First I’d like to say that I have been a player since beta and climbed my way from silver to diamond in ranked. With this i mean that i have been in the same situations as a major part of the player base. Also clarify that what i am going to say probably goes agains the overall positive reception most of the changes the game has received, this is just an opinion and doesn’t make yours any less valid.
With this in mind, yes, this is kind of a rant but with dissapointment, not anger, as the driving facor. Dissapointment because ever since the game came out i have been selling it to any moba player (or potential player) as the best game of it’s kind by far, and while i think this remains true i simply cannot recomend it anymore.
The best paralelism i can find is World of Warcraft. I had played my fair share of wow during mist of litch king/pandaria/warlods of draenor and while it could be fun from time to time, boredom always overcame eventually. With the anounce of wow classic i became curious and played in a private server to know if it would be worth my time when it came out, and it was the most fun i’ve had playing wow. The reasons why have been defended by many fans, but i find a common theme: simplification in pursue of balance.
Perfect balance in any game is a chimera, this is accepted by many, but the widespread opinion is that you have to come as close to it as you can, but i think you really shouldn’t. Your goal when balancing classes, heroes, etc. should be giving them a niche, a very specific role that nobody else has, because if you try to make everyone as usefull as everybody else then their role is going to end up being the same, because there are certain things (big AOE damage for example) that are generally more usefull. In pursue of balance you reduce the number of tasks available, and when you need to do only one thing (oversimplifying obiously) the hero/class that does it just slightly better is going to be the only choice, at least when it comes to multiplayer games, and all this ignoring the big elephant in the room, that it is less fun.
I know the streamlining of HOTS it’s been a thing for a while, and I think some of the changes i didn’t like have more to do with the inability to accept that quick match cannot be balance by design. Nevertheless there is clearly a trend towards eliminating every uniqueness from either heroes or maps. I think a good example is Tyrande, because i know many will say that she hasn’t changed that much and that since she became a healer proper she is more playable. I may be alone in this but there were a bunch of healers already while weird hybrid support wasn’t as prolific, and for me the joy of playing her was that (more than stunning unaware fools) having that role that was unique to that hero.
Another mechanic i really miss is stealth, sure i played valeera everytime i could (meaning everytime she could be usefull, don’t roast me) but i’d gladly never play stealth heroes again if it meant having the old stealth back because even as niche as they were, given the right circunstances they created a disctinct dynamic to the match forcing you to play with a litle more awaresess. And i can’t speak about top level players, but from silver to diamond (which i supose is the bast majority of players), as soon as the other player was distracted a litle bit, moving unoticed was more than possible. I use stealth as and example, but i want to to play heroes like Xul BECAUSE he can resurrect fallen enemy minions, not despite.
I want to make clear that heroes like Kaelthas, Johana, Diablo, Auriel, etc. are always going to represernt the majority of the roaster and get the most playing time, and that two heroes can have the same role and do it in vastly different ways (i always thought the different ways of healing each hero has is one of the best things the game does), but a great deal of flavor has already been lost. Add the increasing focus towards team fighting instead of having to deal with multiple simultaneus objectives (I think vanilla Hanamura with just some slight changes could have been the best map in the game) and i can’t say i ll be playing HOTS for much longer, definetely not recomending it to friends anymore.
Accepting the fact that blizzard will never again release a hero like the lost vikings or cho-gal is one thing, but seeing them remove bit by bit everything that made it unique is far worse.
And my english sucks, i know.