Avatar (video game)

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Avatar
Agimat Logo ver.3 Icon.png
Developer(s)Dezevau
Glace
Publisher(s)Dezevau
Glace
Director(s)Dhuga Gaubina
Producer(s)Pierre Gabon
Writer(s)Dhuga Gaubina
Jenemi Ziugiuzimha
ReleaseNovember 17, 2005
Genre(s)MOBA
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Avatar is 2005 multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by the government of Dezevau but currently owned and overseen by Glace. Originally created by Dhuga Gaubina and Jenemi Ziugiuzimha and funded through the government of Dezevau, it eventually grew on the international scale until under Dhuga Glace seperated itself from the government of Dezevau in 2012 and became an independent for-profit company based in Kesselbourg. The game has been free-to-play since its launch but has seen increased commercialization since 2012.

One of the most popular games in the world, it regularly sees millions of players from across the planet play concurrently. The game has recieved positive reviews on its gameplay and accessibility, and often cited positively for its ease of access and its longevity. It is one of the world's largest esports, with local, national and regional leagues throughout the world, and a widely viewed World Championship has existed since 2013. It became an Invictus sport at the 2022 Verlois games.

History

Development

Avatar was first published in 2005 with the help of Dezevauni federal government grassroots arts funding schemes, which became considerably intertwined with the video game industry in the 2000s. The two people originally responsible for the game were Dhuga Gaubina and Jenemi Ziugiuzimha. Unexpectedly, over the next few years, Avatar became popular with many players outside Dezevau, placing a strain on the developers’ resources, which came entirely from culture tokens (citizens of Dezevau regularly receive a stipend of culture tokens, which they can give to approved cultural producers, such as video game developers, who can then redeem the tokens for resources). The developers did not want to limit the access of foreign players, however.

In 2008, the developers opened up an overseas government trust account, which permits them to deal in foreign currency, albeit the government of Dezevau remains the technical legal owner of the currency in foreign jurisdictions; the studio and its associated overseas entities became known as Glace (Gaullican for “ice”). Rapid growth for Glace followed, becoming a medium-sized enterprise in Dezevau, and operating servers around the world, reducing lag.

Privatization

In 2012, Dhuga left for Kesselbourg, and incorporated Glace in the Euclean Community and in other places as a for-profit trading corporation, apparently after unfruitful discussions with the Dezevauni government about greater autonomy for operation in Dezevau. He was not allowed to withdraw all of his share of the assets held under the Dezevauni account, but he was allowed to withdraw enough to provide startup capital for relocation to Kesselbourg. Game development continued to be centred in Dezevau until 2016 (under Jenemi’s leadership), but marketing, finance, central governance and such were relocated to Kesselbourg.

From 2012, Glace operated as a for-profit business, acquiring the private investment necessary during the messy divestment from Dezevauni governmental finance, and becoming highly profitable thereafter. The game remained free to play worldwide, but a great deal of commercialisation was introduced, where cosmetics, tools of convenience, status symbols and such were paywalled, and advertising sponsors introduced throughout the game. A set of major reworks carried out from the end of 2016 to the start of 2018 were informally known as “Avatar 2.0”. In late 2018, Glace successfully conducted an IPO on the Euclean stock exchange.

A number of fan-operated competitive leagues existed prior to 2013, but Glace created the Avatar World Championship at that time. It introduced a cash prize pool in 2014, and also formalised the qualification system to depend on regional leagues around the world, which it has since overseen and operated.

Gameplay

There are two teams of five players each in a match. Each player takes control of their chosen avatar; the avatars for each team are placed at opposite ends of the field at the match’s start. Avatars have statuses, which affect how they behave, and can use abilities, which affect things around the field. Avatars can have various resources spent on them to change their statuses or abilities, and can also gain resources through their actions on the field. To win a match, a team must destroy the other team’s citadel by reducing its health to zero. Matches tend to last between twenty minutes and forty minutes.

The two main resources are metal and powder. Metal is obtained mainly through combat in the lanes, and is relatively similarly abundant all throughout the game. Powder is obtained mainly in the wilds, and exponentially more becomes available as the game goes on, because of the upgrades effected to wilds sites and the harvesting thereof. Both resources are used for items (used by avatars) or constructions (located on the field); metal is used more in items or constructions which are defensive in nature, which operate at close range, and which maintain a constant effect, whereas powder is used more for items and constructions which function for offence, at range, and with a short duration.

Avatars

Avatars are the physical manifestations of players in-game. They are designed to have a particular theme and playstyle, involving their appearance, abilities, statistics, and so forth. Different avatars have different strengths and weaknesses, varying by their dependence on different kinds of resources, strength earlier or later in the game, capability to deal with certain features of the map, their capability either in large or small fights and against specific other avatars or combinations of avatars. This results in their being picked in certain situations and scenarios and for certain positions, though some players simply prefer certain avatars regardless of the context. They can be classified roughly into a number of classes according to playstyle.

Name Class Position Peak Year Added Description
Taksin Fighter Top roamer
Bot roamer
Top laner
Early Game 2005 (On release) “Armed with spear and net, Taksin needs little else to be a menace to any enemy avatar. The wilds are his natural home, whether he is peacefully gathering fish or preparing to ensnare someone in an ambush.”
Dodimo Mage
Priest
Bot roamer
Mid laner
Powder 2005 (On release) “Dodimo has a sacred and ancient knowledge of their oils, ointments, tinctures and potions that no one else can grasp. Their adaptable, diverse and wide-ranging powers make them formidable in any engagement.”
Berg Marksperson Bot laner Powder 2005 (On release) “In his home, Berg learnt to be as silent as snow, as tough as ice, and as patient as the neverending sun. Berg prefers to have many guns, and to use few bullets.”
Spanner Summoner Bot roamer
Bot laner
Top roamer
Metal
Powder
2005 (On release) “The robot roboticist, Spanner’s plans and ideas are difficult-to-understand, ambitious and complex as they are. However, when they work out, the results are wondrous and incredible. Spanner’s greatest scheme has yet to come to fruition: to make another like themselves.”
Evander Fighter
Tank
Top laner Early game
Metal
2005 (On release) “Too fast at moving crates, too dominant to be a show wrestler, too effortless to be the circus strongman, Evander now hefts the weight of battle itself. In defiance of all common sense, he fights any blade, gun or bomb at close range, baring his breast to them all.”
Ignifera Marksperson Bot laner
Mid laner
Powder 2005 (On release) “Fire and brimstone accompany Ignifera wherever she goes. With her handcannons, she is the herald of destruction; you can never be sure whether what follows her is her red hair, or an explosion.”
Siya Assassin Top roamer
Mid laner
All-game 2005 “A native of the night, Siya wields throwing knives, blowdarts, and blades of black glass with hearts of poison. Silence precedes her, and she precedes blood.”
Kiko Assassin
Marksperson
Mid laner
Top roamer
Bot laner
All-game 2005 “Kiko emits an aura of perfect stillness holding her bow fully drawn, even as she races towards you on horseback and prepares to release. Archery is, first and foremost to her, a sport; but she takes her sport deadly seriously.”
Gamuina Priest
Summoner
Top roamer
Bot roamer
All-game 2005 “Spirit of the ocean, protector of the seas, observer of the steam, inhabitant of the pipes: Gamuina is a water being whose interest in and concern for the affairs of people became irresistible to her. What difference should it make if the coral grows on concrete or limestone?”
Edgworth Priest Top roamer
Mid laner
All-game 2007 “He may look fragile and doddery, and perhaps he is, but there is nothing senile about his eyesight: Edgworth’s telescopy is his way of influencing the battlefield, gaining not only vision, but subtle advantage additional thereto. If you can see his pith helmet, he can most certainly see you.”
Niza Tank
Fighter
Top laner Metal 2008 “When Niza was young, she wanted to be a knight in shining armour, with plume and longsword and pennants. ‘No’, she was told, ‘go and look after the cows like you’re supposed to.’ So she learnt engineering when she grew up, and built her own steam-powered suit of armour, with sword and shield and legs like a mechanical cow. Close enough.”
Guli Priest
Mage
Mid laner
Bot roamer
Top laner
Metal 2010 “Guli wields a panoply of musical instruments: drums, pipes, bells, strings for plucking, strings for bowing; some mechanical, some magical, some acoustic. Her science is different to that of her peers, and varied by instrumentation: what is agreed, however, is that it is devastatingly sonorous.”
Del Mage Bot laner
Mid laner
Powder 2010 “Nobody really knows where Del came from, and nobody really knows where he’s going. It is, however, his business to know where things are going; Del is a master artillerist, his heavy mortar the main tool of his trade, with its complex ammunition only he knows how to configure. As a child, it’s said, he was good with a sling, hunting rabbits. He is still good with it.”
Leo Priest
Fighter
Mage
Top Roamer
Bot roamer
Early game 2011 “Leo is never happier than when in the air, his floppy hair in the breeze. He deftly controls his glider of his own design to move around quickly, and to stay safe from those on the ground, but careful! He’s also not bad with a rapier.”
Red Ted Summoner Bot roamer
Top roamer
Mid laner
Powder 2013 “His key skills are sneaking beneath others’ attention, setting explosives, and getting away. In that order, in terms of competence. Well, maybe switch the first two. Red Ted is a man who understands the right level of nuance needed for most situations, and sometimes that level of nuance is simply how much gunpowder you need.”
Samma Summoner
Priest
Bot roamer
Top roamer
Powder
All-game
2013 “Samma is no ordinary botanist. With nothing more than seeds, fertilisers, water, he can raise hedges from rock, make medicine from poison, bring a forest up from the desert (though he wouldn’t unless he had to, for he has the utmost respect for natural environments). How does he do it? Is he a palaeobotanist, a xenobotanist, a cryptobotanist? It can be difficult to know; despite his eagerness to tell, he may communicate better with plants than with people.”
Tipanec Fighter Top laner
Bot laner
Early game
Metal
2015 “Tipanec has trained for a thousand years, and Tipanec will train for a thousand more. Though he has added the gun to his usual weapons, his bronze club and his bronzed arms, he remains committed to his inscrutable, solitary goals. One can know little more about Tipanec, except, perhaps, by challenging him to a duel.”
Arakhne Priest
Fighter
Summoner
Bot Roamer
Top roamer
Mid laner
All-game 2017 “Surely, that enormous webbed contraption cannot be as complex as it looks? Surely, she cannot sit, spinning like a spider herself, to crank every lever and push every button with only four limbs? Surely, the works and companionship of Arakhne must be some special power, some magic of hers, the result of a trick, or some divine spark? Surely, a spider cannot be tamed by a mere mortal? Perhaps the alternative is too disturbing to entertain.”

Field

The field may be divided into the purple base (at top right), the yellow base (at bottom left), the three lanes (which run from one base to the other along the top, middle and bottom of the map), and the wilds, which are between the lanes.

The lanes are long, clear paths along which automatons (“toms”) from opposing teams walk towards each other, from their bases, and fight, losing health until they break. Avatars and toms from opposing teams can also fight; avatars are much stronger. In a lane is also three ravelins for each team, one in front of the other, facing the enemy team. These are defensive emplacements which, when defended by an avatar, are very powerful. They can, however, be damaged and destroyed by enemy toms and avatars. The top and bottom (“bot”) lanes are longer, having an indirect path, while the middle lane (“mid”) is the shortest. The lanes are important both because of the resources which can be obtained by killing avatars, breaking automata and destroying ravelins, and because they are the main ways into the bases.

The wilds exist between the top lane and the middle lane, and the middle lane and the bottom lane, and stretching between the two bases. In the wilds, there is a great deal of terrain. This lengthens, slows, or obstructs movement within, though the wilds are porous to the lanes. There are also sites in the wild. Sites are places wherein doing a particular activity will yield resources or other benefits; sites may require fighting certain entities, the spending of some resource, some pattern of movement, or some temporary sacrifice relating to statuses or abilities. Sites may be exhausted quickly, but will recharge over a period of time. Sites can also be modified through certain abilities or actions (“sitemodding”) to make them permanently more advantageous to oneself, or less so to the enemy. The top and the bottom wilds are relatively similar, with the main difference being that sitemods which generate resources tend towards the bottom side, whereas sitemods designed to help make big plays or enable aggression tend to be towards the top side.

The base of a team contains the team’s citadel, which if destroyed, will lose that team the game. It is surrounded by a wall except where it connects to lanes; the wall cannot be walked through, but can be passed through by other means. The base also contains two bastions, powerful defensive structures protecting the citadel.

Reception

In esports

Avatar is one of the most popular esports in the world, drawings thousands of players to compete both in amateur and in professional leagues.

Teams

Teams are organised in different ways in different places. In socialist countries, they are often nonprofit organisations, funded by governments or community groups, which hold tryouts for players. In the capitalist world, grassroots or community operated teams still exist, but more teams are run as businesses, similarly to how teams are organised in other sports; they may make money by selling merchandise, having sponsors, or winning prizes (which themselves may be funded by sponsors ranging from community organisations to companies), and professionally pay players. Teams, reflecting globalisation, are very often composed of people from many different places, and are more likely than not not geographically associated (the way a national football team might be, for example). At the top level of play, teams typically afford to have their players live together during the playing season, and have personnel including sports psychologists/therapists/counsellors, assistant coaches, nutritionists and analysts.

Teams must have five players, with substitutes only admitted to play if good reason is provided to the relevant governing body. It is common but not mandatory to also have a coach; many teams have coaching staffs made up of several people, but it is the sole or head coach and the players who are the most important, and who are the face of the team. A team may be particularly associated with one or a few players or staff; its identity might also be tied to sponsors or even its style of play.

Players

Most players at an international level are men from around 18 to 25 years old, but there is ample room for those who are not. The usual pattern is that recreational players who are skilled at the game become known to organised teams, who recruit them; players have generally played in a few lower-level leagues before they reach the regional level, whose teams are the best-resourced and most prestigious in their geographical regions.

Players at the international level generally train and play full-time, live together in provided accommodation, have a significant media presence (and often conditions attached thereto by team management) and are paid quite well. In the strongest and most moneyed leagues, millions of Euclos can be transacted to acquire a single player at times. Though the purpose of esports as entertainment and recreation is not lost on those working in the industry, the pressure can be significant. This is especially the case for players, who are young, who have generally not attended higher education because of their career, and who may be significantly exposed to the media even as they bear the weight of being the public face of their team.

Avatar World Championship

See also: 2021 Avatar World Championship

Since 2013, Glace has hosted the Avatar World Championship. The World Championship is the primary gaming event of Avatar, which features the best teams of the world face off against one another. A number of conference centres, stadia, halls and other such venues are used over the course of the several-week event; spectators attend most. A large cast is present on the ground, filming, conducting interviews, ensuring competitive integrity, setting up equipment and such. This cast is composed of staff from around the world, especially the regional leagues, and it produces live broadcasts of the games in a number of languages, which are viewed by millions around the world. Glace maintains full control over production, licencing, rules, and other such things.

Teams qualify to play at the Avatar World Championship from the various regional leagues around the world. Regional league champions automatically qualify, but a series of small qualification events are played between runners-up and other contenders by relevant metrics in and between regional leagues to determine the ultimate makeup of teams that attend the Avatar World Championship. This system is organised by Glace, which pays for all expenses of teams attending. The World Championships feature a total of twelve teams.

The twelve teams play each other once, forming the round robin stage, then the top five advance to the elimination matchup stage, which are best-of-sevens; the fifth and fourth play each other, the loser being knocked out, and the second and third play each other. The loser of the second and third plays the winner of the fifth and fourth, and the loser is knocked out, while the first and the winner of the second and third play each other. The winner of the second-and-third-loser versus fifth-and-fourth-winner plays the loser of the first-and-winner-of-second-and-third, and the loser is knocked out. The last remaining two teams play in the final for the championship.