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Heroes of the Storm Interview with Dustin Browder

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Our Heroes of the Storm team caught up with Dustin Browder at gamescom for some quick updates on what the priorities for the devs are, potential new features, and plans for eSports going forward.

 

Here is what we learned today:

 

Do you have any plans to improve the way MMR works for new players?

  • Matchmaking is our highest priority right now. We've made some fixes already to isolate new players from people with more experience with the game. We've already fixed Quick Match to require support vs. support, no support vs. no support. Players want the same rules for tanks, but we haven't seen the math to justify that.

 

Anything you can tell us about design direction for the first full season?

  • We want to change the rank system - we'll be talking on the livestream about that today. Grandmaster league is next. Then we'll roll the season. We're going to be in preseason a little longer.

 

Heroes isn't friendly to typing for communication - would you consider built-in voice comms like StarCraft?

  • We'd love to add integrated voice communication. The StarCraft system was moderately successful, but not a lot of players ended up using it - quality of the codec was a concern. Lots of players are using Mumble/Skype. I agree with the feedback, but we don't have a timetable for something like this.

 

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Custom maps - do you have any plans to enable an editor, like the StarCraft one, to let people make and use their own maps?

  • We're very excited about that. The reason we're here today is because we had custom map editors in Brood War and Warcraft III. Taking that forward into StarCraft 2 - my personal experience, nevermind many of developers, came from the mod community. That's been a huge benefit to our team. When we built SC2, we had a fear of big maps, but we ended up moving towards them over time - the community got us there with the map editor. We have some other priorities - matchmaking, Grandmaster, etc. - to address first.

 

Any thoughts on a spectator mode to watch your friends?

  • Spectator mode would be a huge add to the game. It's amazing in Hearthstone. Previously, I would have said, "Yeah, almost no way," but the reconnect/rejoin feature engineering has gotten us a lot of the way there.

 

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Supports are effectively healers, but there are some 'semi-healers' (Tyrande, Tassadar). Do semi-healers belong?

  • We're very comfortable with having hybrid characters. Players want everything to be very neat, but we want a mix of characters. Kharazim can be specced both as a dedicated healer, and as an assassin. Players are stressed out about the Quick Match matchups with Tyrande or Tassadar - that makes sense to me. The system right now is too restrictive - we should probably have six or eight Hero types, not four. What we'd love to do going forward is provide more talents that allow you to build someone like Tyrande as a dedicated support.

 

Are the devs concerned about how snowball-y Haunted Mines can be in high level play?

  • We rarely see Haunted Mines in competitive play, and we're okay with that. We can take a look at the map and see if there are fixes we can make. It may also just be a map that isn't great for the top 0.1% of play.

 

What are your plans for Heroes eSports after BlizzCon?

  • Heroes of the Dorm taught us a lot about the game. The eSports team couldn't do a lot during beta - we didn't want to start something official until launch. eSports team has a full year next year to engage with.

 

Tune in for the major Heroes of the Storm stream later today at 18:00 CEST (9:00 a.m. PDT) to find out what's next for Heroes!

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