I'm not saying anything needs to change but the following is some food for thought. Because of the role classification, certain things that heroes do are almost always paired with certain other things. For example, ever notice how heroes with reliable CC capable of initiating fights as a basic ability MUST be classified as a tank and therefore must be tanky?
Different Hots heroes offer different things. Some of these things offered (not a complete list) would be:
- Survivability (high hp/tankiness)
- Crowd control (reliable or unreliable stuns, roots, silences, slows)
- Utility/support besides crowd control (healing, shielding, disabling forts, vision etc)
Most heroes offer more than 1 thing, and many heroes offer multiple. If we just look at the above, we can see that you can permutate and combine them in different ways to get many different flavours of heroes.
Only damage –> assassins (greymane)
Damage + survivability –> most bruisers
Damage + crowd control –> some assassins (e.g. kael'thas, kelthuzard etc)
Damage + utility –> Medivh? This combination is quite rare
Damage + survivability + crowd control –> e.g. imperius
So in theory, mixing and matching these 4 meters (damage, survivability, cc, utility) could give rise to some very unique and cool heroes. However, if you look at the rigid hots role classifications, they basically prevent that.
Think about the role of "tank". Basically, tanks MUST have reliable cc and MUST be tanky (high survivability). And honestly there are almost no other class with reliable cc like tanks (other classes have cc but they are usually follow-up cc that is unreliable).
So the power budget of the role called "tank" is rigid and set in stone. Half the power budget is allocated to tankiness/survivability, the other half is set in reliable CC.
And any hero in the game with reliable CC has to be called a "tank". In theory, reliable CC could be paired with damage or utility (and the numbers tweaked to be balanced accordingly) but because of this "tank" classification we have, a hero will never be designed like that. Why? Because simple. There isn't a role name for a hero with reliable CC that is squishy. You want to call it a tank because it's an initiator with reliable CC. But it is squishy so what do you call it?
In the same vein, we have the roles "tank" (high survivability + high cc) and "bruiser" (high survivability + damage), but we don't have a name or a role with the combination of high survivability + high utility.
That means such a hero will never be designed. You won't see a tanky frontline healer. Kharazim and uther aren't tanky, in fact uther recently got his hp nerfed because being tanky is not the "job" of a healer, which is a perfect example of how hero roles cramp hots hero design. Uther and kharazim may be tanky by healer standards, but compared to actual tanks and bruisers? They're extremely squishy.
You will never have a very tanky (as tanky as stitches for example) frontline healer. Reason? Because there's no name for such a role. What do you call it? A tank? No, there's no cc. A bruiser? No there's no damage. A healer? But healers aren't supposed to be very tanky, that's for tanks/bruisers. Healers offer utility.
Anyway I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's just interesting how hots hero design is basically limited by such role classifications. Compare this to Dota where they can design basically whatever hero they want, and let the players decide how the hero fits into the game. In hots, the devs basically have to babysit you by telling you exactly what role the hero fits into, and then they are constrained by their very own label put on the hero in terms of design.
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