What's Beginner Mode?
It's Normal Mode plus all of the newbie-friendly aspects of EM, and none of the newbie-unfriendly aspects of EM.
There is no mode specifically designed for beginners. Some people might say that Easy Mode is a beginner's mode, but in fact there are aspects of Easy Mode which in many cases actually make it harder for beginners than Normal Mode (read on for an explanation of this.)
Beginner Mode must be very similar to Normal Mode and Easy Mode. If it differs too much from either, it will become a "different game" that doesn't teach the skills necessary to graduate to Normal Mode/Easy Mode. Thus, a design constraint of Beginner Mode is that it not hide any aspects of the Real Game from the player. Beginner Mode should be based entirely on Normal Mode and Easy Mode aspects.
Easy Mode - The Newbie Friendly Aspects
- Deaths are less painful financially
(driven by boosted trickle income)
- Deaths are less painful XP-wise
(driven by boosted creep XP value)
- Creep denial is less important money-wise
(your enemy is receiving boosted trickle income, and so denying them a kill has a smaller impact on their gold income)
- Skillful last-hitting is less important money-wise
(you are receiving boosted trickle income, and so you will be able to purchase basic items even if you aren't very good at last hitting)
- Jungling is easier sooner for more heroes
(driven by boosted trickle income [better items sooner] and boosted XP rates [stats and skills level up sooner])
Easy Mode - The Newbie Un-Friendly Aspects
- Due to boosted trickle income and boosted XP rewards, item- and level-dependent heroes (often "carries") seem frustratingly "unbeatable" very early in the game, especially when played by experienced players
- Towers have reduced HP and reduced damage in Easy Mode. This makes towers less self reliant, which means that the experienced-player skills of frequent minimap watching, heightened situational awareness, frequent use of homecoming stones, and anticipating the need to defend, are more important sooner in EM. (Remember, you lose if all your buildings get killed :)
- Due to boosted XP rates, you are able to train all 4 of your skills earlier in the game, giving you less time to learn each individual skill before you have to use all 4 to keep up
- Due to the weakness of towers, boosted XP rates, and increased trickle income, the laning phase in EM can be very short. Yet the laning phase is actually a good time for beginners to learn how to control their hero, read item and skill descriptions, get a few tips from their teammates, glance around the map a few times, and generally familiarize themselves with the game. Once early-game laning finishes, roaming, ganking and pushing start, the pace of the game increases, giving beginners less time to focus on learning.
- Increased income makes experienced knowledge about "how to conserve item slots" and "what items are both useful to me now, and go into a powerful recipe later on" more important in Easy Mode than Normal Mode
- Heroes gain gank skills and gank items earlier, making ganks tend to occur earlier and faster. While we can't (and shouldn't) protect beginners from ganks, giving them a slightly more extended early-game gives them time to mentally map out their surroundings and practice controlling their hero.
Easy Mode - The Core Mechanics
If we want to separate out what makes Easy Mode newbie-friendly from what makes it newbie-unfriendly, we first have examine the core game mechanic changes that drive Easy Mode. They are:
- Increased trickle gold income
- Increased XP for creep/hero kills
- Towers deal reduced damage and have reduced HP
If we take a close look at each individual mechanic, we'll see that most of them are actually causing both newbie-friendly and newbie-unfriendly metagame aspects to surface. We're going to have to ditch the EM mechanics that cause newbie-unfriendly aspects. However, those same mechanics may also have been responsible for creating the newbie-friendly aspects. We're going to have to come up with new mechanics to restore just the newbie-friendliness.
For example, EM's increased trickle gold gain makes deaths less painful financially. Newbies like the increased gold because they can die a few times and still not have to run around without Marchers for the entire game. They can afford to buy a homecoming stone and get back into their lane sooner. But other heroes are also receiving the same increased gold gain -- and experienced players really milk the increased gold gain for all it's worth (often picking item dependent heroes, and knowing what items to buy) and so end up unstoppable sooner, which is newb-unfriendly. So increased trickle gold is both newb-friendly and newb-unfriendly. We're going to have to find some other mechanic to make deaths less painful financially.
Another example: EM's increased XP gain makes being behind on XP more forgiving in Easy Mode than Normal Mode. The XP you miss out on while dead can more easily be made up for by jungling for a few minutes or killing a few creep waves. Yet increased XP gain also tends to favors AGI and other late-game heroes. Beginners don't know this, so they suffer at the hands of experienced players who pick heroes that benefit significantly from extra levels. Easy Mode has a tendency to favor players who already know how to use all their skills, because heroes get all their skills sooner. So increased XP-gain results in both newbie-friendly aspects and newbie-unfriendly aspects. We're going to have to find some other mechanic to make deaths less painful XP-wise.
Beginner Mode - Goals and Mechanics
Remember that "Beginner Mode" is based on Normal Mode. It then adds back in newbie-friendly metagame aspects from Easy Mode (but driven by different mechanics when necessary, to avoid newbie-unfriendly consequences):
Goal: Deaths shall be easier to recover from financially
Constraints: the implementation shall not increase gold-gain past experienced-player normal-mode rates
- Gold loss on death is reduced by 50%
- When a hero receives gold for a hero kill, if the receiving hero is higher level than the killed hero, the gold reward will be reduced. (Something like 5% reduction per 1 level of difference would probably work OK.) This slightly reduces the negative impact of falling behind and becoming the "favored target" of enemy heroes.
Goal: Deaths shall be less significant XP-wise
Constraints: the implementation shall not increase XP-gain past experienced-player normal-mode rates
- While dead, heroes gain a small percentage of the XP that their (live) teammates generate.
- When a hero receives XP for a hero kill, if the receiving hero is higher level than the killed hero, the XP reward will be reduced. (Something like 5% reduction per 1 level of difference would probably work OK.) This slightly reduces the negative impact of falling behind and becoming the "favored target" of enemy heroes.
Goal: Jungling shall be viable for more heroes and viable earlier
[This goal/mechanic is under debate and may be excluded.]
Constraints: the implementation shall not make creeping significantly easier for jungle-strong heroes, nor make jungling easier than it is in Easy Mode
[Need some ideas here. In Easy Mode, increased creep XP value and boosted trickle income give heroes the baseline levels, skills, and items to jungle effectively earlier. However, these both of these mechanics have negative consequences, and so cannot be used.]
Goal: Failing to last-hit shouldn't impair income too greatly
Constraints: Income shall not exceed Easy Mode levels
Mechanics: [Note: Numbers are not final, they are open to balancing.]
If a hero "almost" last-hits a creep, a short-duration (1 second?) "Bounty Buff" is placed on the target creep. ("Almost" last-hitting a creep is defined as executing a hit which leaves the creep's HP at say, 25 HP or less.) If the creep dies while under the effects of the Bounty Buff, the following rules apply:
- If the creep is killed by the Owner, nothing additional happens
- If the creep is killed one of the Owner's allied heroes, nothing additional happens
- If the creep is killed (denied) by an enemy hero, the Owner receives 2/3rds normal gold if the Owner is a melee hero, 1/3rd normal gold if the Owner is a ranged hero.
- If the creep is killed by any other unit not listed above, the Owner receives full gold for the kill
["Owner" refers to the hero who "almost" last-hit the creep, i.e. the hero activated the Bounty Buff.]
A creep can only have one Bounty Buff active on it at a time. If multiple heroes manage to place a "Bounty Buff" on a creep, the most recently placed buff instantly overwrites any existing Bounty Buff. AOE and DOT damage will not place Bounty Buff on creeps.
Additional concerns: This mechanic may reinforce mindless auto-attack behavior. This is because mindless auto-attacking with this mechanic in place will naturally result in more kills being awarded to a hero than mindless auto-attacking without the mechanic in place. Mindless auto-attacking is not a behavior we want to reinforce. To resolve this issue, the game could simply track the last time a creep was hit by the player. If the creep has been hit by the player in the last X seconds, the Bounty Buff will not be placed, and the player will have to perform a real last hit on the creep to receive the bounty.
Goal: Players will learn that it is important not to die
Motivation: Beginner Mode has reduced penalties for dying, and this makes it especially important to go the extra mile in educating new players about the impact of dying. They will move on to Normal Mode or Easy Mode, and they need to be prepared for, and know about the negative consequences of dying too much.
Mechanics: In Beginner Mode, when players die, they receive a popup window which explains the costs of dying and the significant impact it has on their team's chances of winning. It will encourage them with the benefits of paying attention, situational awareness, and staying alive as much as possible. It will include tips on a few of the simplest and most powerful techniques for staying alive.
Goal: Players will be encouraged to graduate to Normal Mode and/or Easy Mode
Motivation: Beginner Mode isn't the real game, and we don't want players to get stuck playing Beginner Mode and never join the main community.
Mechanics: There are a whole number of things that could be done here, and I'm not really sure what's best, and I'd like to hear some ideas. Here are some things I thought of: Beginner Mode could be restricted to accounts with under a certain amount of games played. After winning a certain number of Normal Mode and Easy Mode games, Beginner Mode might become unavailable. Beginner mode could have lots of hint popups and tips that are helpful to new players but become annoying to experienced players. Beginner Mode might not record fun stats like PSR and KDR.
I'm interested in hearing your feedback. This is a work in progress. The impact of even small changes are hard to predict, and so the more ideas get kicked around, the more balance problems can be resolved ahead of time. One of the aspects of this suggestion that I'm unsure about is the jungle changes.
I hope that by basing Beginner Mode on Normal Mode and some key aspects of Easy Mode, we can create a game mode that is truly beginner-friendly, but also does not mask any of many important aspects of the real game.
Last edited by partyvan; 01-19-2010 at 09:49 PM.
yeah you got my vote! could be really nice, because after the beta there will be a lot of new players who havent played dota etc... nice idea. i really like it.
Amazingly well written. Easy Mode needs to be replaced with a mode like this: a mode that is actually designed to be easy for new players. Beginner Mode should keep the increased trickle income, as well. Towers should be perhaps even strengthened past normal mode levels, and IMHO should give longer range of true sight (i.e. Nightstalker with Aghanims type thing).
I would vote yes 100 times to this. Get rid of the useless pile of unbalanced crap that basically just wastes dev's time with "omg scout so OP" posts also known as "easy mode" and put in a mode that is ACTUALLY for new players. The current incarnation of a newbie mode is not working: instead of helping new players, experienced players find it an easy stomping ground where they can quickly become fed and imagine themselves as pros. Kill Easy Mode, replace with Beginner Mode. You have my vote.
Thanks for the feedback! I agree that trickle income is very newbie friendly because it helps beginners get a basic amount of gold even if they are having trouble last-hitting (or haven't even learned about last-hitting yet.) This basic amount of gold is important so that they can actually purchase items, which is important if they are going to learn about what items are available to them. And it's also no fun to struggle for even wimpy items. Keeping things fun is important.
This first draft of Beginner Mode doesn't include boosted trickle income because I was concerned it would contribute to item-dependent hero dominance. However, I'm starting to understand that the newbie-friendly benefits of boosted trickle income probably outweigh this concern. So I will work this in to my suggestion.
Another great suggestion partyvan, I admire how you're able to think out of the box to consider changing the big things.
It's going to be too much having 3 modes affecting gameplay so much Imo.. They should rename EM Beginners mode and take a look at some of the changes suggested here though.
I support your original idea to keep the gold income per sec the same as normal mode though, please don't change that. It teaches newbies bad habits like not last hitting( and for going stats/regen items for last hitting and laning in favour of boots..) and rushing expensive items instead of building up small ones first.
I agree the gold on death should be reduced so it doesn't penalaize them for making mistakes more often.
I think there should be extra gold & exp per hero kill like in EM, but the gold & exp for creeps should be the same as normal mode. This will stop encouraging newbs to farm creeps, and to gank and push more.
This does reduce the viabailty of jungling, but I think this could be GOOD thing. Newbs need to learn to stop attacking creeps and to gank/push with teamwork. Jungling should be left for normal mode since it's a tactic that requires good time management then, which newbs havn't learnt from jungling in EM.
I think the towers should have the same HP and damage as normal mode, so newbs learn not to tower dive. And so that if the lanes are unbalnced(which is going to happen when they don't know about picks/lanes), they have safe spot. But extra gold for killing them would be good to encourage pushing.
Last edited by partyvan; 12-13-2009 at 03:34 PM.
This would be nice for all modes even.Mechanics: In Beginner Mode, when players die, they receive a popup window which explains the costs of dying and the impact it has on their team.
Considering the fact that Open Beta should start soon, such mode for the beginners would be a great feature. Current EM mode doesn't teach new players how to properly play the game, if one expirienced player gets into EM game just to pawn newby players and become more self-conceited, the game can be ruined, players dying constantly will rage out instead of having fun and learning new things about the gameplay. Idea of a mode dedicated to newcomers is great, I would even replace the EM with such "BM".
T-up. Support this.
A well thoughtout idea. Nice work. As you mentioned there would have to be something to eventually "wean" beginners of the game mode though. Annoying pop-up windows is a good start. With the idea of restricting the number of Beginner Mode games an account could play in one day, the problem lies in selecting the number, as people learn at different speeds. There is also the problem of stronger players joining simpy to inflate their egos by killing less skilled opponents. As many currently do in "Noob Only" games. Though impossible to stop completely, the system should attempt to stop people like this from being able to join and utterly destroy a team of beginners.
Maybe an option when a new account is created to start out by only being able to join Beginner Mode games and when a certain number of games have been played in total or "decent" (hard to define) stats have been attained progress to playing proper games later or to skip Beginner Mode altogether?
Here's an article on the differences between nromal and easy mode, and the implications of them. It's by Nome and Wingflier.
It was EXP gain that was increased for all kills(hero and creeps) not gold, my bad.
So I think the exp gain from creeps should be made so it matches NM, and only the exp gain from killing heroes raised.
This is very good! I would just suggest that you make it abundantly clear to the trainee that their death's negative impact is really how much stronger it makes their enemies, not how much gold or xp they miss by sitting out.
"You are dead, killed by an enemy hero. The enemy hero received gold and XP for killing you, while you lost gold. If you die too often, the enemy will become too powerful to defeat. Here are some tips on how to stay alive (and even gain the upper hand) against enemy heroes:"
Last edited by partyvan; 12-13-2009 at 04:00 PM.
I'm thinking that a hints & tips overlay might be a more practical solution than a Beginner Mode. While I do think a Beginner Mode would be useful to beginners, the costs of balancing the mode, supporting it, making sure games are easy to find for beginners, making sure experienced players aren't abusing it, etc, are all too high. In other words, Beginner Mode is good for beginners, but too the costs are too high for the benefit received.
I think I'm going to instead focus on ideas for an (optional, obviously) overlay which guides the player during Normal Mode and/or Easy Mode games. (Something similar to this idea: http://forums.heroesofnewerth.com/sh...ad.php?t=53906) While it sounds harder to implement, I think it will be better in the long run.
Last edited by partyvan; 12-13-2009 at 06:01 PM.
Really good suggestion, probably even more useful than a tutorial.
I was going to create a topic similar to this, but after finding this, I see no point.
Very well thought out.
A suggestion you haven't considered:
No gold loss from selling back items. Newbies often end up buying the wrong items, and don't even know they did until several minutes later, when somebody else says "Why did you buy 2 Marchers? They don't stack, you know."
Also, I kind of disagree on this point: "Players will be encouraged to graduate to Normal Mode and/or Easy Mode."
First: why would we keep Easy Mode around at all if this was implemented? It should be renamed to Alternative Mode, made permanent No Stats, and made an advanced option.
Second: "Beginner Mode could be restricted to accounts with under a certain amount of games played." What if somebody wants to teach their friend how to play? What if somebody hasn't played HoN in a while, and needs a refresher? I disagree on this, there shouldn't be any artificial limitations imposed on who gets to play Beginner Mode. Just make Beginner Mode give No Stats, if you really need "encouragement" to stop playing it eventually.
Anyways, I voted yes.
This is an excellent idea, nice to see some one trying to fix the issues with easy mode instead of just complaining about it.
Brilliant, it's nice that someone put the time in to propose an idea to help the new community.
I added an idea to make last-hitting a little more forgiving. I'm pretty happy with it actually, I think it might work pretty well, subject to a little tweaking. Details in the OP.
Last edited by partyvan; 01-21-2010 at 04:06 AM.