This case concerns improving the game’s “Storm league” mode and how this can lead to an increased proportion of satisfied customers for the product “Heroes of the Storm”.
Storm league is meant for humans who play with other humans in a 5v5 situation. The purpose is to win, get points and the highest possible ranking. One of the biggest challenges in this mode arises when a human has to leave the game and is replaced by an AI bot. Unfortunately, the AI bot lacks the same skills as a human in the macro and micro management factors. As a result, the team with the AI bot gets reduced probability of winning, and thus risks losing important points. Experience shows that the remaining players treat this experience very negatively and feel severely punished for their teammate choosing to leave the game. One possible solution to improve this experience is to provide milder penalties (point reduction) for the remaining fellow players who fought bitterly together with ai-bot in their team.
This case delves into how this can be done.
First and foremost, I want to thank Blizzard for their efforts in the game. Personally, I believe that this is the best MOBA game in the market. I have been playing their game for over 6 years and I look forward to playing on in the coming years. Also want to thank the community for keeping the game active.
Table of contects
- Theoretical background
- Data and methods
- Authors last words
Storm League is the Ranked Play game mode that allows players to queue up and play with (and against) other players of similar skill.
To date, there are some requirements which must be met for players who wish to start Storm League:
- Players must have 16 or more Heroes available (including Heroes on Free Rotation, but not including Cho or Gall) and account level 50 or above to queue for Storm League.
- Players will be prevented from queuing up in Storm League together if their rank difference is more than 2 tiers (1 tier if at least one member of the party is in Master), or if some members of the party have not finished placements while some have.
- The matchmaking rating of the party will be the average of the ranks of all party members.
- Exceptions: For players in a party of 5, any member below the party’s rank spread maximum will not be counted toward the party’s average matchmaking rating. If at least one party member is Diamond 1 or higher, the matchmaking rating of the party will be that of its highest ranked member.
It may be tempting to jump straight into Storm League, but before you do that, you should learn about one more thing: How to pick your Hero in a ranked game follows different rules from Quick Matches. Instead of just selecting your favorite hero and clicking “Ready”, both teams go through a selection process called a Draft. Each side takes turns banning and picking Heroes until 10 Heroes (5 for each team) have been selected. Once the draft is complete, the match begins.
As mentioned in the chapter “introduction” there are several requirements that must be met before a person can play Storm League. Fulfilling these requirements requires time, and once one has fulfilled these, one wants to be rewarded with an experience that meets the expectations created.
In own experience, a Storm League match lasts between 10-30 minutes. This means that a person can play a certain proportion of matches per day. Of course, when you have the time and opportunity to play the game, you want the game to meet the expectations mentioned earlier. When these expectations are not met, players often become angry and frustrated. These can be linked to fear where players/community think the game is about to “die”.
As a smart Jedi Master previously said:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
In chapter “Data and methods” is examined where these expectations are not met and why.
This case is limited to the Storm league where the team receives an AI bot as a teammate, thus losing the match as a result of the lack of a human player.
Data and methods
One of the biggest challenges in the Storm League arises when a human has to leave the game and is replaced by an AI bot.
Through own experiences spanning 6years of active gaming in Heroes of the Storm, the AI bot lacks the same skills as a human in the macro and micro management factors. A typical characteristic of AI-bot is that they hearthstone back to the starting zone when no one pings the hero. In addition, they have weaker map positions, usage of abilities, timings, general choices and much more.
As a result, the team with the AI bot gets reduced probability of winning, and thus risks losing important points. Experience shows that the remaining players treat the experience very negatively and feel severely punished for their teammember choosing to leave the game.
If a team with an AI bot loses in todays match, they will be treated as if the team had 5 human teammates throughout the match. The team loses around -200 points. This leads to anger and frustration, in which the community experiences that the game “dies”.
One possible solution to improve this experience is to provide milder penalties (point reduction) for the remaining fellow teammembers who fought hard and bitterly conted with AI-bot in their team. If a team has had an AI bot as a teammate, they should be given a penalty equivalent to having a less human in the team.
As mentioned in chapter “Data and Methods” the Storm League should judge the team depending on whether there is an AI bot present.
Below shows different scenarios and measures where a team gets an AI bot and loses the Storm League match:
Scenario 1: If an AI bot has been the teammate in between 80-100% of the whole game.
Measure 1: The team gets a total of -50 to -75 ranked points.
Scenario 2: If an AI bot has been the teammate in between 50-80% of the whole game.
Measure 2: The team gets between -75 to -100 ranked points.
Scenario 3: If an AI bot has been the teammate in between 20-50% of the whole game.
Measure 3: The team gets between -100 to -150 ranked points.
Scenario 4: If an AI bot has been the teammate in between 0-20% of the whole game.
Measure 4: The team gets between -150 to -200 ranked points.
If a team loses in the Storm league with an AI-bot as a teammate they should still get minus points. It can be discussed that a team that loses with an AI-bot should not get any negative ranked points, but then the penalty will be too soft. Regardless of whether there is an AI bot present, a loss is still a loss. For the Storm League to be a balanced game mode, one must also take into account that it should not be too “easy” to rise in ranking. This needs to be solved in a way that the community feels properly treated by having a less human in the team.
The proposal presented in chapter “Results” should provide a satisfied penalty while improving the game’s “Storm league” mode, and how to increase the proportion of satisfied customers for the product “Heroes of the Storm”.
Authors last words
Thank you very much for using your time to read through this. I hope you all continue to support Blizzard’s game Heroes of the Storm.
I see you all in the Nexus
2020 will have something to satisfy classic and modern gamers alike. To be eligible for the list, the game must be confirmed for 2020, or there should be good reason to expect its release in that year. Therefore, upcoming games with a mere announcement and no discernible release date will not be included.
2020 has a ton to look forward to…in the video gaming world. Here are fifteen games we’re looking forward to in the first half of 2020.
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