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Conversations Around the Community: Ranked Play v2

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In an effort to improve the ranked play system for Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard will be resetting player ranks in Hero League, eliminating Team League (sort-of), modifying the Rank 1 experience gain/loss, and putting all players through a series of placement matches to attempt to better identify where they belong on the ladder.

 

These are the details of the changes to ranked play coming to Heroes of the Storm, based on today's presentation during the gamescom 2015 live stream:

 

Blizzard Icon Conversations Around the Community: Ranked Play v2

 

In our latest Conversations around the Community blog, we discussed Ranked Play. With our next major update, a couple of the features we mentioned will be making their way into the Nexus. Let’s dive in.

 

PLACEMENT MATCHES

 

First up, let’s revisit the subject of Placement Matches and its introduction to Heroes of the Storm. As mentioned previously, the placement matches are designed to improve the accuracy of rankings assigned to players. Prior to receiving your rank, you will be required to play a number of games for the system to determine which rank you should be initially placed in.

 

To accommodate the new placement system, we’ll be resetting all ranks in Hero League and Team League. With the reset, all players will need to play a set number of placement matches to identify their new placement in the system.  Only your visible ranking will be reset. Your internal skill rating (MMR) will be retained to ensure you continue to receive even matches. After playing your placement matches, the system will rank you near your true rank by combining your placement performance and past play results. This initial placement may be slightly more conservative to ensure we don’t overshoot your rank and create a poor experience.

 

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RANK 1

 

Alongside the addition of Placement Matches, the top of Hero League will be receiving a few adjustments to keep Rank 1 in-line with other ranks. We’ve adjusted how players are awarded and lose points in Rank 1 to be consistent with what you would see between ranks 40 and 2. This change will also help our system transition players to Grandmaster Rank when it becomes available. It should be noted that since the point system is now consistent, some players may find they might not be able to remain in Rank 1 as easily as they previously could. So, make sure to give 100% of your effort!

 

While these changes will help set up the system for the arrival of the Grandmaster Rank, the Grandmaster Rank will not be sneaking its way into this upcoming patch. We’d like to flesh out the full Grandmaster experience before releasing the feature, so keep your eyes out for more information.

 

TEAM LEAGUE

 

Now, let’s talk about some of the changes hitting Team League. As previously discussed in our last blog, Hero League will now only be available for either solo play or for parties of up to four players.  Five-player parties will only be eligible to play in Team League. In addition to the previously announced change, we’ve also decided we are removing the ability to create or play as a pre-created named team in Team League.  After further consideration, we feel that named teams as previously available in the game were not hitting the experience we were looking for.

 

While we look at ways to make named teams a more compelling feature, we felt it was better to remove them, for now, to allow for a cleaner and improved ranked experience. With the removal of named teams, you no longer need to select between Hero and Team League game modes. You simply select the new “Ranked” game mode, and the game will automatically place you in the correct league based on the size of your party. Also, with this change, we will be returning any gold you’ve previously spent on creating teams.

 

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SEASONS

 

As a final note, while we are going to reset all Hero and Team League ranks with this update, we are planning to remain in Preseason. We’d like to allow the changes in this update to settle, and work towards adding the Grandmaster Rank before we start holding official ranked seasons. We’ll have more on this in a future update.

 

 

We’ll continue to improve and evolve Ranked Play as time goes on, but we’re excited about the first wave of changes coming to the Nexus. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these changes in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

 

Are these changes sufficient to improve your ranked play experience? Would you like to see Blizzard make more changes to Hero League? Let us know in the comments.

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      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 ?
    • By Stan
      Blizzard's currently investigating an issue that's causing unintended and unusual team comps in Quick Match.
      Placeholder for tweet 1016800516402106369 This is probably a bug that went live with today's patch in the Americas. Hopefully, the bug will be fixed by the time the patch is live in Europe. Stay tuned for updates!
      Blizzard (Source)
      We are aware of an issue causing unintended and unusual team compositions and are currently investigating. We will post any additional updates in this thread. 

      Thank you for your patience as we figure this out.