Feedback about 2019 XP Changes + Suggestions!
FEEDBACK ABOUT XP CHANGES:
1. History (ammunition, way to outplay opponents)
2. Heroes of the Storm – MOBA (Design, Rotations, Brawling – QM + HL + Competitive)
3. XP/minute and Heroes realism (QM + HL + Competitive)
4. Catapults – Double edged Sword
1. Before we head into 2019 I would love to speak a bit about Heroes of the Storm history – game was created with awesome features! Objectives had huge value (mercenaries allowed to push or create map presence), towers and forts had ammunition – no other MOBA had those features. Ammunition was something unique, which allowed better players to take advantage over weaker players and created more space, as you already soaked ammunition with minions.
How did people play the game? In QM people usually brawl 24/7, in higher divisions of HL people often rotated and tried to get advantage and outplay your opponent.
In 2018 ammunition was taken out, mercenaries and minions got slightly stronger and catapults got a huge range, which allow them to threat core in late stage of the game.
What happened in QM? Nothing changed. What happened in HL? People are taking advantage over soaking defensively, and it was one of the reasons why bruisers are so popular nowadays.
What will this gameplay change mean? According to my Quick Match (I still play with friends) experience it will change most likely nothing, as it's in the same state since 2015. It'll only change the way the better players approach the game.
2. Heroes of the Storm is the fastest MOBA in Market. The main reasons to play this game are:
- Playing your favourite Blizzard heroes (from Warcraft, Starcraft and Overwatch),
- Fast games (average game takes about 15 minutes)
- More variety in maps than other MOBAs
Normally in every single MOBA you have 2 kind of resources to get. Usually it's XP and Gold. XP is something you can get no matter of how good you are, gold was making the difference between better and worse players in the same match. Let's see how it works for Heroes.
In this game teams are sharing XP, which are getting by soaking minions or creating small advantages (as known as pushing buildings, or taking the objective which on most of the maps leads to pushing buildings).
What makes the game unique is having multiple maps with unique objectives. Winning every single objective should be (at least theoretically) giving advantage to the team which takes it. With 2019 XP change it's going to make a huge chaos in some of the map objectives.
For example – I had opportunity to play a game on Blizzcon on Cursed Hollow. Team which picked up Curse ended up being behind in XP, because taking a fort didn't compensate what was lost in minions, which almost nobody soaked (because in most of the time when you pick curse you decide to push 1 or 2 lanes to avoid situation of getting ganked and dying).
Another example was on Sky Temple – We did a teamfight, got some XP (not much because early game kills give small amount of XP), then we got a mid fort from first Temple phase. Then enemy team just froze the lane on their keep, denying us getting experience, unless we decided to go deep and risk being ambushed.
In late 2016 we already had a situation in which ignoring first Punisher on Infernal shrines gave more value, than contesting the objective. Do we really want to come back to the situation in which brawls and teamfights are being avoided, because people need to soak XP on sidelanes, otherwise they end up being too behind in XP? I personally don't think so and according to some reddit threads – people want constant action in Heroes, not jungling/splitpushing/soaking meta.
3. XP/minute is something professional teams are concerned about.
Let's talk about numbers first. Current XP economy is being played around soaking minions, getting kills and pushing buildings:
XP for towers: 250 (max 6)
XP for keep towers: 800 (max 6)
XP for fort: 1200 (max 3)
XP for keep: 2050 (max 3)
Passive XP/m: 860
Passive XP/m after buff: 989
So the main difference between XP economy (from math point of view) is that scheme will look like this:
XP = (PXP*m +SXP) – (PXPab*m + NSXP //NSXP is Nerfed Structure XP, SXP means Structure XP)
Let's do some theorycrafting here:
IF PXPab*m + NSXP > PXP*m + SXP
THEN m = k
k= 989*m NSXP > 860*m + SXP (const)
SXP = 1500 + 4800 + 3600 + 6150 = 16050
NSXP = 750 + 2400 = 3150
989*m + 3150(?) ; 860*m + 16050 (?)
After patch we'll get 9890 with potentially getting 3150 XP from structures.
Before patch we'll get 8600 with potentially getting 16050 XP from structures.
The main reason why I am not talking about doing Mercanaries here is because on both my QM + HL exeperience people don't really do mercernaries that often. However, I think you should only get more mercenaries XP (outside of maps like Volskaya, on Volskaya mercenary camps are giving really good XP output) by defeating mercernary camps. I don't see a rational reason behind getting XP for defending mercenaries on lane, as it makes doing mercenaries a double-edged sword.
Removing huge XP economy income from structures to compensate it with increase XP from Mercenaries (even from defending them!) and from passive XP buff is taking away the huge strategical point of view of the game. It also doesn't reward in being better player in this game.
Most of the playerbase are people (even in Quick Match), want to have more possibilities to outplay your opponents, because they believe that competition is something which makes MOBA's unique.
Let's talk about how, in fact games are being played. (when you don't play Quick Match or Team League). From my experience (as I recently started playing more QMs and TL with my friends from real life)
1. People brawl (and look for opportunity to brawl) 24/7, missing a bit of sidelanes XP.
2. People mostly push buildings with map objectives (like Curse, Dragon Knight, Protector).
3. According to my TL and QM experience – people ignore mercenary camps (it feels like nobody is doing it).
According to my Blizzcon experience with those changes – I don't really feel like this is a healthy change for the current state of game.
4. Catapults – Double-Edged Sword
Before we start discussing about this let me quote the message from blog:
“When a team destroys a Fort, they’ll now gain a Catapult in every 3rd Minion wave. This allows consistent (but not constant) pressure in a lane that enemies will have a hard time ignoring. This change also introduces a secondary form of snowball prevention that is not as obvious—a team that’s ahead will have more pressure in lanes, pushing Minions (and Experience) towards their opponents, allowing them easier and safer ways to regain a foothold in the match. As a note, killing a Keep will result in Catapults with every wave, which is identical to the current live functionality.
NOTE: In order to keep early-game Catapults from being too devastating to defending teams, you will also notice some new scaling changes that will gradually increase the size of their area attack, attack range, and damage/health as the game progresses. “
So according to this message, after fort is destroyed every 3rd wave catapult goes out. It makes minion wave to push the lane until it's cleared. It gives better players opportunity to use global abilites, and freeze the lanes (even without globals), to deny enemy team to soak XP efficently and safe. With additional structure XP removal it gives no punishment for team which is freezing lanes, because even if theoretically you try to punish your opponent for doing that, you won't get rewarded.
Basically Catapult is a double-edged sword and in order to prove that we need to let HGC level players have access to the client with those changes so we can try them out and see if it's really the case. My suspicion (as other analysts as well) is that the higher level of play – we'll see more global heroes having more influence in both casual and competitive games.
Heroes of the Storm is doing huge changes every single year since the game is released. In order to maintain the trend of looking for changes I would love to see more mechanics, which would avoid snowballing in public games but also determine better players, by mechanical play or better decision-making skills. My personal suggestions would be:
1. Increase XP by getting kills (with appropiate scaling – the longer the game – more XP for kill + of course level of teams should matter too!). It would encourage players to do aggressive plays on higher level of play, and reward better players in lower level of play and Quick Match.
2. Reduce XP for fort and keep, but allow underdog bonus to apply when you get structures. This change is going to give way more comeback mechanics, with proper rotations.
3. Mercenary camps should give more XP (as I mentioned before – this point doesn't concern Volskaya Industries), but they should not give any XP for defending them. It encourages people to pay attention on both sides of the map, and makes aggressive invades (in public games) more rewarding.
4. Removing some bushes from Maps like Towers of Doom, Tomb of the Spider Queen, (just like it was done on Dragon Shire in 2017) to give more visibility for laners and allow them for more aggressive and rewarding playstyle.
By the end of this message I would love to look for options to make game more dynamic, with more mechanics to create advantage on the maps, as much as more comeback mechanics. I believe that most of the playerbase is playing Quick Match with friends, but also they would love to have more opportunities to outplay their opponents. I did play a couple of games on those changes during Blizzcon 2018 and I am not happy with them so it made me writing this feedback. I am open to discuss it further internally, or do more maths, to make our beloved game a better product in 2019.