I'll preface this by stating that this is my opinion, I'm not a game designer, I just want to help the game go in the right direction by accomplishing what the devs want to tackle without making new and worse issues. Please feel free to voice any criticism or additions/alternative ideas.
- When a team destroys a Fort, they’ll now gain a Catapult in every 3rd Minion wave.
- NOTE: In order to keep early-game Catapults from being too devastating to defending teams, Catapult attack splash size, attack range, and damage/health will gradually increase as the game progresses.
Experience changes so far:
- Removed all Experience earned from destroying a Fort or Keep
- Decreased Experience earned from destroying Towers by 50%
- Passive Experience gain increased by 15%
- Increased Experience gained by defeating defending Mercenaries by 100%
For those that don't know these are the most recent publicly available notes on the XP changes you can find here. Note that Blizzard have already stated they are making revisions to these changes and listening to feedback, which as it turns out is why I've decided to write this.
To tackle the elephant in the room, lets look at the most controversial change…
Removed all Experience earned from destroying a Fort or Keep
Decreased Experience earned from destroying Towers by 50%
I don't know what Blizzard tried before making this change but I have to ask (as have many others), why not just halve the experience earned instead of eliminating it completely? I agree that structure XP is one of the things that can snowball games completely out of control, that said they are also important as a catch up mechanic when a team simply cannot contest an objective or the opposing teams push.
Put it this way, it's Cursed hollow with 1 for 1 tribute wise, the 3rd tribute is popping and you've just hit 9 and the opponents are halfway through 10, you simply can't contest the tribute, instead you stack as 4-5 on the opposite side of the map and kill their wall and fort.
In the current version of the game that is 1600 XP which is huge if you are trying to come back into a losing game. This is a smart play and much more of an interesting tactic than "we can't contest, just soak" which sometimes just isn't the best decision.
What I suggest:
Instead of providing no real incentive for taking forts except for catapults (which we will touch on in a moment), how about halving all structure experience (which you've already done for towers), but applying a similar catch-up mechanic (Underdog bonus or how ever you'd like to refer to it) to structures. The multiplier would likely need to be smaller and less punishing to the winning team but this would provide an incentive for these "smart" plays while reducing the beneficial rewards of taking the structure for the winning team.
Dead fort = Catapults is NOT the answer
When a team destroys a Fort, they’ll now gain a Catapult in every 3rd Minion wave.
So there's not much reason for me to try to explain just how this creates more issues than it fixes as there are so many other people including Pros such as Mopsio who have done a great job expanding on this, notably
at 7:36 highlights the issue and while not a perfect argument, he points out exactly the issue I'm referring to.
If we are going to get an advantage out of killing a fort excluding experience, catapults are just going to promote boring or dull game play. It seems better to leave a fort on 10-20% HP to later kill it when catapults scaling has actually become threatening. If you do take a fort, instead of the wave bouncing from one side of the lane to the other after each clash with the structures at each end, the wave will constantly be pushed toward the opposition's side of the lane. Soaking will be way more dangerous for the winning team meaning more frustrating deaths from allies overextending just to soak the next level.
What I suggest:
If we must have a mechanic which triggers after a fort death that increases the threat of waves and puts a greater emphasis on macro play, buff the wave's performance vs structures not its pushing power vs minions. We've all seen winions save the day and take down the enemies keep or even core so don't make them too strong please. Instead perhaps a small 10-15% buff to archer minion damage vs structures or maybe give the mage minion a spell which deals medium-high damage damage to structures (he is literally just a glorified regen globe generator right now!). This means the waves will still act the same way they do now but they will be more of a threat when they do clash with structures, promoting better macro play and map management.
This is perhaps too much of a buff to late game comps
Passive Experience gain increased by 15%
Honestly one of the reasons I love this game is how games don't (usually) last forever and can support both early game compositions and late game. For a while heroes like Garrosh have catapulted pun intended** teams into an early lead, largely through kills and pure fear of dying. This is not fun when you're on the receiving end! I agree a passive experience gain buff is required but not to this extent.
What I suggest
5-10% could easily be enough to give late game comps that edge they need to actually make it to late game if they play to their strengths without wrecking the poorer scaling early game comps chances. This will also speed up matches (not that they need it at higher ranks, in particular pro play) leading to faster matchmaking as players cycle faster. Additionally you could increase minion XP by a small but scaling amount per level disadvantage, 1/2/3/5% up to the 4 level disadvantage cap on the underdog bonus might be enough. This may be a negligible change or it may provide a better incentive for soaking while behind and limits snowball potential which can make all the difference.
I just want to say I love this change!
Increased Experience gained by defeating defending Mercenaries by 100%
YES! You want to improve the general player base's macro play, this is one great way to do it. This also means teams will more often draft at least one hero capable of quickly and effectively killing mercs which may even spice up the solo lane a little. Thank you for this.
These really are really significant changes and sometimes mixing up and polishing the game play with changes like this can be good but only if they don't cause greater issues. While I still miss the days where ammo on structures was a thing, I'm looking forward to the future of this game and I hope what ever happens that blizzard will listen to their player base more.
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