League And Dota 2 Are Both Becoming A Bit More Like Heroes Of The Storm

League And Dota 2 Are Both Becoming A Bit More Like Heroes Of The Storm

Heroes of the Storm has only been out of beta for a few weeks, but it seems like Blizzard's newly-minted MOBA is already having an impact on Dota 2 and League of Legends -- the two reigning kings of this idiosyncratic and enormously popular game genre.

Earlier this week, Riot revealed that it's planning to remove debuffs from certain structures in League of Legends. Specifically, they're making it so inhibitor turrets and nexus turrets -- the last two lines of defence a team has in their base -- will no longer slow down enemies by 10 per cent or reduce their damage by 15 per cent.

Unless you follow League of Legends very closely, you probably haven't heard anything about this yet. It's a pretty granular detail, even for a League obsessive such as myself. Plus, the change is only active in the game's public beta environment (PBE), which means that a) it's only available to a small slice of the game's massive player base, and b) Riot could end up adjusting the turret nerfs before they make it into the main game. But what's interesting about Riot's decision here is that it's one part of a larger MOBA trend.

Explaining the nerf on the League of Legends forums, Riot's lead champion designer Meddler said that the current, relatively powerful inner turrets have lead to "slower, drawn out, low risk/interaction games":

We originally added the slow (and a -damage mod) to the Nexus/Inihb towers as an anti split pushing effect, at a time where we were concerned that split push was leading to low interaction games. That's currently not the case however, very much the opposite in fact, with heavy team fight comps crowding out split push almost entirely. We're not looking to make split pushing a staple of every game, but do think we've limited it too much, hence the removal of those effects.

In terms of the broader purpose of towers it is intended that the risk they pose to enemy champions decreases over the course of the game. Early on they're zones of sanctuary, where it's extremely risky to try and go in for a kill much of the time. Over time they transition to a helper role instead. Towers will turn the tide of a close fight, but they're not going to be more dangerous than an enemy champion anymore. Late game in particular, once everyone's past the individual laning period, it's the presence of teammates instead that provides substantial zones of safety/support. Powerful late game towers, particularly if they can be held by a couple of champions against a full enemy team, result in slower, drawn out, low risk/interaction games.

In other words: they're nerfing the towers to make League of Legends games faster. Weakening the turrets means that players will be far less likely to get stuck in an awkwardly meandering late-game stalemate.

Late in April, Valve put out a massive and absolutely bonkers patch for Dota 2 that (among other things) yielded the same results: encouraging more teamfights in games, and weakening each base's defences in turn.

It's really hard not to see these changes as being influenced by the new kid on the block: Heroes of the Storm. HOTS has a lot in common with League and Dota 2 -- all three games sprung from a series of mods that, however ironically, were made for Blizzard's StarCraft and Warcraft strategy games. But there are also many major differences between Heroes and its forebears. The biggest one of all is that Heroes games are really, really short compared to Dota 2 and League of Legends matches. Most Heroes matches take 15-20 minutes to close out, whereas games in the other two can easily last 45 minutes or an hour (or even longer).

The reason matches unfold so quickly is because Blizzard made structures in the game incredibly weak. They're so weak that, in my experience playing 400+ matches, games will often end without a team making a big final push into the enemy's base. Instead, a team's core will simply destruct.

Cutting down the average game length is a huge part of Heroes of the Storm's appeal right now. For seasoned MOBA veterans, the prospect of not getting stuck in an hour-long game every time you log into League or Dota 2 is hard to look away from. As for newcomers to the genre, well, they don't have that same prospect to be scared by.

When you pile Heroes of the Storm's relative quickness on top of its many other strengths -- its gameplay is pared down and easy to learn, it's packed with a cast of iconic characters, it has Blizzard's strong PC gaming brand name to back it up, it's free to play and therefore easy to try out, etc. -- you can see how the game is already a very strong competitor to Dota 2 and League despite being so young. Valve and Riot will have to adapt to this new economic reality, or risking losing many of their less diehard players to HOTS. Shaving off game time shows that they both already are.

Regardless of whether or not a specific change like League's turret nerfs is a good thing, I think Heroes of the Storm's arrival stands to benefit all MOBA players. Dota 2 and League of Legends haven't really faced much in the way of legitimate competition before... except from each other. And as the games themselves have taught me, being challenged is often the best way to motivate people to do their best work.


Comments

    I don't see how Dota ties into this at all, aside from being the other big MOBA.

    Heroes of the Storm is a different take on the genre. It's the MOBA for people that don't want to play MOBAs. Just because Street Fighter has an update that does something somewhat similar to Smash Bros does not mean that Smash Bros is having an influence on SF. It just means that they're (broadly) in the same genre and there are only so many tools available to try and manipulate the players' playstyles.

    Hate MOBAs

    Loving Heroes of the Storm...

    Feel dirty

      It's hardly like other MOBA's though. If Dota is chess, League is Checkers, and HotS is Tic Tac Toe

        Shots fired!

          He has a point though. That's how they rank in terms of complexity. I've been playing Dota for over 10 years, and I'm still not very good at it.

        A better comparison is this: Dota is Street Fighter, League is, I dunno, Tekken I guess, and HOTS is Super Smash Bros.

        HOTS has underlying complexity that only becomes apparent as you play the game. The complexity just takes form in other ways.

        Last edited 23/06/15 7:56 pm

      I've never been interested in the genre either, but HoTS gameplay is more inviting. I've watched some Rank #1 twitch, and it's interesting the tactics used. I like that I know the characters I'm playing, but I hate how close the camera is, and the cash shop is ridiculously expensive.

        I forked out $7 for a starter pack that gave me 4 heroes and the rest just through levelling with gold (get a hero to Level 5 and you get 500G). I'm up to 9 right now. It's not that bad, plus the free to play roster changes fairly often.

        It's not ideal but not that bad either. To me anyway.

          yeah the only things that are even close to reasonably priced are the packages when they are on sale.

    - 15% dmg? That's an enormous debuff, how come they didn't place an icon on the character UI or a tooltip on the turret ?

    Last edited 22/06/15 2:27 pm

    I'm hooked on Heroes. I used to enjoy LoL a very long time ago, and whilst I continued to watch the occasional competitive game, I couldn't bring myself to return. Heroes gives me all the nostalgia I was looking for, It feels much the same as how I remember LoL, but it just seems to be more enjoyable, not necessarily saying it's better, but more enjoyable and based on that alone, it's won me over.

    they should not all switch to be the same as each other. The difference is what makes each one good. Just like Cricket matches

    5 day Test match = Dota 2 games often take an hour+ unless a team gives up
    One day match = League of Legends games are around 30-40 minutes for standard game
    20-20 = Heroes of the storm ... lots of excitement and it's done already.

    I think it's a bit of a stretch to say dota is changing to be more like heroes of the storm..

    The recent dota changes were made because the state of the previous meta. Not because of a new moba just coming out of beta.

    Really? If you actually followed DotA2, you would realise that the changes implemented in 6.84 were always going to happen and not affected by HotS at all. A patch to address the longer game times was always going to happen.

    Last year Icefrog even made changes that made it harder for teams to finish early.

      This.

      Dota hasn't been changing towards quicker games, it's been moving towards a more teamfight-oriented style of game. If you look at the games around TI4, the games were lasting about as long as Heroes games last now and no one liked it (let's be honest, the early push deathball meta was awful), so they nerfed pushing. The games now last longer than they used to, and they're in a much better place than they were.

    I am taking it that the writer of this article has no clue what dota2 is, or has never played it as dota2 shouldn't even be in this article as it hasn't changed anything to be like HOTS. on top of that i wouldn't really even call HOTS a MOBA either.

      Nor would Blizz. They call it a 'Hero Brawler' because it really isn't very similar to DOTA 2 and League except in the most basic of core mechanics and map design.

    Lol Dota is Dota. The writer of this has no idea what he is talking about and obviously isn't a Dota player. Dota will never disgrace itself woth HOTS horrible first grade approach at a moba unless it is a custom mod. He mentioned dota 2 but never states a reason or fact how HOTS influenced it? Garbage article

    Dota's patch was probably influenced by the 15 minute-ish grand final for The International 4. Valve wanted to encourage for teamfight strategies over 15min deathball push strats.

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