Tuesday, 23 December 2014

HotS: Feeding Problems

I have talked about this problem before. Hell, I warned of this problem the first time I learnt about the shared experience among the team in Heroes of the Storm. I am talking about feeding here. For all those that ever played any game like DOTA, DOTA2, League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Heroes of Newerth, Smite or any other I might and probably have missed, and probably familiar with the concept of feeding. If you let the enemy kill you, he gets additional gold, and experience. If this turns into a pattern, then the enemy got a significant advantage over you and your team. At that point the damage is already done, and there is no point in searching for patsy. You might have overextended on the lane, forgot to ward a certain brush, played too aggressively, or were simply jumped in your own jungle.

The result is always the same. One of the enemies (in best case scenario) just got fed, and he or she is ready kick ass and chew bubblegum, and they are in short supply of the latter. At that point only thing you as a team can do is set up a series of successful ambushes and take the gold and experience back from the one you fed before. At least that is in theory. Reality is rather grim in comparison as in general at this point two or three in the team will resign to defeat, and will not even bother any more, someone will be pushing lanes, and the last one remaining will either go offline, spam the chat with nonsense, or roam the jungle in order to do something but end up feeding.

But at least in theory, the team still has a chance. And all the ire of the team is usually reserved for one who fed the enemy. In Heroes of the Storm the situation is a lot worse. Because the experience is shared among all the members of the team, an individual does not feed only one of the five enemies, the individual is now feeding their whole team. It is not only that you are at a disadvantage against their carry. You are at disadvantage facing their supports, fighters, and carries. And two level difference is in Heroes of the Storm rather big thing. Once you have experience advantage on your side, it is rather hard to lose it, if you are not doing anything stupid. If anything, any mistake you make in Heroes of the Storm will cost you dearly.

It used to be that this problem was not so obvious because of how short the games were. You could usually wrap the whole game between 15 and 20 minutes. Nowadays such short games are more of an exception than the rule. Games in average (and here I am talking about my games) last about 25 to 35 minutes. It is a stark difference when you take in consideration that before not even the lengthiest of games lasted so long. Before the latest patch, a game that lasted for 25 minutes was considered an exception that proves the rule.

This combined with ludicrously steep levelling curve outside of the game, I can understand why they market the game as casual, but I do not think they see casual with the same eyes I do. There is nothing casual if you have to play more than 100 games with a specific hero before you can unlock the master skin for that particular hero. That is just grind. And even to me, and I really love to play the same heroes over and over this is too much. Because it is not reasonable. And what makes it even worse is that I am complaining about the state of the game that is not officially even in beta yet looks a lot like finished product.

Meaning that all the time I invested in the game will be wasted if Blizzard only decides that they want to keep the slate clean for all Heroes of the Storm players. At that point, I would probably go back to League of Legends and Garen. Because while you might argue that the time I spend playing that game before it's release makes it a better game for those who come later, it is the time I waste without getting anything of worth in return. At least in League of Legends to my knowledge I already hit the max level, and I play the game for the sake of playing, not in order to chase after an imaginary goal that has no meaning.

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