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Dota2 Homie: Voice & Text Chatbot

PROJECT

Dota 2 Chatbot: Homie

TEAM

Solo 

BACKGROUND

DotaHomie is a voice assistant chatbot designed to assist new players in starting their journey in Dota2.

As one of the most popular MOBA(multiplayer online battle arena) games in the market today, Dota2 is facing a decline in players due to its level of difficulty and worsening community environment for beginners.

 

For this project, I developed a chatbot that is targeted at new users and beginners.

DURATION

6 Weeks

MY ROLE

Product Designer

RESPONSIBILITIES

Information Architecture

User Research

Re-branding

The Challenge

How can we make one of the most toxic and aggressive games more welcoming to new players?

Goal

Provide quick assistant when users are unfamiliar with the interface and provide guidance to help players to adapt the game faster.

Design Concept

Provide in-game assistant so the gamers don't waste time looking for what they need or distracting teammates.

Quick Demo of Final Prototype
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Process

Observations
Interview

Survey

Persona

Brainstorm

Sample utterances

Scripts that shows bot's key capabilitieses

Set of flows & prompts

Prototype

User Testing

Research

Survey

Using Google Form with 9 questions | Total of 47 participants

Recruit from: Pratt listserv, Dota chatbox, friends, Linkedin,

 
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44%

45%

67%

67%

66%

play with friends

train to improve

play game often

communicate with teammates

often

think chatbot is useful tool for their game

Observe a group

I collected the players’ feedback from Reddits, in the game, DotaFromZero, and reviews. All reviews and feedback are by the Dota players. There are a lot of great feedback from Steam’s Dota review because it also displayed the amount of time the players have played. I also observed the DotaFromZero forum to understand the questions that are most often asked by the new players. I participated in the game to fully grasp the gaming atmosphere to know how players communicate with others and the pace of the game. 

Interview

Interview (1) Dota player in-person for the insights of the game with 3 questions

Dota2 does not attract as many new players as for example its competitor League of Legends due to the incredibly difficult entry and underwhelming new player experience.

Insights

Fans have criticized the lack of a good introduction and better tutorials for years. The community partly tackled the problem themselves, giving beginners a platform to learn with projects such as the Learn Dota 2 League or DotaFromZero, where they could gather, play against other newbies and get help from more experienced players.

Many players comment that the game itself is a good game but the community is not friendly, especially if you are not that good at it. 

Online Comments

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Meet our Homie

DotaHomie is a chatbot that is designed for Dota2. The goal is to assist beginners to quickly understand the game and provide recommendations both within the game and out of the game; also, a quick information-gathering tool. 

Benchmark

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Fast

It is a very intense game; the chatbot is there to provide a quick solution for beginners and those who are unfamiliar with the interface.

Direct

The assistant is very streamlined. There is not much option but confirmation. 

Always available 

It’s always around for new users to use when they are in or out of the game. 

Tone

Formal

Efficient

Expert

Warm

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Casual

Patience

Novice

Cool

Character Trait

Positive

Helpful

Thoughful

Flexible

 
Interaction Model

Before the prototype, I created a series of scripts, utterances, and slots for intents, and prompts. 

intent: purchase an item

slot

I want to purchase Monkey King Bar

Utterance

Okay, Monkey King Bar. Got it!

prompt

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see utterances 

Help

Assistant 

Pick Recommend

Recommend an item

I need an item 

I don’t know what to get

help with an item

pick an item for me

help me pick an item

what should I buy

What should I buy now?

Item to improve []

Need the item to help me survive

Can you help me pick an Item

I am confused

I want to buy but I don’t know what to buy

Set my quick buy for recommended items

!

Recommend Intent

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Purchase Intent

I want to buy the item

buy item

buy 

purchase something

purchase item

Purchasing

get item

Need to buy something

Help me buy

Purchase

Can I get [Item]

$

I want to purchase [Item]

I want to buy [Item]

[Item]

Get me [Item]

Order [Item]

buy[Item]

Get [Item]

I want [Item]

Purchase [Item]

How about [Item]

Do I have enough money to buy[item]

see utterances 

 
Sample Script

Your experience will serve you well, but there is still much to learn. I can help you buy an item or recommend items. Which one?

greeting message

Help!

Ho-ho! You found me! What do you like to purchase?

I need something to immune spell

Based on your hero, lane selection, and items you purchased so far, I suggested the following items. Does that work for you?   

                        *Items pinned at quick buy*

no or I don’t want to go this route

*Item unpin, quick buy clear*

Okay, Other popular items for your hero. right-click to add to the quick buy. 

*Recalculated items, shown above quick buy*

ok

Buy Bkb

Black King Bar, good choice. But you do not have enough gold to buy the set. I get you the Ogre Axe or Mithril Hammer, which one do you prefer?

Tanky one

Ogre Axe, Got it!  Can I take 1000 gold from you?

Yup

 (*Cashier Sound)Unpurchased base items for Black King Bar are pinned at your quick buy, you can just click and purchase. 

 
Flow Diagram

I documented a flow diagram as a map for my prototype.

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Prototype

I created this prototype using BotMock. 

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Usability Evaluation

Methodology 

Prototype Style  Interactive 

Test Conducting Methode  (4) Asynchronous + (1) Synchronous

Recruit  (3) friends and (2) Dota2 players 

Using GoogleDoc with 9 questions for feedback after users have tested the prototype.

I also feedback directly by phone when they are doing the test

In-person feedback and observation for synchronous method test

Tasks

*This chatbot is designed as a voice assistant Chatbot, but due to the technical restrictions, we will test it using text.* 

Background  

You are new to Dota2 and are playing Dark Seer right now. You are in your 30 minutes of games, have 3,654 gold. 

 

Scenario 1  You are going to purchase one of these items: 

Black King Bar,  Blink Dagger,  Lotus Orb,  Guardian Greaves,  Shiva's Guard

 

Scenario 2  You would like to purchase an item to restore health/health regeneration. 

 

Scenario 3  You are looking for recommended items. 

Fun things you can try:

  • Say “no” to the bot

  • Use item attribute to purchase such as armor, strength, more hp, health regeneration, tanky,  immune to spell, shoe for health regeneration, intelligence, more punch, debuff, position, and etc

  • Use synonyms such as buy=purchase

  • Please pretend the all the voice is DotaVoice, not Alexa….... 

  • Use “back” to go back

  • Feel free to play with it

Key Insight

Finding 1

❗️Users tend to be creative when responding

Added more synonyms for values such as can you show me an alternative and other options

 Add the attributes to the recommendation to narrow down the selections

Finding 2 

❗️ Users often want to override Bot, for example, ask for a recommendation when they are in the process of purchasing an item.

 Added additional paths for the user to access recommendation or purchase at any point. 

Finding 3

❗️ User do not know how to react when there’s an error

 Add instruction to the error message

 Auto direct back to home after a 5 seconds

Reflection

From this project, I learned the concept and the development behind a chatbot. It was quite interesting.