TL:DR – Hots has a stale laning phase. We need an out of the box idea to change that and keep up our history as being the most innovating moba out there while improving our most beloved game. This is a perfect opportunity to experiment, and find something amazing that will change the market and course of mobas, because I won't stop until hots is as popular as we hope it to be. (And I hate last hitting and there is a BETTER FUTURE for the genre!)
– Main Article –
I want to preface this by saying that I know something we need in the game is to make it more competitive by being given access to specific numbers and critical information that will help players improve during the game and see their own performance. We all agree on this. This post is to suggest another aspect of the game that needs fixing, which I believe is just as important and one that has great influence on the game's popularity (or lack of). The lack of the last hitting mechanic and the laning phase. (Read on before flaming)
Recently the balance of hots has felt great to me because snowballing is so greatly reduced and late game talents get to be used more, which is loads of fun (and makes the early game feel more exciting because of the anticipation of the late game, rather than making a few mistakes that put you in panic mode for the rest of the game). However, Heroes has always greatly suffered from the lack of any mechanic to keep players engaged and working towards something during the laning phase (the down time between objectives, i.e. thrilling team fights), which is what pros have always complained about and what everyone switching from other games generally dislikes about hots because they don't know what to do and its boring. It deters Lol and dota players because they don't feel rewarded for laning and don't know what supposed to be doing while waiting for the objective (which they don't know even exists yet, which compounds the problem), and it deters us who like hots because we KNOW laning phase is pretty pointless and hard to care much about so we go to the middle to fight and have fun. Imagine the possibilities of what else could fill the time between objectives instead!)
Last Hitting minions SUCKS. I KNOW. Since Heroes removed that mechanic, it feels like it is a blessing to mobas. Hots in our minds is the next generation moba that is free of the shackles of micromanaging something that is so obviously and frustratingly lame! (hots movements are smoother, it's visually more appealing, has better concepts, it does many things better) but hots simply gives a feeling of falling short and coming up empty handed, because it has never filled the space that last hitting fills in other games, when that exact minigame/activity is the #1 most addicting and engaging thing about Lol. We don't want last hitting, I know. We really need something better! (Again, I'm talking about during the laning phase, because the objectives are already awesome)
PLEASE!! While we still have the support from the devs that we do have, we should try to stop talking so much about hero skins and menu improvements and little things that won't change the core gameplay until we come up with an improved, next gen, engaging activity that is a replacement to last hitting, or do something drastic with the laning phase, because the game needs it in order to change its reputation and grow. And if it doesn't get it, it won't ever grow as much as you want it to, or even at all. It will never be the popular game that people are talking until this happens. My initial ideas are as follows, and I want you guys to tell me what you think about all of this, but I feel these are viable ways to permanently increase interest in hots.
Ideas for improvements to make laning phase more interesting:
– Small, somewhat less impactful but unique Items, like a one-time use blink, cc move, or whatever else you can think of that randomly spawns in the jungle between lanes. (Jungling would then give the feeling of adventure and gearing up for a raid before the obj spawns and finding loot and all that is awesome about old diablo and rpgs, while increasing the likelihood that people will go and explore/fight in the jungle)(i.e. think team stimpack and reinforcements from the starcraft pve mode but with not as powerful but more unique abilities)
– Have a ring of reduced vision, or a ring starting at the edge of the map slowly closing in according to the objective timer until it centers on the objective when it spawns. This sounds like a battle royale cop out but it would be SO unique and cool when put in the Hots context. It's innovative. It would bring people to the objective where they should be anyway and make the laning phase a little more interesting leading up to the obj, while at the same time de-emphasizing split pushing. (Which imo split-pushing really is not a good thing in the game design, because it causes more chaos than decision making for the defending team, detracts from the fun and uniqueness of hots objectives, creates frustration in team members when you don't show up to the objective when they expected you to, etc.), and this would catch people's attention when you tell them hots is adding a battle royale element to the moba genre.
– Three generic quests that can be chosen at the start of the game depending on their character role (tank, bruiser, support, healer, etc.) that reward that specific role's playstyle that can be focused on during the laning phase. For example, a healer could have a quest to give a heal right after their team mate takes damage from an enemy hero. Or to land a cc ability within a certain time of another teammate landing cc (this would reward both players). This would teach players to be more coordinated and reward people for acting as a team, while giving people something to focus on (think: quests specific for solo laners- rewards based on mercenary captures, rewards based off exp soaked, etc.)(This idea helps more with the personalization of the game and doesn't help with laning phase as much but I still think it's a good idea)
– Simply shorten the laning phase?
– Hell, put merc camps in the middle of the lane.
– Get rid of xp completely, scale teams evenly the whole game (Think clash royale or hearthstone. Simple mana curve but fun and it frees up the time from boring af soaking to look for ganks or attempt to push a fort, things that are more strategic and exciting in nature). Also shorten the laning phase.
– Mercs with unique abilities or advantages against certain types of solo laners that you can choose when you capture a merc to help your laning match ups, or an option to choose what type of buff laning mercs will give you when you cap it, such as physical or spell armor, move speed, damage buff, etc.
– Can you think of something? The more ideas the better! I love hots. Lets make it the best it can possibly be!
To wrap it up, do you agree this is what will help the game actually grow? What do you guys think could be a compelling replacement activity for last hitting that's somewhat out of the box that would complete hots and make it the next gen moba that it is meant to be? (The world wants to be rid of last hitting!) Also, I've been listening to the "Core", "Into the Nexus", and "Lords of the Storm" podcasts on spotify, for anyone who is interested in the hots community and future of the game, you should really check them all out. They cover Hots news and community ideas thoroughly and talk about lots of great ideas.
If have an idea of how to tackle this specific area of the game, message me directly and I will put together a list of all of them and send it to each of the podcasts for them to talk about.
Edit: needed more space between paragraphs
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