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Lucio Patch Notes: February 14

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A new Hero is entering the Nexus and the patch also contains balance updates and several bugfixes. Don't forget the "For Azeroth" promotion goes live with Lucio's patch!

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment (Source)

General

“For Azeroth!” – Play Warcraft Heroes, Get Rewards!

  • Quest
    • Complete 15 Heroes of the Storm matches with a friend, while playing as Warcraft Heroes, before the event concludes.
    • Players who select Warcraft Heroes will still earn quest credit if their friends play using Heroes from other Blizzard universes. However, only the players who select Warcraft Heroes will earn quest credit.
    • Players do not need to complete all 15 matches with the same friend in order to complete the quest.
  • Rewards
    • World of Warcraft: Primal Flamesaber Mount
    • Heroes of the Storm: 10 day Stimpack
    • Heroes of the Storm: Flames of Judgement Charger Mount

Heroes Brawl

  • The reward requirements for the following Brawls have been reduced from 3 to 2 games:
    • Heroes of the Stars
    • Bloodlust Brawl
    • Mage Wars

New Hero: Lúcio

From the streets of Rio to the clubs on King’s Row, Lúcio’s beats bring the party to life, and drive the people to action. Now he’s on tour in the Nexus, ready to Break it down, and to continue fighting for what’s right.

Trait

  • Wall Ride (D)
    • When moving alongside impassable battleground terrain and Structures, Lúcio can walk through other units, and his Movement Speed is increased by 20%. This effect stacks with other Movement Speed bonuses.

Basic Abilities

  • Soundwave (Q)
    • Deal damage to enemies in a cone-shaped area and knock them back.
  • Crossfade (W)
    • Play one of two tracks that passively provide allied Heroes with either a Speed Boost or a Healing Boost in a large radius around you. Activate Crossfade to swap tracks.
      • Healing Boost: Restore a small amount of Health every second to Lúcio and nearby allied Heroes.
      • Speed Boost: Increase the Movement Speed of Lúcio and nearby allied Heroes by 15%.
  • Amp It Up (E)
    • Raise Lúcio’s Crossfade track volume for 3 seconds, amping Speed Boost to 45% increased Movement Speed, and significantly increasing the Healing rate of Healing Boost.

Heroic Abilities

  • Sound Barrier (R)
    • After 1 second, Lúcio and nearby allied Heroes gain a massive Shield that rapidly decays over the next 6 seconds.
  • Reverse Amp (R)
    • Blast Lúcio’s Crossfade track at enemy Heroes for 4 seconds, causing Healing Boost to inflict damage every second, and Speed Boost to Slow Movement Speed by 45%.
    • Passive: Increase Amp It Up’s duration to 4 seconds.

Art

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Murky has received updated icon art and visual effects that coincide with his rework.
  • The following Heroes, Abilities, and Talents have received updated visual effects:
    • Dream Genie Chromie: Time Trap (E) – The lamp spout on Time Trap’s model will now always spawn facing West.
    • Grunty Murky: Pufferfish (W) – Visual effects tweaks have been made in order to better distinguish between Pufferfishes and Tufferfishes.
    • Thrall: Earthquake (R) – The outer edge of Earthquake’s area of effect has been made more visually apparent. 

Shop

Bundles

  • New Bundles
    • Ribbit Lúcio Bundle – Available until February 28, 2017
    • 2017 Love is in the Air Bundle – Available until February 28, 2017
  • Returning Bundles
    • Classic Love is in the Air Bundle – Available until February 28, 2017
  • Removed Bundles
    • 2017 Lunar Festival Bundle
    • 2016 Lunar Festival Bundle

New Hero

  • Lúcio has been added to the in-game Shop

Mounts

  • New Mounts
    • Heart Stone – Available by purchasing the 2017 Love is in the Air Bundle
    • Flames of Judgement Charger – Awarded for completing the “For Azeroth!” event quest.
  • Returning Mounts
    • Amani War Bear
    • Cyber Ram
  • Removed Mounts
    • Magic Carpet
    • Marshal’s Outrider

New Skins

  • Ribbit Lúcio
  • Master Lúcio
  • Love Goddess Tyrande

Price Reduction

  • Kharazim's prices will be reduced to 7,000 Gold and $8.49 USD.

Design

Minions

  • Minion leash range decreased from 10 to 9.

Heroes

Assassin

The Butcher

Divider_Hero_Butcher_crop.png

Abilities

  • Butcher's Brand (W)
    • Casting animation has been sped up by roughly 33%. This should reduce instances of canceling this ability by rapidly issuing other commands.

Falstad

Divider_Hero_Lunara_crop.png

Abilities

  • Hinterland Blast (R)
    • Added functionality:
      • Cooldown is reduced by 25 seconds for every enemy Hero hit

Greymane

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Abilities

  • Marked for the Kill (R)
    • Renamed to Cursed Bullet
      • New Functionality:
        • Fires a bullet that hits the first Hero in its path, dealing 35% of their current Health as damage. Cannot hit Vehicles.
        • 30 second cooldown, costs 50 Mana.

Talents

  • Level 20
    • Gilnean Roulette (R)
      • New Functionality:
        • Causes Cursed Bullet to hit all enemies in its path, and reduces its cooldown by 5 seconds per Hero hit

Ragnaros

Divider_Hero_Lunara_crop.png

Talents

  • Level 13
    • Resilient Flame (Passive)
      • Now has a 10 second cooldown between activations
      • A button has been added to the hotbar so the cooldown can be tracked

Thrall

Divider_Hero_Lunara_crop.png

Abilities

  • Earthquake (R)
    • Earthquake will go off even if Thrall is interrupted during his cast animation
  • Sunder (R)
    • Sunder will go off even if Thrall is interrupted during his cast animation
Developer Comment:  Thrall’s two Heroics are overly sensitive to being interrupted, something that has been on our radar to fix for quite some time.

Valeera

Divider_Hero_Valeera_crop.png

Stats

  • Basic Attack damage increased from 75 to 79
  • Health increased from 1950 to 2047
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 4.54 to 4.26

Abilities

  • Ambush (Q)
    • Energy cost reduced from 20 to 10
  • Cheap Shot (W)
    • Stun duration reduced from 1.5 to 1.25 seconds
  • Garrote (E)
    • Silence duration increased from 2 to 2.25 seconds
    • Impact damage reduced from 75 to 20
    • Damage over time reduced from 175 to 140
  • Cloak of Shadows (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 18 to 15
    • Duration increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Crippling Poison (Active)
      • Duration increased from 3 to 5 seconds
  • Level 4
    • Wound Poison (Active)
      • Duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds
  • Level 7
    • Assassinate (Q)
      • Distance between enemy Heroes reduced from 5 to 4 range
  • Level 13
    • Death From Above (Q)
      • Teleport range increased from 5 to 7
  • Level 16
    • Rupture (E)
      • Added functionality: Basic Attacks against Garroted enemies also increases the damage over time effect by 5%, stacking up to 30%
Developer Comments:   We feel that Valeera needs a small increase in power to help her overall win rate, but are hoping to do so without adding much more burst damage or disabling effects. The changes to her Health and Basic Attack damage should give her a boost, while the changes to Talents, Ambush, and Garrote should create harder decision making for the Rogue. While we were looking at her Health Regeneration, we noticed that it was actually higher than intended (most Heroes take 480 seconds to regenerate their entire Health pool), which is why we reduced it slightly. We’ve increased the duration on Cloak of Shadows so that predicting Abilities is easier to accomplish. We want it to be a rewarding, high skill-cap ability, but with the old tuning it struggled to compete with Smoke Bomb.

Zul'jin

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Talents

  • Level 4
    • Headhunter (Active)
      • Will no longer dismount Zul'jin when it is activated while mounted

Multi-class

Varian

Divider_Hero_Varian_crop.png

Talents

  • Level 13
    • Banner of Stormwind (Active)
      • Moved to level 16
    • Banner of Ironforge (Active)
      • Moved to level 16
    • Banner of Dalaran (Active)
      • Moved to level 16
  • Level 16
    • Juggernaut (E)
      • Moved to level 13
    • Mortal Strike (Trait)
      • Moved to level 13
    • Shattering Throw (Active)
      • Moved to level 13
Developer Comments:  We like that Mortal Strike and Shattering Throw are great counter options for certain team compositions, but thought they came just a little too late to draft Varian specifically for them.

Specialist

Abathur

Divider_Hero_Varian_crop.png

Abilities

  • Stab (Q)
    • Damage increased from 113 to 119
  • Spike Burst (W)
    • Damage increased from 111 to 116
  • Carapace (E)
    • Shield amount increased from 150 to 157

Murky

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Stats

  • Base Maximum Health increased from 635 to 761

Abilities

  • Spawn Egg (D)
    • Resurrect time while Murky's Egg is active increased from 5 to 8 seconds
  • Slime (Q)
    • Slow amount increased from 20 to 25%
  • Pufferfish (W)
    • Now deals 50% damage to Structures
    • Pufferfish can now be targeted by Structures
    • Pufferfish now has 225 Health and takes damage from Abilities
    • Explosion radius increased by 50%
    • Now scales at 5.5% additional health per level, instead of the standard 4%
  • March of the Murlocs (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 100 to 80 seconds
    • Increased the Movement Speed of the tiny murlocs by 30%

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Fish Tank (Passive)
      • Moved to level 13
      • Redesigned: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes grant Murky 75 Basic Attack Armor for 2 seconds
    • Bubble Breeze (E)
      • Renamed to Slippery When Wet
      • Moved to level 7
      • Increased the Movement Speed bonus from 20% to 35%
      • Now also allows Murky to pass through enemies while Safety Bubble is active
    • Assault Egg (D)
      • Renamed to Fish Eye
      • Bonus Health reduced from 150% to 100%
      • Sight Radius bonus increased from 150% to 200%
      • Now reveals Stealthed enemies
      • Now increases Murky's Mounted Movement Speed to 45% for 5 seconds after spawning
    • Bribe (Active)
      • Removed
    • New Talent: Egg Hunt (Active)
      • Activate to place a fake Egg.  If the fake Egg dies, it casts Slime.  Maximum 3 fake Eggs.  6 second cooldown
      • Upon spawning from an Egg, Murky is Stealthed for 5 seconds
    • New Talent: A Fishy Deal (Active)
      • Killing an enemy Minion with Pufferfish grants 1 stack of Bribe.  Use 5 Bribe stacks to capture a single Mercenary. Maximum of 20 stacks
        • Stacks required to gain a charge of Bribe increased from 5 to 7
        • Maximum charge count increased from 20 to 30
  • Level 4
    • Bigger Slime (Q)
      • Moved to level 7
      • Renamed to Black Lagoon
    • Tufferfish (W)
      • Redesigned:  Now causes Pufferfish to deal 35% more damage to Slimed targets, and it gains 50 Spell Armor
    • Envenom (Active)
      • Removed
    • Living The Dream (Passive)
      • No longer passively grants Ability Power
      • Instead of granting 1% Ability Power every 5 seconds, now grants 5% Ability Power every 15 seconds. Max 15% bonus Ability Power.
    • New Talent: Slime Time (Q)
      • Quest: Slime enemy Heroes that are already Slimed
      • Reward: After Sliming 15 Slimed Heroes, increase Slime's bonus damage by 125. This damage does not scale with level.
      • Reward: After Sliming 30 Slimed Heroes, increase Slime's slow amount to 35%
  • Level 7
    • Slime Advantage (Q)
      • Removed
    • Hindering Slime (Q)
      • Removed
    • Compressed Air (W)
      • Removed
    • Clairvoyance (Active)
      • Removed
    • New Talent: Time to Krill (Passive)
      • Basic Attacks against Heroes deal an additional 8 damage per second and Slow the target’s Movement Speed by 10% for 5 seconds. This effect can stack up to 5 times
        • Damage per second reduced from 8 to 7
        • Duration reduced from 5 to 4 seconds
        • Slow amount reduced from 10% to 8% per stack
  • Level 13
    • Continuous Slime (Q)
      • Renamed to Making Inky
      • Moved to level 20
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1 to 2 seconds
    • Wrath of Cod (W)
      • Moved to level 16
      • New Functionality:
        • Pufferfish deals bonus damage to Heroes equal to 10% of their maximum Health over 5 seconds
    • Bubble Machine (E)
      • Removed
    • Hidden Assault (D)
      • Removed
    • New Talent: Egg Shell (D)
      • Respawning from an Egg grants Murky a Shield equal to 100% of his maximum Health. This Shield lasts indefinitely
  • Level 16
    • Slimy End (Q)
      • Removed
    • Rejuvenating Bubble (E)
      • Moved to level 13
    • Blood for Blood (Active)
      • Removed
    • New Talent: Toxic Buildup (Q)
      • Attacking an enemy Hero 3 times causes a Slime to cast from their position
    • Slimy Pufferfish (W)
      • Renamed to Fish Oil
  • Level 20
    • Rewind (Active)
      • Removed
    • Bolt of the Storm (Active)
      • Removed
    • Never-Ending Murlocs (R)
      • Redesigned:  March of the Murlocs can now be channeled indefinitely
    • New Talent: Big Tuna Kahuna (Trait)
      • Murky's maximum Health and Egg respawn times are doubled.
Developer Comment:  : Mrrgrgrlgrl! Rise my brother murlocs! Mrrrgrgrlrlgrl! Vengeance will be ours! In examining Murky, his original health and egg timers are vestiges of a different time, created before even Jaina entered the Nexus. We wanted to give him more base health to make him a little harder to burst down, but traded it for a little longer time to respawn from his Egg. This has the added bonus of allowing a bit more counter-play to hunting our fishy friend. We also wanted to adjust Pufferfish, as an increasingly high amount of the roster could immediately explode it. Finally, his talent tree has been updated to come in line with our new philosophies. We’ve not only found this Murky much more fun to play as, with some exciting talents in each tier, but also more fair to fight against! Mrrgrgrlgrl!
LEVEL (TIER)   MURKY TALENTS    
1 (1) Fish Eye (Trait) Egg Hunt (Active) A Fishy Deal (Active)  
4 (2) (!)Slime Time (Q) Tufferfish (W) (!)Living the Dream (Passive)  
7 (3) Black Lagoon (Q) Slippery When Wet (E) Time to Krill (Passive)  
10 (4) March of the Murlocs (R) Octo-Grab (R)
13 (5) Rejuvenating Bubble (E) Fish Tank (Passive) Egg Shell (Trait)  
16 (6) Toxic Buildup (Q) Fish Oil (W) Wrath of Cod (W)  
20 (7) Never-Ending Murlocs (R) ...And a Shark Too! (R) Big Tuna Kahuna (Trait) Making Inky (Q))
  • (!) indicates a Questing Talent.
  • Italic text indicates a NEW Talent.
  • Bold text indicates a MOVED Talent.

Nazeebo

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Abilities

  • Plague of Toads (E)
    • The targeting indicator now more accurately reflects the Toads’ travel path

Talents

  • Level 7
    • Dead Rush (W)
      • Cancelling Zombie Wall will now also provide up to 5 uprooted Zombies

Support

Lúcio

Divider_Hero_Lucio.png

Stats
  • Basic Attack damage increased from 23 to 24

Abilities

  • Sound Barrier (R)
    • Cooldown increased from 70 to 80 seconds
  • Reverse Amp (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 50 to 40 seconds
    • Damage increased from 12.5 to 14

Lt. Morales

Divider_Hero_LiLi_Crop.png

Abilities

  • Displacement Grenade (E)
    • Will now reveal a small area around the grenade as it travels

Tassadar

Divider_Hero_Tassadar_Crop.png

Stats
  • Basic Attack range increased from 5.5 to 6.5

Abilities

  • Psionic Storm (W)
    • Ramp to maximum damage reduced from 8 to 5 stacks
  • Archon (R)
    • Basic Attack slow reduced from 40 to 30%
  • Force Wall (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 35 to 30
    • Duration of Force Wall reduced from 2.5 to 2 seconds

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Templar’s Will (Passive)
      • Mana returned from attacking Heroes increased from 4 to 8 per second
      • New Functionality:
        • Reward for first quest unlock changed from +1 Basic Attack range to +150% Distortion Beam damage.
  • Level 4
    • Khala’s Light (Q)
      • Armor on expiration reduced from 25 to 15
  • Level 7
    • Resonation (W)
      • Slow amount increased from 40 to 50%
  • Level 13
    • Nullification (Active)
      • Duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds
  • Level 16
    • Psionic Echo (W)
      • Window between casts increased from 1.5 to 2 seconds
  • Level 20
    • Twilight Archon (R)
      • The cooldown for Archon will no longer tick down while the Archon effect is active
    • Force Barrier (R)
      • Cooldown reduction on Force Wall reduced from 6 to 5 seconds

Warrior

Muradin

Divider_Hero_Rexxar_Cropped.png

Talents

  • Level 4
    • Crowd Control (W)
      • Now has a 7 second cooldown reduction maximum
  • Level 13
    • Thunder Strike (W)
      • Icon color swapped to blue
    • Healing Static (W)
      • Icon color swapped to green

Rexxar

Divider_Hero_Rexxar_Cropped.png

Talents

  • Level 1
    • Flare (Active)
      • Cooldown reduced from 30 to 25 seconds
  • Level 4
    • Hungry Bear (Passive)
      • Heal amount increased from 4 to 4.5% of Misha’s Maximum Health
  • Level 7
    • Aspect of the Beast (W)
      • Cooldown reduction decreased from 1.5 to 1.25 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Aspect of the Hawk (Q)
      • Duration is now refreshed if Rexxar hits an enemy Hero with Spirit Swoop while the Aspect of the Hawk effect is active
      • Rexxar attack speed bonus increased from 100 to 125%
      • Misha Bonus attack duration increased from .5 to .75 seconds

Zarya

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Talents

  • Level 1
    • Feel the Heat (Passive)
      • Basic Attacks that deal bonus damage in Melee range will now show a Crit indicator

Bug Fixes

General

  • Mac: Launching the Heroes client on a Mac will no longer automatically increase mouse acceleration.
  • Corrected the scaling damage caps for several Talents that deal damage based on a percentage of the target’s maximum Health, including:
    • Gall: Giant Scorcher
    • Rehgar: Hunger of the Wolf
    • Ragnaros: Giant Scorcher
    • Tracer: Quantum Spike
    • Xul: Backlash, Giant’s Curse
  • A number of typos and tooltip errors have been corrected across several aspects of the game.

Art

  • Nova: Nova’s status bar will no longer pop above her head while running.
  • Samuro: Monkey King Samuro will now correctly play his victory animation after destroying the enemy Core.
  • Tracer: Hologram visual effects will now correctly display on Master Tracer’s model while using Recall.
  • Sky Temple: Fixed an issue in which Temple attacks could briefly appear to fire beyond the Core.

Battlegrounds

  • Braxis Holdout: Fixed an issue that could cause Zerg units to become stuck in the walls of their pens.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Anub'arak: Chitinous Plating will now correctly reduce the cooldown for Harden Carapace.
  • Chromie: After completing Deep Breathing’s quest, its buff bar tooltip will now display the correct number of Heroes hit.
  • E.T.C.: If Stage Dive’s landing location is blocked, E.T.C. will now land as close as possible to the intended area rather than returning to his original casting location.
  • Medivh: Will now properly benefit from Regeneration Globes while transforming into Raven Form.
  • Ragnaros: Will now properly benefit from Hand of Sulfuras when Empower Sulfuras scores a killing blow after striking multiple enemy Heroes.
  • Ragnaros: Lava Wave's cooldown will now be paused during Zeratul’s Void Prison.
  • Rehgar: Will no longer be pulled out of Ghost Wolf form upon dealing damage via an allied Ragnaros’s Blast Wave.
  • Rexxar: Spirit Swoop will now correctly deal damage to Monsters.
  • Samuro: Fixed an issue that could refresh the duration of Advancing Strikes after landing a critical strike.
  • Samuro: Shift-queueing Hearthstone will no longer break Stealth until Hearthstone begins casting.
  • Samuro: Burning Blade area of effect damage will now properly benefit from bonus damage granted by Way of Illusion.
  • Samuro: Bladestorm will no longer occasionally fail to activate after casting Mirror Images and Bladestorm in rapid succession.
  • Samuro: Fixed an issue in which the Score Screen could display an incorrect number of Gems for Samuro if he collected them while Mirror Images were active on Tomb of the Spider Queen.
  • Thrall: Fixed an issue in which Feral Spirit could fail to trigger Follow Through after earning Seasoned Marksman stacks.
  • Valeera:  Rupture and Hemorrhage no longer benefit from another Valeera’s Garrote.
  • Valla: Killing enemy Heroes who have post-death states, like Tyrael and Leoric, after learning Death Dealer will now correctly refresh Vault’s cooldown.
  • Zul'jin: Fixed an issue causing Zul’jin to have a slightly higher Health Regeneration rate than intended.

Sound

  • Illidan: The Hunt voiceover will no longer play slightly early.
  • Zarya: Graviton Surge and Expulsion Zone voiceover will no longer play slightly early.

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I have my doubts about the Valeera buffs to her damage and the extension of the silence component on Garrote. After being around in WoW for the many... many... many stun lock / mez chain seasons, I feel my disappointment of so many buffs aimed at a hero that is very close to the point of balance - with a very high skill cap mind you - is justified. They threaten to turn her into the next hero that suffers from Illidan syndrome, where they are either a) incredibly painful to deal with if the player can play them well or b) a mascot liability, incapable of doing anything useful except for the rare opportunities they get to draft into a comp built around them. 

On the upside, the Murky rework looks interesting!

Edited by Plergoth

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On 17. 2. 2017 at 5:25 PM, Valhalen said:

I'm curious to see the Lucio Guide.

And here we go, the guide has just been published! We hope you'll find the guide useful, and as always, if you have any questions or remarks, you can share them with us in the guide thread.

  • Like 1

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      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.
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Maiev patch of February is here!
      We present our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch of February 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the February 9 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Maiev 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.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current ranked mode map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya Hanzo       Maiev (new)     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur↑ Dehaka Jaina↑ Brightwing Azmodan Diablo+ Junkrat Lúcio+ Nazeebo Muradin Li-Ming Malfurion↑ Sylvanas Stitches Malthael (reworked)+ Stukov  Zagara Varian (Taunt) Valla Uther   Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Murky Blaze+ Cassia Auriel   D.Va Chromie Kharazim Xul Garrosh Gul'dan+ Li Li+   Johanna Illidan Lt. Morales   Leoric Kael'thas+ Rehgar   Tyrael  Kel'Thuzad Tyrande    Zarya Kerrigan↓       Lunara       Nova↓       Ragnaros+       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall       Tracer+       Tychus↑       Varian (Colossus Smash)       Zeratul       Zul'jin↓     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 Valeera↓   Probius↓   Varian (Twin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer↓ Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also 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.
       
      Lost Vikings Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Maiev: Where do I even begin? Despite heavy-handed nerfs delivered less than a week after her release, Maiev continues to dominate popularity (read: is banned about 5 times more than she is played at all levels) and top win rates. The fact that I'm not sure what exactly contributes to her success is probably a good indicator of what actually contributes to her success: everything. High survivability, high mobility, high damage potential through Fan of Knives's ability to reset, the ability to both set up and follow up for and on crowd control through Spirit of Vengeance + Umbral Bind, serviceable waveclear, and Vault of the Wardens on a ridiculously short cooldown for good measure to make her an unviable target for heroic ability chains. Warden's Cage ended up the favoured heroic ability choice for Maiev, and it's rather easy to see why; it just works well with the rest of her kit on top of being quite easy for anyone to use, though Containment Disc is not to be underestimated either. She's at the top of the food chain, so Prime tier it is. Expect further nerfs.
      Jaina: Jaina was last month's surprise for me, which is why I had her marked for promotion. I slightly feared Genji players, but after witnessing some more competent Jaina play (including my own not-so-competent experimentation), it's safe to say that Summon Water Elemental is absolutely key to dealing with him (along pretty much every other assassin in the game). For games with little melee assassin pressure, Ring of Frost remains a powerful win condition. Jaina also sports what is arguably the game's best waveclear potential, and can deal with mercenary camps extremely well with Frost Shards and Ice Lance. 
      Malthael: I can certainly see how Malthael's rework may have seemed rather grim to anyone underestimating the power of cleaving attacks. This change, though accompanied by slight nerfs to his damage and survivability, allowed his already powerful laning  to improve, just as with his ability to deal with mercenary camps. One should never underestimate the power of PvE, particularly in less organised play. Furthermore, his reliance upon Tormented Souls was reduced, allowing for Last Rites to actually get some playtime. I've been impressed with it, and I'm probably going to update his builds to reflect this newfound power.
      Abathur: Abathur is the kind of hero that comes and goes with the metagame state and who generally thrives in assassin-oriented states. As with Genji, I wouldn't be fooled by his limited winrates; he just simply tends to do better at higher level, more organised play, and particularly in longer matches. To avoid on Haunted Mines and Braxis Holdout. Please pick your Ultimate Evolution target responsibly, and go for an assassin, with Maiev, Genji, Hanzo, and Jaina making incredible targets. Incidentally, avoid Evolve Monstrosity; it has been tested and rejected a long time ago.
      Tychus: Not a big leap in tier, but a leap nonetheless. He went from seeing pretty much no play for quite a while to seeing some, including tournament play. As expected, he does well against Blaze and a few other bruisers, on top of being on the more resilient side of ranged assassins. Commandeer Odin is excellent, but the real sleeper here is Neosteel Coating, which can do funny things with Relentless Soldier.
      Probius: Nearly as unpopular as The Lost Vikings. Though I don't think he's bad, I certainly think he does not have a place in the current meta. All of the top picks do extremely well against him, as does diving in general. I really wish I had more insights here, but the very few times I did see him in the last month, it was rather sad to witness. 
      Sgt. Hammer: I initially had her as viable, but upon reading user comments, I had to agree: she does extremely well against team compositions that cannot deal with her, and poorly otherwise. This is basically what the Niche tier should be defined by. We could discuss at length why this design is rather unhealthy for the game, but I think Blizzard has recognized this by not releasing a single specialist in over a year.
    • By Stan

      After Lunar Rocket Racing, it's time for Lost Cavern! Lay waste to the enemy Core on the single-lane map with no talent or level restriction. Complete three matches to get a Lunar Loot Chest.
      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:
      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of Lost Cavern to earn a Loot Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.
    • By Stan

      Blizzard just rolled out a patch with various bug fixes. Check out the full patch notes! 
      Blizzard (Source)
      Bug Fixes
      Heroes, Talents, & Abilities
      Genji: Fixed an issue preventing certain cleave attacks, such as Malthael’s Basic Attacks and Xul’s Cursed Strikes, from removing stacks of Genji’s Dodge. Ice Block: Fixed an issue allowing certain Abilities to be cast during Ice Block, including Jaina’s Ice Blink, Brightwing’s Storm Shield, and Malfurion’s Astral Communion. Jaina: The Wintermute Talent now correctly causes Jaina’s Water Elemental to mimic her Basic Abilities. Lunara: The Galloping Gait Talent no longer permanently grants a permanent Movement Speed bonus. Tyrael: The Stalwart Angel Talent’s tooltip now displays the correct values for its duration and Armor bonus. Maiev: Casting Spirit of Vengeance just as a Core is destroyed will no longer cause the Spirit to cease animating. Maiev: Activating Naisha’s Memento will now correctly display an icon indicating its duration in the buff bar. Nova: Fixed an issue causing Holo Decoys to deal slightly more damage than intended after learning Lethal Decoy. Rehgar: The Rising Storm Talent will no longer increase Lightning Shield’s damage versus non-Heroic enemies.
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our fifteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Blaze patch of January is here!
      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.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a low-to-mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya↑ Hanzo↑↑↑     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza↑ Azmodan Dehaka Junkrat↑↑ Brightwing Nazeebo Diablo Kerrigan Lúcio Zagara Muradin Li-Ming Stukov↑ Sylvanas↑  Stitches Malthael↓ Uther   Varian (Tank) Nova↓-       Valla       Zul'jin     Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      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
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      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.