IceFrog Q&A Session #4 - Woot! Icarus the Phoenix! - DotA-Blog

IceFrog Q&A Session #4 - Woot! Icarus the Phoenix!

IceFrog has just made another Q&A session. And do you know what? He give us a hint that one of the new heroes on the Dota 6.68 is Icarus the Phoenix! Wow! That's also mean he confirmed that there will be more than one new heroes on the next map. See it for your self ;)

Q: When will we hear more about you and Valve? Some people say it will take 2-3 years, can you give us any clues? (from Zeyall)

A: It certainly won't take that long. There are a lot of very talented people here at Valve that are working hard on it every day to ensure high quality in a timely manner. We'll be making an announcement soon actually, and based on the feedback I've been getting since the last mention, I'm sure you all will be as excited as I am.

Q: Can you tell us how you first met Valve and how you like it so far? (from Sodoes)

A: It started off with an email from Valve where they mentioned that they were big fans of DotA wanted to fly me out to spend some time with them and visit their studio. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the trip. After arriving and chatting with them, the first thing I noticed was how much of their decision making process was like mine. They shared the same aspirations towards building a long term and sustainable community without having short sighted business goals that end up hurting the quality of the game. One of the most important things for me though was that there wasn't going to be anyone standing above telling me how I should be doing things. They trust the developers that have experience to make the best decisions for their playerbase. The atmosphere at Valve allows everyone to be very comfortable and able to focus on what they love doing. It also doesn't hurt that they are huge DotA fans.. until their favorite heroes are nerfed, then I'm the bad guy for a week!

Q: How popular is DotA these days? (from china_white)

A: I can only give estimates based on usage, because I can't track ingame downloads or fansites or downloads from China. It is roughly estimated (based on the statistics from popular Chinese sites) that the Chinese DotA audience is about 40-50% of the worldwide audience. Not counting China, the playerbase is estimated to be somewhere between 7-11 million. I expect the audience to grow even more in the not too distant future.

Q: Is your goal to make everything picked the same amount of times? (from j.walsh)

A: I don't think about it that way exactly. Sure it's good if there is a nice distribution and that is something to work towards, but really the goal in DotA's development is, first and foremost, to make the gameplay quality the best it can be. It is the combination of all the heroes, items and mechanics together that makes DotA what it is and not the individual elements alone. Sometimes that means certain things are carefully adjusted to be more frequent than others, sometimes it doesn't, but ultimately the main judge of a game's quality is not in some artificial balance metric, but in the overall gameplay quality and depth that it has.

Q: Can you tell us something about 6.68? (from Carlos)

A: It is still a work in progress and needs some time, but it will have new heroes, more balance improvements, and some new features as well. Here is one of the new heroes in development: Icarus, the Phoenix

Q: What do you think about DotA's future, will it continue to grow? (from Amir)

A: Definitely. I think players like to spend their time on something they both enjoy and trust. While DotA has a lot to offer now in terms of content and gameplay quality, I will always be working hard to improve it and all that work will be maintained when it matures to something that solves all the other non-gameplay elements that it needs to go to the next level. I think it is a good option for players that want to spend time on a game that will grow with them. It also has a very bright future in the competitive scene. In addition to the already announced SMM ($32,000), ESWC ($24,500), a soon to be announced online ($30,000) event and another huge offline event that will be revealed soon, there will also be an even bigger set of opportunities in the future for players that are dedicating their time and energy into DotA. I think players on all levels of play will be satisfied with their choice and experience with the game.

Q:Why are some heroes unavailable in -CM mode? (from Brandom Lim)

A: It is a largely experimental idea so it may or may not remain for the future. There are a lot of different reasons for it though. In some cases it's balance or bug-potential related. Other times it is done to limit the number of simultaneous changes so that certain changes can be more easily measured. In a lot of cases where the above aren't a factor, it is actually done to give enough opportunity for players to understand how to play with and against them and understand the strengths and weaknesses better. This also makes new versions less destabalizing for competitive gaming while still providing a continuous stream of fresh content. That being said though, I've gotten a lot of requests from players that use the mode for casual or semi-competitive play and miss omitted heroes, so I may add a subcommand to unlock all.

Q: What do you think about the fan support of competitive teams? (from Mooseman)

A: Fan support is, for the most part, very good. I think it's great how passionate many of them are about competitive DotA. At times, though, some of them can be a little too judgmental towards teams based on their last few consecutive wins or losses. They have a lot of pressure on them and sometimes they make mistakes or just want to relax and try something different. I don't think it is always fair to judge them for that. They also face top competition regularly, so its hard to win every time. Teams have a lot of pride and spend a lot of time practicing, so it can be demoralizing to them when some fans change their attitudes towards them so fast.

Q: Are we going to see more visual effects in the future? (from Zikaro)

A: Visual upgrades can be a good thing (and they will come in the future) but is extremely important to not add too much visual noise. You want a scene that has a nice atmosphere and theme but isn't too cluttered or shiny that it negatively affects gameplay by making it hard to tell what is going on.

Q: Should we expect to see any more loadscreens by Kunkka? (from 27302)

A: Yes, he is planning a new one now, but I can't tell you when it will be done since it depends on his free time.

Q: Do you use WC3 Editor by itself or other things as well? (from Sasha200)

A: Most of the map development is done outside of the editor actually. There are a lot of separate script files and program tools that are used together to create the map file.

Q: Any interesting bugs or features that were in beta maps? (from OpyyuRDs)

A: We once had a different ability for Techies that used the same visual art and sound effects from starcraft one for the ghost nuke. When he used it, a red indicator would appear on the ground like in Starcraft and then it would play the classic "Nuclear Launch Detected" audio. It sounded a lot cooler than it played out in practice and it was near the end of a beta cycle and had some balancing and design issues, so we decided to remove it instead of rush it in. As far as bugs go, Chaos Knight could pull towers in one beta version, so you were able to have a line of towers pushing on the enemy side!

Q: Will more heroes get an Aghanim upgrade to their ultimate? (from Akder)

A: Yea, I usually try to add some more every version or two. I think it's a good idea to add them in slowly though, instead of too many at once. I've also gotten more requests for extra graphic animations for the ones that already have, so I'll try to find suitable ones for those as well.

Q: What is the hardest part when developing dota? What risks are there? (from Bannion)

A: The hardest part is actually not the development itself, but in how to measure success. The thing I always try to work on the most is increasing the measurability/prediction of a successful patch. The goal is to be able to improve the development process and feedback systems for better accuracy to what reasonates best with players. The riskiest thing is making a change where it might take too long to discover its true impacts on the game where it becomes hard to reverse. We work really hard to eliminate that stuff early on in the theory phase with either careful analysis or specific beta testing.

Q: How do you decide when to release a new patch? (from VinceX)

A: There are two separate considerations for this. The first is frequency. If you update too frequently players do not get a chance to settle into the previous changes and learn the game, if you update too slowly then you aren't providing enough fresh content. It is a balance between the two that I'm always trying to find a happy medium between as I get more feedback from players. The second is when it's "ready". I usually release it as soon as I feel that the value we get out of more internal testing is too low compared to external feedback we'd get from the larger community. If we are still in the experimenting phase where we are trying out ideas then it's not ready. Once it feels like it needs external testing to be able to make more good decisions, then it is released. From my perspective, the game is in constant development and improvement regardless, it just becomes a matter of what is the most effective way to improve something.

Q: What takes the most time each patch? Researching, Balancing, Implementing or Bug Hunting? (from Enders)

A: The two most time consuming are usually research and experimentation. Research involves more than just playing the game, it's also watching replays, reading a wide range of feedback and talking with players. Experimentation is the other time consuming part. It would be fast to just reproduce a patch if I already knew exactly what to do, but the hard part is usually figuring out what you want to do and doing the proper testing before making changes.

Q: What are you most happy about with regards to DotA? (from Artem)

A: I am really thankful for all the support players have given this game, it is more than I could ask for. I see a vibrant community that, despite the very hard learning curve DotA has, grows through the dedication and passion of its players. That shows me how much more potential the game has and encourages me to work harder.


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  1. whoa!!! FIRST BLOOD

  2. wow! great interview.. hoping for awesome changes in the future versions :)

  3. loved it, thanks little frog :D

  4. ULTRA KILL!!!!!!!!!!!
    phoenix is invoker's ultimate in campaign mode. I like it so much!

  5. hope someone gives a try at developing a 4 way dota map, that will be great i think or not but its something new to try

  6. hardfull and uneasy job right there! I would really wan to experiece designing games!

  7. I wonder what phoenix skill are? ^_^

  8. wah!!!!
    cant wait anymore..
    keep it goin icefrog..
    dota rockS!!!!!

  9. i think icefrog should change his hairstyle after this..

  10. Very nice, but perhaps you guys should give a look in this -> !!!
    The name is diferent, but the model its just the same, and perhaps, who knows the skills??

    I hope 6.68 don't take too long to be released.

  11. beyond GODLIKE! - Holy Shit!

  12. What? No info regarding a SC2 based DOTA?

  13. Maybe create a map like the 6.50 beta version with 5 lanes ^_^

    hmmmm... and maybe even have 10 players each team.. haha

  14. sc2 may no need icefrog for any AoS kind of game on its,thus the modding on that sc2 is twice better then warcraft 3 got(most war3 map maker now has interest in sc2 bcoz many damn thing that limited on warcraft3 has been unlimit by sc2)
    inventory slot from 6 can upbound to 17 or wat ever.and skill from 4 can up to 6 or 7(owh really?????)and >>>>

    why we not rush for dota on sc2:
    sc2 got lan server like garena or hamachi????(dota player will dying to play!)
    galaxy background???(Ancient???????)
    to damn greedy ,item slot can be too much!

    but icefrog are are are are welcomed for dota on sc2!!!

  15. pFiRrst bVloOdd!!

  16. I really like the fact that after so much success and all these years, he still does not let it get to his head , nor is there any hint as to the sort of money he COULD be making off this game alone... Keep it up Icefrog, you're more blessed than you realise =)

  17. oh yeah. beat it to the max

  18. HEY GUYS!!!

    check that piece

  19. I want to see DotA have 4 teams rather than just the sentinel and scourge. The more the merrier! :)

  20. do you want to put refresh rune in next map

  21. See This Image..
    Why IceFrog Choose Phoenix

    1 Lord Garithos
    2 Phoenix
    5 Tuskar
    13 KoDo (and evil model)
    16 Dragon Hawk Rider
    18 Medivh
    26 Gryphon Riders

  22. i hope heroes with Aghanim's has some visual add-ons when equipped with it. :D

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. can i ask a question? why Ursa Warrior so powerful? can you weaken him a little bit? lessen the additional damage of fury swipes. its all about the fury swipes.

  25. i hope someday there will be no Map hackers in playing DOTA ..............its bad trip for me (:

  26. i hope doombringer's devour will be nerfed in the next version.

  27. when will 6.67ai come out

  28. I hope more than one hero come out!

  29. I don't like it, because it look like summon in warcraft. It doesn't suitable to be the hero in dota. Why don't you make a new design for new hero.

  30. Ican't wait the new hero!....


  31. wow thats awsome im excited to use that hero!! icarus

  32. What is the build for riki?

  33. wtf!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. This is DoeoOnline speaking.

    DotA roxxorz.

    Thanks yous.

  35. icefrog do you get any income while making dota? this is like a full time job really in making constant changes in the maps..

  36. How many times does Icefrog has to say that he DOESN'T get ANY income for making new maps

  37. please bring back the old names of the heroes its very confusing thank you.

  38. please bring back the old names of the heroes its very confusing thank you.

  39. Fuck that anonymus says to much isnt? imagine that is only 1 guy saying all that, that wont be anonymus that would be anoyingmus

    haha nice new hero, I would like to add the ice dragon from the undead, that would be awsome.

    think about it, slow those damm towers would be better, of course as a passive ability of a last skill. haha

  40. oh wow! something to wait for again:D
    i hope it's a gankerxD

  41. HEY ICE FROG!!! You're a genius!


  43. Im a really DOTA ADIK!!

    Icarus... the phoenix hope that the composition of is skill are uniqe for better enjoyment of the game... Plus hope that when 6.68 is out.. HOPE that there will be no major BUG in it..

  44. i smuggled the news from him!!!!
    1st skill, fierecaster.
    2nd skill, phoenix tears
    3rd skill, fiery Passe
    ultimate, Tornafire
    i can only tell u that the ulti is tele to the targeted hero and spin with fire nxt to him, something like blink strike. 30% critical dmg will be given for the nxt 20 secs. the initial dmg for this skill is lvl 1- 500, lvl 2-700, lvl 3- 1200.
    and phoenix tear is for healing, like the enchantress. ok thats all, figure out the rest by urself. btw, a hint to u guys. icefrog studies in a uni right now =D

  45. is it somehow on earth possible to fix these 300 ms build in internet/lan delay of wc3
    its so annoying and makes u act like a venerable if u rnt host
    even in garena

  46. icefrog. .


    ANoyingmus. .

    i agree with u all. .

    DOTA. .

    Keep Till The Very END

  47. ice frog

    is aa local game may strive to ptomote evwere...........

  48. Icarus the Phoenix is actually Lina's DRAGON SLAVE @_@

  49. new hero ... new tactics will be seen.. ahahahah

    ill kill you lol

  50. Viper vs. Phoenix!!!!!!! weehee!!!

  51. i hope there's a warcraft movie??many people wiLL watch..hehe

  52. i love to put refresh rune if im the creator i will spawn every 4 mins.


  53. شركة نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ابيات الشرقيه لخدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث الدمام
    نقل عفش الدمام
    نقل عفش بالدمام
    ان اردت نقل عفش منزلك بالدمام ابيات الشرقية من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف والاحساء