I originally wrote this post for a more gaming-oriented blog my friends and I created, Bloglomerate. It is exclusively concerned with the game Dota 2. I’ve reposted it here to ensure it lives on in case Bloglomerate is discontinued.
In a previous post, I lamented the design of Antimage. Although his lack of counters makes him difficult to deal with, I wouldn’t call him overpowered – just a fun-sucking vampire. In fact, there really aren’t many heroes that I feel truly earn the gold ‘imba’ star. Many heroes are situationally absurd, but for most of these heroes, your team will have the opportunity to prevent these situations from coming about through your choice of heroes, lane matchups, item pickups, and so on.
The role-based nature of the game is part of what helps preserve this delicate balance. On paper, Lion’s stun is strictly superior to Nyx Assassin’s stun – it lasts .3 seconds longer and travels 200 units farther. The difference is that Nyx Assassin is a highly mobile invis ganker that can use his stun whenever and wherever the fuck he wants. Meanwhile, Lion is forced to rely on his team to create an opening, so he can trundle in like a clown, use his disables, ult, and then promptly get his ass shoved into his face because that may as well be Lion’s fourth ability. The point is, the strength of abilities are contextual to that hero’s role. There’s a reason most carries don’t come equipped with hard CC.