Thread: Hon Skills - A psychological model

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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Hon Skills - A psychological model

    Hon Skills - A psychological model

    Hey Hon Community,

    I just lost another game on 1700 against opponents who were clearly better players than I am and I was asking myself again: How can it be that after nearly 3k games there are still players who can outplay me so easily. Am I just stupid? Do I have to train more? Thats why i made this thread. Its a try to describe why some people are just better than others. Its nothing empiric just a few thoughts I made over the years of playing HoN.

    About myself: I'm playing HoN since beta release and i got about 3k games on 2 accounts. With my main account i reached 1700 MMR. Though I think i got enough experience and skill to call myself a good player there are still many players who a better than i am.
    I'm a psychology student which gives me some expertise on this topic but i think anyone can follow my thoughts in this thread.

    The model:
    On the following few paragraphs i will describe my model about Video Game Skills in general and HoN Skills in particular. To make things clear i would like to define skills first and explain the model aftwerwards.

    If i talk about skills in this thread i will refer to the theoretic construct that makes people successfull players in HoN. Success can be measured at some quantitive factors like rating, kd and kda. On the other hand there are some very good players who dont have extemely good stats (especially in the competetive scene) which makes it hard to tell if you got a good player before watching him play. Ingame skilled players will have better reactions, ideas and tactical teamplay than others which increases their chance to win.

    The four parts of skills:
    In the following i divide the construct skills in four parts to describe which parts can be learned and which are more talent based. With this i am trying to explain how some players are becoming succesful in a few hundred games while other still stay on 1500 after 2000 games and more.

    1. Knowledge:
    This part is a very obvious one. With knowledge i mean just knowing things. This includes item builds, ability builds, warding positions, hero abilities and roles, setup knowledge.... etc.. Its easy to see that whithout this knowledge its very hard to become a succesful player. Nevertheless this part of skills is quite easy to acquire. All you need is to practice and play with other people who that sort of things and you will learn be making mistakes (which could become very nasty in HoN) or watching others play. Some will acquire this knowledge faster and some will need some extra games to get the basics but after a few hundred games you should know most things. There are always some small tricks which can be learned but they wont make a huge difference.
    So all in all this part of skills can be acquired by nearly everybody and can't be the key for real success.

    2. Physical and cognitive abilities
    Since i didnt found a better name for this it sounds quite complicated. What it means is just abilities like reaction time, thinking under pressure, mouse accuracy, possible apm and feeling for incoming and outcoming damage (for example on lasthitting). Though this abilities can be mostly brought from other games or even from real life things like sports they are very vital for becoming a succesful HoN player. Of course they can be trained too but this is where the talent aspect will come in. For instance some players will just be slower in reaction no matter how hard they try which will give them a disadvantage. This part of skills is a very important one since HoN is a very fast game you often have to do very fast descisions and do the right things in the right order.
    We can see that his is a part of skills where talent and training in other games could differ good and bad players.

    3. Experienced play and analysis
    This part is very hard to explain since it refers to a very abstract element. It tries to include things like: "When should i go back and when should I chase", "When should I start an offensive move", "What will be the next step of my opponent", "Where are the estimaed position of opponents on the map", "Am I in danger of being ganked?". I think most HoN players will know the things i am trying to explain. This is the point where it gets extremely hard for me to understand why the learning curve of the some players can be so fast while others can't get the feeling no matter how many games they play. I know very intelligent people who played about 2k games and still dont get when its better to retreat than chasing and opponent.
    On my opinion this is the part of skills where talent is the most important part because there very few other explanations.

    4. Tactics and teamplay
    Last but not least tactics and teamplay can be another factor for success. It includes things like: Positioning in teamfights, Initiation and follow ups, Knowing your role and fulfill it, Knowing your teammates and their playstlye, supporting others despite the face that you will get worse stats than them, knowing when to gank, knowing when to tp or gather etc.. This part is hard to learn but can become very important for success in HoN. I lost tons of games simply because one of the team member (me included) just didnt want to support or just did whats best for him but not best for the team. (Things like stealing from the carry and ragetrolls ). I think in competetive gaming this is the most important factor since most players already acquired the three skills i described above. If you are solo queuing its very essential that you can adapt fast to your new team and support the team where its needed. Talent can be a part of tactics and teamplay but i guess it can be learned by most people to play in a team.

    To become a succesful player one should have all four parts of skills i explained above. Some can be learned easily some are very hard to achieve depending on how talented you are. I am still wondering about the key facts for real HoN talent but maybe you people can help me.

    So all in all those are my thoughts about skills and talent i wanted to share with you. I would really appreciate some other opinions including feedback and criticism. Did you guys make the same experiences? Did I left something out?


    PS.: Since English isn't my native language there should be plenty of mistakes in my post. I hope you could follow my thoughts anyway.
    Last edited by Napinc; 11-19-2012 at 10:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Every word in this post made me more sad because it is simply true. I am a HoN player since beta and i have around 2200 games and still hanging around the 1500, i know for sure that i belong in this bracket. I mean, if you solo queue and you are still there than this is where you belong, but lately i was getting mentored by a competitive player and he made me improve A LOT, i still am stuck at the 1500.

    Often i wonder if it's simply me, or maybe because every time when i play a game on solo queue i get bad team players, i don't want to start blaming because it's a never ending circle. all i really want is for me to get out of this bracket, i want to play decent games, with respect, wards, support, carry and love within the game. I used to be rude and flame whenever i have a bad team, i got suspended twice for it, i learned my lesson the hard way, but i still love HoN, I'm never stopping it. And this game is basically the reason why I'm going for a gaming masters after I'm done with my degree (computer science).
    Last edited by AnaL`oL; 11-19-2012 at 09:41 AM.
    My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

  3. #3
    If you think you should be able to play better just concentrate. Play as if your life was on the line for missing every lasthit.

  4. #4
    The reason why I left out motivation in my model is because its very hard to explain. Are motivated players really better players? Or is it just a side effect that if you are extremely good you get more motivated and serious about stuff you do. So the influence of motivation is really hard to describe. On the other hand i think people who are bad losers in general are taking gaming more serious which could be a reason for better gaming.

  5. #5
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    See I have the most...stupidly irritating experience. I am a fit in the 1300s, 1400s, 1500s, and 1600s. I still lose games with 1300s, I can't get out of the 1400 bracket, I belong in the 1500 bracket, and I play well with 1600s too. I don't understand how I'm capable of playing with people in such a wide range of skills and still being successful.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Napinc View Post
    includes things like: Knowing your role and fulfill it, Knowing your teammates and their playstlye, supporting others despite the face that you will get worse stats than them, knowing when to gank, knowing when to tp or gather etc..
    this is the most important stuff. When you're solo queuing and team queuing, developing these most important skills will lead you to the greatest success. TBH the most successful players are going to be those who are the most versatile and can adapt during the picking phase.

    Add to this positioning skills during teamfights and u just about got it.

    good post OP +10

  7. #7
    I guess its probably all a matter of statistics. There are 1300 games where you get bad teammates and you are not good enough to win the game by yourself. On the other hand there are 1600 matches where you fit very well in your team and can help them to win but in most 1600 games you cant be the key element to win and so you lose. If you play around 1k games and still are on 14xx you are lacking some of the skills i explained above which doesnt mean you are bad. It just means you are not as succesful as someone who has 16xx rating.

  8. #8
    @RaG thanks for the feedback really think this is a very important point in solo Matchmaking. I will add your suggestions.

  9. #9
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    There are also 2 other important factors to be considered: randomnes and luck. For instance: one day when you're online, you'll get paired with 4 guys who play really well and a team of opponents who have one or two guys who don't play as well as their counterparts on your team. The next day you'll get 3 slightly worse players on your team and face a team of 4 guys who know how to play plus one who isn't so good. Even if there is a chance that you get paired up with some of the same players you've played with/against before, there's still the "real life" factor to be considered - if one of the good players you would have been paired up with becomes sick or goes to visit his aunt and isn't online, you'll get paired up with another player who isn't necessarilly as good as the first one & vice versa, simply becouse one is online and the other isn't.

    This probably sounds a bit inception-ish, but i hope it made some sense.
    Last edited by Nospheratu; 11-19-2012 at 10:33 AM.

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  10. #10
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    Oh I'm definitely not arrogant enough to think that I'm good. I know I'm part of the problem, but what's frustrating is that I'm not good enough to pull myself out from being low like this. However to address your OP...I completely agree. It's a combination of factors all working together. You need to be all around good at all of it and be able to execute consistently.

  11. #11
    @Nospheratu: Those 2 factors will play no role after 1 or 2k games. Its just a matter of statistics. If you are playing 2k games the chance that you just got bad luck to be on the rating you are is very very very small. All you said is true that winning highly depends on good or bad situation but with every game you play your luck/bad luck measurement error will become closer to 1. (i don't know if one can understand this stuff if you never did some statistic stuff hope i could explain it)

  12. #12
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    From my experience the MOST IMPORTANT factor in successful HoN is heuristics. When you've played 3000 games you will have a LOT of experience with people's behaviour at different levels. It's a lot easier to "predict" what people are going to do and to play well. I've personally found that I win most of my games with people that have played more games than the other team. You might be 1700 and I'm 1500, but if you've only played 400 games and I have players on my team with 2000...we're more likely to win because we have more experience. You get this "instinct". That feeling when you just know a gank is coming. That feeling that you know where that enemy has juked. That feeling where you know when that Pyro is going to use his stun and where. It's that sort of unquantifiable stuff that really makes a difference.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kisroker View Post
    If you think you should be able to play better just concentrate. Play as if your life was on the line for missing every lasthit.
    True! + you don't really get better when semi slacking....

  14. #14
    @Wololol123: What you are refering to is the third point in my model. Like i said their this is very vital but a 2k player has not necessarily more "feel" than someone with 500 games. Thats what this post is all about. Why woul there be people with 1k games who are 1700 and others with 3k who are 1400? It wouldnt make sense if -like you say- every players "feel" just depends on the games he played.

  15. #15
    You want ur mmr to climb quick and some considerable ammount? Get good with pebs, hag, damp, tort, pyro any one of those mid. And wreck lanes early on, stomp lanes.r

  16. #16
    I'd really like to post a reply on this.
    A looong time back I was always in 1500 bracket with friends, and, just like you now I started to wonder why good players are good players, and why I was not improving. I started watching a lot of streams and video's, but I couldn't figure it out.

    And I still remember that ONE game I watched on youtube from Baumi (almost a year ago I think? he had like ~3 subscribers back then, but I liked his accent). He was reviewing a game from a pro player, I don't remember who he was any more, but he played DR mid. When I watched for some reason I really saw what tricks he was using and how he was abusing his ult to a very good extend.
    Because of this video I started to "think out of the box", not just with DR and really became a better player. It was like that video changed how I was progressing my skills in the game. I started to became better and better and reached 1780 (highest I had ever gotten), but quit the game after a while. When I came back after like 3 months it was like I lost all of my capabilities and went back to the 1600's.
    BUT I still remember that that video was some sort of epiphany LOL. And I'm playing now again after a few months break and trying to get back with the mindset which I had back then..

    Anyway, good post OP!

  17. #17
    We've had at least 20 "psychological analyses" threads, often making the same points this one did. Perhaps it might be best to simply search for them instead of creating yet another.
    I've decided to make a sig. I hope you're enjoying it.

  18. #18
    This is interesting. But also you can be as GOLDEN as you want to be but this is a multiplayer game and even if you go mid and stomp your lanes there could always be that one dude who will flame and just feed because he doesn't care and then goes afk. The community of players I've ran into are fun and cafe but I also run into the flamers and trolls that really grind my gears.
    May the force be with you

  19. #19
    i would like to add to your thoughts and maybe even give you something to think about.

    I, myself am someone who has spend a ridiculous amount of time into this game and dota. I am playing moba games for over 8 years now and have often thought about this kind of things however with a different spin on it. I believe that if someone spends this amount of time into a game it will affect his personality and his personality will show ingame.

    In order to get really good in HoN (dota, lol) you have to be harsh on yourself. Every mistake, no matter how small, will have an effect in the game, sometimes small, sometimes big. Your job is to minimize said mistakes as much as humanly possible. Of course hon is a team game and sometimes the're just some things that you cant change, but (and i can not point out enough how important this is) you can adjust. Think of it as damage management and that is completly in your hands. So once you start looking at yourself harshly and start minimizing all your mistakes.. positioning, last hitting, map awareness etc. you will improve. And when i say harshly, i really really mean harshly. To the point that whenever you do a mistake you should get this feeling in your gut as if u did something horribly wrong. And i can tell you from personal experience that every high rated, competitive player gets this. Because you have psyched yourself up so much, and because you put so much time into a game, you have come to a point where you are expected to behave(play) in a certain way, some mistakes are just not acceptable once you reach a certain point, neither from your teammates and if you want to improve neither from you.

    However, being harsh on yourself and minimizing every mistake you do will only get you that far. You will reach a point where it seems as if there is an invisible wall, something that you simply cant overcome. And of course you know that it cant be you, you have been beating yourself up long enough to know to not do any mistakes, and you seem to not do any mistakes. And here is the moment where a truly skilled player shines. Most of the people who reach this point (1780ish -1880ish players) simply blame there teammates and seek a team, but seem to be stuck in this bracket. They keep blaming there teammates and after a long time if they dont look hard enough they simply give up, and blame the fact that other people have more luck with teammates. However this is never the truth, and this is the point in which damage management plays a big role. You see, in every situation there are different ways to respond, if your house is on fire you have all kind of options in the way you react.. and even though calling the firemans to put down the fire seems effective there may be a different way to approach things. What i am trying to say is that even though it appears that you are doing the right thing, there are always other things you may have not considered because you are just "okay" with the way you handled it. Players that reach the 1800 mark usually are players that do the "right" thing, but doing the "right" thing simply is not good enough any more. You need to do the "Perfect" thing. Because as i said earlier doing the "wrong" thing simply isnt acceptable neither by you or others, thats out of the picture.. all you got to do is go up.

    And here comes a quote to mind. I dont remember any more where i heard it from(its a long time ago from the cs 1.6 days) , but it stick into my mind, and i still think of it sometimes.. Players train to get it right, pros train to never get it wrong again.

    And i think all of the above is the reason why this community is dominated by bad behaving players and flamers. It shows up in all brackets but for different reasons. You see, in the 1500 bracket people flame there team because of ignorance, they simply dont see there own mistakes and blame they're team for there losses. And in the highers brackets (1800-2000 mmr) they do it because they have learned to be harsh on themselfs and therefore apply the same thing to others. Since they have learned to not accept there own mistakes as "okay" they get the same feeling when they see other people do mistakes. They know that in such a high competitive game like hon, and especially in high skilled brackets, no mistakes are exceptable and thats the reason, i think, that high rated players are always such "douchebags" to lower rated players.. its not theyr fault.. in a way i mean.. they have been forced into this mindset in order to get better and therefore they act that way.

    And here comes another invisible wall that seperates high bracket players with competitive players. Because as we all know if you just take the 5 highest ratest people on the ladder and they form a team it doesnt mean they will be the best team. However this is out of topic i feel and is a whole other story.

    Keep in mind that all this relates to Matchmaking.

    Anyway i hope this doesnt seem like random ramblings.. tried to make it as organized as possible, but its not as easy since all of this is hard to explain.

  20. #20
    Do 25 pushups everytime you die due to a flagrant mistake. You'll start being more careful

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