It’s been a while since my last post and I must admit that after Blizzard added the Artifacts system to the game I did not play very much. I am rather happy to say that Blizzard listened to the community and decided to remove Artifacts from the game. I still wonder who at Blizzard actually thought it was ever a good idea to attempt to clone League’s Rune system in Heroes but I suppose that doesn’t matter at this point. In any case this post is not focused on Artifacts, but instead I will discuss Heroes matchmaking system.
In an earlier post I mentioned the similarities between the matchmaking system in Heroes of the Storm and the Teambuilder mode in League of Legends. The extent of these similarities end with the fact that you’re able to select your character before finding a game. Aside from this, the two systems have little to nothing in common. In fact, the matchmaking in Heroes of the Storm is probably one of the worst I’ve ever seen in any competitive game I’ve played. After choosing your hero you are randomly matched together with a team made up of seemingly entirely random other players that happen to be in the pool with little to no regard for skill level. Most games try to match you with and against players of similar skill but this does not often seem to be the case for Heroes of the Storm.
Player skill aside, the system also has another flaw which is probably its biggest and most fatal. The current matchmaking system for Heroes of the Storm PvP mode does not allow you the opportunity to see who your teammates are going to be. Your teammates and opponents are chosen before you receive any information about the upcoming game, then you are thrust immediately into the countdown for the in-game loading screen. This forces you into a situation where you have zero control of the composition your team is running aside from the hero you choose for yourself. I know some will argue that you can’t control your team comp on solo queue anyway and while that is true, you do however get to see what your teammates intend to play and if you are not comfortable running with said composition you have the option to leave the queue before you are thrown into a game. As it stands now if you are put into a game with a next to impossible team composition, you have two options, play it out or leave the game. If you choose to leave the game you run the risk of being reported and subsequently punished simply because Blizzard’s system is flawed and incomplete. If you choose to play it out, sure there’s the chance you may completely stomp the enemy team because their players have no clue how to play the game but more often than not you’re put in a situation where eventually your poor composition will catch up with you and no amount of outplay will allow you to win the game. This is very frustrating as it completely disregards the player’s skill in these situations because no matter how good you are, there is only so much you can do when you are put into a team comp that has 2 supports, 2 specialists and 1 tank versus a triple assassin team which is basically a situation where you cannot win teamfights because your team is not built for it, through no fault of your own mind you.
Again the game is still in Alpha testing which means it is still a very long way away from being anywhere close to complete enough for a live release. Online games are ongoing experiments where things are constantly changing and being added or removed anyway so there is always the chance that Blizzard will improve the matchmaking system especially when it comes to ranked play for solo players as well as teams. If they keep the current system for ranked play and don’t allow players to ban certain heroes as well then their ranked ladder will be a tragedy to say the least. Pre-made teams obviously are not and would not be subject to these problems because they are made up of 5 players in a party and are able to see what each player on the team intends to play, not to mention the ability to discuss comps and overall strategy via voice communication. Pre-mades aside, the current system is an absolute disaster for solo players and the hope is that Blizzard someday changes it so that individual players put together randomly are able to build their composition and see the heroes their teammates intend to play before being thrown into a game with these players. As toxic as they say the League community is, I can’t imagine how it would be if Riot just put together teams randomly without any knowledge of what heroes you’re gonna be playing with until the loading screen. Quite possibly the end of the world? An exaggeration I know, but the lack of control here is rather abysmal and I don’t understand how Blizzard has let this go overlooked for so long now but honestly with the choices Blizzard has been making of late I really shouldn’t be surprised.
If Blizzard intends for Heroes of the Storm to have any chance of competing with the likes of League of Legends, Dota 2, Smite, or even Adventure Time Battle Party, they have a large amount of work to do on their game and they should really rethink some of their early decisions as well. They should start with fixing matchmaking.