Heroes Of Newerth developers S2 send word that work has begun on Strife, a new MOBA. They explain: "Unlike other MOBAs, Strife is built entirely around the idea of a collective, contributing community. Predicated on creating a more connected multiplayer experience that incentivizes cooperation, Strife streamlines communication between players with innovative, in-client social systems and rewards players for team collaboration, not simply placing highest on a leaderboard. It also employs design elements that instruct and inform, providing immediate feedback for genre newcomers and veterans alike." Sounds like a game with a very specific problem in mind, eh?
More details below.
S2 continue: "Strife aims to make strides in MOBA storytelling, delivering an engrossing world with a layered backstory to further connect players with the heroes they choose. It all begins when the invasion of the Dharkwave, harbingers of darkness foretold by prophecy, is imminent, promising catastrophe upon the world. Its only hope is an Army of Light, forged in the crucible of battle to hold the line against their impending arrival. Players must overcome “The Trials of Strife,” as well as one another, to prove themselves as champions worthy to face the Dharkwave."
But yeah, the real news is that they want to manage the anger that MOBA gamers end up feeling. Speaking with Polygon they said:
"It's the difference of providing information players need to know to hit their highs and not providing ammunition for people to use that for harassment," DeForest said.
"[When dealing with toxic players], it's generally a reactive thing," DeForest said. "The way our game is, there are people that are jerks. And again, we can't fix the human race. There are jerks. We know this. But internet anonymity, the way a game is designed, a number of things seem to elevate the number of jerks that there are. In Strife, rather than having a reactive approach, it's proactive in the design ... There's a number of other things, but when you start making decisions, realizing that every decision impacts a number of other things, then you begin to make better decisions from the ground up."
And the solution? A community-driven Karma system:
Karma is Strife's method for policing bad behavior. After a match has concluded, players will be able to either make a positive, negative or null action against another player. The higher a player's karma score, the better they're rated among the community. Those with a low score are generally going to be the jerks. All of this loops back into the reward you receive at the end of battle.
Bad reputations will eventually deteriorate out, so outliers won't always be at odds. Additionally, the game will naturally weed out opinions of anyone who "cries wolf," DeForest said. If you're finding a problem with someone in every match, the weight of your votes will be less than someone who is fairer.
There doesn't seem to be a release date attached to Strife yet.