Hey, Blizzard, Not Having A Surrender Option In Heroes Is A Bad Idea

Hey, Blizzard, Not Having A Surrender Option In Heroes Is A Bad Idea

The debate about whether or not having a surrender option in a MOBA is a good thing is an open debate, largely because the two biggest games in the genre disagree. League of Legends lets you surrender after 20 minutes. Dota 2 has no such option. Heroes of the Storm has sided with team Dota, and that's not good.

Blizzard's nascent but much-hyped MOBA hasn't had any type of surrender option since its earliest days in alpha. Since the game has started giving its beta players a heads up in-game that it's gearing up for an official release, I reached out to Blizzard recently to ask why they had chosen to omit the feature, and whether they had any plans to change that once the game goes live for the general public.

The developer responded: nope, no surrender option is incoming. As a further explanation, they offered this sneak peek at a statement they'd prepared for a post on the game's blog that should be coming out sometime today:

As a final note, we wanted to address the issue of a Surrender option. For now, we do not believe the addition of a Surrender option is needed in Heroes of the Storm.

Heroes of the Storm matches are designed to be fast-paced, action packed, and played in under twenty minutes. In our experience, the community's feedback, and internal data has shown that there are ample opportunities to mount a comeback.

We believe the game is never officially over until the core is destroyed. Adding a Surrender option could tempt players to bail out at the slightest setback, removing focus from the game and potentially introduce even more toxic behaviour. As Heroes of the Storm matures, it could be something we'll add in the future. But, for now, we love to see awesome games where teams mount a comeback and win. For example, check out this match:

"We've also had a few debates in our forums," Blizzard's explanation, "but you'll see that our players do agree."

Mounting a comeback, and whether or not one is truly realistic (or even possible) is what makes the value of a surrender option so dicey. Comebacks are possible in League of Legends, as they are in Dota 2, through a number of different means and in a number of different scenarios. They can be exceedingly difficult to pull off in either because of the way a game snowballs over time to give the team that's ahead a more and more formidable advantage.

Players who got a bunch of kills in the first 10 or 15 minutes of a game will have a lot more experience and gold than their opponents (i.e., the ones they killed), which means they will have a much easier time killing their opponents again, which will give them even more gold and experience, and so forth. Working your way back from a position of weakness can be very tough because of the MOBA snowball effect. That makes defeat uniquely frustrating. But it also makes successful comebacks feels all the more awesome when you and your team do pull them off.

Blizzard designed Heroes to be an incredibly pared-down MOBA compared to League and Dota 2, and one effect this has on the game is the snowballing process during a given match is much less intense than in the other two. Experience is doled out globally rather than on a character-by-character basis, so if one or two players are the ones doing the most damage they won't turn into unstoppable juggernauts the way they do in so many League games. Heroes also doesn't have any in-game shop for customising and beefing up heroes with special armour, weapons, and items, so there isn't a gold deficit either.

These two factors do indeed make comebacks a lot easier. I'll give Blizzard credit for that.

I also agree with their logic in saying: "Adding a Surrender option could tempt players to bail out at the slightest setback, removing focus from the game and potentially introduce even more toxic behaviour." In my experience playing League of Legends so far, the game does indeed work out this way an unfortunate number of times. Teammates start to give up — often annoyingly early — and resign themselves to defeat when the game is clearly still up in the air. Rather than renewing their focus and determination to turn the game around, many respond to this by blaming one another for what they think went wrong. The ensuing fights can easily become super toxic. Regardless of how salty they get, they always end up distracting the team even further, which only makes the losing process even worse.

Why do I think not having a surrender option is a bad idea for Heroes, then? Because in spite of a surrender's many shortcomings, and the ways it may be abused or mismanaged in a game like League of Legends, it's still the lesser of two evils. Games like League, Dota 2, and yes, even Heroes, all have clearly defined meta-games. Certain matches just can't be won. Oftentimes this isn't as much a matter of who messed up and how as how one team's champions measure up to the opposition. Sitting through a match when defeat is certain is usually embarrassing, degrading, and not at all fun.

Heroes might make defeat a tad less painful or arduous given the ways it softens its meta compared to Dota 2 and League. But there still is a metagame. If you're on a team with 3 or 4 support characters (think healers, clerics, etc.) and you're going against 5 assassins, you simply don't have the attack damage necessary to stand your ground against them.

For the moment, at least, Heroes of the Storm's matchmaking system is so crappy that players end up in matches like this far too often. The game doesn't provide for any pre-game team-building process during character selection unless you're already playing with a party (usually your Battle.net friends) until you enter the competitive "Hero League" mode, meanwhile, which means that you aren't given as much of an ability to avoid the ill effects of the game's shoddy matchmaking as you should.

Separate from any of the nuanced questions of game design or player behaviour about whether or not 20 minutes is the right amount of a time for an average game (or a surrender option) and whether or not forfeiting sparks toxicity, the lack of a surrender option in Heroes currently makes the game much less fun than it could otherwise be. It's really as simple as that. I've spent way too many games grouped in the exact shitty position I just described — running around a map as my favourite healer character with another two or three supports as we all do our best to prop up our team's single fighter against five huge bruisers.

It's sorta silly to see fights like these for a minute or two. But then we all realise that there's just gonna be another 15, 20, maybe even 30 minutes to the game where we're just gonna be stomped into the ground over and over again. If the enemy team feels like being a bunch of jerks, they will prolong this process as much as they can.

I appreciate the many neat and ambitious ways that Blizzard is trying to change up the standard MOBA template that League of Legends and Dota 2 have established. But omitting a surrender option is not on their best ideas for Heroes so far.


    I've never seen a comeback actually happen. When a team is losing, it's probably due to their skill level. That isn't going to change partway through the game.

    But i still disagree with introducing a surrender button.

      Come backs happen in public DOTA 2 matches all the time, and the best learning experiences are when you're losing, you never try harder than when you're behind. In DOTA it also offers you time to learn other parts of the game you might not normally touch, so many players don't touch the jungle as much as they should, being on the losing side usually forces you to use the jungle.

        I have had some massive comebacks in Dota 2 due to 1 mistake the other team makes = a victory. Doesnt happen most games but there is still a chance. Since Blizzards game is balanced in a different way and has it on easy mode i dont think comebacks are able to be done in it.

      Played since closed beta and I've seen tens, if not hundreds of 'comebacks'. It's actually gotten worse now but I think that's just indicative of the divide in skill level in the player base as you say, but when it was in closed beta almost every game was a nail biter.

      Certainly agree surrender is bad, if people just want to give up when the going gets tough, then I don't want to play with them.

      Last edited 04/04/15 12:33 pm

      Just a week or two ago (sometime around the Sylvanas update) I was playing a casual Vs match and 2 people on our team and one on the other were afk/DC'd for half of the match (I assume connection issues as I'd been having them all that day).

      We ended up about 3-4 levels behind with most of our stuff destroyed before everyone was back playing, we then walked all over them and won.
      The rubber-banding system blizzard has in place is actually fairly strong (maybe too strong.. but then I'm pretty rubbish at the game so not a good judge) so comebacks can happen.

      ive been in games with comebacks, many.
      it doesnt take much to throw a lead.

    League has surrendering after 20 minutes.
    HotS matches generally lsst 20 mins.

    I don't see the problem really.

    I've played about a hundred or so games of Heroes, and over 1500 games of DOTA, and I've probably seen more comebacks in Heroes than in all my DOTA games.

    There are more mechanics in play in a typical DOTA match that make come backs more difficult, in Heroes though, over extending in a single fight can lose you the game.

    The games are too short, surrender shouldn't be an option.

      Are you kidding? The introduction of the rubber-band mechanic means that comebacks are commonplace now...

      The number of times I've seen someone like Timbersaw go 15-0 early the game, feed a few kills after he starts to fall off, and completely throw the game away... beyond count.

    Oh no! People will actually have to PLAY the game for more than 5 minutes and actually TRY TO PLAY! Playing LoL I'm sick of seeing people demand "Surrender at 20" when they drop ONE LEVEL BELOW the opposition. This "instant give up" mentality is annoying as hell. I've never given up in LoL and taken my losses like a true gamer. But then again, I'm not one of the handheld, always positive, praise for nothing, everyone is a winner generation.

    Surrender button is unnecessary, and will only promote early quitters.
    HOTS games rarely go over 25-30, unless it is fairly even.
    It is still possible to to make a comeback mid-late game( from level 15 to around 20), even a number of levels down.
    Only once past approx level 23 with a 3+ level difference do you see an issue but then the game would be just about over.
    A kick button would be much better for AFKers but that brings up other issues, because there is no drop in system and essentially you'd still be playing a man down (with AI)

    I'm with mic on this, matches are so short the whiners are just want their fast food on a plate in their hover chairs.. The amount of people who play games and lack any sort of pride or willingness to learn from mistakes has quadrupled in time, it's like people don't know how to make the most of a bad situation, and so will assume the fetal position.. man up.

    The comeback potential in hots is huge I've found. Because there are no items , as long as your level is close to the other teams. You're essentially even throughout the game. Comeback potential in hots moreso than other moba's I've played. A surrender button would squander that possibility

    Dota introduced a feature into the game that helped comebacks. It's been dubbed the Rubber Band mechanism; basically, the higher the advantage your hero has over the player you killed, and the further ahead your team is over the other team as a whole, the more experience and gold you give when the other team kills you.

    What this means in practice is that a determined opposition can get a massive boost by killing heroes that have been fed early kills. This becomes very relevant when you are defending your 'high ground', the entrance to your base (and where your barracks are located). You have a big advantage defending your high ground; you have a powerful tier 3 tower to help protect you, and the enemy has to fight uphill, which restricts their vision and their chance to hit you with each attack. I have played countless games where a team wins the laning phase with heroes that are strongest in the early game, starts to push into the base but gets too cocky because they are so far ahead, and surrenders a bunch of kills. Because of the rubber band mechanic, they surrender a big amount of their advantage to the other team when this happens - and if they allow it to happen once or twice, they can surrender the whole advantage that they took 20-30 minutes to build up.

    Some of my most memorable games are ones where I have come back from a huge disadvantage to win. I can still remember a game where we lost 2 of our lanes (while they still had all of theirs), our ancient was down to half HP, and they tried three times to take out our final lane, while our tenacious defence meant we wiped their team each time, reclaimed the advantage, and pushed straight up the mid lane to win the game (while wiping them again in their own base).

    So no, there is no place for the surrender option. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

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