Important Stuff!

Monday, March 24, 2014

[MOBAs] AD-Carrying your Weight

The jury is still out on whether I will give Heroes of the Storm a try, but something I keep seeing pop up in reviews and discussions about the game is that because of the experience catch-up mechanism that helps the losing team stay competitive and a general lack of snowballing that it makes a player more reliant on their team and prevents a good player from carrying a bad one.

And to this I ask, "How is that a problem?"

MOBAs are supposed to be team games and I think it is a failing of design for so many of them to favor teams putting all their eggs in one AD-Carry (or similarly) shaped basket. While most MOBAs do provide roles for other characters, the central focus of most metagames is protecting a specific player while they farm as much as they can in hopes that said player will be a death machine later in the game. Maybe this is one form of team play, but it's one I am glad to leave in the realm of DotA2 and LoL as Blizzard takes a stab at the genre.

The antithesis of fun is when I am basically required to sit back and watch one player on my team clean up the enemies; and it is just as uninteresting when my entire team is wiped out because one opponent managed to get way ahead.

These are team games, meaning we should win as a team and lose as one. I understand the hesitation because these are games where we don't always get to pick our team and just like LFD or LFR in WoW we don't always want to be hamstrung by others with lower skill levels or levels of dedication. But as it is, we may as well be playing single player if we're playing more or less independently in a "team" game. I don't think it should be any single player's job to carry the team, nor should we diminish a particular player's contributions over the course of the game.

So while I have plenty of criticisms of Heroes' design, this is a situation where I am cheering.


  1. I agree with you. This shouldn't really be considered a problem. If anything, it does make more sense for a team-oriented game to be ... well, team-oriented.

    I think the problem and backlash is more because of the typical expectation of the genre and its fans. Carries and out-leveling/out-earning your enemy are core experiences in the MOBA formula. People aren't always open-minded about changes, especially significant ones.

    I don't mind the standard, as is model, but I appreciate Blizzard significantly shaking things up. If MOBAs want to be a real genre (I'd argue they are all still DOTA-likes right now), then it'll take some real forward-thinking design to break us away from these limiting mechanics.

    1. I think you hit it perfectly with: "the typical expectation of the genre and its fans." It's the same for people angry that last-hitting and deny-ing are out. I'm not against emergent gameplay per se, but I always found those particular ones kind of silly. Far as I am concerned all that defines a MOBA is: Teams that beats down enemy's defenses and destroys a pivotal building.