Heroes of the Storm 2

Gladiator’s Medallion is a Band-Aid solution over a gaping wound of a problem.

HeroesoftheStorm 9 - Gladiator's Medallion is a Band-Aid solution over a gaping wound of a problem.
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TL;DR: I've been playing since Beta, Gladiator's Medallion puts the blame of getting CC chained on the player instead of on the design of heroes, there's way too much CC in the game.

Credibility: This part is mostly so people can't immediately pooh-pooh my argument. I played HOTS religiously back in beta and following its release, when the current leveling/loot system dropped I was already at level 400 and am currently just under level 700. I quit playing before the ladder ranked system came out but I very quickly reached Rank 1 in Hero League and Team League (mostly played Hero League) and never left my spot at the top of the (non-ladder) leaderboards. I think this gives me some room to constructively criticize this game.

Issue: Heroes of the Storm has a big issue with Crowd Control (CC). Anyone who has played for more than a few games has undoubtedly run into a situation where they find themselves stunned for multiple seconds until they get 100-0ed with no room to have survived without having had "better positioning." While this can happen in other MOBAs (I know from experience of playing League, but am unfamiliar with SMITE and DOTA2), I believe it is much less common in these games.

To put this issue to numbers (and because I have too much free time), I made an Excel spreadsheet of each hero in the game and their CC abilities and talents. Taking the total number of options for CC across basic and ultimate abilities and talents and averaging it out across every Hero, this number comes out to 4.22. This means that the average Hero has access to at least 4 options to Slow, Root, Stun, Knockback, Stop, etc. their opponents. Strangely enough, the average for Hard CC (Stuns, Roots, etc.) on basic abilities is higher than the average for Soft CC (Slows, etc.) on basic abilities at 0.64 vs 0.56. This phenomenon is seen in Ultimate abilities as well, with the Hard CC options being more than double that of Soft CC at 0.625 vs 0.307. I mostly bring these up because I find them interesting, but I believe the 4.22 number to be much more telling here. This is what I believe to be the issue.

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The Gladiator's Medallion: Blizzard released this "Item" to be available to all heroes save Gall and Deathwing half as a way to promote aggressive plays and half as a way to escape the previously mentioned CC chains. Focusing on the latter reason, I do not think this is an appropriate fix nor the correct mindset to have when combating the CC problem. One second of Unstoppable every 5 minutes (which you cannot use if you are currently Stunned, funnily enough) does little to give you enough room to get away from CC chains when the chains themselves last many seconds and don't require you to stay perfectly locked up for the entire duration. You walking away at 100% speed for 1 second will rarely get you away from a team dedicated to locking you down and killing you. More importantly, however, the Gladiator's Medallion suggests that the issue is with the players and not the overall design of the game.

To use an analogy, imagine you are on a large, leaky boat that is filling up with water. You scoop water up with your hands and throw it overboard to try and save the ship, and after five years of this, the captain of the boat takes a moment away from running into icebergs (Mei) to hand you a bucket to help, except the bucket has to be hung up to dry before you can use it a second time. Not only is the bucket an ineffective tool for this problem both conceptually and especially in its current form, but it is given to you seemingly to shirk blame from the person who caused the problem and has the power to fix it.

The Solution: Reduce and remove at least half of the CC in the game. I don't think the game would suffer at all if Butcher's charge didn't stun for 1 second and instead slowed by 90% for the same duration, or if the slow decayed instead. I don't think it is necessary that Qhira stuns the person she hits with her E for 0.25 seconds, then again for 0.75 seconds when she reactivates while also knocking them in the direction of her choice upon reactivating. There are lots of little changes that I think would help, and while I could sound salty to some and that I just got upset because I played poorly, I think it is a sign of bad design when 69/89 heroes have some way to Slow, Root, Stun, etc. you with nothing but their basic kit. I also think it's not very fun and cheapens the experience.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Nazrat
    Nov 14, 2020 11:11 am

    It’s true. MOBAs traditionally lay all the CC on the tanks, maybe a dedicated CC support style character, so the roles are defined – if you try to engage on someone in a team fight who isn’t slowed or stunned, as an assassin, its less likely you’ll get the kill. This promotes reliance on your team, playing your role and coordination with your team.

    In HOTS, because so many assassins have a way to lock you down, this removes their reliance on coordination. It’s far too easy to wombo combo in HOTS, compared to other games. I will play HOTS all day and see several wombo combos, sometimes coming out of teams of not very good players.

    This is a huge problem. It makes HOTS feel like a hand holding, kiddy experience. A training game for other MOBAs.

  • Reply
    Nazrat
    Nov 14, 2020 11:23 am

    A good example of this is Orphea, one of her ultimates is clearly designed well as something that REQUIRES another character such as a tank to lock the enemy down, but one of them is… designed extremely poorly, and actually gives her a way to lock an entire team down for a moment so she can land her own abilities. This results in her being able to dart out of a bush and nuke down EVERYBODY on the enemy team by herself. In a game that has teamplay and coordination with your team / reliance on your team at the forefront of the gameplay, this is an absolutely terrible design decision.

    They also give new tanks they add to the game WAY too much CC. Mei for example, every single one of her abilities has MULTIPLE CC!!! Her Q slows AND blinds. Her W slows AND stuns. her E slows AND knocks back. One of h er ultimates locks down the whole team, her other ultimate …. locks down the whole team? On top of this she has a base kit long duration unstoppable, shield and self heal. She can even talent to make her basic attacks slow.

    She is an immensely frustrating character to play against, and my personal pet peeve with this is that it doesn’t make any sense for her to be so unstoppably strong. She’s an… environmentalist. She’s Greta Thunberg in winter clothes with a drone that can spray ice. Realistically, pit her against Arthas, and she’d be cleaved in two in an instant. But here, she can actually kill him pretty easily.

    Compare this to a character from the glory days of HOTS, where they actually had a clean idea of character design – Tyrael. Look at his ultimates. One of them protects his team, one of them locks down a single target. He has one slow in his base kit and he can talent into an area denial. His trait compared to Mei’s is LAUGHABLE. Even after the change to it, it’s total garbage compared to the ultimate power of this trespasser from another game.

    Some characters they bring to the game recently are well designed and fit well within the MOBA environment such as Hanzo. He’s frail, has skillshots galore, lots of damage and ONE escape that relies on him paying attention to his positioning. He can’t lock anyone down, can’t slow anyone. He has a stun at level 20 talent but it is not reliable and very difficult to land on who you want it to. A well designed assassin.

    Then you look at Genji. The only counter to him is to spam him with every stun in the game so he can’t dart around like a Jedi in the clone wars. He can cross the entire screen in an instant, putting himself way behind enemy lines where he can terrorise a backline very effectively.

    This is a horribly designed assassin because it requires other characters to have lots of CC. He is so fast and mobile that he doesn’t even need a tank to lock people down for him.

    Then look at characters like Valeera. What were they thinking with her? She has a stun, a silence that lasts 4 seconds, a slow, and lots of defensive / avoidance abilities that improve her armour. She even has a high base health, like double Hanzo’s health. But she’s an… assassin? Ok.

    The design direction is just non existent these days. I’m pretty sure they just add in characters based on what the community’s majority want to see added and screw it if they’re unplayable or frustrating or just don’t fit well then just screw it.

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