One of the biggest hurdles MOBAs face is leavers, or afkers, or people who leave a match midway through — usually out of frustration. Each game deals with players differently, but none have really figured out a foolproof system. And upon previewing Heroes of the Storm Alpha I was disappointed with just how many matches I experienced leavers in. So having the opportunity to sit down with the developers at PAX East, I asked what sort of plans they have in place to deal with such.
"There's a bunch of things we're going to do, but I don't know the final answer," admitted game director Dustin Browder. "We're changing our quest system in the next update to be 'games played' not wins. And we're not going to give you any credit for a game you leave. So you're not going to get any progress if you leave games."
"We're also not going to let you play a game until that game finishes," he said. The rejoin system will be similar to that in League of Legends, which if you log in and your previous match is still going on, you'll be asked to rejoin.
"If we need to go more severe, we will do so," added Browder. "So examples, like we've talked about matching leavers with leavers. Are you a leaver? Is that your style of play? Cool, I'll put you with people who like to leave."
"You have to consider, at some point, people are like 'that's good punishment.' No, no, that's a style of play," Browder explained. Personally, this is my favorite approach because Browder is right. It should be considered a style of play. It's a shitty style, if you ask me, but it's still a style nonetheless. Yes, it ruins the game, but so does forcing a player to play in a match they don't want to. That results in massive trolling which is sometimes even more frustrating.
Lastly, Browder mentioned the option for a surrender system. "That's also an option for us," he said. "So we have some things coming shortly which will incentive the carrot, and how much stick we'll need we'll find out."
In defense of people who are leaving matches now in Heroes of the Storm, Browder admitted there is more snowballing now than we'll see in a "week or two" after a new update.