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Heroes 'Conversations Around the Community'

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Matthew Cooper answers some questions in this blog about matchmaking, game client performance, and in-game toxicity.

 

The blog entry is as follows:

 

As the Heroes of the Storm closed beta rolls on and the game continues to evolve, we’d like to provide our perspective on some of the bigger topics we’ve seen discussed in the community and forums. As always, we brought in members of the development team for their insight.

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TIGHTER MATCHMAKING

 

We’ve heard a lot of questions about the matchmaker, as players feel they are being matched up with players of much different skill levels. We’ve seen speculation that this is being done in order to force the 50% win rate mentioned in our earlier blogs. Game designer Matthew Cooper is here to shed some more light on matchmaking.

 

Matt: As we add more players to Heroes of the Storm, the matchmaking will continue to get tighter. It’s true that in PvP games, the ideal result of matchmaking is for all players to win 50% of their matches, but that’s not the only thing the matchmaker considers. We heavily favor matching a premade five-player team with another premade team of five. If that's not possible, we will then try a premade four, and so on. As the player pool increases, these matches will become easier for our systems to put together.

 

We believe that in the best matches, everyone is of roughly equivalent skill level, but that doesn’t account for situations where a player is simply having a bad match or is playing a hero they aren't familiar with, as opposed to just being a less-skilled player overall. We’ll continue monitoring and evaluating matchmaking to improve the experience for everyone.

 

On another note, our matchmaker is a constantly evolving feature and we have plans to continue improving its ability to pair players and teams in a fair environment. We are actively working on improvements to the system and will continue to share them in a public setting as they are completed. Please continue to share your feedback as we move forward through the beta.

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IMPROVING PERFORMANCE

 

Next, lead software engineer Andy Bond discusses the process of making stability and performance improvements in Heroes of the Storm.

 

Andy: We are working hard on improving Heroes of the Storm on lots of different fronts, and we appreciate the community’s excitement and dedication to the game. All the feedback we’ve received has been instrumental in our goals of making the best experience possible. One of our primary focuses  is currently on stability and performance. With our February 10 release, we’ve seen a significant reduction in the number of reported game client crashes, especially memory-related, but there’s more room for improvement.

 

Memory Usage and 32-bit vs. 64-bit

 

We have seen community members recommending other players switch to the 32-bit client, although the primary difference between the 32-bit and 64-bit game clients is the amount of memory allocated (64-bit allocates more memory to start and is allowed to “grow” into more memory usage than 32-bit). In conjunction with our crash reports and research, this suggests that players with less physical RAM—or with physical RAM issues exposed by high physical memory usage—may benefit the most from switching to the 32-bit client.

 

With our next release, we are introducing smaller physical memory caps for both the 32-bit and 64-bit clients (64-bit will still allocate more to begin with and grow larger than 32-bit). This should mitigate some memory-related issues and make the 64-bit client a more trusted option, even for PCs with less physical RAM.

 

Memory Leaks

 

We have also seen speculation from the community about memory leaks. We’ve been investigating these reports and have done extensive testing, but have yet to find any evidence that indicates that’s what’s going on. However, we will continue to look at this issue, and we welcome any additional information players may have—especially reproducible data or steps related to uncontained memory growth while loading the same maps, Heroes, mounts, and skins in subsequent games. For now, it’s normal for Heroes’ memory usage to grow from match to match as new maps, Heroes, mounts, and skins are loaded.

 

Network Spike Indicator

 

With our next release, we will be removing the “Network spikes” metric from the Ctrl-Alt-F performance menu. Currently, we believe it aggregates a couple types of performance metrics in a potentially misleading way, which can cause confusion about network performance issues versus other types of performance issues. Among our current performance initiatives, we are working on some new and simpler performance metrics to replace the concept of “Network spikes,” which are planned to go live in an upcoming update and should help players better pinpoint the causes of certain common performance issues.

 

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LET’S BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER

 

Combating toxicity is a topic we see brought up on a daily basis. A number of players would love to see more options to deal with those who ruin the game experience by trolling, using inappropriate language, making aggressive real life threats, or just being generally unpleasant. Matthew Cooper is back to chime in on the topic.

 

Matt: Toxicity is a problem in Heroes of the Storm, and just like in nearly every other multiplayer game, in comments on articles on the Internet, and out in the real world, it’s a tough problem to solve. Playing nice and playing fair is something we take seriously at Blizzard, and we all agree it isnot okay to be disrespectful to other players in any Blizzard game.

 

At PAX East, Dustin Browder touched on some of what we’ve been considering to address the issue, including the Mute Allies function, Clans, and individual Rating Systems, but we’re still exploring ways to tackle this in the most effective way, as we truly want playing Heroes to be a positive experience for everyone. With that in mind, we’re most interested in ideas that focus on promoting good behavior, and we’re listening to your feedback as we work to figure out the best solution.

 

In the end, we feel like the best Heroes experience possible is the one you get when playing with a full group. Our goal is to foster an environment where even players without a full party of friends in Quick Match and Hero League can have similarly pleasant experiences. 

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Thanks to Matt Cooper, Andy Bond, and others for taking time out of their day to discuss these topics. We aim to continue addressing community concerns in the future, so be sure to keep providing feedback!

 

 

There are some very encouraging thoughts in there on memory usage optimization, network spikiness, and of course the ongoing debate about how to solve toxicity in-game. Kudos to the Heroes team for continuing to be highly accessible and providing constant communication on these subjects.

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