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:
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.
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
We believe we succeeded in Towers feeling smarter as a defending player. They “feel” like they’re doing what they should be
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
- Change all structures to prioritize Map Objectives before anything else
- It would fix players not wanting to push with Map Objectives
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
- Change Tower aggro so that the front Towers prioritize Minions, but the Forts, Keeps, and Kings Core prioritize Heroes who attack other Heroes
- 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
It adds complexity to the game with two different Aggro rules depending on the Structure
- Lower the damage that Structures do to Heroes
- 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
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.