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heroes Reddit Q/A Recap: Oct 13

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Blizzard hosted a Q/A on reddit related to the newest Samuro content patch. A lot of interesting questions have been answered and here's a recap.

Reddit Q/A Recap: October 13

As reported earlier, Blizzard has been answering your questions on reddit for a few hours. As the thread is somewhat long, I've highlighted the most interesting questions.

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Lots of people have been playing Brawl on PTR this week and having a blast. One thing that has repeatedly come up is the wish that the fountain was invulnerable. Is this something the design team would consider changing before going live?

We won't be making the change before Brawl goes live. We are listening to the feedback and made a few adjustments that will alleviate it a bit. Our formula for siege heroes was too high on PTR and you'll see a reduced amount moving forward.

In our internal testing we discussed this topic a few times, but found as players learned how to maximize their advantage on the Arena's objective it often could cost you more then you gain for removing a fountain. 

We will keep watching and listening.

Do you have any plans to add PvE type contents to Heroes Brawl, such as 10-player Co-op experience against powerful Bosses, Tower Defense-type game mode to defend the Core or specific areas from enemy waves, Marathon, and Escort?

We have been discussing this internally quite a bit, but do not have a concrete plans as of yet. We definitely like the idea and have had some fun discussing some crazy ideas.

How do you decide how fast/at what rate a quest progresses and consequently at what level it should be finished?

We'll playtest a lot, honestly. We have been very broad in how we've done various questing talents to try to discover what the right range is. We have some that are very easy to complete (Arthas), and others that take longer to complete (Regen Master). We have been looking for player feedback on which types they like, et cetera, to inform future quest designs, and any live-reactions we should make!

How do you choose between a progressional only reward (like Taste for Blood), a completion only reward (like Gul'Dans Echoed Corruption) or a mix of both?

We like to do a mix of both! We're still exploring this! Some quests lend themselves to being fine with having no progression growth, while others feel brutal if there's no power granted while making progression.

How do you decide whether questing progress should be lost on death?

This one is a little more controversial, and is more of a feel thing. If we feel the talent is high-stakes enough, then a punishment mechanic can add a lot of flavor and gameplay to the talent! It can be especially helpful if the counterplay feels lacking.

How do you choose the quest talents? E.g., why is Auriels Increasing Clarity a quest talent, but Righteous Assault isn't?

We're still trying to identify the right amount of quest talents. We don't want to do an entire tier of talents that are all Quest talents, so players can opt into/out of doing a quest. Further, some talent designs seem to lend themselves more conveniently to quest design, and other's don't.

During Hero iterations, have you tried putting a normal talent on a lower tier as a quest talent to improve talent diversity on that tier?

I don't think that specific case has happened, but we do a LOT of iteration on talents, and sometimes will move a talent from tier to tier to give that tier a healthier set of choices.

Do you think there might be a quest heroic some day?

Quest Heroic! Sounds awesome! Love the idea!

Do you have a favorite Quest talent?

I do! But it's super secret, so I can't talk about it yet :-D

Thank you for these questions! They were great, and definitely encourage me to go back to the team and try to crystallize the knowledge better so we can make better quest talents for the game as time goes on!

Infernal Shrine is the only map where the map objective is always at 100% power(of the diablo maps). Team have discuss about removing 2.5% HP per each skeletons collect by the team that didnt got the Punisher? because right now if you lose 39 skeletons vs 40 skeleton, you basically wasted a lot of time nd resource because your skeleton dont count for anything, even when on BoE damage to you count for aweakest immortal...

For Infernal Shrines we've done lots of dialing of health and power of the Punisher and wouldn't want to add a mechanic that makes him feel weaker. If we did, we would have to increase his power over all and 40 to 0 events will be very devastating.

This is why we've upped the skeleton health, added anti-clumping AI and increased the count from 30 to 40. All this is to help give both sides enough time to respond to the event and we are happy with the way it is playing.

In the end, we also like how Battlegrounds have different behaviors and require different thought exercises from our players to play it correctly. If you can't contest the event players have lots of other options, getting mercenaries, pushing forts/keeps and soaking multiple lanes to catch up in experience.

I dont play much HL, but could be nice if we can see Hero League Border (the one with the ranks) on the draft screen. This have been discuss by the UI team ?

Showing portrait borders while drafting is something we've talked about but we have to be careful what information we reveal about players during the Draft phase so I wouldn't expect any immediate changes.

Is there any plans add a more detailed profile section where we have more statistics, ability to customize heroes in draft queues, etc etc?

The UI Team is discussing ways to increase customization options for players but don't have anything to share yet. On a personal note I'm a fan of information design so I'm always looking for ways to provide more cool/useful data.

The character home screens are always so great and so is the music that comes with them are amazing. But it's kind of a shame that the art becomes useless after a new hero comes out. Is there any plans to allow us to customize our home screens with old hero splash pages? It would make use of already created content, add another possible good sink, and allow more customization and personalization to the players.

That's an interesting idea, we don't have anything planned for this but it's something to take into consideration.

And lastly, is there any plans for custom in-game UI with themes (ex Zerg, Protoss, Horde, Alliance, Heaven, etc etc) similar to what DotA2 offers?

No plans for this at the moment.

It’s all random in Heroes Brawl on choosing heroes, which means players might choose the same heroes. Will it trigger some special conversations when players just pick the same heroes, such as Muradin and Magni Muradin? The dialogue may go like: “It’s good to fight with you again, my brother!”

It's not completely random all the time. Hero duplicates are an amazing feature and would be a great polish task to add unique VO for when that happens.

I'm curious about Samuro's Mirror Image ability. As Samuro was being developed, it must have been noticed that players would want to be able to choose where the real Samuro appears after casting it.

However, the placement of the real Samuro appears to be completely random. Why is that?

Was it too powerful to let Samuro choose where to appear? Did it lead to gameplay that didn't fit the character?

There were a handful of reasons for this, but one of the primary was ease-of-control, and allowing a player to be able to immediately create their images with a single button press, no mouse invovlement.

What hero or ability will be forever left on the cutting room floor? Whose design, after some playtesting, won't ever be used? I'm aware you guys like to repurpose design, but surely there was something you tested that won't ever see the light of day, for sure. What is that thing?

Ooooh i'll take the bait! I'll take the bait!

Okay. So story time. Once upon time there was a Banshee. Well, before that, she was a High Elf named Sylvanas Windrunner, Ranger-General of Silvermoon! Until that dirty traitor, Arthas Menethil, under the influence of Frostmourne, destroyed her army, and wasn't content with simply killing Sylvanas, turned her into a Banshee. After recovering her body, she became the leader of the Forsaken, broken free from the Lich King's control!

One day, this Banshee-Queen found herself in the Nexus! She encountered an enemy Hero, and immediately tried to take control of an enemy Hero, and use their abilities! But try and try as she might, she found the world, the engine, of the nexus, of this game (for which she has no time!! ... but always finds herself in...), couldn't handle the thought of her having control of an enemy Hero, using their abilities, changing their allegiance, even temporarily!

And thus the Nexus exerted its control over the Banshee Queen, limiting her powers. Having been reminded of the dread of being under the Lich King, this very same Sylvanas now secretly fights to break out of this "Nexus", and be her true self!

None shall survive!

What 5v5 Mirror match did you personally enjoy the most in a Brawl Arena?

I love 5v5 Nova. Trying to see through all the clones and all the shimmers is a really unique experience. We liked it so much we even made a Brawl around it!

Are there any plans to add the option of a second hero to assist the enemy bot hero in try mode? I would like to try a hero against 2 opponents.

We are in a very early, exploratory, pre-production, <insert-non-committal adjective here>, potential phase of doing some radical stuff with the things that Try Me mode brings. I can't promise anything, but we'd like to let players be able to do more with those tools.

Another question is about Nexus Blades. This is one of my favorite generic talents, but new heroes (Samuro, Alarak) have different albeit interesting options. Are there any plans to give older heroes other options that complement their talents? (Looking at Illidan, Zeratul and Thrall) ( Nexus Blades suits Illidan, though)

As we go over old heroes, we'll look at all the talents in their tree, including ones like Nexus Blades, and make sure they all fit, and if they don't, find better options!

"M-move"! Will we ever get a command to move and not attack (even after the move completes)? Or have basic attacks only occur when given orders rather than passively?

Both would be wonderful additions to the game, give more control, and slightly raise ability to skillfully play many heroes. (Especially heroes that store crits or any heroes that are trying to navigate around large models that block nearby terrain e.g. BoE immortals!) 

I'd also love to see AA'ing just not be automatic -period- as a slight skill dependence increase in the game that increases the value of initiative in engagements and combos interestingly with abilities like Last Laugh -- though I'm guessing that's less likely to happen.

It's on our radar to get a Force Move command keybind in the game, so that players that want that can use it!

I don't think we'd implement a huge change to the way right-clicking auto-attacks works though, as it'd a fundamental controls change!

I think it will be difficult to fine-tune Hero balance in Heroes Brawl; could you tell us about your design philosophy on balancing in Heroes Brawl? Also, how do you plan to tune some Heroes whose playstyles change drastically with Talent selections, and some Talents/Abilities that seem not effective in Brawl environment, such as The Butcher’s Fresh Meat and Health and Mana granting effect of Nazeebo’s Voodoo Ritual?

We are relying on our standard hero balance for this mode a lot. That means there will be some heroes that are stronger and weaker. I would argue this happens on some Battlegrounds and we like that it creates a unique Hero meta for that Battleground.

Though typically we don't interfere, a great example where we do is Kharazim on Arena maps. We give him a level 1 talent trait based on which heroic he picks. If he takes Divine Palm he gets the healing trait for example.

Would you guys ever consider allowing matches in brawl to some how grant experience?

We currently award account experience for Brawl, but do not have plans for granting Hero experience. Because of the differences in Brawl modes (some are short games, some can be longer, multiple heroes, etc.), we felt it was better to give a large gold reward plus a portrait instead of having a variety of different rules around how much Hero experience is awarded.

Will popular community-created Brawl ideas/suggestions taken into consideration on Brawl designing process? Do you have any plans to host Brawl creation contest to allow players to actively participate in Brawl designing process?

We don't have any current Brawl creation contests planned, but it sounds like a fun way to get some ideas. That being said we are constantly reading forums and reddit for fun Brawl pitches. Often pitches never survive completely intact, but are great inspiration for new and exciting Brawls.

Some heroes have talents which can be strengthen by the quest completion. What is your solution to make these heroes as strong as other heroes without quest talents?

It's really much less about the power of that Hero, but much more about the power of that talent as it relates to the Hero's other talents at that Tier.

For instance, in hearthstone, you need to compare a card against other cards with the same mana cost, as they use the same slot in your deck.

Likewise, a talent needs to be on a similar powerlevel of other talents at that tier, as those are the other options for that Hero.

What hero playtested the worst in determining who to use for single hero 5v5's (ie 5 Johannas vs 5 Johannas)

5We've identified what's going on with this bug (activating W during a backswing) and how to fix it. I believe we've got the fix implemented, but i'm not sure which branch of the codebase it's in, so not sure if the fix will be live when he ships! But it will be soon!!!v5 Johannas was sooooooooooooooooo looooonnnng! It got to that point where it felt like someone does a really bad joke for so long that it turned funny. Also any 5v5 support felt really bad on Temple Arena. Imagine 5v5 Morales .... /shudder.

Are you planning to release more “Having fun” themed maps in the future? For instance, choosing five same heroes and conducting the team deathmatch or tower defense, just like what we did back in the good old days in WarCraft III?

Absolutely! That is the whole point of Heroes Brawl. We will be making lots of fun maps and crazy ideas moving forward.

Will Samuro be playable in the Blizzcon tournament?

Samuro will not be playable at the Blizzcon tournament. A hero needs to be in the wild for two weeks before it's playable in tournaments.

What do you think about having a few maps available for brawl each week instead of having just one? I suppose many players will be bored at the end of the week with one map available.

Our current goal is to offer a fun break from the regular game and feel a single Brawl a week hits the mark. We might be wrong but that's what we are going to try! This feature is aimed at supplementing standard heroes and offer that much needed break after a series of competitive games.

Lately, there has been a surge of hard/high skill cap heroes (like Samuro, Medivh, Tracer, Alarak etc). While I do agree that high skill-cap and micromanagement abilities benefit the game, I wonder if there's still space for easier heroes for the schmucks like myself that couldnt micro if my life was depending on it. So: are we gonna see some more easy heroes on the future, or is it all over-9000-APM from now on? Also: can i haz mefistow? :D

Over in Hero Design we like to make a variety of Heroes! A long while ago, we felt the game was missing these types of Heroes, thus we were welcoming to hero designs like those to open up more playmaker options!

But, we still want some heroes that are a bit more straightforward, and someone like Zarya can fit that bill. While there's still lots of skill growth for the character (landing Qs, your R's, getting high energy), it's relatively easy to shield yourself or shield an ally. Or even hit someone with a Q since you have 4 charges!

Thank you for the feedback! It's great to hear this, as oftentimes we only hear the audience side that says "Skillcap!" and it is important to remember that there's another audience that, while loving those heroes, also wants heroes they can feel comfortable playing!

With Brawl, the MVP system, the ranked update, the Lost Caverns, and the Machines of War update there has been a ton of content added in 2016. We are in October and I'm incredibly happy with the game and can't imagine what lies ahead. With Blizzcon coming up, and without spoiling anything, is there any announcements beyond new heroes that we can look forward to?

Absolutely, we are always working on cool stuff. We just can't share any of it currently. :) We also have some fun releases coming post Blizzcon but before next year as well.

Can you make Samuro’s “jump slam” attack animation to proc every time he deal a Critical Strike, similar to Warcraft III?

So fun story! That awesome jump attack animation (i think there's 2 variations?? maybe more? unsure!) has a big windup to it. However, we wanted Samuro's attacks to be quick and snappy, and so they only are allowed to have a extremely short duration windup. Further, if you activate Critical Strike, it resets their weapon's cooldown, causing the attack to happen instantly.

So as a result, we only can safely play that animation when Samuro is about to Critically Strike from Wind Walk, when we can be relatively sure that there's some time to do that windup.

Draft system used in Punisher Arena is really cool. It solves problems that ARAM community have with "randomness" of random pick feature that screw some of the comps. Could we get an option to pick this draft mode on the custom Lost Cavern?

We've been calling this new draft system Shuffle Pick. Currently no plans to add it to Lost Cavern, but we can discuss this with the team. Thanks for the question!

Samuro's enable/disable AI doesn't appear to work properly at all. 

(e.g. MI created images show hybrid AI behavior whether it is enabled or disabled (act based on AI on creation then stop after completing an order) and both settings prevent Kawarimi created images from completing Sam's last action either by following Sam around or just standing there (en/dis, respectively))

Will this likely be fixed before release or, like Rexxar, are these technical issues that we'll have to live with for awhile?  Not trying to rake you guys over the coals just honestly want to know what we should expect. <3

Okay, i have some news from our awesome devs! Yay!

"The behavior of the Mirror Images completely changes when you take Illusion Master. They stop having laning-minion AI and instead just do periodic searches around them for targets, so if you don’t give them orders or there’s no enemies around, they’ll stand around doing nothing.

Additionally, regardless of the AI being toggled off or not, when the Mirror Image ability is used, both Samuro and his Images will do a search and get an attack order to enemies nearby. This is done so that the Samuro player can always play a fresh game of Three Card Monte with his opponents by pressing Q and then letting their hands off the keyboard, as Samuro will act identically to his Images at first.

Sounds like there might be a bug with Kawarimi, though, we'll investigate!!"

Following up on this, players have pointed out a number of QoL-type issues with Samuro such as activating W "wasting" the ability if pressed mid-swing before a previous Critical Strike's animation completes. Which, if any, of these is the team working on, and which are getting highest priority for a fix before live?

We've identified what's going on with this bug (activating W during a backswing) and how to fix it. I believe we've got the fix implemented, but i'm not sure which branch of the codebase it's in, so not sure if the fix will be live when he ships! But it will be soon!!!

What do you think about the brawl where players have to kill each other? No core, no events, pure PvP.

This current Brawl is pretty close to just fighting without objectives. The Punishers are in the fights to help discourage teams from avoiding fights and playing passively. Simsala91 gives a good example of a situation where it is beneficial to not engage on the enemy team.

What kind of matchmaking is in place for Brawl? I know on the PTR matchmaking is totally wack because of inconsistent player skill/levels, but in the live game will there be MMR based off of QM or HL? or none at all?
Brawl has its own MMR that is tracked separately from the other modes. It is seeded from Quick Match. Even though there is an MMR for Brawl, we favor faster matches for Brawl because it is not a competitive mode.

When you play custom games ( such as brawl on ptr) when the game end, please make the game go back to the lobby instead of kicking everybody.

it was/is INSANELY frustrating ( and needlessly time consuming) to keep spamming [ lobby] for players, just because we couldnt keep the last gang together.

Great suggestion. That's actually something we're not happy with as well. We've had discussions about rematch functionality internally, but we don't have any concrete plans to share at this time.

What went in the decision to make Samuro manaless? He seems like he has the potential to be very very strong and it seems like mana would have helped limit how dominating he can be.

So this one is really simple...but not immediately obvious!

But it's because of his Images! With all those extra Player Nameplates running around, hurting gameplay clarity by obscuring things in-game, we cut mana so that his nameplate would be thinner, adding less weight in-game.

We even contemplated giving him and his images a completely different nameplate that was unique to them, but ultimately went with what we've got!

Is there any MMR at work when matchmaking in a Brawl? Where does this MMR come from?

Edit: Oh, that's been asked. Uh, different question then! Did you consider having the PTR cycle through Brawls faster like the Overwatch Beta did when it first got Brawls? It seems a missed opportunity that only one Brawl was tested in the PTR.

We always like getting more testing and player feedback, but we decided against it in this case because we didn't want to spoil the surprise of the upcoming brawls.

Are there plans for a brawl with all players as punishers?

We've discussed this idea and many similar style Brawls. We don't have any concrete plans on shipping one as of yet, but they are a fun idea.

Would Blizzard ever change existing hero abilities to make room for new heroes? This is specifically in reference to bringing in Overwatch heroes. For example, would Valla's Strafe ever be replaced by another heroic so that Reaper could then be brought in with his Death Blossom?

It's highly unlikely! it could be very upsetting for a significant section of the playerbase if we took away an ability they loved on a kit it made sense for.

Then again, never say never. Just highly hesitant!

No other Warcraft 3 hero has captured their kit from that game as closely as Samuro does in HotS. Did you feel it was particularly important for this character to feel very close to his origin?

Ya i thought it was pretty important! Blademaster is a beloved War3 Hero, and as it turned out, his kit transitioned over really smoothly!

You said that you had to limit Nova's Decoys when doing her rework because of Samuro. is that something we might see again, removing talents of an old hero because of an upcoming hero with similar abilities (for example, is there a danger of Zeratul losing some Cleave or Blink talents because of a possible future Maiev release?)
also, as Nova's Decoy build is so limited now, is it possible for her to get buffs in some other part of her kit so as to make her competitively viable (it's sad that she was only briefly competitive only because of the Covert Ops bug)?

it might happen again in the future, but it's not very likely.

i'll ping the live/balance team on nova!

I'm a UI/UX web designer, it's quite different from game UI design so I would love to hear some anecdotes or insight on how you guys work from sketch to final UI. Before you decide on a design (for example the brawl hero picker), do you work with interactive prototypes and preview animations in AE and then work side by side with programmers? or does it get coded directly in the game to be tested and iterate upon it?

From a UI Art perspective, we generally start with wireframes that detail out the functional elements that need to exist during the experience. Then we move to creating art mockups, this helps prove out layouts/ideas or sometimes sparks a whole new idea that changes the direction. Once things are in a stable art state and if there's time, I personally like to do a heavy pass on a motion comp (using After Effects for more effects heavy comps or Flash for functional prototypes) moving through the entire flow showing all the details, from button clicks, transitions, effects, timings and general feeling of the feature. Motion comps are extremely valuable, as they provide clarity, helping everyone involved understand the entire vision. Once everything in the motion comp is good, implementation starts with the engineering team. During implementation we iterate even more as we uncover limitations, bugs, oversights, new ideas. I'd argue that implementation is the most important phase of development since it's the only player facing element.

Have you ever think to add talent presets to chose before round, not only ultimate abilities. Or generaly to add some useful talents to hero, and balance heroes like that.

We have discussed this before and found it to be a really big rabbit hole to go down. It doesn't really fit the goals of our system of an easy game mode for players to hop into and have fun! I don't mind revisiting it at some point, but we have no current plans.

Why neither Xul nor Azmodan are available in Brawl? Their traits need creeps but they can still be useful without them.

It's not that they need creeps to be effective, but it's that we don't have proper AI support to support the demons/skeletons. We will constantly be reevaluating and trying to include as many heroes into a Brawl as possible.

Are there going to be Holiday specific events for Brawls? Also, how hard is it to try and come up with Brawl ideas.
While I can't provide any details, we've definitely been discussing how we can celebrate various holidays through Brawls.
 
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Do you have any plans to add PvE type contents to Heroes Brawl, such as 10-player Co-op experience against powerful Bosses (...)?

OH SHIT YES, we need this.

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On 10/14/2016 at 3:01 AM, Valhalen said:

OH SHIT YES, we need this.

After experiencing similar things now in Dota, TF2 and OW, I'm so down with this.

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      Celebrate Winter Veil 2016!
      Our 2016 Winter Veil celebration has arrived! Ring in the holiday season this year with a 25% XP bonus, a new event quest, and of course, quest rewards. 25% XP Bonus The XP bonus begins at 10:00 a.m. PST on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 until 10:00 a.m. PST Tuesday, January 4, 2017. Winter Veil Event Quest Quest: Play 25 games in any matchmaking mode (Co-op vs. A.I., Quick Match, Unranked Draft, or Ranked) Rewards: Special Snowflake Portrait and Festive Treasure Goblin Mount. PTR Note: While elements of the Winter Veil event may appear on the Test Realm, players will not be able to make progress toward quests or rewards until the patch is released to the live version of Heroes of the Storm next week. Ranked Season 3 Updates
      Party Sizes in Ranked Play The following party size adjustments for Hero and Team League have been made as a one-season experiment for Ranked Season 3. Hero League  Players can no longer queue for Hero League games in parties. Team League 2, 3, and 5-player parties can now queue for Team League. 2 and 3-player parties can only queue for Team League if all members are ranked within one league of one another. 5-player parties can queue with any mixture of league rankings. While players will need to have access to at least 14 Heroes in order to play Team League, there are still no minimum Hero level requirements in order to queue for Team League matches. Team League will still utilize First Come, First Serve (FCFS) during Draft Mode, which means that parties of two and three players will need to coordinate effectively when drafting their Heroes. Silenced players can no longer queue for Team League for the duration of their Silence Penalty. Season 2 Rewards Those who finished their placement matches during Ranked Season 2 will receive their rewards upon logging in after downloading today’s patch. Matchmaking The matchmaking system’s certainty level in all players’ skill ratings has once again been loosened in order to help ease movement up or down through the rankings. Ranked League Adjustments Silver and Gold league population sizes have been adjusted, and will now contain similar amounts of players. Diamond league will now contain about half the number of players than the previous season. NEW HERO: RAGNAROS
      As the lord of Azeroth’s fire elementals, Ragnaros desires nothing more than to burn the world to ash. Banished to the Firelands eons ago, the Firelord now turns his rage toward the Nexus, intent on incinerating everything and everyone within it.
      Trait 
      Molten Core (D) Channel on an Allied or destroyed Fort or Keep to replace it with Ragnaros’ Ultimate Form, temporarily gaining new Abilities, and a significant amount of Health that burns away over 18 seconds. Ragnaros returns to his normal form upon losing all Health during Molten Core. Basic Abilities
      Empower Sulfuras (Q) Ragnaros’ next Basic Attack is instant, dealing Ability Damage in an area around the target, and Healing Ragnaros for 20% of the damage dealt. Healing is doubled for damage dealt to Heroes. Living Meteor (W) Summon a meteor at the target point that deals damage on impact, and then rolls in the target direction and deals additional damage every second for 1.75 seconds. Blast Wave (E) Ignite Ragnaros or target Ally, granting 25% bonus Movement Speed for 1.5 seconds before exploding, dealing damage to nearby enemies. Molten Core Form Abilities
      Molten Swing (Q) Swing Sulfuras in a wide arc, dealing damage and stunning enemies for 1 second. Damage increased by 25% versus Minions and Mercenaries. Meteor Shower (W) Summon 3 meteors at the target point that fall in the target direction. Each meteor deals damage and slows enemies by 25% for 2 seconds. Damage increased by 25% versus Minions and Mercenaries. Explosive Rune (E) Create a rune that explodes after 1.5 seconds, dealing damage to non-Structure enemies in a circular area. Damage increased by 25% versus Minions and Mercenaries. Heroic Abilities
      Sulfuras Smash (R) Hurl Sulfuras at the target area, landing after 0.75 seconds and dealing damage to enemies hit. Enemies caught in the center of the impact area take triple damage and are Stunned for 0.5 seconds. Lava Wave (R) Release a wave of lava from the allied Core that travels down the target lane, dealing massive damage every second to non-Structure enemies and instantly killing enemy Minions in its path. Damage doubled versus enemy Heroes. BATTLEGROUND REWORK: HAUNTED MINES
      After driving the Raven Lord out of the Haunted Mines and doing a little. . . redecorating. . . the Grave Keeper has re-opened the Mines to all who wish to summon powerful and destructive Grave Golems.
      Haunted Mines Basics
      Venture Underground The Haunted Mines will periodically open with an Undead Army underneath. Collect the Skulls Destroy the Undead and collect their Skulls to summon a powerful Golem. The more Skulls each team collects, the stronger their Golems become. Unleash the Golems After the Undead have been defeated, a Golem will rise for each team and travel down lane in search of Structures to destroy. Haunted Mines Updates
      Grave Golems now spawn in fixed positions in each lane, and switch lanes each time they are summoned. The layout of the Underground Mines has been reworked, and the Neutral Grave Golem can now be found at its center. The upper level’s center area has been reworked. Additional Mine Entrances have been placed to the East and West of the Battleground’s center area, for a total of 4. A Mercenary Camp has been placed near each Mine Entrance, featuring Siege Giants at the East and West Entrances, and Sappers in the North and South. ART
      Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      The following Heroes have received updated visual effects and talent icon color tints to coincide with their reworks: Artanis Dehaka Diablo The following Hero Abilities have received slight animation changes to coincide with timing changes: Kael’thas: Pyroblast Zarya: Particle Grenade SHOP
      The following changes will take place in the Shop once the Public Test Realm is brought offline and the patch is officially released to the live version of Heroes of the Storm next week.
      Bundles
      New Bundles Lil’Ragnaros Bundle – Available until January 4, 2017 Removed Bundles Druid of the Flame Malfurion Bundle New Hero 
      Ragnaros has been added to the in-game Shop. Mounts
      New Mounts 2016 Fall Champion’s Mount Returning Mounts Eye Pad Removed Mounts 2016 Summer Champion’s Mount Blackheart’s Doubloon Skins
      Lil’ Ragnaros Master Ragnaros Price Reductions
      Sylvanas’ prices reduced to $8.49 USD and 7,000 Gold. USER INTERFACE
      General
      Click the Grand Master Leaderboards and Ranked Play Guide buttons on the Ranked Play screen to view these pages within the Heroes of the Storm game client. Hero and Role Chat Links
      Press SHIFT and click a Hero portrait or Hero Role icon during Hero Select or in a Draft Lobby to add a link to that Hero or Role in the chat. Clicking a Hero or Role link in chat will automatically filter players’ Hero lists accordingly. Alternatively, type a Hero name or Role in square brackets to create chat links. For example: Typing “[Jaina]” into the chat box will create a link to Jaina in Hero Select. However, the spelling must be exact or the link will not work. These Hero and Role links can be used to suggest picks and bans in Draft Lobbies. Clicking a Hero or Role chat link while viewing the Shop will also filter the list of items accordingly. Penalties for Leaving Games
      Much like Hero League, players who repeatedly leave Unranked Draft and Team League games or draft lobbies will now be flagged to receive leaver penalties. Players with active penalties for leaving games can no longer queue for Unranked Draft or Team League games. MVP and Commendations
      Press TAB at any point during the MVP and Commendations sequence to view the in-game Score Screen for that match. A Skip button has replaced the Exit button on the MVP screen. Clicking Skip will immediately take the player to the Commendations screen. Players can still leave the Commendations screen normally by pressing the Exit button. DESIGN & GAMEPLAY
      Unrevealable Heroes
      For periods of time when a hero is considered unrevealable, they will no longer show a shimmer like other stealthed heroes. After the unrevealable period ends, they will show a shimmer again. BATTLEGROUNDS
      Heroes Brawl - Blackheart's Revenge, Garden Arena, Punisher Arena, Temple Arena
      Healing Fountains Healing Fountains will now be Invulnerable when these Brawls next return to the Nexus Braxis Holdout
      Zerg Rush Initial Zergling spawn increased from 3 to 6 Zerglings Warhead Junction
      Warheads Base damage reduced from 2750 to 2300. Warhead damage now scales by a flat 70 every minute, and no longer has a large jump at 18 minutes. Inner Warhead damage is still a 50% bonus. HEROES

      ASSASSIN
      CHROMIE

      Abilities
      Timewalker (Trait) Increased the level reduction for getting Talents from 1 to 2 levels Talents
      Level 1 Timewalker’s Pursuit (Active) Added Functionality: You can now also activate this Talent to reveal an area for 2 seconds.  Enemies seen are revealed for 4 seconds. Peer Into the Future (Active) Removed KAEL'THAS

      Abilities
      Pyroblast (R) Cast time reduced from 2 to 1.5 seconds Cast range increased by roughly 30% SUPPORT
      AURIEL

      Abilities
      Bestow Hope (Trait) Crown visual effects can now be seen by Allies REHGAR

      Stats
      Increased Basic Attack damage from 99 to 120  Abilities
      Lightning Shield (W) Increased damage from 64 to 70 per second Bloodlust (R) Added functionality: All affected allies now heal for 30% of Basic Attack damage dealt during Bloodlust Talents
      Level 4 Stormcaller (W) Now returns Mana from hitting all enemies, not just Heroes Level 7 Totemic Projection (E) Added Functionality: Now also increases the duration of Earthbind Totem from 8 to 12 seconds Level 20 Farseer's Blessing (R) Secondary healing effect increased from 25% to 50% of Ancestral Healing’s full amount Gladiator's War Shout (R) Now increases Bloodlust healing from 30% to 60% of Basic Attack damage
      WARRIOR
      ARTANIS

      Abilities
      Blade Dash (Q) Added functionality: Now reduces the cooldown of Shield Overload by 1 second per enemy hit, and 2 seconds per Hero hit. Twin Blades (W) Charge range is now checked against the edge of target units, instead of their center. This increases the effective range of Twin Blades and should generally create more consistent behavior. Phase Prism (E) Added functionality: You can now cast Phase Prism during Blade Dash Cooldown increased from 14 to 16 seconds Shield Overload (Trait) Cooldown increased from 20 to 24 seconds Activation threshold increased from 50 to 75% Health Shield value reduced from 449 to 360  Talents
      Level 4 Shield Surge (Trait) Moved from Level 16 New functionality: Shield Overload's shield amount is increased by 80% while you are below 25% Health Lethal Alacrity (Q) Removed Shield Battery (Trait) Redesigned: Shield Overload's cooldown recharges 50% faster while its shield is active, and increases the duration of Shield Overload from 5 to 6 seconds Psionic Synergy (Q) Moved from Level 7 Now increases the cooldown reduction of hitting Heroes with Blade Dash from 2 to 4 seconds Level 7 Chrono Surge (E) Moved from Level 4 Attack Speed bonus increased from 40 to 50% Level 13 Templar's Zeal (Q) Moved from Level 4 Phase Bulwark (Trait) Ability damage mitigation reduced from 50 to 40% Level 16 Burning Rage (Passive) Moved from Level 13 Replaced with Plasma Burn (Trait): While your Shield is active, you deal 50 damage a second to nearby enemies  LEVEL (TIER)   ARTANIS TALENTS     1 (1) Reactive Parry (W) Amateur Opponent (W) (!) Seasoned Marksman (Active) — 4 (2) Psionic Synergy (Q) Shield Battery (Trait) Shield Surge (Trait) — 7 (3) Solarite Reaper (Q) Warp Sickness (E) Chrono Surge (E) Follow Through (Passive) 10 (4) Suppression Pulse Purifier Beam — — 13 (5) Templar's Zeal (Q) Triple Strike (W) Graviton Vortex (E) Phase Bulwark (Trait) 16 (6) Zealot Charge (W) Titan Killer (W) Psionic Wound (W) Plasma Burn (Passive) 20 (7) Orbital Bombardment (R) Target Purified (R) Force of Will (Trait) Nexus Blades (Passive) (!) indicates a Questing Talent. Italic text indicates a NEW Talent. Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent. DEHAKA

      Abilities
      Brushstalker (Trait) Cooldown increased from 40 to 50 seconds Functionality added: Dehaka gains 15% Movement Speed while in a Bush and for 1 second after exiting a Bush Burrow (E) Functionality added: Burrow can now be cancelled early by pressing the hotkey again Adaptation (R) Heal amount increased from 60 to 100% of incoming damage Talents
      Level 1 Enduring Swarm (W) New functionality: Dehaka takes 40% less damage from Abilities while Dark Swarm is active Enhanced Agility (Trait) New functionality: Quest: For every 50 Essence you collect, increase your Brushstalker Movement Speed bonus by 1%. This can stack 10 times. Level 4 Lurker Strain (E) Functionality added: Emerging from Burrow knocks away enemies and slows their Movement Speed by 30% for 2 seconds Numbing Eruption (E) Removed    Level 13 Swift Pursuit (Z) New Functionality: Brushstalker’s Movement Speed duration after leaving a Bush is increased from 1 to 3 seconds Ferocious Stalker (Z) New Functionality: After using Brushstalker, increase all damage Dehaka deals by 25% for 10 seconds Whirling Dervish (W) Removed New Talent: Primal Swarm (E) Enemies affected by Dark Swarm take 15% increased damage from all sources Level 16 Rapid Regeneration (E) Removed New Talent: Tunneling Claws (E) Dehaka can now move while Burrowed Level 20 Change is Survival (R) Heal amount increased from 125 to 200% of incoming damage Hardened Shield (Active) Removed New Talent: Essence Claws (Passive) Basic Attacks slow enemies by 20% for 1 second Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes grant Dehaka 5 Essence LEVEL (TIER)   DEHAKA TALENTS     1 (1) Enduring Swarm (W) Primal Aggression (W) (!) Enhanced Agility (Trait) (!) Tissue Regeneration (Trait) 4 (2) Lurker Strain (E) One-Who-Collects (Trait) Hero Stalker (Trait) — 7 (3) Feeding Frenzy (Q) Constriction (Q) Symbiosis (W) (!) Essence Devourer (Trait) 10 (4) Isolation Adaptation — — 13 (5) Swift Pursuit (Z) Ferocious Stalker (Z) Primal Swarm (W)   16 (6) Paralyzing Enzymes (Q) Elongated Tongue (Q) Tunneling Claws (E)   20 (7) Contagion (R) Change is Survival (R) Apex Predator (Z) Essence Claws (Trait) (!) indicates a Questing Talent. Italic text indicates a NEW Talent. Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent. DIABLO

      Abilities
      Shadow Charge (Q) Base damage from 94 to 75 New Functionality: Diablo gains 25% resistance for 2 seconds after charging If Diablo’s target collides with terrain they take an additional 150 damage Fire Stomp (W) Base damage from 106 to 60 Added Functionality: Fire Stomp fireballs return to Diablo, dealing 90 damage Black Soulstone (Trait) Bonus max Health per Soulstone stack from .2 to .4% Talents
      Level 1 Block (Passive) Removed Devil’s Due (Passive) New functionality: Regeneration Globes and Healing Fountains are 2% more effective for every stack of Black Soulstone Overwhelming Force (Q) Removed New Talent: Bulwark (Q) Increase the duration of Shadow Charge’s Resistance effect from 2 to 5 seconds Life Leech (Passive) Moved from Level 13 Level 4 Demonic Strength (E) Slow duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds Slow amount increased from 25 to 30% Soul Catcher (Passive) Removed Essence of the Slain (Passive) Removed New Talent: Speed Demon (Passive) Diablo gains 30% Movement Speed for 5 seconds after being Stunned or Rooted From the Shadows (Q) Moved from Level 7 Functionality added: Also increases Shadow Charge range by 33% Level 7 Diabolical Momentum (Q) Functionality changed: Basic Attacks lower the cooldown of Shadow Charge and Overpower by 1.5 seconds Soul Steal (Passive) Removed Devastating Charge (Q) Moved from Level 7 to Level 13 Functionality changed: Shadow Charging an enemy into unpathable terrain deals an additional 5% of that targets max Health in damage Quest: Every time you charge an enemy into unpathable terrain, increase the bonus damage by 2%, stacking up to a 10% bonus (15% max health possible) New Talent: Soul Shield (Trait) Each Black Soulstone stack Diablo has grants him 0.35% Resistance to enemy Abilities Soul Feast (Passive) Moved from Level 1 New functionality: Each Soulstone stack grants 0.4 Health Regeneration per second Level 13 Firestorm (W) Removed Spell Shield (Passive) Removed Siphon the Dead (Active) Removed Hellfire (W) Each enemy Hero hit by Fire Stomp increases the damage of the next Fire Stomp by 10%, stacking up to 100%. Fire Devil (W) Moved from Level 4 Aura damage increased from 17 to 22 Added functionality: Also increases Diablo’s Basic Attack damage by 25% for 6 seconds Level 16 Rampage (W) Removed Continuous Overpower (E) Removed Domination (E) New Functionality: Lower the Cooldown of Overpower by 4 seconds Using Overpower refreshes the Cooldown of Shadow Charge Imposing Presence (Passive) Removed New Talent: Fearful Presence (Passive/Active) Passive: Heroes and Summons that attack Diablo have their Attack Speed slowed by 20% for 2.5 seconds Active: Activate to reduce the damage dealt by nearby Heroes by 30% for 3 seconds Level 20 Bolt of the Storm (Active) Removed New Talent: Hellgate (Active) Activate to teleport a short distance and place a Demonic Rune at that location. After 1.75 seconds the rune explodes dealing 137 damage and stuns enemies for 1.75 seconds LEVEL (TIER)   DIABLO TALENTS     1 (1) Bulwark (Q) Devil's Due (Trait) Life Leech (Passive) — 4 (2) From the Shadows (Q) Speed Demon (W) Demonic Strength (E) — 7 (3) Soul Feast (Trait) Soul Shield (Trait) Diabolical Momentum (Passive) — 10 (4) Apocalypse Lightning Breath — — 13 (5) (!) Devastating Charge (Q) Fire Devil (W) Hellfire (W)   16 (6) Debilitating Flames (W) Domination (E) Fearful Presence (Active)   20 (7) Dying Breath (R) Hellstorm (R) Lord of Terror (Active) Hellgate (Active) (!) indicates a Questing Talent. Italic text indicates a NEW Talent. Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent. ZARYA

      Abilities
      Particle Grenade (Q) This ability has received improvements to its cast animation The time between casting Particle Grenade and performing another action has been reduced by .25 seconds
      BUG FIXES
      Battlegrounds
      Braxis Holdout: XP awarded for destroying the Archangel now correctly scales over the course of the game. Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Chen: Fixed an issue that prevented Chen from regenerating Health while using Wandering Keg. Illidan: Quest progress icons will no longer continue to appear after completing the Unbound Talent quest. Leoric: The Camera will now properly follow Leoric’s Wraith form during Wraith Walk while Camera Follow is enabled. Lt. Morales: Fixed a rare issue that could cause Lt. Morales players to lose control of the Hero. Nazeebo: The Camera will now properly follow Ravenous Spirit while Camera Follow is enabled. Samuro: The tooltip for Mirror Image now properly mentions that activating the Ability will remove certain negative status effects. Thrall: Earthquake now correctly slows enemy Minions and Mercenaries in addition to Heroes. Zagara: Infest will now properly grant bonus Attack Damage to Minions for Siege Damage dealt. User Interface
      In-Game: Fixed an issue which caused certain Heroes’ Trait UI to block players from clicking to view Talent Tiers 10 through 20. (Source)
    • By Stan
      A new Monkey King Samuro skin inspired by Sun Wukong was announced lately and will be released as part of the upcoming Lunar New Year event.
      Gold Club World Championship unveiled a new skin for Samuro. You can view the announcement video below. It has themed abilities for example Critical Strike will trigger his classic fire eyes. 
      Be sure to keep an eye out for the Lunar Festival event in Heroes of the Storm!
    • By Stan
      Next week, Ragnaros will hit test servers. It's likely there will also be a balance update. Trikslyr wrote on reddit that a new balance Q/A is scheduled for December 6 and will last roughly 1.5 hours.
      Trikslyr
      BlizzCon has come and gone, and as we move forward, we’d like to touch base with the community in regards to Heroes of the Storm’s Balance! We’ll be hosting a Q&A on Tuesday, December 6th at 1:30 p.m. PST right here in /r/HeroesoftheStorm, and the following game designers will be here tackle your questions about upholding balance in the Nexus:
      /u/Blizz_Daybringer – Brett Crawford (Balance Designer) /u/BlizzCooper – Matt Cooper (Lead Balance Designer) /u/BlizzNeyman – Alex Neyman (Balance Designer) /u/BlizzAZJackson – Adam Jackson (Balance Designer) /u/BlizzClaudio – Claudio Gentilini (Producer) /u/Blizz_AKlontzas - Alexander Klontzas (Producer) The Q&A will last roughly 1.5 hours, so make sure to post your questions about game balance and live updates in the thread we’ll be creating on the morning of December 6th. We look forward to seeing you there!
      Please note: We’ll also be asking players from non-English speaking communities to partake in the Q&A by submitting their questions to the Community Managers representing their regions. As such, you might see a few Blizzard Community Managers posting questions (in English) on behalf of their communities during the Q&A. Feel free to upvote those questions if you’d like to see answers to them.
      (Source)
      The last balance update dates back to November 15 when Varian was released. We've seen some hotfixes on November 21. My wild guess would be balance update next week and Ragnaros live the week after. Reworked Haunted Mines should be back too.