Sorry, this is not an article on gamification, although I will do one in the future. No, I’ve recently been trying out Heroes of the Storm™, Blizzard Entertainment’s latest Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Former heroes in eternal conflict – are they in purgatory, I find myself asking? Apparently so.
It strikes me that what most players take for granted is that life often imitates art. Heroes doesn’t worry about gear or quests, just continual conflict as two teams of five players take each other on.
Let’s have a quick reflect on this though. Aside from mechanical skills, what does vary is Abilities and Traits. These could be seen as the things we like to do and the things we are good at. Sometimes those things are not easy so we have to put effort in to them to get good, but generally we gravitate towards what we can do easier than other things, or better than others. Tank, Healer, ranged or melee Assassin, or Specialist. Mostly people play to their strengths, which become their preferences.
Talents though are the choices we make that enhance the Abilities and Traits. These could be compared to Values, Mission, Vision and whilst many players look for the ‘tried and tested’ some of the most effective players try unexpected combinations and get extraordinary results, especially if they work to synergise those talents with the strengths of their other team members.
Like values, the same Talents are available to many but we mostly choose the ones that resonate with us. Whether they build on our Abilities or enhance others, they are a matter of choice and how we use them is often more important than the actual choices we make.
The really skill in Heroes of the Storm, though, is teamwork and adaptability. Just when you think you are going to lose, you end up winning. Often times over confidence and pride end up with a loss. Positioning and willingness are key traits of winning teams. It is a dynamic environment where the rules often change so you cannot rest on your laurels because what worked yesterday will not work so effectively after the latest patch.
Not so different to our own situations and circumstances though when you think about it.
So, when it comes down to real life, why do we not find the time to sit down and work on our own talent trees, survey the battlefield and work out what we need to select in order for the team to be victorious? Is it just easier to work on a pre-defined list?
Who says it is all just a game?