica, Kamelot, Blind Guardian, etc
Wrooks: Have you listened to apocalytica?
Captain Planet: No, I haven’t, I tend to steer clear of death/black metal as well, and I don’t have anything by Iron Maiden or Metalica
Wrooks: Apocalytica is a symphonic band that uses cellos, four I think to be precise
Captain Planet: I shall have to look into them
Wrooks: its more of rock though for genre
Captain Planet: rock music via classical intruments is always interesting to listen to
Wrooks: if you introduce yourself to any of their songs I would suggest Path. version one over two
Captain Planet: I’ll take a note of that then, thanks for the tip
Wrooks: Taking breaks are good but getting back on track is a good thing, In your dota suggestions and reviews what do you do to stay on track?
Captain Planet: you mean to keep a suggestion in keeping with the hero’s theme/game’s theme? I guess that comes down to your own judgement
“Is what you’re doing in keeping with the principles and ideals of the game?” “Is it in keeping with something that would be recognisable as a hero with the name of the hero you’re remaking?”
I see it as a constant process of critical assessment over what you’re doing and where you’re going with your suggestion and elements you feel don’t quite fit should be pointed out in the suggestion as being such and ask for help in correcting problems you have trouble with
after all it IS a community forum, so feedback and constructive suggestions are, and should be, its life blood
Wrooks: What is your recipe for creating a suggestion?
Captain Planet: an idea …an idea that’s been assessed and constructed. anyone can have an idea but to take that idea and flesh it out into something that could, potentially, fit the game is another thing entirely
and that comes back to what I said earlier about a quality filter for the suggestions forum
it’s probably going to come across as elitist, but I strongly believe that if the suggestions forum is to be taken seriously by the game’s content devs, then the quality of the ideas in the forum has to be increased
I will say, though, that I’m pretty sure most of my own early hero ideas would’ve been rejected by my own standards that I laid out in my blog 😛
ideas I didn’t post, mind you and that’s the key. people should try to think critically analyse their own ideas and whether or not they are truly worth posting. I sat on my drow remake for about 4 months before posting it
you need to decide if you think what you’re posting is good enough to be a viable and realistic suggestion
Wrooks: Do you think edjucating people is a better way about implementing your plan such as my interviews and Hiveworkshop’s Programming classes?
Captain Planet: I don’t think, at this point, WCIII-specific education is needed. what’s needed is for more people to read the fantastic content-creation guides available on the playdota forums
there are many very very good guides that would help people with their suggestions. if it were possible
I would make people read all of them before being allowed to post. I wish I’d had all those guides when I was posting my first suggestions because they are just SO DAMN GOOD
the guides. not my suggestions :P. the hero creation guides. guides on originality. on balance. on a whole range of things. I think people just need to read more before launching into a suggestion
Wrooks: So you agree with my suggestion? That some form of education is good for the forums? The point wasn’t warcraft 3 classes but a real time lecture/ question/ answers on suggestion creation
Captain Planet: well I guess so. Ues… yes*… I would agree that some kind of content suggestion education is vital for a healthy suggestion forum
Wrooks: Do you think Hero Guides and Commentaries are good for creating suggestions?
Captain Planet: do you mean guides for currently implemented heroes?
Captain Planet: hmmm
Wrooks: for creating new heroes or items
Captain Planet: I guess if the guides have in-depth analysis of the hero’s playstyle and ability combos then quite possibly, yes because they show how the guts of the hero work. it gives an idea of what can be done with a hero, their limitations, their combinations with other heroes and items
however not all guides offer really in-depth discussion and theorycrafting on the hero they cover so I guess I would visit hero guides after reading through the content guides in the suggestions forum
Wrooks: What are some of the thoughts that run through your mind when you review a suggestion?
Captain Planet: Hmmmm, when possible it’s best to look at the concept
if you rubbish on a suggestion for numbers alone, you’re doing it wrong. numbers can be balanced. what should be looked at most are the concepts and ideas. are they original? if not, do they do what they do in an original way? are they interesting?
could you, or a significant number of other people, have fun with the hero? or item? or remake?
Wrooks: What do you think of the shaper’s challenge?
Captain Planet: I like it, It feels like the CTH contests have run their course
but the Shaper’s Challenge seems to be getting lots of decent content and lots of participation
but at the same time it’s not just “oh look…an other hero suggestion”: each week its an interesting set of challenges and an equally interesting set of responses. I just hope it lasts as long as the CTH contests have
tbh I’m rather sad about the direction the CTH contests have gone in with serial host AFKness and each contest dragging on and on. they’ve lost the luster and importance they once had. I hope it can be revived, but for now the Shaper’s Challenge seems to have seemlessly stepped into the void
Wrooks: Last question, what hero model would you change in dota 2?
Captain Planet: ooooh, interesting…hmmm…I think Bloodseeker should’ve been a bit more legacy in his design…I think Storm is by far the worst model. a happy fat british lightning man with a sombrero. is not my idea of “Storm Spirit”
Wrooks: lol..storm spirit in dota 1 was so badass.
Captain Planet: I’m also hoping that Pit Lord is as badass as he is in DotA. Pit Lord was my favourite DotA hero. both in model and playstyle
so I have both high hopes and a lot of apprehension over his addition to Dota 2. let’s just hope Valve get it right
Wrooks: Well its been alot of questions, lets end with a thank you for letting me interview you.
Captain Planet: no problem :)….I didn’t even realise it had been 2 hours. no kidding. it felt like alot less time went by. good luck with any future interviews you do =D