With the rise of MOBAs nowadays, it’s quite a challenge to create a game that makes it stand out from all the other, more prominent titles in the market. But a challenge is always present wherever the rewards are fruitful. Thus is the goal of Strife, the newest MOBA from S2 Games, the creators of Heroes of Newerth. Not only are they aiming to make an impact on a gaming genre that’s pretty much been dominated by the likes of League of Legends and DotA, they’re giving something different from what’s been expected out of the genre, as well as trying to address some of the issues plaguing MOBAs.
We Are One (Server and Client)
As stated in our recent news article, Strife announced that they are entering the global open beta phase as well as giving players the convenience of playing with other players across the world with their single accounts. It is commendable that the folks at S2 Games are trying to get a leg up on the other MOBAs by ensuring that their game is up-to-date globally as opposed to the others, which are at the mercy of regional updates that are usually one patch behind their North American and European counterparts. With the single-client, single server system, Strife strives to ensure that all players are up to date with new game releases and patches. Being able to play against people from across the world using one account is another feather in their cap, as it removes the hassle of region-locked gaming and welcomes player engagement by letting players experience how other players are building their respective meta games by actually playing with and against them regardless of where you are in the globe.
Testing whether their single-client, single-server system will work on a global scale is an ambitious move, as latency and internet connections are not uniform across the globe. Testing it out in a global, open beta is the right choice, as it will help them gauge whether their system can take the potentially millions upon millions of gamers from around the world playing their game. Should S2 Games manage to somehow make this global server work, it would surely put them ahead on the curve and make waves as an easily-accessible and competitive MOBA because apart from global accessibility, Strife aims to make an impact in e-Sports as well. Ensuring their systems are working in optimal conditions will further aid their aspirations in making Strife a contender in the e-Sports market in the future.
Dealing with Toxicity in Strife
MOBAs in particular are notorious for having high levels of toxic players, ranging from verbal abusers, players who take trash talking way too much, all the way to the trolls who screws up any team chemistry by purposely feeding the other team by giving them free hero kills because he or she did not get to play the hero or champion he or she wanted to play. While even those who play MOBAs for a while are not above trash talking the opposing players, seeing as it is part of the competitive spirit (I know even I have had my fare share of shooting barbs at my enemies whom I’ve been pub-stomping), for relative new comers, playing MOBAs might be a rude awakening for them. There is pressure right off the bat for new players to get attuned to their picked hero, and if there is a team mate who is well-versed with that hero whom the new player picked AND they’re both in the same team, chances are instead of helping the new guy get a better understanding on that hero’s mechanics, what happens is that the new player will be in constant scrutiny and will get berated the moment he screws up. It takes a person of thick skin, so to speak, to play MOBAs as these games can very well be the quintessential personification or definition of the phrase, “trial by fire” where players have to master their selected hero as quickly as possible or suffer the wrath of the enemy team as well as some of his team mates.
With this in mind, S2 Games has made it a point to tackle the issue of toxic players by means of employing several measures to combat this negative rapport. One of Strife’s toxicity management tools is their champion-specific match making system. Before the game starts, players are to choose the hero they want to play as. Once selected, the system will look for other players who did not choose that hero (unless that player is under the different team) and adjust until two five-man teams have been successfully queued. This way, players who want to train their know-how with any one hero can do so without being flamed or lambasted by their team mates.
In-game trash talking will not be allowed in Strife, as players from opposing sides are not able to communicate with one another throughout the game, except when the game is over. While this might seem like a weird way to enforce good behavior among combatants, it ensures that players who are fond of verbally abusing their enemies can only say “GG” after the game’s conclusion (or if they’re really going to trash talk, they can do so, just as long as they have fast fingers to type whatever obscenities they want to fire). The prohibition of cross-team rabble by employing their concept of “Less Grumble, More Rumble” – players are expected to be more concerned of what’s happening in-game rather than lambasting each other.
Then there’s the issue of in-fighting among team mates. Strife also incorporates a Karma System that other players can use in order to mitigate the people who have been less of an asset and more of an ass in games; conversely, players who have been well-behaved and showed teamwork, respect, and sportsmanship can be commended and will be rewarded with a favorable distinction in their future games.
It would be interesting if there would be an escalation process players can use should the advent of toxic players persist. Maybe the creation of a reporting engine that will tag people who have been notoriously toxic with a type of timed account suspension or limited playing capabilities would help enforce good behavior among gamers, even if logistically it might be a gargantuan and herculean task to oversee (I’d hate to be the one whose job is to manage that engine, that’s for sure).
It takes balls to venture in a market that’s already saturated and monopolized by more well-known titles. That being said, Strife is still in its beta stages, but from the looks of things, it’s turning out to be a nice addition to MOBA games in a long while. With convenience as one of its key driving elements, the future looks bright for S2’s new title. Kudos to them for having the courage to strive and to dare.
Related: Beta, Community, MOBA, S2 Games, Strife