Content of the article: "Interesting Game Mechanics I’ve Noticed Playing hOTS"
So I have recently taken a break from dota because my friends play HOTs and wanted me to play with them. At first, I thought to myself, "This is just a meme, shit game I'm playing for fun", and I still think that to a certain extent, but I've grown to appreciate some of the game design elements that Dota lacks.
The talent system in HOTs is more robust because they do not have items and the hero builds are 100% based on talent builds. You get a lvl 1 talent, and at each talent choice, you get 3-4 choices, majority of which change your abilities. For example, an option you might have is 1. landing your Q on heroes reduces its cooldown by 1 sec per hero hit, or 2. Q does + 50% more damage to creeps or 3 Q has + 10% radius and applies + 15% slow or something like that. On the other hand, a lot of Dota talents are something along the lines +15 damage / + 150 HP. What's the point in having talents like this? It's just regular stat scaling that would happen regardless of the talents existing in the first place and doesn't really change much.
Another big difference I noticed came from how the summon heroes feel. The majority of summons in Dota 2 are used primarily for farming, and also early game to mid game pushes & fights. Once the game becomes late, an enemy PA can one shot cleave your entire summon army and you have to just deal with the fact that your summons are essentially free gold that you have to try and not feed, essentially using them like a rat.
Summon heroes in HOTS feel completely different. They have multiple sets of talents that overlap and buff your summons to be a late game threat. Yes, Dota does have some talents for summons, like Lycan's +2 or +4 wolves, or NP's +4 treants, but they don't really change the fact that your summons become essentially free gold that you have to exclusively rat with or use away from enemy heroes.
Additionally, all the summon heroes have different talent builds that allow them to max out their non-summon abilities, in case you decide to have a more active playstyle.
Specific Hero Design & Abilities
So while playing HOTS, I would often choose a hero that has a Dota 2 counterpart (or just someone that looks similar to them in Dota) and compare their moveset.
One very memorable example is Underlord vs Azmodan. I really dislike playing Underlord, I think he's a very boring hero. He sort of does the same thing all game. No item timing or levelup really feels like a 'spike' nor does it change the feel. He just casts his easy to land Q and his easy to land E and just sort of continues dealing a moderate but not deadly amount of damage all game while providing Auras.
Azmodan has a similar Q, except instead of it being over time, it has a small delay and lands at once, overall just feels more satisfying ngl. He has a low cooldown weak summon ability as well as a high cooldown summon ability. And he also has a channeled lazer ability. He has two ults, one that gives him more minions and one that buffs & amps his Q. You can build the hero around any of these abilities, either becoming a rat lord, creating an OP Q spell, or getting an OP lazer. I'm not getting completely into specifics as I don't remember every single talent. I just remember thinking how much more fun I was having playing this hero than I had ever had playing Underlord. Two nearly identical AOE abilities, a passive, and a long TP is just so boring.
Another hero I thought was very interesting is this little goblin guy named Gazlowe. He looks similar to Tinker and he's also got a lazer and rocket ability, but they are very different heroes because of his turret ability. He can plant turrets and destroy them. Instead of mana, he has scrap, which is used only for the turret ability, I believe the other two are free to use. Every time he destroys a turret, he gets some back. You can also get certain talents that make it easier to continuously get scrap. The turrets have not the highest range, so while playing him in a chaotic team fight, you're constantly deploying & destroying these turrets and it is a lot of fun. Unlike the last paragraph, my point isn't that Tinker's design is inherently bad, it's that Dota could use a turret based hero. I think it could be really cool and unique. Which brings me to another point…
Non Mana Based Heroes
Quite a few heroes in HOTS have their own unique non-mana mana bar that have different rules & requirements to regenerate. I think Dota could implement something similar, perhaps instead of completely removing mana for certain heroes, they could give them 1 ability that needs some other bar that's not dependent on their mana pool.
There are other differences & mechanics in HOTS but these are the ones I picked that I think could actually work in Dota.
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