Stan

Probius Hero Reveal & Patch Preview

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Enough teasing! The latest Hero to join the Nexus is Probius! The next patch brings huge improvements to the game's UI, allowing faster game reading. Party frames now offer real-time information. 

New Hero Probius

Blizzard unveiled a new Hero today at IEM Katowice. It's Starcraft's Probius! Abilities and partial talents have been published here. The introduction trailer can be watched below.

Since his activation, Probius has always wanted to prove himself. He may be small, but he made a big difference by warping in a critical pylon during the retaking of Aiur. As the bravest of probes, Probius is eager to fulfill his purpose in the Nexus.

Probius in Action

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Patch Preview

The forthcoming Heroes of the Storm patch brings a lot of UI improvements providing players with real-time information during matches, allowing to read the game more easily. The way how killstreaks and takedowns are announced has been improved. The look and feel of death recap tab was also updated. Heroes receiving reworks are Arthas, Anub'arak, Cho'gall and Gazlowe.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard Entertainment (Source)

We’ve been working on a slew of updates for Heroes of the Storm’s in-game UI, and we’re very excited to announce that everything we’re unveiling today will come to the game in our next patch! Read on as we break everything down. 

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Keep Your Friends Close...

If you’ve ever watched one of your replays, or tuned in to any Heroes Global Championship broadcasts, then our new Party Frames UI may feel familiar already. We like how our observer interface communicates the status of individual players during replays, and feel that bringing this aspect of the interface into live Heroes matches will help players more easily read the current state of a game at any given moment.

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A quick glance at the top of the screen is all you’ll need to immediately see which players are alive or dead on either team, how much time is left before a player respawns, and even which Heroic Abilities each player has picked.

Better yet, Party Frames offer a ton of real-time information about your allies:

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As you can see above, Party Frames display each teammate’s current health and mana, animate whenever an ally is channeling Hearthstone, and display cooldown timers for their Heroic Abilities. Ideally, you’ll always have the right info when it comes time to decide whether to pick a fight with the enemy team or spend more time in lanes soaking up that sweet XP.

You may notice that we’ve condensed the center area of the interface that displays team levels, XP, and the game timer. While these elements are now more compact, they’ll communicate even more information than before:

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We’ve added an indicator next to each XP bar that will blink as teams approach their next talent tier. Additionally, if either team gains a talent tier over the other, their team level will be engulfed in flames to better signify that they have a talent advantage.

Don’t Stop Now, You’re On FIRE!

If you’ve been a Heroes of the Storm player for a long time, you may remember killstreak flames. Players who scored lots of takedowns would see their heroes’ nameplates erupt in flames and sparks to indicate that they were “on fire”.

We eventually removed killstreak flames, due in part to the visual clutter they brought to the game space, but we liked how they gave us another way to celebrate high-performing players. However, we also felt that there was much more to individual achievement than takedowns alone. With these things in mind, we completely overhauled the system and will be bringing it back in a different form:

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Rather than place fiery effects on nameplates, we’ve moved them to three different locations:

  • Party Frame hero portraits at the top of the screen
  • The stats tab on the in-game score screen
  • Your hero portrait in the bottom-left (so long as you are on fire, of course)

With the prior system, players could only tell who had earned killstreak flames when those players were on screen. Now, you can always see who the top performing players are at any given time by checking Party Frames, or the Stats screen.

Up to three of the ten players in a game can be “on fire” at any one time, and the better they perform compared to everyone else, the more intensely the flames around their portraits will glow. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not one of the first players to earn flames during a match! The game is constantly re-evaluating everyone’s performance, and just a few great plays can help you quickly snatch some fire for yourself. A single death will immediately snuff out your fiery highlights, so stay sharp once you’ve claimed your flames.

Show ‘Em How It’s Done

With our upcoming patch, we’ve revamped the way killstreaks and hero takedowns are called out in-game. Once in-game, you’ll find that we’ve added a new element to the left side of the screen that will give you even more opportunity to show off your battlefield prowess: The Kill Feed.

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Any time a player on either team scores a takedown, a notification will pop up in the kill feed on the left side of the screen. These notifications stack on top of one another, and have team-colored visual effects, so it’s easy to see exactly what went down during your last team fight.

Your hero portrait will appear on the left side of kill feed notifications when you score takedowns, and the heroes who were killed will appear on the right. As before, killing an enemy hero kicks off a killstreak timer. The more takedowns you participate in while the timer is active, the more enemy portraits will be added across from yours in the kill feed, and the more intense your on-screen killstreak callouts will become.

The Finer Things

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Since we were already working on all of the elements mentioned above, we also decided that the time was right to give the rest of the in-game UI a bit of a tune up. In our next patch, we’ve updated ability hotbars, the hero portrait, as well as health, mana, and buff bars to make them all a bit slimmer and sleeker. Additionally, we’ve polished up the stats and talents tabs on the in-game score screen, and completely updated the look and feel of the death recap tab.

We can’t wait to bring you all of this and more with our next Heroes of the Storm patch, which will hit the Public Test Realm next week. Check back on the official Heroes website in the next few days for more information about the upcoming patch, and be sure let us know what you think of all the new goodies after you’ve had the chance to try them out on the PTR.

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LOVE ALL OF THIS! Love when the heroes come out of left field and catch us off guard. Lucio did that some, but a probe?! YES PLEASE. Really curious to see how he pushes. Maybe Abathur style of generating minions? Vision and defense is clear.

Also, that UI looks slick. Clearly stolen from broadcasts and Overwatch, but the old adage "you know a really good idea when you want to steal it" is true.

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He is adorable as a Wall-E character. I loved his kit, seems very unique and fun to use.

But I'm mostly hyped about the Cho'gall rework. It's something they need A LOT.

Edited by Valhalen

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Very pretty, UI improvements are so nice to have. Been looking for this kind of display for quite a while now, and the streak / fire effects does keep in line with the faster pace on average HotS has over it's competition. 

Was really hoping for some more word on Uther and Tyrande, but hey, bringing Cho'gall and Arthas up to date is fine by me as well. 

Edited by Plergoth
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22 minutes ago, Plergoth said:

Was really hoping for some more word on Uther and Tyrande, but hey, bringing Cho'gall and Arthas up to date is fine by me as well. 

I wonder if Arthas will have a full rework or simply some tweaks, since he had a rework not long ago.

Still, I hope that at least Gazlowe and Cho'gall are getting full reworks. I'll be really pissed if they get some silly tweaks like Abathur on last patch (negligible buff to Symbiote damage).

Edited by Valhalen
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Ayy all interesting stuff! The only thing is I wonder if the UI will put more stress on the machine and work on lower settings. Probably negligible worries to most but to financially stretched and nubby peeps like me, it means a whole ton! Also new hero and possible Arthas buffs hurray! 

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4 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I wonder if Arthas will have a full rework or simply some tweaks, since he had a rework not long ago.

Still, I hope that at least Gazlowe and Cho'gall are getting full reworks. I'll be really pissed if they get some silly tweaks like Abathur on last patch (negligible buff to Symbiote damage).

agreed.  Both of them have been needing reworks for awhile now.

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Honestly, as a big protoss fan, this reveal is a bit disappointing.  I was hoping for an old favorite like Fenix, or perhaps Karax, or even Selendis (the player character from Brood War) over...well, some random probe.

Heck, aren't probes supposedly nonsentient, according to Starcraft lore? I seem to remember that, but I haven't been able to keep up with how radically Blizzard rewrote the lore when they made SC2. 

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36 minutes ago, FirstBlood said:

Honestly, as a big protoss fan, this reveal is a bit disappointing.  I was hoping for an old favorite like Fenix, or perhaps Karax, or even Selendis (the player character from Brood War) over...well, some random probe.

Heck, aren't probes supposedly nonsentient, according to Starcraft lore? I seem to remember that, but I haven't been able to keep up with how radically Blizzard rewrote the lore when they made SC2. 

I feel you, but let's think outside of the box a bit. Probius' gameplay and mechanics look very unique and experimental, something Specialists are usually known for. Blizzard is trying to implement new things so we don't end up with a roster like LoL and DotA, where there are too many characters that do pretty much the same thing.

Also, many of the aspects of Fenix (who was in fact one of the very first characters from Starcraft pitched to be in HotS) were incorporated into Artanis, so I don't think they will bring him to the game so soon. Now Selendis and Karax... Let's hope.

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10 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I wonder if Arthas will have a full rework or simply some tweaks, since he had a rework not long ago.

He still fulfils a niche rather well, and his pressure and control as a front line bruiser / tank is great, but he looks like a pixelated mess as one of the older Heroes, and some of the mechanics he has are just downright strange. My main gripe is the Death Coil self heal if you talent for it; to receive the healing from it, you have to literally wait for the missile to fly back to you for it. That's unreliable to say the least. 

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I know Icy Veins is not a dedicated Starcraft resource, but I should tell this story to uninitiated, because it's way too much KreyGasm for me to handle.

This announcement has been made on March 3, right? You know what also happened on March 3? A very big event for Starcraft Brood War. 10 years ago, on March 3, 2007, a Korean legend Bisu has revolutionized PvZ matchup for years to come. More story here, courtesy of Team Liquid guys. 

For those who have no clue, Bisu is famous for his outstanding Probe micro. He almost singlehandedly made Probe the most op unit in the game, (I'm dead serious, google any video named "Bisu Probe Micro"), so it only makes sense Blizzard add it to HotS like that. 

I can't even explain how much I'm pumped, being an avid Starcraft fan for all my life, pretty much. Is it a coincidence? I hope not. 

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Mighty protoss comp: Artanis, Alarak, Zeratul, Tassadar, Probius.

MY LIFE FOR AIUR!

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23 hours ago, Laragon said:

Mighty protoss comp: Artanis, Alarak, Zeratul, Tassadar, Probius.

MY LIFE FOR AIUR!

I've certainly been waiting for an all-protoss comp, but I was thinking it'd be with a Karax or a Fenix (Dragoon Fenix could give it some much-needed ranged damage) rather than a non-entity.

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      *…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.