An ironic name for a friendly game.
MOBAs arose from the primordial ooze of the Warcraft 3 modding community and rapidly evolved to the top of the competitive gaming scene. First generation commercial games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 earned millions of players worldwide, while contenders like Battle for Graxia closed after only a few months. S2 Games' Heroes of Newerth falls somewhere in the middle: successful, if not wildly so. Now, S2 Games has announced its new MOBA, Strife. When looking at the next generation of the genre, S2's goal isn't just to clean up the gameplay and tighten the graphics, it's to clean up the playerbase.
"It seemed the first thing that people started to latch on to was 'I tried to play this game and these people are mean. It is hostile," S2 chief executive officer Marc DeForest said at the press announcement. That kind of behavior limits the audience and turns new players away. S2's designing Strife from the ground up to limit that negativity and to weed out toxic players who make you weep for humanity.
"Rather than trying to fix people themselves, we're trying to make really intelligent design decisions to elegantly address those problems so there's less reason to be inflammatory," director of monetization Pu Liu said. The first step is to limit communication to teammates, and to provide an easy system to mute abusive players. S2's also removing the ability to see the cooldowns on your teammate's abilities. This will give an angry player less ammunition to sling insults linking your mothers sexual exploits to your healing ability's cooldown timer.
Outside of a match, a player-run karma score keeps track of problem players and reward good guys. After a game, you can give positive, negative, or neutral scores to other players, which will effect that player's karma. Players who seems to blame everyone but themselves and constantly down vote people will find their votes carrying less weight. Players with good karma will receive more rewards at the end of matches, letting them unlock more heroes faster. However, naughty players can find redemption if they clean up their act, as bad karma will eventually deteriorate over time.