Dustin Browder Responds To HOTS Hate Over Stale Meta And Slow Updates

Dustin Browder Responds To HOTS Hate Over Stale Meta And Slow Updates

Can we take a moment to appreciate Dustin Browder? The game director on Heroes of the Storm is always answering peoples’ questions on Twitter, despite some of them being asked in a not-so-nice way. After the latest hero addition and two months of stale meta, he’s been hard at work.

After the last major balance update, the game has favoured certain heroes a lot, and many ranked matches have been samey for a while.

A little tangent — while in Vegas for the Americas Championship, I was standing near Browder at an afterparty and couldn’t help but overhear a few things. The guy really cares about the community, there was lots of talk along the lines of “Those are our people, we’ve gotta do our best for them.” In an age of “don’t read the comments”, when people regularly have contempt for their fans, I was impressed.

Anyway, back on track. Let’s take a look at what Browder has to say about some of the community’s concerns. For some of them, you might need to click the link to see the question he was asked.

Bans are probably the most requested feature at the moment, as it would offer a chance to get rid of whatever the overpowered hero of the time is and create more diverse games.

The charge is very stoppable.

We need it!

That’s a tough one. There are certainly good players stuck in elo hell right now, and it’s tough to work your way up when you’re only 10% of the in-game actors. But the MMR system does need improvements, and Blizzard won’t be able to work with a blank slate.

Hooray! Here’s hoping it’s ready next patch.

Death recap is another good priority. Sometimes you just don’t know what the hell killed you.

True that, brother.

It really, really doesn’t.

Yep, that arena mode they teased looked like great fun, but it’s understandable it won’t be out for a while.

Hard to implement, but would be very cool. Currently the stats displayed are interesting, but with all the crazy hero roles in this game, it’s hard to use them as solid performance indicators. Things like sustain damage and burst damage (at a crucial moment) are hard to gauge the effectiveness of. Depending on your talent choices, you could be playing different roles as well. It’s also open to manipulation. If “hero damage” is included in MMR adjustment, for example, a Raynor might feel like it’s a good idea to go for Giant Killer and shoot the tank.

Geez, lay off the guy. They’re doing their best.

Well, I hope they bring it back at some point. It was one of those maps that was so different to the usual MOBA map it gave HOTS more innovation points.

You can follow Browder on Twitter here, and he regularly responds to queries about the game. Unfortunately it’s been a lot of “I understand” and “No ETA” for a bit, but that’s because the last patch was a huge scaling change and there were bound to be some after effects. Here’s hoping to some balance changes soon.


  • There are certainly good players stuck in elo hell right now, and it’s tough to work your way up when you’re only 10% of the in-game actors.

    I hate the concept of Elo hell. It comes from people feeling like their improvement isn’t being reflected in the numbers quickly enough. It comes from people blaming others for failure. I comes from people not realising that they have bad days.

    It perfectly captures the mentality of players that give MOBAs a bad reputation. When you realise that you’ve somehow ended up with your pants on your head, it’s time to step away from the game for a little bit.

    • The trenches are real, and there is no escape from them no matter what rank you are

        • Yeah I used to think I was in elo hell at rank 32-30. Then I played diablo and went something like 15 wins 4 losses. Jumped up to rank 25 in just 2 or 3 days.

          Problem is, you still just get shit team mates (and apparently it happens at rank 1 all the time too) and no matter how good you are, if the 5th guy is never around or dying all the time, you have it much harder.
          Same goes for any team game though, and MOBAs like this make if almost impossible to carry and under performing team mate. Especially if the match making is even.

          I think the problem here is that people expect rank and MMR to completely solve the problem of bad players…. and it doesn’t.
          You still get terrible team mates at rank 1. They will still make you pull your hair out. No amount of matchmaking fixes is going to get rid of that. It should reduce the occurrence, but I’d be surprised if it made much difference.

          On top of that you have people sucking hard during the draft. My mate at rank 1 still sees people picking illidan as last pick with no synergistic heroes and a stun heavy enemy team. Or a Nova first pick so she can be completely countered, or a Nova last pick against a bunch of high health brawlers.

          I’m not sure why people expect matchmaking fixes to suddenly make all other players better.

    • I agree with what you say, and mindset is very important, but I still think elo hell is very real. And I think it’s justified to be frustrated with not moving up quickly enough. It’s not helped by the matchmaking in HOTS currently, or the fact that while HOTS is a MOBA, it definitely has some quirks that mean people have very different ideas on how to tackle mercs, compositions, and talents.

      My experience with elo hell started when I had connection issues one night. I was queueing up for games and it would give me error messages every time I pressed the “Ready” button. I didn’t notice that every time I pressed it, I was losing ladder points, and lost quite a few ranks because of it.

      It took me a long time to get back to where I was. As much as I didn’t want to bother being a coach for the rest of my team, that’s what’s involved with breaking out of elo hell. Psychological management and teaching them the game. Of course some people will do what they want anyway. Whenever I had games with rank 1s, things seemed to go swimmingly. Games with rank 35s would involve first-pick Illidans who 1v5.

      I don’t know the solution, though. I suppose it’d involve performance affecting MMR, but HOTS is not a game like Counter-Strike where you can see a tough game as a challenge and carry. Of course any kind of performance inclusion in MMR calculation will be gamed. Atm you just have to throw your hands up and say “team games”, and if it matters enough, create a clan.

      • My understanding of Elo hell is that it’s a crab bucket. The weaker players are dragging the better players down, stopping them from progressing. You managed to progress back to your true ranking. They may have slowed you down and forced you to change your play style but that could be interpreted as you improving and adapting.

        When you’re playing with players that are definitely worse than you, it’s very easy to spot their mistakes. When you’re playing with players that are on a similar level to you, you’re making similar mistakes and probably don’t notice it as much. The gap is narrower so you’re less aware of it.

        The slow rate of progression really hurts. It’s a fundamental flaw of team games with MMR. One player can only have so much impact on a game so it’s hard for one player to rise or fall in the ranking to fit their talent. I’m one of those pesky Dota players and individual players can have far higher impact on the game than in HotS. That itself has an impact on other people’s MMR as they drag people up or down with them.

        Don’t forget though, the 1v5 rank 35 Illidan is statistically more likely to be on the other team if you truly are a better player than your rank reflects.

        • Yep, that’s what we have to remember. It’s only a small amount, but there’s like 10% less chance the 1v5 Illidan will be on my team, because I’m taking up one slot. At the moment unfortunately, HOTS only lets you queue up with a maximum of two people in ranked, so you can only help your odds so much.

          I definitely noticed peoples’ mistakes on the way back up. Tried to not let it make me angry and just play to learn. I feel like it didn’t prepare me as well as it could for higher level games, because there are different heroes and strats used at the lower levels. I used that to my advantage though. When someone would make a bad pick I could steal the counter from the other team, for example. The little things. I’m still on my way up I think, but games are a lot tighter and more deliberate at my current rank, which is good. They brought in some slight matchmaking changes recently too, which have helped a little bit.

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