In defense of the stun bar
I've seen a lot of talk about the new stun bar and I would just like to say why I think the stun bar is a very good thing for dota. Perhaps its not a perfect solution--I actually preferred the circle thing in the bottom middle--but to me the stun bar addresses a lot of issues with the game, while not lowering the impact of individual skill and communication. Furthermore it does this while lowering the burden of knowledge for a huge portion (i don't just mean new players) of the player base. I am a complete game design noob, but in my opinion, a change that allows individual skill and communication to retain impact, while lowering the burden of knowledge/learning for a lot of players is simply a conceptually good update. I'm not arguing that the stun bar is some perfect implementation, but it'd also to be silly to argue that this is the final iteration of the stun bar--Valve has change the stun bar/timer/circle thing within a pretty short time period so I'm at least sort of sure they're looking at feedback.
But anyways, I want to first talk about the "muh skill cap" comments that have been popping up everywhere and to talk about how this should not affect high level dota in a meaningful negative way. I don't know if this is the correct definition, but I've always defined the concept of skill cap in dota as "how good can someone can get at the game." I guarantee you that if you think stacking stuns is the pinnacle of dota skill, you're not only wrong, but you've also got a world of hurt coming to you funky weird ass dota mechanics style. Yes, it is true that even pro players stack stuns. Yes it is also true that this will help a lot of pro players. However, I feel like the vast majority of these errors were previously communication errors--sometimes you don't see when your ally stuns and they don't call it so you can't chain stun--more than not knowing how to chain stun errors. Lets be honest, chain stunning is not a hard concept. It is honestly not even that skillful. Pros screw up chain stunning because humans make more mistakes under pressure, because they want to overlap the stun a bit to guarantee the opponent can't bkb/escape, and because honestly some pros are just lazy and don't know the numbers or haven't practiced the basics enough. I don't feel like this stun bar will prevent chain stunning from being messed up at all in terms of high level dota.
Moreover, I think that the stun bar accurately depicts how dota is a game of communication. I have no clue why people are acting like the stun bar automates player A initiating with a stun, then player B chain stunning, then player C chain stunning, and then player D finally chain stunning for that perfect clutch combination play to kill storm spirit. No, whats going to happen in your pub is Player A will initiate with his stun, then his 3 team mates will see this stun bar going down and all 3 idiots will use their disables at the same time and the storm will live. Regardless of this stun bar change, dota is a game of communication. Honestly, I'm pretty sure 90% of pro mistakes with chain stunning happen because of initial stun overlap when 2 players cast their spells at the same time, and this communication factor actually is part of the skill cap of dota. What this change does do, is it allows a great chance for people at lower levels to play the game at a closer level to what they're watching. I honestly don't know anything about design, but someone told me once that drop box hires some of the best designers in the world. And then you look at drop box and its the most simple shit ever. It's hard to even comprehend how planned out and how much high level design thinking went into making drop box as simple as it is, without it losing any of its utility. In my opinion, the best designs are ones that simplify the product while not lowering its usefulness for users at a low or high level. This is actually something that a game like dota has sorely lacked--we've all seen the complaints of how hard dota is to learn, and don't get me wrong, it's still insanely hard to learn--but in my opinion this change is a step in the right direction. I am pretty happy that I can feel that Valve has the line of thinking that they want to make changes to make the game more accessible, while still retaining the high skill ceiling of the game--well I hope they think that at least and it seems like they do.
Now why the stun bar is good imo. I discussed why I think the stun bar retains the skill ceiling of dota and it does this while greatly lowering the burden of knowledge on not only new players, but any player who doesn't have the time to remember the 300 various slows, disables, roots, and stuns as well as how long each one lasts. Don't you dare tell me you've never looked at venge stun and said to yourself "wtf why does this last 1.2 seconds at level 1 when did they change this (also that stun has been like 1 billion different values)." Dota gets number patched a LOT and people shouldn't have to feel like dota is their job as they study patch notes and changes and different heroes in order to get the most mundane of advantages. Yes, pros should do that, and to be honest, I'm going to say the majority of pros don't really memorize these things and go off in game experience, but for the average player, Dota should simply be fun. I don't think it's fun for most people to just read all 100+ heroes and their skills and study all the numbers, which is probably why your average Dota player is so bad at the game--the game has an insane burden of knowledge, and in my opinion, anything that lowers this burden while retaining the skill ceiling is a good change.
My last point is about some of the pro player reactions to this change. Professional dota 2 players have poured thousands of even tens of thousands of hours into this game. I can almost guarantee you that when something changes they will react negatively because it is not what they are used to. And then they will adapt and not care about it within a few days. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it's not like pros have a choice in being forced to adapt so this is always what happens anyways. I feel this way because it's always what happens to me. First I go "what is this crap" and then I don't even notice the change within a day (I actually thought they removed the white damage numbers yesterday because I stopped noticing them). Pro players should actually be pretty happy that the game is becoming more accessible and better designed, because their job growth is pretty much directly linked to the size of the game.
Anyways, I don't know if anyone actually took the time to read this shit. I'm typing it because I'm in the NP bootcamp house and no one ever wakes up early, so I'm bored. I also don't think Valve deserves most of the criticism it got over this issue. Don't get me wrong, I also think they still deserve a ton of constructive criticism because it helps them make a better product, and I also don't think they're a perfect company, but I don't think they're out to ruin the game or something. That'd just be silly. They make money off Dota. People like money. Also as a disclaimer, I honestly have no idea if my mode of thinking is correct so thanks for reading.