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Neichus, a Dota developer you should know about

Posted 07-16-2012 at 10:46 AM by Sven2k
Updated 08-17-2012 at 01:06 AM by Sven2k

Link to the original thread: Click Me
Link to Neichus' Profile: Click Me
Originally Posted by Neichus View Post
Hey, I'm really really late replying to this but I didn't do Priestess of the Moon.

I don't know if I'm just being self-glorifying but going through this but I just had some people ask me to post more so I figure I can try to explain my hero involvement more precisely.

For some reason this forum is being very angry with me and doing "post denied" whenever I try to copy what I wrote over. It seems to accept it when I break in two however.

Earthshaker: Of my design. I'm really happy he's turned out to be so popular; I had high hopes for pathing blocks on Fissure and it seems to have become a success. Not much else to say, except that I had no idea his slow cast animations would have such an effect on his playstyle. It was just around that time that we were learning to synch up animations with actual effects, and wanted to make good use of the Tauren totem slam.

Tiny: This guy is sort of mine. Tiny was in the game before I came around and was considered an old favorite but had been removed since he just wasn't working. Iirc his original had Grow as well, so we just built on this theme on reintroduction.

Treant Protector: I had some input on this guy, or at least his "invis next to trees" ability. Leech Seed and his global aura weren't in the game at the time I worked on him.

Axe: Of my design. His original version didn't have Battle Hunger speeding Axe up, nor Culling Blade boosting ally movement. Probably good advancements since his original form had practically no pursuit power.

Bristleback: This was another guy's idea that was put in under my watch, where I had some input on the refinement of the idea but it was somebody else's baby.

Doom Bringer: Like Tiny, Doom Bringer was already in the game when I came around. I was just involved in giving him a facelift from his old version which was only a moderately changed Pit Lord from WarCraft 3 (although the new mechanic with him acquiring neutral abilities on Devour isn't mine, but is very cool).

Pudge: My pride and joy. What some of you might not know is that the current Pudge is actually the second Butcher that was put into the game. His first incarnation was as a summoner/pusher. He had the ability to store corpses like a Meat Wagon and then raise them. However, his ultimate was probably the most broken spell ever in DotA: Carrion Flies. The flies were a small, weak summon that were able to raise more of themselves. This would unfortunately result in Pudge being able to push an entire lane...while sitting in his base because the flies would increase in number faster than they'd die out. They were doubly horrible because they had no collision size so you'd see one fly....then die because it was actually 50 of them stacked on top of each other. Yeah, he got outright banned by people in public games.

It's been interesting to see how since his inception he's sort of permeated back into Blizzard's design. If you play World of WarCraft you'll notice that many of the abominations now have hooking moves and in Diablo 3 their Butcher also has a similar move.

Sandking: Of my design. His entire design came just from the fact that I found out that the scorpion models had a burrow animation and I really wanted to use it. He's probably one of my heroes that has gone through more changes than most, simply because he was such a boom-or-bust hero that was hard to balance. The original Epicenter stayed where it was cast, rather than following the Sandking. Slight adjustments in casting and stun times between Burrowstrike and Epicenter either made him way too powerful or completely incapable of getting his combo off.

Morphling: Of my design. First hero I ever got into DotA, while Guinsoo was still project head. He's also undergone quite a few changes like Sandking. His signature ability to convert Strength and Agility was there, as was Waveform, but that's about it. His ultimate is now Rubrick's (although my version was far more unwieldy to use) and I don't even recall what he had in place of Adaptive Strike.

Naga Siren: Already in game, I just invented her Song ultimate to replace whatever was there before (I don't even remember what it was).

Phantom Lancer: Of my design. Another case like Tiny where the hero was in before I came but was removed. I just brought it "back" using the original as an inspiration.

Stealth Assassin: Another case like Doom Bringer where the hero was in the game but I was involved in a heavy revamp. He already had perma-invis, but his old ultimate was Death Ward (same as the Witch Doctor except non-channeling). We nixed for the same reason Sandking had balance issues, where the hero's whole power depended on a single combo murdering the opponent before they could react. Smoke Screen and Backstab are my particular additions.

Ursa Warrior: Of my design. Fuzzy Wuzzy was the first hero to have a "secret" name. Fun fact is that his original version is that he was technically a ranged hero. Fury Swipes is based off of the Firelord's ability and the ability just wouldn't work when you put it on a melee hero. So he was actually a "ranged" hero in disguise to make it work.

Broodmother: Of my design. One of my personal favorites just because I like arthropods.

Nerubian Weaver: Of my design. In a twist of irony, I gave him a "useless" ability that ended up being removed and would probably have now been considered overpowered. I had the whole idea in my head of Shukuchi/Geminate/Time Lapse, but I couldn't think of a 4th ability that fit. After a while I basically gave up and awarded him the ability to summon invisible Shades which he could position around the map, giving him good vision of different areas. Yep, he had free everlasting mobile wards. Of course back then wards weren't in vogue (in fact, it was around my time that consumables were even introduced) so this ability was considered trash and skipped. I don't know when it was changed to the new swarm ability.

Shadow Fiend: Of my design. Ultimate has since been changed. His original ultimate was a set of orbs which floated around him that he could expand and contract, like a permanent version of the Guardian Wisp ability. I am however glad to see that Shadowraze has stayed around; it was an experimental ability that I knew was hard to control when I put it in, so glad to see that better players than I have made good use of it.

Enchantress: Of my design. Ultimate was originally Untouchable and Impetus was a basic ability, but other than that she still had the same set of abilities. Her healing ability is actually a variant of the War3 Crypt Lord swarm with a bunch of little units having auto-cast heal turned on. Recently picked up Dota 2 and she's probably one of my favorites to play as a support who can also sting when needed.

Keeper of the Light: I was involved in him, but I don't remember much else except working on Illuminate at some point. His original ultimate was an ungodly annoying pushing tool, a sort of Porta-Furion that could teleport around the map and summon support wisps to help fight.

Zeus: Already in the game, I just added in Static Field since he became rapidly useless past the early-mid game without the ability to weaken stronger opponents.

Tinker: Of my design. Fun fact is that Heat Seeking Missiles is Fan of Knives with a HUGE radius and small target limit. His ultimate actually stems from a limitation in the WarCraft 3 engine. There is no way to reset individual abilities in triggers, so you either reset everything or not. Otherwise he might have ended up quite differently.

Ogre Magi: Of my design.

Bane: I was involved in him. Like the Bristleback he was somebody else's baby, but I did the coding and refinement from the initial ideas.

Death Prophet: Already in the game, but I put in Witchcraft so that like Zeus her damage potential wouldn't just tank in the mid game against stronger heroes.

Enigma: Somebody else's idea, which I refined and coded. Blackhole, however, is my invention.

Necrolyte: Of my design. As a somewhat embarrassing anecdote, I was unaware of certain definitions when designing him. His original name was "Necrophiliac" since I figured he was affiliated with the dead. It was only brought to my attention later that I should probably rename him.

Visage: My version has since been overwritten. He was in the game previously and the gargoyles had always been his ultimate. I introduced Grave Chill as well as some other abilities to him. Soul Assumption is not of my design, nor is the new Gravekeeper's Cloak.


Courier: Originally my idea. If the website lets me link URLs, I have a funny old picture of the original version equipped with a Dagon killing somebody (since it didn't have the limitations of the current couriers).

Items: I didn't do a lot with item invention, mostly I just sorted them. I did however introduce the Bracer and Wraith Band (originally Null Talisman was the only early game tri-stat) as well as the Refresher Orb (since it was basically the same idea as the Tinker).

And whew, I think that covers most of what I was involved in.
Originally Posted by Neichus View Post
No need to get nasty toward people on my part. I could tell he was just messing around. As for ranged Ursa, there was just a checkbox option for ranged or melee; if you put ranged, it would look at certain values (such as "Range" and "Projectile Speed") and ignore them if melee. He was just checked as Range with a 128 range and 999999 projectile speed. It sounds like IceFrog has since overcome this limitation.

Anyway, I truthfully don't remember what IceFrog's first hero was. So the way things worked I can try to give a history of things to the best of my memory.

When I started playing the game Guinsoo was project head. I had been inspired by playing the game to try to make my own with a friend. I actually found it the other day, still lingering on my old (old old old) Homestead account; if you want to look at it, but it's pretty disorganized. You can see a few early precursors, such as Morphling and Broodmother though. However, after a bit I just decided to get involved in DotA proper.

I mostly just posted things on the hero creation forum. I collaborated a bit with some different people. For instance, I met somebody named SensualSuccubus ("Sens") who had an encyclopedic knowledge of icons and graphics, which helped make my coding creations look a lot better. I also had a few other buddies in the hero making business which I liked talking to, namely ShadowPenguin (Bane's designer) and AfroThunder (Bristleback's designer).

As I already mentioned, Morphling was my first hero to get into the game. I don't recall at what point I actually became part of Guinsoo's "team" as it were, but I use that word loosely. The organization at the time was set up such that Guinsoo had exclusive access to the map for the most part, so anything I did was through him by presenting example maps or talking. Pendragon was the guy who hosted the website and worried about the finances (I still remember him asking me if it was okay to rename Razor "Razer" because the company was wanting to advertise). I somewhat had a counterpart named Terror13laze who also had Guinsoo's ear but I'll refrain from saying much in his case as he honestly drove me nuts; Enigma, Abaddon, and Tidehunter are his projects.

This is how things continued for some time, with Guinsoo being in charge and everything flowing through him. After a bit this sort of broke down. He had set out on an ambitious project to add a third tavern of heroes for each side in a giant upgrade. He also had started on his most ambitious hero project yet: Invoker. He was similar to how he functions now, except that the order of invocations mattered so he had 27 abilities rather than 10. In any case, he became disinterested in DotA. Months passed without a new release and the natives grew restless (as did I). So, I took some action.

Previously I had been involved in a project to attempt to make a "true" sequel to the classic game StarControl II (StarControl: TimeWarp was its name). It eventually just flamed out, though, because of divisive elements. I really didn't want to see that happen again so I took the project from Guinsoo. I did this by getting two key people on board. First was Pendragon; whoever controlled the site functionally made it the "official" version, and as I already mentioned he had a monetary investment in the project so I convinced him to go along with me. IceFrog was the other, as he was able to get through the rudimentary protection the map had and provide me with an editable version. Whether it was right of me I'll let other people decide, but Guinsoo was pretty mad at me (although last I talked to him he didn't seem to bear any lasting ill-will).

I went on to complete the major overhaul/upgrade, which is when many of my heroes were put in. At this point I functionally replaced Guinsoo in that I mostly controlled the map, although I handed it off to IceFrog a lot because he was simply better than I was at coding. This led to a rather unfortunate incident at one point, though. DotA used to have an atrocious load time; so long that it would actually put people off playing it, especially when combined with the people who would -random, get a hero they didn't want, and quit immediately. During the earlier debacle a Russian programmer (don't recall the name) had come up with a method to dramatically lower the load time and had released his own version of the map with the improvements. At the same time IceFrog had also developed the same thing and was in the process of implementing it after I took control. From the outside it looked like we straight up stole this other guy's work and gave him no credit, so that caused some consternation with people. But I do maintain to this day that IceFrog developed it on his own and that we didn't rip somebody else off.

After being project head for a while I go things rolling again, but it was wearing on me. I don't have a particularly thick skin, and anybody involved with game design knows this is a bad thing. Gamers are vicious in their assessments, and since I felt it was my duty to keep in touch with things on the forums I got pretty worn down (to somebody who was asking before: the reason I have a late join date is because the website has since moved from its old location where I was originally involved). I also was not clear on certain things. For instance, I've since come to appreciate that you have to choose a balance point: you can balance a game for newcomers, or intermediates, or advanced players but you can't really do so for everybody at once. This led to a lot of consternation as professional players would gripe about some things while the forums were full of vitriol about others. After a bit I was pretty miserable, as it had become an onerous job on top of my school work load. I told IceFrog I needed a bit of a break and left the project with him. And then I just sort of never came back.

And that's the end of my involvement until recently, when I wandered back and started playing Dota 2 because my brothers were into it. Which has gotten me thinking about things all over again (as well as posting here), and pestering poor IceFrog with ideas.

I've already had a few people ask me about a hero or item or something in my name, and I'm not really looking for it. Besides, this moniker is actually horribly mangled. It's supposed to be pronounced "nye-kuss" but I made it up when I was young so I didn't do it properly and everybody says "nee-chuss." Nothing more embarrassing than having your name mispronounced all over the internet. ;-)

Edit: looks like I can post URLs now. A few of them I dug up (yes, they look so professional don't they?):
Tiny promo
Weaver promo
Shadowfiend promo
Axe promo
Enigma promo
Phantom lancer promo
Earthshaker promo
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Total Comments 6


  1. Old Comment
    BabyDicK's Avatar
    Posted 08-02-2012 at 07:59 PM by BabyDicK BabyDicK is offline
  2. Old Comment
    whiskeydiqk's Avatar
    you're the man! i hope you and Icefrog can collaborate again someday haha
    Posted 08-02-2012 at 09:46 PM by whiskeydiqk whiskeydiqk is offline
  3. Old Comment
    fr0zenknife's Avatar
    I think linking the thread would work, but yes i was amazed as well.
    Posted 08-02-2012 at 11:04 PM by fr0zenknife fr0zenknife is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Sven2k's Avatar
    lol how is it possible that this blog got more views than the actual thread xD
    Posted 08-04-2012 at 08:52 AM by Sven2k Sven2k is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Ryugo's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Sven2k View Comment
    lol how is it possible that this blog got more views than the actual thread xD
    This because you're everywhere and people are attracted to cat blogs.
    Posted 02-15-2013 at 12:11 PM by Ryugo Ryugo is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Budzogan's Avatar
    ye... good blog
    Posted 01-07-2014 at 01:46 PM by Budzogan Budzogan is offline