Integrating Items Information into Dota 2

Case Study by René Engelhardt — Nov 8, 2016


The Problem: No integrated items list in Dota 2

A huge complaint about Dota 2 for unexperienced players is that the game is very overwhelming at first. It has over 110 heroes, more than 140 items and is unbeaten in its sheer complexity. As a result, newcomers are frightend and are only able to look up items, while being in-game (actively playing) or on the web. What was missing is a universal alternative inside the game’s main menu. Due to Valve upgrading Dota 2’s engine from Source 1 to Source 2 they introduced Panorama. Panorama is a new UI framework which is based on HTML/CSS and Javascript. Because of that, this leaves designers with little to no restrictions in designing new elements.

The Solution: Designing an Items Tab for new and experienced players alike

What really stood out to me was the huge amount of people having this problem of the game being too complex. I went out to the official subreddit and asked new and advanced users what problems they have or had when learning Dota. About 60% replied with the game being hard to learn, as in there is not enough information in the game itself. Since the introduction of Source 2, items and other educational features were missing. The solution to the problem, is to design and show Valve a fully designed feature, that was missing for a long time.

Items, a huge part of Dota 2

With the ever growing community, Dota 2 is the biggest esport of all time in terms of prize money and competition. What makes one player stand out, is knowing how to utilize what is given to them in terms of heroes and item advantages. Due to that, information is crucial, but was still missing with the change to Source 2. With only external sources of researching items, it was about time to introduce Valve a design proposal for a beloved feature: Items in the main-menu.

Introducing my design to Reddit and Valve

After finishing up the design i uploaded all relevant screenshots to the official subreddit and the community liked it. With over 1200+ upvotes and more than 20.000 views i was pretty ecstatic. Following that, a few weeks later Valve rolled out an update featuring the long missing items tab inside of the Dota 2 client.