Damien

Heroes of the Storm Sylvanas

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This thread is for comments about our Sylvanas build guide for Heroes of the Storm.

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It seems a bit strange that the guide opens up by saying that Sylvanas is an assassin, since she's a specialist and doesn't play like most assassins.

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It seems a bit strange that the guide opens up by saying that Sylvanas is an assassin, since she's a specialist and doesn't play like most assassins.

 

Played her so much I forgot she was a Specialist haha

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it\s a great guide, after reading this and practicing more with sylvanas I can carry my entire team.

It's good to have this kind of champion that can do it all and have a high skill cap as well

Edited by Fransoa
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On the level 16 talents, Blood for Blood is "situational" on the icons but under the "recommended" section in the explanations. (And its explanation is outdated.)

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On the level 16 talents, Blood for Blood is "situational" on the icons but under the "recommended" section in the explanations. (And its explanation is outdated.)

Thanks, will have this fixed!

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This guide before it came out, I had this near exact build and it is amazing, hell, blowing up a lane of minions with the ultimate+unstable poison combo, especially if an enemy hero is in the middle of it, is just a great execution and awesome to do. That being said, when is a Abathur guide coming out? I've been experimenting with Abathur after buying him and I just cannot seem to stick with any sort of build, Siege, Symbiote, or some mix, I don't know anymore, I would LOVE to see a proper Abathur build at some point, please & thank you!

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This guide before it came out, I had this near exact build and it is amazing, hell, blowing up a lane of minions with the ultimate+unstable poison combo, especially if an enemy hero is in the middle of it, is just a great execution and awesome to do. That being said, when is a Abathur guide coming out? I've been experimenting with Abathur after buying him and I just cannot seem to stick with any sort of build, Siege, Symbiote, or some mix, I don't know anymore, I would LOVE to see a proper Abathur build at some point, please & thank you!

Hi Xebenatros!

 

I'm actually working on Abathur at this very moment, so expect to see it this week.

 

As for how to build Abathur, the tl;dr will recommend Pressurized Glands, Adrenal Overload, Evolve Monstrosity, Soma Transference, Envenomed Spikes, Hivemind.

 

Hope this helps!

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This build is overall terrible on Sylv, I think you're wasting the  talents, to do just the same as Shadow Dagger. Barbed shot is the worst talent on tier 1 besides corruption, with the wind provides poke, safety and damage, and lost soul provide more damage, and control on minions and tower.
Envenom may be fun on quickmatch, but she's not an assassin, you're not focusing on her strength, paralysis is the best on this tier, as it just freeze enemy forts and minions 2 seconds.

Unstable poison is a strong laning tool, but if you want to make a teamfight carry clearly, the best option is remorseless as it provides overall more damage. If full laning, unstable, otherwise the go to talent is Remorseless. You can use life drain on map like Dragon because of the sustain it provides.
I agree on evasive fire and Bolt of the storm (lot of survival and poke, must have for split push), of course cold embrace, and Bolt of the storm,  even if on map like Battle of eternity,  splinter shot can kite a lot, depends on playstyle.
 

The 3 first talents have a huge impact, and your build is really non competitve to me, I hope you can see why in all respect

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This build is overall terrible on Sylv, I think you're wasting the  talents, to do just the same as Shadow Dagger. Barbed shot is the worst talent on tier 1 besides corruption, with the wind provides poke, safety and damage, and lost soul provide more damage, and control on minions and tower.
Envenom may be fun on quickmatch, but she's not an assassin, you're not focusing on her strength, paralysis is the best on this tier, as it just freeze enemy forts and minions 2 seconds.

Unstable poison is a strong laning tool, but if you want to make a teamfight carry clearly, the best option is remorseless as it provides overall more damage. If full laning, unstable, otherwise the go to talent is Remorseless. You can use life drain on map like Dragon because of the sustain it provides.
I agree on evasive fire and Bolt of the storm (lot of survival and poke, must have for split push), of course cold embrace, and Bolt of the storm,  even if on map like Battle of eternity,  splinter shot can kite a lot, depends on playstyle.
 

The 3 first talents have a huge impact, and your build is really non competitve to me, I hope you can see why in all respect

For a lot of your points, you don't explain why you think X is better than Y. I'll address the points you bring up. Please keep in mind I go into great detail why I pick and why I don't pick each talent. You can find why here.

 

>Envenom may be fun on quickmatch, but she's not an assassin, you're not focusing on her strength

 

Being an "Assassin" or "Specialist" is arbitrary. Sylvanas' role is to provide damage with good pushing power. 

 

>paralysis is the best on this tier, as it just freeze enemy forts and minions 2 seconds.

 

Why? How is that beneficial? If you are attacking a structure, it's going to be permanently stunned anyway, the 2 seconds is wasted.

 

>if you want to make a teamfight carry clearly, the best option is remorseless as it provides overall more damage.

 

Yes, it provides more damage, but only very little. It gives you 1 additional Basic Attack every several seconds, a relatively meaningless amount. Unstable Poison provides you with more benefits than Remorseless.

 

>You can use life drain on map like Dragon because of the sustain it provides

 

It's better to clear waves than restore a tiny amount of health (which your healer should be doing anyway).

 

>must have for split push

 

You should almost never be split pushing.

 

>splinter shot can kite a lot

 

How does Splint Shot kite at all?

 

>your build is really non competitve to me

 

Are you a competitive player? Almost none of the talents you are suggesting are used competitively. The build I have provided includes 95% of all variance in the competitive scene (for Sylvanas).

 

>I hope you can see why in all respect

 

While I enjoy having my views challenged (helping me to see things differently), I have to completely disagree with every point you have brought up. Again, please reference the talent guide, I've written out detailed explanations for every single one of Sylvanas' talents.

 

If you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask :)

 

Srey

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This build is overall terrible on Sylv, I think you're wasting the  talents, to do just the same as Shadow Dagger. Barbed shot is the worst talent on tier 1 besides corruption, with the wind provides poke, safety and damage, and lost soul provide more damage, and control on minions and tower.

Envenom may be fun on quickmatch, but she's not an assassin, you're not focusing on her strength, paralysis is the best on this tier, as it just freeze enemy forts and minions 2 seconds.

Unstable poison is a strong laning tool, but if you want to make a teamfight carry clearly, the best option is remorseless as it provides overall more damage. If full laning, unstable, otherwise the go to talent is Remorseless. You can use life drain on map like Dragon because of the sustain it provides.

I agree on evasive fire and Bolt of the storm (lot of survival and poke, must have for split push), of course cold embrace, and Bolt of the storm,  even if on map like Battle of eternity,  splinter shot can kite a lot, depends on playstyle.

 

The 3 first talents have a huge impact, and your build is really non competitve to me, I hope you can see why in all respect

For a lot of your points, you don't explain why you think X is better than Y. I'll address the points you bring up. Please keep in mind I go into great detail why I pick and why I don't pick each talent. You can find why here.

 

>Envenom may be fun on quickmatch, but she's not an assassin, you're not focusing on her strength

 

Being an "Assassin" or "Specialist" is arbitrary. Sylvanas' role is to provide damage with good pushing power. 

 

>paralysis is the best on this tier, as it just freeze enemy forts and minions 2 seconds.

 

Why? How is that beneficial? If you are attacking a structure, it's going to be permanently stunned anyway, the 2 seconds is wasted.

 

>if you want to make a teamfight carry clearly, the best option is remorseless as it provides overall more damage.

 

Yes, it provides more damage, but only very little. It gives you 1 additional Basic Attack every several seconds, a relatively meaningless amount. Unstable Poison provides you with more benefits than Remorseless.

 

>You can use life drain on map like Dragon because of the sustain it provides

 

It's better to clear waves than restore a tiny amount of health (which your healer should be doing anyway).

 

>must have for split push

 

You should almost never be split pushing.

 

>splinter shot can kite a lot

 

How does Splint Shot kite at all?

 

>your build is really non competitve to me

 

Are you a competitive player? Almost none of the talents you are suggesting are used competitively. The build I have provided includes 95% of all variance in the competitive scene (for Sylvanas).

 

>I hope you can see why in all respect

 

While I enjoy having my views challenged (helping me to see things differently), I have to completely disagree with every point you have brought up. Again, please reference the talent guide, I've written out detailed explanations for every single one of Sylvanas' talents.

 

If you have anymore questions, please feel free to ask smile.png

 

Srey

 

Srey, you ripped this poor guys statements to pieces..

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My big questions are on the level 1 and level 7 talent choices. I feel like unstable poison and barbed shot provide much the same benefit-better waveclear, and so they are largely redundant. Generally, as the overall talent choices are weaker on level 7, I prefer to take unstable there but take with the wind at level 1. The bonus range puts sylvanas in a much safer position, especially considering how squishy she is. At level 7 you should be able to clear waves extremely quickly anyways, even without barbed shot. Other than that, I do really enjoy this build.

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My big questions are on the level 1 and level 7 talent choices. I feel like unstable poison and barbed shot provide much the same benefit-better waveclear, and so they are largely redundant. Generally, as the overall talent choices are weaker on level 7, I prefer to take unstable there but take with the wind at level 1. The bonus range puts sylvanas in a much safer position, especially considering how squishy she is. At level 7 you should be able to clear waves extremely quickly anyways, even without barbed shot. Other than that, I do really enjoy this build.

You, in my point of view, are seeing this in a simple way, meaning you only see the "damage", see the bg picture, if you can proc the explosion faster you can clear the wave a lot more easier, meaning your wave of minions will push with a lot more health, more ammo is used to take them down, take in mind that im considering presure from the enemy team and you dont have that much of a window to be able to stunlock the towers because of them.

 

Now for the interesting part, if you are able to take down the minion wave WITH a hero inside, its better to do it quick so that they take the damage.

 

This are some points of view, maybe there are a lot more out there

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My big questions are on the level 1 and level 7 talent choices. I feel like unstable poison and barbed shot provide much the same benefit-better waveclear, and so they are largely redundant. Generally, as the overall talent choices are weaker on level 7, I prefer to take unstable there but take with the wind at level 1. The bonus range puts sylvanas in a much safer position, especially considering how squishy she is. At level 7 you should be able to clear waves extremely quickly anyways, even without barbed shot. Other than that, I do really enjoy this build.

You, in my point of view, are seeing this in a simple way, meaning you only see the "damage", see the bg picture, if you can proc the explosion faster you can clear the wave a lot more easier, meaning your wave of minions will push with a lot more health, more ammo is used to take them down, take in mind that im considering presure from the enemy team and you dont have that much of a window to be able to stunlock the towers because of them.

Now for the interesting part, if you are able to take down the minion wave WITH a hero inside, its better to do it quick so that they take the damage.

This are some points of view, maybe there are a lot more out there

Thanks for the help. I see your reasoning here, I guess I'll have to try it out a bit more.

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Thank you for the coolest guide ever, are you going to update it considering new heroes and map came to life?

Thanks! Yes, the guide will be continuously updated as things are added.

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You are on CRACK. Envenom is an AWEFUL talent! Paralysis with overwhelming affliction adds a 25% slow to enemies  for 2 seconds. Unlike withering fire, it's aoe and can be used with ANY of her abilities. Trash sylv noobs depress me. Paralysis also allows for farther travelling of the black arrows to enemies, so if theyre on the other side of a large creep wave chances are your dagger will have time to spread to them

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I like this build but had three comments that I'd like to make.  First, the 2 sec stun is not that great on towers, sure.  But do you know what it is great on?  Minions waves and camps.  I can easily solo merc camps with that talent because it keeps them all paralyzed longer when i shadow dagger or banshee wave them,  Therefore, I don't get hit as often.  There's where the talent shines, not on towers.

 

2nd, you dismiss the healing of Life Drain, saying that one can just run to the well to heal.  But I can tell you that chucking a dagger at a minions wave, especially on a big one like on Spiders provides tremendous healing, even during a team fight or if I'm just running by.  You assumed I'm only using that in team fights, but the reality is that minion waves are common, and it's free healing, even during a team fight. I have gone from low health to 3/4 by doing this, which saves time not having to run back to a well, which might be on CD anyway.

 

Finally, I do agree that Bolt of the Storm is a great talent, and should be considered every time.  However, I have switched to Fury for a couple reasons.  First off, you already have 30% increased speed from Evasive Fire, and if you took With the Wind, people have a very hard time killing you already, especially with Banshee Wave.  But what Fury gives you is an insane ability to clear even 4 man merc camps in seconds.  It's truly scary how fast she can cap those with this talent.  It also really helps against the spiders, bosses, and anything else that isn't a hero, like forts and cores.  Yes, sylvanas already does this well, but this turns her into super girl and this talent is well worth it.  This one is definitely only a preference, Bolt is a fine choice too.

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Hey Srey, 

I enjoyed the guide and I managed to try the build in QM. I was playing Sylvanas in a complete different way and I found pretty hard to move to your spec, but I gave it a try and it worked well.

I'd like to ask you a couple of clarifications regarding the choice of a couple of talents. In order to do so I have to explain my usual build and the way I played her first. (I know that a few talents might sounds really bad but they change accoriding to the map.

Build:

1. With the Wind (exceptionally Lost Soul, in TF maps like Eternal Conflict)
4. Ranger's Ambush
7. Life Drain
10. Wailing Arrow
13. Evasive Fire
16. Cold Embrace
20. Bolt of the Storm (exceptionally Fury of the Storm if the fight needs quick bruise camp farming or lane cleaning, more important in late game than early)

Overall, my plays with Sylvanas were focused on half hero damage and damage support for assassins/tanks and half lane presence. Her damage is already high and because she cannot stand stuns I normally increase the range of the arrows to be safer.
Ranger ambush is great for escape (and synergizes with Evasive Fire) as well as for chase and gives you enough damage to finish enemies instantly.
Life drains gives you great sustainability and grants you a lot of time that you can spend in lane without recalling. It's a bit tricky because some maps don't have enough minions, but 5/6 enemies are enough and is a great counter to dots (like Lunara, Xul, Stitches or Nazeebo).


The Unstable Poison combo is pretty amazing when enemy heroes are surrounded by a bunch of minions (maps like Tomb of the Spider Queen are perfect for it), I only had to change my positioning to make that talent work at best. You play around them and I normally pick talents that works around my play style.
Anyway, everything was good but I do not understand the Envenom talent. You said that is 80% more damage than all other talents can grant you, and that's fine. Unfortunately, the CD is 60 seconds. Which is a lot for that amount of damage, while Ranger's Ambush only has an 8/10 seconds CD, the overall damage seems to be pretty increased on that way and you won't have the chance to waste a key because Poison grants enemy enough time to escape, wait for CD, get healed by a friendly champion and so on).

The range of poison is also very short and I found really hard to poison enemies and survive, getting too close with Sylvanas is dangerous.

That's my only point, any suggestion on how to make envenom work at best? 

I know that the way I use it might sounds crazy and I'm definitely moving from Life Drain to Unstable Poison as it grants more damage overall. Just won't be able to learn how to use that 1 key!

Great job anyway, the guide is really accurate.

Cheers!

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I want to make some comments on the new update. 

 

I'm ok with the Wailing arrow build.  I think its a good general build.

 

Mind control, i think is a bit weird.  Those talents don't necessarily play to mind controls strengths, so you could really pick either heroic using the 'wailing arrow build'.  

 

First (lvl 1) Paralysis, is only useful for pushing buildings and camps.  So its more of a 'pushing talent' while Overflowing quiver is a quick wave clear talent.

 

Next, the synergies with lvl 4 and 16 talents, If you're going with the slow at 16, you really should pick up the extra range on Q at 7 (With the Wind).  It just makes sure you're sticking to your target or getting them away from you. This is only overridden if you pick up the level 7 talent Barbed shot, where Withering Barrage will make more sense (again good wave clear)

 

I don't see a reason to pick unstable poison any more since this nerfed version competes with barbed shot. Unstable poison is only good in lanes, while barbed shot is good on even more things that poison would not be.  With the lvl 1, 4, and 7 talents in the 'wailing arrow build' That is always going to be better overall utility and wave clear than unstable poison. 

 

Back to Withering Barrage vs With the Wind, usually I'll always take Withering Barrage, but on smaller maps that don't need much lane presence, or with team mates soaking lanes better than I can, I will take With the Wind becasue it makes 16 better.

 

Lastly, I can see your reasons for lvl 13 talent choices.. Though I personally still would much rather Will of the Forsaken with mind control to try to stop a potential stun or even outplay an Illidan hunt.

 

 

In conclusion: 
Your Wailing Arrow build work well for both heroics, but I feel the MC build is misleading and doesn't synergies well with other talents.

 

(7)With the Wind works best with (13)Overwhelming Affliction, though it can do well with (13)Evasive Fire

(7)Withering Barrage works best with (13)Evasive Fire and (7)Barbed Shot

 

(1)Paralysis doesn't work well with any other talent, but (1)Overflowing Quiver doesn't do that much either (maybe only with (7)Barbed Shot).  Paralysis should really just be a niche talent for team fighting under structures.

 

(13)Will of the forsaken should possibly be a (?) with Mind Control to stop you from getting stunned out of it.

 

Hope this helps, ask any questions I may not have explained correctly.

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I want to make some comments on the new update. 

 

 

Mind control, i think is a bit weird.  Those talents don't necessarily play to mind controls strengths, so you could really pick either heroic using the 'wailing arrow build'.  

 

First (lvl 1) Paralysis, is only useful for pushing buildings and camps.  So its more of a 'pushing talent' while Overflowing quiver is a quick wave clear talent.

 

 

 

That is not true. Paralysis works with Overwhelming Affliction, which is the major reason I recommend picking these two talents together. 

 

 

 

 

Next, the synergies with lvl 4 and 16 talents, If you're going with the slow at 16, you really should pick up the extra range on Q at 7 (With the Wind).  It just makes sure you're sticking to your target or getting them away from you. This is only overridden if you pick up the level 7 talent Barbed shot, where Withering Barrage will make more sense (again good wave clear)

 

 

 

Was meant to go for With the Wind indeed. Will correct. 

 

 

 

 

I don't see a reason to pick unstable poison any more since this nerfed version competes with barbed shot. Unstable poison is only good in lanes, while barbed shot is good on even more things that poison would not be.  With the lvl 1, 4, and 7 talents in the 'wailing arrow build' That is always going to be better overall utility and wave clear than unstable poison. 

 

Unstable Poison still clears Minion waves faster than Barbed Shot, which allows you to rotate more quickly. Also, it is more efficient against enormous Minion waves, which becomes particularly important on maps like Tomb of the Spider Queen. 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, I can see your reasons for lvl 13 talent choices.. Though I personally still would much rather Will of the Forsaken with mind control to try to stop a potential stun or even outplay an Illidan hunt.

 

 

 

Will of the Forsaken is terrible in my opinion. A 60-second cooldown on a talent that has virtually no use while out of team fight. Will of the Forsaken is an escape-overkill, as one Haunting Wave should be enough to get you to safety. Furthermore, careful positioning before casting Mind Control makes Will of the Forsaken redundant. 

 

Last but not least, Overwhelming Affliction is fantastic if used with Mind Control. If the mind-controlled survives the duration of Mind Control, you can immediately slow it tremendously while it is still surround by your allies. 

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You have points on all of them. Especially the one about Paralysis, I didn't take that duration into account for the slow.

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      Will we ever see new models for BW and Arthas?
      BTW you guys do fantastic work and I'm going to college this year to start working towards a job in your industry! It's my dream to be able to do what you guys do keep it up!
      Given the community's intense desire for an answer on this topic, I'll do my best to answer as directly as I can.
      The Heroes team as a whole is aware of this request and we have had many discussions on how best to approach the rework. Unfortunately a rework like this would affect many departments (design, modeling, animation, fx, tech art, engineering, etc.) and given our development bandwidth, we have to weigh the work it would take vs. what else we could be making in that time (other new heroes, skins, feature support, etc.). That said, we don't currently have any timelines for these reworks since we want to weigh the cost of doing them with all of the exciting new content we currently have in the works.
      We absolutely appreciate the passionate feedback that we get on the topic and we hope you'll continue to let us know what you think could be improved as well as what you love about the current version.
      In the past, folks at Blizzard have said they will update Probius's Pylons, Cannons, and Gate colors to match his skin tint. Is this still happening? Should we hold out hope for other ability updates to be recolored to match their skin tints too? Some examples:
      Void Illidan uses purple blades but they become green when he uses Metamorphosis Dreambreaker Thrall is green but uses red lava-themed abilities Crimson Special Ordinance Raynor is red but his Banshee is blue Hi Vambage, thanks for bringing this up. It's great to know updating Probius' ability models is still wanted. This is something that is still on the backlog for a rainy day. We also try to keep this in mind with all new skins we create. With regards to the other examples you give, in some cases a hero’s abilities can’t be adjusted to perfectly match an alternate appearance (i.e. a skin that’s a different color) due to the importance color has on communicating whether an ability is damaging or healing. Green and red are particularly tricky—if something that is red is turned to green, it can be mistaken as something that is safe and non-damaging. It can have an impact on gameplay that Design likes to keep an eye on, but every case is different, and we always like to review.
      Most of the skins don't have abilities matching with the tint used, like any Probius skin where the pylon will always be yellow/blue, even when using another color. Some skins have abilities matching with the tint like Queen of Ghost Kerrigan. Why is that the case and do you have any plan on changing it to make it more consistant?
      Hi! We avoided creating a hard and fast rule to always match abilities with their tint as the overhead from such a commitment could constrain us to the point that it meant less new things like heroes or skins in the long run. It’s a fine line that we try to balance skin-to-skin, but we’ve always wanted to go back specifically to Probius’ ability models as we agree that consistency there would be great. It’s just a matter of when we can prioritize this work, so please continue giving input on which heroes would benefit most from these efforts and we'll take that into consideration. Thanks!
      What is your creative and development process for selecting which heroes get what skins?
      Greetings! Our process for selecting skins involves a combination of creative passions, production bandwidth, and timing. Above all, concept and theme are king. Our top priority is always to create skins that our team is excited about, and that we think our players would be excited about. Sometimes we start with a theme and think of what heroes would be a great fit. Other times the heroes themselves are the inspiration for an idea.
      From there, we try our best to balance all the ideas against our ability to create them. Some heroes are MUCH more time consuming to create skins for and we have hard choices to make when one skin may take considerably more time across many more people to get in game. Along the way, we look at everything from hero popularity to skin implementation complexity to how often players are equipping existing skins for heroes. At the end of the day, we try to bring as many unique, compelling, and varied skins to the game as we can, for as many players as possible.
      Like everything we do, this process is constantly evolving, and I've been thrilled with the themes, variety, and quality of the skins so far this year. And there are sooooo many awesome new skins in the pipe that I can't wait to get in the game, too!
      We didn't see an animated home screen for Yrel when she was released. Do they take too many resources to make and are from now on dropped, or was this a rare exception?
      I really liked the home screens in the past. I wish there was a way to let me choose a specific one from the past when I log in.
      I also really liked those home screens, but they were seriously an incredible undertaking that took a lot of people offline for a long time. Plus, we have these incredible artists creating beautiful concept pieces that really deserve a chance to shine.
      Furthermore, there is so much more we want to show you, and that stuff is equally deserving of space on the home screen -- stuff like upcoming events, and all the other content that we're always working on. Oftentimes, we'll be making cool things for you guys and have no obvious way of telling you where to check it out aside from patch notes.
      In the end, having the 2D homescreen allowed us to show off our beautiful art and surface to you the things you might be looking for without taking 15 people offline for a few weeks to do it.
      And that's more time for those people to make even newer, even cooler content. ?
      Circle of life.
      What are some touches you've put on a model, or character that you were REALLY proud of that we might have missed? Something where after you were finished you called over your boss, showed him/her, yelled 'Nailed it', made some pseudo-obscene gesture, and walked out for the day.
      You help make the game come to LIFE. You made Leoric lumber, you made playing him FEEL lumbering. To be able to make ME feel that way when I am playing him (or any character) is truly a feat. I want to know more about something you've done to a character so I can more truly appreciate your hard work.
      "Something where after you were finished you called over your boss, showed him/her, yelled 'Nailed it', made some pseudo-obscene gesture, and walked out for the day." HAHAHAHA - I would neeeeeever. ?
      As for your question – Chromie is probably one of the heroes that I am most proud of. When I started working on her, I'd never animated something seriously 'cartoony' before -- pushed timing, held poses, crazy mid-air jumps and things. She came hot on the heels of Dehaka -- realistic monster bro. It was tough to switch gears, but I feel like in the end I squeezed cute-gnome-personality into every piece of her kit.
      The one thing you might have missed, as we didn't want it to happen to often, is that if you begin walking by clicking far enough away -- Chromie will actually start her walk cycle with a little jump instead of just running. (Similar functionality to how the bikes do a wheelie)
      Speaking of Dehaka, he also has several walk variations. He looks side-to side while walking around (the little sneak is always prowlin') and every once in a while he gives a solid hobble onto his good arm to help him along.
      I see you play Tyrande... one of the first things I did on the team was fix a deformation issue on Tyrande's gluteus maximus, which was quite visible in the hero selection screens and was the butt of many jokes. Without any patch notes mentioning the change, Reddit somehow noticed! That made my day and is still one of my most memorable moments working on Heroes of the Storm.
      As for something that you may have missed... Cho'gall was such a large hero that we added extra joints to his skeleton to add realism to how his massive body moves. I'll leave it up to you to find those extra joints ?
      There are so many portraits in HotS but we can only use one at a time. What do you think about adding a portrait loadout slot so we could use different portraits with different loadouts, to be used on loading screen?
      This is something we've discussed and we like the idea a lot. No timeline for getting it in game yet, but it's definitely on our radar.
      When are we getting Janitor Leoric?
      The team as a whole loves seeing the bucket of ideas that the community is always creating! And Janitor Leoric is such a clean concept, it would be a shame to sweep it off the table…
      Alexstrasza's face looks a little stretched out horizontally in the hero bar at the top of the screen and in the observer/replay UI. Is it a trick of perspective or is it actually messed up somehow? Link:
      https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthestorm/comments/8v2wk5/its_been_nearly_8_months_blizzard_isnt_it_time/
      This is unintentional! I watch too much HGC to not be aware of it -- We're definitely on it!
      Can we expect Ragnaros to get skins (or recolors) that are not red, orange or yellow? Something purple or green will be great. But he's the 2-nd oldest hero with only 3 skins.
      It's something the team would love to do, but the biggest hurdle for Ragnaros is the heavy load of FX work associated with him. The model recolor would be easy to handle but FX would not only have to touch a myriad of FX, they would also be on the hook for maintenance of those skins should any issues arise. At the end of the day we have to consider whether or not the resources spent for a single Raganaros skin/recolor is more meaningful to our players when the time could have been used for multiple new skins or recolors instead. It's a balancing act, but one that we would eventually love to make the time for.
      I know this isn't exactly "art and animation", but more likely "organisation of the art in the collection", but I don't think I can ask this in the other coming AMAs either, so I'll go ahead and post this here: Can we get better organisation on the sprays and portraits in our collection? Getting filters for the different unverses and filters for "sketches", "herostorm", "stylized", "indigo", "classic", "nexus", "achievement", "event", etc, would greatly help with finding what you are looking for, and it will make the collection seem less messy.
      I'll bring this up as part of our ongoing discussions on evolving the collection. Thanks for the feedback!!
      I liked and missed master skins, not the exclusivity of them (okay maybe a little bit), but it was fun to have over the top versions of the base skins. Did you enjoy re-imagining decked out versions of each hero?
      Absolutely ? One of the joys of early HotS skin development was giving a Heroes twist to the established heroes coming into our game from other universes. We will still drop “Master level” skins from time to time, but we hope you’re also enjoying the themed skin bundles as well!
      What hero was the most fun to design/animate?
      For me it was Dehaka!
      I was a hardcore Zerg player in BW and SC2, so it was exciting to be able to help bring Dehaka to the Nexus. One of the reasons I love the Zerg is their obsession with evolving. Our Art Director had a cool idea to help sell this fantasy: Dehaka's arm would regenerate once the player accomplished something, in this case, when they picked a heroic ability. This was both challenging and very fun to execute on. The fully grown arm had to line up perfectly to the severed one. This was also the first time a hero's model changed significantly after picking a heroic in our game.
      Thanks for the question YugoBetrugo17! It's very hard to pick just one, as one of the great things about Heroes is the variety of characters we get to animate and design. Animating Alarak was a lot of fun because of his weapon design. But Lili was also fun because it's not every day you get to animate a character skipping. Not sure when that will happen again!
      For me it was ALSO Dehaka!
      I started my life at Blizzard as an intern on StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, where we first met Dehaka, and I fell in love. By the time I got there, Dehaka was already animated, but I thought the concept of his character - this badass primal zerg - was SO awesome I jumped at the chance to give my own take on him.
      Plus I got work with a pretty cool Tech Artist. (PS: Happy Birthday, Billy!)
      Why aren't we getting banners as often as we should? There are plenty of banners that could/should be added, but we are only getting banners for events, and not regular ones ?
      We think banners are a fun way to customize your character and we'll continue to invest in them even more moving forward! Banners were originally difficult to distinguish or associate with a given player, but in the past year, we've added the ability to see the owner of the banner (in text form) in-game, along with adding it to the MVP screen. As part of this expanding support, we'll be releasing more banner content in future patches that not only celebrates our events, but also our Heroes, skins, and the game as a whole. We hope you like them, and please keep those requests coming!
      When animating a character that has seen a previous iteration in the Blizzard universe (as is almost always the case) how much inspiration do you draw from the original iteration, and how much do you create fresh?
      In the case of a game like OW, are you able to directly port over animations, or do you end up creating everything from scratch anyways?
      Bonus (and more important) question: Waffles or pancakes?
      In general, when setting out to create an existing Blizzard hero, we collect reference materials from across the company with the goal of making the hero fit in the Nexus while still staying true to their other incarnations. We often will get in touch with other game teams to get their feedback as well as their buy-in on what we are doing. In the case of Overwatch heroes, we do not port over animations directly. We do heavily reference them though!
      Waffles FTW.
      How much of the artwork that finds it's way into the games is just one of you, doodling and brainstorming by yourself, it gets traction w/the others in the team. Or is all the artwork made by commité?
      I think the team does an exceptional job of being mindful of the collaborative mentality. However, every good idea's gotta come from somewhere!
      D.Haka, for example, came about because my buddy and I were making jokes while queing for QM during a lunch break. Chromie's sand-clone dance was something I begged FX for and we were able to make happen, and her Taunt, when the dragon appears, is something I mocked up a working protoype for and pitched to the team.
      One of the most fantastic and most surprising things I've found working as a game developer at Blizzard is the seriously incredible sense of ownership over the work I'm creating. We have teams, there is an approval process, and yes, direction often comes down from on high -- but every voice really does matter. My opinions are valued, and good ideas are acted upon no matter what the source.
      Lana: What was your favorite animation to work on and why is it Enforcer Morales' hairflick?
      Hahahahah -- That was a fun one! I begged to work on even just a tiny piece of Enforcer Morales, and was very lucky that I finished up Enforcer Jo quick enough to sneak in a hearth for Morales between other tasks.
      Favourite animation to work on, however? Gotta be my boy Dehaka.
      What heroes/effects were particularly hard to animate?
      Stukov! This boy was challenging from a number of angles:
      Technically -- Making sure that his various FX were correctly connecting to his base model. Massive shove, in particular was exceedingly challenging to get working 'just so' and it took an incredible effort from all disciplines to get it where you see today.
      Artistically -- Stukov is a stoic military bro who is ashamed of the monster he's become. I went to school to animate monsters -- all I wanted to see was Stukov go full Rage Mode with that Zerg limb, but he's supposed to be restrained. Calm. (Compelling character -- but what an obnoxious justaposition!) Keeping a half-man half-alien looking upright and put together on the battlefield.. but also threatening and tough. Not exactly the simplest task.
      Emotionally -- Now, this is getting real deep into animation nerddom, but I really struggled with getting his acting choices just right! In the end, I'm pretty satisfied with the balance I found. It's probably best seen in his Quick Match hero select screen:
      When Stukov is out of combat, he stands with his arm tucked behind him - as he wants to present his best most human self to you.
      Upon hitting ready, Stukov looks at his arm, resigned, and says 'Victory above all' - because winning battles is more important to him than his cosmetic flaws, and he will use every advantage he has in order to do so.
      When he's readied up, he has forgotten any insecurities and is ready to fight.
      And when Stukov unreadies, it's almost as if he's coming to his senses. As if, perhaps the animalistic, zerg mentality has affected more than just his arm, and he's back to his militant, disciplined self.
      Thanks for the question, kid-karma:
      We are constantly pushing ourselves to do innovative and challenging things for new heroes. Some of these challenges will be invisible to our players by the time they ship, so this is a good opportunity for us to shed some light on what we went through.
      For myself, Ragnaros was particularly hard. He went through various iterations in art and design, so his character rig had to change multiple times to accommodate. One thing to call out specifically is Ragnaros' "flame base." To prevent the spinning texture from flipping around when a player moved him, we needed a way to lock it down to always face the camera. To do this, we separated the flame base from the rest of him and re-attached it back in game. This made it hard for the animator to know what he was doing inside our animation program because a significant part of Ragnaros was not moving as it would in the game. The animator had to use a lot of his imagination when doing his work. ?
      Ragnaros' custom mount was also tricky. It was our first time introducing a mount with a dynamic trail. This introduced new technology to our Heroes and required a lot of interaction and iteration between Tech Art, Engineering, Animation, and FX. We now use this technique on the various water mounts in the game.
      It seems like Standalone hero reworks are coming with new skins. Is this something we can expect in the future?
      Hello! Our recent reworks from Sonya & Medivh through Raynor & Azmodan have been paired with everything from new takes on existing skins to entirely new skins. With future reworks, we'll continue to have similar skin support across that range, though note that it's much more important to us to get the right rework at the right time for gameplay purposes rather than aligning a rework with a skin.
      Overwatch has victory poses and taunts available in lootboxes, will we ever see anything like that in HotS?
      Hi Imephraim! That's a really fun question, it's an idea that gets brought up every now and then internally too. I can tell you there are currently no plans to do this but it's still an idea I'd like to hang onto. It requires a lot of technical hookups in the game before it would be possible that aren't currently at a high priority, but beyond victory poses and taunt animations, I think a Hearth animation you can choose in your Loadout would be fun too.
      Hey /u/Blizz_LanaB, great job on Yrel, she looks amazing though I have a question. Did you get to animate her wings too or was that somebody else or the FX guys?
      Thanks!
      I animated them, as well! The motions at least -- our amazing FX artist was responsible for making them look so beautiful, otherwise.
      They were a little tricky, because the wing rig lives in a separate file and then is attached to the model once they are in the game together -- so it's a little funny animating them as separate pieces -- but I think they turned out great!
      The Lost Vikings haven't gotten new skins (or even recolors) ever. Any plans to change that?
      Eventually, yes. The primary hurdle for The Lost Vikings is that it is a "three models for one Hero" situation. Building three new models is quite a commitment, so a new skin for them is something we have to clear time for. But I'll go ahead promise that recolors WILL happen! ?
      The extension of certain skin-themes in events like Herostorm or Raiders of Warchrome have been a delight. Can we expect similar events to expand on other skin-themes in the future?
      As long as the community is engaged and passionate for a skin theme, we would love to continue exploring those themes! ?
      Something me and many of my friends have noticed, is that a lot of the Heroes character models are muscular and chunkier than their other video game counter parts, Is there a particular reason for this?
      Yes! We try our best to maintain the key elements that make those heroes who they are, however, when a new hero or skin comes into our game we have to take into account how those models are seen by the player. Because our game has a RTS-style isometric view, we often need to exaggerate proportions so that the asset is easily readable and identifiable from our game camera. Having said that, our game has evolved over time and with new features like Heroes 2.0 loot chest and collection views, we've been adjusting our modeling process to account for close up views as well.
      What were some of the difficulties the team ran into when making/animating Alexstrazsa's dragon form? And can we be hopeful to see more like that in the future?
      The biggest issue we ran into was the size of the dragon - we knew we wanted to have her in dragon-form out on the battle field, but to do so effectively proved a challenge. How do we ensure we're adding to the gameplay experience rather than obscuring it?
      There was a lot of back and forth on the scale of her dragon form between art and design, but ultimately, it was our incredible engineering team who helped us cultivate a powerful and performant experience using turning tech.
      Most heroes can turn on a dime and it's no problem, but a massive dragon pulling a 180 in a single frame is visually abysmal and breaks the immersion of the dragon fantasy. The tech enables us to have 'turning' animations for the dragon that we blend in/out of, so we can actually have the model bend and face the direction she wants to go as she turns, rather than popping in the opposite direction.
      This is a question for each artist/animator: If you could redo one hero from scratch, who would you choose? Could be one of yours or someone else’s work.
      Kerrigan! One of my favourite characters from lore (and I play her all the dang time). I was lucky enough that I got to animate a skin for her -- had a chance to animate a legendary homescreen and a few custom animations -- but I'd love the chance to do my take on her kit in full!
      How much work goes into making a legendary skin with unique animations and/or sound effects? If you decided today to make a new legendary skin for a hero, when would you guess it would be ready for release?
      Artistically, it's typically the same amount of work for a brand new hero! New model often means new rig, often means new animation set. With all that work and TLC from so many different teams, it could typically take months and months!
      Alright I got several question so lets start with the big one, which I have been curious about for quite a while
      Why was Nova's original taunt animation changed to the current one?
      I believe you changed it after the game went "live", Im just curious as to why because its not like there has been a lot of animation changes, at least not after heroes are open to the public.
      Thank you for doing and for probably being the best art direction in all of Blizzard right now, you guys rock!
      First of all, thank you so much for the kind words!
      Nova's original taunt fluctuated a bit too far out of character for her. So the dev team decided to change it to something that actually fit her personality!
      Taunts are a funny thing to animate because it's hard not to let our own personal attitudes seep into the characters. The way that I would taunt someone is dramatically different than the way Yrel would taunt someone, or Dehaka, or Artanis... In this case, I think Nova's old taunt dipped a little too far into the voice of the dev vs. the voice of the character.
      What was the biggest animation error or glitch that has occurred during the entirety of HoTS? I wanna see how screwed up this can get.
      Hi NumberOneBepsi! I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're after, but when animating Nazeebo's Gargantuan there was a bug in the game during development where a Minion would randomly attach to his hand. It was incredibly funny and the Designer agreed to make it a part of his kit. We created some animations to have him actually pickup the minions and then attack with the minion still in his hand. I think a lot of people don't realize this happens. ?
      I've always been curious as to the process of getting a design from initial concept art to in-game, would you be able to give a general sketch (lul) of the steps leading to your art appearing before us in game?
      I've always been a huge fan of how Blizzard games look and feel and HOTS is no different! You guys are awesome thanks for the passion you put into this game
      It's truly a collaborative effort! Generally it looks like this.
      Design comes up with a 'paper design' -- an idea of what the hero's abilities will look like and we can already start feedback before they begin implementing the hero into the engine.
      In tandem, Concept art starts concepting how we want the hero to look.
      The designer, once approved on paper, starts creating the asset in-game using temporary assets for testing.
      The art team then goes on to create the model, textures, and tech artists make the rig -- and if possible, we support the designer by prototyping assets they may need. (i.e. Chromie's Q was so distinct, we had to do a custom animation with temp geo for the designers to work with) Writing also starts putting together the script and recording VO!
      Once the design is somewhat locked in -- final Animation and FX begin, and then we hand off into our incredible sound, and video teams.
      We consistently meet as a team the whole way through to make sure we're all on board with the direction, and eventually it makes it's way to you!
      If you want a more in-depth view into the process, I'd advise scoping out the 'Ressurrecting Kel'thuzad' video series we created. ?
      Oh, oh hello, When you animate a hero how do you know what movements do? do you sketch them first or have some one to act them for reference?
      hehe, thanks for doing this AMA, Im in my last year of animation school and Blizzard was always a big part of why I decide to study this, I love all the Blizz work but here in Heroes I think is were the artist put more heart in their work.
      It varies animator to animator.
      Depending on the character, sometimes I can just feel it, but I do a lot of sketching, and a lot of video-recording! Sketching, often,for when the action is physically impossible. Video reference, when I'm looking for smaller moments -- how did I shift my weight just then? What is the way I'd look around in this instance. What are some unique ticks I could put into an idle animation? etc.
      You can see me working out Yrel's bubblehearth here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkEOmH7A7m-/?taken-by=lifeatblizzard
      And Enforcer Johanna's ready up here: https://twitter.com/Latienie/status/968674147889905664
      Most importantly I'd suggest talking to your peers! To this day I have a post-it on my monitor that says 'Feedback Early and Feedback Often'. Game development is collaborative, and learning how to give and receive feedback, and communicate effectively goes a long way!
      What are your preferred art programs (Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, Photoshop, etc.)? Any hidden gem programs you think more people should use?
      With 3D digital content creation programs, once you know one, it isn't too hard to learn another. A lot of the tech artists on our team had to learn one of these programs on the job. Just become familiar with one and you'll be fine! They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
      Hi Devs! Altough i am aware most won't comment on this since it's the most asked question (i.e "is hero X coming") i must do my part and ask if Mei from Overwatch is in consideration to appear in the game since we already have Jaina that can function as a similar hero? Thanks for the hard-work and we'll see you in the Nexus!
      Nothing is off the table in the Nexus. ?
      Do you prefer capes or wings?
      Wings.
      Is there any chance we can see more concept art or in-progress work on the game? Not like future stuff, but I would love to get some insight into the process of making my favorite skins/characters/maps that are already in the game.
      I think that the @BlizzHeroes twitter account has been posting concept art fairly frequently -- that's a good place to start. Also: we hosted some art drops on Art Station you should check out -- like this one! https://magazine.artstation.com/2017/05/blizzard-entertainment-heroes-storm-art-blast/
      Sometimes various skin tints have many colors, sometimes they have a similar amount of colors as the base tint but are different, and sometimes they have much fewer colors or are all shades of the same color.
      What is the reasoning for this limited pallet with some skins in particular?
      Here is an example of the former (many colors)
      https://heroesofthestorm.gamepedia.com/File:Sonya_Death_Knight_Naxxramas.jpg
      and the latter (very limited color palette)https://heroesofthestorm.gamepedia.com/File:Sonya_Death_Knight_Blighted.jpg
      So color variations are meant to give the players an outlet to see their favorite heroes and skins in new and colorful ways, but occasionally, we have to take gameplay implications into account. Sometimes we have to consider content that's coming in the future -- like all of the marine suit based heroes, including Raynor, Tychus, Lt. Morales, Blaze -- and therefore limit the base version of a hero into a uniquely identifiable palette. Other times we have to take hero silhouettes into account (like Stitches and Butcher) and make sure their palettes don't overlap. In other instances, we have to take into account the FX built for that hero or skin as it affects people on the team beyond those who are modeling them.
      That said, we do appreciate the feedback on any and all color variants and we hope the community continues to let us know what they love and what they feel could use more love ?