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The first ranked season of 2018 starts during the week of December 12 and there's a new set of rewards that you can earn by playing ranked games in the coming months.
With that said, Hanzo should go live on December 12 as well.
Season Roll Dates
2018 Season 1 will begin as soon as our next patch is available for download in each region throughout next week. Check the start and end dates below and make sure you’re able to dive into the rankings as soon as the season rolls.
EVENT DATE 2018 Season 1 Start Week of December 12, 2017* 2018 Season 1 End Week of March 6, 2018* *Exact date may vary slightly by region.
Ranked Play Updates
Along with the start of 2018 Ranked Season 1, we’re introducing performance-based matchmaking to all matchmaking modes in Heroes of the Storm.
Performance-based matchmaking will help our system better evaluate individual players' in-game performance during a match, and adjust how much their rank and matchmaking ratings (MMR) increase or decrease at the end of that game. If players perform beyond expectations for their current MMR, the system will award more when they win, and subtract less when they lose. As a result, players will reach ratings that accurately match their skill level more quickly than they did in our previous system.
There's more to the matchmaking improvements we're introducing, such as how the system differentiates highly-skilled play from one hero to the next. Be sure to read our in-depth blog on performance-based matchmaking to catch all the details before you jump into ranked play—or any matchmaking mode—next season.
2018 Season 1 Rewards
Players who brawl their way through the leagues during the upcoming season can claim new portraits, mounts, and gold rewards for their achievements in Hero and Team League. Take a look at everything that’s up for grabs this season.
Hero League Portraits
Team League Portraits
HERO LEAGUE RANK REWARDS Bronze 500 Gold Bronze Hero League Portrait Silver 750 Gold Silver Hero League Portrait Gold 1000 Gold Gold Hero League Portrait Platinum 1250 Gold Season 1 Mount Platinum Hero League Portrait Diamond 1500 Gold Season 1 Mount Diamond Hero League Portrait Master 1750 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Master Hero League Portrait Grand Master 2000 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Grand Master Hero League Portrait TEAM LEAGUE RANK REWARDS Bronze 500 Gold Season 1 Mount Bronze Team League Portrait Silver 750 Gold Season 1 Mount Silver Team League Portrait Gold 1000 Gold Season 1 Mount Gold Team League Portrait Platinum 1250 Gold Season 1 Mount Platinum Team League Portrait Diamond 1500 Gold Season 1 Mount Diamond Team League Portrait Master 1750 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Master Team League Portrait Grand Master 2000 Gold Season 1 Mount Epic Season 1 Mount Grand Master Team League Portrait In addition to everything we’ve mentioned so far, there will be 10 placement matches waiting for you on the other side of the ranked season roll. Once you complete them in Hero or Team League, you’ll receive an initial ranking that is based on your performance during placements and your rank from the previous season.
If you’re ready to begin your Ranked Play journey in Heroes of the Storm but are unsure how, head over to our Ranked Play Guide to get started on the right foot.
Good luck, and have fun during the first ranked season of 2018!
Blizzard just updated next week's sales. Get Johanna for 250 Gems & Ragnaros for 375.
Weekly Collection Update: Dec 12 – 19, 2017
Next week's Collection Update will begin on Tuesday, December 12! Check out the new list of featured items and Hero discounts below. Upcoming Hero Sales
Johanna — Sale Price: 250 Gems Ragnaros — Sale Price: 375 Gems The following Skins and Mounts will enter the Featured Item Rotation, and will be unlockable using Gems until next week's Collection Update:
Upcoming Featured Skins
Scarlet Johanna Sulfuron Ragnaros Midnight Arcanist Jaina Green Eagle Eye Tyrande Harvest Halequin Nazeebo Bronze Tiger Kharazim Angelic Valla Infested Tychus Upcoming Featured Mounts
Real Dream Championship Banner Shadowmoon Hellboar Weekly Sale Bundle
If you’d rather pick up everything at once, we’re also going to add a new Weekly Sale Bundle to the Featured tab in your Collection. This limited-time bundle contains all of the items above at a discounted Gem price, but will only be available until next week’s Collection Update takes place.
After two weeks of Escape from Braxis it's time for Garden Arena!
This week's Heroes Brawl mode is Garden Arena: a best-of-three Arena match featuring the Garden Terror and its Shamblers. Gather seeds and overrun the enemies’ core with the power of nature!
Choose from one of three randomly selected Heroes before entering the Arena. Be quick about it though, you only have 30 seconds to choose! Everyone will begin the round at level 10 and will be asked to choose a Heroic Ability. No other talents will be available. During each round, slay the enemy team’s Heroes and capture Seeds from the Garden Terror and its Shamblers. The first team to gather 100 Seeds wins the round! The first team to win two rounds will claim victory! Rewards:
Complete three matches of Garden Arena 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 this exciting new game mode.
The 2018 gameplay update brings a lot of improvements to the game. This article focuses on updates that make early game and the laning phase more impactful.
It does not contain any information about performance-based matchmaking. For more information about the gameplay update, don't forget to check out the most recent developer Q/A here.
Structures Will have infinite ammo. Standalone towers will be removed. True sight will be added to Structures. True sight means that towers will detect stealthed Heroes. Regeneration Globes Will switch from allied to neutral after 3 seconds and remain available for either team to pick up for an additional 3 seconds. Battleground Mechanics Many objective timers have been simplified. Players will receive objective information earlier. Mercenary Camps Knights will have more pushing power. Enemies hit by Hellbats will have their armor slightly reduced for a few seconds. Siege Giants can be captured without taking any damage. Blizzard (Source)
As mentioned in the BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony and during our “What’s Next” panel, we will soon be introducing an array of significant changes for Heroes of the Storm’s early game as part of our 2018 Gameplay Update. Read on for an in-depth look at some of the adjustments coming to the Nexus later this month, as well as our reasoning behind them.
What’s Changing and Why
The early game in Heroes of the Storm typically breaks down into two parts: the laning phase and initial battleground objectives. The laning phase offers opportunities for players to have small skirmishes in each lane, show off individual skill by outplaying opponents, and get in some early structure damage. During most games, the laning phase currently ends more quickly than we’d like, and outplaying an opponent in a lane doesn’t have much tangible impact on a match as a result.
With this in mind, we wanted to revisit these experiences to explore ways we could make improvements. We’ve re-evaluated our approach to many aspects of the early game, and made a variety of changes to structures, regeneration globes, mercenary camps, and even our objective spawns, to make laning more meaningful throughout a match.
Currently, towers, forts, and keeps have a limited number of shots and regenerate ammo slowly. Often, players will quickly defeat a minion wave, and then play safe while their own minions push enemy towers and drain ammunition. We wanted to revisit this relationship to see if we could find a way to encourage more offensive play in-lane.
After testing a variety of changes internally, we decided to remove structure ammunition, effectively giving towers, forts, and keeps an infinite number of shots. Since ammo can no longer be depleted, we’ve also reduced structure damage to minions, and increased minion damage to help them hit a little harder. These changes should give players a bit more incentive to attack with their minion waves in order to deal more meaningful damage to opposing towers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!