Time Management and Decision Making
In an effort to make this guide more manageable, I will be discussing time management and how it relates to decision making. Other types of decision making are outside of the scope of this thread
Ask a player to name five traits a pro player needs, and you'll get a huge list of varying things. Seldom, though, will anyone include a proper grasp of timing. The ability to manage your time is a subject that is very rarely discussed, but an important subject nonetheless. Few things can turn a game around quicker than a mistimed baron or a player not participating in a fight. You can consider this guide my humble attempt to bring this issue to the forefront.
What is time management?
Time management is defined in this guide as using a specific amount of time to do an action that is the most beneficial for your team. For example, would getting Kongor be good, or would pushing a tower be more advantageous? Should I be farming right now, or would going with my team to defend middle be better?
Why is time management important?
In HoN or any DotA-style game you have a very limited timeframe for achieving objectives. As such, appropriating your time in the most effective fashion is crucial to your success. If you are a carry standing around mid lane with your 4 teammates waiting for their 5 players to FINALLY push across, you are wasting time and therefore wasting your potential. If you're sitting in the top Hellbourne jungle trying to gank two tower hugging Legion players, you are wasting time and allowing the other 2/3 of the map to do as they please.
That being said, however, being time-effective is worthless if you are not good at maximizing efficiency. Being able to last hit/gank/push properly is leaps and bounds more important than properly choosing which of those to do. That is not to say that timing isn't important, it just isn't as important as having proper fundamentals.
How does time management affect decision making?
Killing Kongor is a great idea. Pushing towers is a great idea. Sitting back to farm is a great idea. Ganking is a great idea. The problem with all these great ideas is that there is a time and most importantly an opportunity cost for doing this. If you are ganking, that is time not spent farming. If you are pushing, that is time not spent farming. If you are killing Kongor and you aren't safe, you could lose Kongor and even the game. Making decisions blindly is how poor players fall behind. Making decisions within the context of both time and the game is how good players get ahead.
HoN (or any DotA-style game) is a gold-driven game. In 9 games out of 10, the team with a higher GPM wins. Except in very specific cases, your decisions should be focused on achieving a higher GPM than the opposing team, be it through farming or preventing the enemy from farming. If at any point you are not either farming (or allowing your carry to safely farm), you should be attempting to prevent their carry from farming or threatening an important objective
When to Farm
The most challenging part of managing your time well is knowing when to farm and when to fight. It is common to see new players wasting time not farming by trying to roam needlessly, and ending the game with very few items. Regardless of how solid your fundamentals are, a weak grasp of time management prevents you from contributing to your team.
Farming is the easiest and most effective way to increase your GPM. The skills of last-hitting are beyond the scope of this guide, but it is of the utmost importance to make sure you secure every single last hit without using any hero skills. This is even more important if you are alone farming creeps.
It is common to see players wandering around aimlessly in lower level games. When each side has 5 heroes sitting mid, splitting XP and gold for 3-4 minutes, each side loses out on two lanes and two full jungles worth of gold and XP. It is poor decision-making and poor time management at the most extreme level.
When to Gank
The wonderful part of HoN is that deaths matter. Killing your opponent has a myriad of advantages. It removes gold from them, removes their ability to farm more gold (probably the larger of the two), removes their ability to gain XP, and removes their ability to participate in anything for the duration of their respawn timer. One gank may not have a very large effect, but two or three ganks puts a hero so far behind they are worthless for the next few minutes, giving your team a gargantuan window to make something happen
Ganking comes at a disadvantage as well, though. In the time spent ganking, you are eschewing farming. If your hero is a hero that relies heavily on farm, it is probably a better idea to sit and farm. If your hero is item independent, however, feel free to relieve the enemy of some gold. Be aware, though, that you also put yourself at greater risk to die yourself, bringing with it all the penalties.
In order to gank well and effectively, you need to stack as many positive factors in your favor as possible. Clear wards, grab runes, count enemies, bring friends. The idea is to kill the enemy carry, but delaying his farm for 30 seconds is okay too. The most important part is to not die.
When to Push
Understanding when to push is a concept that eludes many low level players, leading to five minute stand-offs with all 10 players and neither side giving until someone finally gets caught and a fight breaks out.
Pushing is difficult. You are pushing vs 5 players plus a very powerful tower. Because pushing is so difficult, you need an advantage. You need a big item. A portal key, a shrunken head, an astrolabe. You need a big cooldown. You need an elemental void, voodoo wards, eruption. You need a big gank. You need to pick off their carry or their initiator. You need something to give you an advantage over the other team.
Pushing a tower also applies pressure to the enemy team. A team being forced to defend a tower cannot gank. A team being forced to defend one land cannot push out other lanes. A team being forced to defend gives up all map control and everything that comes with it.
That being said, each push is different. Pushing T1 towers are the easiest, T2 gets slightly harder, but the difficulty ramps up exponentially at the base towers. Your team must put itself out of position to attempt an assault on their base, meaning you are in an even worse position and must have an even larger advantage to break through. Many games have been lost due to a poor T3 push.
Mistiming a push is catastrophic. Losing the fight, whether it be through getting picked off, being counter-initiated, sloppy fighting, or some other reason, swings the GPM tide very heavily towards the enemy. The suddenly gain map control. They suddenly gain their jungle. They suddenly gain Kongor. They suddenly gain the ability to counter-push.
When to Kongor
Kongor gives you a really big advantage. You get a lot of experience, you get a lot of gold, one hero gets to revive (effectively giving you 6 players), and you get a piece of cheese if you killed him often enough.
That said, Kongor is the largest culprit of lost games in lower leagues. They pick off a hero or two and immediately rush to kill Kongor. With lackluster damage, they struggle against Kongor until big bad Krakken comes in and cleans up shop.
Kongor takes a big advantage to even attempt. Your team must be stronger than their team because you are sacrificing positioning. You need good ward coverage to see the enemy team, and even if you see them coming it is difficult to fight. If you do end up losing the fight, you give them the token (and possibly cheese), the experience, and the global gold.
Kongor is extremely risky but ridiculously rewarding. The most advantageous time to attempt Kongor is when you just convincingly won a teamfight and have enough "juice" left over to kill him.
Farm or Gank?
In ninety-nine percent of cases, you want to farm. If a low HP hero comes your way and it take virtually no effort to kill them, feel free. If your team is coming to gank someone in your lane, by all means, join in. But in virtually every other case that a kill is not handed to you on a silver platter, farm. Farm something. Farm creeps. Farm the jungle. Farm ancients. Go to base and buy an item or two.
In lieu of ganking, the important decision for a carry to make is "Do I TP to join up with my team to defend?" Before you have very strong core items, the best advice is to wait. Continue to farm (just auto attack if you can't adequate pay attention to both). Most of the time your tp in will have very little effect on the battle, but in some cases it is worth more to you to tp in and clean up a kill or two. Unless you are absolutely guaranteed a kill, though, it is best to save your TP and continue to farm.Support
Seeing as you won't be farming much, the more pertinent question is "Do I stay near my carry or do I gank other lanes?"
In the very early game, it is always advisable to make sure your carry is safe. Having a solo carry vs anybody is a bad deal. You want your carry to have the safest farming experience possible. You do this by denying the other players XP and farm. You do this by making sure every route to killing your carry is in view of a ward.
Once you are sure your carry is untouchable, gank. You don't actually have to kill anything for your gank to work. The more pressure on their carry, the less pressure on yours. The more people at the top of the map, the less people will come bottom to mess with your carry.
Be advised, though. Always carry a TP. As soon as your carry is in even the slighest amount of trouble, TP. 9/10 you won't actually fight anyone. The threat of one or two TPs coming in is usually enough to deter most ganks. If you actually do have to fight, prioritize saving the carry over getting a kill. It is also more beneficial to save your carry at the risk of your own life.
Push or Kongor?
This decision is VERY context sensitive. It depends on a lot of factors.
Taking Kongor is the more team-fight oriented play. Having your carry be able to live twice puts you very far ahead. Taking Kongor means your team is focused on winning a little bit down the road.
Basically, you want to take Kongor when you have a numbers advantage and
- You are physically closer to Kongor than to other towers.
- You have a carry who scales harder than their carry.
- Are not sure you'll be able to stop them from taking Kongor.
Taking a tower gives you a slight gold advantage as well as a map control advantage. You can push further into their jungle without them being able to retreat safely to a tower. It improves your ability to gank by making it more difficult for them to farm, but it realistically does very little to improve your teamfighting ability.
You want to push when
- Your heroes are well-suited for pushing.
- You need to end the game before a certain hero of theirs becomes too strong.
- Your lanes are pushed far enough to be able to quickly and safely kill the tower.
Time is one of the most valuable intangible assets in all oh HoN, and it's so often mismanaged by lower level and mid-level players. Though a mastery of time management wont improve your play as much as better last hitting, more map awareness, other various other fundamentals, it will certainly step your game up.
i find that this is often one of the last things people learn. when they're stuck in a lower bracket, and they've already learned the theory, this is what to learn. I like the concept of the guide, though I can't be sure whether it's thorough enough.
Still, thumbs up
To take kongor you are also need to make sure you countered wards enemy got.
Also i see a lot of ppl ressing from death and just walking to their lane while their tower is under siege by pure creeps and if they buy tp they will not only get all the money back, but also save tower hp and get all the exp.
way too much to read :S
just focus on very important facts and not on certain examples.
I liked the guide (and I'm not suggesting change it) but I don't think timing can be taught it's something that people have innately or they don't. People who are more map aware, or have less of a predisposition to tunnel vision themselves will often in many cases have better timing. A good indication of this is seeing heroes TP at the last second to a team fight, you can't teach someone that, rather the player is just map aware enough to have the ability to time how long it will take the other team to get to the tower and how long it will take them to TP.
While I think it's great to highlight I think the idea of learning that stuff from a guide would be much harder than your other fantastic guides.
i wrote this guide with exactly that in mind. i do admit in the guide that it is not as important as solid fundamentals, so new players would be wise in improving on that.
turret != towers
Please call them towers, my Ctrl+F found 3 usages of "turret"
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Look for my highlighted text (important information) and grey text (interesting but not required information).
Thank you. Thank you so much. I always find myself wondering what that unspoken thing my game was missing, until now. You are so great for writing this out. I'll be studying this and referring to this thread often.
Thumbs up! Great Guide. I enjoyed reading it.
I like thos kind of Guides that are not focusing on the game itself but more on that whats going on around it, just like the Mindgame-Guide!