The evolution of Heroes of the Storm's team XP: "This was not the freeform strategic experience we were hoping for" | PCGamesN

The evolution of Heroes of the Storm's team XP: "This was not the freeform strategic experience we were hoping for"

Heroes of the Storm team XP

Blizzard’s Dustin Browder has dropped some knowledge on the evolution of Heroes of the Storm’s levelling process and Team XP, explaining that the original design had individual hero levelling like other games in the genre, and more restrictive roles.

“When we first started, we had individual hero leveling like many games in the genre,” Browder says. “We liked how it forced players to split up into different locations, and coming together was a cost and a risk. We also liked how individual experience rewarded players for doing well, and really encouraged players to do their best; knowing that they were falling behind if they started to give away too many victories.” But this would eventually lead to problems.

It was the introduction of Abathur that throw a spanner in the works. The Starcraft II hero didn’t wade into battle, he hid away, attacked from afar and depended on his allies protection to use his abilities. “This helped inspire us to consider the possibility of more extreme heroes in the future,” Browder says. “What if we had more heroes who supported the team in strange ways?“

Other cracks started to appear. Players didn’t want to perform objectives or help each other - they were entirely focused on just killing enemy minions and getting more experience. “When we played, we noticed that the players that were actually doing the most to help their team by fighting over Battleground objectives were often several levels behind,“ Browder notes. “This was not the freeform strategic experience we were hoping for.“

That’s where team levelling came in. “In this new system, many elements (like killing towns) give map-wide experience to the whole team, even if there is nobody near the town when it is destroyed,” he says. “Enemy minions give experience so long as someone is nearby to collect the experience. If you have two heroes near an enemy minion when it dies you do not collect double experience. As long as you have a single hero next to a battle you are collecting the maximum experience from that battle for your team.” 

Heroes like Abathur became more viable, battlegrounds became more vibrant, with heroes switching between fighting, working on objectives and helping each other out. “At any given time one to three players on each team could be anywhere they wanted to be,” Browder explains. “They were free to roam to help their team, kill enemies, or complete map objectives with full knowledge that their allies were still getting maximum experience from the Battleground.”

It must have been a smart move, as Tim and Nick have become entranced by the game, calling it a “triumph”.

Sign in to Commentlogin to comment
Aever avatarAcid Hoover avatarDog Pants avatarDigitenor avatar
Aever Avatar
4 Years ago

Blizzard, please stop dumbing down everything you touch ... you're not making games for people that never touched another game in their life, you're making games for gamers.

Acid Hoover Avatar
4 Years ago

I think you're confusing simplicity and accessibility with dumbing something down. They've clearly made some important design changes based on getting players playing as early as possible. Which is the most important thing you can do regarding design. User centred design 101, get customers (players) involved early, test and redesign in iterations.

Digitenor Avatar
4 Years ago

I see your point, but I agree with Aever. Since Blizzard became Acti-Blizz, their game production has focused more on generating income, and making the games as accessible as possible.

In doing so, they have completely 'dumbed down' their entire catalogue. Wow for example used to be very challenging in 25/10man raids, as each expansion came along the game became more accessible and much easier, until each class pretty much resembles the other. Talent builds were gone, there was no longer the need for knowledge of class etc, and with raid finder's (which are great if you solo queue) - mean that players who do no research and are seriously undergeared can turn up to raid, and ulitmately cause wipes for the other 24 people until they leave, say if they are the tank.

Then there was D3 . . .optimised on pc for console gaming, talents removed (D1/2) - just 5/6 spammable talents where everybody uses the same build or plays the most op class (whirlwind barb).

On topic of the moba, this Blizz guy is describing their 'discovery' of the support class, whose role in Moba's is to fulfill objective's, fall behind in xp, and play safe due to being squishy. Blizzard has made this class even more accessible, and now with shared xp, means that there wont really be a support class, there will just be 10 people all trying to last hit/farm kills. Again, the strategy and soul of what make's moba's challenging has been ripped out by Blizzard in order to make the game 'more accessible'. It's not really a moba, more as they claim a Brawler, which is a shame, I'd love a full on Blizzard Dota (as they originally intended until valve disputes).

Either way, once beta/open beta rolls around, I will play this, but if it's too easy (like Strife - shared gold/xp . . .tiny map, quick games) - I'll get bored and stick with playing Dota 2 supports ^^

Aever Avatar
4 Years ago

That is my impression of the game so far, albeit from watching other people play. It's designed to be a simplified DOTA/LOL, a game that you can jump into much faster and easier. Complexity wise it is very shallow compared to the two juggernauts of the genre, which might be a good thing for newcomers, but it will certainly be ill received for veterans of the genre after the novelty wears off.

@Acid, what you're saying is fine, you will get people to play a simpler game much faster that you would a very complex one. However, IMO they will also leave much faster.

The same discussion can be had about Hearthstone as well. Very easy to get into, very addictive for a while .. but after that you're left asking for more.

Dog Pants Avatar
4 Years ago

There are plenty of gamers who find existing MOBAs too complex and competitive. What's wrong with Blizzard giving those people a more player friendly alternative?