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Thoughts On The Way Out


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Got the game back in 2010 (when you had to buy the game) and played pretty regularly taking breaks here and there.  This last break was nearly a 4 year one.  Saw Testie was streaming again installed HoN for giggles to see if the game had changed or evolved any and to see if I could get matched against him and have another youtube video of rolling him.  To my surprise the game really hasn't changed at all.  In fact I think it has gotten worse.  Couple suggestions that would definitely encourage the tens of thousands of players who abandoned this game to return.

 

1) Update the graphics already.  It's insane to think that after 10 years it's literally the same aged and pixelated graphics.  Even WoW updated their graphics from what I could tell from youtube videos.  People are getting better and better tech on their rigs.  No reason I should be running this game at 250 FPS (reason it's not higher is because I have my GPUs capped at that) on max everything lol.  If your company lacks the capital to do it then make it open source and let other's do it for you.  Many games allow that and their games are all the better for it. Case in point play Skyrim vanilla, then install HD mods for it.  New game!

2) Fix the lag issues.  In any given game I got at the bare minimum 6-8 complete freezes that would last anywhere from 1-3 seconds.  In a competitive MOBA that tracks your score that is plain unacceptable.  I could understand if I was running DSL or something but on Gigabit Fiber????

3) Rework your report system to have both negative and positive feedback that are clearly displayed on a players account and is taken into account when it comes to matchmaking.  For example "Report" for the normal (raging, trolling, refusing to particiapte and etc) but "Commend" on "Teamwork, Communication, Friendly and etc".  Player racks up overwhelming reports to commends then they are put in lower priority when it comes to queing and get matched with people just like them.

4) Learn from Dota2's success and institute the "pre-que roll selection" meaning before you even que you choose if your going to be a Hard Carry, Semi Carry, Tank/Initiator, Soft Support and/or Hard Support. Once your in that game and you go against what you pre-selected as your roll then your team does a quick report and are locked out of queing in ranked for X amount of time accumulating.  Too many games are ruined by 4-5 people all wanting to play hard/semi carries.  Much more competitive atmosphere when your team of 5 already knows and more importantly "WANTS" to play their roles.

5) This will be the most triggering one but I guarantee you if your the first MOBA to do it you would be gods amongst mortals.  Institute a Language Locking system similar to Region Locking.  This is first and foremost a competitive MOBA.  For "competition" to even be a thing communication has to come first.  It's nearly impossible to communicate in majority of games because of the language barriers.  You would first select your Region then a selection would pop up for Languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (mandarin/cantonese), Korean and etc.  You choose the languages your speak and off to the races you go.  If a player selects let's say Russian and Chinese and get's matched with Chinese players on his team but that player doesn't speak a lick of Chinese then his team reports him for it and that player is forever locked out of that language (grayed out for him/her).  This one small change would astronomically cut down toxicity and promote overall healthier games.

 

Just a couple thoughts that I think would drastically improve the game because let's face it, HoN is the superior MOBA "overall".  It's fast paced and has stayed true to the original Allstars vision.  It's just killed by Lag and Lack of Communication.  Well that's my two cents, yall take it easy and good gaming.

 

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5 hours ago, DemonicRuins said:

Update the graphics already.  It's insane to think that after 10 years it's literally the same aged and pixelated graphics. 

The graphics have been updated. The models are more detailed, the map has been renewed multiple times and the interface has been replaced as well.
However the Engine is the same, so every of those changes increased hardware requirements and we're now near the point where cpus can't keep up anymore.
A huge effort would have to flow into an entire remake of the game and there's simply no way that this change could generate compensating income.
WoW has more players and every single one of them pays over 100$ a year. If you could get 81 Million of players to put 100$ a year into HoN for the past 10 years, that's 81 billion of dollars. I'm sure we would have had a new engine every other year ? .

It's also no argument for a company to just give up on every remaining income they generate by making the game open source because that would make people happy.
I'm a fan of Foss, but you can't force a company to go that way without a plan that could actually make it worth for them.
Also you can already mod the entire interface. Nearly everything on your local HoN-installation is "open source", there's just no one that put effort into reworking everything.
The only closed-source parts are the Engine itself and the server-part.

5 hours ago, DemonicRuins said:

2) Fix the lag issues.  In any given game I got at the bare minimum 6-8 complete freezes that would last anywhere from 1-3 seconds.  In a competitive MOBA that tracks your score that is plain unacceptable.  I could understand if I was running DSL or something but on Gigabit Fiber????

That should be something that's fixable. But again the limiting factor is money. If you can't pay for the more (expensive) servers, you get lags. And if you didn't have money to pay enough developers to make the code fast, you get those too.
Anyways, I assume most of the code-problems are in the open-source part as well. No one would be happier than FB if anyone could create mods that fix those issues ? .

5 hours ago, DemonicRuins said:

5) ...

I kinda agree on the general idea, but not on the details.
I think the option to choose languages you speak and to only get people with one language-selection in the same team would be good without downsides.
Downsides however come from the details so I would not implement any penalty for choosing wrong languages:
It binds GMs to another offense and ignores players that simply don't wanna write. Also you get additional problems because muted players can't communicate.

Obviously that would be less effective, but it would also not reduce queue-times for people who prefer to have foreign speakers instead of long queue times.

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9 hours ago, manu311 said:

The graphics have been updated. The models are more detailed, the map has been renewed multiple times and the interface has been replaced as well.
However the Engine is the same, so every of those changes increased hardware requirements and we're now near the point where cpus can't keep up anymore.
A huge effort would have to flow into an entire remake of the game and there's simply no way that this change could generate compensating income.
WoW has more players and every single one of them pays over 100$ a year. If you could get 81 Million of players to put 100$ a year into HoN for the past 10 years, that's 81 billion of dollars. I'm sure we would have had a new engine every other year ? .

That should be something that's fixable. But again the limiting factor is money. If you can't pay for the more (expensive) servers, you get lags. And if you didn't have money to pay enough developers to make the code fast, you get those too.
Anyways, I assume most of the code-problems are in the open-source part as well. No one would be happier than FB if anyone could create mods that fix those issues ? .

I concede it would be significantly easier for a Triple A company to enhance graphics via engine upgrades/overhauls so that was a bad example.  However I compared 2010 DreamHack Videos with the current game and yea there has been some polishing here and there but they are without a doubt the same graphics.  No doubt it is the aged engine and the majority of issues to include the lag problems could be easily fixed with money.  The money issue is a complex one and it began back with the release of HoN.  Release came after League of Legends which was a problem and where as LoL was a F2P HoN was a B2P.  That there set in motion the money issues. To top it off the money that S2 did get from the sales of the game they did not reinvest into advertising as LoL did.  It seems that at every turn HoN has been behind the curve attempting to copy/mirror the choices/decisions of other companies always being in last place to do so.  Those are the failings of S2 and now FB is trying to put together the pieces which must be difficult.

9 hours ago, manu311 said:

I kinda agree on the general idea, but not on the details.
I think the option to choose languages you speak and to only get people with one language-selection in the same team would be good without downsides.
Downsides however come from the details so I would not implement any penalty for choosing wrong languages:
It binds GMs to another offense and ignores players that simply don't wanna write. Also you get additional problems because muted players can't communicate.

Obviously that would be less effective, but it would also not reduce queue-times for people who prefer to have foreign speakers instead of long queue times.

A simple algorithm takes the load off of GMs when it comes to reporting.  You get X amount of reports by X amount of "different" players then the language lockout/ban/suspension hammer drops. GMs would only be needed for an appeal in which case I doubt it would take an absorbent amount of time to figure out if a player did or didn't do what they were reported for (coming from past GM experience from a much larger game with a much larger player base). If a player is muted then they shouldn't be in ranked to begin with, they have already shown themselves incapable of being a "good communicator".  This is an area where Dota2 got it right.  If you have shown yourself to be an a**hole then you have to "WIN" 5 low prio absolute suffer games to get back to Ranked.  The language locking feature is not something that would be mandatory.  You could always have a "No Preference" selection and those could be for all the players who really don't care.  You do/did have a player base that does care on whether or not they want to waste X amount of time in que to then waste X amount of time in a hopeless suffer game due to no communication from a language barrier.  Not catering to that demographic and lag led to the great exodus and drop in player base.

To summarize what it really all boils down to is the game is lacking a player base and income.  Decisions made by the past regime and current regime have led to this.  Obviously what's been "right" for the game isn't and hasn't been working out.  Maybe it's time to try some wrong?  Heck you could add the language locking service as a "premium" service for a "subscriber" base similar to dota's and I guarantee you people would pay it.  Obviously include other perks such as -Reduced Prices on Cosmetics, Faster Que Priority and etc-.  That would generate income and maybe... just maybe bring competitive players back to the game.  Honestly what does FB have to lose at this point?

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1 hour ago, DemonicRuins said:

Release came after League of Legends which was a problem

While that's true, I think I recall that HoN had earlier Beta access. And Open Beta access was free of charge.

I think no one can deny that S2 made mistakes. Primarily in marketing. It's arguable if HoN could have surpassed LoL, but I'm pretty certain that there wouldn't have been a DotA 2 at all if HoN would have gotten better marketing. We already had Icefrogs cooperation!

If for whatever reason bans would turn into majority votes of mere players, the banning system turns into a broken system. People rage-report all the time. If it gets known that people get automatically banned if 4 people report them, you can easily just assemble a bunch of players and ban whoever you play with/against.

What FB (and all of us) have to loose is our favorite game. Currently HoN is running pretty stable from what I can see. It's even going slightly up again (probably also due to Corona), so why risk something to maybe get a chance?
I know of multiple tries of FB to get the game back on course and all of them have failed miserably (HoN 4.0, Power Creep, transforming into basically a different game, ....) so why would the couple of people, that try to keep the best of HoN for all of us for as long as possible, think they could do better changing things?

Also just for the record, I enjoy how HoN looks and feels. Way better than DotA 2 or Lol. And over the years I've read probably more threads from people who agree with that than I've seen people complain about old graphics. HoN is all about gaming and not about looks/watching. You can pull people in with fancy graphics, but you can't keep them for long with just graphics. I doubt that even AAA class graphics alone would increase HoNs income by 10%, but we'll never know.

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5 hours ago, manu311 said:

While that's true, I think I recall that HoN had earlier Beta access. And Open Beta access was free of charge.

I think no one can deny that S2 made mistakes. Primarily in marketing. It's arguable if HoN could have surpassed LoL, but I'm pretty certain that there wouldn't have been a DotA 2 at all if HoN would have gotten better marketing. We already had Icefrogs cooperation!

If for whatever reason bans would turn into majority votes of mere players, the banning system turns into a broken system. People rage-report all the time. If it gets known that people get automatically banned if 4 people report them, you can easily just assemble a bunch of players and ban whoever you play with/against.

What FB (and all of us) have to loose is our favorite game. Currently HoN is running pretty stable from what I can see. It's even going slightly up again (probably also due to Corona), so why risk something to maybe get a chance?
I know of multiple tries of FB to get the game back on course and all of them have failed miserably (HoN 4.0, Power Creep, transforming into basically a different game, ....) so why would the couple of people, that try to keep the best of HoN for all of us for as long as possible, think they could do better changing things?

Also just for the record, I enjoy how HoN looks and feels. Way better than DotA 2 or Lol. And over the years I've read probably more threads from people who agree with that than I've seen people complain about old graphics. HoN is all about gaming and not about looks/watching. You can pull people in with fancy graphics, but you can't keep them for long with just graphics. I doubt that even AAA class graphics alone would increase HoNs income by 10%, but we'll never know.

Can't say stable with the constant lag outs unless your talking population wise.  I agree the report system can be abused, that's why I wouldn't make it 4 reports, something more along the lines of 8-10 reports for the same bad behavior.  If in two different games with different people both teams came to the same conclusion then chances are they aren't wrong lol.  Forget graphics altogether.  Institute a subscriber section. 5, 7 or even 10 bucks a month.  With it you get reduced pricing on cosmetics, increased silver/gold gain, priority que status and shoehorn in the Language Locking and you've got a heavy weight contender in the MOBA scene lol.

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