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HotS: PTR Patch Notes - May 9, 2016

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A new patch has hit Public Test Realms. It adds Chromie and brings a lot of class changes, namely the highly-anticipated revamp of Arthas & Anub'arak.

 

Following the revelation of both Chromie and Medivh we've got a new patch up on Public Test Realms. You can check the full Patch Notes below.

 

Blizzard Icon Blizzard Entertainment

NEW HERO: CHROMIE

Chromie, Keeper of Time, has been added to Heroes of the Storm and is now available for play! Read on for a brief overview of her Abilities.

Trait

  • Timewalker
    • You’ve traveled into the future, and as such, will learn your Talents 1 level earlier than your teammates.

Basic Abilities

  • Sand Blast (Q)
    • After 1 second, fire a long-range blast that damages the first enemy Hero it hits.
  • Dragon’s Breath (W)
    • Fire a blast into the air that lands after 1.5 seconds, dealing damage to enemies in an area. Enemies cannot see where the blast will land.
  • Time Trap (E)
    • Place a Time Trap that arms and Stealths after 2 seconds. The first enemy Hero to touch it will be placed into Stasis for 2 seconds. Only 1 Trap can exist at once.

Heroic Abilities

  • Slowing Sands [R]
    • Create a swirling vortex of sand which greatly slows enemies caught within its area of effect. The longer Slowing Sands is active, the greater its slow becomes.
  • Temporal Loop [R]
    • Target enemy Hero will be teleported 3 seconds back in time to the position they were in when you initially cast Temporal Loop.

SYSTEM CHANGES

Hero League Matchmaking

The top few hundred players in the world have extremely high matchmaking ratings (MMR), and the MMR gap between these players and the general population can be dramatic. At times, only a few of these extremely talented players are in the queue waiting for a match. In these cases, a highly-skilled player could previously be matched with several of the best available allies in queue, along with one lower-rated player in order to help balance out the team’s average MMR and find a match more quickly.

A new change has been implemented with today’s patch in which the matchmaking system will prefer to create a game that’s a little less even, using the highest-rated players available, rather than create an even game that includes lesser-skilled players.

In the overwhelming majority of the games it creates, the matchmaking system prefers very even matches. However, in cases like those described above, the matchmaking system will prefer to create games where the high-level player has a slight advantage, but all players are closer in skill, rather than set up a match where the high-level player has to work harder to “carry” a lesser-skilled teammate. In essence, today’s change will help to maintain the overall fairness and integrity of the league over the fairness of that specific match. Additionally, this should only occur after a relatively lengthy wait in the Hero League queue.

 

ART

General

  • The Specialist role icon has received updated artwork to better reflect Specialists as masters of unconventional warfare.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Many Heroes have received updated Ability and Talent button art.
  • The Dragon Knight and Garden Terror have received updated Ability button art.
  • Heroes with unique Mount Abilities have received updated Mount button art.
    • Abathur – Deep Tunnel
    • Brightwing – Phase Shift
    • Dehaka – Brushstalker
    • Falstad – Flight
    • Gall – Hurry Up, Oaf!
    • Lunara – Dryad’s Swiftness
    • Rehgar – Ghost Wolf
    • Sgt. Hammer – Thrusters
    • The Lost Vikings – Go, go, go!
  • A new visual overlay has been added to better indicate when the player is affected by Stasis.
    • Ice Block (Talent)
    • Cho — Molten Block (Talent)
    • Chromie — Time Trap (E), Time Out (Talent)
    • Jaina — Improved Ice Block (Talent)
    • Rexxar — Feign Death (Talent)
    • Zagara — Devouring Maw [R]
    • Zeratul — Void Prison [R]
  • Arthas
    • Arthas has received updated visual effects to coincide with his Talent rework.
    • Visual effects for Arthas’ Rune Tap Talent will now display closer to the center of his model rather than appear overhead.

SHOP

Bundles

  • New Bundles have been added!
    • Fel Queen Chromie Bundle - Available until May 31, 2016.
    • Battle Beasts Bundle - Available until June 7, 2016.
    • Ultimate Battle Beasts Bundle - Available until June 7, 2016.
    • Triumph Bundle
  • The Storm Bundle has been removed from the in-game Shop.

New Hero

  • Chromie has been added to the in-game Shop.

Skins

  • Master Chromie
  • Fel Queen Chromie

Price Reductions

  • Nazeebo’s prices have been reduced to $6.49 USD and 4,000 Gold.
  • Nova’s prices have been reduced to $8.49 USD and 7,000 Gold.

SOUND

Questing Talents

  • New sound effects have been added that will play when making progress with a Questing Talent.

USER INTERFACE

General

  • After a match is found for an unranked game, a new “Connecting…” message will appear if there is delay in connecting to the server, and a new “Waiting for Players…” message will appear when waiting for other players to connect.

Draft Mode

  • Hero Bans
    • The first round Ban timer has been increased from 45 to 60 seconds.

In-Game UI

  • Questing Talents
    • Questing Talents have received visual polish that should help players better distinguish them from other Talents, and more easily track progress toward quest completion.
      • Questing Talent progress will now be more clearly indicated in Ability tooltips, Talent tooltips, and on the Buff bar.
      • Questing Talent icons on the in-game Score Screen (TAB) will now display progress toward completion for all players in a game.
      • A Quest icon will briefly appear and float next to the Hero or the Hero’s target when making progress toward an unfinished Questing Talent.
      • Visual effects will briefly appear around a Hero when they complete a Questing Talent.
  • Ability Buttons
    • Ability button borders will now be greyed out borders when the associated Ability cannot be used.
  • Floating Combat Text
    • Many additional Hero Abilities have received the new critical strike floating combat text style to better inform players when critical strikes are triggered from Ability and Talent effects.

Hero Select

  • Role description tooltips have been added to Role sorting buttons on Hero Select.
  • Queue Time Estimates
    • A “High Estimated Wait Time” notification will now display above the Ready button during times when the selected Hero is a very popular choice in matchmaking queues.
      • This will most often occur on days when a new Hero is released.
      • This notification will prompt players to try another Hero while wait times are very high, but will not prevent them from queuing with the high-traffic Hero.

BATTLEGROUNDS

Healing Well

  • 25% of a Healing Well’s maximum Health has been converted into a Shield. Shield Regeneration delay of 8 seconds.

Developer Comments: We’ve noticed some rather un-fun behavior in the form of sniping Healing Wells over time using very long range Abilities. While we’re okay with players doing this to a degree, we found it was too effective given how little counterplay there was. To help solve this, turned a sizable portion of Healing Well Health into a Shield. This means that if you offer your Healing Well some respite from enemy attacks by chasing opponents away every now and then, it will start to regenerate some of that Shield. Only you can protect Healing Wells from those pesky Arcane Orbs!

 

TALENTS

Battle Momentum

  • Battle Momentum has been made Hero-specific, and now only applies to Basic Ability cooldowns.
  • Diablo
    • Diabolical Momentum
      • Basic Attacks now reduce Basic Ability cooldowns by 0.75 seconds instead of 0.5.
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability cooldowns.
  • Johanna
    • Blessed Momentum
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability cooldowns.
  • Kerrigan
    • Bladed Momentum
      • Basic Attacks now reduce Basic Ability cooldowns by 0.75 seconds instead of 0.5.
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability cooldowns.
  • Tyrael
    • Angelic Momentum
      • Basic Attacks now reduce Basic Ability cooldowns by 0.75 seconds instead of 0.5.
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability cooldowns.
  • Tyrande
    • Lunar Momentum
      • Basic Attacks now reduce Basic Ability cooldowns by 0.6 seconds instead of 0.5.
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability cooldowns.
  • Zagara
    • Swarm Momentum
      • Basic Attacks now reduce Basic Ability cooldowns by 0.75 seconds instead of 0.5.
      • No longer reduces Heroic Ability or Trait cooldowns.

Developer Comments: Our intention for Battle Momentum was to create more active gameplay by using your Basic Abilities more often, but we found that a lot of this Talent’s power lied in its ability to reduce your Heroic cooldowns. We wanted to increase the cooldown reduction granted by the Talent, but didn’t want Heroic Ability cooldowns to drop to absurdly low levels. By making it only reduce the cooldowns of Basic Abilities (Q, W, E), it allowed us to increase this cooldown reduction without making it overpowered. We’ve also made Battle Momentum Hero-specific, so that we can tune each one without affecting all the rest, since Attack Speed, melee versus range, and the nature of your Basic Abilities can all drastically change what is balanced.

 

Conjurer's Pursuit

  • A reward has been added to this Questing Talent.
    • Quest: Gather Regeneration Globes to permanently increase Mana Regeneration by 0.10 per second, up to a maximum of 2.5 per second.
    • Reward: After gathering 25 Regeneration Globes, also increases maximum Mana by 100.

Developer Comments: We’ve added a completion point to this Talent. Upon completing its quest, players will be provided with some additional power. This allows us to offer spikes of power in-between Talent levels, or even for a single player on a team. Now, simply picking the Talent and only partially completing it is worse, but finishing the quest will return a larger reward. Choosing the right Talents on the right Battleground or with the right team composition has always been an important goal for us, and this change pushes this Talent to closer align with that goal.

 

Executioner

  • This Talent has been reworked.
    • Increases Basic Attack damage by 30% for 3 seconds after hitting a Stunned, Slowed, or Rooted target with a Basic Attack. Using Basic Attacks against a Slowed, Rooted, or Stunned target during this time will refresh the buff duration.

Developer Comments: We like the punishing nature of Executioner, but have found over time that its benefit to the player is too narrowly scoped. We’re changing the Talent to be more consistently useful by giving the player a temporary Attack Damage buff that procs when they first hit a crowd controlled target.

 

Hardened Focus

  • The Health bar next to the Hero Portrait will now display a marker that indicates whether the Hero is above or below 80% Health.
  • Will now display an icon in the Buff bar next to the Hero Portrait while its effects are active.

Regeneration Master

  • A reward has been added to this Questing Talent.
    • Quest: Regeneration Globes now grant 1.0 Health per second, stacking up to 30
    • Reward: Upon gathering 30 Globes, also increases Health by 500

Developer CommentsPlease see the Developer Comment for Conjurer’s Pursuit.

Seasoned Marksman

  • A reward has been added to this Questing Talent.
    • Quest: Increases Attack Damage by 0.2 for each enemy Minion killed nearby, and 0.5 for each Hero Takedown, up to a maximum of 40.
    • Reward: After gaining 40 bonus Attack Damage, Seasoned Marksman can be activated to increase Attack Speed by 30% for 3 seconds. 60 second cooldown. 

Developer CommentsPlease see the Developer Comment for Conjurer’s Pursuit.

 

ASSASSIN

FALSTAD

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  • Battle Momentum (Talent) removed.
  • First Aid (Talent) removed.
  • Overdrive (Talent) removed.
  • Vigorous Assault (Talent) renamed to Hammer Gains
    • This is now a Falstad-specific version of Vigorous Assault.
    • Health restored per Basic Attack increased from 15% to 20% of damage dealt to the primary target.
  • Tailwind (Trait)
    • Flow Rider (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 13.
  • Hammerang (Q)
    • Power Throw (Talent) removed.
    • Hammer Time (Talent) removed.
    • Crippling Hammer (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 16.
    • Secret Weapon (Talent)
      • Now also increases Hammerang range by 30%.
      • Basic Attack damage bonus reduced from 80% to 60%
  • Lightning Rod (W)
    • Charged Up (Talent) moved from Level 4 to Level 7.
      • Now also increases Lightning Rod’s range by 15%.
      • Number of bonus strikes reduced from 3 to 2.
    • Static Shield (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 4.
      • Shield amount per strike reduced from 5% to 4% of maximum Health.
  • Barrel Roll (E)
    • Shield duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds.
    • Free Roll (Talent) removed.
    • Updraft (Talent) moved from Level 1 to Level 4.
      • Now also increases Barrel Roll’s Shield amount by 40%.

Developer Comments: We have been trying our best to support and balance the ‘mage’ versus ‘auto-attack’ builds that Falstad has access to, but continue to teeter-totter as small changes to popular Talents tend to dictate full build-paths. The changes Falstad is receiving may seem massive (and to an extent they are), but we tried our best to keep his current builds intact while opening some new and exciting combinations. Overall, we are not hoping for a huge swing in power in one direction or the other, but to open up more compelling choices at each Talent tier.

 

KERRIGAN

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  • Summon Ultralisk [R]
    • Cooldown reduced from 80 to 70 seconds.
  • Maelstrom [R]
    • Cooldown reduced from 100 to 90 seconds.

Developer Comments: We are hearing your feedback about Kerrigan. Although the changes this patch are very minor, we are full aware of the community’s support and enthusiasm for revitalizing the Queen of Blades. Although we don’t currently have any extensive changes planned for her, she is definitely on our radar and you can expect to see some more tweaks coming soon™.

 

LI-MING

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  • Cannoneer (Talent)
    • Cannoneer stacks will now be displayed in the Buff bar next to the Hero Portrait.
  • Tal Rasha's Elements (Talent) has been reworked, and now reads as follows:
    • Using Abilities grants 5% Ability Power to a maximum of 20%. This bonus is reset when the same Ability is used within a chain.
  • Disintegrate [R]
    • Temporal Flux (Talent)
      • Now gradually Slows enemies caught in its beam, up to maximum of 60%.

Developer Comments: After our last round of changes, Li-Ming’s win rate and overall balance has leveled into a great spot. However, we felt that there were a couple of changes to her level 20 Talents that would help them better fit her intended design goals. Both Tal Rasha’s Elements and Disintegrate will now take a bit more planning and finesse to execute to their max potential.

 

RAYNOR

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  • Berserk (Talent) removed.

ZERATUL

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  • Berserk (Talent) removed.

SUPPORT

LI LI

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  • Cleanse (Talent) added at Level 7
  • Shake It Off (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 16.
    • Cooldown reduced from 15 to 10 seconds.
  • Fast Feet (Trait)
    • Safety Sprint (Talent)
      • Now provides the Movement Speed bonus regardless of Li Li’s remaining Health.
  • Healing Brew (Q)
    • Herbal Cleanse (Talent) removed.

Developer Comments: While one of the core components of Li Li’s design has been that she does not target her Abilities, we were not happy with Herbal Cleanse and its odd usability. In addition to some other minor Talent adjustments, we’ve decided to give Cleanse to Li Li to help her compete with other Supports in this area.

 

LT. MORALES

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  • Advanced Block (Talent) renamed to Automated Block.

MALFURION

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  • Tranquility [R]
    • Will no longer Heal non-Heroic units.

REHGAR

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  • Lightning Shield (W)
    • Stormcaller (Talent) has been reworked.
      • Now restores 3 Mana when Lightning Shield damages an enemy Hero, up to a maximum of 30.
  • Earthbind Totem (E)
    • Earthgrasp Totem (Talent)
      • Empowered Slow duration reduced from 1.5 to 1 second.

Developer Comments: Stormcaller has been changed so that it offers a little different gameplay than Spiritwalker’s Grace. While they both restore Mana, Stormcaller will offer a higher reward but not have the same guarantee as Spiritwalker’s Grace. Each also has different synergies with other Talents. Earthgrasp Totem’s slow duration was nerfed slightly because we found the duration of such a powerful slow on a short cooldown was pretty frustrating to play against.

 

WARRIOR

ANUB'ARAK

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  • Health increased from 1926 (+4% per level) to 2026 (+4% per level)
  • Health Regeneration increased from 4.01 (+4% per level) to 4.22 (+4% per level) Health per second
  • Dampen Magic (Talent) added at Level 1.
  • Mercenary Lord (Talent) removed.
  • Spell Shield (Talent) removed.
  • Imposing Presence (Talent) removed.
  • Locust Needles (Talent)
    • Area damage increased from 50% to 60% of Basic Attack damage.
  • Scarab Host (Trait)
    • Assault Scarab (Talent)
      • Beetle Basic Attack damage bonus increased from 25% to 30%.
    • Beetle, Juiced (Talent)
      • This Talent’s functionality has changed, and now reads as follows:
      • Every third Basic Attack against enemy Heroes spawns a Beetle.
  • Impale (Q)
    • Bed of Barbs (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 13.
      • Damage increased from 26 (+4% per level) to 46 (+4% per level) per second.
    • Extended Spikes (Talent)
      • Now also increases Impale damage by 25%.
  • Harden Carapace (W)
    • Shield amount increased from 260 (+4% per level) to 300 (+4% per level)
    • Cooldown decreased from 8 to 7 seconds
    • Mana cost decreased from 35 to 30
    • Persistent Carapace (Talent) removed.
    • Symbiotic Armor (Talent) removed.
    • Urticating Spines (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 13.
      • Area damage reduced from 105 (+4% per level) to 80 (+4% per level), and deals double damage to enemy Heroes.
    • Chitinous Plating (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 7.
      • This Talent’s functionality has changed, and now reads as follows:
        • While Hardened Carapace is active, taking damage from enemy Abilities decreases its cooldown by 0.75 seconds, up to 3 seconds maximum.
    • Shed Exoskeleton (Talent)
      • Movement Speed bonus increased from 25% to 30%.
  • Burrow Charge (E)
    • Underking (Talent)
      • No longer reduces the cooldown of Burrow Charge, but still increases range by 20%.
      • Now also increases Burrow Charge damage by 100%.
    • Epicenter (Talent)
      • No longer increases Burrow Charge damage, but still increases its impact area by 85%.
      • Now also decreases the cooldown of Burrow Charge by 4 seconds per enemy Hero hit.
  • Locust Swarm [R]
    • Mana cost decreased from 100 to 75
  • Cocoon [R]
    • Cryptweave (Talent)
      • Channeling will now occur automatically while Anub’arak remains near the Cocooned enemy.

Developer Comments: We want Anub’arak to be a Warrior who is good against enemy spell casters, so we gave him some Talents that point him in that direction. We also saw an opportunity to improve his Talent tree, as many of his Talents are outdated. He should feel much better at diving squishy backline Heroes, and his Talent choices should be more compelling.

 

ARTHAS

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  • Health increased from 2382 (+4% per level) to 2582 (+4% per level)
  • Health regeneration increased from 4.96 (+4% per level) to 5.37 (+4% per level)
  • Regeneration Master (Talent) removed
  • Mercenary Lord (Talent) removed
  • Spell Shield (Talent) removed
  • Relentless (Talent) removed
  • Stoneskin (Talent) removed
  • Rewind (Talent) removed
  • New Talent (Level 7): Icebound Fortitude
    • Activate to reduce damage taken by 25% and reduce the duration of silences, stuns, slows, roots, and polymorphs by 75% for 3 seconds. 50 second cooldown.
  • New Talent (Level 20): Death's Advance
    • Passively increases Arthas’ Movement Speed by 10%. Activate to increase this bonus to 30% for 3 seconds.  50 second cooldown.
  • New Talent (Level 20): Anti-Magic Shell
    • Activate to reduce Ability damage taken by 100% for 3 seconds, and heal for 25% of the damage prevented.  60 second cooldown.
  • Frostmourne Hungers (Trait) (D)
    • Destruction (Talent) removed.
    • Obliterate (Talent) removed.
    • Eternal Hunger (Talent) has been reworked as a Questing Talent.
      • Quest: Using Frostmourne Hungers on an enemy Hero permanently increases the Mana it restores by 4, up to a maximum of 40.
      • Reward: After hitting 10 Heroes with Frostmourne Hungers, its damage bonus is increased to 125%.
    • Frost Strike (Talent) moved from Level 7 to Level 13
      • Now also reduces the cooldown of Frostmourne Hungers by 2 seconds.
  • Death Coil (Q)
    • Death Touch (Talent) removed.
    • Immortal Coil (Talent) moved from Level 16 to Level 7
      • Casting Death Coil on an enemy Hero now restores Health equal to 100% of the damage dealt.
    • New Talent (Level 4): Deathlord
      • Reduces Death Coil’s cooldown by 2 seconds and increases its range by 25%.
  • Howling Blast (W)
    • Frost Presence (Talent)
      • Now reduces Howling Blast’s cooldown by 6 seconds if it hits an enemy Hero.
    • Trail of Frost (Talent)
      • Now also increases the range of Howling Blast by 30%.
  • Frozen Tempest (E)
    • Damage per second increased from 48 (+4% per level) to 52 (+4% per level)
    • Biting Cold (Talent) moved from Level 13 to Level 4
      • Damage bonus reduced from 50% to 30%
    • New Talent (Level 13): Frigid Winds
      • Frozen Tempest reduces enemy Attack Speed by 8% per second, up to 40% maximum.
    • New Talent (Level 16): Remorseless Winter
      • Enemies that remain in Frozen Tempest’s area of effect for 3 seconds are rooted for 2 seconds. This effect can only occur once every 10 seconds.
  • Army of the Dead [R]
    • Ghoul Health increased from 799 (+4% per level) to 960 (+4% per level).
    • Legion of Northrend (Talent)
      • Ghoul bonus Heal amount increased from 25% to 50%.
  • Summon Sindragosa [R]
    • Damage reduced from 255 (+4% per level) to 230 (+4% per level).
    • Slow duration increased from 2 to 3.5 seconds.
    • Disable duration against non-Heroic enemies increased from 10 to 20 seconds.
    • Absolute Zero (Talent).
      • Slow duration increased from 2 to 3.5 seconds.

Developer Comments: As one of the very first heroes that we created, and one who hasn’t had many changes since his release, Arthas has been on our radar for some time as a Hero whose Talents needed some sprucing up. In addition to giving him some powerful new Talents befitting of the Lich King, we also moved around and modified many of his options so that he has multiple build paths with different playstyles.

 

Arthas Talents

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  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

DIABLO

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  • Shadow Charge (Q)
    • The implementation for this Ability has been reworked.
      • No longer automatically Stuns the target at the end of the knockback phase, and instead applies a Daze for the duration of the knockback.
        • Targets that collide with terrain will still be stunned for 1 second.
      • Diablo will now continue travelling toward the enemy target for the duration of the knockback phase.

Developer Comments: Shadow Charge seems like a really simple Ability, but on the backend there were a lot of technical manipulations to make everything work the way they were intended. These were starting to create odd gameplay and bugs, so we’ve simplified the design of the Ability so that Diablo travels right alongside his victim as they are knocked back, instead of walking really fast toward them.

 

JOHANNA

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  • Iron Skin (Trait) (D)
    • Shield amount increased from 613 (+4% per level) to 674 (+4% per level).

Developer Comments: We originally tuned Iron Skin to hold a large portion of the power in Johanna’s base-kit. The scaling changes we did in November hurt the strength of the Ability, so we are tuning it up in order to help bring back that original feeling.

 

LEORIC

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  • Reanimation (Talent) has been changed to match Regeneration Master’s new functionality.
    • Upon gathering 30 Health Regeneration Globes, Leoric will respawn 10 seconds faster. 

MURADIN

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  • Give ‘em the Axe! (Talent)
    • After hitting a slowed, rooted, or stunned target with a Basic Attack, increase your Basic Attack damage by 60% for 3 seconds
  • Second Wind (Trait)
    • Third Wind (Talent)
      • Bonus Health Regeneration threshold increased from 50% to 60% of maximum Health.
    • Stoneform (Talent)
      • Heal amount decreased from 50% to 40% of maximum Health.
      • Heal duration increased from 8 to 10 seconds.
  • Storm Bolt (Q)
    • Infused Hammer (Talent) removed.
    • Perfect Storm (Talent)
      • Now also reduces Storm Bolt’s Mana cost by 25%.
  • Thunder Clap (W)
    • Healing Static (Talent)
      • Now only Heals Muradin when Thunder Clap strikes enemy Heroes.
      • Heal amount per Hero hit increased from 1.5% to 5% of maximum Health.
  • Dwarf Toss (E)
    • Landing Momentum (Talent)
      • Movement Speed bonus increased from 20% to 25%.
      • Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds.

Developer Comments: The changes to Muradin were done to help balance out his Talent tree. A few Talents were a bit over or under-tuned, and he kindly offered us his hammer in order to forge some better options.

 

REXXAR

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  • Hunter-Gatherer (Talent) has been changed to match Regeneration Master’s new functionality.
    • Both Rexxar and Misha gain Health Regeneration bonuses up to 30 Health per second, but only Rexxar will gain the 600 Health bonus on Quest completion.
  • Misha, Follow! (Trait) (D)
    • Misha will now follow enemies to their last known location, even into bushes or vents, much like Zagara’s Hunter Killer.

STITCHES

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  • Hungry for More (Talent) has been reworked as a Questing Talent.
    • Quest: Collecting Regeneration Globes permanently increases maximum Health by 30, up to a maximum of 900.
    • Reward: Upon reaching 900 bonus Health, Stitches’ Movement Speed is increased by 10%.

BUG FIXES

General

  • Fixed an issue in which typing certain characters using Traditional Chinese Quick IME could cause the Taiwanese client to crash.
  • Corrected several typos and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game. 

Art

  • Tychus will no longer appear to stand while Mounted.
  • Fixed an issue in which several Hero Abilities and Talents were using outdated button art.
  • Gall’s Giant Scorcher and Shadowflame Talents now properly use different color variations for their button art.
  • The visual effects Infested Tychus Skin’s Overkill will now properly appear centered on the primary target.
  • The visual effects for Tassadar’s Plasma Shield will now properly appear centered on Nazeebo.
  • Adjusted the positioning of a spike at the base of Master E.T.C.’s guitar.
  • The back of Ranger-General Sylvanas’ leaf earring now appears more leaf-like.
  • The armor under Judgement Uther’s left armpit has been patched to offer better protection during his adventures in the Nexus. 

Battlegrounds

  • Immortals on Battlefield of Eternity are now consistently flagged as Bosses.
  • Cores on Towers of Doom will no longer appear to lose their Invulnerability Shields after a Fort is destroyed.
  • Corrected the positioning of several houses near the southernmost Altar on Towers of Doom.
  • Reset Talents in Try Mode will no longer cause Archangel Diablo’s Fire Stomp flames to change color from blue to red.
  • Fixed an issue in which attacking enemy Walls at certain angles would cause the Hero’s Basic Attack animation to play, but deal no damage. 

Heroes and Talents

  • Gall can now properly cast Hurry Up, Oaf! while channeling Shadowbolt Volley.
  • Gall’s Shadowbolt Volley will no longer be interrupted by Silence and Polymorph effects.
  • Gall’s Shove can no longer be used while Cho’gall is Rooted.
  • The Hardened Focus Talent will no longer affect Malfurion's Innervate cooldown.
  • The Rewind Talent will no longer affect Rehgar's Ghost Wolf cooldown.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Abathur and Gall players to be flagged as AFK if they did not move from the starting area, despite issuing commands to their Heroes.
  • Casting Dehaka’s Isolation on a summoned unit or Heroic pet, such as Misha, Gargantuan, or a Holo Decoy, will no longer also cause the Hero who owns that unit to lose allied vision.
    • Additionally, if one of The Lost Vikings or Chen’s Storm, Earth, Fire Spirits are hit by Isolation, only the affected unit will have reduced personal vision, but the player should retain allied vision.
    • Alternatively, if the only living Viking or Spirit is hit by Isolation, the player will have reduced personal vision and lose allied vision for Isolation’s full duration. 
  • Enemy Heroes hit by the outer edge of an Xplodium Charge will now properly refill Gazlowe’s Rock It! Turret charges after learning the X-Tra Large Bombs and ARK Reaktor Talents.
  • Johanna’s Falling Sword will now properly cancel enemy Heroic Abilities when its Stun is applied during those Abilities’ casting times.
  • Self-casting Cloud Serpent as Li Li after learning the Mending Serpent Talent will no longer cause duplicate Healing combat text to appear.
  • Lt. Morales' Safeguard will now use the new floating combat text style, rather than the old one.
  • When Murky’s Pufferfish is cast in a Bush or Vent, its explosion radius will now briefly appear to enemies with its area of effect before the Pufferfish explodes.
  • Murky’s Egg will no longer be destroyed if Murky is Stuck by Tracer’s Pulse Bomb, but killed before the Pulse Bomb explodes.
  • Fixed an issue that could cancel Nova’s Triple Tap when attempting to cast it on an enemy Nova who is already channeling Triple Tap on a different target.
  • Fixed an issue that caused Nova’s Holo Decoys to deal more damage than intended after learning the Anti-Armor Shells Talent.
  • Enemies will now be able to more easily distinguish Nova's Holo Decoys from the real Nova when the Decoys are revealed.
  • Attempting to cast Nova’s Pinning Shot or Tyrande’s Hunter’s Mark on an enemy just as the target enters a Bush or Vent will no longer cause the Ability’s sound effects and animations to play as though it were successfully cast.
  • Casting Teleport just as Tyrael’s Judgment is about to hit Li-Ming will no longer cause her to slide a long distance.
  • Fixed an issue that could occasionally cause Sonya to stutter and fail to issue a Basic Attack.
  • Angelic Flash will no longer allow Tyrael to teleport out of Root effects.
  • Tyrael’s Status bar will no longer persist on-screen during Archangel’s Wrath if he is killed by Zagara’s Devouring Maw.
  • Holy Radiance will no longer return Mana or have its cooldown reduced when cast on non-Heroic units after learning the Wave of Light Talent.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Hardened Focus Talent to reduce cooldowns for Uther’s Holy Light and Holy Shock more quickly than intended.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented Uther’s Holy Shock from revealing the target if it was cast just as they entered a Bush or Vent.
  • Right-clicking an enemy Structure while channeling Zagara’s Baneling Barrage will no longer cause her to move to that Structure without attacking it.
  • Zeratul’s Wormhole Talent will no longer allow him to Blink out of Root effects. 

User Interface

  • Resolved an issue that could cause players to become disconnected from draft lobbies when rapidly clicking among Hero Skin Variations.
  • A.I. difficulty preferences will no longer be reset to Adept after restarting the game client.
  • Mount preferences will now be properly saved across Hero League and Custom Game draft lobbies.
  • Queuing as the Auto-Select Hero will no longer grant players access to Skin and Mount Variations they do not own in the next game.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the Trait hotkey (Default: “D”) from being rebound to the “F” key.
  • Parties searching for a match will now be properly removed from the matchmaking queue if the leader leaves the party or cancels searching. 

(Source)

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    • By Stan

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      We present our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch of February 2018.
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    • By Oxygen
      Oxygen discusses Heroes of the Storm's newly announced performance-based matchmaking system and why it may prove to be problematic.

       
      One of the biggest changes announced at BlizzCon 2017 was the introduction of the performance-based matchmaking system for ranked game modes in Heroes of the Storm.
      In a nutshell, this new system seeks to quickly adjust individual player matchmaking rating (MMR) by using data from past performance, other players, and a number of other unspecified systems. Unfortunately, players quickly found out how flawed the system was upon receiving seemingly unjustified penalties to their MMR despite perceived strong performance, and ultimately figured out how to game the system to maximise their gains by exhibiting counterintuitive in-game behaviour.
      And unfortunately for Blizzard, the release of the system coincided with other “bugs” that affected placements and general matchmaking, which exacerbated the problem. Not one but two placement match history resets have now been performed. Blizzard claimed that the issues were not related to the new performance-based matchmaking system, but the system in question has been disabled for three days at the time of writing. I can’t help but to wonder why the system was disabled if it in fact wasn’t part of the issues, but I’ll offer Blizzard a highly skeptical benefit of the doubt for now. They need all the help they can get.
      However, I’m not here to criticise Blizzard’s course of action, which I believed to be reasonable and timely enough, if not a bit opaque. I’d much rather look into the very existence of the performance-based matchmaking system. I’ll start by going over some of the comments made in the official system announcement linked above.
      Blizzard (Source)
      The team-focused nature of Heroes presents challenges when using this system to determine an individual player’s matchmaking rating, since any single player is only 1 part of the 5-man team that won or lost the match. The system works since, all things being equal, a player will win more games than they lose over the long run if their skill is higher than other players at the same rank.
      I must admit I was not ready to respond to a “we know it works, but we’re changing it anyway” approach. Leaving aside the obvious flaw in basic argumentation theory, I know how frustrating it is to have a strong performance and still lose; I’ve certainly been there before. But, in general, players need to be groomed into being able to look at the larger, statistically-significant picture. If you consistently perform well and are never the cause for losses, you will rise. After all, the opposing team would have 5 chances of “messing up” whereas yours would only have 4. This means that if you can maintain an approximate 55.5% win rate, you know you’re good. (That approximate 55.5% value comes from 100 - 4 / 9 * 100; this calculation essentially compares each team’s chance at a liability if you’re never a negative factor, hence why it only take 9 players into account and giving each player an approximate 11.11…% of the responsibility for losing.). If your win rate is actually higher than that, you may even be good enough to even make up for negative factors on your team. That’s powerful, and certainly doesn’t require any fancy system to work, even in a team environment, unlike what Blizzard seems to be claiming. Even if your impact is small, you still have an impact.
      However, I don’t want people to get me wrong here; in theory, I think that the idea of a performance-based matchmaking system is great, though just not for the purpose of long-term MMR adjustment. If Heroes of the Storm did have a way to accurately identify high- and low-level players, the matchmaking experience would be vastly improved for both groups: high-level players would no longer have to endure low-level players with high MMR uncertainty, whereas low-level players would no longer be thrown into victimizing and soul-crushing matches. Higher match quality promotes player retention; player retention is profitable for everyone.
      Blizzard (Source)
      What differentiates a highly skilled player on a given Hero isn’t always obvious, though.
      In a complex game such as Heroes of the storm, is it ever? The system is claimed to be “dynamic”, which means that, over time, it reevaluates how it defines skilled play for a given hero as it is fed new data. However, in practice, I just don’t think "skill" is something that can be reliably measured by in-game performance data alone. Nor should it be. Let us draw comparisons between Heroes of the Storm and chess, which has used a similar matchmaking system known as ELO for some decades now. In chess, what would you say matters most between the two following statements?
      Claiming multiple pieces without trading your own?
      or…
      Focusing on claiming key pieces during key moments?
      The answer is “it depends”. Although both tactics may lead to victory, the first style is opportunistic whereas the second is analytical. Unfortunately for the second player, their strategy would be much harder for a performance-based system to evaluate; how would it know what defines a key piece, let alone a key moment? The first approach is mathematical; one is better than zero and, generally, “free” trades correlate with winning, which is more or less why they are inexistant at a high level chess unless intentional.
      In chess, you aren’t rewarded for losing less, and the reason for this is that the underlying ELO system is robust and self-correcting; rating resets don’t occur every couple months, let alone twice in a week, and rating gains and losses are small. Of course, the ELO system isn’t beyond reproach, but I think it’s fair to say that players understand that long-term results are what matter, not individual game results. And, it doesn’t run the risk of overvaluing Queen taking Rook because of insufficient or misinterpreted data.

      Queen literally takes Rook during a Tribute fight. Siege damage is important to Zagara, says data.
      As you can tell probably tell by now, I’m very skeptical about how such a system is supposed to evaluate what differentiates a highly skilled player, period, regardless of what hero it is they’re playing. Here’s a concrete example of what I mean by that: Although I don’t consider myself to be a particularly strong mechanical player, I have always managed to maintain a rather high win/loss ratios, for a team game, back in my active days anyway. Why? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that many of these victories weren’t simply due to outdrafting opponents, clear non-confrontational shotcalling, encouraging teammates, defusing infighting, taking every match seriously, knowing when and why to engage, going over mistakes, and generally making powerful macro decisions. On top of being that one weird guy that says “can play anything*, prefer assassin or specialist, let’s try to ban x and pick y.” Doesn’t reading that first thing in any given lobby instill confidence in the rest of your teammates? I bet this translates into wins every once in a while, so why not do it?
      I tend to thrive on waveclear tanks with strong engaging power because they let me decide exactly when a minion wave needs to push or when an enemy hero needs to die despite low mechanical ceilings.

      And now you know how to ban me out.
      *…whereas I couldn’t outplay most of my opponents to save my life. I accept my fate as one of the worst Illidan players in existence, and I’m fine with it.

      I have nothing to add, your honor.
      The great irony here is that none of the aforementioned elements that I feel make me, and probably many other players, reasonably strong are – nor can be – taken into account by any automated system because they’re simply too subjective. Why exactly am I being punished for not mindlessly using my abilities on-cooldown and padding my numbers? We get it; dealing damage is important. But what about useful damage? How can that ever be taken into account by a machine? This might sound like an argument from incredulity but, as I see it, we have plenty of evidence to conclude that the system isn’t quite working as intended.
      Of course, within this system, winning is still what matters most, and by far. Fortunately for me, my skillset does tend to translate into wins. But obfuscating one’s point gains and losses behind questionable variables is going to, at best, confuse players, and at worst, breed harmful behaviour. These two consequences have already been observed.
      TL;DR:
      A solid performance-based matchmaking system can have positive effects on matchmaking by allowing players to find their appropriate MMR faster. However, what defines a good player in a complex, team-oriented game goes well beyond what any data collection system can collect, interpret, and use. In its current state, the performance-based matchmaking system is at best unnecessary and at worst obfuscating, and ultimately risks breeding harmful player behaviour.
      I’ll allow myself to end on a bit of wisdom: If you play to improve, you’ll never lose a game in your life. And the sooner you quit worrying about your rank, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on what really matters.