Earlier today PC Gamer published their TI interview with Valve's Erik Johnson. He talks about Valve’s approach to the many challenges the company faces when it comes to Dota 2 and keeping the community happy. He also talks Pitlord's possible future. Hop in to see Valves' plans on those matters.
One of the challenges is the focus on getting the clean and final version of Reborn out to the community post TI. At the moment, there is no official estimated time of arrival for it, although Johnson did say he does expect it to come out as soon as possible.
Changes in Reborn will add to experience, may not be neccessary
Reborn will come with new and improved tutorials for Dota 2 newcomers, despite Johnson saying he believes Dota 2 is already very accessible to players. There are now 11.5 million people playing Dota 2 compared to 8.5 million this same time last year. He also said that getting Reborn out is something that has been in the talks among developers for a while. This may not be so much apparent to the community due to Valve’s appeal to surprise and keeping details private until updates are officially out.
Valves untraditional approach at communication
We still feel that, fundamentally, our strongest form of communication is software. You can discern everything we’ve done and everything we’re thinking by reading through an update. We think that there’s some amount of value in just surprising the community with something you didn’t think was coming and we wouldn’t want to lose that.
The poor communication that is sometimes associated with Valve is actually something Johnson said makes the company who they are. (As it has been seen with other titles in the past such as Half-Life.) Valve does not have a community manager which Johnson credits to the fact that Valve chooses to inform the community directly through updates and from people actually working with the game.
Keeping the community happy
Instead of constant communication between the community and the company Valve simply likes to deliver what they think will make them happy. Happiness among players is key to keeping them playing Dota and one of Valve's constant goals, said Johnson: "But we hear when people are saying that we do a poor job at communication and some of it’s an artifact of the type of company that we are. I think sometimes it turns to what I feel is a place that’s not super accurate, like ‘Valve doesn’t care’. We care a huge amount about our users and our community."
When people are playing Dota or using Steam or playing Counter-Strike: how can we make our existing customers super happy so they tell their friends, ‘hey I’m super happy come play this game with me’.
Johnson used Pitlord as an example: "when an artist’s saying 'I could make a blog post about what happened last week, or I could start sketching out what Pit Lord’s going to look like' they say 'I think people just want me to make Pit Lord.'"As for Pitlord, Johnson closes his interview by saying he doesn’t know whether Pitlord will actually be in the game, but looks forward to the five-man teleportations.