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PTR Patch Notes: November 7

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A new patch has been deployed to Public Test Realms and it contains Varian, revamped tutorials, Blackheart's Revenge Brawl and some Hero changes.

If you're excited about the Varian Hero announcement from BlizzCon, you don't have to wait any longer. He's now available on test realms and if you purchase him now, he will unlock automatically once the Patch goes live next week.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment

General

New Brawl: Blackheart’s Revenge

Captain Blackheart has shoved off in his ghost ship, Blackheart’s Revenge, to blow the docks to smithereens! Attack Blackheart’s ship to stop his assault and send him to a watery grave, or clear the path of enemies to defend him as he carries out his mission.

  • Blackheart’s Revenge is a new Arena Battleground that introduces attack/defend-style mechanics and asymmetric gameplay to Heroes of the Storm. Only the attacking team has a Core, and they must stop Blackheart before sails across the battleground to destroy it.
    • Shuffle Pick: Pick one of three randomly selected Heroes, and then duke it out against the enemy team to attack or defend Blackheart. Teams swap at the end of each round, and the first team to complete their objective twice will claim victory.
    • Attack: The attacking team must gather cannonballs, load them into cannons that line the docks, and fire on Blackheart’s Revenge to sink the ship before it reaches their Core.
    • Defend: Kill attacking Heroes to prevent them from firing the cannons and see to it that Blackheart’s ship reaches the Core in-tact.
  • Click the Brawl Info button in the lower-left corner of the screen to learn detailed information about the currently active Brawl.

Revamped Tutorial

  • The Heroes of the Storm Tutorial has been reworked and split into two categories: Tutorial and Battleground Training.
    • The Tutorial covers the basics of how to play Heroes of the Storm, including combat, team leveling, Talents, and Mercenary Camps.
    • Battleground Training acquaints players with the importance of Battleground Objectives.
  • Players can now play through the Tutorial and Battleground Training using three different Heroes: Jaina, Muradin, and Tyrande.
    • New players will be able add one of these 3 Heroes to their Hero Collections for free!
  • Revisit the Tutorials or Challenges at any time by opening the Main Menu (ESC) and clicking the Tutorials or Challenges buttons.

New Hero: Varian

Few would have expected that the gladiator known only as Lo’Gosh was in truth the missing ruler of Stormwind, Varian Wrynn. Now the High King of the Alliance, his every action shapes the destiny of Azeroth itself.

Trait 

  • Heroic Strike
    • Every 18 seconds, Varian’s next Basic Attack deals bonus damage. Each Basic Attack reduces this cooldown by 2 seconds.

Basic Abilities

  • Lion’s Fang (Q)
    • Launch a shockwave that travels in a straight line, dealing damage and slowing enemies by 30% for 1.5 seconds.
  • Parry (W)
    • Parry all incoming Basic Attacks for 1.25 seconds, reducing their damage by 100%.
  • Charge (E)
    • Charge to the target enemy, dealing light damage and slowing them by 75% for 1 second.

Heroic Abilities

  • Taunt (R)
    • Force the target enemy Hero to attack Varian for 1.25 seconds.
    • Passive: Maximum Health increased by 50%.
    • Passive: Attack speed reduced by 25%.
  • Colossus Smash (R)
    • Smash the target enemy, dealing damage and making them Vulnerable for 3 seconds.
    • Passive: Base Attack Damage increased by 75%.
    • Passive: Maximum Health reduced by 10%.
  • Twin Blades of Fury (Passive)
    • Basic Attacks reduce Heroic Strike’s cooldown by 9 seconds, and increase Varian’s movement speed by 30% for 2 seconds.
    • Passive: Attack speed increased by 100%.
    • Passive: Base Attack Damage decreased by 25%.

Art

General

  • Alarak: The red and green icons for Alarak’s Sustaining Power and Negatively Charged Talents have been swapped.
  • Minions: Catapults have received updated minimap icons in order to better distinguish them from normal Minions.
  • Rexxar: Misha now has her own minimap icon.

Battlegrounds

  • Dragon Shire: Dragon Shire has received additional optimization improvements.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Kharazim: Kharazim has received updated visual effects to coincide with re-worked Abilities and Talents.
  • The following Heroes, Abilities, and Talents have received updated visual effects:
    • Mercenary Lord and Promote Talents
    • Blood Elf Tyrande: Sentinel
    • Johanna: Falling Sword
    • Nova: Triple Tap will now appear team-colored.
    • Raynor: Adrenaline Rush will now better visually indicate when its Healing effects are available.
  • The following Hero Abilities have received optimization improvements:
    • Artanis: Purifier Beam
    • Kerrigan: Maelstrom
    • Malfurion: Tranquility
    • Tracer: Basic Attack

Shop

The following changes will take place in the Shop once the Public Test Realm is brought offline and the patch is officially released to the live version of Heroes of the Storm next week.

Bundles

  • New Bundles
    • Lo’Gosh Varian Bundle – Available until November 29, 2016
  • Removed Bundles
    • Masters of Magic Bundle
    • Ultimate Masters of Magic Bundle

New Hero 

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

Mounts

  • New Mounts
    • Orochi Hovercycle – Available exclusively by completing 30 games with a friend during the Nexus Challenge, which starts the week of November 15 and lasts until January 4.
  • Returning Mounts
    • Magic Carpet
  • Removed Mounts
    • Butcher’s Beast

Skins

  • Lo’Gosh Varian
  • Master Varian

Price Reductions

  • Leoric’s prices reduced to $8.49 USD and 7,000 Gold.

Sound

General

  • New sound effects have been added to coincide with the re-worked Tutorial experience.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Kharazim has received updated sound effects to coincide with his re-worked Abilities and Talents. 

User Interface

General

  • AFK Detection Added to Heroes Brawl
    • AFK detection has been added to Heroes Brawl. Players who become inactive during a Brawl will be disconnected from the match.
  • New Player Daily Quests
    • Prior to reaching account level 10, players will now receive a “Play 3 vs. A.I. Games” Daily Quest instead of the “Play 3 Games” quest.

Auto Select

  • Players can now select their preferred roles when queuing as Auto-Select in Quick Match and Versus A.I. games.
  • Pick the Auto Select Hero, and then use the new row of Role buttons added to the Hero Select screen to choose one or more preferred Hero Roles.
    • Instead of choosing by role, players may also queue for Auto Select as the Heroes they’ve selected as favorites.
    • In order to queue as Auto Select in a preferred role or with favorites, the selection must total at least 5 Heroes.

MVP and Commendations

  • A number of additional Commendations have been added in order to help recognize a wider variety of in-game achievements. 

Design & Gameplay

Stealth

  • Abilities that reveal Stealthed/Cloaked Heroes will no longer remove the Stealth/Cloak effect, but will instead temporarily reveal the cloaked Hero.
  • The following talents now function while under the effects of Stealth granted by another player (ex: Tyrande’s Shadowstalk):
    • Nova
      • Tactical Espionage
      • Advanced Cloaking
      • Covert Ops
    • Samuro
      • Way of the Wind
      • Harsh Winds
Developer Comments:  Some revealers, like Oracle from Tassadar and now Scouting Drone, are very binary in their ability to reveal Heroes, by design. But their purpose is to provide scouting and position of the enemy, and not to negate the effects of Talents or Abilities that rely on Stealth to provide their benefit. While examining these conditional Talents, we decided that it would be more interesting to allow synergies between external sources of Stealth these Talents. We like that choices like Tyrande’s Shadowstalk or Medivh’s Invisibility become more interesting if you have allies that gain additional benefits from Stealth on your team. 

Battlegrounds

Dragon Shire

  • Dragon Knight
    • Rubble Maker (Passive) now also reduces the duration of Blinds by 50%

Garden of Terror

  • Garden Terror
    • Terror of the Garden (Passive) now also reduces the duration of Blinds by 50%

Talents

Scouting Drone

  • Now also reveals Stealthed/Cloaked Heroes

Seasoned Marksman

  • Basic Attack damage can now be gained past the previous cap of 40 bonus damage
  • Activated Attack Speed bonus increased from 30 to 40%

Heroes

 

Assassin

Alarak

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Abilities

  • Lightning Surge (E)
    • Range increased by roughly 10%

Illidan

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Talents

  • Level 1
    • Unending Hatred (Passive)
      • Increased Basic Attack damage bonus upon quest completion from 10 to 20
    • Battered Assault (W)
      • Added functionality:
        • Now also increases the duration of Sweeping Strike from 3 to 5 seconds
      • Increased the bonus damage gained from hitting 2+ Heroes with Sweeping Strike from 125 to 150%
  • Level 4
    • Unbound (W)
      • No longer reduces the cooldown of Sweeping Strike
      • Added Functionality:
        • Quest: After hitting 30 Heroes with Sweeping Strike, gain a second charge of Sweeping Strike
  • Level 7
    • Thirsting Blade (Trait)
      • Increases healing amount of 50 to 60%
  • Level 16
    • Marked for Death (Q)
      • Damage reduced from 225 to 180
Developer Comments:  We’re aiming to make a few of the earlier talent choices for Illidan more competitive options, and open up a greater variety of playstyles for Illidan players. By increasing the bonus of Unending Hatred, we think farming Minion waves and Hunting into fights will be enticing on certain Battlegrounds. By allowing Unbound to grant 2 charges of Sweeping Strike, we think that Talents like Battered Assault and Blades of Azzinoth will showcase an Illidan that can dance across an enemy team and do a lot of damage while doing so.

Raynor

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Abilities

  • Adrenaline Rush (E)
    • Now displays a visual effect under Raynor's feet to indicate that Adrenaline Rush is off cooldown

Thrall

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Abilities

  • Earthquake (R)
    • Added functionality:
      • Now deals 50 damage to Heroes with each pulse (will now trigger Frostwolf Resilience)
  • Sundering (R)
    • Stun duration reduced from 1.25 to 1 seconds
Developer Comments:  We have mentioned before that sometimes we will stubbornly hold on making balance changes to some Heroic abilities because we believe they are actually very powerful in their current form, even if they are not currently seeing much play. This has been the case with Earthquake, but Sunder has consistently been the go-to pick since Thrall’s inception. We hope this change will help shake up the pick rates of Thrall’s Heroic abilities.

Zeratul

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Stats

  • Base Maximum Health increased from 1545 to 1622
  • Base Health Regen increased from 3.22 to 3.38

Abilities

  • Singularity Spike (W)
    • Mana cost increased from 60 to 80
  • Blink (E)
    • Mana cost reduced from 75 to 50

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Vorpal Blade (Active)
      • Moved from level 4
    • New Talent: Shadow Hunter (Passive)
      • Gather Regeneration Globes to lower the Mana cost of Blink by 2.  After gathering 20 Regeneration Globes, your Basic Attacks reduce the cooldown of Blink by .75 seconds.
    • Block (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Regeneration Master (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Rapid Displacement (E)
      • Removed
    • Seasoned Marksman (Passive)
      • Removed
  • Level 4
    • New Talent: Combo Slash (Passive)
      • After using an ability, your next auto-attack within 6 seconds deals 40% more damage.
    • New Talent: Grim Task (Passive)
      • Hero Takedowns increase Ability Power by 4%, up to a total of 40%.  This bonus Ability Power is lost on death.
    • Rending Cleave (Q)
      • Moved from level 16
      • Damage is now dealt over 3 seconds from 5
      • Damage reduced from 50 to 40%
  • Level 7
    • New Talent: Slip into Shadow (E)
      • Your Blink has 2 charges and its cooldown is increased by 8 seconds.
    • New Talent: Seeker in the Dark (W)
      • Your Singularity Spike takes 50% longer to explode, and can be reactivated while it is attached to an enemy to teleport to them.  After reactivation, your Movement Speed is increased by 30% for 3 seconds.
    • Wormhole (E)
      • Moved from level 13
    • First Aid (Active)
      • Removed
    • Follow Through (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Shadow Spike (W)
      • Removed
    • Searing Attacks (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 13
    • New Talent: Shroud of Adun (Passive)
      • You gain a shield equal to 15% of your Maximum Health over 5 seconds while under Permanent Cloak.
    • Vigorous Strike (Passive)
      • Renamed to Mending Strikes
      • Moved from level 4
      • Healing amount increased from 25 to 40%
    • Giantkiller (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Burning Rage (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Assassin’s Blade (Trait)
      • Removed
  • Level 16
    • New Talent: Sentenced to Death (W)
      • You deal 50% increased damage to enemies while they have a Singularity Spike attached to them.
    • Master Warp Blade (Trait)
      • Moved from level 4
      • Damage increased from 100 to 125%
    • Void Slash (Q)
      • New Functionality:
        • Cleave deals 40% more damage and its cooldown is reduced by 3 seconds when it hits more than 1 enemy Hero.
      • Moved from level 7
    • Double Bombs (W)
      • Removed
    • Stoneskin (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 20
    • Protective Prison (R)
      • New functionality:
        • Enemies are slowed by 50% for 3 seconds once Void Prison Ends.
Developer Comments:  There were two main goals behind this rework: Upgrade Zeratul’s talent tree and introduce some interesting new choices, and better sell the fantasy of being a Dark Templar. As always is the goal with our Hero reworks, we didn’t want to change the way he is played, but rather amplify and improve upon it. Overall, he has felt the same to play against in our internal testing, but with a couple new tricks up his sleeve. We hope that our current Zeratul fans will find some new toys to play around with, and that new users will feel more like the mobile shadow-assassin you’d expect from a Dark Templar Hero. 
Level (Tier)   Zeratul Talents    
1 (1) Greater Cleave (Q) Vorpal Blade (Active) (!) Shadow Hunter (E)
4 (2) (!) Might of the Nerazim (Passive) Rending Cleave (Q) Stalking Strikes (Passive)
7 (3) Wormhole (E) Double Blink (E) Dark Pursuit (W)
10 (4) Shadow Assault (R) Void Prison (R)
13 (5) Cloak of the Void (Passive) Spell Shield (Active) Mending Strikes (Passive)
16 (6) Master Warp-Blade (Passive) Void Slash (Q) Prelate's Furor (W)
20 (7) Nerazim Fury (R) Protective Prison (R) Nexus Blades (Passive) Rewind (Active)
  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

Specialist

Abathur

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Abilities

  • Toxic Nest (W)
    • Abathur is now locked out of casting Toxic Nest for .5 seconds after exiting Symbiote

Sylvanas

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Talents

  • Level 7
    • Possession (Active)
      • Can now be used on Catapult Minions

Xul

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Abilities

  • Skeletal Mages (R)
    • Is now cast using vector targeting (Click+Drag) 

Support

Kharazim

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Abilities

  • Breath of Heaven (W)
    • Healing increased from 280 to 290

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Iron Fists (Trait)
      • Added Functionality:
        • Every third Basic Attack now also increases your Movement Speed by 30% for 2 seconds.
  • Level 4
    • New Talent: Spirit Ally (Active)
      • Place a Spirit Ally that heals allies in a large area around it for 2% of their maximum Health every second for 10 seconds.  Has 150 Health.  You can Radiant Dash to Spirit Allies.  45 second cooldown.
    • New Talent: Earth Ally (Active)
      • Place an Earth Ally that reduces Heroic Basic Attack damage nearby allied Heroes receive by 50%. Has 400 Health and lasts 10 seconds.  You can Radiant Dash to Earth Allies.  30 second cooldown.
    • New Talent: Air Ally (Active)
      • Place an Air Ally that grants vision of a large area around it for 40 seconds. Has 70 Health.  You can Radiant Dash to Air Allies.  20 second cooldown.  2 charges.
    • Healing Ward (Active)
      • Removed
    • Foresight (Q)
      • Removed
    • Overtake (E)
      • Removed
    • Protective Shield (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 7
    • New Talent: Heavenly Zeal (W)
      • Increases the Movement Speed bonus of Breath of Heaven on other allies from 10 to 25%
    • Blinding Speed (Q)
      • Moved from level 16
    • Blazing Fists (E)
      • Moved from level 16
      • Cooldown reduction per Basic Attack reduced from 1 to .75 seconds.
    • Clairvoyance (Active)
      • Removed
    • Cleanse (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 13
    • Fists of Fury
      • Deadly Reach duration bonus increased from 50 to 100%
  • Level 16
    • New Talent: Cleansing Touch (Q)
      • Radiant Dashing to an allied Hero grants them Unstoppable for 1 second
    • New Talent: Dash of Light (W)
      • Radiant Dashing to an ally increases the healing they received from Breath of Heaven by 50% for 3 seconds
    • Echo of Heaven (W)
      • Moved from level 7
      • Delay between heals increased from 2 to 3 seconds
      • Second heal amount increased from 35 to 75%
      • Now also reduces the initial heal amount of Breath of Heaven to 75%
    • Way of the Hundred Fists (Q)
      • Moved from level 7
      • Now deals a volley of 6 Basic Attacks that each deal 50% of your Basic Attack damage.
    • Circle of Life (W)
      • Removed
    • Soothing Breeze (W)
      • Removed
Developer Comments:  Kharazim’s Talents have been updated to create more compelling choices at every tier. To do this, we’ve made sure that Iron Fists / Bruiser style Kharazim is viable by increasing its damage uptime, removed a lot of the generic Talents and replaced them with Kharazim specific options like Mystic Allies, and re-arranged a lot of the tree so that you don’t have to sacrifice as much healing to pick mobility, utility or damage. 
Level (Tier)   Kharazim Talents    
1 (1) Transcendence Iron Fists (!) Insight
4 (2) Spirit Ally (Active) Earth Ally (Active) Air Ally (Active)
7 (3) Blinding Speed (Q) Heavenly Zeal (W) Blazing Fists (E)
10 (4) Divine Palm (R) Seven-Sided Strike (R)
13 (5) Quicksilver (Q) Fists of Fury (E) Spell Shield (Active) Sixth Sense (Passive)
16 (6) Cleansing Dash (Q) Way of the Hundred Fists (Q) Echo of Heaven (W) Resuscitate (W)
20 (7) Peaceful Repose (R) Trasngression (R) Storm Shield (Active) Epiphany (Active)
  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

Warrior

Leoric

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Abilities

  • March of the Black King (R)
    • Will no longer deal damage in a 90 degree arc behind Leoric
Developer Comments:  We realize that we have a lot of Leoric players that are looking for talent changes and calling for buffs (especially to Skeletal Swing). We want you to know that we actively hear you and although this art-driven change came a bit earlier than our other changes, you spooky skeleton players should be able to rejoice in a future patch. 

Bug Fixes

General

  • Corrected a number of typos and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game.
  • Brawl: Slightly reduced the likelihood that players will receive Specialist choices during Shuffle Pick when playing an Arena Brawl.

Art

  • Alarak: The targeting reticle for Lightning Surge will now correctly match the Ability’s casting range after learning Extended Lightning.
  • Valla: Visual effects for the Movement Speed bonus gained via the Hot Pursuit Talent will no longer persist after Hatred stacks expire.

Battlegrounds

  • Blackheart's Bay: Area of effect indicators and Hero rings will now display properly on bridges.
  • Braxis Holdout/Warhead Junction: XP earned by capturing Mercenary Camps will now properly scale throughout the match.
  • Mercenaries: Siege Giants will no longer deal damage if they are killed while in the middle of their attack animations.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Spell Shield: A cooldown timer will now properly appear when Spell Shield’s effects are triggered in the same moment that the Talent was activated.
  • Alarak: Deadly Charge no longer be cancelled and be placed on full cooldown if Alarak’s destination would place him in terrain.
  • Alarak: Fixed an issue that could prevent Counter Strike from dealing damage if Alarak was killed as the Ability’s effects were triggered.
  • Alarak: Unstoppable and Invulnerable effects will no longer prevent Alarak from pushing himself via Telekinesis.
  • Alarak: Changing Heroes of the Storm’s text language settings will no longer prevent Lightning Surge visual effects from displaying.
  • Brightwing: The game camera will no longer become stuck if Stitches uses Gorge on Brightwing while she is casting Phase Shift.
  • Chen: 50% of Shields gained by channeling Fortifying Brew will now properly persist after learning Freshest Ingredients.
  • Chen: The Buff Bar tooltip for the Freshest Ingredients Talent will now display the correct amount of Health Regeneration gained.
  • Chen: Regeneration Globes gathered by Storm, Earth, Fire Spirits now properly contribute to the Freshest Ingredient Talent’s quest progress.
  • Gall: The tooltip for Eye of Kilrogg now properly indicates the maximum number of charges it can store.
  • Illidan: Fixed an issue that could cause odd movement behavior after learning Unbound and then casting Sweeping Strike.
  • Malfurion: The Hardened Focus Talent will no longer reduce Innervate’s cooldown.
  • Malfurion: The casting range for Entangling Roots is now correctly increased by 30% after learning Elune's Grace.
  • Medivh: Fixed an issue which could allow Medivh to path into the terrain after launching a Nuke on Warhead Junction while in Raven form.
  • Nova: After learning Cover Ops, Pinning Shot will now correctly Slow the target’s Movement Speed by 60%.
  • Nova/Zeratul: Danger Pings will no longer remain visible over a Hero who enters Stealth.
  • Samuro: Way of Illusion Talent stacks now properly grant bonus attack damage to Mirror Images.
  • Samuro: Mirror Image Health bars will now reflect the number of Doubloons that Samuro is carrying on Blackheart’s Bay.
  • Tracer: Visual and Sound effects will now properly play upon completing the Untouchable Talent quest.
  • Uther: Uther’s Health bar will no longer disappear if he is revived via the Redemption Talent after being killed by Devouring Maw.
  • Zarya: Fixed an issue that could cause Graviton Surge’s effect to persist indefinitely under certain circumstances.
  • Zarya: The Gain Train Talent can no longer apply a Shield to an ally-controlled Dragon Knight or Garden Terror.

Sound

  • Voiceover: Fixed an issue that could prevent Heroes’ voiceover lines from playing properly after being clicked on.

User Interface

  • In-Game: The Talents tab on the in-game Score Screen will now properly indicate when Valla’s Puncturing Arrow Talent quest is complete.
  • Quick Cast: Abilities with global range can now be properly cast using the minimap with Quick Cast set to “On Release”.
  • Observer Mode: Beacon progress bars will now update appropriately for Observers on Braxis Holdout.

(Source)

 

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This Kharazim rework is really good. I hope they rework some old characters with this evolving meta. Murky and The Lost Vikings could get some love since there are many Heroes that can wipe the floor with them.

Edited by Valhalen

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7 hours ago, Valhalen said:

This Kharazim rework is really good. I hope they rework some old characters with this evolving meta. Murky and The Lost Vikings could get some love since there are many Heroes that can wipe the floor with them.

I feel like that honestly won't change with the Vikings, just given how simple it can be to isolate them. If you run around with them always together and as a 3-stacked mob, you aren't really playing them right. If you split them, they die easily when caught out. It's why they are picked so rarely, just because something like any target assassin can destroy them outside of ulti.

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1 hour ago, Blainie said:

I feel like that honestly won't change with the Vikings, just given how simple it can be to isolate them. If you run around with them always together and as a 3-stacked mob, you aren't really playing them right. If you split them, they die easily when caught out. It's why they are picked so rarely, just because something like any target assassin can destroy them outside of ulti.

Exactly. In other words, they don't work well. Maybe a rework could give specific bonuses, like more damage if they're together or more movement speed if they're isolated to give some advantage.

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Can't see any of that happening, because of their XP potential. Yes it requires a lot of multitasking and yes, you need to be careful what you're doing if you're split-lane soaking, but during heavy lane presence, you can hide in bushes, use your "Z" to get quickly behind your gates when chased down, use "Jump" etc.

It's not bad to die from time to time, you got the "Play Again" heroic at Level 10. Maps where Lost Vikings truly shine are in my experience three-lane maps with objectives outside of lanes, like Cursed Hollow as you get unnoticed during Tribute spawns; aka push lanes like crazy, create lane pressure bribing Mercenary camps, giving your team Level 10 before the enemy team, even if you're team isn't performing exactly as it should. They have an especially hard time on Tomb of the Spider Queen.

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13 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Exactly. In other words, they don't work well. Maybe a rework could give specific bonuses, like more damage if they're together or more movement speed if they're isolated to give some advantage.

Funnily enough, it's where the lack of items really comes into play.

Look at Meepo in DOTA - you can build specifically to cater to your little group as a team in itself, buying healing items, aura items that increase Armor, Lifesteal etc., and you can then use Travel Boots to allow your Meepos to move around the map at an alarming rate.

Maybe bringing some of those bonuses in as talents could help out by making them more powerful when they are grouped/split in different ways.

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7 minutes ago, Stan said:

Can't see any of that happening, because of their XP potential. Yes it requires a lot of multitasking and yes, you need to be careful what you're doing if you're split-lane soaking, but during heavy lane presence, you can hide in bushes, use your "Z" to get quickly behind your gates when chased down, use "Jump" etc.

It's not bad to die from time to time, you got the "Play Again" heroic at Level 10. Maps where Lost Vikings truly shine are in my experience three-lane maps with objectives outside of lanes, like Cursed Hollow.

This feels like one of those Skill floor vs. Skill cap problems though. It's totally fine for there to be a huge skill cap and incredible potential, but there should also be some level of attainable skill floor. If you are actually hurt by playing them as one group, it completely alienates a huge amount of players from even using them. There should be some talents that at least allow you to gain some bonuses by grouping them; it definitely shouldn't be better than any of the other builds, but it should at least be playable for lower-skilled players.

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12 minutes ago, Blainie said:

This feels like one of those Skill floor vs. Skill cap problems though. It's totally fine for there to be a huge skill cap and incredible potential, but there should also be some level of attainable skill floor. If you are actually hurt by playing them as one group, it completely alienates a huge amount of players from even using them. There should be some talents that at least allow you to gain some bonuses by grouping them; it definitely shouldn't be better than any of the other builds, but it should at least be playable for lower-skilled players.

I agree, there should be a passive that activates when they're clumped up and all alive. They are extremely fragile. Most of the time you will be approaching an enemy from one side and getting hit by Li-Ming's single Arcane Orb can be fatal. That's just one ability of single Hero. Not to mention when there's two or more enemies. RIP.

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35 minutes ago, Blainie said:

Funnily enough, it's where the lack of items really comes into play.

Look at Meepo in DOTA - you can build specifically to cater to your little group as a team in itself, buying healing items, aura items that increase Armor, Lifesteal etc., and you can then use Travel Boots to allow your Meepos to move around the map at an alarming rate.

Maybe bringing some of those bonuses in as talents could help out by making them more powerful when they are grouped/split in different ways.

But it works the other way around as well. You play against Nyx, she gets Dagon, you die in less than 3 seconds. Without the Dagon, you could survive the stun and run away, but because there are items in the game, you won't.
Items allow more flexible builds and counters to exist in the game. Talents in HotS serve a similar purpose, but not every hero gets talents that counter you, but every hero in DotA can get an item to counter. This adds another level of depth to HotS. 

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1 hour ago, positiv2 said:

But it works the other way around as well. You play against Nyx, she gets Dagon, you die in less than 3 seconds. Without the Dagon, you could survive the stun and run away, but because there are items in the game, you won't.
Items allow more flexible builds and counters to exist in the game. Talents in HotS serve a similar purpose, but not every hero gets talents that counter you, but every hero in DotA can get an item to counter. This adds another level of depth to HotS. 

True, but then look at your possibility of slightly countering it with Pipe + Heart, for example. It's also worth saying that this is less to do with the item and more to do with his counters all being related to single-target burst. Like, you can counter Meepo with any single target burst or ST-enabler - Bloodseeker Ult, Pudge Hook etc.

Anyone can counter Meepo in DOTA with enough farm, but Meepo can also find a way to survive through different comps by building differently (Heavy melee, Aquila + Heart + Vlads etc. / Heavy Magic. Pipe + Heart). I feel like it's a give and take, there are more counters, but there are more options to stop counters. 

In HoTS, there's nothing Vikings can do to stop being absolutely slain while grouped right now. You just get completely destroyed by it. They need to rework his talents to include some stacking bonus.

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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.
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      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.
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      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:
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      Core Tier
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      Viable Tier
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      Niche Tier
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      Lost Vikings Tier
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      Metagame assessment
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    • By Stan

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      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is Lost Cavern! It’s all-out mayhem on our single-lane battleground – Lost Cavern. Queue up, choose your Hero, and try to best to bring down the enemy Core!

      Rules:
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    • By Stan

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      Blizzard (Source)
      Bug Fixes
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    • By Oxygen
         
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      We present our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch of January 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the January 16 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Blaze patch. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
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      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
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      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Abathur D.Va Cassia Auriel Murky Garrosh Chromie Kharazim Probius Johanna Gul'dan Li Li+ Sgt. Hammer↑ Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales Xul Zarya Jaina Malfurion (reworked)+   Blaze (new) Kael'thas Rehgar   Tyrael (reworked)↑ Kel'Thuzad Tyrande     Lunara       Ragnaros       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall↑       Tracer       Valeera↓↓-       Zeratul+     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Tychus       Varian (Damage)     Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Bottom Tier
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      Metagame assessment
      Happy new year to everyone. This list is a tad late, as was the last one, but I was, once again, waiting for one of those odd rework patches that come out a week after featured hero releases and go untested on the PTR for some reason. HGC matches also began just yesterday, meaning that new trends  are likely to emerge shortly; today saw unexpected Cassia, Tychus, and Leoric make an appearance, which was certainly exciting. As per usual, I'll be updating the list as I see fit throughout the next few weeks. The last few lists have generated quite a bit of discussion, which is great to see. Although I cannot reasonably respond to every comment, I do read everything posted. Keep it up!
      Blaze. My initial PTR assessment of the hero, which was quite positive, was followed by a sudden realization: he does a lot of things well, but nothing exceptionally well. Blaze is the quintessential jack of all trades, master of none type hero. Generally, that's not a particularly desirable trait, because heroes are generally picked for their niches to either counter opponents or synergise with allies. For a warrior, he can't really solo tank, meaning he often ends up in that strange spot where you need a pretty well fleshed out team composition to make him work. But when he works, he does work well. He can hold his own in a solo lane, but his waveclear isn't quite good enough to deal with mercenary camps pushing before Grill and Kill, which can be frustrating. Certain heroes, such as Leoric and Malthael, completely shut him down as well. This leads me to believe that he won't see much tournament play if at all, unless teams are messing around. Viable as a late pick when you don't really know what else to pick because your team composition is already fine.
      Sonya. She's currently the most popular pick in the game. You can't go wrong with a bulky solo laner that can duel nearly anyone, output as much damage as an assassin, and clear mercenary camps with ease. Leap lets her setup really well if your team composition lends itself to that. Still, I don't think she deserves bans.
      Hanzo. This important Overwatch figurehead could just not be allowed to remain seen as underpowered for over a month. After unsuccessfully giving him a blanket 10% damage buff across the board following poor PTR feedback, Blizzard adopted the bolder strategy of making his basic attacks deal ability levels of damage thanks to the Sharpened Arrowheads changes. What was initially supposed to be a difficult to master skillshot-based hero now  has access to what is arguably the most powerful basic attack in the game, though the Serrated Arrows + Never Outmatched combo I discussed last patch remains useful for trivializing map objectives on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines while allowing Hanzo to solo any mercenary camp from level 7 and on. With the help of another hero, bosses also become possible at this level. Losing map control or suffering one or two early deaths against Hanzo is devastating. Explosive Arrows lets him waveclear relatively well too, though particularly with Piercing Arrows for double hits on minions. The Natural Agility range increase made it much more usable, to where Hanzo can now reliably escape most if not all heroes with proper positioning. It is interesting to note that these buffs coincided with Hanzo's first free week.
      Junkrat. The proverbial death of the double healer meta means it's time for sustained poke to shine. Junkrat's popularity exploded recently as players discovered that a mix of reliable ranged waveclear, playmaking (through Concussion Mine) and potentially fight winning RIP-Tire hits made the hero a force to be reckoned with. Just be sure to pick up Endless Nades; that's your late-game damage.
      Malthael. Hanzo does really well against him, so I'm not surprised by the dip in popularity. Malthael is still very powerful, though unlikely to draw bans before second round, if at all. Always a solid pick against double tank as well as a solo laner.
      Nova. She (along with Valeera) were allowed to remain oppressive for quite a while, benefiting from the turmoil generated by the stealth rework and Blizzard employees taking a couple weeks off for the holidays. Nova is now in a good spot, with clear counters and niches, though I'm still disliking how easy Lethal Decoy makes her to play. I feel like she'll keep a potential caster meta in check for quite some time now that she's back on the radar.
      Alexstrasza. She's doing rather well. Dragonqueen is now being appropriately treated (though not quite respected by opponents) as a heroic ability by players to fight over objectives and while sieging.
      Stukov. His high healing output makes him rather strong in a poke-heavy meta. I think players are going to experiment with the Growing Infestation + Virulent Reaction (+ Bio-Explosion Switch) combo to make Stukov a lot more aggressive than we're used to seeing him be. Flailing Swipe continues to be great as a pseudo-Mighty Gust in terms of disengaging. Stukov is probably one of the best solo "all purpose" hero leaguing healer at the moment.
      Sylvanas. Any change to minion or structure damage end up being indirect buffs or nerfs to Sylvanas. Since structures were recently buffed again and Sylvanas's direct counters were nerfed quite heavily, I think she's back to being relatively high priority. Possession is really strong now, as is Mercenary Queen, though only if there's nothing for Barbed Shot to work on.
      Tyrael. Though he's not notably more powerful than he was before, I think his rework opened up a viable bruiser build for him, increasing his versatility. He's sitting at a healthy 50% win rate at the time of writing. HGC already saw him picked rather often - though, that's pre-Tyrael patch, where he is arguably weaker - , and I'm certainly looking forward to see what kind of builds players are going to gravitate towards. Holy Ground is still great, and comes online 3 levels earlier than it did before.
      Valeera. She suffered the same fate as Nova, though her overly simplistic ability set makes small nerfs very impactful. At the end of the day, she's probably going to require a broad rework, because as of right now, she either bursts her target down and feels "unfair", or doesn't and feel "worthless". Right now, she's erring on the side of the latter.
      Malfurion. Possibly one of the best rework ever done, though his vastly increased skill cap may make him less popular. His sustained healing output is excellent, but his lack of burst management still makes him difficult to play.