Saturday, February 23

Arena of Valor Hero Tier Lists and Do We Actually need them?


Ever since battle arena games are around, like Dota, Lol, and recently Arena of Valor mobile, people have always risen their voices about certain heroes and their position respective to the game. Some Arena of Valor heroes are deemed stronger than others and estimated to be a better pick over some other, even viewed from a general perspective, while some heroes remain forgotten. Players and vocal people make Arena of Valor Tier Lists, and there are plenty for Arena of Valor, which all categorize heroes by their importance to the game, judged solely by the vague sense of their usefulness, like mentioned before.

For instance, there are some seriously dedicated sites for Arena of Valor Heroes who, I will name them later, promote their own hero lists. Some lists are consistent, while some are not, and an average player I assume gathers enough information judging by those few lists he reviews, and decides then accordingly on which hero is good and which is not, and he continues to play and function based upon that decision. But, my question here is, if a new hero is introduced to the game or an already existing hero is placed in the top tier category by these people, by what criteria are they making these picks exactly?

Is it by the general win rate, or by the mastery a certain player has achieved with that hero, or do they really check the compatibility or that hero towards every other and multiply this result with the countless number of situations which may occur in a battle arena game such as this.
In a battle arena game, like Arena of Valor, everything is situational, and by extent nothing said can actually be completely consistent and taken as an absolute.

For instance, a site I’ve visited called Ten Ton Hammer, which is also a song from Machine Head – a nu-metal band popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, has a regularly updated AoV hero tier list. In their estimates, they use a system which rates a hero either greatly overpowered (tier s+), or just overpowered (tier S), or balanced (tier A), or slightly underpowered (tier B), or plain underpowered (tier C), or finally greatly underpowered (tier D).

And, that’s it. They only further divide those heroes by their role and categorize them into those few tier levels, and no other explanation is given. Now, I assume this is done by the overall player feedback and the general impression a certain hero left on players, but in my experience this is not a good and solid rule of thumb. There are numerous factors which can affect a hero’s reputation among the players, like for instance a new champion.

When a new champion is out, it is by the balance of probability strong and immediately categorized into top tiers all over the web. Now, players may actually even have success playing this hero, claiming that his abilities brake the game’s system and that he’s, as they often say, ‘the new meta’. But, this explanation is rather flimsy and feels more like a marketing stunt, than a real players hard fact estimate.

Further, if a new hero really does have abilities which seem to be out of the usual norm, what are they compared against? Well, if we follow the rule of popularity, than he is most certainly only compared to the recently popular heroes, which were popular before him and are still played.
In my experience, when a new hero is introduced to the game, even if there were countless heroes before, his presence now disrupts the balance of the whole game.

And, so, if a new hero is introduced, he needs to be compared to all the heroes and every hero composition available currently, and then tested countless times, if we are to determine the extent of his abilities in that manner. This is naturally impossible to achieve and may only happen naturally, after players themselves have played him for a long time, and even then newer heroes will still keep coming and it will still make this estimate incalculable.

If you are really to judge a heroes worth and usefulness, a player is left with nothing else than his own judgement and experience from the game. And he is then only able to give himself a mental note or two about the hero. In no circumstances are heroes in games like Arena of Valor available for a fully solid categorization and usefulness estimate.

Sometimes, a hero is forgotten and is not generally played for months, but then when a new hero comes out that no other hero can match, it is precisely this old forgotten hero that can match him perfectly. Or the situation can go in all directions. I think these things and situations are always kept in high value by game developers, of these kinds of games, and that even they admittedly make a new hero unsure of what is about to happen.

Anyways, that’s my humble opinion about battle arena games and their hero tier lists, and I’ve seen my fair share since I’ve been a player for over 10 years now. Always keep an open mind and trust your own judgement, because by playing games in general and games like this, you are bound to develop your own sense of how things work. And, with time, your own vision of those things can prove false or true, but only to you, and so you should be the one incorporating all new developments in your own play stile, rather than relying upon what others think. Not to say that sometimes what most people say can be true, and it really can be, but I think it is still a better path to develop your own judgement.