Can Dota 2 be played without steaming

No replay system and sandbox mode. Riot Pls ... is that justified?

In an attempt to break the eternal silence regarding their plans for the future, Riot Games published a blog in which they announce that they will refrain from a replay system and sandbox mode. This sparked an outcry from the pro and gamer community. How justified is that?Riot recently expressed the desire to show more transparency in order to dampen excessive expectations of the players. A so-called DevBlog is intended to inform the players about the current development status of features and to point out new long-term goals. Riot kept its promise and published a blog called “Riot Pls” in early August. However, it was not the status of the game that caused a stir among the players, but a definitive debate against two long-awaited features. Is that justified? Have we been waiting far too long for these partly self-explanatory functions?


A justified failure

A replay system (also known as a repetition system) allows players to watch their previously played games again from all angles. This is the key to your own game analysis, especially in eSport, and has been offered by other eSport titles such as Dota 2 or Starcraft 2 for some time. Riot had promised players this feature when League of Legends was released.



Riot's official statement on reruns:
“Well, that was our mistake. Not only did we announce reruns with the release of League of Legends because we thought it would be necessary to get eSports going (maybe not), we also fueled the expectation by showing them on the test server, that they were coming soon ™. We put repetitions aside because the technical requirements (server loads, compatibility with older versions, network stability) were so high that we knew it would be difficult to get it “right”. Today we also know that, given our priorities above, repetition is out of the question until we have fixed most of these systems. For the meantime, we're huge fans of the alternatives that the passionate community of developers outside of Riot have come up with, and we're looking for ways to put (and support) these lovely people in the spotlight. "


If you consider that League of Legends was actually developed as a game for a player base of around 20,000 users, and has now developed into what is probably the largest PC game in the world, this is more than understandable. If you take a closer look at the course of League of Legends in recent years, it becomes clear that Riot Games is suffering from enormous growing pains. The game has grown so exponentially in recent years that the company has encountered major infrastructural problems in trying to keep up. This inescapable fact leads to the riot having to break its promises in some situations in order to concentrate on the essentials. That is exactly what leads us to the next feature.

The essential is missing

The sandbox mode should allow players to practice certain magic combinations and test items without having to wait for annoying cooldowns. For example, you could practice flashing or wardening a certain wall without sacrificing normal play with other players. As in real sport, you can let off steam for hours with an exercise until you have mastered it. Like a free kick in soccer. This feature is particularly required by pro gamers and already exists in eSport titles such as Counter-Strike: GO and Dota 2. Riot's reasoning why they do not want to implement this mode is extremely weak compared to the replay system.

Again it can be stated that Riot has to choose his construction sites in order to be able to keep up. Riot only has a limited number of developers who can devote themselves to a new function for a limited time. But the question is, how difficult would it actually be to create such a mode? We're not developers and we can't really answer that question. However, it is quite easy to prove that a kind of sandbox mode already exists. If you look at the Champion Spotlight videos that Riot publishes on a regular basis, it quickly becomes clear that Riot has at least a basic framework for such a mode. Minions can apparently be placed at will and properties of heroes can be adjusted. To what extent this riot mode can be converted into the end product for gamers, however, is difficult to predict.

But why is sandbox mode so important, especially for pro gamers? Practice, practice, practice, is the answer. League of Legends pro players want to improve their skills every day. At the moment, the majority of professional gamers use the bot game function to warm up or to practice certain magic combinations. However, not all parameters can be influenced in these bot games. Players have to wait for long cooldowns, gold, or experience. That makes a training session very inefficient. Only with the sandbox mode is it possible to efficiently achieve the highest possible skill level in League of Legends. Competitions would gain in depth and mechanical moves would reach higher levels.

Riot argues as follows:
“The second [reason] is that players want to practice very specific skills without the limitations of regular play. That's where we say sandbox mode is not the way to go. "


Not correct. If you want to train as efficiently as possible, this mode is the perfect solution. They even confirm this later in the discussion, with the words
“[...] Even if there are certainly skills that can be developed in a closed, concentrated space [...]”.


But what exactly led to the outcry from the community? Riot argued further;

“We want to be very clear: playing League of Legends games is supposed to be the undisputed best way a player can improve. Even if there are certainly skills that can be developed in a closed, concentrated space, we never want this to be added to an already high access threshold as an expectation. We know this is not always the case on an individual level. Some simply want a place where they can practice flashing over walls without having to wait at least 3.6 minutes in between. But when this advantage is weighed against the risk that "grinding" in sandbox mode becomes a prerequisite, we simply cannot compromise. We never want to see the day when a player looking to get better at League first hops in the sandpit. We really want to assist you in your quest to master your talents, and there may be other ways of doing this. But this is not the right one. "


Let's stay with the soccer example. It feels as if the German Football Association (DFB) is stipulating that Bundesliga players are only allowed to practice certain moves or movements in a normal training game. It should be up to the players to make the decision about how to organize their training time. Riot's argument that players would feel compelled to stand permanently on the virtual training field is invalid. It is up to the players to decide. Just as people stand on the football field for fun, competitive players can spend hours practicing a free kick. Riot's logic leaves a lot to be desired and is at odds with how they want to define their own game. Is it a recreational or competitive game? Why can't it be both?

Riot and the Nirvana Fallacy




The discussion never ended. Boosted by angry tweets from pro gamers like Cloud 9's Hai and Dexter from Elements,

("I DON'T like Riot's answer about sandbox mode at all, it sounds like one of the biggest excuses ever, are you kidding?")

("Reading the reason why there will be no sandbox mode and replay system gives me a big headache")

several posts were made on platforms such as Reddit. Riot also spoke up here and went into more detail on the pronunciation against a sandbox mode.

Riot Pwyff argued that the implementation of a sandbox mode could make games even more toxic;
“Imagine you fail trying to flash over a wall in a game that is based on players playing to improve and your entire team is telling you to stop and jump into sandbox mode. I don't think this is an ironclad argument to persuade the world to agree with me, but I think it has value. I think everyone's had those games where they'd tell you to stop playing ranked and play norms. Adding an extra layer in the form of sandbox mode would be the same. "


Riot lets his white knight armor flash through again and tries to eradicate toxic behavior by bending and breaking. However, it can be said that if a toxic gamer wants to display bad behavior, they will, regardless of whether there is another feature or not. One can assume that Riot is arguing here with a so-called “nirvana fallacy”. This fallacy says; Any idea can be criticized by a person using the nirvana fallacy because it is not perfect in appearance. The choice is not made between two real applicable decisions, but between a realistic and an unrealistic but “better” solution. Toxicity will always be a part of League of Legends. Riot's argument against not implementing sandbox mode due to the toxic behavior of players is driven by Riot's lack of insight that they cannot completely solve their toxicity problem.

Is Riot thinking about it now?

Riot rowed back on her plans not long after her actual announcement. In a Reddit comment, Riot Banksy, who also wrote the “Riot Pls” blog, wrote the following:

“To be clear, we are not completely against building a system to improve in League. [...] Our explanation of sandbox mode is weak. [...] The weakness of this post [Riot Pls Blog] reflects the internal debate about how best to solve this problem for the players Not in development at the moment, but based on this feedback, this could be something we can adjust. "


Riots previously weak argumentation and obvious communication problems mean that they are now strengthening the expectations of the players again. For the time being, there is again no definitive answer to what exactly will happen. However, this gives reason to hope that Riot has taken the right path with more transparency and has thus created a healthy basis for dialogue and discussion. While Riot's decisions and announcements may not always be popular, it is far better than silence.

What do you think of Riot's arguments? Are they all justified and are you satisfied that Riot is now providing more transparency? Write us in the comments what your opinion on this topic is.

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