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Blizzard to address MOBA hostility through Heroes of the Storm game design

Thursday, 1st May 2014 15:52 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Heroes of the Storm is the latest MOBA on the horizon, and Blizzard has plans in place to tackle the inevitable hostility which is inherent in games of this genre.

HotSMoba

Blizzard has never been one to skirt issues regarding hostility within its gaming community, and the case will be the same with Heroes of the Storm, according to game director Dustin Browder.

“We’re not shy about this problem,” he told Eurogamer. “I’ve joked with the team about removing team chat altogether – that was a less than popular idea! But we will keep attacking this problem until it’s gone, or as gone as we can get it.

“I don’t entirely agree that you can’t address this through game design. We’ve already made several stabs. So for example, there’s no way I can last-hit and take the kill away from you and deprive you of your gold and experience, which could be a very frustrating moment for everyone involved: ‘I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to kill that person, you’re angry with me that I killed the wrong person, I’m just trying to kill people!’ We’ve smoothed that out – the team leveling also smooths out a lot of that.”

One of the ways to address possible issues between players is to toss all earned team experience into a pool which can be accessed by all members of a player’s team. This way, the team can level up together rather than individually.

“If you do the obvious thing, everything works out and you don’t have to worry about hurting your allies,” Browder explained. “We’re doing everything we can to remove the ability for players to hurt their allies.

“With a lot of the team leveling it’s even difficult to feed aggressively – if you’ve got someone in there who’s really terrible, you can support them with the team leveling system. I think encouraging you to play with your friends is the most important way to attack this problem.

“If you play with your friends, you’re not going to rage, if you play in a pick-up group you are. We think absolutely the best way to play is with friends, the right way to play is with friends.”

You can read the entire interview through the link, and if you havn’t already, you should check out Dave’s two-part preview of the MOBA.

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3 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    Why not remove team chat? I mean, it’s Blizzard, so of course they don’t have the gusto to do anything so experimental. That’s not really their thing. However, that would be a worthwhile experiment just to see how people interact when they don’t have the most common means of communication. Instead, provide them with with many other means of communication that they can creatively use to express ideas, but don’t allow them words.

    One of the problems I had with Journey (which is why it seemed like bad art to me, more of a case of the emperor’s new clothes, a mainstream appeal to people who want art but don’t know what it is rather than actually being art) was that it disallowed any expression between the players, even creative expression. Journey would have been a much more engaging and convincing experience had they allowed for various forms of interaction which could be construed as language. The movement of objects, different types of sounds, iconography through telepathy, metaphors (akin to that one Next Generation episode), and so on.

    I really think that communication in a space with other people is something that we need to experiment with more. I think that we’ve spent so much time honing our language into a weapon that it would be interesting to take that away and see how people react. It would take people back to their first instincts, and reveal more of their true nature. Language, by its very nature, is subterfuge because we’ve become such a private peoples, we’re all scared of each other.

    It’s not like we’re natural telepaths/empaths like the Liir, and we can read the minds of others and feel the hurt we do to them if we happen to hurt them. Often, language is used as deflection, small talk is a way for very political people to actually talk whilst never saying a thing. I’ve witnessed groups of extroverts doing this, they can have a civilised get-together and in ten hours never say or do anything meaningful, the only remotely meaningful thing that might happen is inter-personal drama. Hardly the exchange of high-concept ideas or anything.

    So it’s become such a defence mechanism that it would be fun to see what it’s like to take that away, to compel people to communicate, and to provide them with the means to do so. The reason Journey was a failure is because it only did the first two, but it failed to provide complex systems for potential communication, should the players make the effort. It just wasn’t there. And I searched for it, since I figured that that’s where the art was. (The rest of it was just a fairly linear storyline about the evils of technology, and how theology and worship of godbeings is integral to the ongoing survival of any species. And then a massive tirade at the end about the Rapture, reincarnation, and whatever else.)

    So, I’d actually like to see that happen. Games about abstract communication are far too rare, to the point of almost being non-existent.

    #1 3 months ago
  2. Hcw87

    Yeah, a team-based game where you can’t communicate with your team by using words would work SO well. Do you think things through before you post?

    #2 3 months ago
  3. TheKingInYellow

    @TheWulf

    Actually they DID do just that in Hearthstone, and people love it. Polygon wrote a great opinion piece about it too.

    http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5625802/hearthstone-chat-Blizzard

    It’d be really awesome if you took two seconds and think about what you say before you wall of text it. But I know that’s your style around here :)

    #3 3 months ago

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