In this short article/post I will detail why nobody plays Heroes' Ascent anymore, and how it can be fixed. The opinions suggested in this post are the culminations of ideas from many of my friends, who used to love HA, but now find it utterly disgusting. Hopefully Arenanet will see this post and actually use their heads. I will NOT mention any other arenas, for the purposes of keeping it simple.
The way it used to be
Heroes' Ascent (and Tombs of the Primeval Kings) were never perfect. There were always complaints about it, and there were always "gimmick" builds - builds which can be run effectively without much skill or thought. Many seasoned players agree that the Hall of Heroes ladder was at its best during Prophecies, when the only real gimmick was air spike. Every build had a counter, and every build had a stretegy. With the exception of gank maps (burial mounds, broken tower, scarred earth, and Courtyard), if your team was good, you would win most of the time.
With the removal of multi-team maps before Factions was released, getting to HoH became easier for pressure builds and spikes. Like it had always been, holding teams would climb through the maps in an effort to fend off the pressure caused by two teams ganking you. The mechanics for HA were made the most fair after Factions was released, when the only "gank maps" were altar maps, in which the defending team had an advantage anyway.
Why Heroes' Ascent Sucks
Today, Heroes' Ascent maps have three main objectives:
- 1: Gank and farm the weakest team
- 2: Have more snares than your opponents
- 3: Run meta or lose
With the introduction of multi-team kill count matches, the stretegy is simple: Get the easiest kills faster than the other guys. Why make it a fair 3-way when you can race another team to see how many of yellow you can kill first?
In a 3-way, who don't you attack? Obviously you will try to avoid the team who presents the biggest threat to you. Since 99% of teams in HA run metatrash (2 sins, 2 eles, 2 monks), when a "different" build comes along to broken, they naturally become a threat. This prevents new builds from forming, and it prevents innovative teams from winning.
SOLUTION TO KILL COUNT: Nerf the overpowered defensive builds, then make kill count a 1v1.
Relics have always been an integral part of HA. It prevents overly defensive teams from winning (they cant win if all they do is live). However, there are far too many and too convenient ways of snaring opponents. Freezing gust and shadow prison are now placed in EVERY HA build. Running a relic with a permanent 66%-90% slowdown is impossible. People don't even fight on relics anymore.
Heroes' Ascent relic runs are even worse. People who play with me in game know how stupid I think 3-way relic runs are. There isn't a word for it yet, but it would be a mix of pointless, waste of time, retarded, and thoughtless. The winner is determined when the match starts. It's simple: If you have more snares than the other teams, you win. Watch observe in HoH right now. Find a match with a relic run and press "o". Notice how nobody ever takes damage?
SOLUTION TO HOH RELIC RUNS: Discontinue them.
SOLUTION TO OTHER RELIC RUNS: People with relics can't move faster or slower.
If the above two flaws with HA are fixed, only one problem exists: Too many overpowered skills exist in the game. Gimmicks will always exist. Lazy and bad players will always find new ways of winning without having skill or a thought process. This is fine, but not when you can thoughtlessly give your team invincibility via skills (yes it can be done). This is solely Isaiah's job, whether he gets it right or not is up to him. I was very pleased with the last balance. He looked at which overused skills are overpowered, and changed them accordingly. He didn't add any random nerfs or random buffs. We need more skill balances like this Izzy, even if you only do a few skills at a time.
As a final suggestion to the people at arenanet, I beg of you, read the forums and listen to your fans. Doing the 100% opposite of what we suggest has only ruined your game. Trust me, the players know what will make the game better.
Also, fix uncharted isle's doors.[ /bugreport]