Looking For Feedback!

Hello fellow Heroes!

The Heroes Design team has been hard at work on our next seasonal content, including deciding what to do with the Call for Help Nexus Anomaly. We’re looking for feedback, and we wanted to take the time to give you some heavy insight into our thoughts, so strap yourselves in, this is going to be a doozy!

Firstly, we have already decided that we like what the changes to the Kings Core have brought to our game, and we want to keep those. We believe they give our maps a unique flavor and they add some cool moments to games. This article will be focused solely on the more controversial changes that were made to Towers, Forts, and Keeps in regards to how they interact with enemy Heroes. We think a good place to start is with what our goals were when we changed the Tower Aggro system.

We had two major goals with the system:

  1. We wanted players to feel like their Towers were “smart” about how they tried to protect members of their team. We have heard lots of feedback over the years that it’s frustrating that Towers will prioritize a nearby minion while an allied Hero is being attacked, and that this felt unintuitive, resulting in players being upset with their own structures for not helping them out.

  2. We wanted to create more interesting back and forth gameplay between Heroes in both Tower diving and town defense situations. Before this change, the defending team’s counter-play was to try to cast AoE abilities on enemy Minions so that they would die, effectively enabling their Towers to target the diving Heroes and protect them.

We want to also point out that while the first point may not seem like much, it is a fairly big deal, and was the initial primary motivator for changing Tower aggro. It’s important when playing games that they “feel” right, and when they don’t it can be a big deterrent to player enjoyment. It’s why we spend a lot of time and effort on high quality visual effects, sound effects, models, animations, and creating counter-play through proper design. It’s all related, and we believe that games become great works of art when things feel like they’re all working together in a cohesive and awesome way.

Where We Are

Let’s talk about how we feel about where things currently stand. We had recently made the decision to pull out all of the Tower aggro changes, and our recent playtests have had them removed in preparation for the next Anomaly. The team didn’t feel that it was a clear enough win due to some design concerns which we will discuss later, and due to how controversial the changes have been overall. We’re committed to only keeping Anomalies that we truly believe are better for the game as a whole, and since we were also incredibly torn on this issue, we had decided to remove it.

Then something interesting happened. Once we had removed the system, we started getting feedback from across the team that this was the wrong decision, and that the Tower aggro changes, although they had some issues, made the game, overall, feel much better. We ourselves also noticed that the games just felt better with the system on, which caused us to go back and ask ourselves: “are we making the right decision by taking this away?”

After lots of debate, we’re still torn on the how we want to proceed. We need to make a call soon, so we’re asking for some feedback from you to help us decide. In the next and final section of this post, we’re going to outline what we like about the current system, what we don’t like, and some proposed changes to improve the system if we decide to keep it.

What We Like

  1. We believe we succeeded in Towers feeling smarter as a defending player. They “feel” like they’re doing what they should be

  2. We believe we’ve created cool, high-tension moments when enemy Heroes dive under a Tower. We also like how attackers have some ability to manipulate who gets the Tower aggro to make intelligent, coordinated plays. We believe this can be even better with improvements in the future

  3. The combination on our end of being able to manipulate Tower damage and the stacking Armor debuff gives us a lot of room to manipulate exactly how we want these interactions to feel going forward, and gives us good tuning knobs to decide how much defensive power is from the Tower itself or from the nearby enemy Heroes who are there to defend it

Issues With The Current System

  1. We believe Towers are currently too punishing to consistently create the cool, high-tension moments we described above. They currently hit too hard to make those moments happen as often or as long as we’d like them to

  2. Many players don’t like how much they have to change their behavior when near enemy Towers, particularly the ones near the Gates, mainly due to splash damage inadvertently causing Towers to attack them

  3. A lot of the map is now more dangerous than before, making it less possible to fight enemy Heroes, particularly in the early game. This exacerbates issues we already have with our desire to make the laning phase of the game more interesting

  4. When too powerful (which we believe it currently is), it disincentivizes players from pushing with their map objectives, which can make those moments feel less awesome

  5. Some players just like the way things have been for years, and don’t want such a large change to a fundamental aspect of the game. While not a commanding reason to never make changes, it is something we always try to keep in mind, and why we think the bar needs to be high in order to keep these kinds of fundamental changes to game systems

Now that we’ve covered where we’re at, here are some potential ideas that we have been debating to help make things better if we decide to keep the changes. We could end up doing none of these or all of them, and we’re open to other ideas from you!

  1. Change all structures to prioritize Map Objectives before anything else

Pros

  • It would fix players not wanting to push with Map Objectives

Cons

  • It adds another rule that can be unintuitive for the defending players since they will not always be defended by their Towers, only most of the time, which can be confusing and goes against the primary goal of Towers “feeling” smart in how they work

  • Towers don’t defend their teammates in the moments of the game when they need them most

  1. Change Tower aggro so that the front Towers prioritize Minions, but the Forts, Keeps, and Kings Core prioritize Heroes who attack other Heroes

Pros

  • The early game would better reward aggression and pushing, and less of the map would be as dangerous as it currently is with the new system
  • Players could attack gates without feeling like their splash damage could get them into trouble

Cons

It adds complexity to the game with two different Aggro rules depending on the Structure

  1. Lower the damage that Structures do to Heroes

Pros

  • Towers won’t be as directly threatening themselves, which mitigates the issue of them being too punishing in the early game
  • Players will have more time to be aggressive with Tower diving and less immediately punished when Towers initially start to shoot them
  • It puts the onus of properly defending towns more on the defending team, which incentivizes interaction between heroes

Cons

It makes Towers weaker, which could result in Tower diving being too prevalent.

These are our thoughts on the current Anomaly. Thanks again for taking the time to read through our ideas. We’re now looking for feedback on how you feel about the current system, whether or not you would like to go back to the old system and why, or other ideas on how to improve the current one. We want to make a choice in the near future about what to do, so please be a Hero and give us your feedback – it will greatly help us in our tireless pursuit of constantly improving this game that we all love playing together.

68 Likes

I’d keep the anomaly to deter extreme tower dives, but reduce the amount of armor the towers deal to enemy heroes, so that heroes like Garrosh don’t get excessively punished from tanking shots (his HP pool is really low if his armor gets shredded).

40% is unnecessarily high, it would be nice if tower armor reduction capped at 20-25%.

40 Likes

I personally would prefer this. Right now it’s just annoying when you nick a hero and the gates turn on you. In the old system, I liked the philosophy that you were there to protect the gate, and the fort was there to protect you. You have a safe space to duck into, but the enemy team can easily breach it if you’re not careful. It’s a good mix of defenders advantage and still fun siege gameplay.

40 Likes

I’m a fan of…

Yes, they hit hard but to me, that’s kind of the point; I’d rather see them as an actual threat instead of a “time gating” mechanic, if that makes sense. The only issue there is that if I get tagged, then it’s suddenly “all eyes on me” and pretty much a free death.

21 Likes

Why not let the main fort+keep defend allies with increased attack but the towers wont prioritize heroes?

Or a radius ring. the more allies are neir the tower the less dmg the towers does. Making it for one player safer under the tower but also enabling the attacking team to push with objectives

7 Likes

I’m also a fan of this. If the only real con is added complexity, I feel like that’s a trade off that could potentially be healthy. Some complexity isn’t a bad thing.

Also: I’m super happy that you’re making a thread like this. I always felt like hots needed a bit more communication between devs and players.

27 Likes

Wasn’t the change made the games last longer by only 7% ?
I say only because I think it’s not a big deal.

Also, most people came from LoL where they know how the tower mechanics work.

The problem is adaptation.
Don’t get be wrong, I like the new tower change, but I feel like the debuff is way too strong (I’d put it to max -25%).

I like how a hole team can tank damage away from a punisher to make him last longer. But, the current maximum debuff makes the situation really stressful and unpleasant, having little time to react for the aggro rotation.

Having the change you’re proposing right now will satisfy so many players, but will also beat the purpose of the newly added tower mechanic, which was to satisfy players that hated being dove on by Diablo or Anub.

4 Likes

I definitely agree here as i like the flavor of the cores a lot; some of these core effects could need some help though. The stun effect of Dragonshire´s effect for example could benefit from better visual indicator for both the stun and the boulders, while other effects feel a little weak functionally.

Personally i would be sad about such a decision, but the philosophy is laudable.

At least to my personal experience this has not been an issue even before the first weakening of the structure´s damage.

Again, at least personally i did not notice such an effect as going below towers was a danger zone before anyways when laning.


In regards to feedback to the proposed changes:

  1. Change all structures to prioritize Map Objectives before anything else

    From my perspective this would be the best way if there are changes to be made. An additional rule should not be problematic if properly communicated and after all it is an objectives purpose to aid the team that acquired it to in pushing forward. *pun intended*

  2. Change Tower aggro so that the front Towers prioritize Minions, but the Forts, Keeps, and Kings Core prioritize Heroes who attack other Heroes

    I see the intent to be less obtrusive during laning, but this would make things more complicated that the first proposal as one needs to remember what structure follows which rule and feel less safe as the defense provided by just forts and keeps sis significantly less that when multiple structures can potentially focus one target.

  3. Lower the damage that Structures do to Heroes

    The first round of damage nerfs was already questionable in my opinion. I would argue that if at all the armor debuff could be reduced, while the damage goes up to provide proper defense. Overall i dislike this one the most.

In summary i would like to see Option #1, as it seems to be the most reasonable to me.


On further inquiry, has the option to have different tower effects on different maps been explored or is this out of the question for some reason? As you mention the unique effects of the cores add a lot of flavor to the maps, and following through for the other structures of the map (mind you, all not each for itself) might both add for this flavor and allow to fine-tune each map individually.

4 Likes

Just let me say this for now: Thanks for posting this both on reddit and here, so you get much more feedback than only posting in 1 place! <3

24 Likes

My suggested changes:
1.) Mercenary’s always take aggro from Tower, Forts, Keeps, etc.
-------) The current changes have made a lot of the Merc’s not worth the effort
-------) Getting melee merks now give an option to help push
2.) Map Rewards take aggro from Tower, Forts, Keeps, etc.
3.) Minions never take aggro over Heroes who damage other heroes.
-----) You have the option to get Mercs to push.
4.) Debuff reduced to 5% per hit max 25%.

The main reason I hate the change, it devalues the Mercs.

8 Likes

Personally I would like the structures’ armor debuff to be lowered from the max 40 to 20-30. And I might want to see the movespeed debuff back.

(PS: yes, the cores are dope!)

17 Likes

I’ve played a few games recently, and there are a few maps where actually assaulting the core is near impossible (especially the one that stuns) without objective. For example, our team was heavily in the lead, 4 levels ahead (25 to 21), and all their keeps were dead. We tried to push core 5v2, lost cause of the stuns, and they got objective and won (I think it was dragon shire?).

As far as the anomaly goes for Forts and Keeps, I think it works wonders though.

  1. Lowering the damage dealt to heroes. BUT, not directly! Set the armour reduction to base -20.

And don’t change the towers to attack minions and objectives. That will make it boring. I mean there’s just two towers and they go down so quickly.

2 Likes

I was about to enter into a level 16 butcher ENRAGE when I heard you just removed the tower changes!! But then I was overcome with a nice soothing mist when I saw you discovered, quite correctly, that they deserve to stay. They have added a new dynamic to the game that we really need to keep (get it?).

The truth is, you guys already nerfed tower damage enough with the -10% damage nerf. They honestly don’t feel all that oppressive anymore. Nerfing tower damage any further will be a mistake. If you’re going to make a change, it should be one that adds a new interesting factor to the game, while also being easily understood. I think getting towers to focus on objectives if they are around is the right choice. It’ll be another advantage that the objective will provide, and it will sate the desires of those people who just want to tower dive above all else.

I strongly disagree with making towers behave differently from forts/keeps. That is much too confusing.

Thanks for being such an engaging Blizzard team member!

4 Likes

I completely agree with you. I love the new mechanics and would love to have the slow back on forts and keeps.

The thought of having each ma with its own custom set of behaviors is also interesting.

In all honesty, if the towers, forts and keeps would stop prioritizing the heroes it would be far easier especially since the current meta as per HOTS logs, if data is reliable enough favors teams with a lot of vs structure arsenal.

All in all, players should respect structures for a reason, as they are more than just fluff.

3 Likes

I agree with keeping the core changes, those definitely feel good and add great flavour to the maps. I’m glad to hear the team intends to keep that change regardless.

As much as I and others enjoy HotS being different to other games in the genre, has there been any consideration of how Dota handles tower aggro? Specifically that only auto attacks to a nearby hero cause towers to prioritize an attacker.

This would allow players to dive without attracting tower aggro but reduce their potential damage output if they don’t fully commit to it. Many heroes that rely on auto attacks for the brunt of their damage output have ways to mitigate, and mages would be able to be aggressive without getting immediately shredded.


In response to others about towers having map specific effects/behaviours, I think maps are already complex enough without needing to also learn how defensive structures work on all of them. At least when you’re pushing core, it’s a notable enough objective to have it’s own mechanics.

Reduce tower damage, armor reduction to max 25 and bring back the slow. Make both towers target enemy hero regardless of minions if defending hero takes damage from enemy hero or if defending hero damages enemy hero.

Not a fan of non-stop death ball fighting and teammates abandoning soak and defense.

3 Likes

Getting rid of the smart towers is definitely not the right decision, and all of the options you guys have given are great. Personally, I think the second option is the best way to alleviate the issue. Glad you’re asking the community what they think!

1 Like

I like the second option.

1 Like

This sounds amazing!