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heroes Reddit Q/A Recap: Oct 13

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Blizzard hosted a Q/A on reddit related to the newest Samuro content patch. A lot of interesting questions have been answered and here's a recap.

Reddit Q/A Recap: October 13

As reported earlier, Blizzard has been answering your questions on reddit for a few hours. As the thread is somewhat long, I've highlighted the most interesting questions.

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Lots of people have been playing Brawl on PTR this week and having a blast. One thing that has repeatedly come up is the wish that the fountain was invulnerable. Is this something the design team would consider changing before going live?

We won't be making the change before Brawl goes live. We are listening to the feedback and made a few adjustments that will alleviate it a bit. Our formula for siege heroes was too high on PTR and you'll see a reduced amount moving forward.

In our internal testing we discussed this topic a few times, but found as players learned how to maximize their advantage on the Arena's objective it often could cost you more then you gain for removing a fountain. 

We will keep watching and listening.

Do you have any plans to add PvE type contents to Heroes Brawl, such as 10-player Co-op experience against powerful Bosses, Tower Defense-type game mode to defend the Core or specific areas from enemy waves, Marathon, and Escort?

We have been discussing this internally quite a bit, but do not have a concrete plans as of yet. We definitely like the idea and have had some fun discussing some crazy ideas.

How do you decide how fast/at what rate a quest progresses and consequently at what level it should be finished?

We'll playtest a lot, honestly. We have been very broad in how we've done various questing talents to try to discover what the right range is. We have some that are very easy to complete (Arthas), and others that take longer to complete (Regen Master). We have been looking for player feedback on which types they like, et cetera, to inform future quest designs, and any live-reactions we should make!

How do you choose between a progressional only reward (like Taste for Blood), a completion only reward (like Gul'Dans Echoed Corruption) or a mix of both?

We like to do a mix of both! We're still exploring this! Some quests lend themselves to being fine with having no progression growth, while others feel brutal if there's no power granted while making progression.

How do you decide whether questing progress should be lost on death?

This one is a little more controversial, and is more of a feel thing. If we feel the talent is high-stakes enough, then a punishment mechanic can add a lot of flavor and gameplay to the talent! It can be especially helpful if the counterplay feels lacking.

How do you choose the quest talents? E.g., why is Auriels Increasing Clarity a quest talent, but Righteous Assault isn't?

We're still trying to identify the right amount of quest talents. We don't want to do an entire tier of talents that are all Quest talents, so players can opt into/out of doing a quest. Further, some talent designs seem to lend themselves more conveniently to quest design, and other's don't.

During Hero iterations, have you tried putting a normal talent on a lower tier as a quest talent to improve talent diversity on that tier?

I don't think that specific case has happened, but we do a LOT of iteration on talents, and sometimes will move a talent from tier to tier to give that tier a healthier set of choices.

Do you think there might be a quest heroic some day?

Quest Heroic! Sounds awesome! Love the idea!

Do you have a favorite Quest talent?

I do! But it's super secret, so I can't talk about it yet :-D

Thank you for these questions! They were great, and definitely encourage me to go back to the team and try to crystallize the knowledge better so we can make better quest talents for the game as time goes on!

Infernal Shrine is the only map where the map objective is always at 100% power(of the diablo maps). Team have discuss about removing 2.5% HP per each skeletons collect by the team that didnt got the Punisher? because right now if you lose 39 skeletons vs 40 skeleton, you basically wasted a lot of time nd resource because your skeleton dont count for anything, even when on BoE damage to you count for aweakest immortal...

For Infernal Shrines we've done lots of dialing of health and power of the Punisher and wouldn't want to add a mechanic that makes him feel weaker. If we did, we would have to increase his power over all and 40 to 0 events will be very devastating.

This is why we've upped the skeleton health, added anti-clumping AI and increased the count from 30 to 40. All this is to help give both sides enough time to respond to the event and we are happy with the way it is playing.

In the end, we also like how Battlegrounds have different behaviors and require different thought exercises from our players to play it correctly. If you can't contest the event players have lots of other options, getting mercenaries, pushing forts/keeps and soaking multiple lanes to catch up in experience.

I dont play much HL, but could be nice if we can see Hero League Border (the one with the ranks) on the draft screen. This have been discuss by the UI team ?

Showing portrait borders while drafting is something we've talked about but we have to be careful what information we reveal about players during the Draft phase so I wouldn't expect any immediate changes.

Is there any plans add a more detailed profile section where we have more statistics, ability to customize heroes in draft queues, etc etc?

The UI Team is discussing ways to increase customization options for players but don't have anything to share yet. On a personal note I'm a fan of information design so I'm always looking for ways to provide more cool/useful data.

The character home screens are always so great and so is the music that comes with them are amazing. But it's kind of a shame that the art becomes useless after a new hero comes out. Is there any plans to allow us to customize our home screens with old hero splash pages? It would make use of already created content, add another possible good sink, and allow more customization and personalization to the players.

That's an interesting idea, we don't have anything planned for this but it's something to take into consideration.

And lastly, is there any plans for custom in-game UI with themes (ex Zerg, Protoss, Horde, Alliance, Heaven, etc etc) similar to what DotA2 offers?

No plans for this at the moment.

It’s all random in Heroes Brawl on choosing heroes, which means players might choose the same heroes. Will it trigger some special conversations when players just pick the same heroes, such as Muradin and Magni Muradin? The dialogue may go like: “It’s good to fight with you again, my brother!”

It's not completely random all the time. Hero duplicates are an amazing feature and would be a great polish task to add unique VO for when that happens.

I'm curious about Samuro's Mirror Image ability. As Samuro was being developed, it must have been noticed that players would want to be able to choose where the real Samuro appears after casting it.

However, the placement of the real Samuro appears to be completely random. Why is that?

Was it too powerful to let Samuro choose where to appear? Did it lead to gameplay that didn't fit the character?

There were a handful of reasons for this, but one of the primary was ease-of-control, and allowing a player to be able to immediately create their images with a single button press, no mouse invovlement.

What hero or ability will be forever left on the cutting room floor? Whose design, after some playtesting, won't ever be used? I'm aware you guys like to repurpose design, but surely there was something you tested that won't ever see the light of day, for sure. What is that thing?

Ooooh i'll take the bait! I'll take the bait!

Okay. So story time. Once upon time there was a Banshee. Well, before that, she was a High Elf named Sylvanas Windrunner, Ranger-General of Silvermoon! Until that dirty traitor, Arthas Menethil, under the influence of Frostmourne, destroyed her army, and wasn't content with simply killing Sylvanas, turned her into a Banshee. After recovering her body, she became the leader of the Forsaken, broken free from the Lich King's control!

One day, this Banshee-Queen found herself in the Nexus! She encountered an enemy Hero, and immediately tried to take control of an enemy Hero, and use their abilities! But try and try as she might, she found the world, the engine, of the nexus, of this game (for which she has no time!! ... but always finds herself in...), couldn't handle the thought of her having control of an enemy Hero, using their abilities, changing their allegiance, even temporarily!

And thus the Nexus exerted its control over the Banshee Queen, limiting her powers. Having been reminded of the dread of being under the Lich King, this very same Sylvanas now secretly fights to break out of this "Nexus", and be her true self!

None shall survive!

What 5v5 Mirror match did you personally enjoy the most in a Brawl Arena?

I love 5v5 Nova. Trying to see through all the clones and all the shimmers is a really unique experience. We liked it so much we even made a Brawl around it!

Are there any plans to add the option of a second hero to assist the enemy bot hero in try mode? I would like to try a hero against 2 opponents.

We are in a very early, exploratory, pre-production, <insert-non-committal adjective here>, potential phase of doing some radical stuff with the things that Try Me mode brings. I can't promise anything, but we'd like to let players be able to do more with those tools.

Another question is about Nexus Blades. This is one of my favorite generic talents, but new heroes (Samuro, Alarak) have different albeit interesting options. Are there any plans to give older heroes other options that complement their talents? (Looking at Illidan, Zeratul and Thrall) ( Nexus Blades suits Illidan, though)

As we go over old heroes, we'll look at all the talents in their tree, including ones like Nexus Blades, and make sure they all fit, and if they don't, find better options!

"M-move"! Will we ever get a command to move and not attack (even after the move completes)? Or have basic attacks only occur when given orders rather than passively?

Both would be wonderful additions to the game, give more control, and slightly raise ability to skillfully play many heroes. (Especially heroes that store crits or any heroes that are trying to navigate around large models that block nearby terrain e.g. BoE immortals!) 

I'd also love to see AA'ing just not be automatic -period- as a slight skill dependence increase in the game that increases the value of initiative in engagements and combos interestingly with abilities like Last Laugh -- though I'm guessing that's less likely to happen.

It's on our radar to get a Force Move command keybind in the game, so that players that want that can use it!

I don't think we'd implement a huge change to the way right-clicking auto-attacks works though, as it'd a fundamental controls change!

I think it will be difficult to fine-tune Hero balance in Heroes Brawl; could you tell us about your design philosophy on balancing in Heroes Brawl? Also, how do you plan to tune some Heroes whose playstyles change drastically with Talent selections, and some Talents/Abilities that seem not effective in Brawl environment, such as The Butcher’s Fresh Meat and Health and Mana granting effect of Nazeebo’s Voodoo Ritual?

We are relying on our standard hero balance for this mode a lot. That means there will be some heroes that are stronger and weaker. I would argue this happens on some Battlegrounds and we like that it creates a unique Hero meta for that Battleground.

Though typically we don't interfere, a great example where we do is Kharazim on Arena maps. We give him a level 1 talent trait based on which heroic he picks. If he takes Divine Palm he gets the healing trait for example.

Would you guys ever consider allowing matches in brawl to some how grant experience?

We currently award account experience for Brawl, but do not have plans for granting Hero experience. Because of the differences in Brawl modes (some are short games, some can be longer, multiple heroes, etc.), we felt it was better to give a large gold reward plus a portrait instead of having a variety of different rules around how much Hero experience is awarded.

Will popular community-created Brawl ideas/suggestions taken into consideration on Brawl designing process? Do you have any plans to host Brawl creation contest to allow players to actively participate in Brawl designing process?

We don't have any current Brawl creation contests planned, but it sounds like a fun way to get some ideas. That being said we are constantly reading forums and reddit for fun Brawl pitches. Often pitches never survive completely intact, but are great inspiration for new and exciting Brawls.

Some heroes have talents which can be strengthen by the quest completion. What is your solution to make these heroes as strong as other heroes without quest talents?

It's really much less about the power of that Hero, but much more about the power of that talent as it relates to the Hero's other talents at that Tier.

For instance, in hearthstone, you need to compare a card against other cards with the same mana cost, as they use the same slot in your deck.

Likewise, a talent needs to be on a similar powerlevel of other talents at that tier, as those are the other options for that Hero.

What hero playtested the worst in determining who to use for single hero 5v5's (ie 5 Johannas vs 5 Johannas)

5We've identified what's going on with this bug (activating W during a backswing) and how to fix it. I believe we've got the fix implemented, but i'm not sure which branch of the codebase it's in, so not sure if the fix will be live when he ships! But it will be soon!!!v5 Johannas was sooooooooooooooooo looooonnnng! It got to that point where it felt like someone does a really bad joke for so long that it turned funny. Also any 5v5 support felt really bad on Temple Arena. Imagine 5v5 Morales .... /shudder.

Are you planning to release more “Having fun” themed maps in the future? For instance, choosing five same heroes and conducting the team deathmatch or tower defense, just like what we did back in the good old days in WarCraft III?

Absolutely! That is the whole point of Heroes Brawl. We will be making lots of fun maps and crazy ideas moving forward.

Will Samuro be playable in the Blizzcon tournament?

Samuro will not be playable at the Blizzcon tournament. A hero needs to be in the wild for two weeks before it's playable in tournaments.

What do you think about having a few maps available for brawl each week instead of having just one? I suppose many players will be bored at the end of the week with one map available.

Our current goal is to offer a fun break from the regular game and feel a single Brawl a week hits the mark. We might be wrong but that's what we are going to try! This feature is aimed at supplementing standard heroes and offer that much needed break after a series of competitive games.

Lately, there has been a surge of hard/high skill cap heroes (like Samuro, Medivh, Tracer, Alarak etc). While I do agree that high skill-cap and micromanagement abilities benefit the game, I wonder if there's still space for easier heroes for the schmucks like myself that couldnt micro if my life was depending on it. So: are we gonna see some more easy heroes on the future, or is it all over-9000-APM from now on? Also: can i haz mefistow? :D

Over in Hero Design we like to make a variety of Heroes! A long while ago, we felt the game was missing these types of Heroes, thus we were welcoming to hero designs like those to open up more playmaker options!

But, we still want some heroes that are a bit more straightforward, and someone like Zarya can fit that bill. While there's still lots of skill growth for the character (landing Qs, your R's, getting high energy), it's relatively easy to shield yourself or shield an ally. Or even hit someone with a Q since you have 4 charges!

Thank you for the feedback! It's great to hear this, as oftentimes we only hear the audience side that says "Skillcap!" and it is important to remember that there's another audience that, while loving those heroes, also wants heroes they can feel comfortable playing!

With Brawl, the MVP system, the ranked update, the Lost Caverns, and the Machines of War update there has been a ton of content added in 2016. We are in October and I'm incredibly happy with the game and can't imagine what lies ahead. With Blizzcon coming up, and without spoiling anything, is there any announcements beyond new heroes that we can look forward to?

Absolutely, we are always working on cool stuff. We just can't share any of it currently. :) We also have some fun releases coming post Blizzcon but before next year as well.

Can you make Samuro’s “jump slam” attack animation to proc every time he deal a Critical Strike, similar to Warcraft III?

So fun story! That awesome jump attack animation (i think there's 2 variations?? maybe more? unsure!) has a big windup to it. However, we wanted Samuro's attacks to be quick and snappy, and so they only are allowed to have a extremely short duration windup. Further, if you activate Critical Strike, it resets their weapon's cooldown, causing the attack to happen instantly.

So as a result, we only can safely play that animation when Samuro is about to Critically Strike from Wind Walk, when we can be relatively sure that there's some time to do that windup.

Draft system used in Punisher Arena is really cool. It solves problems that ARAM community have with "randomness" of random pick feature that screw some of the comps. Could we get an option to pick this draft mode on the custom Lost Cavern?

We've been calling this new draft system Shuffle Pick. Currently no plans to add it to Lost Cavern, but we can discuss this with the team. Thanks for the question!

Samuro's enable/disable AI doesn't appear to work properly at all. 

(e.g. MI created images show hybrid AI behavior whether it is enabled or disabled (act based on AI on creation then stop after completing an order) and both settings prevent Kawarimi created images from completing Sam's last action either by following Sam around or just standing there (en/dis, respectively))

Will this likely be fixed before release or, like Rexxar, are these technical issues that we'll have to live with for awhile?  Not trying to rake you guys over the coals just honestly want to know what we should expect. <3

Okay, i have some news from our awesome devs! Yay!

"The behavior of the Mirror Images completely changes when you take Illusion Master. They stop having laning-minion AI and instead just do periodic searches around them for targets, so if you don’t give them orders or there’s no enemies around, they’ll stand around doing nothing.

Additionally, regardless of the AI being toggled off or not, when the Mirror Image ability is used, both Samuro and his Images will do a search and get an attack order to enemies nearby. This is done so that the Samuro player can always play a fresh game of Three Card Monte with his opponents by pressing Q and then letting their hands off the keyboard, as Samuro will act identically to his Images at first.

Sounds like there might be a bug with Kawarimi, though, we'll investigate!!"

Following up on this, players have pointed out a number of QoL-type issues with Samuro such as activating W "wasting" the ability if pressed mid-swing before a previous Critical Strike's animation completes. Which, if any, of these is the team working on, and which are getting highest priority for a fix before live?

We've identified what's going on with this bug (activating W during a backswing) and how to fix it. I believe we've got the fix implemented, but i'm not sure which branch of the codebase it's in, so not sure if the fix will be live when he ships! But it will be soon!!!

What do you think about the brawl where players have to kill each other? No core, no events, pure PvP.

This current Brawl is pretty close to just fighting without objectives. The Punishers are in the fights to help discourage teams from avoiding fights and playing passively. Simsala91 gives a good example of a situation where it is beneficial to not engage on the enemy team.

What kind of matchmaking is in place for Brawl? I know on the PTR matchmaking is totally wack because of inconsistent player skill/levels, but in the live game will there be MMR based off of QM or HL? or none at all?
Brawl has its own MMR that is tracked separately from the other modes. It is seeded from Quick Match. Even though there is an MMR for Brawl, we favor faster matches for Brawl because it is not a competitive mode.

When you play custom games ( such as brawl on ptr) when the game end, please make the game go back to the lobby instead of kicking everybody.

it was/is INSANELY frustrating ( and needlessly time consuming) to keep spamming [ lobby] for players, just because we couldnt keep the last gang together.

Great suggestion. That's actually something we're not happy with as well. We've had discussions about rematch functionality internally, but we don't have any concrete plans to share at this time.

What went in the decision to make Samuro manaless? He seems like he has the potential to be very very strong and it seems like mana would have helped limit how dominating he can be.

So this one is really simple...but not immediately obvious!

But it's because of his Images! With all those extra Player Nameplates running around, hurting gameplay clarity by obscuring things in-game, we cut mana so that his nameplate would be thinner, adding less weight in-game.

We even contemplated giving him and his images a completely different nameplate that was unique to them, but ultimately went with what we've got!

Is there any MMR at work when matchmaking in a Brawl? Where does this MMR come from?

Edit: Oh, that's been asked. Uh, different question then! Did you consider having the PTR cycle through Brawls faster like the Overwatch Beta did when it first got Brawls? It seems a missed opportunity that only one Brawl was tested in the PTR.

We always like getting more testing and player feedback, but we decided against it in this case because we didn't want to spoil the surprise of the upcoming brawls.

Are there plans for a brawl with all players as punishers?

We've discussed this idea and many similar style Brawls. We don't have any concrete plans on shipping one as of yet, but they are a fun idea.

Would Blizzard ever change existing hero abilities to make room for new heroes? This is specifically in reference to bringing in Overwatch heroes. For example, would Valla's Strafe ever be replaced by another heroic so that Reaper could then be brought in with his Death Blossom?

It's highly unlikely! it could be very upsetting for a significant section of the playerbase if we took away an ability they loved on a kit it made sense for.

Then again, never say never. Just highly hesitant!

No other Warcraft 3 hero has captured their kit from that game as closely as Samuro does in HotS. Did you feel it was particularly important for this character to feel very close to his origin?

Ya i thought it was pretty important! Blademaster is a beloved War3 Hero, and as it turned out, his kit transitioned over really smoothly!

You said that you had to limit Nova's Decoys when doing her rework because of Samuro. is that something we might see again, removing talents of an old hero because of an upcoming hero with similar abilities (for example, is there a danger of Zeratul losing some Cleave or Blink talents because of a possible future Maiev release?)
also, as Nova's Decoy build is so limited now, is it possible for her to get buffs in some other part of her kit so as to make her competitively viable (it's sad that she was only briefly competitive only because of the Covert Ops bug)?

it might happen again in the future, but it's not very likely.

i'll ping the live/balance team on nova!

I'm a UI/UX web designer, it's quite different from game UI design so I would love to hear some anecdotes or insight on how you guys work from sketch to final UI. Before you decide on a design (for example the brawl hero picker), do you work with interactive prototypes and preview animations in AE and then work side by side with programmers? or does it get coded directly in the game to be tested and iterate upon it?

From a UI Art perspective, we generally start with wireframes that detail out the functional elements that need to exist during the experience. Then we move to creating art mockups, this helps prove out layouts/ideas or sometimes sparks a whole new idea that changes the direction. Once things are in a stable art state and if there's time, I personally like to do a heavy pass on a motion comp (using After Effects for more effects heavy comps or Flash for functional prototypes) moving through the entire flow showing all the details, from button clicks, transitions, effects, timings and general feeling of the feature. Motion comps are extremely valuable, as they provide clarity, helping everyone involved understand the entire vision. Once everything in the motion comp is good, implementation starts with the engineering team. During implementation we iterate even more as we uncover limitations, bugs, oversights, new ideas. I'd argue that implementation is the most important phase of development since it's the only player facing element.

Have you ever think to add talent presets to chose before round, not only ultimate abilities. Or generaly to add some useful talents to hero, and balance heroes like that.

We have discussed this before and found it to be a really big rabbit hole to go down. It doesn't really fit the goals of our system of an easy game mode for players to hop into and have fun! I don't mind revisiting it at some point, but we have no current plans.

Why neither Xul nor Azmodan are available in Brawl? Their traits need creeps but they can still be useful without them.

It's not that they need creeps to be effective, but it's that we don't have proper AI support to support the demons/skeletons. We will constantly be reevaluating and trying to include as many heroes into a Brawl as possible.

Are there going to be Holiday specific events for Brawls? Also, how hard is it to try and come up with Brawl ideas.
While I can't provide any details, we've definitely been discussing how we can celebrate various holidays through Brawls.
 
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Do you have any plans to add PvE type contents to Heroes Brawl, such as 10-player Co-op experience against powerful Bosses (...)?

OH SHIT YES, we need this.

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On 10/14/2016 at 3:01 AM, Valhalen said:

OH SHIT YES, we need this.

After experiencing similar things now in Dota, TF2 and OW, I'm so down with this.

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    • By Stan

      Mid-Season Brawl is the first global event of 2017 and top teams from every region will compete in a round robin group stage from June 10 - 14. Advancing teams will be playing out a modified double elimination bracket from June 17 - 19. Victors can earn up to $80,000. 12 teams will be split into two groups of six. If you've been watching HGC, you should be familiar with all its casters. We'll see Grubby, Trikslyr, Kael & others.
      Blizzard (Source)
      With the HGC Playoffs behind us, we now look ahead to the Mid-Season Brawl. The first global event of the year features top teams from every region traveling to Stockholm to compete in a round robin group stage from June 10 to 14.  The teams that advance will then travel to the main event in Jönköping, Sweden, to play out a modified double elimination bracket from June 17 to 19 as part of DreamHack Summer. A total of $250,000 will be on the line, with $80,000 awarded to the victors.
      A cast of familiar HGC faces will be providing play-by-play commentary and analysis in Sweden:
      Jaycie ‘Gillyweed’ Gluck Wade ‘Dreadnaught’ Penfold Tim ‘TrikSlyr’ Frazier Thomas ‘Khaldor’ Kilian Josh ‘Jhow’ Howard Christopher ‘Tetcher’ Ivermee Manuel ‘Grubby’ Schenkhuizen James ‘Kaelaris’ Carrol The 12 teams at the Mid-Season Brawl will be split into two groups of six. In Stockholm, each team will play every other team in their group in a two game series.  A Battleground win will be worth one (1) point, while winning both Battlegrounds will be worth three (3) points. The two teams with the least amount of points in their group will be eliminated while the rest will be seeded into the Phoenix bracket, so each team’s path through the group stage is crucial.
      Group A
      Group A looks stacked, with the number one seeds from Europe and China battling it out with the second seeds from Korea and North America. There is also the Nomia factor — they qualified for the Mid-Season Brawl by winning through the Australia & New Zealand Finals last month. After forcing Battleground wins over Team Liquid and Team 8 at the Western Clash, it’s anyone’s guess how they will stack up against the competition three months later. 
      MVP Black – #2 Seed Korea
      The champions of the Eastern Clash fell against L5 twice in the regular season but outside of their regional rival, MVP Black just doesn’t lose. They should be considered the early favorite to take home the trophy in Sweden. They dispatched of their sister team, MVP Miracle, in the finals of the HGC Korea Playoffs 3-0 to earn their spot at the Mid-Season Brawl. MVP Black currently has a 100% win rate with Zeratul in the Korean HGC. Support player Tae Jun ‘merryday’ Yi is also known for his Kharazim play. He currently has a 92% win rate on the Hero in Phase 1.
      Fnatic - #1 Seed Europe
      The number one seed from Europe will be the most feared Western team at the Mid-Season Brawl thanks to their 3-1 win over MVP Black at the Fall Championship in November. With these two teams in the same group, you can expect that MVP Black will not let their guard down a second time. Expect Fnatic to utilize the likes of Chromie, Sylvanas, and Lunara in their repeat attempt to triumph over the Koreans on their home soil.
      CE - #1 Seed China
      China’s top seed, CE, are a team of veteran players who competed on famous Chinese rosters of yore such as OMG, EDG, and the 2016 version of Super Perfect Team. CE dedicates a single person to laning while the rest of the team roams for kills. Aggression demands an answer; you can expect games against CE to resemble one long continuous team fight. The team prides themselves on their star Warrior player Junfeng ‘Wind’ Gu, who currently boast a 100% win rate on Muradin, E.T.C, and Stitches over the course of Phase 1.
      Team 8 - #2 Seed North America
      Team 8 destroyed Gale Force eSports 3-1 in the North American playoffs. They will make their second live event appearance together at the Mid-Season Brawl after coming in fourth at the Western Clash. Opponents will look to ban Mike ‘Glaurung’ Fisk’s comfort picks of Medivh and Zeratul, but they should also be worried about Warrior player Justin ‘Justing’ Gapp. Justing has made a name for himself in Phase 1 on Diablo, E.T.C., and Varian. After the results they’ve managed to post in the first 10 weeks, it would be unwise for any team to underestimate them in Sweden.
      Nomia - Australia & New Zealand
      On day one at the Western Clash we saw Team Liquid — the only undefeated team in the HGC at the time — go up against Nomia from the Australia & New Zealand region. Nomia shocked everyone by taking the first game and setting the tone for the event. Nomia spends a great amount of time watching Korean VODs and learning from their playstyle, adopting it as their own. It’s safe to say no team will let their guard down against Nomia at the Mid-Season Brawl thanks to their past performances.
      Deadlykittens - Southeast Asia
      Deadlykittens have only made one roster change since attending the Fall Championship under the name Imperium Pro Team. Two members, Michael ‘Mirr’ Luo and Bjorn ‘Zeys’ Ong, played with Relics at 2015’s Americas Championship. While they may not be the most well-known players, members of Deadlykitten have appeared at every international Heroes of the Storm competition in the past year except for the Eastern Clash. Even though they usually appear a few steps behind the rest of the world’s best, Deadlykittens absolutely have the experience necessary to force an upset in Sweden.
      Group B
      Group B will likely belong to L5, but you can’t count out Team Dignitas, who bolstered a miracle run at the Western Clash to take home the trophy. eStar did not have a chance to play against L5 at the Eastern Clash, but they did manage to take MVP Black to a fifth map, so it will be interesting to see if the Chinese powerhouse can manage better results against Korea’s number one seed in Sweden.
      L5 - #1 Seed Korea
      Trumped only by MVP Black at the Eastern Clash, L5 have been on a tear since winning the Fall Championship in November. Back on the worlds stage as Korea’s top seed, all eyes will be on L5 as they embark on yet another rally to the finals of an international competition. Look for L5 to draft Li-Ming for flex player Jin Su ‘NaCHoJin’ Park, who currently boasts an 80% win rate with the Wizard.
      Team Dignitas - #2 Seed Europe
      The Western Clash champions come into the Mid-Season brawl as Europe’s second seed. While they haven’t had great results against opponents in global events of the past, the addition of Zaelia to the roster places higher expectations on Team Dignitas now more than ever. They have been to every single international event in Heroes esports history — with that amount of experience in the bag, they are and will always be a threat on the main stage.
      eStar - #2 Seed China
      Another incredibly aggressive Chinese team, eStar as a brand has been around since the early days of Heroes esports. eStar has represented China in some form at nearly every international event since then, generally posting somewhat successful results. In recent history, however, they’ve fared poorly at international events. They bombed out at the Fall Championship and the Gold Club World Championship (GCWC), and only lately have returned to form by placing fourth at the Eastern Clash. eStar has a lot to prove here at the Mid-Season Brawl as they are tasked with not only taking down the Korean teams, but the new threat out of Europe.
      Tempo Storm #1 Seed North America
      North America’s top seed went 7-0 after returning from the Western Clash with disappointing results. The team seems in form now and ready to give the rest of the world a run for their money. Tempo Storm have not changed their roster since last summer, when they won back to back regional events to qualify for the Fall Championship. Their showing against the Eastern teams has been dismal, however, taking last place at GCWC. When it to comes to their prospects in Group B, Tempo Storm has struggled against Team Dignitas in the past, falling to them at both GCWC and the 2016 Fall Championship. This year is an entirely different animal, however. Tempo Storm will be out for revenge against Europe at the Mid-Season Brawl. 
      Soul Torturers - Taiwan
      Soul Torturers consists of three members formerly of Please Buff Arthas (PBA), the Taiwanese team that eliminated Gale Force eSports at 2016’s Summer Championship. At the Fall Championship, PBA took it to the next level by defeating both eStar and the team we now know as Tempo Storm. While the new iteration of their roster is unproven against international opponents, they certainly have a legacy to live up to when it comes to Taiwan.
      RED Canids – Latin America
      RED Canids won through the upper bracket of the Copa America Season Finals to qualify for the Mid-Season Brawl. Juan ‘Jschritte’ Passos has led yet another team to an international event, this time featuring former members of Burning Rage (who competed with Jschritte at the Fall Championship). While Latin America has struggled to post results against the rest of the world before, there is now a lot more available data to draw on when it comes to analysing the top teams. We will see if the RED Canids have done their homework.  
      Each of the teams at the Mid-Season Brawl has their work cut out for them in the initial group stage. With quick two game matches, there won’t be much time to learn and adjust, so each team will likely spend the next couple of weeks plotting strategies and tactics that will lead to successful tournament runs, rather than settling for solid play.
      For now, all eyes will be on the Crucible, kicking off this weekend for Europe, North America, and Korea. More detailed information on the Crucible, and the unveiling of the official matchups for each region will be live on May 23. 
      Our coverage of the HGC Postseason is just beginning. Keep it tuned to playheroes.com/esports as we dive into the first round matchups and explore the storylines that have unfolded over the three months leading up to this monumental event.