We've Moved :(

HoN Blog will no longer be updated. We've moved to http://gamingpoint.org and we will no longer be writing about HoN

The new website: Gaming Point is a blog for game developers. We teach concepts rather than the technical things like coding so go have a look, because there's plenty of awesome guides there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ask S2 Games #2

Why is Blood Hunter's ultimate (Hemorrhage) different than in DotA in that it can be dispelled by Purge, Shrunken Head, Electrician's Ult, Arachna's Dispel, Jereziah's Protective Charm, Accursed's Fire Shield, and other debuff removal methods? (Wingflier)

This was changed back to it's unremovable form in one of our recent patches. This was mainly just a bug (it was in our eyes) that slipped through the cracks for a long time because we were always working on the next big thing and didn't have the time to fix it.

AoE dominates the current metagame with heroes such as Magmus, Tempest, and Behemoth as major picks. Do you plan on changing this type of metagame, and if so, how will this be done?

The metagame is fickle and will often evolve without a single balance change being performed, as players learn to adapt to issues/play around them. This in turn changes the metagame even further. We have a lot of data and behind-the-scenes stat tracking that we use to evaluate the metagame constantly. We definitely understand the feeling everyone has had about the AoE teams. Banning Draft helped a LOT in this regard because people just removed the heroes they didn't want to play against. Some people thought heroes like Tempest were insane, while others thought he was super easy to counter. Some ban him, some don't. The metagame shifts and ebbs!

Really though, we understand the feeling a lot of players hold on all of the metagame issues. We are adding more gankers, roamers, support, and pushers into the game to balance out the roles a bit more--several DotA ports and some unique heroes of our own creation as well! Keep your eyes open for the Witch Slayer soon.

What is your opinion on the impact of Random Factors in competitive gaming? For example, one could say that Chronos is a heavy luck-based Hero, and the same could be said about Blacksmith. (BinAly)

In the most competitive of competitive games, randomness has it's place as long as it is very little and controllable, or if the factors can be altered to reduce the impact. The heroes that are used in the top competitive end of HoN usually don't have much randomness in them because the players would rather have reliability over a chance.

For general play, it's just fun sometimes. Sure, Blacksmith might not be reliable in the final round of a $10,000 tourney, but it feels great to kill someone from ½ life with a 4x multicast, doesn't it? Not every hero is going to be the most competitive in the world. Some of them are just because they are fun to play. Although we balance and design for competitive play, it's important to remember that in the end it is a game and fun rules all.

What are your current views on the voting systems ingame? There has been concern on the fairness of these systems. Some of the primary concerns revolve around both teams being involved in important votes like kicks and remakes, as well as a single player being able to veto a "gamewide" vote.

Personally I feel like the voting system is a necessary evil. There are proper places and times that the system saves games and makes for a better experience for everyone. That's why they exist. We don't want kicks to be easy, we want them to be used in extreme situations where it's necessary. That's why both teams need to be involved. Letting only one side be able to kick would result in a LOT of unnecessary kicks as a whole. Remakes are also only for rare situations. In those situations, it's up to the players to be responsible and use the tools we have in place. The restrictions on them are there merely to stop abuse, which does happen. It would happen a lot more, though, if we did not limit them as we do.

This is a specific part of the game we are going to monitor closely and change as we need to.

What has been the most interesting thing you guys have seen/learned/observed from the community as it developed? (Sabre)

Personally I have been amazed at how quickly people wanted to step up to help. The forum moderators, people making in-game mods, people doing fanart even when we were under NDA and risking it anyway just because they liked the game so much, etc. All of the passion and love for the game that just exploded out of nowhere when we let more and more people in is fantastic.

We check the forums a lot for awesome and hilarious stuff from those creative people and from the people who care as much as we do.

How will custom-map hosting work; will some official servers be dedicated to hosting custom/popular maps, or perhaps will hosts be able to host servers of their own? (Phooxeh)

This will start by players hosting their own servers or using third party companies to host servers, etc. We will eventually release a version of the server software so you can run it as you see fit. They will appear on the appropriate game lists and people can play on them in the same way you hosted a map in WC3.

The most popular and well-made maps we may host official servers for in order to provide stability and some 'official' backing. Keep in mind no custom game, be it supported by us or not, will track stats like normal HoN games do.

Will weather effects be implemented? I'd love to see options to enable rain, fog or even snow. (Panimala)

The engine actually has full weather effects naturally in it. People who played Savage know this I bet. We just haven't taken the time to port this over completely. When we do, though, you can expect to see some maps with weather on them or weather options.

Will the map editor be as powerful/more powerful than the WC3 editor while still keeping the user friendly interface and the whole "easy to play around with, takes a while to master it to it's full potential" attitude? (Ashur)

There are two parts to this. We are releasing a Map Editor and a SDK. These are two very different things.

The map editor will as easy to use as WC3's. It will be... well let's say very open and if a user takes the time to learn it in depth, they can do cool stuff. You won't be locked into those silly elevation levels either (a big thing I didn't like about WC3). So you could do rolling hills... for a tower defense! That sort of thing. The map editor will be mainly used for making HoN-type maps in the first version we are going to release. The detailed stuff like entity files and making new types of games comes with the SDK.

The SDK is going to be very, very, very strong for a user who learns how to work it. It will be not so easy-user-friendly when you first get it and is very complex, as it involves C++ code. The upside is you can do anything. Literally. You could take HoN and remake Savage 2 if you wanted. You could make Quake III if you missed playing it back in the day if you wanted to. You could make Devourer Wars in a third person camera with a tower defense going on around the edges so that the commanders of both team battle it out by playing a TD to get your Devourers upgrades! Whatever you wanted to do, most likely you could do it. I'm serious.

Who does the voices for the heroes? Do you get outside voice talent, or perhaps do you have your own? (Zavi)

I write the scripts and get professional external voice actors to do the voices. Arnej does all the effects, edits them, and puts them into the game.

What are your plans for the future of UI mods for HoN? Will they be a fully supported feature like they are in games such as WoW? (ParadoxCTRL

We like the fact we have a moddable interface in HoN and plan to support them as we are now. Nothing official and no official support for one mod over another, but we will keep the lines of communication always open in the case there is a mod we might not want around.

What does the S2 in S2games stand for? (Raspyn)

Some things will always be a secret. ;]

By :
S2 Staff Member

Join Date: Jul 2009

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Scydow said...

Nice bonus...

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We've Moved :(

HoN Blog will no longer be updated. We've moved to http://gamingpoint.org and we will no longer be writing about HoN

Gaming Point is a blog for game developers. We teach concepts rather than the technical things like coding, so go have a look at the site, because there's plenty of awesome guides there.