By quincy0191

Hero diversity is a major point of discussion, as fans want to see a lot of different and new heroes picked and played, not just for the novelty factor but because it’s a strong indicator of balance. Some point to the ubiquity of heroes like Magmus (108 games) and Rhapsody (104) as a sign that these heroes are overpowered and there’s no real innovation. On the other hand, of the 121 tournament eligible heroes in HoN Tour Season 3 so far, we’ve seen 103 of them played, 86 more than once. Considering we’re now up to 161 games, that’s not a bad ratio.

Let’s go a little more in-depth in HoN Tour Season 3 before comparing it to previous events. Hero diversity for HTS3 stands at 40.9%, where 100% is “perfect” diversity and 0% is the same 10 heroes in every game. Without context, it’s hard to really examine that number, but it suggests that we’re more or less halfway between “goddamn, it’s literally the same heroes every freaking game” and “man, literally every hero in the entire game is equally viable it seems”.

Top Played Heroes in HTS3

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Two things to note right off the bat: collectively, these five heroes account for 447 of the 1610 picks that have been made in Season 3, a little over a quarter of all hero selections. In any given game, you’re likely to see two or three of these heroes. They’ve been selected as many times as the bottom 78 heroes combined. Additionally, the top 12 most picked heroes account for over half of all selections.

On the other hand, look at the win% column. Nobody’s substantially over 50%, so while these heroes are getting picked a lot, it’s hard to consider them overpowered. In fact, there’s a pretty good suggestion here that the current metagame is well-balanced; if you have to have lower pick rates to deviate significant in win% (which isn’t actually true as we’ll see in a second), then it’s most likely that heroes who seem significantly stronger by win% are actually just the result of small sample variation. Funny things can happen when you don’t have a lot of trials, and for a hero who goes 7-3, it doesn’t tell us much about how powerful it actually is.

But let’s use win% for now, because these heroes have been played enough that it is somewhat useful. The first major deviation in win% for an oft-picked hero is Torturer (7th-most picked, 59 games) at 37.3% win. In other words, our first indication of a hero that is substantially over or under-powered is in the bad direction. And remember those top 12 heroes that account for over 50% of picks? Collectively they win just 51.4% of games, which is pretty low considering how popular they are. And that ignores #13 Ophelia (41.5% win, 41 games) and #14 Pharaoh (39.5% win, 38 games). Putting those two and #15 Doctor Repulsor in puts us at just 50.7% win for the fifteen most popular heroes in the game.

Here’s another way to look at that: of the 43 heroes that have been played at least 10 times, just 16 of them reside over 60% win or under 40% win. That puts another 27 in the boundary between 40-60% win out of the 37 total heroes that reside there. If you’re looking at a hero that’s played a lot, there’s a much better chance it’s been merely okay then game-winning or losing. And if you’re looking a hero that wins or loses a lot, there’s a very good chance it hasn’t been played enough to draw any meaningful conclusion.

HTS3 vs. CiC & HTS2 Playoffs/Finals
As promised, let’s examine HoN Tour Season 3 as compared to the last two major events (i.e. the only other ones I have data for…), Carnage in Caldavar and the combination of the HoN Tour Season 2 playoffs and World Finals. I’m going to throw a bunch of numbers at you and then talk about them.

A couple of things to note: first, I assumed 120 eligible heroes for Carnage and 115 eligible heroes for HST2. I did not really want to go back and actually count who was available for those events, and it wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway. Second, as more games are played, it’s harder to get to 100% diversity. Consider it this way: if one game is played, 100% diversity is achieved because you can only pick each hero once. At two games, it’s still easy to achieve considering you can pick 10 of 110 or so heroes that have not been selected. Once we get a significant number of games achieving perfect diversity requires somewhat artificial hero selections, making picks that “have” to be made to keep each hero at an equal number. Finally, the mean and median being higher don’t mean the scene is less diverse, it’s about the difference between them.

With that in mind, I would say that hero diversity has rebounded from a significant low in CiC and is approaching HTS2 levels (which probably has an advantage considering it included international teams with different play styles). Hero diversity in CiC was very low, with only 94 heroes selected in 150 games. This was also likely a function of a relatively low number of teams involved in the event, which means less innovation was necessary for higher tier teams and fewer captains with different ideas got in on the action.

The mean and median are different ways of expressing how often you’d expect a hero to be picked. The “ideal” number in all three cases is in between (just over 11 for HTS2, between 12 and 13 for CiC, and nearly 14 for HTS3). As they come together, it suggests that selections are more balanced; a high median indicates that many heroes are not picked, a high mean and low median suggest that a few heroes are picked a lot but there are a large number of different heroes tried, and a low mean suggests good general diversity.

Unpicked Heroes
Since this is a topic that’s brought up regularly, here are the 17 heroes that have not been selected so far in HoN Tour Season 3 Diamond:
Emerald Warden

Without several events, it’s hard to say that HoN Tour Season 3 is substantially more or less diverse than competitive HoN has been in general, but no doubt things are more varied now than they were in the recent past, and possibly in a long while. Part of that is a simple increase in the number of teams, and adding more heroes helps. But we’re also in a period of relatively even competition, which forces teams to innovate in order to gain an advantage, and it looks like that is happening.

I will end by noting one very important factor that I have thus far ignored: bans. Since I don’t keep banning data, I’m missing half the picture. A ban is in most ways just as representative as a pick when it comes to evaluating which heroes are strong, and the fact that heroes like Swiftblade and Cthuluphant are missing from the most picked lists does not indicate people don’t think they’re strong, or that they aren’t strong. In fact, they’re so strong they don’t get played because they’re always eliminated. But we do have some idea of where hero diversity is in HoN right now, and it seems like things are at least as good as they’ve ever been.