Sunday, December 5, 2010

Patch 1.0.20 & .21 - preparing for HON2.0

- Fixed Myrmidon effects

Version 1.0.21
- Added a new Legion Intelligence hero: Myrmidon!

- All Wards are now sold for 100g in stacks of 1
- Plated Greaves: recipe removed
- Andromeda: Aurora dubuff duration from 20s to 14/16/18/20s
- Succubus: Heartache cooldown from 20s to 15s
- Rampage: Chains that Bind no longer disarm Rampage during the duration
Patch 1.0.21, in addition to bringing a friendly fish from under the sea to Newerth, introduces a significant change to the mechanics of Wards of Sight and Revelation.

Ward Changes:

Wards (both of Sight and of Revelation) are purchased in packs of 1 instead of 2
* Each ward costs 100, so the cost per ward is the same

Wards are a hugely important part of HoN, and there is a lot of game dynamics (and intra-team contention) that revolve around wards. They are incredibly effective, and good placement and control of wards will often make the difference between a win and a loss. However, in public and lower level games, they are very infrequently purchased. We've had extensive discussions about how we can get that to change.

We attributed the dearth of wards in public play to the following:

* Wards are extremely costly. Not only do they cost gold, but they also require a player to collect it from the courier and then walk to place them, resulting in lost experience and farm. Sometimes, the gold cost itself can be prohibitive when a team is far behind.
* Wards do not convey an immediate, obvious benefit to the person who places it. Placing a ward does not give a tangible and immediate sense of satisfaction and reward to the person placing it. Its effect is not "poppy," and is therefore often underestimated- until you get ganked, then it's the end of the world and you blame your teammates for not having peppered the map with wards.
* The Free-rider problem. Externalities, public goods, blah blah economics jargon blah. Lowdown is that each member of the team pretty much benefits equally from the wards being up, but the cost is almost never split. In a disorganized team, there is often dispute as to who should be responsible for wards, and to which extent each deputy is liable. This results in people waiting for others to take on the burden of providing the team with the shiny orange public good. When so many are running around with a "I'm going to carry you, stfu and get on my back" mentality, what that actually means is that you'll be staring at a whole bunch of fog on your minimap.

After much deliberation on the subject, and the investigation of all kinds of outlandish and radical ideas, we've settled for now with the most direct, simple, and minor change. Despite the simplicity and scale of the change, however, we're very confident of the positive effect it will have. The lowered "barrier to entry" from 200 to 100 makes it much simpler to grab a ward to go as a side of fries rather than as a main course basket. It makes splitting up the responsibility a lot easier, as the increments at which wards are purchased have decreased. Finally, it opens up greater possibilities of item bundles that include wards, especially at the very beginning of the game with that fabled 603 gold. While it does not solve all of the problems presented above, we're very optimistic of the effects this change will have, and view it at worst as a significant step in the right direction.

As always, we eagerly await your feedback, both in words and through your gameplay. Game HoN!

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