What the hell is this anyway?

Nov 25, 2010 - by Strom

I am sure many of you are wondering what exactly is going on here?
Why doesn't Loom work anymore?
Why do we have to add through this web interface?

Well this wasn't an overnight move.
I've thought about doing a web based system for at least 2 years now and have actually been working on it for the last year or so. The thing is that IRC is a dying platform, or if not dying then surely stagnating. To make matters worse DotA itself is starting to age and all sorts of new fancier clones poping up left and right. There have been real low times this year for GC, times where no games are ongoing at 19:00. The move to a web based platform is foremost a move of survival, but also a move of general growth. People outside of Finland and its neighbouring countries are highly unlikely to start using IRC to play DotA, but might very well do so via a web based system. Hopefully the number of games and players will start rising fast in the near future.

I know what you are thinking. Great, more noobs to ruin the games!
Well, redoing the whole system gave some interesting opportunities aswell. The 'pro games' concept never really took off on IRC, mostly because it required some extra manual effort. In the new system I have divided everything into three leagues: bronze, silver and gold. How exactly people will get access to the higher leagues still remains to be seen, but the general idea here is important to take note of. Namely when you have access to a silver league and you sign up for a game you will be added to two 'topics', both a silver and bronze one. This means that by default everything still works as it used to with just one topic. However you can also choose (with extra effort) to add only to the silver league. This should work much better than the old pro games system, because while in the old system when you added to the pro game you were basically alone there. However with this new system everyone who could add to the higher skilled list is added there automatically, so that means a lot more silver and gold league games.

Another new feature is groups. Ever had a situation where you and your buddies wanted to play a game, but the topic has only 1 spot left? Yeah, I know right. With groups, when you create a group with your friends and add - you are all guaranteed to be in the same game automatically. The system will take care of everything, so for example when there were 9 people added and now you add with two friends, the game will start instantly. It will be the three of you plus 7 of the original 9 people who were waiting.

Wait, what happened to my stats?
Stats reset! With over 40000 games played, the old database was starting to hit 4 years of age. Definetly no small feat in terms of statistics. However, the game and the playground has changed a lot. I personally used to be a 99% player who was mostly blinking around with Shadow Fiend, poping enemies left and right. Around when IceFrog changed dagger to have a combat cooldown, I started dropping in stats. Surely that isn't the only factor, but it's as good of an example as any. A lot has changed in DotA in the past 4 years, and the players have changed also. So it seems natural that with this new system it's a good idea to start fresh.

Lets talk about hosts. Some of you probably have noticed me hosting with funny colors recently. Yeah, that was me testing the new hosting system. Now every game is automatically hosted by the new system with a dedicated 100Mbit/100Mbit fibre line, with multiple tier 1 peerings. This isn't your regular el cheapo hosting. This means that there will always be a reliable host with most excellent latency money can buy. As an example, a friend of mine has been playing with us from Australia. In general he gets pings around 500-600, but to this new dedicated line it's more around 300.

Yeah yeah, that's all great - but nothing works! Everything is so buggy!
Take a deep breath and try to calm down. I know that stuff isn't working correctly and we are fixing everything as fast as we can. We may not be aware of the specific problem you are experiencing so please come give feedback in #dota.support. I decided to launch this new version sooner rather than later to get faster feedback and to try to understand what the real painpoints are. Closed testing only reveals so much, there will always be bugs with first version releases anyway - so why not start right now?

To further that, the new web system lacks plenty of features that the old system had. Hell, even the player list and stats graphs are gone! Well, this is true. But I'm going to add most of that stuff back quickly and I won't stop there. The new system is designed to support much more features. Ever wondered what hero you win most with? Hopefully you will be able to see this information in the coming months.

Where the hell is ELO?
It's gone, it sucked and was pointless. I originally added it for fun, but time has proven that it shows nothing and will only create confusion. TrueSkill is still the same, but it is displayed a little differently to be more similar to Formula X.

Will #dota.gc cease to exist?
No! I belive that the IRC channel is still a key structure point in our community. Trolling people after winning a game? Talking about item builds and tactics? Complaining about how svents managed to feed even more than last time? These are things that can't be done that easily on the web currently and IRC will still provide that functionality. I will also add some basic !add/!remove/!stats commands back to Loom that will basically be hooks into the web system. That way you will still be able to keep using the old style of signing up for games, for the most part. Keep an eye out for this feature in the next few days.
Also, #dota.support will continue to be the central part of our support and feedback system.

Come talk to us! Tell us what you think of it all.
What do you miss the most? What new feature would you like to see implemented the most?

1 comment:
Mar 08, 2011 13:35:01 UTC
70% | 1381 X | 1391 TS