This post stems from a core thought I keep coming back to with every change and announcement: I honestly think this game was the most fun before both the 2018 and 2019 changes. Sure the 2018 changes made minions more interesting (a good thing) but overall the game became less fun in 2018 with the changes, it also introduced massive structural issues with changing core parts of the game that the majority of the cast was designed for that were attempted to be fixed in 2019.
Now here's the greater issue:
It's understood that these changes were meant to help the competitive community. The goal was to have more exciting competitive matches.
But for the rest of us, this is what changed:
- Pushing got its "crunch" removed – taking out a fort and a keep is now a "eh." Yes. It's true that overall you'll get the exp back, but here's the thing – it doesn't "feel" like that. A tactical mind operating at 300 APM understands yes, it's better, but for the feeling of that big structure falling it just feels "eh"
- Ammo changes did a lot of things, but it removed a fundamental pillar of uniqueness from HoTS and changed it to feel more like other MOBAs, which had a reverb affect that made a lot of heroes designed before the changes feel less effective in many areas. There's no longer a feeling of 'minor victories' when you push a wave through. It's either hard numbers damage was done or damage wasn't done. There's also no real dynamicness to the intro fight, it's a 5v5 always since there's no real advantage you can build from doing other lanes in the beginning.
- Garden of Terror was homogenized so that it plays like other maps. No more vehicle, no more real interactions, it's no longer a map that has a strategy completely unique to it, it's essentially just playing Alterac with one camp vs two – an endless stream of team fights and that's really just it.
- And, this isn't tied to any major revamps but has been happening gradually, all the heroes that had unique game changing mechanics were toned way down so it all feels all the same now. You want X or Y the differences are starting to become way more about numbers. My favorite analogy is Smash N64 vs Melee, in N64 every single character was radically different and had things that absolutely no other character had at all. In Melee you started to have way more overlap. Neither are bad games, and Melee competitive is hype af, but at the end of the day it became a lot more about hitboxes and numbers as opposed to being radically different characters – the top 5 are the top 5 and the game is about exploiting weaknesses in the range of that. The rest of the cast is just worse versions of them, essentially. If old HoTS was N64 "every hero had something extremely unique" with Murky murking around, Abathur not being around, illidan being THE diver, etc. then modern HoTS is Melee "heroes have a lot of overlap in function and can be compared based on numbers and ranges."
- Support classes were downplayed in effectiveness on an individual hero level with a 5% nerf across everything. This one's controversial, but I still think it just made certain healers feel like they're getting whipped. Many support players just outright quit because it was such an insult to just 5% nerf the entire class as opposed to fine tuning problematic heroes.
Now, it's all understood because each one had a competitive reason for happening. #1 was so that games didn't have level gaps all at once. #2 was so that games lost the "inevitability" factor that ammo brought in. #3 was because GoT was too PvE and so high level strategy just locked that down to an art. #4 was so that counterpicking didn't completely destroy a draft. #5 was to stop the double healer meta.
Yes the changes are justified from a technical standpoint. Yes it makes it more competitive. This is all understood.
But what's missing is the concept of fun that was what HoTS was originally designed with. That ballsy "this game is dramatically different" feeling that the made us fall in love with the game. Ammo, wacky game changing heroes, wildly different maps, this is why many played HoTS in the first place. This is what other MOBA's were too afraid to do. This was the appeal of the game.
And with every change it just feels like that's being phased out.
© Post "Gameplay Revamps, Fun, and Unique vs Competitive" for game Heroes of the Storm.
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