Stan

The Nexus is Shifting (Official)

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Battleground variability in Heroes of the Storm is something that sets the game apart from other MOBAs. Now that the number of battlegrounds has risen to 13, Blizzard thinks new players may feel overwhelmed when dealing with so many maps and different objectives. Lead Battleground Designer John Deshazer made a blog post where he's talking about map rotation, battleground selection and more. Maps available next week can be found here.

  • New players will always play their first game on Cursed Hollow
  • 3 map rotations are planned for each Season (9 maps per rotation)
  • Maps rotate every 3 weeks

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

The variety of Battlegrounds available in Heroes of the Storm, and their respective objectives, allow different Heroes and team compositions to shine. By presenting players with a range of map mechanics and interesting strategic situations, we create opportunities for exciting teamfights and thrilling come-from-behind victories. We believe the different Battlegrounds make Heroes of the Storm more fun to play and more entertaining to watch.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing, though. And as we’re now in the era of Heroes of the Storm 2.0, we’ve heard some players express concern with feeling overwhelmed by the growing number of Battlegrounds. Asking players to manage 13 unique event timings, strategies to defeat large monsters with varied abilities, or memorizing the optimal path to collect doubloons can feel like quite a lot.

When Heroes first launched, it only had a handful of Battlegrounds. We began to debate the possibility of a rotation in earnest about the time the map pool reached double its original size. Longtime players may have noticed that whenever we’ve introduced a new Battleground, we’ve reduced the size of the map pool to funnel more players into the Nexus’s latest challenge. With the launch of D.Va, we decided it was time to formalize our approach to keeping the game fresh without overloading players by introducing regular Battleground rotations.

Battleground Rotation Details

Here are the major details for our current approach to the Battleground rotation:

  • Reduce the number of Battlegrounds available in matchmaking game modes from 13 to 9.
    • We agree with community feedback that six Battlegrounds felt like too few, and will be running nine, instead.
  • Create moments in our ranked seasons for the meta to shift due to Battleground rotation.
    • We’re starting with three rotations per season and nine Battlegrounds per rotation.
    • These should be considered living numbers that we are constantly monitoring, and can adjust according to what feels best for the game while still feeling impactful. If we raise the number of maps in the pool, for example, rotations won’t feel meaningful.
  • We’ve updated our multi-tiered map introduction system to help alleviate information overload for newer players.
    • New players will always play their first game on Cursed Hollow.
    • They’ll then move into a sub-pool of Battlegrounds drawn from the current rotation.
    • This sub-pool will open up to all nine Battlegrounds in the current rotation, gradually acclimating newer players to the game’s full range of strategies and experiences.
  • We’ve also heard lots of feedback about the map selection process. We’ve spent time reviewing and have come up with some ways to improve this process moving forward, which should result in a healthy and fun map pool with each rotation.
    • Our first consideration is the reward aspect of the Battleground mechanic and its layout. Examples of this are the Curse or Punisher. We want to offer strong variety here. Layout often ties into the Battleground’s mechanic and helps decide how many lanes it has.
    • Next, we consider the gameplay aspect of the Battleground mechanic. Examples are Tribute collection and killing skeletons. Variety is the key here, just like the reward aspect.
    • Our final consideration is visual. We have lots of beautiful Battlegrounds, and we’d like to have a healthy representation across different themes, so from game to game players shouldn’t see the same tile sets.
  • Lastly, there are improvements we’d like to make to some Battlegrounds, and we can make those improvements while they are out of rotation. The rotation creates a nice moment for us to reintroduce reworked Battlegrounds. You’ll never know where our Battlegrounds will grow.

I want to thank our players for all the feedback we received during the Heroes 2.0 Open Beta, and following the release of Hanamura. We believe our approach to Battleground rotations will result in a better learning experience for newer players while keeping a diverse pool of Battlegrounds for everyone to enjoy. As with everything we do on Heroes, we will continue to learn and improve upon this system. We love the enthusiasm and passion in the Heroes community and with your help, we’ll continue to make Heroes of the Storm the best game we possibly can!

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Can't they just add a map filter that players can select individually? So they can choose by themselves which maps they wanna get queued?

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45 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

Can't they just add a map filter that players can select individually? So they can choose by themselves which maps they wanna get queued?

I'm surprised they haven't got the hint that not many players like Braxis or Warhead. I thought Braxis was a cool concept at first, I never liked Warhead from the start, but over the months, it's became abundantly clear that the game wouldn't lose anything special if both were removed entirely from the rotations. 

Both have their issues, but it reminds me of map blacklisting in WoW, where two simply doesn't feel like enough half the time. I was nearly finished IoC meta achievements and I'd be tempted to stick that on the blacklist... but then Alterac Valley, Strand of the Ancients and Battle for Gilneas! All of those maps annoy me in various ways mostly because I am entirely done with their achievements and they offer very little in terms of solid pvp; if I could play Warsong Gulch forever, I would. However, some of them are just terribly designed - Battle for Gilneas and Strand in particular.  They don't seem to update the maps on WoW very often except in order to make competitive play balance changes, which are few and far between.

I'd much rather see them follow up the news that they were looking at several maps in the game in terms of redesigning like Haunted Mines, but honestly, if I suffer through anymore snowball Braxis games with that stupid throw pit boss, I think I might actually be happy to see Blackheart and Garden. 

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i love braxis and warhead though, pushing with the zerg or landing some good nukes is amazing, also that starcraft music daaaayum

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2 hours ago, Plaguestorm said:

i love braxis and warhead though, pushing with the zerg or landing some good nukes is amazing, also that starcraft music daaaayum

Braxis has had some some satisfying moments like a good push, or defending against a full zerg wave extremely quickly and then making a comeback, but the latter simply doesn't happen often enough, and the map doesn't support other ways to make potential comeback plays either, except for what is arguably the worst boss in the game; you're more likely to see your team wipe taking it than see it take an enemy gate down let alone a fort or keep. 

While I love the music on both, Warhead went from being 'hey cool, I like the big maps' to 'oh. 3 nukes on core is a win' very quickly. The bosses there are ridiculously easy to kill but harder to defend against, which is another negative point for me when it comes to the Starcraft maps. 

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Well, I don't like this decision. Since 2.0 only a few maps were in the rotation and now we're at a point where I had enough of Towers of Doom and Braxis H. for a long time. My point is if you play a lot, less variety will just make the game worse. I think they should create more maps, instead of putting in these limitations.

Edited by edg
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Although I can agree that 13 battlegrounds is a bit much at once, the real problem for me isn't the amount, it's just that some battlegrounds are miles behind the other ones.
I just don't want to play Hanamura, Garden of terror and Blackheart's Bay, even if I stomp the enemy team, the gameplay on those maps just isn't that great.
Why can't we just get a blacklist system for maps?

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The many maps is surely one of the game's strong points but a map rotation doesn't seem the best course of action imho. Like, there will be times where someone's favorite maps will be in so he/she will overplay and others when they'll be rotated off so he/she won't play much or at all.

Personally, I believe giving the player the option of veto (never play in some maps) like in SC II would be the best solution. Each one has maps that likes and dislikes. For example, I like all maps (not to the same degree but overall yeah) except ToSQ (objective feels kinda underwhelming, announcer sounds...ehhhwww, spiders etc). And I don't get why Booty Bay gets so much hate. Maybe because it's pay2win map? Or perhaps engages/teamfights happen less frequently than others? Boss kinda impossible to tell if being contested? Idk. Personally, I like this map a lot; objective feels strong and rewarding, Blackheart makes me crack up everytime and so on. I've read that they're not considering allowing the players to veto which was pretty disturbing...:/ (reddit iirc)

Talking about the Battlegrounds, I've been watching HGC every chance I get and I believe many like me are kinda annoyed and bored seeing same Heroes (with a few exceptions) AND same maps (no exceptions here) over and over and over... They should do something about that imho; maybe not allowing a team to have the same choices (pick & ban) every 2nd-3rd series (or every other series if it gets too repetitive, which it does).

That's all for now. Congratulations on the work, site looks pretty dope and sorry for Trump's Great Wall of txt :>

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7 hours ago, Valhalen said:

Can't they just add a map filter that players can select individually? So they can choose by themselves which maps they wanna get queued?

This will have the same effect like in Counter Strike where everyone just plays dust2. Ppl will find 1 best map and filter only this and other games will get hard to find but that's just my thought

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2 hours ago, Kaelos said:

This will have the same effect like in Counter Strike where everyone just plays dust2. Ppl will find 1 best map and filter only this and other games will get hard to find but that's just my thought

Yeah, right. Solution to this is pretty simple: limit the blacklist size say to 4 maps. 4 out of 13 is a good rate and the list will provide additional feedback to Blizzard. This can single out the underplayed maps and pay more attention to them.

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I really like the dust2 argument. Hate that map.

I think that giving Blizzard the deciding vote on what are we going to play is not a great idea unless there would be some caveat to it. If the player base votes and gets a bad mappool, well, this one is on us; if They pick a bad mappool, we will blame Blizzard and that's not something They'd want.

Map diversity in HotS I feel is twofold : they are different, but still same. What I think needs to be done is this :

1) Clearly identifying the map role - Tomb and Blackheart are PvE payment maps, Temple and Punishers are PvE point capture maps, Dragon and Braxis are just "PvP" point capture, Junction and Hollow are generic; you see what I mean. Having different visuals and slightly different layout doesn't really make up for the fact you're doing the same thing on them.

2) Then you just make a mappool with these roles, where a pair of maps are definetly PvE, a pair of maps are definitely "PvP", and so on.

3) With that, a veto system may be implemented easily, so you can cut off a playstyle you don't enjoy. Because let's face it, seeing a Nova main on your Tomb of Spider Queen is not great, and playing Nova on this map too.

Of course the balance of all HotS' maps is different and should be taken in the account, because they are not exactly the same. I'd also say some of the unique maps should not be taken out of the map pool at all (like Towers of Doom).

Edited by Paracel
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Despite what I said about the filters, I actually want that they add all maps to rotation. And add a smart queue to reduce the chances that you get queued on the same map twice. This other day I got queued into Towers of Doom four times in a row, pretty annoying. Maybe a filter COULD work, as a ban-system where you can only ban one stage per match (which could be applied to every game mode). This would prevent the "CS Dust" issue.

If we played on the same "CS Dust-like" map, or only had one map layout like many other MOBAs, the game would feel stale and boring (one of the reasons I don't really like other MOBAs). Having map variety with different types of objectives is great, but maybe the just need to tweak some mechanics in those stages so they become a bit more appealing. But it is impossible to perfectly balance something and at the same time please everyone.

Edited by Valhalen

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14 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

Talking about the Battlegrounds, I've been watching HGC every chance I get and I believe many like me are kinda annoyed and bored seeing same Heroes (with a few exceptions) AND same maps (no exceptions here) over and over and over... They should do something about that imho; maybe not allowing a team to have the same choices (pick & ban) every 2nd-3rd series (or every other series if it gets too repetitive, which it does).

I know what you mean. The HGC is ridiculous for having the same maps and heroes being played all the time. There is very little diversity in it and the most you'd see would be in the earlier stages of the ladder where you might see a Chromie or TLV. A big "might". Like it's always Tyreal and Malf and Tychus and so fort. And never rarely Braxis. It's very sad to see that the "pros" won't use other heroes and stick with comfort picks most of the time. I get that they do play the map but still...you usually always see a Tyreal and Zeratul without fail. It's not fresh and you'd wonder why that even now when the game is at its most balanced state (going by Oxygen's tier list) they still stick to the old picks.

Also welcome to IcyVeins xD

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The Pros are not only choosing for comfort, they choose what they know and play best, because they do it not for fun, it is about money for winning or losing a game.

For the rest of us, it is very sad that players, even after the mega bundles etc, still stick to the same heroes all the time and even in drafts players pick heroes they want to play instead of a more useful hero. Many of those players I see seem to play their heroes well but they play others heroes too less and lack knowledge about them. This results in a bad performance.

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On 5/13/2017 at 4:30 AM, Stan said:

Blizzard thinks new players may feel overwhelmed when dealing with so many maps and different objectives.

 

What a load of.... seriously how are the maps even remotely overwelming? The map diversity is the reason hots is so different than other mobas, why take it away in fear of people not being able to handle something so simple?

The majority of the people i know are sick of playing over the same maps over and over again,this thing is doing more damage than good, at least put the whole map rotation thing as "optional" so only the "overwelmed" people do it.

Edited by Kurosu

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I find myself new among the HotS players, I only started playing a few weeks ago. I have tried this game once a long time ago, but I didn't even reached lvl10. Now I nearly lvl40, but I can say that you can give us more maps at once. There is no overwelming anywhere.

If someone plays this game those few maps are easy to learn, you can freely give us more. Even if its not the whole, but 5-8 would be nice. The variety and diversity in the maps are fantastic, it would be a shame to make it stuck like this.

----------------------------
I included the learning of characters too - that 20 what we have got -  but as the gold income is pretty slow we won't be able to buy more in a short time so we only have to focus on the available chars and the maps.
Sorry about my english, I still have to use google translate in some parts :'D

Edited by Rubyel

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7 hours ago, Kurosu said:

What a load of.... seriously how are the maps even remotely overwelming? The map diversity is the reason hots is so different than other mobas, why take it away in fear of people not being able to handle something so simple?

It's about map specifics like timings. Read the blue post again. You can't have a person who's just into the game figure out all the spawn and travel distances at the same time, during the very initial learning stage, unless that person has extensive experience within RTS genre. Timers on the maps aren't the same - we don't have all the objectives spawning at 1:30 etc. - that's why this diversity equals complexity.

There isn't an option to ladder on a few select maps you're trying to learn initially either, unless you find a premade gang and go customs. But that's not what everyone is capable of. 

Lowering the learning curve is an important part of getting people to play your game. That's what HotS needs right now to compete on the MOBA market.

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14 hours ago, MurkyFelix said:

I know what you mean. The HGC is ridiculous for having the same maps and heroes being played all the time. There is very little diversity in it and the most you'd see would be in the earlier stages of the ladder where you might see a Chromie or TLV. A big "might". Like it's always Tyreal and Malf and Tychus and so fort. And never rarely Braxis. It's very sad to see that the "pros" won't use other heroes and stick with comfort picks most of the time. I get that they do play the map but still...you usually always see a Tyreal and Zeratul without fail. It's not fresh and you'd wonder why that even now when the game is at its most balanced state (going by Oxygen's tier list) they still stick to the old picks.

Also welcome to IcyVeins xD

Merci beaucoup c:

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4 hours ago, Paracel said:

Lowering the learning curve is an important part of getting people to play your game. That's what HotS needs right now to compete on the MOBA market.

I can't think with Blizzard's head, but making a lot of players angry by lowering the number of maps playable just doesn't seem to be a good tactic. I guess new players who are interested wont stay only because they need to play on 9 maps, not on 13. If they enjoy the game, they'll stay. The variety of the maps was a positive thing for me as a newcomer. Now I feel like they take away something and make the game a bit more monotonic.

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3 hours ago, edg said:

I can't think with Blizzard's head, but making a lot of players angry by lowering the number of maps playable just doesn't seem to be a good tactic. I guess new players who are interested wont stay only because they need to play on 9 maps, not on 13. If they enjoy the game, they'll stay. The variety of the maps was a positive thing for me as a newcomer. Now I feel like they take away something and make the game a bit more monotonic.

Maybe another solution would be to limit maps based on player level. For example, having access to 3 basic maps at level 1, a number that progressively increases, unlocking maps as you level up, similarly to unlocking talents based on player level. That way new players would be queued with other new players and learn the maps at their own pace.

Edited by Valhalen
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6 hours ago, Paracel said:

It's about map specifics like timings. Read the blue post again. You can't have a person who's just into the game figure out all the spawn and travel distances at the same time, during the very initial learning stage, unless that person has extensive experience within RTS genre.

Based on my experience, new players don't really care about the map at all. They usually want to learn the heroes first, and they learn the maps afterwards, as knowing how to play your hero well and simply tick to the team, even though you don't know why or what you are doing, is usually better than doing the correct rotations, but dying a lot as you don't know how to combo your abilities and such. 

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On 5/14/2017 at 4:25 AM, Caldyrvan said:

The Pros are not only choosing for comfort, they choose what they know and play best, because they do it not for fun, it is about money for winning or losing a game.

I see your point; but regardless of winning or losing; they get a flat salary that earns more than my job right now. So I still say poo to the lack of diversity in it. 

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On 14/5/2017 at 6:25 AM, Caldyrvan said:

The Pros are not only choosing for comfort, they choose what they know and play best, because they do it not for fun, it is about money for winning or losing a game.

 

3 hours ago, MurkyFelix said:

I see your point; but regardless of winning or losing; they get a flat salary that earns more than my job right now. So I still say poo to the lack of diversity in it. 

And aside from bad experience for viewers, this also reflects bad (or complete lack thereof) game balance for Heroes and maps alike. Like, Ragnaros was supposedly "nerfed" but he's still near 100% pick/ban (99,99% or something) because of flawed (for game health) design- why would someone not pick him? Additionally, if they keep picking the same stuff and using the same strategies, game will become stale (people tend to copy pasta the pros with varying levels of success) which is never a good thing.

I know they're pros and they're interested in winning, not catering to any sort of fan service but things like that hurt the game imho. Besides, if they only need to practice certain comps for very specific maps, they're having a field day and this turns HotS into your random 'typical MOBA' with the 'main map' and 'OP heroes/champs/whatever'.

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2 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

Like, Ragnaros was supposedly "nerfed" but he's still near 100% pick/ban (99,99% or something) because of flawed (for game health) design- why would someone not pick him?

Ragnaros has 31% ban+pick rate in Hero League, which is nowehere close to the 100%.

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      Standalone Towers Removed
      We also began re-evaluating individual structures, and found the standalone towers near forts and keeps aren’t coming into play as often as we’d hoped. Once they do, it’s usually too late, and the other structures have already been destroyed. Standalone towers can also block defenders during critical moments, making it easier for enemies to predict their movements and pick them off.
      As a result, we’ve decided to remove standalone towers, and have been happy with how this has played out in testing so far. In fact, we’ve already tried out this change in the live game with our newest battleground, Volskaya Foundry, which was released earlier this year without standalone towers. To compensate for the removal of standalone towers, we've rolled some of their stats into surrounding gate towers, forts, and keeps, to beef them up and help maintain the relationships between fortifications and battleground objectives.
      True Sight
      Characters like Abathur and Murky commonly rely on standalone towers as protection against stealth Heroes like Zeratul, who are looking to hunt them down. Removing those towers makes these Heroes more vulnerable, but we still want players to be able to defend their fortifications effectively. We’ve given True Sight to Forts and Keeps, which already exists on the Core and reveals any enemy stealth Heroes who enter the structure’s attack range. Despite the removal of standalone towers, players should feel a little safer while trying to hold off attacks.
      Regeneration Globes
      We like what regeneration globes currently do for the game, but also wanted to see if there were any changes we could implement to make them even more impactful. Currently, they encourage players to consider how they approach fights over minion waves in order to maximize sustain and keep up the pressure in a lane. They also disappear if no allies pick them up after a few seconds.
      We’ve tweaked regeneration globes so they instead switch from allied to neutral after 3 seconds and remain available for either team to pick up for an additional 3 seconds. This will give players more opportunities to think critically about how to win their lanes, and skilled players will be able to grab up to twice as many globes as before.
      Battleground Mechanics
      In addition to making the laning phase in Heroes more meaningful, we want to give players more time to make an impact and show off their skill in the early game before they are pulled away to contest an objective. As a result, we’re going to push back our initial objective timers a bit in order to provide that space. We’re also planning to simplify timers across all battlegrounds, and give earlier objective notifications so that players can make the most of the laning phase in each match.
      Objective Timers, Simplified
      While having a large number of unique battlegrounds to compete on offers a wide variety of strategies and dynamic gameplay, it also means players have a lot to keep in mind from one game to the next. Thus far, many of our battlegrounds have had differing rulesets and timers that players need to memorize, and we want to simplify this so they are easier to remember across the board.
      The first objective will now spawn 1 minute and 30 seconds into a match on the following battlegrounds: Blackheart’s Bay Braxis Holdout Dragon Shire The first objective will now spawn 3 minutes into a match on the following battlegrounds: Battlefield of Eternity Cursed Hollow Garden of Terror Haunted Mines Infernal Shrines Sky Temple Towers of Doom Warhead Junction We’ve been happy with Tomb of the Spider Queen and Volskaya Foundry, so we will not be changing the initial timers on these battlegrounds. Earlier Objective Information
      Since we were already making objective timers more uniform, we felt that players would benefit from consistent and earlier warnings about upcoming objective spawns. Going forward, players will receive 30 second objective spawn warnings across all battlegrounds so that teams are able to coordinate, reposition, and change lanes in time.
      Additionally, to give players even more information to work with, the minimap will now indicate where the next objective will appear on battlegrounds with a variety of objective spawn locations. These objective icons will appear on the minimap shortly after game start, as well as a few moments after the previous objective or event has come to an end. This will allow players ample time to plan ahead before the next objective, and give them opportunities to think about when they should take a mercenary camp, which lane they should push, and what their strong lane should be well before each objective activates.
      Match Length
      We believe the sweet spot for match length in Heroes is around 20 minutes, and maintaining that has been a crucial part of our approach to these objective changes. We haven’t seen game times increasing during internal testing or the PTR, and we'll continue to keep a close eye on this once these changes are live.
      Mercenary Camps
      We revisited many of our mercenary camps to ensure they’re offering diverse strategic options, and having a noticeable impact when they are utilized to their full potential. Below, we’ve highlighted significant changes for Knights, Hellbats, and Siege Giants, but we’re also going to monitor our other mercenary camps to make sure they remain powerful across all stages of a match. 
      Knight Camps
      We felt the removal of tower ammunition weakened the role of Knight Camps a bit, and we wanted to ensure they maintain a unique identity and purpose. To achieve this, we’re giving Knight Camps more pushing power through the Knight Wizard, who will now emit a spell armor aura to buff all nearby allied units, including Heroes. This should make Knights a more formidable force when they’re barreling down a lane, especially when accompanied by Heroes. 
      Hellbat Camps
      We’d like Hellbats to offer a more engaging experience during lane combat than they currently do. In addition to a few balance tweaks, enemies hit by their basic attacks will now have their armor slightly reduced for a few seconds. This armor reduction effect can stack, so players will want to be more careful about how they approach enemy Hellbats in a lane—it can be quite punishing to take on the opposing team when Hellbats are near. 
      Siege Giant Camps
      While we’re happy with Siege Giants for the most part, we found that we could improve on their role further by adjusting their basic attacks. Going forward, players will now be able to dodge defending Siege Giant attacks while fighting them in their camps. By paying close attention and dodging consistently, players will be able to capture Siege Giants without taking damage. Players can already dodge Siege Giant attacks in lanes, but this isn't as clear as it could be, so we’re going to tweak those visual effects so players know exactly when to dive out of the way.
      All of these changes amount to significant adjustments to the game as a whole, but we’re still very happy with Heroes of the Storm’s core gameplay. With the 2018 Gameplay Update, we’re primarily looking to improve on areas of the game we think are already fun in order to make them even better, and we appreciate your continued feedback as you playtest in the Public Test Realm.
      Until next time, we’ll see you in the Nexus!