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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 ourbest League of Legends champions for beginners guide.