MOBAs are new and fascinating to me. Having recently picked up VainGlory, I dove right in, quickly climbing the ranks where I plateaued at The Hotness. That isn’t to say I won’t be able to still move up, but for now I’m okay with where I’m at. I’ve always been better at talking about games than playing them anyway. And that’s exactly why I want to see a Spectator Mode in VainGlory as soon as possible. Not only will I be able to watch and learn from higher ranked players, but proper shoutcasting for tournaments – like the Vainglory Championship Series sponsored by Vainshame.com – will become a possibility, and who knows, maybe one day I could make a living out of shouting about video games.
Before we get into what I want to see in spectator mode, I thought I would look at the current state of Vainglory (pre-spectator mode) and the workarounds the community has developed to handle tournament play? Most often tournaments are restricted to teams of two, leaving the third slot of each team for a shoutcaster or non-playing observer. Usually the winning team is the first to a certain number of kills or a predefined number of turrets destroyed. I’ve tried a 2v2 private match and understand why most avoid full length matches. A full length 2v2 matches can drag out even longer than a normal 3v3 match; the whole dynamic of the game, along with all its metas, are completely thrown out the window. You never want your team to split up, if restricted to the lane at least one ranged hero is a must, and the Kraken is an even riskier proposition. While Super Evil Mega Corp love seeing all these fan made tourneys, they didn’t make a 2v2 MOBA. And according to a few of their Friday live streams, are just as anxious to release spectator mode as the community is.
I have high hopes for spectator mode, and as everything else in VainGlory, I bet it’ll blow all our expectations away. But just in case Super Evil Mega Corp is having trouble making spectator mode feel like a new, exciting experience, while also giving more pro features for shoutcasters, I thought I would throw out some ideas of my own:
Gold is AU-some:
Farming wins matches. There’s no way around it. The more efficiently you farm the quicker you can buy the core items in your build, but if Spectator Mode takes from the current scoreboard, we’ll be left guessing who’s a Scrooge McDuck and who’s hurting for some gold. There’s a couple of ways this could be implemented. Simply add a gold count to the scoreboard, or, give us a graph displaying gold amount on the y-axis and time on the x-axis. I’m hoping for the latter, with another graph that shows who has a net amount more of gold (similar to what DOTA 2 offers). That way shoutcasters can show viewers who’s winning in terms of gold and explain why one team is dominating over the other.
I Can See Clearly Now the Fog is Gone:
MOBAs wouldn’t be nearly as thrilling as they are without the Fog of War mechanic. Just think about it, we would never again be able to say “face check a bush” without feeling like a perv. When shoutcasting, though, how do you keep this mechanic, and the thrill, alive yet still effectively comment on a match? By giving us omnipotent options. I want to see the map unobstructed by fog, but I also want to be able to see through each teams’ eyes so everyone feels their hearts sink during a 1v3 gank, or the trumpets roar when a team’s trap has been successfully sprung.
Give that Mini-Map a Break:
Spectating a match currently means entering the match with the contestants, staying at your base, and using the mini-map to scroll the camera over to the action. That has to be tiring, to hold your finger in one spot for a whole match (#firstworldproblems I know). When Super Evil release Spectator Mode we all know they won’t force us to hold our pointer finger on the mini-map, but I do want to make sure we’re given some options that truly elevate the spectating experience. To start off, don’t entirely rid us of the mini-map scrolling feature and the normal way of maneuvering the map, just allow it to stay in the location that you scroll to and the rest of the normal controls should stay. Adding on this, allow spectators to lock onto heroes, taking their point of view and allowing viewers to see their skills, when they use them, and maybe even seeing when they scroll their map around. This feature is close to what Twitch streamers currently do, which is why they’re such a great resource for learning a hero.
A “free spirit” mode is also needed. One with basic functions as described above in the Fog of War section, but with two more features. The ability to remove the HUD entirely, and to zoom out slightly more than normal. Removing the HUD during an Ace or as a team finishes off the enemy vain could give an extra bit of suspense and zooming out will give a better sense of the action during a match as a whole.
Battle Logs are now a part of VainGlory as of update 1.2.0 (the update that includes Celeste), but I want more. More graphs that is. An overlay works too. Just something that shows when key moments happened within the match that can be referenced. One more graph as well, an experience/level graph to show who leveled the fastest, and be able to point out level differences in early team fights. Maybe these extra graphs are a bit too much, especially if a match only lasts 20 minutes. In that case, I wouldn’t even bring them up because I wouldn’t need any filler. But what happens when a match lasts 40 minutes? There’s bound to be a bit more down time where each team is farming. Having a battle log of the match that I can bring up, overlay on other metrics, and talk about the match up until that moment will give shoutcasters and viewers a better sense of how the match has progressed.
Regardless of what Super Evil Mega Corp includes in their Spectator Mode, I’ll be there, and I’ll be red in the face from shouting.
What are your thoughts on the future of Vainglory and spectator mode? Let me know in the comments!