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  1. 11 points
    Oxygen goes over some of Heroes of the Storm's features that most need improvement. BlizzCon 2017 will be Heroes of the Storm's 4th showing at our favourite yearly event. Since Blizzard has certainly delivered on the esports side of the game with HGC, I thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the game's systems. Here it is, then: Six aspects of Heroes of the Storm that need improvement. I) The Class System This point is extremely complex to discuss because it directly criticizes one of the core aspects of the game, and cannot be separated from resulting issues. I’ll try and break it down as simply as I can. The premise of this discussion point is a firm belief in the following statement: Heroes of the Storm was designed to be played with team compositions that include at least one tank, and at least one healer. I’ll develop this point further, but I’d first like to draw a parallel with World of Warcraft’s 5-player dungeons. In World of Warcraft, dungeons are specifically designed with parties composed of 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 damage dealers in mind. You are allowed to twist party compositions at your own risk, if you can field 5 players willing to partake to the experiment, but the automatic group finding tool will never deviate from the established “1-1-3” norm. Why? Because these dungeons are designed, and tested that way. The damage taken output is normalized for a single healer to handle; the kill timers are made for 3 competent damage dealers to handle; no tank-switching mechanics are present, and so on. I understand that the normalized team composition statement is very bold for Heroes of the Storm because we have all experienced those matches where the above rules were all but respected. But, you may have observed that matches involving irregular team compositions were either extremely long or extremely short, or that they featured absurdly high or absurdly low kill counts. Why do such extremes occur? Not my most memorable performance. Or match. Tanks and healers are what I might call “inhibitors”; they inhibit kills. The sheer resilience of tanks – which is generally about 3 to 4 times that of your typical assassin or support hero – and general access to long-range mobility allows them to scout with relative safety to contribute to the own safety of teammates. Their access to reliable crowd control allows them to protect teammates as well. On the flip side, this crowd control also punishes poor positioning dearly… which is where healers intervene. Healers’ ability to undo damage contributes to safely capturing certain objectives, razing structures, closing out games, and, of course, making mistakes less impactful. Have you ever tried sieging a guarded core without a healer? Unless your team has a 3-man advantage or the help of a map objective, and assuming relatively competent players, this is generally unreasonable to pull off. Structures hit hard in this game, and minions die very quickly. Actually, everything hits hard; most assassins can kill each other in less than 5 seconds; heroic ability combos are devastating and almost always lead to kills. But tanks and healers help reduce these outcomes drastically; they create breathing room, partly due to their defensive nature and utility, and partly due to the fact that they generally have limited or otherwise very situational sustained damage outputs. 6 paragraphs in, and I have yet to explain why this is problematic. Here it is, then: in essence, I feel that matches where tanks or healers are absent are too different from so-called “normal” matches. Lacking either role closes off several strategic options for your team; the game loses strategic depth, and often breaks down to which team fields the greatest abilities to quickly wrench kills away – usually through raw combat mobility or long range poke which makes retaliation difficult. This is not a problem (beyond design intent) when the playing field is even, of course; when both teams do feature irregular compositions, but the playing field is seldom even in this respect. Why? Two reasons, both related to drafting. The first reason deals with player preferences and proficiencies. The tank and healer roles are essential, but by design, less represented in any given team composition. Due to their importance, the skill disparity between two opposing tanks or healers may be felt more strongly than for assassins; in other words I feel it is much less punishing to have to handle a poor assassin player, as team compositions generally feature at least one or two more. This is especially true when considering that tanks and healers tend to require more knowledge and practice to play well. In a random drafting environment, you may find yourself in a situation where neither you nor any of your teammates are proficient at either role versus players that do display proficiency in these roles. Of course, it makes sense to reward players that master multiple roles, but the set drafting order, inability to trade hero picks, and questionable ability to blanket-block all forms of communication with teammates makes coordinating a messy business. This contributes to making the drafting process random at best, and toxic at worst. How? Nobody likes being forced into playing a role they do not wish to play, especially if they know they might perform poorly. But, nobody likes having a sub-par team composition either, nor tilting teammates before a given match has even begun. After all, specializing one’s hero pool and role is the norm for the MOBA genre, not the exception. If a player is stuck playing a role they do not wish to play due to the game’s design heavily promoting specific team compositions, they may set their team at a disadvantage. Would you rather risk something unconventional, or stick to one of your weaker or less interesting roles? In both cases, you are setting yourself up for a potentially frustrating match. The second reason has to deal with drafting and in of itself; what if, for whatever reason, your team did not manage to secure either role? Most players are used to having a certain stability, and while I do not doubt that many would not mind experimenting, not everyone is capable of nor open to doing so. As I see it, the role system exists to guide players very strongly towards what the developers had in mind. We simply need to remember the Varian debacle to see what happens when the intended system fails to function properly. For those of you who weren’t around back then, here’s a recap: Varian, as a multiclass hero that can elect to become a tank or an assassin, used to be considered an assassin for matchmaking purposes. This left Quick Match players in a situation where they were consistently matched against a tank without one of their own. Blizzard addressed the situation by making him a tank for Quick Match-making purposes. This ties in nicely with my next point: Quick Match, as the most played game mode by far, and the “logical” introductory step to PvP, ill-prepares players for drafting. It makes little sense to me to, on one hand, have a well-defined class system around which the game is designed, to then have a game mode that essentially throws the concept of team composition right out the window. As it turns out, tanks and healers are less popular than assassins, which often forces the matchmaking system to deal with an unevenly distributed population of players. It then has to make a choice between creating irregular team compositions, or to keep players waiting for an indefinite amount of time. I’ll also argue that Quick Match, in its current form, tends to put players into an “I play what I want when I want” mindset that translates poorly into other game modes. This would be fine if the natural progression was not Quick Match into Unranked Draft into Ranked Draft, but it is. When you design a game around team play, you need to groom your players into becoming team players from the get-go. If Blizzard is bent on keeping its current role system, Quick Match mode simply cannot continue to exist in its current form. The solution is rather simple: Just like the World of Warcraft dungeon system, and, more closely related, League of Legends’ Draft Pick system, players should simply select the role they wish to play before a given match, and not the hero itself. Enforce a basic 1-tank, 1-healer, 3-assassins/specialists rule. If there aren’t enough tank or healer players around to make queue times reasonable, incentivize players to switch to these roles with gold and experience bonuses that scale directly with how many players for roles are necessary to regulate said queue times. This would have the positive side effect of pushing players towards experimenting with new, different roles, potentially increasing hero purchases, and giving players a better understanding of the game as a whole. The same system should certainly be introduced to non-Team-League-Draft modes as well. For the record, changes to the class system were announced recently. I’m certainly looking forward to attending BlizzCon and reporting on those changes. tl;dr: Heroes of the Storm’s class system puts an inordinate amount of importance on drafting a basic, functional team composition, as individual matches come apart at the seams by design when tanks or healers are not present. The importance of such roles puts a huge amount of pressure on players playing these roles, making them less popular and generally more punishing to experiment with. Quick Match ill-prepares its players for mid- and high-level drafting experiences. II) Lack of Transparency It’s no secret that the MOBA genre is extremely competitive from a business standpoint. Two extremely well established giants – DotA and League of Legends – are estimated to hold over 80% of the genre’s market shares, and have accustomed players to a number of transparent systems. Heroes of the Storm features several systems that could benefit from improved transparency. One of the most broadly discussed subjects in this regards has been the nonexistence of an API for the game. Such a system would essentially allow third parties to use Blizzard’s data to disseminate information about a wide variety of game-related statistics, such as player performance information. This might include information such as experience level and win rates. While alternative ways of obtaining this information do exist as of today, they must rely on clunky user-submitted replay scraping to gather said information, meaning that their success depends directly upon the goodwill of players to feed the system. This presents several problems. First, it is difficult for newer websites to compete fairly with older monopolies, as good data depends on quantity. Second, statistics at different skill levels may be misleading due to low and otherwise uneven player contributions. Third, the ability to “rig” one’s performance by uploading only desirable replays may skew data. Furthermore, some of the more well-known Heroes statistics websites have been notoriously poorly managed and come under fire like clockwork. Whether ill-intentioned or not, this poor management ends up hurting the integrity of the game. Still, I must hold back a bit and admit that I’m thankful – not only as a player, but also as a guide writer – to have a way of accessing such data at all. If it weren’t for third parties, we’d be left in complete darkness with regards to any of the aforementioned information. Could we live without having data about, say, individual hero win rates or talent pick rates? Of course; and we did for a long time. However, I’ll be capricious and quote myself here: “Two extremely well established giants have accustomed players to a number of performance-related information systems.” When trying to create a name for yourself, you need to offer more than the established standard, not less. Regardless of the state of Heroes of the Storm, I feel that having an API or an equally transparent system is extremely important to make your typical MOBA contender feel like a complete game. The first reason is about being able to find concrete information about the metagame. MOBAs are – at their core – complex strategy games; thousands upon thousands of strategic choices and permutations are open to players. Even though outstanding websites do exist to help players out, the complexity and highly competitive nature of MOBAs makes them particularly cutthroat for beginners. Having access to detailed and accurate statistics allows content creators to provide new players with the information they need to get off on the right foot. Veterans, too, can make use of such data to analyze, adapt to, and potentially exploit metagaming trends to their own benefit. Ultimately, information is power for all players, and power is player retention. Information also empowers players in another markedly different way that I might call watchdogging. Without basic data such as win and pick rates, players would never be able to meaningfully criticize the state of the game’s balance. Blizzard developers are known to use individual hero and talent win rates to dictate at least some of their balance changes, as they so often comment. We cry out when things feel poorly tuned or unappealing because we love Heroes of the Storm. But without data, we are left relying on subjective and ineffective hunches to discuss balance; with it, we can support our assertions, and be proactive when things aren’t moving. Having access to exact player statistics also allows players to track and compare their progress, instills players with a sense of competition, and allows for watchdogging of the matchmaking system. I feel I must insist on how difficult proper design- and system-related criticism is to produce without data at our disposal. Transparency might mean exposing yourself to scrutiny, Blizzard, but it also means significantly improving your image, and providing yourself with an effective way of self-regulating. I suppose this is where I mention that the company has been displaying questionable transparency as of late; Overwatch doesn’t have an API either (though it is regularly discussed by Blizzard staff, and scraping websites do exist as well), and Hearthstone players can’t see their win rates or match history. By contrast, Warcraft III still lets you browse its ladder. The creation of an API is not the only way Blizzard can improve its transparency, however. In fact, an API might not even be necessary if all desirable information was simply given to us somewhere or in some form. Some of it is available, such as individual player statistics, but remains hidden behind a clunky, hermetic system that requires you to work through the chat or friends list system to use. In other words, if you want to look a specific player up, they need to be in a chat room with you (general channel, in-game, and so on) or on your friends list. No ladder exists outside of the Grandmaster ladder and unofficial ladders spawned by data websites. The match history log makes no listing of who played with you. There’s no way to see anyone’s mmr (matchmaking rating), including your own, so you can never tell if you’re being matched with and against players of your skill level. And to this I must ask a resounding “Why?” tl;dr: Heroes of the Storm lacks the basic level of transparency other similar games have accustomed players to having. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to assess the quality of the matchmaking system and of balance and design changes. The reliance upon third-party websites for such basic data creates a number of ethical issues. III) The Reconnection System If I were asked to point out the most frustrating element in Heroes of the Storm, this might just be it. If you’ve never experienced being dropped out of match before, for whatever reason – crashes, connection or computer issues, and so on – here’s how it goes: after obviously relaunching the game, you are treated to a screen inviting you to rejoin your game in progress. There are no other options here, not even an exit button; you either hit “Rejoin” to, well, attempt to rejoin the match, or ALT+F4 your way out of Heroes of the Storm. That’s fine; it incentivizes players to not purposefully disconnect from their matches to go and play another match right away. For some obscure reason, however, this screen doesn’t always appear. I’m not sure what triggers this problem, but if this happens to you, you’re done. There’s no rejoining that game, and you’ll be awarded a loss, your rating will feel the consequences of a left game (that’s 600 points – or 3 wins worth of points, on average) regardless of the match’s outcome. You might also earn yourself a leaver status, on top of potential player reports. This is a rather rare occurrence, however. Under normal circumstances, the Rejoin screen will appear, and you’ll hit rejoin, naturally. If the game you’re trying to rejoin is in the process of ending, however (in the Defeat/MVP screens), you’ll be stuck on this screen for an indefinite period of time and have to reboot the game. Again, you’ll be awarded a leave & loss. If the Rejoin button does work, you’ll have to go through the classic Loading screen. Once this is done, you hop right back into the match and get the full control of your Hero and, ready to make a comeback. At least, that's what you'd expect from playing League of Legends, DotA II, or Smite. No. After this short loading period, you’ll experience one of the most bizarre and scary things in Heroes of the Storm: The “Reconnect Successful” screen. It looks like this: Well, is it? Where'd the game go? I’m not certain why it exists, and I certainly don’t claim to understand the underlying systems, but this screen might be best described as some kind of limbo where you hear every sound (including death “bings”) in the match and see every shattered screen from the AI controlling your hero’s inevitable, repeated deaths, in a fast forward kind of replay. As the image above shows, during this time, you’re trapped “catching up” because “the server is X minutes ahead” of you. The quirkiest part of this strange experience, however, is that the time it takes you to reconnect is directly proportional to the current length of the match. On average, you can divide this length by four and end up with a pretty good guess of how long it’ll take you to actually successfully reconnect. Since most Heroes of the Storm matches last between 15 and 20 minutes, disconnecting at any point after 12 minutes means you’ve probably lost, or at least made the match excessively difficult (and more importantly, frustrating) for your teammates. If you do manage to finally reconnect, you’ll have to deal with the AI’s suboptimal talent choices, just to add insult to injury. As it stands, disconnections simply end up being too impactful. Nobody likes their losses (and victories, for that matter) to be defined by outside factors. Online tournaments, too, are affected by this, as thousands of viewers often end up held hostage by the system. I feel like I need to reiterate here that I don’t claim understand how the system works. What I do know is that this is the most frustrating reconnection system I have ever experienced, in any game. There’s no sugar coating this one: The process simply needs to become faster; the dreaded “Reconnection Successful” screen has to go. Players need a way to force the system to put them back into matches if the Rejoin screen fails. AI-controlled heroes need to stop picking talents for you; have we considered implementing a shared unit control system instead? IV) The Replay System Heroes of the Storm’s replay system shares its biggest issue with the reconnection system: Skipping through replays also happens to be an awfully slow process. Jumping to the end of a 16 minutes game took about 2 minutes of loading time, leading me to believe that replays can’t “seek” any faster than their 8x maximum play speed. Thankfully, scanning only has to be performed once; subsequent skipping is much faster. This lengthy initial loading time can still certainly turn off content producers from browsing replays to create highlight reels or showcase certain aspects of the game if they have a number of replays to go through. This also disincentivizes players from reviewing their matches to go over specific events or study certain strategies. Other than that, the replay system is functional, but very bare bones. Blizzard is obviously aware of this because they’ve officially promoted Ahli’s work on a better replay interface. But even with these enhanced features, the system’s polish and features pale in comparison to DotA II’s and League of Legends’ own. V) The Queue System Although I find queues to be on the long side of things, I can at least understand how the system would struggle to find an appropriate match for players with unusually high win rates, let alone 5 of us – and especially when considering that the game’s population is split across six different game modes. What I do find completely unacceptable, however, is receiving the all too familiar “A player you were matched with has disconnected or left the service” message followed by the need to go through the entire queue again. My group typically has to wait between 8 and 10 minutes to find Quick Match and Unranked matches, and often twice as long for Team League matches. Forcing 9 people to go through the entire process is both insulting and inefficient; if the system has found a match, why not just toss all 9 of us back into the queue and just look for one more instead of wasting some 90 minutes of collective time? Again, I don’t claim to understand the system, but other games do it, and for good reasons. This behavior is considered baseline, not exceptional. Awfully typical. VI) The Drafting System Although Heroes of the Storm heavily touts itself as a team-oriented game, I find it rather strange that we still do not have access to a draft hero trading system. I say “still” here because, as with the above features, hero trading is considered commonplace in the MOBA genre. My guess is that, at this point, there was an active decision to not include one. If this is the case, I must protest: On top of promoting draft interactions, hero trading reduces the impact of randomness in picking order. In other words, the system allows specialized late-pick players to focus on their role, and early-pick flex players to cover a broader variety of roles without feeling forced to play high priority heroes, regardless of the randomized picking order. Imagine yourself in a situation where your tank player might be the 4th or 5th player to pick on your team, in a metagame environment where tanks are generally prioritized. As the 1st pick, would you push your dedicated tank player’s away from their role so as to secure heroes considered high tier? As I mentioned earlier in this article, specializing one’s role is the norm, not the exception; the flexibility of this system is needed to reduce the randomness of drafting. I will mention that about a year ago, there were talks of adding such a system to the game. Here’s to hoping the upcoming BlizzCon will bring us good news about this. If the system does end up implemented, blanket chat blocks will have to be reworked to exclude lobbies. Or, at the very least, an indicator should show who isn’t receiving messages so that attempts at communicating aren’t in vain. While we’re at it, I’d also like to quickly touch on the horror that is giving AFK players a random hero instead of outright removing them from the game at hand. I don’t really have an argument for that one; it’s just annoying, and players who are serious about playing should be present for the drafting process. VII) Bonus Comments About Other Systems Here are some other thoughts that I feel don’t really need a dedicated paragraph to be taken into consideration. In no particular order: I’d like to be able to check out mounts in Try Mode. I wish I could use my Stimpacks whenever I please. As it stands, I don’t open Loot Chests unless I know I’ll be playing for a while, and if I do open a Stimpack by accident, I just ALT+F4 my way out of the game to preserve it. I would love to have an item gifting feature for my teammate’s birthday. I don’t particularly care for the forced MVP cut scene after every single match. I rarely see more than 2 people vote anyway; let’s at least have the option to opt out of it. I’d like to be able to check out anyone’s profile, at any time, if I happen to know their BattleTag. I wish my heroes were available across other regions. Players who opt out of receiving messages from non-friends probably shouldn’t be able to whisper other players. Conclusion Heroes of the Storm is relatively feature-rich as far as modern MOBAs go. Unfortunately, many of these features and systems feel unpolished or underexplored when compared to the game's competitors. While it's difficult to tell just how much they affect the game's popularity, Blizzard has a history of continuously improving and supporting its games over their extensive lifetimes. Furthermore, many developer comments hint at improvements for some of the topics underlined in this article to be announced no later than this BlizzCon, making me excited about what's to come. I'll be there in person to report everything, so stay tuned!
  2. 11 points
    I was joking for Li Li. I'm surprised you're not into meme'ing. I defintely rushed writing it out because I literally had to record myself reading the new talents since we're not allowed to film anything, and then type it out. Not my best work, but time was against me. Better this than nothing, yes?
  3. 6 points
    I believe Tyrael needs way more than just mana adjustments...
  4. 6 points
    Finally they fixed this. It was bothering me for a while. I even suspected it was a problem with my internet until I found out many of my friends were having the same issue.
  5. 6 points
    Thats cool. Can't wait to receive 0 loot boxes from my friends lol
  6. 6 points
    An incredibly thorough and well written piece reflecting everything and more the kind of improvements and features HotS players want to see. The reconnect system for me should be a priority, both with the AI control and the catch up after reconnecting makes an otherwise fun game extremely stressful out of nowhere, but things like a gift system wouldn't go amiss either. There are times where I feel like ringing up Blizzard and offering to come and push the HotS engine down to the local garage so it can get jump started. They have been fairly consistent with improving the game in many other areas, I just hope they have a lot of goals that they are aware of and are pushing to reach for next year.
  7. 5 points
    With Season 12 live, Deadset has compiled a list of all our new and updated guides - a useful resource for your time in Sanctuary. Deadset's compilation of all guides for Season 12! Greetings, fellow denizens of Sanctuary! As many of you already know and have slain hundreds of demons with your trusty weapons, Diablo's 12th Season is upon us. Let's delve into the latest events from the battle of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells! -Deadset Why is Patch 2.6.1 a Great Time to Come Back? Patch 2.6.1 sees one of the biggest rebalancing efforts to the game since Patch 2.4, the strongest content Patch of the Reaper of Souls cycle. It builds on every good foundation set by it (class diversity, options for underused skills, introduction of mechanically interesting items) and skyrockets it to post-2.6 damage standards that has seen the likes of Lightning Archon and Trag'Oul Lancer builds. If you have ever craved a patch where multiple builds are considered top tier GR pushers and practically dozens of combinations are completely capable endgame farmers, this is the one. Basics Guides and Conquest Guides Before moving on to class impressions and recommendations, I just want to give a quick pointer to the new basics and conquest guides that I compiled recently. If you are new to the game, returning after a long break, or simply have friends that you want to get into Diablo, give those a read: Beginner Seasonal Guide - an introduction to Seasons, efficient leveling, crafting and gearing; Bounty Farming Guide - how, when, which bounties to do and the builds to do them with; Regular "Nephalem" Rift Farming Guide - quantity, quality and methods for Torment rifting; Greater Rift Farming Guide - rewards, competition and strategic considerations for GRs; Conquest Guides for Season 12 - the fast track to the Seasonal Journey completion. As a guide hub, Icy Veins receives a ton of messages on a regular basis for topics like these - I hope they are of use to the community and answer a lot of questions for Seasons to come! Barbarians Beginner's Guide to Barbarians - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Immortal King - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Barbarian with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Immortal King - Hammer of the Ancients Endgame Build - A top tier, visceral build that emphasizes melee devastation and pulverizes his enemies to the ground with Hammer of the Ancients. Support Barbarian - Group-oriented build that the entire team depends upon for scouting, long range monster pulls and protection from harmful crowd control affixes. Raekor - Furious Charge Endgame Build - A spec that mixes the powers of two sets, combining the all-around utility of IK with the agile Furious Charge devastation of Raekor. Might of the Earth - Earthquake Endgame Build - This spec favors devastating large areas over precise shots, exerts masterful control over the battlefield and sports a very satisfying rotation. Wrath of the Wastes - Whirlwind Endgame Build - With a playstyle distilled to its simplest essence, the build opens runs with Whirlwind and mows enemies down in endless, spinning destruction. Frenzy/Thorns Legacy of Nightmares - More durable than most Barb builds, this spec nails the brutal hand-to-hand melee feel, slicing enemies at incredible speeds. Rend Immortal King - Nearly forgotten, but certainly not powerless, this exotic build bleeds enemies dry with the DoT powers of Rend. Crusaders Beginner's Guide to Crusaders - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Seeker of the Light - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Crusader with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Akkhan - Condemn Endgame Build - This build is the embodiment of the melee spellcaster fantasy, exerting powerful crowd control over monsters and decimating them in waves of holy destruction. Akkhan - Blessed Shield Endgame Build - This build plays on the archetype of using the shield as a weapon, charging it with holy might and reaping an entire field of demons with a single, mighty toss. Akkhan - Holy Shotgun Endgame Build - The Holy Shotgun Crusader is a tanky, impenetrable bulwark of steel that absorbs blows and retaliates in blasts of pure, radiant vengeance. Blessed Hammer Seeker of the Light - The reigning champion of many Seasons, the Hammerdin build is still a beast in terms of AoE damage and solo GR pushing potential. Thorns Invoker - Likely the tankiest build in the game that is able to push into GR110+. Tough, focused and dead simple, this build almost Thorns itself to the absolute endgame. Sweep Attack Rolands - This Crusader build revels in high density rifts, shredding demons to pieces with the highest attack speed possible to the class. Bombardment Legacy of Nightmares - The Bombardment Crusader spec takes assorted legendary items into a highly mobile, autoaiming and visually spectacular Thorns combination. Demon Hunters Beginner's Guide to Demon Hunters - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Natalya's Vengeance - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Demon Hunter with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Marauder - Cluster Arrow Endgame Build - Requiring deep understanding of DHs - the need for positioning and strategic companion placement - this build rewards you with incredible GR potential. Unhallowed Essence - Multishot Endgame Build - This build embodies the lone, brooding archer that reaps entire screens worth of demons in massive, fiery bursts of arrows. Natalya - Rain of Vengeance Endgame Build - This build transforms the elegance of Strafe into a potent tool that resets the cooldown of Rain of Vengeance, resulting in a potent, bursty playstyle. Shadow - Impale Endgame Build - The Impale build emphasizes on singling out and bursting down priority targets, resulting in a ninja-like, elite hunting playstyle. Grenades Unhallowed Essence - A deceptively simple build, whose sustained grenade damage and tanking potential outdoes many of its flashier counterparts. Fan of Knives Legacy of Nightmares - One of the more exotic specs in the game, the LoN FoK build thrives at low health values and turns them to its own advantage - playing with permanent crits. Monks Beginner's Guide to Monks - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Uliana's Strategem - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Monk with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Sunwuko - Wave of Light Endgame Build - This unique ranged Monk playstyle blows demons up in screen-wide, incinerating beams of searing light. Support Monk - Group-oriented build that the entire team depends upon for healing, short range monster pulls and damage reduction from regular attacks. Uliana - Seven-Sided Strike Endgame Build - Widely regarded as the most satisfying build of the class, Uliana enriches the Seven-Sided Strike visual with Exploding Palm detonations. Raiment Shenlong - Generator Endgame Build - The Monk's bread and butter, this build pummels enemies into the ground with the sheer might of the primary fist attacks. Sunwuko - Lashing Tail Kick Endgame Build - Building on the classic Monk image, this spec jump in, whirlwind kicks the demons' teeth in, and jump to the next pack of monsters. Exploding Palm/Mystic Allies Inna - In this Monk take on a summoner build, you rally spiritual fighters at your side that burst entire groups of enemies with Exploding Palms. Necromancers Beginner's Guide to Necromancers - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Trag'Oul's Avatar - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Necromancer with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Pestilence or Trag'Oul - Corpse Lance - This build alternates long scouting sessions while waiting on cooldowns with the utter devastation once Devour meets Land of the Dead. Rathma - Skeletal Mage - If you like to keep a tight rein on your minions with precise commands, leading the menagerie of undead at your side in resource-fueled frenzy, this build is the one for you. Command Skeletons Inarius - Turning the skeleton warriors into a vicious, unrelenting superior to Bane of the Stricken, this build is a Necromancer's one-way ticket to the absolute endgame heights. Skeletal Mages Trag'Oul - This is the alternate take on the Mages build, specializing in extreme speed farming, while still offering capable GR pushes. Bone Storm Inarius - While it took an undeniable nerf, this build is still one of the most relaxing, farming-appropriate melee builds of Necromancers. Corpse Explosion Inarius - An underappreciated offshoot to the close range Inarius variants, this build is among the most visually appealing and satisfying Necromancer builds out there. Witch Doctors Beginner's Guide to Witch Doctors - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Spirit of Arachyr - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Witch Doctor with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Arachyr - Firebats Endgame Build - Requiring minimal upkeep, this build spins a circular, no-aiming-required wave of Firebats obliteration around you. Simple, neat, and utterly effective. Helltooth - Gargantuan Endgame Build - This staple summoner build offers laid-back playstyle with automated minions, excellent sustain and protective options, and even some space for crowd control. Jade Harvester Endgame Build - One of the oldest examples of interesting set execution, this melee spellcaster trades the safety of range and hexes for aggressive dives and DoT consumption. Legacy of Nightmares Spirit Barrage Endgame Build - Emerging from a convergence of obscure mechanics, this build offers a unique, spell-heavy, bursty playstyle that produces some of the most spectacular visuals of the class. Wizards Beginner's Guide to Wizards - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Vyr’s Amazing Arcana - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 12 Wizard with the Haedrig's Gift free set. DMO - Frozen Orb - Combining the Frozen Orb nostalgia of sorceresses past with the forgotten power of Slow Time wizardry, this build leaves enemies helpless, watching their frozen death creep ever closer. Firebird (or Tal Rasha) - Meteor - Reaching for the heartstrings of Meteor lovers, this build channels torrents of arcane energy to conjure destructive, burning meteorites into a pure visual feast. Vyr Archon - The oldest devotees to the Archon playstyle, Vyr and its complementary Chantodo sets got an awesome boost of power in Patch 2.6.1. Tal Rasha - Explosive Blast - Aside from its distinct cannonade of arcane blasts, this build is very attractive to Wizards due to its ability to include Sage's set for materials farming. Arcane Torrent Tal Rasha - Spawning off the addition of Manald Heal this guide offers not one, but three very fun, tanky, non-Archon lightning variants to build around. Conclusion In short, Patch 2.6.1 is one of the best times Diablo 3 has experienced in terms of build diversity and sheer endgame potential. A living proof that pure numbers patches can sometimes work wonders. Have fun and good luck in Season 12 - I leave you with my hour-long overview of some of my favorite builds in the new patch!
  8. 5 points
  9. 5 points
    I really wouldn't mind, but doesn't this constitute as sexual harassment?
  10. 5 points
    So basically Blizz saying : "Fuck you, give us money"
  11. 5 points
    Well pin a rose on your nose.
  12. 4 points
    Ladies and gentlemen, lore mastermind at work. Yes I know this is a transcript error, you must be fun at parties!
  13. 4 points
    RayC stars in Episode 7 of "What's the Move?"! Watch him break down a crazy game he played against Dr. J at Dreamhack Montreal. Ever wondered what goes through a pro player's head as they stare down certain defeat? Watch RayC break down an improbable comeback he mounted against Dr. J at Dreamhack Montreal! Panda Global's RayC joins us for the latest episode of "What's the Move?", where he breaks down an epic comeback he mounted against Dr. Jikininki at Dreamhack Montreal. Join us as RayC discusses the importance of acting quickly, the incredibly utility of one mana Kazakus potions, and much more! I had a blast recording this episode with RayC and look forward to collaborating with him more in the future. We encountered some slight audio issues in our Skype call (which were totally my fault), so I will be sure to correct for this in future episodes. Enjoy!
  14. 4 points
    There is a contradiction in saying "I appreciate the genuine enthusiasm but *insert negative comment here*". It means that you actually don't appreciate the enthusiasm, so just cut to the negative stuff to begin with. Other than that, all news writers are free to express their opinions in their articles. I didn't check any "Top 10 most replayable games" nor did I express Icy Veins as a whole. Diablo III is probably the only game I personally revisit several times per year. On the other hand, for example, I've quit WoW twice in the past and it took me years of being away from it (and actually badmouthing it) before realising the error of my ways and coming back. To sum up, instead of just making a bland article saying "Season 12 started. Go play. Bye", I thought I'd enrich it with a couple of sentences, as well as my opinion. I didn't expect that to come bite me in the behind.
  15. 4 points
    I make a critical mistake which ends up costing me the game. Can you do what I couldn't and find the winning line? In an episode of what could have just as easily been called "What's Not the Move?", I make a critical mistake which ends up costing me the game. Can you do what I couldn't and find the winning line? In an episode of what could have just as easily been called "What's Not the Move?", I make a critical mistake which ends up costing me the game. Can you do what I couldn't and find the winning line? If you're interested in learning more about the concept of "Playing to Outs", check out Part 2 of Legend in the Making here on Icy Veins.
  16. 4 points
    Because when you eat at a restaurant and they serve you burnt food, you apply for a job as their cook.
  17. 4 points
  18. 4 points
    The game really doesn't need to be or remain 1:1 to what it was back in Vanilla. There is lots of room and a lots of opportunities for new content to be added which suits the Classic WoW feel, without having to majorly change gameplay mechanics like they have done with each expansion release. This is something they should have been doing a long time ago, but for some reason they felt the need for expansion releases to completely change classes every time, undoing all the balancing work they had been doing and making them start all over. There is no reason why every class and spec shouldn't be viable in their own way (no, Vanilla WoW nostalgia is not a good reason), they should fine-tune classes so that every dps is viable, every healer, every tank... while keeping the original WoW feel they had to them. What about new content? There were plans for a Dragon raid back before the game came out, which was cut entirely. That could be made and added to Classic servers. What about Hyjal? The zone was fully mapped out, but inaccessible. I'm sure they could do something with it for Classic servers. Silithus? Why not finally finish the zone? Nothing really prevents the addition of new landmasses exclusive to Classic, either. As long as none of the original Classic content is altered in any way (aside from adding new entryways to place like Hyjal), and that they know how to make the content suit the feel of Vanilla WoW, I don't see how that can be a bad thing. How many guilds even made it to Naxxramas back in Vanilla? I don't think adding even higher level raids would be a good idea, but there could be more lower- and entry-level raids added like Molten Core and BWL were. Gives the game more content, more choice for the players (if your guild can't quite clear BWL then you have other raiding options aside from Molten Core, etc.) If all of this worked just fine for Old School RuneScape, there is no reason why it couldn't work for Classic either. They should have incentives like that to play Classic servers by having that kind of cosmetics unlocked for your main account when obtained on Classic. Sure, MMOs change, but removed content is dumb no matter which way you spin it. Classic servers is an excellent way to make all those pre-Cata quests and zones available, and with it, the quest reward appearances that are no longer obtainable. Along with old mounts and appearances from legacy raids that have since been revamped, etc. But of course, people who got them back in the day, or who paid millions on the BMAH for this stuff, will complain, because they want to be special. Give people feats of strength if you owned all of this stuff pre-Classic servers, and those who unlock the items through obtaining them on Classic don't get a feat of strength. Then people still have something to show off how special they are.
  19. 4 points
    But you cant say Sylvanas doesnt look gorgeous
  20. 4 points
  21. 4 points
    As a Stukov main, I totally agree that it would be good if other players could see the timers so they would be able to spread Healing Pathogen more efficiently to the rest of the team. However, I think that having a big timer over other players' heads would end up being a nuisance, since each player already has their own buffs and mechanics to pay full attention to; having another gimmick such as a big ass green timer over their heads could be a problem more than a solution, because they might freak out ("OH MY GOD, it is on me. I HAVE TO SPREAD."). And I think Blizzard knows that. As Stukov, it is your job to position yourself the best as possible to spread the Pathogen. If you have enough communication, it helps a lot. But even when not using voice chats, it is not that hard. I usually pop Pathogen on myself and move towards other players to spread it; I found that to be the best strategy in QM. And it is not that dangerous since the spread radius is quite large, so if you position yourself well enough, you can spread it to everyone without putting yourself at risk. In other cases, I pop it on a frontline and/or diver, as they will charge ahead while the Pathogen spreads to the backline. The HoT effect and green glow is quite enough for the ally to know they have the Pathogen, to be honest. If you're playing with someone who knows that, they will aid in the spreading. I think Blizzard could add a timer if it was very very small, so it doesn't interfere with the other characters UI. Or maybe they could just make the green glow more evident (more "glowy"?). As much as I love playing him, I wouldn't say he is THE BEST HEALER OF ALL. But he is definitely Core Tier material due his healing output and utility, and he is absolutely fantastic in the Double Support Meta, specially when paired with Ana specced for Biotic Grenade. With the healing buff, Bio-Kill Switch heals absurdly high. The thing is: most people are too shy to play Stukov; he doesn't have the right tools to go melee, but he shouldn't be afraid to throw a slap here and there, because the Admiral HITS HARD (200 Basic Attack on level 1 is amazing). One slap sometimes can make all the difference. I'm gonna leave this video here again, so you can understand:
  22. 4 points
    Malthael is more of a slow, painful realisation as you understand you're going to die as a team to 1 floating ghost.
  23. 4 points
    If you're collecting every golden card, you probably have already spent enough money on the game to not be bothered by buying a Blizzcon ticket.
  24. 4 points
    I created subtitles for the video, so if it is hard to understand what Aleco is saying, you can turn them on. If you have any feedback regarding the subtitles, I would really appreciate it as I had never made any before.
  25. 4 points
    I hope Blizzard adds new playable races. Given how the next expansion will most likely be based on Kul Tiras, with ships and water-themed stuff, I really want to see Naga and Tuskarr. As for race customizations, I would DIE to have the option to play as Earthen Northrend Dwarves and Mechagnomes. Some people also want High Elves, but what I want is...
  26. 4 points
    He's going to get a 5-legendary draft now. Perfect synergy.
  27. 3 points
    I think unlocking Allied races is account-wide, so there's no need to repeat anything.
  28. 3 points
    I think people need to stop seeing the word "vanilla" when it reads Classic. Obviously, things like locks having soul shards in backpacks and hunters retaining ammo/mana can easily be kept. Same with feeding their pets to keep them happy can easily remain. The old tech trees, etc. HOWEVER, making a spec viable (like Ret for Paladins, etc) isn't too much to ask. This isn't going to be a carbon-copy of vanilla so stop expecting it to be. If your honest intention is to log back on in "2005", you might as well not bother. A classic remake is NOT a clone and this juvenile rage the player base is displaying is going to get it shut down.
  29. 3 points
    I feel that it should be as close to the original experience as possible. If we wanted a more balanced game then we would just play live.
  30. 3 points
    I have no regrets for posting this. Seriously, they're really testing me with their greed
  31. 3 points
    But isn't that all part of the nostalgic Vanilla experience? :D
  32. 3 points
    You can now purchase a Shadow Fox Plush, based on the in-game pet to support a good cause! Blizzard's donating $18.00 USD from every World of Warcraft Shadow Fox Plush ($30.00 USD) sold between November 9 and December 31. Proceeds will be split equally between the American Red Cross and IRFC. Blizzard (Source) Shadow is already with you in Azeroth, but now you can cuddle up to the real thing! Introducing the latest magical World of Warcraft creature up for adoption in the Blizzard Gear Store: a plush version of Shadow the artful fox, based on the void-touched in-game pet. The Shadow plush features a light-up rune and poseable ears, and comes in a collector’s box to keep Shadow safe. Thanks to you, Blizzard is helping people affected by disasters big and small in the U.S. and around the world. Between November 9, 2017 and December 31, 2017, sales of the plush will help support the American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies—visit Shadow’s page on the Blizzard Gear Store for more information. Summon Shadow into your realm today! The American Red Cross and IFRC names are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion, or political position. For more information about the American Red Cross and the IFRC, please visit redcross.org or ifrc.org.
  33. 3 points
    lol everyone is new at first :) So to answer your question in your options menu you can select elective mode. This allows you to take multiple abilities from the same "tier". So with elective mode on, a barbarian could have both rend and whirlwind on their active bar. It has no restrictions. You can use 4 resource generators, 4 spending abilities, what have you. This is what allows a lot of the end game builds but also allows them to function :)
  34. 3 points
    Yeah. Already would be nice to stop this nerf-wave. Don't need to reach everyone 9/9 before Antorus. I also want to kill Avatar from skill and experience not from nerf (even if I already have around 300 wipes on him).
  35. 3 points
    It does not really matter if it's a guest or a registered user. At the end of the day, we're a community and we're here to help each other, as long as questions are relevant and feedback is constructive. Guests may oftentimes provide valuable feedback, why would we not answer their questions? Sometimes, they're interested in the rationale behind our guides, so we're here to answer that as well.
  36. 3 points
  37. 3 points
    Would be cool if we had different skins for the different Orc clans. Would love to have the Dragonmaw appearance.
  38. 3 points
    They could have done that a long time ago but I guess better late than never.
  39. 3 points
  40. 3 points
    It's like looking back and saying I wish I could be a kid again, then you remember your parents controlled your candy intake and you had to be in bed while the sun was still up.
  41. 3 points
    But can a Shimada control a dragon that T H I C C?
  42. 3 points
    I always adore reading statements like that. Statements from ppl that didn't spend even 1 MINUTE playing with announced changes but they already know what should or not be done. Kinda lame...
  43. 3 points
    Good for them, hope they enjoy it and finally stop complaining about everything on live.
  44. 3 points
  45. 3 points
    I think that's an oversimplification. You'd never want your friend to have to play TLV on their first (hundred) games. As for TLV vs Azmodan, Azmodan is simply more popular, and won't be dead weight in team fights. Remember that the list takes a lot more than win-% into account; versatility is also a factor, among other.
  46. 3 points
    The Hallow's End event is live! Log in today to receive two free packs and a free run at the new multi-class Arena mode. The Hallow's End event is live! Log in today to receive two free packs and a free run at the new multi-class Arena mode. Let the Hallow's End festivities begin! Blizzard's Halloween event has officially hit Hearthstone, and with it has come a number of excellent tricks and treats for players to enjoy. The treats? All player's will receive two free Wisps of the Old Gods packs and one free Arena run for logging in to Hearthstone between now and 10:00 PM PST on October 30th. After a quick update players will also receive two Knights of the Frozen Throne packs and another free Arena run for logging in during the second half of the festival, between 12:01 AM PST on October 31st and 10:00 PM on November 5th. The tricks? All of the in-game hero portraits have been dressed up in Hallow's End costumes, while the Arena has received an update which lets players use two classes at the same time! As you would probably expect from a Blizzard holiday event, the themed costumes add a welcome touch of light-hearted holiday cheer, while the new Arena mode is amazingly fun and chaotic in the best way possible. A few of my favorite hero portraits. The Hallow's End Arena is a must-play experience for all Hearthstone fans. Throughout the duration of the Hallow's End festival players will select two classes for their Arena runs, the first will set your hero portrait and determine the outcome effects such as Swashburglar, while the second will set your Hero Power. Cards from both classes will appear during the draft, allowing players to create some devastating cross-class combos. Allowing two classes to mix their cards together in the same deck elevates the power level of the average Arena deck and leads to some incredibly fun and unpredictable gameplay. The increased number of choices and overall power level of the multi-class Arena corresponds with an higher degree of difficulty in the multi-class Arena. Not only are the in-game choices more challenging, but the class selection and draft process have become more complicated as well. Here are my top tips for the new multi-class Arena: Typically speaking, you want to select a class with high overall card quality as your primary class and a class with a strong Hero Power as your secondary class. The classes with the highest overall card quality in Arena are Paladin, Priest, Rogue, and Druid, while the classes with the best Hero Powers are Warlock, Mage, and Priest. Selecting classes with complimentary characteristics can give you a huge advantage. For example, Warrior has some excellent aggressive cards but a poor Hero Power for pressuring the opponent. Pairing a primary Warrior with a Hero Power that deals damage (such as Hunter, Rogue, Mage, or Druid) could allow you to draft a powerful aggro deck. Players looking to draft a control deck should attempt to pair two classes with strong late-game together, such as Warlock, Paladin, and Priest. The Lightforge has already updated their Arena tier list to reflect the multi-class changes. Check out their tier list here to get some help with the drafting process. The elevated power level of the Arena means there are plenty of powerful minions running around, placing an even higher premium on removal and board clears. Try to prioritize cards in the draft which can kill your opponent's threats. Games seem to snowball out of control in the early game less frequently than they did in the normal Arena format. It's much harder to out-tempo opponents in the early game due to the increased flexibility of the decks, meaning that games are much more likely to be won in the late game due to card advantage. Since aggressive decks aren't very popular right now, it seems like a good idea to draft greedy decks with a higher than normal average mana cost (so long as you're able to draft a healthy amount of removal and board clear to keep you alive in the early to mid game). Please feel free to tell us in the comment section which strategies and class combinations have been working best for you in the new Arena, and have a happy Hallow's End!
  47. 3 points
    To be on the safe side: Just start an arena run. If you don't play a game and it gets shut down next week you will receive the reward for 0 wins. Which is a pack (and a little dust / gold) - that isn't bad at all! And if you don't take time in your draft (if you know for 100% that you won't be able to play with the deck anyway) that won't take longer then 2 minutes.
  48. 3 points
    I miss that duck. Ducks are way more badasses than Ethereals.
  49. 3 points
    just registered to icy veins only to thank you for this awesome article! some stuff i wasnt even aware about, but while reading i was like "hell, yeeah, that's true and i didn't even know better!" biiiig thumbs up! hope this gets shared and blizzard somehow recognizes it! and yeah, let's see what blizzcon has in stores for heroes!
  50. 3 points
    I feel like the AI talent picking could be fixed if you could save talent paths on your profile. The AI would just continue the path based on what you picked.