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Heroes of the Storm - PTR Patch Notes (Aug 10, 2015)

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The next major Heroes of the Storm patch is slated to drop next week, and the changes it will include are available to investigate on the Public Test Realm for the week leading up to it! Learn more about the new Battleground, Infernal Shrines, as well as the new Monk Hero, Kharazim, as well as all of the significant changes to existing Heroes and abilities!

 

You can find the full patch notes below, but here are some highlights:

  • The new Malthael's Phantom mount will be awarded to all players who reach Level 70 with a Seasonal character in Diablo 3.
  • Kharazim, the Monk - and the first Diablo universe support - is now in the game!
  • The ability to report players for Abusive Chat, AFK/Non-Participation, and Intentional Feeding is included in this patch.
  • All Hero League ranks will be reset when the patch is deployed live.
  • Many core talents, such as Bolt of the Storm, Cleanse, Gathering Power, Imposing Presence, etc. have been modified (generally slightly nerfed).
  • Kael'thas, Kerrigan, Azmodan, and Nazeebo have seen significant changes. Minor tweaks were made to many other Heroes (especially their Heroic abilities - see Tyrael and Falstad, especially!).

Here are the patch notes:

 

Blizzard Icon Heroes of the Storm PTR Patch Notes -- August 10, 2015

 

Our next major Heroes of the Storm patch has just arrived to the Public Test Realm and will be available for playtesting for the next seven days. During this time, we kindly request your assistance in trying out some of the new content and balance changes it contains before we officially release the patch to the live version of Heroes next week. Just like last time, if you encounter any bugs or other issues during your PTR play sessions, please stop by the PTR Bug Report forumto let us know about your experiences. Complete patch notes for our impending Heroes of the Storm update, as well as improvements we've made for the PTR since our previous testing phase, can be found below.

 

Additionally, Game Designer Matt Cooper stepped in to provide some additional insight from the design team about many of the changes found in today's PTR update. Read through his comments in the DesignBattlegroundsTalents, and Heroes sections of the patch notes if you'd like to learn more about why we made each of these changes.

 

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GENERAL

 

Public Test Realm

  • Items may now be purchased from the PTR Shop using real money.
    • Items purchased on the PTR using real money will transfer to the live version of Heroes of the Storm.
      • Prior to making a transaction on the PTR, players may select which region they’d like their items to transfer to using the new PTR Purchase Region dropdown that has been added to the Language and Region tab in the Options menu.
      • The PTR Purchase Region dropdown will default to each player’s home Battle.net login region. Players may choose a different region if the default selection does not match the region that they normally log into for play.
    • Before a real-money transaction can be completed on the PTR, players will be required to confirm which Battle.net login region they’d like that item to transfer to.
    • New items that are only purchasable in the PTR Shop will not be available for play outside of the PTR until they are added to the live version of Heroes with the impending patch.
    • Please Note: Gold purchases are not supported on the PTR.
  • Battleground Pool
    • Infernal Shrines will be the only playable Battleground on the PTR in all modes except Custom Games during this phase of PTR playtesting.
    • Please note: Infernal Shrines is available for playtesting on the Public Test Realm, but will not be added to the live version of Heroes of the Storm immediately on patch day.

Diablo III Rewards

  • Add Diablo to Your Hero Collection
    • Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls players who log in to Heroes during the three weeks following the release of the upcoming patch will permanently receive Diablo in Heroes of the Storm.
  • Malthael's Phantom
    • Starting with Season 4, Diablo III players who reach level 70 with a Seasonal character will receive Malthael’s Phantom in Heroes of the Storm.
  • Portrait Border & Pennant
    • Diablo III players who reach Player Level 12 in Heroes of the Storm will receive a new Heroes-themed Portrait Border and Pennant in Diablo III.

Kill 50 Treasure Goblins!

  • A new Special Event Quest has been added: Kill 50 Treasure Goblins
    • Any player who manages to rid the Nexus of 50 pesky Treasure Goblins during the Eternal Conflict event will receive a special portrait reward for their heroism!
    • Treasure Goblins killed on the PTR will only count toward Special Event Quest progress on the PTR. Progress for this Quest will start from zero in the live version of Heroes once the patch is officially released.

New Portrait Rewards

  • Many new portrait rewards have been added! Unlock them by reaching Hero Level 10 with the following Heroes:
    • Diablo Villain Collection – Diablo, Leoric, The Butcher
    • Diablo Heroes Collection Series 1 – Nazeebo, Sonya, Valla
    • Diablo Heroes Collection Series 2 – Johanna, Kharazim
    • StarCraft Rebels Collection – Kerrigan, Raynor, Tychus
    • Swarm Evolution Collection – Abathur, Zagara
    • Night Elf Betrayer Collection – Illidan, Malfurion, Tyrande
    • Reign of Chaos Collection – Arthas, Jaina, Thrall, Uther
    • Stormstout Collection – Chen, Li Li
    • Undercity Collection – Stitches, Sylvanas

 

NEW BATTLEGROUND

 

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Infernal Shrines

  • This three-lane Battleground features three Infernal Shrines that will periodically gather power. Only one Shrine will gather power at any given time, and either team can activate it to unleash its might.
  • Once activated, the Shrine’s Guardians will pour forth in waves to defend it. The first team to kill 30 Guardians will summon a devastating Punisher to fight for their cause.
  • A Punisher is a powerful boss that will attack down the lane that corresponds with the Shrine it was summoned from. Punishers will hunt down any nearby enemy Heroes that cross its path, and can spawn with one of three deadly affixes:
    • Arcane – The Punisher summons beams of arcane energy which rotate in a circular motion, and deal massive damage to enemy targets they pass through.
    • Frozen – The Punisher calls forth frigid ice shards, which explode after a short delay, dealing damage and freezing enemies in place for a short time.
    • Mortar – The Punisher launches a stream of firebombs high into the air, which explode and deal damage to any enemies they strike upon landing.

 

NEW HEROES

 

Kharazim has been added to Heroes of the Storm and is now available for play! Read on for a brief overview of this new Support Hero’s Abilities.

Trait

  • Pick Your Trait
    • Learn Transcendence, Iron Fists, or Insight using the Talents panel to select your Trait.
      • Transcendence
        • Every third Basic Attack heals the lowest nearby allied Hero.
      • Iron Fists
        • Every third Basic Attack deals 100% bonus damage.
      • Insight
        • Every third Basic Attack restores Mana.

Basic Abilities

  • Radiant Dash (Q)
    • Jump to an ally or enemy. Enemies are immediately hit with a Basic Attack. Stores up to two charges. 12 second cooldown per charge.
  • Breath of Heaven (W)
    • Heal nearby allied Heroes, granting them a 10% Movement Speed bonus for 3 seconds.
  • Deadly Reach (E)
    • Your next Basic Attack increases your Attack Speed and Attack Range by 100% for 2 seconds.

Heroic Abilities

  • Seven-Sided Strike ®
    • Become Invulnerable, striking 7 times over 2 seconds in a large area. Each strike deals 7% of the target’s maximum Health as damage, and prioritizes the Hero with the highest remaining Health.
  • Divine Palm ®
    • Protect an allied Hero from death. The next source of fatal damage within 3 seconds is prevented, and the target is instead healed for a large amount.

 

ART

 

General

  • Several Heroes and Skins in the Shop have received additional visual polish.

Heroes

  • Ancients rejoice! Sonya has received a dance animation.
  • The following Heroes and Skins have received visual improvements:
    • Tychus, Master Tychus Skin, and all Skin Variations
    • Murky, all Murky Skins, and all Skin Variations
  • The following Heroes have received updated facial animations:
    • Sgt. Hammer
    • The Butcher
    • Tychus

Hero Abilities

  • Various Hero Abilities have received additional optimization.
  • The following Hero Abilities and Talents have received new art or additional visual polish:
    • Brightwing – Revitalizing Mists (Talent), Spell Block (Talent), Unstable Anomaly (Talent)
    • Illidan – Sweeping Strike (W), Metamorphosis ®
    • Tyrael – Judgment ®, Sanctification ®

Skins

  • The Demonic Tyrael Skin has returned to the Nexus!
    • After visiting the top smith that the Burning Hells have to offer, Demonic Tyrael has strapped into an intimidating new set of armor, imbued El’Druin with corruption, sprouted two wicked pairs of horns, and donned a crown worthy of his title as the Lord of Pride.
    • Demonic Tyrael now also features updated Ability art, which much more closely matches his theme.
  • Blood Elf Tyrande has also returned to the Nexus, and now sports updated Ability art, which much more closely matches her theme.
  • War World Sgt. Hammer has received updated Ability art for Napalm Strike, which more closely matches her theme.

 

SHOP

 

Bundles

  • Dynamic Bundles have arrived to the Heroes of the Storm in-game Shop! Learn more about Dynamic Bundles by reading the User Interface section of the patch notes.
    • Please note: Dynamic Bundles are not currently available on the PTR.
  • New Bundles
    • Jade Dragon Kharazim Bundle - Available for a limited time.
    • Prisoner Tychus Bundle - Available for a limited time.
    • Conquest Bundle
    • Domination Bundle
  • Bundle Removals
    • The Nexus Bundle will be removed from the Shop one week following patch day, but will remain purchasable as a Dynamic Bundle until that time.

Heroes

  • Kharazim has been added to the in-game Shop!

Mounts

  • New Mounts
    • The Treasure Goblin Mount has been added for a limited time, and is exclusively available for purchase using Gold.
    • Malthael’s Phantom has been added and will become available exclusively to Diablo III players who reach level 70 with a Season Character, starting with Diablo III Season 4.
  • Mount Removals
    • The Nazeebra Mount, which is exclusive to the Nexus Bundle, will be removed from the Shop one week following patch day. During that time, players will still be able to purchase the Nexus Bundle to obtain the Nazeebra Mount.

Price Changes

  • Brightwing’s prices have been reduced to 7,000 Gold and $8.49 USD.

Skins

  • New Skins
    • Jade Dragon Kharazim
    • Kharazim Master Skin
    • Prisoner Tychus
  • Returning Skins
    • Demonic Tyrael
    • Blood Elf Tyrande

 

SOUND

 

Battlegrounds

  • Additional new music tracks have been added for the Infernal Shrines Battleground.

Heroes and Skins

  • Tyrael’s Sanctification and Judgment Heroic Abilities have received updated sound effects.

 

USER INTERFACE

 

Dynamic Bundles

  • Please note: Dynamic Bundles are not currently available on the PTR.
  • Bundles that contain three or more items are now listed as Dynamic Bundles in the Shop.
    • A Dynamic Bundle’s price will be automatically reduced if the player already owns one or more of the items that are part of that Bundle.
    • Two-item Bundles are not dynamic, and players will be unable to purchase a two-item Bundle if they already own one of the items it contains.
  • Check out our recent blog on Dynamic Bundles to learn more about this new feature.

In-Game UI

  • Ability & Activated Talent Hotbars
    • The Ability Hotbar has received new art, and is now more visually compact.
    • The Activated Talent Hotbar has received new art, and its buttons are now slightly larger.
  • Nameplates & Status Bars
    • Hero nameplates will now display the following status effects: Polymorphed, and Stasis
    • Hero Status Bars have received additional polish and improvements.
      • The color of allied Health bars has been changed from green to blue.
      • Hero Health bars now more clearly denote 1,000 and 250 Health segments.
      • Shields will now appear white, rather than blue, on Hero Health bars.
      • Damage, damage over time, and quick Healing effects are now much easier to distinguish on Health bars.

Game Server Selection

  • Players may now select which game server they’d like to play on by selecting it from the Preferred Game Server dropdown on the Language and Region options menu.
    • This setting will default to Best Match, but players may wish to change this if they notice connection issues when playing on a specific server.
      • Please note: As we continue to improve and expand our game sites, Best Match will provide the best play experience for most players. If you are not experiencing issues, it is highly recommend that you leave this set to Best Match.
    • If players in a party have conflicting server preferences, the server that is most commonly selected among the party’s members will be used.

Player Reporting

  • New Report Categories
    • Reporting Options have been reworked, and now include categories for Abusive Chat, AFK/Non-Participation, and Intentional Feeding.

Ranked Play

  • Hero and Team League are no longer separated in the out-of-game menus, and can now be found using the new Ranked page on the Play screen.
  • Placement Rank
    • All players’ Hero and Team League ranks have been reset with today’s update.
      • Please Note: Matchmaking ratings have not been reset.
    • A new placement system has been added
      • All players must now play 20 placement matches in order to receive an initial ranking for Hero League or Team League.
    • Read our recent blog on Ranked Play Updates to learn more about Placement Matches.
  • Hero League
    • Hero League is now limited to a maximum party size of four players.
  • Team League
    • Five-player parties will now be automatically queued for Team League when attempting to find a Ranked match.
    • The ability to create a named team has been removed, while this feature undergoes additional review.
      • Players who have spent Gold to create named teams in the past will have that amount of Gold returned to them in the days to come.
    • Team League draft lobbies will still use the First Come First Served draft format.
    • Team League will still use a separate matchmaking rating (MMR) from Hero League.
      • However, because Team League parties do not have static rosters, Team League MMR will now functions much like it does for Hero League. This means that each player’s Team League MMR is based on their own individual performance in Team League matches.
  • Read our recent blog on Ranked Play Updates to learn more about Placement Matches, as well as Hero and Team League updates.

Versus A.I.

  • A difficulty dropdown has been added to the Versus A.I. screen, which can be used to switch among five different A.I. difficulty settings: Beginner, Recruit, Adept, Veteran, and Elite.
    • Please note: Elite A.I. development is not yet complete, and improvements are slated to arrive with a future game update.
    • A.I. teammates will mirror the difficulty selected for A.I. opponents.
    • When playing in a party, only the party leader may change the A.I. difficulty setting.
  • When attempting to find a Versus A.I. game with human allies, the matchmaker will work to find other players who have selected the same A.I. difficulty level.
    • If it takes too long to find a suitable match, the matchmaker will expand its search to include difficulty levels above and below the player’s selection.
    • If the human players on a team had selected a variety of A.I. difficulties, an A.I. opponent of each selected difficulty will be used for that game.
      • For example: If two players selected Adept A.I. and three selected Veteran, the game will be filled with two adept and three veteran A.I. opponents.

 

DESIGN & GAMEPLAY

 

Ability Power Gains

 

Developer Comments: This change was aimed at removing odd gameplay where an Abathur player may actually want to sacrifice his Monstrosity or a Gargantuan for a more powerful one. This occurred if players kept summons alive for a very long time and gained several levels, as these levels were not reflected in the Summon’s Ability Power. For short term Summons, players will rarely gain a level or more while that Summon is alive, so we made these snapshot instead. With snapshotting, players can use a temporary power boost, such as Overdrive or Arcane Power, to create a more powerful summon.

  • To clarify the rules for temporary Ability Power gains, the following rules have been added:
    • For permanent or very long duration pets or persistent effects, their damage and maximum Health will now update dynamically when Ability Power or Hero levels are modified.  This includes:
      • Abathur's Monstrosity
      • Nazeebo's Gargantuan (with the Humongoid Talent)
    • For short duration pets or persistent effects, their damage and maximum Health should snapshot based upon the Ability Power/level of the character when they are cast.  This includes:
      • Jaina's Water Elemental
      • Sgt. Hammer's Blunt Force Gun
      • Tychus' Drakken Laser Drill

Bonus Effects from Kills

 

Developer Comments: This change will not have a major impact on today’s gameplay and was mostly done for consistency  on how these type of talents worked. In the future, it may allow us to develop Battlegrounds with many small minions (think Haunted Mines) and not have to worry about special casing Seasoned Marksman so it doesn’t get out of control. 

  • Talents and Abilities that gain bonus effects from kills will now only trigger from Minions and Mercenaries, and will no longer gain benefit from killing neutral Mercenaries, map event creatures, summoned units, etc.

 

BATTLEGROUNDS

 

Battlefield of Eternity

  • When Immortals that are battling at the center of the Battleground swap locations for the first time, the Heaven Immortal will now always travel to right, and the Hell Immortal will always travel to the left.

Tomb of the Spider Queen

 

Developer Comments: A small number of Tomb games tend to run significantly longer than intended, so we altered the scaling of the Spider mechanic to prevent drawn out stalemates in the late game. Our hope is to see shorter matches overall.

  • Increased the damage and Health scaling of Webweavers and their minions by 50% past the 15 minute mark.

 

TALENTS

 

Bolt of the Storm

 

Developer Comments: We love this talent and think it can create a lot of really interesting moments, but the cooldown was just too short. At 70 seconds we think this talent is still a great level 20 pick, but now players will have to be more strategic with how they use it. Forcing someone to use their Bolt to avoid a gank can now be a meaningful moment with this increased cooldown. We hope this also entices players towards choosing their Heroic upgrades instead of Bolt when the situation calls for it.

  • Cooldown increased from 40 to 70 seconds

Cleanse

 

Developer Comments: We didn’t like the gameplay of casting Cleanse preemptively on a target that is about to be CC’ed. For example, you see Butcher charging your Valla, and right before impact you use Cleanse on Valla, allowing her to immediately Vault away. The change also prevents healers from cleansing themselves preemptively, providing a guaranteed target if the opposing team has only secured one Cleanse. As a side note, the original reason the Unstoppable functionality was available in the first place, was to help alleviate some persistent CC effects like Putrid Bile. We didn’t want you to cleanse a Putrid Bile only to have the slow immediately reapply.

  • No longer makes the target Unstoppable for 1 second
  • Now adds Relentless to the target for 2 seconds (50% shorter CC duration)

Focused Attacks

 

Developer Comments: This could be viewed as a buff or nerf depending on how players perceive it. You can still reduce the cooldown by attacking Minions, but won’t accidently waste a burst of damage on an unintended target. This talent will no longer be as effective at sieging, but it should be significantly better at harassing in lane. We will continue to monitor the talent, and tune as necessary.

  • The increased damage effect will now only trigger when hitting Heroes

Gathering Power

 

Developer Comments: Gathering Power was simply too good and was considered, by many, a mandatory pick on certain characters, which often lead to snowballing. We liked the ‘quest’ aspect of this talent, but it was far too easy to reach the cap and the quest didn’t feel meaningful to complete. Now, choosing this talent should no longer be mandatory, and the quest is much longer. Player’s will keep half of their stacks upon dying, which will help act as a ‘check point’.

  • The 5% starting Ability Power has been removed
  • Percentage gain from killing a Hero reduced from 2% to 1%
  • Instead of losing all stacks on death, players will now only lose half their stacks (rounding up)

Imposing Presence

 

Developer Comments: Statistically, it was almost never wrong to choose Imposing Presence. With this nerf, it’s still a great counter in the right situation, and as a result, we’re hoping we’ll see more play from our Basic Attack assassins.

  • Attack Speed slow reduced from 50% to 40%
  • The Attack Speed slow will now be removed when attacking a target that has not learned the Imposing Presence Talent

Mercenary Lord

 

Developer Comments: We’ve combined the talent Superiority into Mercenary Lord, and removed the damage reduction from structures to prevent degenerative backdoor strategies. The combination of the damage reduction vs. Mercenaries and the ability to empower these Mercenaries felt like a logical pairing. We hope incorporating the two talents into one will make this level 4 choice an enticing one, as the two talents separated had a low pick rate. 

  • The functionality of the Superiority Talent has been rolled into Mercenary Lord, which is now available to the following Heroes at Level 4:
    • Anub'arak, Arthas, Azmodan, Gazlowe, Nazeebo, Sonya, Stitches, and The Lost Vikings
  • New combined functionality reads:  Non-Boss Mercenaries near your Hero deal 50% more damage. Reduces damage taken from Minions and Mercenaries by 50%.

Seasoned Marksman

 

Developer Comments: Overall, we like the way Seasoned Marksman is playing but wanted to tune up its effectiveness to reward those able to secure a healthy number of takedowns, while simultaneously tuning the talent up due to prior changes. Ideally, this will become a great talent pick when facing The Lost Vikings or Murky players.

  • Stacks earned by killing enemy Heroes increased from 2 to 3
  • Only Minions, captured enemy Mercenaries, and Heroes will grant stacks upon death

Spell Shield

 

Developer Comments: We’ve been seeing Kael’thas and Jaina as dominate damage dealers for teams. We feel like part of this is because the only real counter to their damage is Spell Shield, and currently, Spell Shield is under tuned. Increasing the duration from 2 to 3 seconds is a small and conservative change, but we want to see how the adjustment plays out. Ideally when you are against a couple heavy burst damage characters such as Nova, Jaina, or Kael; Spell Shield becomes a great counter pick. This is similar to our philosophy with Imposing Presence.

  • Duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds

Superiority

  • This Talent has been removed, and its functionality has been rolled into the revamped Mercenary Lord Talent

 

HEROES

 

ASSASSIN

 

FALSTAD

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Developer Comments: Mighty Gust can be a great disengagement tool, but it is often outshined by the pure power of Hinterland Blast. We feel we can bring this Heroic into play more often with some simple tuning changes. Internally, it’s been much more powerful and can even be used as a counter to a hard engagement or aggressive dive teams.

  • Mighty Gust ®
    • Cooldown decreased from 50 to 40 seconds
    • Slow duration increased from 2 to 5 seconds

JAINA

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Developer Comments: The Jaina changes are a result of her being too powerful right now, and we have a secondary goal of increasing the play of Ring of Frost. By reducing the impact of summoning a Water Elemental, Jaina loses some of her burst potential unless she chooses Ring of Frost. Water Elemental is now more focused on producing sustained damage.

  • Ring of Frost ®
    • Cooldown decreased from 100 to 80 seconds
  • Water Elemental ®
    • No longer deals damage or Chills at the Water Elemental’s spawn location

KAEL'THAS

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Developer Comments: Prior to these changes, Kael’Thas had a high win rate, but his win rate wasn’t alarming. Instead, we’re focusing on Kael’thas’ current gameplay, as it feels very set in stone and we’d like players to have the option to be creative. We’re smoothing out his power curve and making Pyroblast a more enticing choice.

  • Spell Shield (Talent) removed
  • Arcane Barrier (Talent)
    • Shield duration increased from 3 to 6 seconds
  • Verdant Spheres (Trait) (D)
    • Sunfire Enchantment (Talent)
      • Damage increased from 78 (+16 per level) to 85 (+18 per level)
  • Flamestrike (Q)
    • Damage increased from 74 (+20 per level) to 80 (+22 per level)
    • Mana Tap (Talent)
      • Now restores 5% Mana per target killed, rather than a flat amount
    • Ignite (Talent) removed
    • New Talent (Level 16): Fury of the Sunwell
      • Casting Flamestrike will cause a second Flamestrike to be cast 1 second after the first explodes
  • Living Bomb (W)
    • Damage over time increased from 60 (+18 per level) to 60 (+22 per level)
    • Explosion damage increased from 30 (+9 per level) to 30 (+11 per level)
    • Fission Bomb (Talent)
      • Damage bonus reduced from 75% to 30%
      • Now also increases the explosion radius by 30%
    • Pyromaniac (Talent)
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1 to 2 seconds per tick
    • Backdraft (Talent)
      • Slow amount increased from 40% to 50%
      • Slow duration reduced from 2.5 to 2 seconds
  • Gravity Lapse (E)
    • Range increased by 25%
    • Gravity Throw (Talent) moved from Level 16 to Level 13
  • Pyroblast ®
    • Range increased by 20%

KERRIGAN

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Developer Comments: These changes are intended as a slight buff overall, and to provide Kerrigan with more options. Her level 1 range increase talent was almost always picked, so we made that baseline. Several new talents and mana alterations should allow Kerrigan players to try out some Ravage and Trait based builds.

  • Seasoned Marksman (Talent) removed
  • Focused Attack (Talent) removed
  • Sprint (Talent) removed
  • Blood for Blood (Talent) removed
  • New Talent (Level 13): Queen’s Rush
    • Activate to increase Movement Speed by 25% for 4 seconds. Hero Takedowns automatically activate this effect.
  • New Talent (Level 16): Essence for Essence
    • Activate to steal 10% of an enemy Hero’s Health, and gain twice that amount as Assimilation Shields
  • Assimilation (Trait)
    • Lingering Essence (Talent)
      • Assimilation Shield duration increased from 12 to 20 seconds
  • Ravage (Q)
    • Damage increased from 50 (+20 per level) to 60 (+22 per level)
    • Mana cost decreased from 75 to 50
    • Clean Kill (Talent)
      • Now also increases the damage dealt by Kerrigan’s next Ravage by 20%
    • Adaptation (Talent)
      • Half of Ravage’s Mana cost is now refunded when jumping to an ally
    • Eviscerate (Talent)
      • Range bonus increased from 25% to 40%
  • Impaling Blades (W)
    • Mana cost increased from 60 to 75
  • Primal Grasp (E)
    • Range increased by 20%
    • Mana cost increased from 50 to 60
    • Cooldown increased from 8 to 10 seconds
    • Damage decreased from 50 (+13 per level) to 40 (+10 per level)
    • Sweeping Grasp (Talent) removed
    • Psionic Pulse (Talent)
      • Damage per second increased from 12 (+2.4 per level) to 15 (+3 per level)
    • New Talent (Level 1): Energizing Grasp
      • Refunds 10 Mana per enemy hit, up to a maximum of 60
  • Maelstrom ®
    • Damage per second increased from 25 (+2.5 per level) to 30 (+3 per level)
    • Cooldown reduced from 120 to 100 seconds
    • Duration reduced from 9 to 7 seconds
  • Ultralisk ®
    • Cooldown now begins once the Ultralisk is killed
    • Torrasque (Talent)
      • Ultralisk can now be reborn more than once, so long as the egg isn’t destroyed within 8 seconds of the Ultralisk’s death

RAYNOR

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Developer Comments: Overall Raynor’s win rate is low and using Inspire can feel clunky as it resets your Basic Attack period. These changes should help Raynor feel more responsive to play, while also making him a bit more powerful. We also did a pass at shuffling around and tuning up some of his least picked talents.

  • Basic Attack damage increased from 35 to 40
  • Mercenary Lord (Talent) removed
  • Puttin’ on a Clinic (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 7
  • Relentless Leader (Talent) moved from Level 16 to Level 13
  • A Card to Play (Talent)
    • Cooldown reduction per Hero killed increased from 10 to 15 seconds
  • Penetrating Round (Q)
    • Cluster Round (Talent)
      • Damage bonus per target hit increased from 10% to 20%, up to a maximum of 100%
    • Bullseye (Talent)
      • Bonus damage removed
      • Stun duration increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds
  • Inspire (W)
    • No longer places Raynor’s Basic Attack on cooldown
  • Adrenaline Rush (E)
    • Cooldown reduced from 45 to 40 seconds
    • Activated Rush (Talent) removed
    • Fight or Flight (Talent)
      • Now also allows manual activation of Adrenaline Rush
      • No longer removes movement impairing effects, and instead reduces damage taken by 25% for 4 seconds after activating Adrenaline Rush

THRALL

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  • Thrall’s Basic Attacks have received improvements in responsiveness, especially when stutter-stepping
  • Thrall’s first Basic Attack after Windfury ends will no longer have an abnormally long weapon period

 

SPECIALIST

 

ABATHUR

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Developer Comments: We’ve tuned up some of his weaker talent picks to make them more viable. We really like the level 20 Hivemind talent, but it can feel clunky to use as when allies move out of range, you have to decide whether to cancel and recast it, or stay focused on only a single target. With these changes, Hivemind will be much more fluid to play with and consistent in its effectiveness.

  • Volatile Mutation (Talent)
    • Damage increased from 36 (+7 per level) to 50 (+10 per level)
    • Damage radius increased by 20%
  • Locust Strain (Trait)
    • Survival Instincts (Talent)
      • Locust Health bonus increased from 30% to 50%
  • Symbiote (Q)
    • Carapace (E)
      • Regenerative Microbes (Talent)
        • Healing per second increased from 7 (+2 per level) to 9 (+3 per level)
    • Hivemind (Talent)
      • Now searches for a new Hivemind target every second, rather than only on the first cast
      • The secondary Symbiote target’s Stab and Spike Burst deal half their normal damage, and Carapace grants half its normal Shield amount
  • Toxic Nest (W)
    • Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds
    • Envenomed Nest (Talent)
      • Bonus damage increased from 50% to 75%

AZMODAN

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Developer Comments: Right now, Azmodan has one competitive build at high levels of play where he stacks Globe of Annihilation (Q) talents. We think this build is a ton of fun, so we didn’t want to negatively impact this build. Instead, we wanted to give Azmodan some other build options. Right now, it’s almost always a mistake to summon one of his Demons and waste your mana. With the new tuning, and the talent changes, the Demons become a legitimate option to use. The Demons start with much more damage than previously, but scale close to what they use to be at higher levels. For players who still plan to go the (Q) build, it’s mostly the same, but we’ve offered a few additional talent choices to make options that best fit your play style. Finally, we are removing some of the Support nature of Healing Ward and Storm Shield from Azmodan. It makes more sense for him to be a greedy character, not someone who can become a hybrid support in the right situation.

  • Healing Ward (Talent) removed
  • Superiority (Talent) removed
  • First Aid (Talent) removed
  • Storm Shield (Talent) removed
  • Mercenary Lord (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 4
  • New Talent (Level 4): Sin’s Grasp
    • Activate to deal 115 (+19 per level) damage over 6 seconds to the target enemy Hero; can be cast while channeling All Shall Burn
    • Minion kills each reduce Sin’s Grasp’s 100 second cooldown by 5 seconds
  • New Talent (Level 7): Gluttonous Ward
    • Activate to place a ward that restores 25% of Azmodan’s maximum Health and Mana over 10 seconds
  • General of Hell (Trait) (D)
    • Bound Minion (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 7
    • New Talent (Level 20): Forced Recruitment
      • Reduces General of Hell’s cooldown from 30 to 20 seconds
      • Allows Azmodan to store up to two General of Hell charges
  • Globe of Annihilation (Q)
    • New Talent (Level 13): Hedonism
      • Reduces Globe of Annihilation’s Mana cost from 60 to 30
  • Summon Demon Warrior (W)
    • Demon Warrior damage changed from 20 (+3 per level) per second to 40 (+2 per level) per second
    • Enduring Warriors (Talent) removed
    • Blazing Demons (Talent) removed
    • Army of Hell (Talent)
      • No longer increases maximum Demon charges
      • Now increases Demon Warrior damage by 20%, and reduces Demon Warrior's Mana cost from 40 to 20
    • Hellforged Armor (Talent)
      • Now also causes Demon Warriors to deal 10 (+1 per level) damage per second to nearby enemies
  • All Shall Burn (E)
    • Spare Nothing (Talent) removed
    • Master of Destruction (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 1
      • Now also increases damage against Structures by 25%
    • New Talent (Level 7): Infused Power
      • All Shall Burn gains an additional charge-up level, increasing its damage by 25%

NAZEEBO

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Developer Comments: We looked at tuning up talents that wouldn’t impact his core Spider build. We’ve reverted some of the Ravenous Spirit nerfs as we saw a large shift from Ravenous to Gargantuan and wanted to see a better mix of the two.

  • M.U.L.E. (Talent) removed
  • Clairvoyance (Talent) removed
  • Sprint (Talent) removed
  • Stoneskin (Talent) removed
  • Hardened Focus (Talent) added at level 16
  • Gidbinn (Talent)
    • No longer increases the Plague of Toads explosion radius
    • Zombie Wall and Corpse Spider duration bonuses increased from 25% to 33%
  • New Talent (Level 13): Thing of the Deep
    • Increases the range for all of Nazeebo’s Basic Abilities by 25%
  • Voodoo Ritual (Trait)
    • Blood Ritual (Talent)
      • Health and Mana restoration bonuses increased from 100% to 125%
  • Zombie Wall (W)
    • Fresh Corpses (Talent)
      • No longer increases Zombie damage
      • Now permanently reduces Zombie Wall’s cooldown by 4 seconds
    • Dead Rush (Talent)
      • Now also increases Zombie damage by 50%
  • Plague of Toads (E)
    • Toads of Hugeness (Talent)
      • Now also increases Toad explosion radius by 20% each time they hop
    • New Talent (Level 7): Toad Affinity
      • Each enemy hit by Plague of Toads restores 5 Mana and reduces its cooldown by 1 second
  • Gargantuan ®
    • Gargantuan Stomp ®
      • Animation duration reduced from 1 to 0.5 seconds
      • Hovering the cursor over Gargantuan Stomp on the Ability Hotbar will now display a range indicator
  • Ravenous Spirit ®
    • Damage changed from 30 (+8 per level) to 25 (+9 per level)
    • Damage radius increased by approximately 22%

SGT. HAMMER

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Developer Comments: Hammer is one of our lowest win rate characters so we looked at some easy buffs we could make. We feel like she has a great playstyle and wanted to highlight her fantasy more. The increased health will let you be a bit more aggressive and the increased damage will better reinforce her long range, high damage capabilities. Finally, her Siege Mode can be used much more frequently and with less emphasis on securing the perfect location. It’s okay now to Siege up, get a couple shots in, and then get out of danger. 

  • Health increased from 720 (+140 per level) to 740 (+150 per level)
  • Artillery (Trait)
    • Damage bonus against distant targets increased from 20% to 30%
  • Siege Mode (E)
    • Cooldown decreased from 5 to 2 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 40 to 20

SYLVANAS

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  • Mercenary Lord (Talent) removed

 

SUPPORT

 

BRIGHTWING

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Developer Comments: We like a lot of what the rework did for Brightwing, but overall her healing output went down more than intended. This change will give her back a big portion of the lost healing and should increase her total healing output (tab screen wise) by about 15-20%.

  • Soothing Mist (Trait)
    • Healing increased from 25 (+7.5 per level) to 30 (+9 per level)

MALFURION

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Developer Comments: Player feedback brought to our attention that this particular level 4 talent on Malfurion was an obvious trap at 20%. While we don’t want to give Malfurion a solid burst healing option, we agreed and have tuned this talent up to 50%. At 50%, and in a vacuum, this talent may still be undertuned, but it eventually adds up to a decent additional amount of healing. Over a sustained period of time, this additional 50% outpaces Protective Shield, for example.

  • Regrowth (Q)
    • Rampant Growth (Talent)
      • Initial Heal bonus increased from 20% to 50%

REHGAR

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Developer Comments: Bloodlust is rarely picked right now, but we feel like both Heroics are extremely powerful. Without changing anything massive, we’re simply reducing the CD of Bloodlust so it can be used more frequently. We believe if Basic Attack based heroes become more prevalent in the Meta, this Heroic could become dominant, so we’ll be taking a cautious approach.

  • Bloodlust ®
    • Cooldown decreased from 120 to 90 seconds

TASSADAR

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  • Spell Shield (Talent) removed
  • Oracle (Trait) (D)
    • Cooldown increased from 30 to 40 seconds
    • Mental Acuity (Talent)
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 15 to 20 seconds
  • Plasma Shield (Q)
    • Mana Cost decreased from 60 to 50
    • Minion Bulwark (Talent) removed
    • Reinforce Structure (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 1
  • Psi-Storm (W)
    • Mana Cost decreased from 65 to 50
    • Psi-Infusion (Talent)
      • Mana returned per target hit reduced from 7 to 5

WARRIOR

 

CHEN

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  • Flying Kick (Q)
    • Flying Kick is now much more accurate and will hit enemies much more consistently.

LEORIC

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  • Undying (Trait)
    • Many of Leoric’s healing effects during Undying are now half as effective
    • Reanimation (Talent)
      • Health regeneration during Undying decreased from 1.5 to 0.75 Health per second
    • Ossein Renewal (Talent)
      • Heal amount during Undying reduced from 20% to 10% of Leoric’s maximum Health
    • Ghastly Swing (Q)
      • Consume Vitality (Talent)
        • Healing reduced during Undying from 2% to 1% of Leroic’s maximum Health per target hit, capping at 5%
    • Drain Essence (W)
      • Now restores up to 12.5% of Leroic’s maximum Health during Undying, rather than a flat amount (was approximately 10%)
      • Willing Vessel (Talent)
        • Now also increases Drain Essence’s healing to 15% during Undying
  • Skeletal Swing (Q)
    • No longer deals 100% increased damage to structures

SONYA

3276TQ7WFVM51417483335193.png

 

Developer Comments: Overall, we’re looking to tune Sonya up slightly. With the health increases, she’ll be a bit more tanky. Previously, Whirlwind could be very frustrating to lane against if you didn’t have a stun. With the shift of less healing from minions and more from heroes, this will make Sonya less of a lane bully and more of an effective skirmisher.

  • Health increased from 930 (+210 per level) to 950 (+220 per level)
  • Fury (Trait)
    • Shot of Fury (Talent)
      • No longer dismounts Sonya on activation
  • Whirlwind (E)
    • Healing reduced from 25% to 20% of damage dealt
    • Healing for damage dealt to Heroes has increased from double to triple

TYRAEL

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Developer Comments: Overall, our goal was to make Sanctification a viable Heroic for players. We increased its effectiveness and fixed a few bugs to make the ability more consistent. With the changes, Sanctification can become extremely powerful at countering Wombos or Hard Engage teams, making it an enticing choice over Judgement in certain situations.   

  • El’Druin’s Might (Q)
    • After throwing El’Druin, a timer bar will now display on screen to indicate how much time remains before El’Druin’s Might expires
  • Sanctification ®
    • No longer requires Tyrael to channel the Ability. All Heroes, including Tyrael, will be invulnerable while within Sanctification’s area of effect
    • Now has a 0.5 second cast time
    • Cooldown increased from 50 to 70 seconds
    • Area of effect radius reduced by approximately 53%
  • Judgment ®
    • Casting time increased from 0.5 to 0.75 seconds
    • Judgment’s target is now briefly revealed upon casting
    • New art has been added that will better notify the target of an incoming Judgment
    • The distance that an enemy targeted by Judgment must travel beyond the Ability’s maximum cast range in order to interrupt it has been increased by 66%

 

BUG FIXES

 

General

  • The Wonder Billie Mount can now be properly selected for use in Hero League and Custom Games.
  • Fixed a rare issue that could sometimes cause matchmade games to start with fewer than 10 players.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause French AZERTY and German QWERTZ keyboards to revert to using QWERTY keyboard hotkeys.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause a noticeable gamma change for some Mac users. 

Art

  • The visual effects preceding Furnace Blast’s explosion will now remain visible while The Butcher is affected by Brightwing’s Polymorph.

Battlegrounds

  • Heroes that are near a Dragon Knight when it is killed will no longer exhibit unexpected movement behavior. 
  • Battlefield of Eternity Minions affected by Sylvanas’ Possession will now properly grant vision to the controlling team.
  • Captured Bruiser Mercenary Camps on Battlefield of Eternity will now properly display their respawn timers when mousing over them on the minimap.
  • Fixed a rare issue that could cause Mercenary Camps to permanently vanish on Battlefield of Eternity.
  • Visual effects from Basic Attacks and Hero Abilities against an Immortal are no longer visible through the fog of war.
  • Fixed an issue in which certain movement-based Abilities, such as Kerrigan’s Ravage or Chen’s Flying Kick, could not target the Doubloon Chests on Blackheart’s Bay, or Plant Terror Overgrowths on Garden of Terror.
  • Enemy Heroes within a Dragon Knight or Garden Terror will no longer become unresponsive if that vehicle is killed by Sylvanas’ Unstable Poison. 

Heroes and Talents

  • Abathur’s Evolve Monstrosity cooldown will no longer begin counting down when Abathur is killed while a Monstrosity remains alive.
  • Fixed an issue that could allow Abathur to become permanently invulnerable under certain circumstances.
  • Abathur’s Stab and Spike Burst Abilities will now deal the proper amount of damage to Promoted Minions.
  • After learning the Evolution Complete Talent, Abathur’s Monstrosity will no longer retain some of the Minions Absorbed stacks earned by a previous Monstrosity.
  • Casting Abathur’s Ultimate Evolution on Tyrael just as Tyrael is killed will now properly place Ultimate Evolution on a reduced cooldown.
  • Anub’arak’s Web Wrap and Stitches' Gorge will now work properly when used against Unstoppable targets, which is consistent with Zagara's Devouring Maw.
  • Chen’s Flying Kick will now be properly canceled when cast on an enemy that is transitioning between levels on the Haunted Mines. 
  • Illidan will no longer fly to the enemy Hall of Storms if the target of The Hunt is killed before the Ability completes.
  • After learning the Wintermute Talent, Jaina’s Water Elemental will now properly mirror her Blizzard casts.
  • Kerrigan's Aggressive Defense Talent now correctly increases the Assimilation Shield amount gained from Basic Attacks and Abilities by 100% when paired with her Fury of the Swarm Talent.
  • Li Li's Cloud Serpent will now attack at the proper speed whether Li Li is moving or standing still.
  • Malfurion's Tranquility will no longer heal him for double the intended amount.
  • Nazeebo’s Gargantuan Stomp tooltip now properly reflects a 5 second Ability cooldown for the Ability.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause the Gargantuan Stomp button to persist on Nazeebo’s Ability Hotbar after his Gargantuan had been killed.
  • Fixed an issue in which Ability effects, such as Giant Killer, Focused Attack, and Zagara’s Envenomed Spines, could be applied while Blinded.
  • Fixed an issue that could prevent Abilities like Brightwing's Soothing Mist or Malfurion's Life Seed from auto-casting during Iceblock, or periods during which players are stunned or silenced.
  • Leoric’s Reanimation Talent will no longer allow him to benefit from enemy Regen Globes during Undying.
  • Fixed a bug that could allow Leoric’s Consume Vitality to heal him for more than the five target maximum during Undying.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause Leoric’s Consume Vitality to trigger multiple times after striking a single target.
  • Murky can no longer use Pufferfish to permanently reveal parts of the fog of war before the match starts.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Stitches’ Hook to become visually stuck to an enemy Hero and fail to pull the target under certain circumstances.
  • The Butcher’s Savage Charge Talent will now properly apply its damage bonus when using Ruthless Onslaught on an enemy Hero that has less than 50% Health remaining.
  • Ruthless Onslaught will no longer cause The Butcher to continue searching for the target even after losing vision of that Hero.
  • Minions affected by Sylvanas’ Possession will no longer occasionally appear to attack one another.
  • Right-clicking Tassadar as he begins using Dimensional Shift will no longer cause the auto-attack reticule to appear while he is invisible.
  • Tyrael will no longer fly to the enemy Hall of Storms if his Judgment target is killed before the Ability completes.
  • Fixed an issue that could occasionally cause Tyrael's Judgment to fail to cast properly on the intended target.
  • Tyrael's Judgment will no longer affect Heroes inside Zagara's Devouring Maw.
  • Heroes that are struck by Tyrael’s Judgment and another knockback effect, such as The Butcher’s Ruthless Onslaught, in rapid succession will no longer be pushed farther than intended.
  • Fixed an issue in which the following Abilities and Talents were not damaging or destroying Zagara's Creep Tumors:
    • Brightwing's Peekaboo, Diablo's Firestorm (returning fireballs), Johanna's Blessed Hammer, Leoric's Buried Alive, Nova's Railgun, Sgt. Hammer's Napalm Strike (impact damage) and Tychus' Big Red Button (the nuke portion)
  • Casting Zeratul's Void Prison on Forts or Keeps should no longer cause targeting issues for Blackheart’s cannons.

Sound

  • Entering Void Prison while using The Butcher’s Ruthless Onslaught will no longer cause Ruthless Onslaught’s sound effects to loop. 

User Interface

  • Takedown and Death counters in Player Profiles have been updated with totals from all previous patches, and will no longer reset with each Heroes patch.
  • The recipient for an incomplete chat message will no longer switch back to Allies upon re-opening the chat box.
  • Most Takedowns As, Most Deaths As, and Games Played statistics will now update correctly when a Hero in the Top 3 is replaced.

 

Big changes in this update! Anything you're particularly excited for?

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Great summary, Odinn! 

 

I'm particularly looking forward to the talent changes. Bolt of the Storm needed a higher CD, Cleanse felt too strong as well. Blizzard definitely takes a giant step in the right direction with this upcoming patch! 

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Great summary, Odinn! 

 

I'm particularly looking forward to the talent changes. Bolt of the Storm needed a higher CD, Cleanse felt too strong as well. Blizzard definitely takes a giant step in the right direction with this upcoming patch! 

 

The Cleanse nerf definitely hurts, but also makes engaging to take out a support substantially more meaningful.

 

Bolt being slightly weaker to make the tier 2 ultimates more attractive is actually awesome, in my opinion. Very few non-Support Heroes were ever taking anything other than Bolt or Nexus Blades, but I really like the game play that some of the upgraded ultimates provide!

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      I feel like it would be a lot easier and more straightforward to just have mmr show if you're master and have top 200 mmr's be the GMs. This would fix all of the silly personal rank and grindmaster stuff that's going on right now. I find it really silly that someone can be like GM #8, never ban over anyone ever, have a sub 50% winrate, but still be high points because they play an obscene amount of games.
      Showing MMR for players over ranking is something we have talked about before (for our previous thoughts on this, check out: 
      We are still working on steps to roll this out in a way that is as organic as possible. Rank and rating generally go hand in hand, but there are cases where they can diverge and the posts we sometimes see on here (and we do read them!) about playing games where high masters/GM players are playing with placement people that haven’t played for a while are usually symptomatic of this (as an aside, our MMR decay system should stop this happening in future, as these players will decay out of being eligible for those games). Having a matchmaker work solely on MMR is one approach we have considered for helping with the quality of the games our players are in so we can show exactly why our matchmaker gave the games that it did. As Rating is a measurement of player skill and Ranking places players in an order, we must be careful when switching from one to the other when it comes to broadcasting this information to players, but it is something we definitely want to do!
      Didn't the article about this season say specifically it would matchmake off MMR and not rank? Unless I'm misunderstanding, your comment is saying it currently does not put together games based off MMR
      Our matchmaker finds players based on MMR, but has rules that limit the games it can make based on a ranked difference requirement. These slowly relax over time (which means if you find a game quickly, it will likely be between 1-2 divisions, e.g. Gold 3 and 4, but if you wait longer the relaxed rules will mean you can get Gold 1-5 or Silver 3-Gold 2 in the same game). This means when a player’s MMR diverges from their rank it can make it harder for the Matchmaker to find them a suitable game, which is one of the reasons we are working on showing MMR instead of Ranked points.
      Do you have any ideas in mind to make Team League a more attractive mode?
      Hey, thanks for the question Lorhand.
      We do spend time discussing all of our game modes, identifying what is working well and where we can make improvements. For Team League specifically, we don’t have any immediate answers. I can provide you with some of the ideas we’ve been brainstorming that would end up being a significant overhaul to TL. Bear in mind that all of this is very much still a work in progress and in an early discussion stage. We would love to hear the community’s feedback on any of this, so please let us know what you think or if you have any other ideas:
      Team League becomes a mode that is only available during specific windows of time for a limited duration. In this version, Team League wouldn’t always be available, but we would be creating a moment and celebrating the mode during these windows, encouraging players to play in it. This could mean the mode is only available on weekends, or something rarer like specific weeks out of a month block, or a handful of times throughout an entire ladder season. Team League is updated to allow all group sizes, including solos and 4-player parties. Combine TL and HL into a single queue. This has some obvious issues – we want to make sure that our dedicated HL players still feel like they can have that ‘pure’ experience. Maybe having multiple ladders based off your group size (specifically a solo queue ladder) would alleviate concerns here. At least then, solo queue players would be ranked only against other solo queue players. Turn TL into a more structured experience that embraced players forming permanent or semi-permanent teams. Essentially, players would create a team name, have a limited roster of players available, potentially customize something visual to represent their team, etc. In this version, teams would likely last an entire season, or this could be combined with something like the first option where this is your team for a limited window of time. Ultimately, we do want to increase participation in Team League. However, as I know this will come up as a suggestion and we’ve seen it before, we don’t want to ‘force’ players into this competitive mode if they aren’t looking for this competitive experience. We want players to be happy engaging in whatever game mode(s) they enjoy, so increasing the number of games to unlock TL rewards from 10->30, or adding more rewards is not something we’re excited about.
      What are the metrics for expected match quality in HL and TL? Is it limited to keeping the chance either team wins close to 0.5, or are there other factors as well, like player strength spread? If so, how are those weighed against each other?
      For example, would the matchmaker consider a match between some team A and some team B where it estimates exactly even odds of winning, where team A has a player in bronze and a player in GM better than a match of all GM player and Master players in both teams, where it expects one team to win with 0.6 odds?
      I love stats questions!
      Our Matchmaker uses several criteria to find a winrate. These include, but are not limited to:
      Games played MMR spread (when playing in a party of more than 1) How many games you have played with the hero you have (Quick Match/vs AI) Game Density (How many games you have played in an amount of time) Other spooky things It then does a bunch of maths that I just about understand to calculate the expected probability of winning the game. This is also a rule, (other rules are listed elsewhere in this AMA) so it won’t accept win probabilities outside of a certain range.
      The HL/TL decay timers are only shown to players after they finish their placements.
      Does the decay timer secretly affect players who are in placements? E.g. suppose I play 5 placement games, quit for 40 days, then come back and finish my placements.
      Hello minor_correction, thank you for your question!
      So...a minor correction! TL doesn't have decay timers and ranked decay enabled! The decay timers do not secretly affect players who are in placements. Only when a player has finished all their placement matches, are the decay timers initiated. However, we hope our players remain actively engaged as there is always content coming out and you may miss out on some of our events if you quit for 40 days. I certainly hope you managed to catch Nexxomania!
      Do you have any estimate as to when we will see performance-based matchmaking in the game?
      The two big features on the horizon for Hero League are Loss Forgiveness and Performance Based Matchmaking. Of those, Loss Forgiveness is the first in line for development, while Performance Based Matchmaking will follow shortly after. I can't commit to an exact timeline for these just yet.
      I kind of find promotion and demotion games in the same league annoying. Going from Plat 2 to Plat 1 and vice versa, they don't make much of a difference to me.
      My question is, are you so far happy with this, or do you plan to change anything here? Like only making promo and demo games between leagues.
      I tend to agree. I feel that moving between divisions shouldn't require this an additional layer of ladder anxiety. We intend to remove promotion/demotion games between divisions in the future, keeping these higher-pressure matches limited to moving between leagues. We don't have that on the schedule at the moment so I don't want to promise a timeline for delivery.
      Do you have plans to show mmr to the players and when would that be?
      We intend to display MMR to players as part of the Performance Based Matchmaking system. We have a new visualization of hero performance that helps reinforce the MMR means. I don't have a date for the release of this feature just yet. As we get nearer to its release we'll be sure to get a blog post up that describes the system, and the changes that will be coming along with it.
      Loss Forgiveness
      “Disconnecting” in game yields (-200) points and ‘x’ games of quick match.
      “Disconnecting”in draft yields (-600) points and same number of quick match games.
      The new trend is to load into a game and “disconnect” to avoid the additional (-400) points.
      Having an AI team mate is a significant disadvantage.
      what (if any) plans can you share about loss forgiveness for those 4 people who stuck it out?”
      We're working on a Loss Forgiveness feature right now that addresses these very concerns. In situations where a player deserts their team they will be punished appropriately, while their teammates will have no points deducted for that loss. If the undermanned team wins with an AI in-tow (it does happen occasionally!) they will still earn points for their grit.
      Every now and then we find complaints about matchmaking, mainly because the system rules aren’t clear or visible. Are you planning on making that information available somewhere handy such as in-game?
      We are currently iterating on our Hero League rules based on the feedback we are getting regarding match quality/wait times/game server as well as updating Quick Match with more concrete rules on team composition.
      Once we are in a place where we think (and hopefully you also think!) that these rules create suitable matches for everyone in a reasonable time, having a discussion on putting out something that explains how these rules work would be a great idea!
      What plans do you think will be implemented this season? Next season?
      The Season 3 patch included a ton of changes to Hero League, though not all of them are player-facing. We're still planning on making improvements to matchmaking rules, but right now, we're focused on fixing bugs, and improving our matchmaking data collection. For example, while investigating reports of rainbow matches in Hero League, we uncovered an issue where players will very rarely incorrectly ping lower to a region outside their own when they have "best site" selected in their options menu. When this issue occurs, a player will make matches on that server, which may have different matchmaking rules that allow for rainbow matches to occur. We're currently in the process of resolving this issue, which takes priority over feature development.
      For Season 4, 2018 we plan to continue examining the quality of matches as well as the end of season impact of Rank Decay. Our feature development efforts have primarily been focused on hardening the Quickmatch matchmaking experience. We're also deep into development on a Loss Forgiveness feature that will prevent point/MMR loss for players who were stuck with a leaver while also punishing frequent leavers.
      Here's a quick list of some of the changes we're considering for the future:
      Preventing returning ranked players from placing higher than Diamond 3 each season-roll after placements. Reducing the number of placement games required for returning ranked players. Separating out the regional GM ladders to allow players to rank up within their local playerbase and matchmaking rulesets. Adding draft swaps for Hero League. Further extending the Rank Point Decay to affect additional leagues. Creating more incentive for Team League a topic that U/BlizzCooper is posting about separately in a moment. It's been shown that people remember negatives over positives.
      That leaves videogames, like HOTS, in a tough spot.
      Statistically, if someone plays enough matches they should end up at their proper rank regardless of the "stubbed toe" matches (leaver, troll, etc).
      However, it's entirely possible that someone may play only a handful of matches a week. And if I play five games with two stubbed toes that looks awful.
      Given that the perception is so negative, is there anything that can be done (it might be impossible for all I know) to address the stubbed toe problem from a matchmaking perspective?
      This touches on a lot of the things we are currently working on to make the experience better for everyone:
      Loss Forgiveness
      It sucks when you lose a game because someone disconnected and never came back and you had to play with the AI and the AI did things that aren’t becoming of a Diamond 3 player and now your Core is on fire and your team is sad and that player who left is sitting on a beach somewhere and you wish all their books became the Twilight series (or whatever kinds of books you don't like).
      Our aim with this is to make those games not count against you anymore, so you are not punished for having to complete a game in that situation, which should lessen the negativity felt for it (you still had to play it, which is a tough situation, but the result of that has been negated, and the leaver suitably punished).
      Hero League
      This kind of perception also extends to the matchmaker, when players ask, “Why am I playing a game in high GM with this low Master’s player?” This usually happens when their MMR has diverged from their rank. As we work towards switching to showing MMR for some or all our leagues, this should remove that negative perception, too.
      Quick Match
      When people are given quick match games which are 5v5 assassins, or games that feel like the balance of the players or heroes is off, this can reduce enjoyment as well, so we are working towards hardening the criteria for team composition to make the mode feel both more enjoyable and more like our other queues.
      Are there any plans to tighten the MMR differences GM players experience in their teams? Currently you can see #1GM players getting matched with 200 points masters/placements and i suspect the difference in MMR is quite big. Also showing MMR would shed a lot of light and transparency on how we are matched. Thanks.
      Currently we observe there are a small percentage of players whose MMR and Rank Points have diverged. As a result, these players end up in matches like the one you described. However, it is important to note that both MMR and Ranked Points are used when determining which players get placed into a game. Because of the divergence previously mentioned, GM players may see a lower ranked master player in their game when, in reality, that player has a higher MMR than his current rank. We are investigating potential solutions for how to reduce this divergence. In regards to displaying MMR to the player, please refer to the following reply that has more details: 
      I play in high diamond / low masters mmr in HL. My queue times are hitting 10+ minutes some nights (usually playing 9pm-12AM EST). The game quality seems worse this season then any other season. Are the matchmaking changes this season being reviewed as an improvement on your end? I'm used to 2-5 minute queue's max in previous seasons.
      First of all, congratulations on your ranking in Hero League! The match quality is something we are actively iterating on. We track numerous parameters for each match and monitor them actively. When comparing some of these parameters against last season across the entire population, we have seen a significant reduction in the difference between the highest and lowest MMR within a game, as well as the difference between the highest and lowest rank within a game. However, we still observe some outliers and it is something we are monitoring. Something to note about playing at the high diamond/low masters level is that for larger game servers the matchmaker now enforces a maximum of a one division spread for Master/GM players. As a result, if you end up with Master players in your game, you should only have Diamond 1's or GM's in the game, but never both. This can result in higher queue times. For smaller game servers, the rules are less aggressive (resulting in a slightly more broad MMR\Rank spread) in order for players to get into games within a reasonable period of time while maintaining the best quality the matchmaker can for the given players in the queue.
      When will we have quick match matchmaking where there will always be a tank and a healer?
      Sometime this fall, coming to a quick match near you:)
      Are you aware of the problems with game mode(TL/UD) populations in minor regions?
      When and how do you plan to fix them?
      Hi camerontenten! Thank you for your questions. You've touched on a few different topics so I'll do my best to try and address each of them. We are currently aware of the challenges that minor regions experience and are investigating ways to create additional incentives for players to participate in these modes that are facing challenges.
      Being able to queue for multiple modes is an interesting idea and compelling. However, there are many challenges that come with that. For example, when a player is eligible for matches in different queues, what happens? Is it a first come first serves? What happens to the other 9 players in a match you choose to not go into? We have a holding mechanic that allows players of higher ratings to place a hold on players they feel they could make a match with in the near future (whoa...psychic). A change like this would have far reaching impacts across numerous game modes and potentially create scenarios where all game modes would have a degraded performance. Don't get me wrong, I love this idea and it has been discussed within the team. However, when we make changes to the matchmaker, we validate our changes across historical data for the the population to understand the impact of the changes. With a change as complex as this we would have to verify that all game modes observed a net positive in terms of quality of games as well as queue times.
      In terms of duo queuing: 
      I agree, the game is very enjoyable with friends and I assure you we are very much invested in trying to improve the experience for our minor region heroes...of the storm:)
      How do you feel about the current state of "solo laners" and how do you feel about the current state of pocket picks like Murky?
      Hey Parrot_on_ROIDS, thanks for the question and love the name ?
      Solo laners create an interesting dynamic that is influenced a lot by the battleground you’re playing on. For the most part, we think this is an interesting role for the team and as these are typically bruiser characters, they fit well into many team compositions providing a second frontline character. In general, we see a decent variety of viable solo laners, but there is a lack of ranged character involvement. This is mostly okay but seeing a wider variety of heroes involved would probably be an improvement and something we can chase on the design and balance side.
      In terms of pocket pick characters, I think these are fine if they’re seen occasionally and in the right situation. We definitely don’t want to see the game become a “Murky meta”, but having the occasional Murky pick is fine. A general rule of thumb here would be that the more a hero forces the other 9 players in a match to drastically change their play, the more cautious we are about that hero being overly common. Murky of the old days typically meant he would split push the entire match, forcing his own team to fight in a lot of 4v5 situations which wasn’t fun for them. On the flip side, the 5-player team also had to babysit against Murky which also wasn’t fun. Assuming Murky is playing a bit more of a ‘standard’ game and participating with his teammates, then I think the situation is more enjoyable for everyone… sorry, bit of a tangent but hopefully still relevant ?
      Can we expect to see dedicated roles in QM soon (tank/healer/dmg per team)
      We are working currently on hardening the rules for roles in Quick Match. We are implementing ways in which we can make sure that people who are picking roles with low demand are more effectively informed that there are roles in demand right now that they could fill.
      Question about matchmaking in master hl. How matchmaking works currently in master? Because i have feelings that before grandmasters are up, it was different. In 2 first weeks of season I was matched with 5-9k players having 3k and then when grandmasters were announced i was started getting 0-1,5k master players having 5k points. And quality of matches were much lower. Does this work on purpose because of lower playerbase in master and harsher requirements for grandmaster players?
      Hi Ynous, thank you for your question. Whenever Master players are considered, the matchmaker will first try to make a game with players from one division, before expanding the search to the adjacent ones. It won’t let Master players be in a game that has more than one division spread (e.g. Diamond 1 and Masters are OK, Diamond 2 and Masters are not OK). This spread will only be allowed if all players to be put into a match have waited in the queue for at least 4 minutes. From matchmaker’s perspective Masters and GMs are considered to be different divisions, so when GMs were formed that player pool became separated from Masters by a wait time barrier in addition to all the other rules. In any case, for both Masters and GMs matchmaker is looking to not only make a fair game but to keep player’s MMRs as close as possible – with allowed MMR spread growing slowly over the first 15 minutes of wait time. Currently, the amount of rank points a player has inside a single division are not taken into account by HL matchmaker, so the games you have described were formed based on the MMR of the players involved. In your case, my guess is you probably were a lower MMR player in the matches before GMs were up, and now you’re probably a higher MMR player in those matches as there are fewer high-MMR players (as in, they are more likely to be in GMs now, which is a separate division).
      Would it be possible to steal the ear-destroying Dota2 ready sound? I get tired of losing 600 points and having to play low-priority. ?
      I’m not sure Valve would be too happy with that, but we are in discussions about a form of ready check. Personally, I would go with Murky’s March of the Murlocs horn or Whitemane’s laugh as a ready sound!
      1. Why is Hero League seeded from Quickmatch, when they are fundamentally different game modes?
      This has led to all kinds of abuse over the years with people purposefully cheesing QM for a higher HL rank, as well as being basically the sole reason for the common complaints of a feeling of inconsistency in the "game knowledge" of teammates at any given rank in HL.
      QM is a fundamentally randomized and unpredictable environment. As such, it gives players a warped sense of what balance is, how to form a team comp, and the meta. What makes that a good seed for HL?
      Is it unreasonable to just make Unranked Draft the only seed? UD is fundamentally much closer to HL in terms of the skillset and game knowledge required for success, so it is an infinitely better predictor of how someone will perform in the HL environment.
      2. What is the current form of decay supposed to accomplish?
      For one, it doesn't kick in until you've finished your placements, so people can just wait and do their 10 matches at the end of the season to avoid decay entirely.
      And two, It's not aggressive enough for how short our seasons are. Playing one extra match every 20 days is nothing when the seasons are only a few months long to begin with.
      One of HL's biggest issues over the years has been that the "bare minimum" of matches you can play to keep your rank is just too low, and this doesn't really solve that problem.
      Thank you for your question. Generally when you begin playing HL in a new season, there are 2 cases. In the first scenario, a player has played HL in previous season, in which case we will use your rating from that season. In the second scenario, the player has not played in the last season. Previously when confronted with the second situation, the game would look at other queues to try and use more recent information to estimate the player’s skill. The order in which we would look at the queues is: TL is seeded from HL, HL is seeded from UD, UD is seeded from QM. We changed the algorithm with the last season roll. Going forward, we will only use another queue’s information to seed a player in new season if they have never played enough HL games in any of the previous seasons to place into a definitive rank, and if they did - we will ignore other queues for seeding purposes. In other words, the issue described in the post you have linked should be resolved.
      Do you plan to make the term of MMR & RANK Decay shorter? The decay standard now seems to be a bit long.
      Hello! We are always looking to iterate on changes we make to Rating and Ranked Decay. We are monitoring the impact Ranked Decay is having on Hero League. The decay timers may be adjusted as a result. However, we won't be making any changes to the decay timers in the middle of a season as we want to ensure all players are aware of such changes before they play their placement matches (which is when the decay timers get initialized).
      Are there any plans to add a an AFK check to the start of drafts like many other MOBAs? Losing a game because one player is AFK and gets randomly assigned a hero that’s bad in the map/team comp is incredibly frustrating and honestly it feels like it could be easily avoidable.
      Hello Ankoria! This suggestion is actually something we have been considering for some time now. You can find an answer to a similar question here: 
      Have You guys considered to cover the AMA online in the future? Like Ion & Josh from WoW?
      Hi, ErothTV! We’ve approached answering questions about Heroes development many different ways over the years – from livestream or video Q&A’s with our team leaders, to reddit, forum, and social media posts by individual team members - and we will continue to try different things moving forward. We’re currently focusing our reddit AMAs on this format where we pick a specific area of the game and bring in the developers who work on that area to answer questions directly. I’ve been enjoying the way these have been going and think the individual developers being involved leads to more in-depth discussion, but please let us know if you have feedback on it or ideas on other ways we can continue improving our communication with the Heroes community. Thanks!!
      The biggest problems that occur with matchmaking seem the be around the "failure mode"s, where the matchmaker fails to find an appropriate match in the required time, and makes a wildly inappropriate match right now. Is there work on the way in degrading that more gracefully?
      Previously, the matchmaker search criteria would degrade gracefully to a cutoff point (for the party/player with the longest wait time), and then make the best match it can at that cutoff point. This would result in sometimes you being pulled into these matches being made at another players cutoff point. That is probably what you were experiencing, and we agree that this wasn't the best experience for the player. As a result we have made some improvements to it this season for Hero League. Each player now has their own search criteria. The players search criteria will degrade gracefully and only when players fit each others search criteria will they be placed together into a game—whereas previously it was based purely on the party/player search criteria who had the longest wait time. However, there is still a maximum cutoff of 15 minutes before the matchmaker makes the best possible match it can. This is currently live in Hero League and we are monitoring the experience.
      1. Replay system is so uncomfortable. Advance of replay system will make Ranked players more skillful. I heard in past interviews that the system is being improved, how long has it been?
      2.And the reconnecting system so! The reconnecting time so boring. ? 
      Hi 6igbear, thank you for your question. We think improving actual gameplay experience is higher priority than upgrading replay system. We have talked about these issues before: 
      Since then, we’ve been doing research in how networking model implementation affects player experience. While some of the improvements stemming from this research are still in progress, we have made a few fixes which are already live. Most recently, with the Whitemane patch, we were able to improve efficiency of how the game is sending user input over the network. This resulted in ~2x-3x reduction of bandwidth consumption, improving gameplay experience for players with challenging network conditions as well as speeding up ‘rejoin in progress’ for cases when network was a limiting factor. A nice by-product of that is that replay files are smaller in size as well.
      With voice comms it feels like the main disadvantage of duo queue has been eliminated. Have you considered adding duo queue back to HL?
      This is something we've discussed internally. We think there is value in ensuring players can play with friends and make new ones in Hero League. There are complications, and many differing opinions, but it's something we're considering for next year.
      Why are new heroes allowed in ranked as soon as they come out? When Alterac Pass was introduced it was delayed from rank for a week or two so people could get used to it. Shouldn't heroes be treated the same?
      Allowing new heroes in day of forces people to misuse bans because they might think someone is OP or they are afraid they're UP and a teammate with instalock them. Theres also people who go straight into ranked and mandate they have to play a hero regardless of skill/team comp. Seems like waiting a little bit is a good fix.
      Hi AlexRain1, There’s two main reasons that we allow new heroes into ranked modes immediately.
      1. It’s actually really critical for our team to collect lots of data and make meaningful balance decisions quickly. We believe that our balance patches that come two weeks following a new hero release provides a really good update cadence for the game. For those balance patches, we are able to use about a week of data from live matches to inform our decisions internally, implement and validate our changes, etc. While we absolutely do look at QM and all data available, being able to utilize data from higher level HL matches is much more meaningful. Even the fact that ranked matches require a player to be level 5 on a character first helps to validate this data further, and of course seeing pick and ban rates, is useful data in itself.
      2. The other angle is from a perspective that new and updated content is the lifeblood of this game. From reworks and significant balance changes, to of course new heroes – these are all opportunities to shake up the meta and create new strategies. The game is constantly evolving, and this can help to even resurface older heroes that may now present new synergies or counters.
      For Alterac Pass specifically, we discussed it quite a bit, but felt that having this new battleground enter ranked modes right at the end of the ranked season wasn’t the best experience. We instead wanted to create an interesting moment where the next ladder season would utilize this battleground for its entirety.
      Why Matchmaking changes are taking forever to be done ? We see new events and skins very often, are you investing more resources to make the game "prettier" instead of better ?
      We do have separate, dedicated teams focusing on each area of the game, so releasing a new Hero or a new skin does not take away attention from matchmaking or other feature work. It's critical that we continue making content while also making the game better - these things are equally important to us, and our team structure reflects that. The sensation that we move faster on content is really speaking to a different thing - content changes are more visible and tangible.
      Matchmaking is an area of game development that is incredibly challenging and perpetually evolving, not just for Heroes of the Storm, but for all games. There is no perfect matchmaking; it's always a series of trade-offs where we're striving to get the highest quality matches for the largest percentage of players in the most reasonable timeframes, all while attempting to balance an ever-increasing number of extremely impactful variables.
      Over the past 5 years, we've invested heavily in the ongoing quest to improve the Heroes matchmaking experience across the game and have made great strides along the way with changes that have been behind the scenes as well as public-facing. We've also developed tools that strengthen our ability to predict and understand the far-reaching implications of the changes that we want to make. Through all of this, we've been able to consistently improve the matchmaking experience for the vast majority of Heroes players. And while we've had setbacks, bugs, and fringe cases negatively impact some players as we've evolved the system, we believe matchmaking is one of the cornerstones of our game and will continue to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to improving it forevermore. Speaking of which - we're always looking to hire talented Server Engineers to join the Heroes team and help support matchmaking as well as other feature development. Please apply!
      Hi, when can we expect some “balance” changes for Tassadar? He has been dangling at the bottom for months, and he is in a really akward and near unplayable spot. In Quickmatch you get matched against Global healing and splitpushing Slugs 99% of the time (why is this seen as a fair match up?). In draft you get reported for even hovering him, or if you are luckily you are not reported.. but solo supporting. I would love to play some Tassadar without trolling my team or getting split push stomped ❤️ Thanks for your time
      Hi IAreNoMonkey,
      Tassadar is someone the balance team has talked about. He could likely use some balance changes to address some of your concerns, but he may also need a larger update to better position him into a definitive role for the team. We do find that his role as an enabler for specific characters is pretty unique and can have a significant impact when paired with someone like Tracer. Whether he stays in this ‘enabler’ role or shifts to a more pure Assassin or Support is still up for debate.
      As far as matching Tassadar in QM games, we do have some changes to QM coming this fall that will help ensure games have a Tank, Healer & Ranged Assassin. This means you may still run into Tassadar vs. Abathur scenarios, but each team should also have a healer to minimize any disadvantage Tassadar may have in this specific matchup.