Posted by: seanmalstrom | August 13, 2015

Email: About Heroes of the Storm’s issues

Hello master Malstrom,

I was reading some of your posts about Heroes and something you said caught my attention:
“I’m still mixed about the game. The game is doing some things very, very well, but it seems to be missing some big things. It can be said that Dustin Browder destroyed the Starcraft franchise, and certain similar issues are creeping into Heroes. But on the other hand, it seems too early to say.”
It is the underlined statement, what would these issues be? I do really like Heroes, I used to be a LoL player, but I quit that game as I felt that Riot Games had become too much comfortable in their spot and their game did not had so much progress. For example it takes ages for them to just make a new map(that is not even 5×5) while Blizzard pumps them even in alpha and later in the beta. Blizzard eveb got rid of a lot of some anti-fun mechanics(what normal person really likes the last hit mechanic? Lots of new players gave up due to that in my personal experience).
Heroes does have the potential to become a really great phenomenon, I do sure hope that Blizzard does not ruin this game(as they almost did with the Artifacts thing), because it is so much fun.
I do not want this game to become a second Starcraft 2, it was such a shame the game died due to this shit called e-sports.

 

Browder’s game that put him on the map was Red Alert 2. If you play Command and Conquer, Red Alert, and Tiberian Sun today, you will note how SLOW those games are. What Browder did was make Red Alert 2 have much faster gameplay. This helped make Red Alert 2 a big success. At the end of this interview, Browder says Red Alert 2 and Heroes of the Storm have much in common. As a huge Red Alert 1 fan, I thought Red Alert 2 was a solid game but a very disappointing sequel. Red Alert 1 was actually serious in its alternate timeline. Red Alert 2 was hokey. Some of this bled into the gameplay such as dolphins with missiles and such. Red Alert had humor (omg Tanya), but it never broke its universe. Red Alert 2 had so much shit in it that you couldn’t really respect the universe anymore. It is part of the reason why Red Alert 3 was such a disaster since they thought ‘anything goes!’.

Above: Red Alert 1 cinematics were not hokey. Very entertaining even today. You don’t see this type of tone in games today.

I believe Browder thinks ‘making the gameplay faster’ was what worked for Red alert 2 so he applies it to every game he does now. This is clearly what happened with Starcraft 2. The game is too bloody fast. Heroes of the Storm is also very fast paced. But is it too fast? Note that you have no time to type in chat. The game is just too fast.

“But Malstrom, the game is not that fast.” When you go up the MMR, it gets much, much faster. If you look at streamers like Chu, you will notice how fast and rapid the mouse cursor is moving and clicking. Chu’s friend, Horsepants, can only play Abathur because the game hurts his hand too much. FPS is no problem for him. But Heroes? Hurts the hand too much. There was a famous LoL player, famous for his mechanical skill, who is currently playing Heroes. He is already rank 1 even though he bought the worst heroes in the game (all the cheaper ones). True, his MOBA experience pays off. But I bet it is the mechanical skill driving his success. So much of Heroes revolves around teamfights. So much of teamfights revolves around mechanical skill. I’d love to have an APM indicator in the game. Someone who stuttersteps will have far higher APM than someone who doesn’t. Starcraft 2’s APM indicator revealed that APM, alone, will drive success up to a certain level and then the strategy largely plays in. In other words, you could just build one type of unit and outplay all the Bronze players because you are simply much faster. I suspect this is true in Heroes in that a faster player can make a terrible hero (say Sonya) outplay the best heroes due to APM alone.

Here are some of the things with HOTS that annoys the hell out of me:

  1. Tyrande and Tassador are still classified as support which destroys QM games. If your team has a Tyrande, the other team could have an Uther. It’s GG since Tyrande isn’t really a healer. My problem is that Browder and his team hasn’t done SHIT to fix this. Yeah, they say they will ‘fix’ it by probably allowing Tyrande and Tassador to have monk like healing talent choices, but notice that THEY ARE WASTING OUR TIME. This isn’t beta. The game is live. WTF are these guys doing? They could do a simply band-aid fix for the momentm, but they won’t.
  2. The inability to blacklist a map. What Browder and Team wants to do is do a ‘map rotation’. Aren’t they so full of it! We can blacklist maps in the RTS games. Why not in Heroes? The answer is an arrogant one. They actually believe their maps ‘make all the heroes viable’ and being able to blacklist a map would undercut that goal. No. Some maps are not fun. I fucking hate Blackheart’s Bay. What a piece of shit map that is. I win on it fine, I just hate playing that map. It’s not fun for me as I am sure a map or some heroes are not fun for you.
  3. It has been MONTHS since launch, and ranked is still in Preseason. Their latest fix is for placement matches. This is stupid. Just use MMR as the rank like how DOTA 2 does. Hotslogs already provides this in a way and is what everyone uses instead of ‘rank’. But no! Their ideas on ranked makes no sense. Where is Grandmaster mode? It is not hard to implement as Hotslogs already has it.
  4. No death log. How did you die? You can’t tell.
  5. Replays are still fucked up. When a hero dies in the replay, it gets the hero wrong in the announcement. How hard is it to fix this?
  6. The different maps have been an absolute failure. Remember how they said Battlefield of Eternity would make heroes like Gazlowe more viable? Hah! This game revolves around winning team fights, not doing objectives. When you win the team fight, it is easy to then do the objective. Killing the enemy players allows you to get the shrines to get the Dragon Knight, to collect skulls in the mines, and to get seeds for the plant. In Battlefield of Eternity, you don’t rush to kill the immortal. You kill the other team (preferably using your immortal to aid in it) and then kill their immortal. This is why the meta isn’t changing on the maps. Jaina is a top hero on ALL the maps. Zeratul is a top hero on ALL the maps. I’m not even excited about the new map because I know none of it will matter. All that matters is the team fight. The patch notes of balance changes has more impact on the game since that will change who wins team fights.
  7. There’s a ton of hidden rules in the game that many people do not get. Since they do not get them, they never improve and quit. These hidden rules would be to soak the lanes especially before level 10, when to get mercenary camps, when to NOT get an objective, and so on.
  8. Heroes is different because it is team vs. team as opposed to individual heroes vs individual heroes. The downside, which no one pointed out, is that you must know all the heroes in order to play effectively. “All mobas are like this.” No, they aren’t. Since it is team based, you have to know how all the other heroes work. You cannot fight with or against teams that have a murky or an abathur or lost vikings without knowing how they work (i.e. “Abathur is AFKing!”) The rub is that as more heroes are added, the less accessible the game becomes. How can a new person learn a hundred heroes? Since the game is team based, the heroes have to be learned since the team is a unit, an entity, and not individuals.
  9. Games are decided by the most retarded team. The game flow isn’t decided by good plays but by stupid plays.

 

Blizzard has not announced any numbers for Heroes of the Storm like they did Hearthstone or Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2. The reason why is that the numbers are not worth bragging about.

I see Heroes of the Storm as cannibalizing the corpses of dead and dying MOBAs and RTS games. I don’t see it growing as in bringing in brand new players. Nearly every player of Heroes of the Storm is a former RTS player or MOBA player of some kind.

The Free-To-Play space is limited and competitive. I expect Overwatch to kill Heroes of the Storm  (and Overwatch to likely be killed by the next Blizzard Free-To-Play game). Already, the most popular streamers such as ZP and Chu have said they plan to leave Heroes and play Overwatch as soon as it comes out.

Things are still early so let us see how things develop.


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