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Reddit Balance Q/A Summary: Mar 16

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A round-up of all questions answered by Blizzard in today's balance Q/A on reddit, related to the latest patch.

Uther's rework is coming soon and there are changes coming to Leoric too. The devs also shared more insight on Warriors. Below you can find all questions that received a blue answer.

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Was it a conscious decision to have Probius' Photon Cannon not prioritise Heroes?

It was a conscious design. While I cannot completely speak for the Hero designers, I talked it over with them once we started to get this feedback and this was the main reasoning:

We did not want Probius to be a huge lane bully where he could place his Photon Cannon far up and zone out an enemy hero completely due to them not being able to effectively trade against the cannon. We actually had a few play tests awhile back where the cannon was much stronger, and there was lots of feedback that it just feels really bad to play against when it is so powerful and there are few ways for many heroes to deal with it.

Probius is meant to be a more defensive hero in nature. Having the cannon auto-target minions first forces Probius to make a decision - either place the cannon forward and have it help clear waves, or place it behind your wave and use it purely defensively for hero dives.

We aren't completely immovable on this, and will re-evaluate going forward once we get more data on how Probius is performing over time.

I want to strongly agree that even if the cannon is placed defensively, it's just not threatening enough. It feels like any hero can just dive probius and be fine.

I think this could feel better with a buff to the non-damage parts of his w (increasing slow, or decreasing setup time) or just buffing the cannon's damage.

This is completely valid feedback, and I want to make the point that "the cannon is too weak and it's not saving me when heroes dive me" and "the cannon should target heroes" are completely different things that are often lumped together.

Often, particularly when a hero comes out with a below average win rate, we get the feedback that their kit is clunky and doesn't work, and that we need to completely redesign most aspects of the kit in order for them to be viable. A large part of our jobs is finding out whether or not an issue with a hero is due to the kit itself not working or if it's due to tuning. We go through this a lot when iterating on new heroes, so obviously we believe that their kit works at a base level when they are released.

Sometimes a kit doesn't mesh together for the long term, and we make changes to make it flow better. However, before completely changing how our heroes play, we are much more inclined to test whether or not a hero is losing due to being tuned too low first.

What do you think about current probius situation?

Many users are very disappointed and concerned about current Probius design and balance. It is said that Photon Canon(E) is useless and not powerful, and probius's viability is too weak.

Especially, many users and some pro players agreed that Pylon(D) should be charged.

There are a lot of thoughts!

1. Builder heroes have traditionally been very difficult to balance, and Probius was no exception. These kinds of heroes tend to be extremely overwhelming when they are too strong, and can ruin the experience in less coordinated play even when they are balanced correctly. Because of this, it's not too surprising that feelings are strong about this hero, especially since he's so darn cute!

2. I think the design of Probius is correct for many reasons. I'll give a quick list of some of those here:

2a. While we all would love for him to just summon a million Photon Cannons all day, it would be way too similar to Gazlowe who does a similar thing. It would also be hard to differentiate any future Builder heroes in the future if we put too much of their power pie into their turrets.

2b. Summoning so many buildings creates a lot of clutter in our game that causes other problems (minion pathing for one). We're much more cognizant now of how many Health bars and structures a Hero can create, and honestly looking back we likely would not have created as many heroes as we have that summon a bunch of stuff if we could do it all over again.

2c. Playing a builder hero is fun, i'll agree with that. However, the mastery over time is very limiting. For the first ten or even fifty games it's new and interesting, but over time there is little room for real growth or mastery of the hero. We wanted Probius to be about more than his cannons, and we think that this design which relies more on zoning in areas around his Pylons is more strategic than going all-in on cannons.

3. Probius is meant to be a hero that's not great to pick all the time. Since he's new, he's obviously going to be played in nearly every situation out there, which is going to artificially lower his win rate. When chosen on the correct maps and with the correct team compositions, it's possible that his win rate will increase as people get better at learning when and how he should be used.

4. I'm a little sad that he's come out a bit low on the win-rate side, at least via initial data, but i'm confident that we can get him to a place where he's more fun to play while still having a healthy amount of counter-play. We already have a few ideas on how to buff Probius if he needs it once more data comes in.

There are still some Talents that don’t fit well with the lore and concept of the character; Malfurion – who is clearly not a Terran - using Scouting Drone, Tyrande and Abathur using Calldown: MULE, and Malfurion and Nazeebo using Ice Block at Level 13 while ‘Frost Mage’ Jaina using it at Level 20 feel a bit awkward. I think putting a thematic twist or hero-specific flavor to these generic Talents would help fine-tuning balance and increasing the quality of the game – for example, Nazeebo’s Ice Block could have a bit more personal flavor considering Witch Doctor in Diablo III has Spirit Walk that also grants invulnerability. How do you feel about this idea?

Don't forget that this is the Nexus where anything can happen so it's not crazy to think that Malfurion has been hanging around Raynor and borrowed a few Scouting Drones. In all seriousness though, it is a pretty cool idea to theme some of these abilities more closely with their respective lore or origin. No promises, but I'll shop the idea around and see if it's something we want to explore since we would have to change the functionality of these in the process to make them truly fit their intended theme.

To be honest wouldn't this aid in the plan of removing all generic/neutral talents? I know that's been a philosophy for a while now, so why not try to expedite it to further that design philosophy.

It's all a matter of prioritizing what work needs to come in first. These abilities are functionally working so it's hard to put them before more critical balance needs but there are other implications sometimes as well that we would need to figure out. Let's say we swap Malfurion's Scouting Drone with a Wisp, how do we differentiate it from Lunara's Wisp or if we gave Nazeebo Spirit Walk, how do we make it different from Tassadar's Dimensional Shift? We would need the Art to stand out in some cases to avoid overlap but also keep things as unique as possible to each hero wherever possible.

Regardless, we tend to look at these generic talents when we do a broader rework of a Hero to decide if they should keep or change them so we will get through them eventually, just a matter of finding the time.

With some of the recent changes to Warriors (and the knock-on effect of that change affecting damage dealers) and the way that Supports have been designed for a while now, it seems like you want to move away from 'standard' or 'general' picks that are good in every situation.

Are you scared of the impact that this might have on drafts? Specifically the kind of situation where both teams just want to not lose the draft in the first phase (by leaving themselves open to be countered too hard by a late Tank, Support or Damage pick) and it will end up becoming a much more boring opening to the draft. That kind of situation also might stifle innovation and off-meta picks and compositions.

One of the main reasons we wanted to start making these kinds of changes is to encourage more strategic depth to drafting. We are still very happy with having 'general' picks in each archetype, but there should also be a penalty (statistically?) for being an all-around good choice (right now you could argue that that isn't the case, and we are working on that). Using the current situation of Warriors as an example:

  • Both ETC and Muradin bring 'premier' tanking core kits. In order to reach parity amongst all 'tank-like' Warriors we need to either start homogenizing them to be more akin to ETC or Muradin (which we are trying to avoid), or start sharpening their current strengths in order to give them a time and place to be drafted over the current 'meta' choices.

While our goal is not to make the opening of drafts more boring, we do realize there will likely be some fallout (and we will be keeping an eye on it). However, I fully believe that there are deeper levels of mind-games that can now be played - If a team opens with a first pick Anub'arak, are they opening themselves up to lose the draft to a couple Basic Attackers? Or are they baiting you into something else?

As with all of our changes, we are excited to see them in action and will respond accordingly :)

Is Johanna performing acceptably as "the wave clear tank" since it was made baseline with a nerfed version? Or has her niche been pushed more towards "the tank where the support doesn't need cleanse"?

With more and more counter-picks and niche heroes, which I'm a fan of, being implemented do we have an ETA on pick swapping in HL/UD?

Last, the biggie, the way QM works as the intro game mode has a serious effect on player's game knowledge of how to properly execute team fights, draft heroes, choose talents, pretty much everything. Coupled with essentially no in-game tutorials or even directions to educational content, this results in a consistently poor experience for people who, for example, watch pro play and start to see the strategic and tactical depth of HotS but have to play completely differently to win in HL/QM/UD. Are there are plans to implement a different game mode, educational direction, or even just a warning on the box so to speak that HotS is not really casual friendly and has a very steep learning curve? Especially given that it has 12 maps all of which have dozens of potential strategies.

I can speak to your first question regarding Johanna: I don't know if we see her as the premier "wave clear tank", as characters like Dehaka are more flexible at winning a solo lane and are played that way on Braxis for example. She does still bring great wave clear though in team rotations, especially on a map like TOTSQ.

For your Cleanse comment, thats interesting - I don't know if we've ever really thought of Johanna as the tank that doesn't need a support with Cleanse. I think it's certainly a fair point, but at the same time, having Cleanse couldn't hurt as Johanna can't pull herself out of a stun lock once it begins. Interesting point though!

More Feedback on Warriors

We wanted to give some insight into the recent armor changes to Warriors, what our design intentions are, and the direction we’re continuing to head.

First off, we want to assure everyone that our recent changes are not a shift in design direction, but an attempt to begin future-proofing the flexibility and diversity of our Hero pool. We have had soft-counters in the game for a while now, they have just been a bit more hidden – mainly in a Hero’s core kit and talent tree. For an example, Anub’arak’s diving potential coupled with multiple lockdown options has always made him a great pick against pesky backline Heroes. The addition of passive Spell Armor to Anub’arak is intended to further amplify this role and direct him towards Mages specifically.

Adding base Armor to a few Warriors is our initial push to both hone and broadcast the strengths of a few of our Heroes. While it is true that we are sharpening some of their roles, it is far from our intention to design the game into a spot that it becomes ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’. Games should not begin and end at the draft screen.

That said, the forums are ablaze with discussion and it’s obvious that everyone has a lot of questions about our underlying goals, so here goes:

  • This philosophy can be applied to any archetype, but let’s look at Warriors specifically for this example. If every Warrior is always good in every situation, players will naturally gravitate towards the ones with the best win rates. Before long, we reach a point where a couple are deemed the best, and the others fall to the wayside until changes are made. This naturally leads to us rebalancing them in order to reach parity. After the dust settles, the power may shift to some new Heroes, or stay as it was – rinse and repeat. This is a very typical cycle of balance which is healthy for shaking up the meta, but never truly solves long-term diversity issues.

  • By strengthening certain aspects of Heroes, or granting them bonus effectiveness vs. certain compositions, our end-goal is to allow for situations to arise where a Hero that is generally most effective is not always the most optimal choice. This allows for niche picks to shine, interesting team synergies to develop, and most importantly – a wider range of viable and competitive Hero choices.

  • This train of thought has not been limited strictly to just our live game. Our entire design staff are actively working towards this goal. Whether we are developing a new Hero or looking to rework an older one, we discuss at great lengths the reasons why you’d want to pick them over similar Heroes. Our Hero roster is expanding very rapidly and we are doing our best to make sure that each of them have a place in the Nexus.

At the end of the day, we are all in agreeance that permanent hard-counters are not healthy for the game and prefer to lock the more egregious ones behind mechanically driven methods more so than passive ones. We never want a game’s outcome to be decided before it begins, but we also feel it’s okay for a team to gain certain advantages through a well-thought-out draft.

Have you all ever thought of changing damage types of abilities to physical damage for some abilities? For example Valla does magic damage with all abilities but honestly Hungering Arrow, Multi-shot, and Strafe should all do Physical damage. Under the same idea, perhaps Jaina's AA's should do magic damage.

Yes we have considered that. There are a massive amount of ramifications about going down that rabbit hole though. I am not saying we won't do it in the future, but it has a much larger range of impact than one would suspect.

If Hero 1 is normally a B against everything, but Hero 2 is an A against auto attackers and C against Mages. Against a mage comp you should take Hero A. How is this not having the game revolve around the draft?

As stated in the original post, we are okay with slight draft advantages if a team can leverage them. For example - if the enemy team picks up Gul'dan and Kael'thas early in the draft, we are happy conceding an advantageous position for an Anub'arak pick over a more general Warrior such as ETC or Muradin.

However, in this scenario (and in our data so far) the advantage of going Anub'arak should be small and does not mean that the double mage composition becomes an auto-loss. If the advantages in these scenarios ever swing into uncomfortable levels, we will react swiftly.

I could be wrong, but I thought it was stated in one of your dev comments that you wanted to lessen the double warrior meta. With tanks such as ETC and Muradin (maybe even Varian to an extent) on the table, are you worried those general tanks will be highly contested up top and then a second warrior just added later as a comp counter leading to even more of a 2 warrior meta? This is also currently a bit rough in anything but customs as there is no hero swapping in HL or TL and picking anything but a generic warrior early on (depending on what the player can play) could lead to a fair disadvantage.

We talk about this amongst ourselves constantly. In a perfect world you would not have to counter a heavy front-line with one of your own. We would prefer to give our player base the arsenal to counter certain meta line-ups on their own - They brought two tanks, lets counter with a poke + disengage team. While our Warriors are currently the hot topic, we are looking to make adjustments to all of our Hero archetypes in order to support this.

I have no problems with you wanting to do the things you're doing to warriors I just think it should be done through talents or ability design instead of just tacked on numbers. I also am concerned about it making warriors more niche when we already have a low warrior pool, so ya know like release more warriors :D

We do not disagree with you about wanting most counters behind mechanics or talent choices. We look at the base Armor on these Warriors as 'bonuses' to bringing them in certain circumstances, not just tacked on numbers.

We have some more Warriors lined up and ready to enter the Nexus :)

I'm not sure this is exactly a balance question, but the recent updates to hero descriptions show a new system for classifying heroes: Tank, Bruiser, Mage, Assassin, Healer, Support, Summoner, and a few that don't fit any and are just called Hero.

Will the Warrior, Assassin, Support, Specialist system go away or be replaced anytime soon?

Its only function seems to be quests, now that QM rules don't even follow it anymore. The new descriptions show that even Blizzard knows the problem with the old system: Medivh and Tassadar being in different categories (after Tass rework); Sonya and Thrall being in different categories; Naz, Sylv, and Hammer not being in the same category as every other ranged damage dealer.

This is something we've discussed internally and externally for some time now. We do want to rework the Warrior/Assassin/Support/Specialist naming at some point. These categories serve a few purposes, for quests as you mention, but also to give players a really quick indication of what a hero can and cannot do. In this regard, I think these 4 categories are failing a bit since theres a huge difference between a Lt. Morales Support and a Tassadar Support.

Sorry, I don't have a concrete answer on when this will change or what the exact change will be.

Tyrael currently has to be one of the characters with the least impact/interesting talent choices at pretty much every tier. With the removal of imposing will, his 13 talent tier is now one of the weakest in the game and all 3 choices have minimal impact and very little in terms of changing Tyrael or his playstyle in anyway. Are there any plans for a complete talent overhaul as currently Tyrael has so many trap talents such as follow through, or can we expect nothing for an Angel yet again after another round of nerfs on him.

We felt removing Imposing Will was the correct design choice for Tyrael's future role in the Nexus. We currently aren't looking for a full rework on him, but we are constantly looking at how to make player talent choices more impactful, and Tyrael's Tier 5 is no exception.

When your team feels like a hero needs to be buffed to be in a good spot--not nerfs, because those situations tend to stand out, but when they're falling behind--what is the exact system of metrics you use to determine when to hit them? I know win rate and pick rate are common among us armchair enthusiasts, but is there anything more in depth you guys use when you look at a suffering champion to finally decide when to adjust them?

Win rate and pick rate are definitely metrics we look at. I'll give a little more details on those and then add a couple other things:

Win Rates: We look at win rate across the board, in ladder play, different MMR brackets, pro play, etc. Often times we will find conflicting data which makes our decision more challenging: Take Tassadar as an example - this is a character who for a long time could have used a buff in ladder, but a nerf in esports.

Pick Rates: For pick rate we're looking at overall play rate, draft rate, ban rate, when a character is picked in a draft (early vs. late), esports play rate, map specific pick rates, etc.

Some other things we consider:

Talent Health: Talent diversity, how many talent builds are viable, is there a single talent propping this character up, etc.

Incoming Reworks & Design Changes: As an example here, if Rehgar is weak, but we know Malfurion is getting a major rework, we might wait to see how the Malfurion stuff pans out before working on Rehgar.

Community Perception: Feedback from you guys!

How do you decide what hero should be reworked next? Is it based on the hero’s popularity among the players? Pro players? Something else?

I'm going to copy/paste an answer I gave to this question in a previous AMA, and elaborate a bit on the response:

Choosing which heroes we're going to rework isn't an exact science, however some of the things we look for are:

1. How healthy is their talent diversity? (Ex. Zagara pre-rework had really bad talent diversity)

2. Is there anything about their kit/talents that feels bad as the user to play with? (Ex. It felt bad as the Butcher losing all of his Meat stacks every time he dies)

3. Is there anything that feels too oppressive when playing against them? (Ex. Kael'thas with the original Ignite talent)

4. Is the hero too similar to others and we need to create a niche for them? (Ex. When to pick Tychus vs. Valla before his rework)

These are generally the things that we look for when decidin to rework a hero. In addition, I would say that if a hero just has an outdated talent tree or kit, we are more likely to take a look at them to see if they need a rework.

Also to answer your question about popularity, it's not really something that we take into consideration when reworking a hero, as they can often be unhealthily popular due to win/loss rates. For example, right now I could easily make a hero very popular for the wrong reasons by tripling their damage and health.

Our attitude is that we are much more concerned about fixing and improving the design of our game, and that the popularity of heroes gets better in a healthier way as their designs improve.

Are you guys able to give us an update or an ETA on when the Uther changes will be arriving? It's been waaaay too long since Justice got it's retribution fix...it demands it NOW!

Good news, Uther is actually being worked on as we speak so be on the lookout for an update coming sooner rather than later.

As far as questions go, this isn't really an important one, but I'm really curious as to why Arthas' Army of the Dead Heroic was buffed. It seemed to already be the go-to pick as well as being very strong, while Summon Sindragosa was also seeing play in certain situations.

I understand the confusion, as there are often a lot of smaller changes like this that can look out of place at first. I can promise you we always have a train of logic behind them, even if it ends up not being correct. I'm going to use data based on 1+ MMR players in Hero League who have Arthas above Level 8 as my example to give you the context that these players should know what they're doing, though the larger data pool supports the same conclusions. Here was the thinking:

1. Pre-rework, Army of the Dead was both the losing Heroic, as well as the lesser picked one. It was picked 38% of the time compared to 62% for Summon Sindragosa, and it was winning 49% of the time compared to 52% for Sindy. They're not incredibly far off here, so we could leave well enough alone.

2. In the rework we removed damage off of Arthas in favor of survivability. This could potentially mean that Army of the Dead is even less needed on Arthas, as now he can tank damage even better than before, making Summon Sindragosa possibly even stronger as it gives him tower shutoff capability as well as the ability to engage on the enemy team, which is something he's normally not very good at.

3. We also had feedback that Army of the Dead can just feel bad to use due to how easily the Ghouls die to incidental AoE damage. Arthas also often uses his Army purely to consume his Ghouls for Health. We wanted to buff up the Health and damage a little so that there's a little more of "I want to keep my Ghouls alive so they can kill my enemies" instead of "I don't care about these dumb things... gimme dat HEALTH!"

4. The buffs to Army of the Dead were fairly minor. We weren't looking to drastically upset the balance of these heroics, but more to "catch up" Army of the Dead compared to what we saw the future appeal of Summon Sindragosa to be post rework.

We could be wrong in this line of thinking, as it could just turn into "well i'm a tank and Army lets me tank better so i'll just pick that!", but here's to hoping that doesn't happen!

Is there any hope that we could get self-casting of Ancestral/cleanse back?

I understand the fear of turning them into duelists, but aggressive Supports could really use some help being aggressive.

We like the limitation of those abilities and feel that it offers some counter-play to the enemy team (stun the guy with Cleanse). We aren't currently looking at changing those back. In terms of aggressiveness: Rehgar is definitely themed to be an aggressive support, so if that's not currently working out, I think we could target changes to other aspects of his kit (such as Lightning Shield, Totem, or Feral Lunge).

I don’t quite understand the recent Tyrael changes on PTR; As I feel Tyrael was in a good state in terms of balance before the patch except Imposing Will, I’d like to know what was your reasoning for removing not only Imposing Will but also Amplified Healing and Hardened Shield. Even though Angelic Absorption heal amount has been increased, the Talent will not help Tyrael much as the healing amount still feel lackluster and it lost its synergy with Amplified Healing. I also was a bit disappointed that there were no changes on Judgment - which could use some buffs – while it has become much harder to effectively use Sanctification due to the nerfs on some tank Talents.

We often have to make difficult decisions when it comes to changing popular talents in the name of making the game healthier overall. This was one of those choices that we think will be better for the longer term health of the game, even if it's not the popular one to make. Here was our line of thought on Imposing Will:

1. Imposing Will is a hugely popular talent, particularly at Pro play. However, we do not feel that the talent is particularly well designed, as it was offering a large amount of power with very little counter-play for the enemy. It was fairly easy to proc as Tyrael got to choose when to activate Righteousness, and it would instantly and heavily punish anyone who happened to be hitting him at the time, even with abilities like DoT effects.

2. It was unclear when opposing players made the mistake of hitting Tyrael when Imposing Will was active. It felt like a very random, very severe slow effect that seemingly came from nowhere.

3. We tried some variations of Imposing Will that embraced a more of an anti-caster function, but did not find anything that was a big enough win to put into the game at the time.

We largely removed Amplified Healing from Johanna and Tyrael due to its inherent synergy with their baseline Armor. They both now get more effective healing, and this was effectively adding stacks on stacks for them.

We replaced Hardened Shield with a spell-specific version to further embrace his anti-caster role.

We did buff Judgment!

Judgment (R) Damage increased from 100 to 150 Splash Damage increased from 50 to 75

As a final note, I wanted to make it clear that we have no intentions of causing Tyrael to fall off in our game, and that while we believe he will be OK with the changes we have made, we are prepared to make more changes to ensure that he remains viable.

With the recent clamping changes. Has there been a discussion about how the changes break shift-queuing of abilities? Is there a chance of this becoming a per-talent option, instead of an absolute?

Tyrael, for example, is no longer able to have a Q queued(see what I did there?) to fire as soon as he moves within range, as he was able to previously. In the current patch, he will move to his destination completely, then fire his Q in the direction of where Q was targeted.

Hmm, that does sound odd, maybe working as intended with the new system though. I'll bring it up with engineering and tech gurus to see if that is the expected behavior or if we can make this better.

Thanks for the callout.

Are you still going to change the balance of healing output(i hope so) or you reevaluated it? Are Supports, going to be less reliant on healing and more on, at the moment, secondary parts of their kits? Or supports are still going to be considered mainly healers?

For the most part, we like that healing feels incredibly powerful in Heroes of the Storm, and that these characters are a critical part of the team. We don't really have any sweeping plans to gut healing or anything along those lines. However, as we do updates to our healers/supports, we are looking for areas to enhance outside of purely healing, partially to keep all these characters unique from each other.

Any Comments regarding Sylvanas's tier 1 and tier 7 talents?

These two tiers are intended to improve her PvE capabilities in the direction you choose. Looking at stats specifically, tier 1 looks pretty good pick & win rate wise, but we can make some tuning changes to help 7 out. Specifically, Possession and Unstable Poison could use some buffs. Will look into this.

Are we going to see some reworks/buffs to Lili?

She is not high on our list, but we are looking at some updates to some other supports, including: Tyrande, Uther, and Lt. Morales.

One of my favorite heroes for the longest time was The Butcher. But he really only works in comps that support him (Tassadar), though even then he is a less than optimal pick. His entire combo of charging in and auto attacking an enemy down is too easily countered by stuns, polymorphs and blinds. Are there any plans to help his surviveability a bit?

In terms of win-rate, Butcher is actually sitting very high, so he doesn't currently warrant any buffs. Yes, Butcher is a little one-dimensional, but I think we're okay with that and like the way his rework feels and plays.

Is there any change we'll get to have a hero that is more trap based? Land mines, trip wires, and sneaky things like that? I always thought having someone pretrapping objective areas would be really neat!

Sounds like a fun hero idea - we do have some of these in isolate with Sgt. Hammer mines, Chromie Traps. I'll pass it along to the team.

Will Tychus ever get any changes to his sustain. That's the stuff is not too viable and it was a huge part of Tychus.

It's possible - level 13 on Tychus was designed to be a tier that offered some survivability for Tychus (or range in the case of his Q talent, which keeps you safer). That's the Stuff! was never intended to be a build-around talent that allowed Tychus to brawl toe to toe with other characters by out-healing their damage.

I think if we see Tychus fall off, while we could buff up this talent again, we'd probably prefer to address Tychus overall.

Do you have any plans to rework such heroes as Medivh, Abathur and the Lost Vikings? They are not very popular in Hero League and considered to be «situational» heroes.

We very recently made a few number changes to Abathur that we hope will bring him to a better place. For Medivh and The Lost Vikings, I think we're ok with them not showing up very often as they are meant to be hard to play and somewhat situational. Medivh has actually risen in popularity in the last couple of months in both competitive and Hero League and Vikings can still cause havoc on certain maps like Garden of Terror or Warhead Junction. I will say thought that we do have some quality of life changes for both in mind that may see the light of day somewhere down the line.

Are there any plans to look at Alarak?

Yes! We are working on an Alarak update that will be coming soon (tm). The main focus of this update is improving his talent diversity.

... Just to confirm soon (tm) is not actually in the next month :(

This is driving me nuts Blizz, Bronze Tiger Kharazim's VERY awkward grip on his fist weapons, it was not like this when he was released. Claws need to face out not in.

http://imgur.com/a/Us5RM

We also noticed that Bronze Tiger Kharazim forgot what gloves are and how to punch with them. We will schedule some training to remind him how to correctly use them.

Currently The Lost Vikings have a very niche role on only a few maps whereas other heroes tend to be picked on most maps or even all of them simply because the map doesnt effect their ability to achieve a certain level of effectiveness. What do you have in plan for heroes that are very map dependant, such as Vikings?

Will there be more ways for players enjoy unit micro? The Lost Vikings isnt the only hero with multiple units but other heroes who can usually dont pick the option as it feels quite inferior to the other (Jaina, Kerrigan)

We are okay with some heroes having very strong map dependencies, Lost Vikings is a great example of one of these characters. We would like to potentially rework TLV's talents at some point though - we've discussed maybe adding a talent build that encourages them to stick together and focus on hero micro in a single lane, as opposed to the more common lane soak/macro playstyle currently seen.

For pet abilities on characters like Jaina and Kerrigan, we've purposely kept these abilities pretty straightforward with little control. Overall, I think we're mostly happy with the design of these, but for the ones that are rarely picked we may look for ways to make them more powerful or offer more micro options for the hero.

Any specific reason why Varian's damage taken isn't being tracked when he picks a shield?I really like seeing how much I tanked for and comparing that to my deaths if I'm being too much in enemies' faces, not enough or if I don't have many deaths and a lot of damage taken, then I know I'm doing a good job at soaking damage for teammates. Other than that, love your game Heroes of the Storm team, keep up the great work.

This is actually on the list to get on the TAB screen. I can't remember off the top of my head when this is going to go out to you guys but it's definitely something we want there.

Any ETA of Leoric rework?

In the nearish future (next few months) we're looking at some tuning adjustments and will experiment with some of the suggestions we've seen from you guys!

In terms of a full rework - Leoric is not currently on our schedule for a major overhaul. We like his role in the game, but do acknowledge his talent tree could use some love.

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The question about the lore-themed skill-talents is very interesting. Malfurion could have something similar to Kharazim's Mystic Ally; maybe a Treant (or even a Wild Mushroom) that serves as a Scout Drone and periodically pulses heals or something.

Or Nazeebo could easily have a "Spirit Walk without the walk" instead of Ice Block; having him just phase out of his body while standing still. Or, if the idea is to make him stand out more, why not have him cover himself with a bunch of zombies?

For Tyrande's Calldown: MULE, she could summon some kind of avatar of Elune or something that repairs the structures.

Blizzard is very creative with their stuff, I'm surprised they haven't tampered with this yet.

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      Abilities
      Shadow Assault (R) Removed (New Talent) Might of the Nerazim (R) Passive: After using an Ability, Zeratul’s next Basic Attack within 6 seconds deals 40% more damage Activate to duplicate the last ability cast. Damaging abilities deal 50% less damage. This ability does not benefit from talents. 20-Second Cooldown  Talents
      Level 1 Vorpal Blade (1) Added as a baseline ability. Default Hotkey: 1 (New Talent) Move Unseen (Passive) Gain 25% bonus Movement Speed while Stealthed Shadow Hunter (E) Regen Globe required for quest completion reduced from 20 to 15 Mana cost reduction of Blink increased from 2 to 3 Level 4 Combo Slash (Passive) Removed Grim Task (Passive) Removed (New Talent) Psionic Strength (Passive) Damaging an enemy Hero with Basic Attacks or Abilities increases Zeratul's damage by 6% for 3 seconds, stacking up to 5 times. (New Talent) Darkness Descends (Active) Passive: Increase Zeratul’s attack speed by 10%. Activated ability – Zeratul gains 40% bonus attack speed for 5 seconds. 30-second cooldown Level 7 Wormhole (E) Duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds Slip into Shadow (E) Removed (New Talent) Warp Skirmisher (1) Vorpal Blade now has 2 charges. Casting Vorpal Blade also causes Zeratul's next Basic Attack within 6 seconds to deal 30% bonus damage Level 16 Sentenced to Death (W) Bonus damage reduced from 40 to 30% Level 20 Rewind (Active) Removed Nerazim Fury (R) Removed (New Talent) Twilight Falls (R) Activating Might of the Nerazim resets the cooldown of all of Zeratul’s Basic Abilities (New Talent) Shadow Mending (Passive) Zeratul heals himself for 75% of Ability Damage Dealt to enemy Heroes LEVEL (TIER) ZERATUL TALENTS 1 (1) PH PH PH PH 4 (2) PH PH PH PH 7 (3) PH PH PH PH 10 (4) PH PH — — 13 (5) PH PH PH PH 16 (6) PH PH PH PH 20 (7) PH PH PH PH (!) indicates a Questing Talent. Italic text indicates a NEW Talent. Underlined text indicates a MOVED Talent. Specialist

      Abathur

      Abilities
      Spawn Locust (Trait) Health increased from 288 to 316  Talents
      Level 1 Survival Instincts (Trait) Bonus Health decreased from 50% to 40% Level 7 Calldown: MULE (Active) No longer refills Structure ammo
      The Lost Vikings

      Talents
      Level 4 It’s a Sabotage! (Passive) No longer removes Structure ammo Damage increased from 27 to 35 Warrior

      Muradin

      Talents
      Level 4 Sledgehammer (Q) No longer removes Ammo from structures Collection
      Hero Price Reduction
      Artanis’ prices have been reduced to 7,000 Gold and 625 Gems. New Bundles – The following new Bundles and Skin Packs are available for a limited time!
      Hanzo Heroic Bundle Winter Veil 2017 Bundle Winter Veil Classic Bundle New Announcers
      Hanzo New Skins
      Hanzo Kinoko Honzo Sora Hanzo Dragon Hanzo Demon Hanzo Farstrider Hanzo Icebound Farstrider Hanzo Iron Farstrider Hanzo Holy Farstrider Hanzo Scarlet Farstrider Hanzo Genji Storm Oni Genji Golden Genji Nihon Genji Leoric Immortal Space Lord Leoric Lúcio Azure Soundblast Lúcio Lunara Harvest Champion Lunara Zarya Citrine Thunderguard Zarya Industrial Zarya New Mounts
      The following Mounts have been awarded to players who reached Platinum in Hero League or Bronze in Team League during 2017 Ranked Season 3: Titanium Cybersteed Carbon Cybersteed Master Cybersteed The following Mounts have been awarded to players who reached Master or higher in Hero League or Team League during 2017 Ranked Season 3: Epic Titanium Cybersteed Epic Carbon Cybersteed Epic Master Cybersteed Bug Fixes
      General
      Fixed a number of typo and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game. Art
      Kharazim: Kharazim's arms and upper body now animated correctly during his dizzy animation. Leoric: The Shroud of the Dead King Talent will now correctly play an animation and a sound when activated. Samuro: Monkey King Samuro’s model will no longer exhibit flickering during Hero Select while running Medium or High graphic settings. The Lost Vikings: Fixed an issue causing Baelog to cast superfluous shadows on the terrain. Battlegrounds
      Sky Temple: Fixed an issue that could prevent Temple lasers from appearing correctly on the Minimap. Structures: Auriel's Blinding Flash and Artanis' Suppression Pulse can no longer Blind Structures. Towers of Doom: The Headless Horseman Boss is no longer incorrectly categorized as a Monster. Volskaya Foundry: Fixed an issue in which Heroes on the outer edge of the Hall of Storms would not receive Healing or protection. Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Alexstrasza: Life-Binder is no longer interrupted when entering or exiting Dragonqueen. Diablo: Fixed an issue that could cause Shadow Charge to deal its collision damage multiple times under certain circumstances. Garrosh: Casting Wrecking Ball on Mercenaries will no longer cause them to leash while in combat. Gul'dan: Movement caused by a conveyor belt will no longer cancel Rain of Destruction channeling. Kel'thuzad: The Power of Icecrown Talent will now correctly grant bonus Spell Power for enemy Heroes Slowed by Chains of Kel’Thuzad with the Chains of Ice Talent. Li-Ming: Zei's Vengeance and Arcane Orb tooltips have been updated to clarify bonus damage functionality. Damage amounts have not been changed. Lt. Morales: The Second Opinion Talent will now correctly grant cooldown reduction when one of the Heroes struck by Displacement Grenade is piloting a Vehicle, like the Garden Terror. Lunara: Fixed an inconsistency that allowed Lunara to cast Leaping Strike over some, but not all, allied units after learning Boundless Stride. Medivh: Creating a Portal entrance after learning Portal Mastery and then entering the Triglav Protector will no longer prevent him from using the Protector’s abilities. Muradin: Learning Reverberation no longer incorrectly updates the Attack Speed Slow amount in Thunder Clap’s tooltip. Murky: Spawn Egg with the Egg Hunt Talent can now be cast correctly on Volskaya Foundry’s conveyor belts. User Interface
      Death Recap: Fortification Camp Turret attacks now display a Turret icon in the Death Recap screen.
    • By Stan

      The free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of November 21 and Junkrat's available for the first time!
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: November 21, 2017
      Li Li ETC Zagara Butcher Kael'thas Artanis Rehgar Tyrael Azmodan Garrosh Alarak (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Tracer (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Valeera (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Junkrat (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)