Why Riot think Dota Bloodseeker's ultimate is ultimately a bad idea

You’ll know Bloodseeker, even if you think you don’t - it’s his ugly mug Valve use to promote Dota 2. Big bloke, awful teeth; imagine the Mouth of Sauron packed in the day job and turned quarterback.

Like all Dota heroes, Bloodseeker has an ultimate. His is Rupture - a ranged attack that splits open its target’s skin, causing massive damage if they try to move. It’s popular - but League of Legends developers Riot have no plans to implement it, or anything like it, in their game. Here’s why.

In a post on LoL’s official forums (edit: written in 2010! So bear that in mind), Riot VP of game design Tom Cadwell explained that Rupture was guilty of a fundamental design flaw, or ‘anti-pattern’. He reckons ability places a ‘burden of knowledge’ on its victims that can only result in frustration, especially for new players.

“This pattern is when you do a complex mechanic that creates gameplay -- ONLY IF the victim understands what is going on,” explains Cadwell. “With Rupture in DOTA, you receive a [damage over time effect] that triggers if you, the victim, choose to move. However, you have no way of knowing this is happening unless someone tells you or unless you read up on it online.”

Cadwell admits that all MOBA abilities place some burden of knowledge on the player - but says the too much of it can only result in “extreme frustration” for newcomers. Though there are partial solutions to the problem.

“Good particle work and sound - good 'salesmanship' - will reduce burden of knowledge (but not eliminate it),” continues Cadwell. “We still would not do Rupture as is in LoL ever, but I would say that the [Heroes of Newerth] version of Rupture, with it's really distinct sound effect when you move, greatly reduces the burden of knowledge on it.”

In the end it’s a question of balance. “If we get a lot more gameplay from something, we are willing to take on more burden of knowledge,” he concludes. “But for a given mechanic, we want to have as little burden of knowledge as possible.”

Rupture, sadly, is right at the other end of the spectrum. How many of you are Bloodseeker veterans? How does your experience match up with Cadwell’s assessment of Dota’s vicious hero?

If you're just jumping into League of Legends and want to know what champions to pick, check out our best League of Legends champions for beginners guide.

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Invochu avatarBeardbeard avatarSevenFiveSeven avatarBalverine avatarVinsanityV22 avatarLupusam avatar+3
NCA.Eldimal Avatar
3 Years ago

I remember when I was new, and if rupture was used on me, I was as good as a free kill. However, I don't agree with Riot. If you place no burdens of knowledge then your game's mechanics are inherently limited. With no "tricks of the trade" in a game, professional game play devolves into nothing more than an above average pub match,

Invochu Avatar
4 Years ago

So, what i read was:

Riot makes a casual game which doesn't require any skill or gameknowledge to get played.


Valve makes a more competitive game which requires more skill and gameknowlegde to be played unlike League of Legends.



Invochu Avatar
4 Years ago

Let's look at Last Word. Okay, maybe you didn't know you had to cast a spell to prevent the Disarm. Fine. Maybe newbies don't know that. They're screwed over.

The bullshit thing? League does this too.

Nasus's ult does:

Bonus max health for Nasus

Bonus attack range (He's normally melee)

Bonus ability cast range

An AoE damage field that is basically Heartstopper Aura

Any damage that the damage field does is returned to Nasus as Attack Damage

That's 5 effects slapped into one ult. And if you don't know them all, you're screwed.

Another example of League's crap, Zed's passive.

If an enemy is under 50% health, Zed will do up to 10% of their max health with a Jinada-like cooldown.

If you ask a League player they will say it's balanced because you can just get away from him if you're low health.What if you didn't know he had his advantage?

Zed would say "Too Bad", just like Bloodseeker would say "Too Bad" to anyone that didn't know what Rupture did.

TL;DR - Riot does the same bullshit where ignorant newbies are screwed over.

Beardbeard Avatar
4 Years ago

Rupture is really a bad spell to use for an example of frustrating "burden of knowledge." It has a very clear effect, and only does damage when you move. The damage from moving isn't even that high unless you constantly move during its duration. If you just move a little, you can clearly see that it's doing damage and could logically assume that the movement had something to do with it. Also, in Dota 2, unlike League, you can click an enemy hero in game to see their spells, and when you get the chance, you can look at what they do. There's far less need to go online and look things up.

SevenFiveSeven Avatar
4 Years ago

> 10-15-2010


Is my time machine acting up again?


Balverine Avatar
4 Years ago

Gonna have to agree with Invochu.


Morello pulled the same shit before with Invoker: "He is an anti-fun hero and terrible design".

VinsanityV22 Avatar
4 Years ago

He makes a good point. But shying away from that kind of ability seems counter productive too. Why not just work on how it communicates what it does to the victim better? With some sort of graphical effect, or something else that otherwise telegraphs it? Just saying, "it breaks the game" doesn't help anyone. Saying, "it breaks the game, but here's how that kind of thing SHOULD work" would be much more useful.


I don't even know why I replied here. I hate Dota, LoL and all MOBAs. I find them boring, with matches that last too long, and design that's too impenetrable what with their shops and upgrade paths. I hate all "click to move" games though, so I really don't know why I expected this genre to be any different. They're just so damn popular, supposedly, that I had to try 'em out, at least.

Lupusam Avatar
4 Years ago

Firstly, this article ignores the second arguement Riot make against Rupture, that of it being a Fake Choice. (Basically, if hit by it, you either run and die, or stay still next to a high-damage-melee enemy and die).


Secondly Invochu, you are mis-understanding the idea of Burden of Knowledge, because your argument that "Riot do the same thing" is flawed. While Nasus' ult does have the 5 effects you listed, it does not trick noobies into making bad choices against him, as the visual effect of 'he gets bigger and has a sand-storm around him' leads to the obvious reaction of 'maybe he's tougher now, maybe he hits harder, I know sitting in the sand-storm is a bad idea'. And avoiding the sand-storm is not 'the wrong way to react to this skill' the way that running away is to Rupture.


Your second example, Zed's execution effect... well that one can be more surprising. But saying that being in melee range of a melee assassin, with less than a tenth of your max hp, and being surprised that they might have an effect that 'could' kill you in that circumstance, is wilful ignorance.


I'm also not sure why the fact you don't have to spend 10 minutes reading each champ's wiki page to have any idea what to do when facing them means there can be no skill to playing the game. Would a game where each hero is so complicated you have to spend weeks learning all the interactions of just that hero, and most skills in the game will change the basic mechanics of other skills, would automatically be better?


And Beardbeard, when next to Bloodseeker your natural reaction with most champs is to run away. I have seen people running back to tower and then keep moving under tower because another enemy had skill-shots ready. To 'move a little bit' is not a normal response for someone focusing more on the Bloodseeker then the DoT you've been hit with, and not that many people when hit by a DoT will start going through the stop-moving/kill a minion/etc methods that might stop it damaging you.

R4claw Avatar
4 Years ago

Valve used Rupture on Riot Games.


Riot games stop moving.


Valve used Force Staff on Riot Games.


Riot Games is dead.


Valve gettin UNSTOPABLE!!

dl8 Avatar
4 Years ago

"Firstly, this article ignores the second arguement Riot make against Rupture, that of it being a Fake Choice. (Basically, if hit by it, you either run and die, or stay still next to a high-damage-melee enemy and die)."


Or you can not be dumb and just teleport away, making him waste that ult on you.