Heroes Of The Storm's Stale Meta Is Driving Top Players Away

Two months ago, Heroes of the Storm introduced possibly the biggest change it's ever undergone, outside of the alpha. And while the community has almost universally seen this as a positive change, it's had unforeseen side effects which haven't been addressed — and it's enough for more than one prominent player to take a break.

The scaling changes had been coming for a while, as the developers had made it known they wanted to make early deaths more consequential. Respawn timers were tuned so you're not straight back into the match if you die at the start, and damage and health numbers were tweaked so the whole game kind of felt like it used to at level 20. In terms of how heroes scaled up with the new numbers, some fared a lot better than others.

Because people were doing more damage, stunlocking became much more deadly. Two or three stuns in succession should mean guaranteed death if the team is properly pouncing on the opportunity. And seeing as Tyrande has a ranged stun, as well as having her ultimate buffed, what we have now is known as either the "Tyrande meta" or "stunlock meta".

The in-favour heroes are so popular that picking anyone else is considered asking for a loss. Raynor, Diablo, Zagara, Morales, Muradin also reign supreme. Kael'Thas and Uther, somehow always strong even after nerfs, also remain popular.

In the recent Heroes Rising competition, Tyrande, Muradin and Kael'Thas had a 100% pick/ban rate, with Uther and Jaina not far behind. 15 heroes were never picked, which is actually more hero diversity than expected for Heroes of the Storm, but it still highlights a problem, especially when combined with Tyrande's 58% winrate on Hotslogs.

So what does all this mean? Without any changes for two months, basically every game has been the same. The recent addition of Lunara didn't change much, as she's not a viable competitive hero most of the time. People are tired of playing the same heroes over and over, and combined with HOTS' existing matchmaking woes, some are taking a breather.

One of NA's top ranked players, Wiz, has signed off after a 24-hour stream in which he was repeatedly teamed with the lowest ranked players. Chu8 had a bit of a spat on his stream too, before clarifying his beefs with the current system, saying you basically have to choose between winning and having fun. Cris from TeamLiquid also weighed in.

It's certainly not new for prominent players to have a whinge about the way things are, but you won't find any of the usual arguments in these threads. No one is spitting the dummy. The playerbase is all pretty much in agreement that changes need to be made a lot faster than they're happening. A new hero is released tomorrow, Greymane, but Blizzard has said there won't be any incoming balance changes with the update.

One simple solution which would solve some, but not all of the problems, is to introduce a ban system in the draft. That way, a couple of the most overpowered heroes at the time, whatever the meta might be, can be excluded and more possibilities will open up. There are concerns with who gets control over the actual bans, of course, but in a situation like this one it wouldn't matter — I think just about anyone with a sliver of experience would ban Tyrande, Diablo, or Kael'Thas.


Comments

    it gets pretty boring after a while, i started on HOTS, even got to rank 3 in team league with a good group, the game just gets so boring after a while and the fact that the whole team can be carried by one awesome player as it pushes ALL the levels of everyone up.
    some think its a blessing some a curse.
    also i got into dota and im enjoying how much bigger the map feels, and the complexity/ learning to use items.
    and how all the heroes from HOTS are in dota 2 anyway, that REALLY made me mad

      and how all the heroes from HOTS are in dota 2 anyway, that REALLY made me mad

      And for free!

        and
        for

        FREE.
        dota has like what 30 heroes of something, dota has 111. like theres even competition

          Hang on... Which one has 30? And which one has 111?

            herpa-de-derp HOTS has around 30, dota has 111. funny thing; when i made that post i myself had 111 posts! :D

    I love this game - Jung and I have played quite a few matches together, but at the end of some matches we are left scratches our heads. I think it probably goes beyond just pumping out heroes, and introducing bans - but they are a good start.

    I haven't played much of LoL or Dota2, but I believe their ranking system works (from what I hear) - so perhaps something similar could be implemented in HotS. Currently there are three modes, QM, HL, TL, in HotS and right now Hero League seems to be just another version of QM to some players. It's one thing not to understand team composition and synergy, but when you blatantly don't give a f*%k, then you just hurt all the players that do try to get better (I'm looking at you first pick nova/butcher).

    The reason they may not have more modes to help separate ranks, is because the player base may not be there. It's hard to know when numbers are released.

    Overall its concerning the current state, especially when like most players that play the game, know it could be so much more.

      Wait - how do we play Hots with junglist?

        You have to be really special AND be able to carry him in every game...it's a burden, and not everyone is up to the task :P

    Blizzard's slow development cycle causes people to quit HotS? Sounds like typical Blizzard shenanigans. It's almost like they want people to leave!

    The real problem with HotS is the price of heroes...

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