with the Mid Season Brawl coming to its conclusion, I've had some thoughts on competetive Heroes of the Storm and how important the role of a shotcaller is for a team. I think this aspect of the game is hugely underrepresented in player profiles (those short movies about the players and teams) and casting. In a way, the shotcaller is always the "carry" of any composition similar to those Valla + Tassadar + Auriel days. Shotcalling is not only very important it is also very difficult. You have to keep yout team focused and stay in a rythm. You also have to learn to trust your teammates and your teammates have to learn to trust you. Should I really miss the XP on a whole minion wave to help with control over a turn in point? There is no time to hesitate; gotta trust your shotcaller! With all the variables that go into decisions like that, with all the experience and quick thinking that is required to fill this role well, I am always wondering, how they are managing to also control their hero in the actual battle at the same time. How much better could the macro play and the in-fight shotcalling be, if there was a designated player just for that?
So why not make it a proper feature in the game itself?
What I am thinking of, is a "6v6" mode that is only available in custom games and maybe hero league, where there is a 6th player playing the "shotcalling" hero. The hero cannot move and has no abilities (maybe not even a body), but you gain experience and have all that nice stuff going on just as with any other hero. You only have the vision of the team, but you can zoom out much further than an player with an ordinary hero. Obviously, this makes only sense, when everybody is in voice chat.
I heard that in a Half Life mod (I think it was called Evolution) there is a player in a commander role, who can see the whole battle ground from above similar to an RTS. He can give move commands to the players on the ground or order them to start building fortifications, but following his orders is totally voluntary to the player. I thought this was a genius mixture of two genres and could lead to really interesting game play. Sadly, I am not much of an FPS guy so I never really tried it.
Here are some feature ideas, that could improve the Shotcaller mode:
- The shotcaller can select any friendly hero and see cooldowns of all abilities and all stacks etc. just like the player would.
- He can give move commands and ability commands, that show up as suggestens that only the player of the hero can see.
This way, the shotcaller can easily suggest stuff like "Hey, Genji, maybe you would like to use Sonic Arrow in this area" but in less time than it would take to actually say the words. One difficulty I see here, is that it might clutter up the visual effects on the player screen, especially during team fights when a lot of spells are flying around anyway.
- The shotcaller can speak to only a selection of players (maybe selected by lane or just singular heroes). This way he can give instructions, that are not relevant to everybody thus not cluttering up the voice chat. Maybe not everybody needs to be reminded that the Aba mine on the opponents boss is about to run out and needs to be replaced.
- The shotcaller can temporarily mute all other players in case things get too hectic and he wants to make sure he is heard.
So, what do you think? Could this improve competetive play? Would teams even want to have an dedicated shotcaller similar to a football coach on the sidelines? Would it be fun to play as a shotcaller?