Lord of the Pings: UI Suggestions for Better Communication

posted in the original Vainglory Forums 25 April 2017 by @HipsterSkaarf, archived by same

So, there was a neat discussion on communication options in VG in this thread:
Should we have text phrases as pings? (http://forums.vainglorygame.com/index.php?threads/127398/)

There were arguments for and against, and a lot of interesting suggestions - I recommend taking a look at the thread if you haven’t yet. One of those suggestions was this post:

post by Setbackss

Gotta disagree with most of the people I normally agree with here and say the current system is completely insufficient.

At absolute minimum I’d like to see a way to:

* Green ping focus or avoid or On my way! Etc on a hero off map (trying to coordinate focus by clicking a ping on some moving carry you get a glimpse of every ten seconds before a fight breaks out is completely insane considering there’s no alternative in giving/discussing that information. Currently you don’t even know what your two allies general strategy for the fight is).

* Either a way to show allies the cooldown of your active items or the ability to check that in score screen. Same with ultimates.

* The ability to either show how much gold you have on you or having that info displayed in score screen (preferably a way to show this). This is a huge reason to not fight near jungle shop if they control it that a caution ping just doesn’t give people enough context for when they feel they’re ready to win a fight. Seeing they’re carry signal “1857 gold” is a pretty understandable deterrent that they have to do some very fast math from score screen to otherwise speculate on (with how much kill value can differ current gold is honestly pretty hard to even guess about your teammates)

* a whoops or disregard that ping. Useful if you misclick a ping. I’ve made “bad calls” that lose games simply because the distance between avoid and On my way! Or Go is tiny on a phone and they basically have the exact opposite meanings. People might say go then avoid same spot is the same but these pings will appear nearly identically which in timely situations is hard to check and understand which one was the mistake. An oops basically let’s you know it’s the opposite of whatever other signal you gave.

Frankly I think a lot of the coordination issues on educated teams would disappear if status screen showed item cooldowns and gold totals but the fact that we have to guess on whether any ultimates are up, actives are up, what gold is held etc etc nearly constantly and are limited to discussing engages (the single most important part of the game) with a “go” and a “no go” sign that we can’t even focus on particular heroes most of the time is ridiculous.

It’s also hard to see how allowing communication of any of this information could be more abusable or toxic then just the normal caution or ? Pings and I think it’s similarly difficult to argue any of this information can normally be handled well with the current system.

I liked some of these, so I thought I’d take a little time to see what some of his suggestions might look like, in case people were having trouble visualizing. As I was working out a reply (with images!), I got carried away and finally mocked up some ideas floating around in my head as well. Between all that, I figured I’d just start a new thread.

Indicating “Not Yet”

Oftentimes, teams find themselves on the verge of a skirmish or engage, but not all team members are ready to go. Some need to shop, some need to wait for cooldowns… someone might even need one more jungle camp to bump up their levels and get an ability upgrade. Typically, when this happens to me, I’ll ping “Caution/Avoid” and hope my team will delay engaging until I’m ready to join. The problem is that my team might not know why I’m saying that, and they have to trust me somewhat blindly, which could stress them out and give them angst. Angsty teammates are not ideal. What I heard in the other thread was that people would like some more specificity for this situation. I’m not happy with all my solutions, but here are some options. In each screenshot, my teammates Adagio and Joule are positioned to invade the enemy jungle, but I have 1809 gold that I want to spend before we rush in. Ideally, each of these options convey the concept of “Wait” better than what we have now. I’ve chosen to make all of these above-the-head type pings, which I think convey personal ideas and motivations better than the pings you place on the ground.

  1. Upturned Hand (common traffic symbol for stop & wait), possibly too aggressive and direct.

  2. Hourglass (symbol for temporary time period)

  3. Loading Symbol (to indicate player is in process of doing something)

  4. Shop icon (means I have to shop)

Again, not super happy with the look of any of these, but they all have “Wait” as the central idea. They are also a more polite way to say “no” to a teammate’s idea, without hitting them with a Red X or something. Rather than “no” it becomes “I’m not ready.” The Shop icon is the least close to “Wait” as a concept (and could possibly live alongside one of the first three), but has a very specific meaning that works in a lot of situations. I could see it being used in lane a lot to tell your teammates that you’re getting lots of sweet sweet money and need to spend it. This would help teammates know that you’re not in a good position to rotate, and is more obvious to some players than OMW’ing to base while you’re farming in lane. This would also be a signal to smart roams to help you push lane or distract the enemy to give you a window to go back to base.

Scoreboard Tweaks

Going hand in hand with “Wait” pings is adding info to the scoreboard about your teammates, i.e. item cooldowns, gold totals, and consumable quantities (that is, the reasons why your teammates might want you to wait). Here’s a couple options for that. The only difference in the two is consumable counters as little badges (like the other VG notifications), or as little numbers. I think I like the numbers better, since they fade back nicer and don’t jump out unless I’m looking for them.

  1. Quantity indicators (A)

  2. Quantity indicators (B)

edit to add: these are all a little ugly and scattered… doing this right would mean re-situating placements for everything. That would be hours of photoshopping, so, not this time.


These were fun to make… In addition to timing engages (via “Wait” and reasons for waiting), folks have wanted better communication options for who to focus. I tried to find a solution for this that was fairly unobtrusive (I don’t like clutter in the main gameplay screen), and also used UI features players were used to already. It would be very neat to be able to say “Focus X” on the fly, without having to cycle into the scoreboard to do so. Here’s an option using a press-and-hold pop-up on the scoreboard button:

  1. Enemy portraits selectable via press-and-hold on scoreboard icon

  2. Enemy to focus remains on scoreboard icon after one team member has selected them

  3. Enemy portrait changes size based on how many team members have selected that enemy.

  4. Scaling size by selection numbers shows majority preference.

  5. Also, an option to highlight the focus with an overhead ping.

  6. Going to the scoreboard shows who has selected which enemy. Can also show agreements.

  7. Conflicting choices show up too, and let you decide who to believe.

Build Suggestions

This last brain-dump tries to give players a way to suggest items to their teammates without being over-bearing or micro-manage-y about it. Because that would suck. I’ve limited each player to 2 suggestions, so you’ll only ever have 4 suggestions at the same time. You’d get notifications on the shop icon, and you could quick-check (maybe even quick buy?) by pressing and holding there.

Inside the shop, you’d be able to suggest an item by pressing and holding it, then selecting the teammate you want to suggest it for. Once you’ve suggested an item, that teammate’s icon (the size of the mini-map) appears and stays. You also get an indicator of how many suggestions you have left. Obviously, you can cycle the suggestion on and off if you made a mistake, or want to change the suggestion based on how the game is going.

  1. Ingame notification. Here, Phinn has suggested I buy a Reflex Block, and Reim has suggested I buy scout traps and minion candy (wtf Reim?).

  2. Suggesting (and unsuggesting) an item for a teammate. Mini-map sized icon appears and remains (bordered in white, on left side of item icon). Here, I’m suggesting and unsuggesting a Fountain of Renewal for Phinn, and have already suggested a Metal Jacket for Reim. I should’ve suggested Atlas, so he’s probably trolling me with the scout and candy recommendations in the first picture.

  3. Friendly highlight shows which items are suggested for you (and by which teammate, mini-map icon sits on the right of the item). Here, we see the two suggestions from Reim, and the red numbers in the left menu tell me where the other suggestion is.

  4. This could get cluttered though, as in this example where each teammate suggests flares for me, and I’ve suggested flares for each of them. Basically, no one wants to buy vision here.

  5. Option to show suggestions anonymously. This is clean, and I kind of like it, although, I’m just now realizing that if the minion candy was also double-suggested, there’d be a space conflict. Would need a little tweaking.

  6. This double ring option still works with the icons for your own suggestions.

I like a lot of these, since they’re simple, and not too oppressive for teammates. I haven’t figured out a good non-verbal way to suggest “Why” a teammate should build an item. This would be a weird two-stage process of selecting the item and then selecting the enemy it counters, or something like that.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll edit these posts if there are suggestions that I have time for. Thanks for reading!