Jeff Feinberg

Subverting Dota 2

The Plan:

Dota 2 is a highly competitive multiplayer game where players choose heroes and fight AI and other players to level up, gain new skills, and get items. Each hero has specific roles they fill, and deviating from these roles often leads to losing, and results anger and abuse from teammates. So for my intervention, I decided to play heroes using opposite roles than they should be played, and observe my teammates results.

Initial Progress:

Initial progress was good (and by that I mean bad), where I was getting some abuse. When playing carries, if you don’t get the right items, you become dead weight on the team, and here is where I ran into some issues. Playing support, you are largely item-independent, so even though I wasn’t playing a support role, people generally had no comment. However, carry games led to abuse since I wasn’t doing my appropriate job.




Dota 2 has voice chat, so it was sometimes challenging to get evidence of chat abuse, since most of it was spoken. I had twp main ways of getting responses from this. Sometimes, I would stay completely silent no matter what anyone would say to me. Other times, I would be up front about me doing an art piece, and generally people were accepting. However, this did not lead to the chat abuse I wanted, since I was still getting replies through voice chat.



Although I didn’t get quite the responses through text that I was expecting, I did reach my end goal: Low Priority! My next couple games will suck, but art is pain.


Intervention Proposal

For my proposal, I intend to do an intervention with Dota 2.

Dota 2 is a popular free to play game on Steam that evolved from the original DotA on the Warcraft 3 engine. In this game, players play 5 on 5 matches that has each player pick a specific hero with their own abilities. Each hero plays a unique role in the team, and the team must work together to win the game.

Heroes in Dota 2 are traditionally pigeon-holed into roles, like tank, support, carry, etc. Playing heroes outside their respective roles tends to lead to failure, and subsequently, intense ridicule and disdain from your teammates. I intend to play 5 separate matches playing heroes outside of their designated roles, while still trying to win the game.


1. Choose a hero

2. Pick a role opposite the normal role (i.e. Carry => support, tank => carry, etc)

3. Observe responses from teammates.

4. Observe responses after success competing using hero in a different role.

Final Appropriation: The Last Monopoly

Goal: Be the first player to make a single trip around the board.

Rules: Each player chooses a piece, and then rolls a single die to determine their starting money. The player receives money equal to their die roll multiplied by $150. After this, players roll single die rolls to move. If they land on a space that requires drawing a Chance or Community Chest card, the player draws the card and does whatever the card requires of them. If the player lands on a space with houses, that means the area is occupied by zombies.

These spaces, using the MyMonopoly edition, allow for the user to place pictures on tiles, replacing the standard art. These tiles contain which zombie the player encounters, as well as the total zombies and the requirement that the player must pay. The player rolls the die, and if they can roll 4 or higher, they get to keep half of the money they would otherwise pay. Additionally, if a player lands on a space where another player is, the two players can either roll against each other, with the winner taking half of the loser’s money, or agree to not attack, and each of them will lose one quarter of their money. If a player loses all of their money, they are eliminated from the game.


Artist Statement:

The game looks to draw parallels between the corrupting influence capitalism has on people with the perils and dangers of a zombie apocalypse. The journey around the boarddescribes the theme that when one struggles to survive in the apocalpyse, they often lose their humanity, while also showing how businesses often have to use cutthroat, aggressive tactics to beat their competitors and climb the social ladder. In the apocalypse, survivors often fight and kill each other to take their resources, represented by the players rolling against each other. This parallels businesses often taking the majority of a competitor’s customers after beating them in competition. The tiles are hidden until the player lands on them, leaving a sense of suspense in the player that is needed in a game about surviving the apocalypse. The game should leave players feeling tense and distrusting of each other by the end of the game, as well as a feeling of dissatisfaction with possibly suffering unforeseen consequences.a

Show and Tell: Desert Golfing

Desert Golfing is a 2D mobile game with one simple mechanic: a golf ball is on the left side of the screen, and the player must drag their finger to swing the ball into a hole on the right side of the screen. The geometry of the course is randomized simple hills, slopes, and valleys. If the ball goes off the side of the screen, it gets reset. Once the player gets the ball into the hole, the screen slides to the left, generating a new hole for the ball to land in. This is endlessly generated, with the player’s score increasing with every hole. That’s the entire game, this one simple mechanic. So why do I keep playing it?

Within five minutes of playing, I could tell that I had seen everything Desert Golfing had to offer.  The next hour I spent playing confirmed this. The Game has a simple aesthetic, with the sky being a solid light orange and the ground being a solid dark orange. The only other objects are the golf  ball and a small flag denoting the hole. The game looks so simple, and this is reinforced by it’s loading. When the player loads the game, it takes them right to the level where they left off. No splash screen, no menu. There’s no music in the game, and minimal sound effects for hitting, bouncing, and respawning the ball. It almost seems as if the game is a prototype instead of a full release, since it’s just a single mechanic, constantly generating new levels to play with that mechanic. But the act of swinging and watching the ball follow your trajectory against the irregularly shaped terrain is compelling enough that the simplicity of the game becomes an advantage. This game is about shooting a ball into a hole by dragging your finger, and it strips away everything to deliver that distilled experience.

The game crashes often on my phone, but due to the ease of jumping back in, that’s not a huge issue. Additionally, the sound effects can become a little grating, but since most mobile games are played with the sound on silent, this isn’t a huge issue either. Overall, Desert Golfing is a great game that utilizes it’s simple mechanic with endlessly generated terrain to offer the player constant new challenges to keep the game entertaining.

Snow Travel

Think about paths and shortcuts taken on your trip to class.

Wait for massive snowfall.

Observe how the paths become restricted or blocked off by snow.

When the snow melts, take the same path as if the snow were still there.


Eat whenever you think of food, whether or not you are hungry.

Stop whenever you feel full.




Eat only when you are hungry.

Eat past the point of being full.

Don’t eat for one whole day.

Eat only once per day.

Eat one new thing every day.