EASY VS NORMALThis is a very basic overview of the gold and XP differences between easy (EM) and normal modes. The basic mechanics of EM are simple--you have increased gold gain, increased XP gain, and towers have lower HP. However, this disturbs the complex interaction between hero and item balance tailored for normal play, thereby altering the metagame drastically.
Mechanics and Metagame
[Mechanic] In normal play, you get 1 gold per second. In EM, you get 2 gold per second, resulting in players with lesser creep kills approaching twice the gold they would have in normal play, while players with more creep kills see a lesser difference between EM and normal due to the increased percentage of gold gained from creep kills. This is one of the factors EM-detractors often cite, as the increased gold gain marginalizes the impact of farming. In addition, at 200%, gold gain outpaces the 150% XP gain, thereby resulting in heroes obtaining powerful items typically at lower levels than they would in normal play.
[Metagame] Increased gold gain results in heroes precociously obtaining powerful items, often when their level has not caught up yet. Stronger items rarely seen in competitive games are in abundance here--players often finish the game with multiple high-tier items. This makes item-dependent heroes, usually carries, more powerful in -EM, which makes item-independent heroes, usually support, comparably weaker. Combined with the XP gain boost, this means that the ideal lineup may contain multiple carries, or weaker, typically conditional carries like Chronos, and still succeed. This also downplays the importance of ganking--the gold and XP loss incurred to a dead ganked hero is not always worth the gold and XP loss incurred to a ganking hero that isn't farming due to travel time.
XP Gain[Mechanic] XP values for all units are multipled by 1.5 in EM, including lane creeps, neutral creeps, and hero kills. Denies are worth 2/3 the XP they would normally for melee heroes, while ranged heroes would get 1/3. For melee heroes, this means that even if you deny 100% of the creeps, they will still level normally since 2/3rd XP gain is equivalent to normal XP gain.
[Table] XP values for Normal vs EM.
[Metagame] Because it takes much less XP to gain the earlier levels, outdenied heroes have a much easier time leveling up, as denying takes place largely during the early game. Holistically, denying is less powerful in EM because each creep that you don't deny gives a lot of XP, making it very easy for outdenied players to catch up. Increased overall XP gain means that heroes with low starting stats but high stat gains like Magebane and Arachna reach their peak effectiveness much earlier and easier. Heroes dependent on leveling all their skills, like Madman, also get a huge boost from EM due to the ability to reach their maximum skill-dependent damage output at a much earlier time. Gank-based heroes suffer, as per the reasons specified in the Gold Gain section. Jungle heroes also suffer, as the amount of extra XP gained through the jungle cannot match the amount gained through lane due to travel time.
[Mechanic] Towers are much weaker in EM than they are in normal play. They have reduced HP and reduced damage--this makes it so that creeps survive much longer, and are more effective, in EM. Other buildings, including barracks, are the same strength.
[Table] Tower statistics for Normal vs EM.
[Table] Building statistics for Normal vs EM.
[Metagame] Pushing is a lot stronger and a lot easier in EM. Because creeps spawned in lanes with destroyed barracks give less XP and gold, this is just as important as in normal games. On the other hand, because XP and gold gain are boosted overall, it's arguable that the net effect is still limited compared to normal play. However, this does affect the power of support and push heroes that choose to buy support and survivability items. By boosting survivability over damage output, as damage output for these heroes comes from spells, they can push with less opposition against late-game heroes than in normal play, while late-game DPS carries need to buy damage to deal damage, yet are vulnerable without survival items or enough stats from leveling.
EM mode is a part caricature, part rework of normal mode in that it exaggerates, rather than completely nullifies, normal mode's basic principles.
For all but the most elite players, EM translates to a dampening of effective skill; ie., a player who shuts down a lane in normal play is likely to cause an effective 5v4 because his opponent was so behind, but that same player's skills are marginalized in EM because his opponent can easily recover, and other players have large advantages too.
Because of the removal of the early game in EM, certain heroes who excel there have their effectiveness significantly lowered. This means that the peak effective times of each hero are drastically different--in general, for AGI, they become effective much earlier, while for INT, they become ineffective much earlier. The window of time for a mass healer/summoner push, for example, is much smaller in EM than in normal mode.
Relative Skill Potential
What is Relative Skill Potential (or RSP for short)? Each game has one, a Relative Skill Potential. It's not complicated, all it basically means is the potential skill gap between the worst player and the best player in any given game.
Why is this important? It's important because RSP really establishes what type of game you are playing and, more importantly, what type of gamer you are.
Let's take the most basic of basic games as our first example: Tic-Tac-Toe. Now the Relative Skill Potential for Tic-Tac-Toe is extremely low. Let's pretend that a person had played TTT for hundreds of years, and was the self-proclaimed "master" at it. Then let's pretend an average "gamer" comes to challenge him. The "master" might beat the challenger a few times (maybe), but since TTT is so simple, after only a few games he will be of equal or almost equal skill level with the "master". This is because Tic-Tac-Toe is an extremely simple game, with simple concepts, and not very much room for skill growth.
The RSP for Tic-Tac-Toe is extremely low.
Now let's consider another type of game, First Person Shooters:
Now obviously I can't lump all First Person Shooters together in one category, because there is a huge variation between the type and complexity of each one of them. However, I can say in general that the Relative Skill Potential for the majority of these types of games is low.
Why? It's because First Person Shooters, while involving strategy, tactics, and critical thinking, are also heavily based on reaction speed and reflex (as well as good hand-eye coordination). Because of this, even 5 year olds can be incredibly good at First Person Shooters (I remember when my 2 year old cousin played original Counter-Strike and did pretty well), and therefore their RSP isn't as high as it could be.
Let's consider another type of game, RTS, Strategy games:
Now a good strategy game, like Starcraft, has a HUGE RSP, because of the fact that it's all based on strategy, tactics, and of course micromanagement. Pro micromanagement (aka 5+ clicks per second) can take years to perfect. Many people in the world would consider Starcraft to be the most skill intensive game ever created. But any good "strategy-type" game usually is. Even Chess is a good example, it's old, it's somewhat simple, but the RSP is huge. Because of this, the RSP for Strategy games is usually high.
Now let's look at the Arena Strategy games like DotA/Hon/Demigod/LoL etc.:
Though they could typically be considered to belong to the RTS genre, they are really a mix between RTS and RPG, RPGs usually having a very low RSP, RTS as I explained, usually having a very high one. Another thing to consider is that in Arena Strategy, you typically only control one unit the entire game. While there are some exceptions, this means micromanagement is more or less obsolete in these types of games (for the majority of heroes). And even though DotA/HoN have extremely complicated/intricate balance and gameplay mechanics that can take years to grasp, those aspects of the game are countered by another very important factor: The rewards system.
In DotA/HoN, unlike in most RTS games, you are handsomely rewarded for killing an "advantaged" opponent. By advantaged I mean somebody who is either A) A higher level than you or B) Is on a killing streak.
Now the problem with this sort of "rewards system" is that it creates an equilibrium effect that most RTS type games don't have. In a regular RTS, if you start to get overwhelmed by your opponent, the only way you can come back is to outplay him. You get NO bonuses just because he's beating you and you are at a disadvantage. Arena Strategy games are unique in this aspect, that the further ahead your opponent(s) are in front of you, the more you are rewarded for killing them.
In reality, this creates a skill vacuum that morphs Arena Strategy games from Medium RSP to Medium-Low RSP.
Now Easy Mode makes that vacuum gap even wider by giving everybody extra experience and imbalancing the true nature of the game. Since anybody can farm good items and denying is almost pointless, the skill "difference" between a pro and noob in EM is really not that great. Even noobs can own when they have an extremely fed agility hero, and there's nothing you can do about it in EM.
This means that EM DotA/HoN takes the Relative Skill Potential of the game, and changes it from Medium to Low.
Final Point: The conclusion of this little essay is to instill in you the profound game type difference between EM and Normal Mode. The reason Easy Mode is so popular is because noobs can become pros very quickly as the RSP gap is very small. In Normal Mode the gap is much larger and therefore the tendency for noobs to get owned by pros is much greater.
HOWEVER, on the flip side of the coin, in EM games you can only get so good before you stop developing. After awhile your skill level will start to stagnate and you will be considered an "EM Pro" but since the RSP of EM games are so small, you would still be a Normal Mode noob. Playing EM mode is akin to voluntarily handicapping your potential skill-level with this game, and you will not grow as a player as long as you do.
Are EM games common in higher competition games? I've never played an EM game and always saw it as a crutch for noobs.
If you really want to make this guide extremely in depth, list every hero and how they are affected by -em or non -em. In that, if they do better or worse in normal or em
Should also go into analysis about why EM games are not naturally shorter than normal games, the origins of EM from dota, etc
But basically it boils down to 'EM does not punish errors to the degree normal mode does, including errors regarding map awareness, last hits, and item/skill builds'
When I was a total nubcake I wondered why people hated EM, I thought it was quick, fun and less boring.
Started to play normal mode and never looked back.
Last edited by Ruscour; 10-22-2009 at 08:13 AM.
This user's opinions and views do not represent the position or attitude of the GosuGamers.net Crew in any way.
Retail will fix it
Realignment patch will fix it
DotA2 will fix it
Inactive due to uni, also calling it right now: DotA2 comes out and sells power, SC2 DotA by Blizzard releases and is good, and it becomes the next big thing.
Only recently have I begun purposefully avoiding -em games, and the reward in what I can see as an increase in my own skill, and overall better games in general, has been pretty immediate.
i find em has less intensive gameplay and less rewarding games
-em w/ fast respawn RAWR! its like a deathmatch server in css ^_^
I would be really interested in an analysis of how the modes affect game length - both statistically and theoretically.
I was on the bandwagon of there being no difference in average game length between the modes, but lately all of my normal games are going up to an hour whereas it was closer to 30-40 minutes when I was EM noobing it as a new player.
This tends to be the #1 argument of my friends who play EM. They argue its much faster on average than a normal mode game.
I dont think there is any question that s2 needs to either not count stats in EM, or keep separate stats in order to please everyone.
Got Rage? Visit the Dump!
Nome, you should include the quote in my PM, it explains it all quite well
Easily recognisable if you look at average xp. Esepcially with the stat reset - if you want to be considered a non em player, don't play em to the extent that it upsets ur average xp to much (600 compared to under 400xp per game, or whatever...).
Also agree with Kolox including that quote/page ... v good.
Last edited by Yoncore; 10-26-2009 at 09:44 AM.
Take a look at me, different from the rest.
i know a prominent aus player that exclusively plays em, and only scrims in normal mode.