The Hard Knocks of Matchmaking in Heroes of the Storm

lh_heroes_of_the_storm_matchmaking_complaints_all_heroesIt is fundamental that any matchmaking system be balanced to perfection in order for both new and experienced individual players to enjoy the competitive landscape. The focus today is on Heroes of the Storm, the upcoming MOBA from Blizzard Entertainment. Based upon its popularity and ingenuity, the matchmaking system has received mixed reactions from players necessitating changes to be made, fast. After all, the title leaves open beta testing and enters the realm of launch on June 2, 2015. Have no idea about what Heroes of the Storm is all about? Take a moment to understand how you’ll be paired against foes before proceeding further.

Last week, we removed the fog of war around Heroes of the Storm matchmaking. This week we’re not pulling any punches, discussing what’s wrong with the system and how it hampers the explosive potential of Blizzard’s first MOBA.

Complaints about the System

There have been a number of complaints about the HotS matchmaking system. Blizzard being the customer-focused and analytic-based development studio it is took note. It attempted to address them as comprehensively as possible. The sticking points:

  • Players complained that new players were often matched with seasoned gamers. This put those first-time players at a huge disadvantage. This could dramatically alter user adoption.
  • Assassin builds and the general gameplay of the kit was highly unique and difficult for newcomers and even challenging for seasoned MOBA veterans.
  • Despite the heavy team-based design it remains relatively difficult for individual players to make up for weak ones in Heroes of the Storm.
  • Map objectives and mid-game play may confuse players, which is very frustrating for seasoned players.

How Blizzard Plans to Tackle the Issues

The development team realized this. It was discussed to the point of fostering admission. Naturally, this has lead to continuously been improving the core system. The good news, the tweaks were included, and better received during Open Beta testing. It remains to be seen if additional modifications will be slipped in before the June 2, 2015 release. The common concerns remain the focal point; make the game enjoyable and competitive. These are not mutually exclusive objectives.

It has always been a concern that highly skilled players are matched with new or seemingly bad players repeatedly. This is partially due to the game’s maturity. A young title that allows players in through beta pools or advanced purchasing tends to draw an experienced crowd. The lucky ones that are invited by happenstance may suffer at their hands. Then the relatively small pool of players are ranked based on MMR. Yet they still expect quick queues. Now, with continued development and opening to more players, chances are that veterans will enjoy the game as matchmaking will incorporate experience and other variables that fall in this range.

The issues of match-up composition using Quick Match system is one thing that has been investigated. As a matter of fact, there was no balance in this game mode. Quick match indeed. It’s basis is that a zero support team will play against another zero support team. In the example, you could find a team with a “support” warrior playing against an average warrior. This can give an upper hand to the team with support. Overall, this kind of lopsidedness in a match caused many to unnecessarily lose a match. As you may summarize, this particular rule does not affect 5v5 Ranked Play.

Come back next week for the next installment from guest blogger Timothy Herrera, a video gamer at heart and writer by hobby. If he’s not too busy pushing lanes, he writes for his blog at Heroes of the Storm Source. Return next week for an important final note!