Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 24, 2016

Email: The joy of HOTS

The DotA vs HOTS discussion is identical to the uproar over the new Doom
game that was recently in open beta.

Oldschool PC gamers were expecting this game to be just like Quake 3 and
Unreal Tournament, and were furious that it features weapon loadouts
instead of weapons spawning around the map, and no “skillful” movement.
This wave of negative reception was reported on several websites.

I found this really strange because I LOVE the new game. It’s like they
took the old arena shooter formula and chopped away all the bullshit
until only the pure addictive fun was left. You don’t constantly get
into unfair fights because you don’t spawn with a pea shooter. Movement
is fast without rewarding players who have too much time to practice
exploiting physics bugs. And there are some really fun power-ups that,
while they may be overpowered, are fun to use and have such limited
amounts of use that you won’t spend much time fruitlessly dying to them.

Gamers often rant about how game developers should be listening to
players more. I actually disagree with this because 99% of the voices
represent a tiny, overly obsessive portion of the gamer population.
That’s a shitty way to do market research. Blizzard ignored that noise
when creating HOTS and look what it brought them.

 

I don’t think that is a good comparison. HOTS never said it was going to be sharing the mechanics of original DOTA and doesn’t even call itself a MOBA but a ‘team brawler’. There is no marketing push trickery here. The truth about the MOBA fans is that they play MOBAs because RTS games were too complicated. Warcraft 3 was a very, very complicated game with four races where you would control a base, army, and up to three heroes each with various items. A MOBA is simply controlling one hero. EASY PEASY. It is the definition of ‘casual’. Compare Warcraft 3 to Warcraft 2 and you can see just how VASTLY more obtuse and complicated Warcraft 3 is. (When RTS games first came out, they were the ‘casual’ too because of how simple they were compared to turn based strategy war games. Kids grew up with RTS games and considered it the norm and that they had ‘elite skillz’. They didn’t.) HOTS will most likely end up being the MOBA corpse eater because MOBA players will get older, realize that spending an hour per game is a huge fricking waste of time, and then go to HOTS for that itch. But enough of that.

I have a huge problem with EA’s Master of Orion. It says Master of Orion but doesn’t play like it. Video game brands should be bound to certain gameplay, not to certain aesthetics and settings. When you see a ‘Metroid’ game, what do you expect? Other M? Federation Force? No, you expect something like Super Metroid or Metroid Prime. There’s a disconnect between the companies and the gamers here.

The game has ‘Doom’ as the title. Just ‘Doom’. So, quite understandably, people are going to expect ‘Doom’ to play similar to original Doom. When it doesn’t, they cry foul due to the marketing trickery. It would be like a Zelda game where instead of RPG open world mechanics with a guy killing monsters with a sword, the guy would have no sword, use puzzles, and operate a train. No company would be so stupid to do something like that.

Right?


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