When the Heroes of the Storm patch notes were released on September 17 revealing the re-worked Garden Terror map, Kerrigan and Brightwing, the community was so wrapped up in the big news that, unbeknownst to everyone, there was a small couple lines amended to the post that would have more impact than anything else.
Added to the patch notes soon after going live, a little section under “Ranked Play” mentioned an adjustment to the seldom played Team League game mode.
The post stated: “Team League now supports all party sizes, including solo players. All solo players will need to choose which League to play for the first time after the patch.”
Followed by a Developer Comment:
“Heroes of the Storm is primarily a team-based experience and, with this change, we’re hoping to make it easier to have that experience without putting restrictions on party size. In our current system, competitive solo players do not have many opportunities to find groups of players to play with in a ranked queue. To give these players more options for their competitive experience, we have removed all party size queue restrictions from Team League. Our hope is that this leads to a more robust Team League experience and that solo players find more regular groups to play with.”
Prior to this change, Team League saw very little play. If you wanted to play competitively with friends you either had to wait in a long Team League queue or play UnRanked and hope that everyone else in the lobby had the same mentality as you.
Now, all you have to do is queue into Team League by yourself or with friends and the odds of finding a squad to play with or not having to deal with the frustration of Hero League provide a better playing experience.
Per the folks over at HOTSLOGS, a site where players upload thousands of replay files a day, the number of replay files they received from Team League players four weeks prior to the patch were around 65,844 or 8.17% of all replays. For comparison, they received around 174,337 Hero League replays during the same time period, 21.64%.
In the four days post-patch, the numbers were staggering. Hero League sat at 16.3% of all replays while Team League jumped to 15.33% and this trend has continued even now.
Heroes Global Championship caster and streamer, Tim “Trikslyr” Frazier summed up his experience with the “new game mode” on Reddit post-launch.
“The point is that I'm trying to play with friends and gets games fairly quickly, while simultaneously scratching that competitive itch. TL did that for me today. Here's hoping this change will help us all out and make others realize how fun the teamwork in this game can be. HL just doesn't cut it for me anymore.”
The sentiment that the Hero League experience is less than ideal is one that is shared by numerous out-spoken members of the Heroes’ community for a while now. Extremely long queue times, unbalanced matches and a frustrating ladder experience have created moments of visible frustration across Reddit and social media.
As far as whether this trend of Hero League, Quick Match and UnRanked players transitioning over to Team League will continue in the long-term or plateau where it is at now, it’s uncertain. What we do know, however, is that individuals who want to experience a quick competitive experience alone or with friends now have a revitalized place to do so.
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