First impressions from a Dota Player
Hello just to give a bit of background on my experiences I am a Dota player who used to play Starcraft 2 back in wings of liberty though only up to platinum. I play Dota at a moderately high level (5000 mmr) and have been following e-sports devotedly since my time watching Day9 cast SC2. I played the game for the first time today and while I certainly enjoy the overall theme of the game and am eager to see it succeed there were a few things that I found annoying or that could be improved.
1.)I felt frustrated with the lack of in game methods to communicate my position in the game
Coming from dota this seems like a huge problem in a team based game. In Dota, alt clicking on various ui elements and units will announce information about those units to the rest of your team. These would be statements such I have 78% health 44% mana by alt clicking on your health-bar, ability A is on cooldown(5 seconds) when clicking on a skill, I will buy Item b (need 500 gold) by alt clicking on the quick buy. and many many more things. The alt click command allows for in game information to be quickly noted and brought to the attention of your teammates with minimal time required.
I feel like a similar or exact system would work quite well in atlas. One could alt click the mini map for a normal ping, ctrl alt for alert. alt click a tower to call for defense. Alt click an enemy building or Titan spawner to call for an attack. Alt click an enemy unit to point out that unit specifically. Alt click hero abilities to state their status if friendly or warn of their presence if enemy. Alt click production queues to communicate what you are building. Alt click items in the production facility, research lab and command core to indicate what you are planning to go for and what you need to get it. Alt click stock, scrap and supply counters to show how your overall status is. And I'm sure that there are more that could work. This list I just made might seem excessive but since its introduction into dota the community was overjoyed with how much these features made communicating with your team easier and far more fluid. Even when in voice communication with my team, alt clicking still is useful and the lack of such a feature in other games feels like a drop in the fluidity of the in-game communication. Obviously I have only played against bots so far but the contextual communication the the alt click system provides seems to be a relatively simple way to increase the amount of communication and coordination in a game of atlas.
Just a small addition that might also be useful to ease communication, a chat wheel with modular preset statements that could be brought up with a hotkey might also be helpful. Especially with people playing that speak different languages. As it is If one person cannot speak the same language as another it appears very difficult to communicate the kind of specific information that would be needed to coordinate and win the game. While a language universal chat wheel would not solve everything, the ability to say "push now", "get back" "help" "I'm retreating" "jungling" and many other simple statements and have them be presented to other players in their language of choice with one hotkey press and a slight shift of the mouse seems like a useful system to have in a team based game.
2.) I felt annoyed with information not always being displayed
This one is less vital than the communication concerns but i do feel like there are two ui elements in particular that I would rather have providing more for me as a player.
The first are the unit icons in the production facility. While they do communicate the hotkey needed to produce the unit and the unit cap i feel like more should be shown there. The two elements in particular that I think would be nice to see are the units resource costs and the type of unit it is. Obviously as you play more you learn that information by heart but to see the costs of the unit without having to enter a sub menu and to have say color coding indicating if a unit is melee, ranged, caster/support etc would make the unit rosters of each faction more discernible at first glance.
The second ui element that annoys me is the army/production tab next to the mini-map. As it is the panel that is displayed depends on if you are selecting a unit or a building. That is usually fine but since the production tab is a universal tab and there are only so many types of units to be selected at once I see no real reason to hide one panel while displaying the other. Both panels could be shown in the same space though that might require a bit of shrinking of the size of the portraits. I would much rather have the production tab open at all times and to have it blocked off when controlling my army annoys me to no end. Even to have the option of having a separate production tab always open at some other place on the screen would to me be a huge improvement
Other than that there are no other issues that pop up into my mind so far playing the game. I look forward to playing pvp this weekend as this type of game is a type that I personally have been interested in from a design perspective as a game design major. Rts is one of my passions and playing with teammates competitively have given my some of greatest moments and greatest friendships to date. I hope that Atlas becomes a game I can dedicate time to and achieve mastery of. Lastly Day 9 thanks for everything you have done both in Atlas and sc2. Daily 100 had a big impact on my life.