I don't know how else to explain it. I've been off from work recently and played a lot of HotS with the intention of climbing out of Bronze, but it's been impossible. I've played more than 200 Storm League matches so far, and dropped from Bronze 3 to absolute zero at Bronze 5, playing mostly Malthael and Cassia as offlane / camps. I usually dominate the stats. I'm sure I could play better, but right now I'm not so concerned about my gameplay.
Yes, there are some really bad players out there. No, I'm not a great player, but it's an objective fact that I'm not the worst player in the world, and absolute zero should be reserved for that.
The reason I can't climb out is, there's a huge number of bots in the queue, especially late at night. I don't mean that people leave and we get AI players to replace them (though that does often happen), I mean that players whom I have seen be really good from time to time will choose weird heroes and do weird throwy things all match for no apparent reason. Someone who dominates on Leoric will choose Sgt. Hammer and pretty much play exactly as Leoric would, in the middle of top lane aa'ing minion waves. No setup, no strategy, nothing resembling intelligent play. I'll see the same account a few hours or a day later, either throwing hard or dominating like an expert, and he never leaves Bronze 5.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've played about 8 hours of HotS a day, in various sessions, a few days this past week, and I've seen the same 5 or 6 names come up every time I play — the same people I've been describing, who are wildly inconsistent in their playstyles. It's either carry or throw.
I've suspected something's been up for a while, but what tipped me off was draft chat tonight. In two consecutive games, two different people who are seemingly always in the queue said the same odd thing in draft chat: "what did i do to deserve this." No one said anything before that, and the bans and picks up until then were perfectly acceptable for the map and comp — perfect bans and picks, actually. I thought it was weird that two people who both look like bots most of the time would say the same thing in draft chat for no reason. Then I remembered the bots that used to play Alterac Valley in WoW years ago to farm tokens — they were smart enough, even back in 2006, to respond with "I'm not AFK what are you talking about" when someone said they were AFK in match chat.
Possibly related to this, I've seen a lot of people draft-dodge on Tomb of the Spider Queen, and mega-stomp on Braxis Holdout and Alterac Pass. Those are the maps I win and lose most on, respectively, by an astonishingly wide margin. I can usually plow through Tomb as Malthael, and literally nothing I do as any hero on Braxis will help avert the stomp. In one Alterac game last week, someone on my team last-picked TLV and literally fed them one by one to a Butcher on the other team, and the game was over in about 8 minutes. Neither of those accounts has been banned as of this writing.
Something rotten is definitely going on. I've reported all the people I think are botting, but the report system doesn't seem to work anymore.
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