Stan

Upcoming Chen Changes

17 posts in this topic

MXY1POE8YT2R1410213970888.png

Blizzard brought up an upcoming change to Chen's trait. Fortifying Brew will grant 25 Brew immediately when Chen starts casting it and 30 Brew per second after that.

The time to reach max Brew is still 2.5 seconds. Front-loading a portion of Brew should make Chen players feel less frustrated when interrupted.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

Hey everyone, just wanted to drop in with an update here!

As I mentioned before, while we aren't really looking to buff Chen, we feel like the Brew-related concerns you've brought up are valid. We agree that it feels bad to have your Trait interrupted when you're low on Brew, almost like a 5-second silence. With that in mind, I'm excited to share that we're going to modify Chen's Trait.

In an upcoming patch, Fortifying Brew will change to grant 25 Brew immediately when Chen starts drinking, and then 30 Brew per second after that (down from 40). It will still take 2.5 seconds to reach max Brew just like before, but with a big chunk of that front-loaded it should be a lot less frustrating when you get interrupted early.

This change is feeling really good in our playtests, and I think it'll be a big quality of life boost for the Brewmaster!

Also, while we're not looking to make large-scale talent updates at this time, we really appreciate all the feedback that's been shared in this thread and will keep it in mind for potential future changes. Thanks again! =)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, KingMe said:

Always a good feeling when one of your Heroes gets some love. :D

Always a nice feeling to see normal changes to a hero that you don't play, rather than them being buffed uncontrollably and being forced to play them :p

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Blainie said:

Always a nice feeling to see normal changes to a hero that you don't play, rather than them being buffed uncontrollably and being forced to play them :p

Yes, that is also nice........ Thunder stealer. :P 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I'm curious to see who will get reworked this time. Li Li? The Lost Vikings? Abathur?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

 I'm curious to see who will get reworked this time. Li Li? The Lost Vikings? Abathur?

Safe money is on something like Tyrael and Muradin. They've been consistently going through Warriors for a while with most patches, either with reworks or with controlled nerfs and buffs. A couple of the oldest Warriors in the game and have slipped off in favour of other Warriors. 

Would also expect to see changes to Jaina, she has the most outdated talent tiers out of the conventional mages now. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Plergoth said:

Safe money is on something like Tyrael and Muradin. They've been consistently going through Warriors for a while with most patches, either with reworks or with controlled nerfs and buffs. A couple of the oldest Warriors in the game and have slipped off in favour of other Warriors. 

Would also expect to see changes to Jaina, she has the most outdated talent tiers out of the conventional mages now. 

Good Lord, I thought I was the only one who believed Jaina and Tyrael desperately need some talent tree reworks.

Tyrael has been hit hard with nothing but nerfs in many patches. He was legit the only warrior lacking any means to reduce ability damage (while even Valla and Butcher have lul) and when they finally gave it to him, they made him good ONLY for that (rip Imposing Will, Hardened Shield). I'm positive the only reason he's ever so prevalent in HGC is just because of his 2 Heroics being really good (Sanctification dominating but Judgmenet has come forth as well) and not much beyond that (Holy Ground also but only in that level there's the coordination required to fully utilize it plus many games are decided pre-level 16). So, the reason he 'suffers' is because he's too 'meta'.

Jaina... from where to begin? I've already had my rants about her, here and elsewhere, so I'll try to be laconic. I have her complete with master skin on 2 accounts and that was LONG before she dropped to 4k. So you realise, because I love her that much, her current state is really saddening to me. She lacks in basically every regard to every other mage in the game; range, cooldowns etc Only her damage is up to par but she's very handicapped by the long cd on Blizzard, her main ability and otherwise short range which makes her combos and damage predictable. She got many nerfs that were totally uncalled for (while Chromie got overbuffed smh).

Many times, in developer comments you read "we feel that we could add some power that resonates with the character's flavor/ talents fitting for the Lich King (for example)". Shouldn't the Archangel of Justice and one of the strongest and most talented sorcerecess in all of Azeroth feel like themselves? Or everybody is gonna get unique questing and special standalone talents that feel true to their character except from them? With how things are going, I'm afraid for the latter...

Mura is mostly ok imho; he could use some work sure, just not that large scope. Chen already had a large scale rework in the past, if they plan on doing it again...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys. Im reading IV for a long time now but never had an account. I made it just now cause some of the comments/posts just need to be answered ;)

As for Chen, I think this change is quite nice. Sometimes you don't need to do a full rework to fix some problems with given hero...

@SteveFrost
I can't agree with you. Im not an expert on Jaina (got sth like 60 games with her) but I do enjoy her very much. She sometimes feel a bit "clunky" and lack of mobility and escape mechanisms hurt a lot, BUT... if properly played she can melt down enemy team almost by herself - and that is why you pick her. She just need a proper team play and cooperation and maybe sometimes she needs saving. Other then that she is a nice char.

Maybe she could get some changes to make her more versatile (I play almost always on 1 build) but imo she do not need a rework. I think that she is a kind of hero that can be broken very easily and make her picked/banned with same frequency as Malth/Genji today...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

Good Lord, I thought I was the only one who believed Jaina and Tyrael desperately need some talent tree reworks.

Tyrael has been hit hard with nothing but nerfs in many patches. He was legit the only warrior lacking any means to reduce ability damage (while even Valla and Butcher have lul) and when they finally gave it to him, they made him good ONLY for that (rip Imposing Will, Hardened Shield). I'm positive the only reason he's ever so prevalent in HGC is just because of his 2 Heroics being really good (Sanctification dominating but Judgmenet has come forth as well) and not much beyond that (Holy Ground also but only in that level there's the coordination required to fully utilize it plus many games are decided pre-level 16). So, the reason he 'suffers' is because he's too 'meta'.

Jaina... from where to begin? I've already had my rants about her, here and elsewhere, so I'll try to be laconic. I have her complete with master skin on 2 accounts and that was LONG before she dropped to 4k. So you realise, because I love her that much, her current state is really saddening to me. She lacks in basically every regard to every other mage in the game; range, cooldowns etc Only her damage is up to par but she's very handicapped by the long cd on Blizzard, her main ability and otherwise short range which makes her combos and damage predictable. She got many nerfs that were totally uncalled for (while Chromie got overbuffed smh).

Many times, in developer comments you read "we feel that we could add some power that resonates with the character's flavor/ talents fitting for the Lich King (for example)". Shouldn't the Archangel of Justice and one of the strongest and most talented sorcerecess in all of Azeroth feel like themselves? Or everybody is gonna get unique questing and special standalone talents that feel true to their character except from them? With how things are going, I'm afraid for the latter...

Mura is mostly ok imho; he could use some work sure, just not that large scope. Chen already had a large scale rework in the past, if they plan on doing it again...

Nice to see you being enthusiastic about Tyrael and Jaina. I understand your reasoning of why those two heroes would need a rework, I agree on some parts but I disagree on others. Tyrael yes has been nerfed, but he is definitely not weak. His strengths, yes, were partially dependent on Imposing Will and Hardened Shield, but his base kit alone is really good. He offers cross-supporting with his shielding and has incredible mobility and decent waveclear and is fairly tanky just by his max hp alone, meaning he is still the best dive-buddy for heroes like Greymane, Illidan and Malthael. He is just naturally built for utility and not for pure tankiness or crowd control. Imposing Will was strong, but was kinda bad for the game by having no counterplay and providing just a bit too much as well as being too much of an "Auto pick" for the talent tier. Hardened shield was only removed because Blizzard wants to remove such generic talents from the game and thus they got rid of it. Not that long ago heroes like Dehaka got their Hardened shield removed, just for the same reason. In 5 on 5 teamfights he depends on his heroic abilities, but he has been that way for a long time, and many other heroes are the same way too (Arthas and Muradin for example). Would expect Tyrael to be reworked sooner or later, but not that high on Blizzard's priority list as the hero is in a fine spot and the only reasons to rework would be just to get rid of the multiple generic old talents like Vigorous Strike from his talent tree. Jaina on the other hand, is just one of the unfortunate heroes who suffers in this meta, where heroes like Genji reign supreme and kill such vulnerable heroes with ease. Pre nerf Jaina was a problem in the game by being way too powerful by having talents like Bolt of the Storm available and she even after all of the nerfs she went through is still power-level wise viable, and offers some of the best burst damage available to any hero. Its just that in this meta, she is unfortunately not that good, but as the meta will shift, she will very likely make a comeback. Chromie is really average hero, annoying to play against for sure, but power level wise just a middle of the pack hero. Muradin imo has still a bit too many generic talents and would expect them to be replaced with other options but overall he is fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like this was a needed change. Interested to try it out but beware low mobility glass cannons!! (Talking bout you Kael)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2017 at 6:42 AM, Godeyes said:

Hi guys. Im reading IV for a long time now but never had an account. I made it just now cause some of the comments/posts just need to be answered ;)

As for Chen, I think this change is quite nice. Sometimes you don't need to do a full rework to fix some problems with given hero...

@SteveFrost
I can't agree with you. Im not an expert on Jaina (got sth like 60 games with her) but I do enjoy her very much. She sometimes feel a bit "clunky" and lack of mobility and escape mechanisms hurt a lot, BUT... if properly played she can melt down enemy team almost by herself - and that is why you pick her. She just need a proper team play and cooperation and maybe sometimes she needs saving. Other then that she is a nice char.

Maybe she could get some changes to make her more versatile (I play almost always on 1 build) but imo she do not need a rework. I think that she is a kind of hero that can be broken very easily and make her picked/banned with same frequency as Malth/Genji today...

Yeah, the problem with a lot of the pure mages is that characters like Genji just blow them up.  This was always a problem to some extent (Illadin/Zeratul), but Genji can do it much safer then those heroes can.

Personally, if anything were to be re-worked it should be melee assassins, given how they have a really nasty tendency to die (Thrall comes to mind) or be next to useless in teamfights (Butcher).  Address that, and ranges heroes that can blow those targets up (especially when grouped in tight quarters) will suddenly become a LOT more popular.

With double tank on the way out (Malth) and ranged assassins much preferred, Jaina exists purely for stun comps with heroes like ETC, Zagara, or other heroes with an AoE stun she can combo Ring of Frost with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Vesko said:

Changes? You mean Chenges, right?

Absolutely terrible. I love it. Take my like and get out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 22/7/2017 at 1:42 PM, Godeyes said:

Hi guys. Im reading IV for a long time now but never had an account. I made it just now cause some of the comments/posts just need to be answered ;)

As for Chen, I think this change is quite nice. Sometimes you don't need to do a full rework to fix some problems with given hero...

@SteveFrost
I can't agree with you. Im not an expert on Jaina (got sth like 60 games with her) but I do enjoy her very much. She sometimes feel a bit "clunky" and lack of mobility and escape mechanisms hurt a lot, BUT... if properly played she can melt down enemy team almost by herself - and that is why you pick her. She just need a proper team play and cooperation and maybe sometimes she needs saving. Other then that she is a nice char.

Maybe she could get some changes to make her more versatile (I play almost always on 1 build) but imo she do not need a rework. I think that she is a kind of hero that can be broken very easily and make her picked/banned with same frequency as Malth/Genji today...

 

On 22/7/2017 at 8:57 PM, BrightwingMain said:

Nice to see you being enthusiastic about Tyrael and Jaina. I understand your reasoning of why those two heroes would need a rework, I agree on some parts but I disagree on others. Tyrael yes has been nerfed, but he is definitely not weak. His strengths, yes, were partially dependent on Imposing Will and Hardened Shield, but his base kit alone is really good. He offers cross-supporting with his shielding and has incredible mobility and decent waveclear and is fairly tanky just by his max hp alone, meaning he is still the best dive-buddy for heroes like Greymane, Illidan and Malthael. He is just naturally built for utility and not for pure tankiness or crowd control. Imposing Will was strong, but was kinda bad for the game by having no counterplay and providing just a bit too much as well as being too much of an "Auto pick" for the talent tier. Hardened shield was only removed because Blizzard wants to remove such generic talents from the game and thus they got rid of it. Not that long ago heroes like Dehaka got their Hardened shield removed, just for the same reason. In 5 on 5 teamfights he depends on his heroic abilities, but he has been that way for a long time, and many other heroes are the same way too (Arthas and Muradin for example). Would expect Tyrael to be reworked sooner or later, but not that high on Blizzard's priority list as the hero is in a fine spot and the only reasons to rework would be just to get rid of the multiple generic old talents like Vigorous Strike from his talent tree. Jaina on the other hand, is just one of the unfortunate heroes who suffers in this meta, where heroes like Genji reign supreme and kill such vulnerable heroes with ease. Pre nerf Jaina was a problem in the game by being way too powerful by having talents like Bolt of the Storm available and she even after all of the nerfs she went through is still power-level wise viable, and offers some of the best burst damage available to any hero. Its just that in this meta, she is unfortunately not that good, but as the meta will shift, she will very likely make a comeback. Chromie is really average hero, annoying to play against for sure, but power level wise just a middle of the pack hero. Muradin imo has still a bit too many generic talents and would expect them to be replaced with other options but overall he is fine.

If everyone agreed with everyone on everything, that would be lame right? Maybe in some 'utopia' but that's getting out of topic. I don't mind :)

I can easily come off as biased when it comes to characters I really like; I try to be objective though. Tyrael has been like Jaina to me (master skin on 2 accs with the long grind, just way more games with Jaina lol). I get that a Hero doesn't need to excel in any specific part (1v1/pushing/teamfights etc) to be useful. For a warrior, Tyrael isn't that tanky (especially if you don't go the Regeneration Master route). All he has is a measly shield, that breaks very easily (Johanna's stronger AND gives cc immunity, Anub's equal the very least)- and the value allies get is laughable at best. No wonder ppl go Reciprocate and consider Salvation to be an inferior choice 99,99% of the time. I get that he has tradeoffs for that (mobility) but still, it's kinda off putting (for me at least). When they did a pass to many warriors recently, they said they wanted to give everyone an 'identity', while having Mura and ETC as the 'generalist' warrior picks. So, for Tyrael the 'identity' was supposedly the anti-ability damage warrior. Thing is, Anub and Arthas (who had a 1st and 2nd rework) already do that and offer a lot more utility to their team, way before heroics unlock (hard cc, peel, more tankiness etc). And yeah, some talents really shouldn't be there which pushes him even further up for a talent tree rework imho (like Raynor having Specialist/Support talents lul).

I did write about Jaina's damage being there (the only thing that's there). Yes, she can destroy entire teams, but like you said, she needs synergy from her team for that. Unless someone's lagging af or plain stupid, he ain't just gonna sit there and be hit by all 3 waves of Blizzard (which now does less damage than before unless you get all 3 waves to connect...). Pretty much every other mage can put 90-100% of his damage without much help and is independent(maybe Nazeebro too but when Vile Infection stacks, that's a tale for another time; a horror story to be more precise). I'd dare say she needs even more enabling from her team than Illidan does (a Tassadar/Uther with some strong frontline is more than enough imho) because, unfortunately for Jaina, people that can dive her and kill her without much trouble/mobile assassins are abundant these days and so too are the mage-resistant tanks and non-tanks as Blizz is increasing their number as well. You have legit no reason to pick her over Li-Ming/Gul'dansgame and pretty much everyone- unless your assassin wants to go Executioner ecks dee. And her talent build is pretty much carved in stone (something devs usually bring up as justification when reworking someone's talent tree; as with talents being unique to character), same with Tyrael.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

I'd dare say she needs even more enabling from her team than Illidan does (a Tassadar/Uther with some strong frontline is more than enough imho) because, unfortunately for Jaina, people that can dive her and kill her without much trouble/mobile assassins are abundant these days and so too are the mage-resistant tanks and non-tanks as Blizz is increasing their number as well. 

This is the biggest issue IMO. There are just too many counters to Jaina right now. You have to play incredibly conservatively and, if you do get caught out, you get punished harder than almost any other character. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan

      Heroes of the Storm Highlights are back with another fun episode of WTF Moments! 
      Episode 102 kicks off with an Abathur slap fest, Blaze entering his Bunker to soak Pyroblast and Garrosh throwing D'Va's Self-Destruct into enemies, killing three of them!
      Don't forget to submit your own replays here for a chance to be featured in an upcoming episode and let us know your favorite moments in the comments below!
      Previous Episodes
      WTF Moments Episode 101 WTF Moments Episode 100 WTF Moments Episode 99 & Best of 2017
    • By Oxygen
         
      Our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for the Maiev patch of February is here!
      We present our sixteenth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch of February 2018.
      Note: This list also takes the February 9 balance patch into account.
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Maiev patch. The goal if of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame). Although tier listings are generally the product of balance, many factors come into play when discussing the relative perceived strengths of heroes, including player regions, maps, play style, skill level, and, of course, personal perception. As such, any tier list—including this very one—should never be interpreted as gospel, but rather, as a guide to better grasp what to expect with regards to typical drafting experiences. One useful application of such lists is to allow you know which heroes to look out for in terms of practice and counterplay, ultimately improving your knowledge of the game.
      Using the list
      As stated above, tier lists are easy to mistake for gospel. As new strategies are discovered and experimented with, so changes the perception of the relative strengths of each hero. Tier lists still prove to be useful as a snapshot of player expectations in terms of drafting. Although it is generally considered preferable to focus on high tier heroes (Prime and Core tiers), it is important to note that Heroes of the Storm's wild character and map designs make it so that any given hero's tier position is prone to fluctuate depending on the situation at hand.
      One classic example of such is that of Kerrigan on the Infernal Shrines map. Although we currently judge her to be a mid-tier hero, her drafting priority shoots up to first-pick or first-ban material on this specific map due to the nature of its objective. Certain heroes also synergise so well with each other that the sole fact of having the opportunity of drafting them together is generally enough to increase their potential. Tassadar and Tracer, for instance, are generally nightmarish to deal with for many. There are too many examples of these interactions to reasonably produce here, but we invite you to consult our guides to know exactly where and when each hero shines. The guides have been linked in the lists below for your convenience - just click any of the hero names to access them.
      A ↑ next to a hero's name means its tier list position has increased since the previous month whereas a ↓ means just the opposite. Additionally, a + or - sign indicates short-to-medium term predictions (which is to say, about a month) for tier increase(s) or decrease(s), respectively. These are often updated after significant balance patches and/or when clear trends are emerging.
      If you're newer to the game, also consider visiting our glossary for a comprehensive list of discrete Heroes of the Storm terms.
      Current ranked mode map rotation
       
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Arthas Genji - - E.T.C. Greymane     Sonya Hanzo       Maiev (new)     Prime tier heroes are considered to be extremely strong in all situations, and show no obvious weakness. They are very often banned or picked right away, as they generally dictate the pace of most matches.
       
      Core Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak Falstad Alexstrasza Abathur↑ Dehaka Jaina↑ Brightwing- Azmodan Diablo+ Junkrat Lúcio+ Nazeebo Muradin Li-Ming Malfurion↑ Sylvanas Stitches Malthael (reworked)+ Stukov  Zagara Varian (Taunt) Valla Uther   Core tier heroes are strong in a wide variety of situations and have few counter-picking possibility. They should form the core of your team, and be picked after Prime Tier heroes have been distributed.
       
      Viable Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Artanis Alarak Ana Murky Blaze+ Cassia Auriel Xul D.Va Chromie Kharazim   Garrosh Gul'dan+ Li Li+   Johanna Illidan Lt. Morales   Leoric Kael'thas+ Rehgar   Tyrael  Kel'Thuzad Tyrande    Zarya Kerrigan↓       Lunara       Nova↓       Ragnaros+       Samuro       The Butcher       Thrall       Tracer+       Tychus↑       Varian (Colossus Smash)       Zeratul       Zul'jin↓     Viable tier heroes are generally well-rounded that have either fallen out of favour, or, inversely, are on the rise in popularity, due to the current Prime tier contenders.
       
      Niche Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Chen Cho'gall Tassadar Gazlowe Cho'gall Raynor   Medivh Rexxar Valeera↓   Probius↓   Varian (Twin Blades of Fury)   Sgt. Hammer↓ Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They may also picked to "round out" your team composition when your team composition is missing out on key components, such as a "jungler" (mercenary camps), a solo laner, or solid waveclear.
       
      Lost Vikings Tier
      The Lost Vikings Bottom tier Heroes are deemed to be either considerably weaker than the majority of other Heroes, or much more challenging to play properly. Although they may situationally shine, these Heroes are generally avoided by most players.
       
      Metagame assessment
      Maiev: Where do I even begin? Despite heavy-handed nerfs delivered less than a week after her release, Maiev continues to dominate popularity (read: is banned about 5 times more than she is played at all levels) and top win rates. The fact that I'm not sure what exactly contributes to her success is probably a good indicator of what actually contributes to her success: everything. High survivability, high mobility, high damage potential through Fan of Knives's ability to reset, the ability to both set up and follow up for and on crowd control through Spirit of Vengeance + Umbral Bind, serviceable waveclear, and Vault of the Wardens on a ridiculously short cooldown for good measure to make her an unviable target for heroic ability chains. Warden's Cage ended up the favoured heroic ability choice for Maiev, and it's rather easy to see why; it just works well with the rest of her kit on top of being quite easy for anyone to use, though Containment Disc is not to be underestimated either. She's at the top of the food chain, so Prime tier it is. Expect further nerfs.
      Jaina: Jaina was last month's surprise for me, which is why I had her marked for promotion. I slightly feared Genji players, but after witnessing some more competent Jaina play (including my own not-so-competent experimentation), it's safe to say that Summon Water Elemental is absolutely key to dealing with him (along pretty much every other assassin in the game). For games with little melee assassin pressure, Ring of Frost remains a powerful win condition. Jaina also sports what is arguably the game's best waveclear potential, and can deal with mercenary camps extremely well with Frost Shards and Ice Lance. 
      Malthael: I can certainly see how Malthael's rework may have seemed rather grim to anyone underestimating the power of cleaving attacks. This change, though accompanied by slight nerfs to his damage and survivability, allowed his already powerful laning  to improve, just as with his ability to deal with mercenary camps. One should never underestimate the power of PvE, particularly in less organised play. Furthermore, his reliance upon Tormented Souls was reduced, allowing for Last Rites to actually get some playtime. I've been impressed with it, and I'm probably going to update his builds to reflect this newfound power.
      Abathur: Abathur is the kind of hero that comes and goes with the metagame state and who generally thrives in assassin-oriented states. As with Genji, I wouldn't be fooled by his limited winrates; he just simply tends to do better at higher level, more organised play, and particularly in longer matches. To avoid on Haunted Mines and Braxis Holdout. Please pick your Ultimate Evolution target responsibly, and go for an assassin, with Maiev, Genji, Hanzo, and Jaina making incredible targets. Incidentally, avoid Evolve Monstrosity; it has been tested and rejected a long time ago.
      Tychus: Not a big leap in tier, but a leap nonetheless. He went from seeing pretty much no play for quite a while to seeing some, including tournament play. As expected, he does well against Blaze and a few other bruisers, on top of being on the more resilient side of ranged assassins. Commandeer Odin is excellent, but the real sleeper here is Neosteel Coating, which can do funny things with Relentless Soldier.
      Probius: Nearly as unpopular as The Lost Vikings. Though I don't think he's bad, I certainly think he does not have a place in the current meta. All of the top picks do extremely well against him, as does diving in general. I really wish I had more insights here, but the very few times I did see him in the last month, it was rather sad to witness. 
      Sgt. Hammer: I initially had her as viable, but upon reading user comments, I had to agree: she does extremely well against team compositions that cannot deal with her, and poorly otherwise. This is basically what the Niche tier should be defined by. We could discuss at length why this design is rather unhealthy for the game, but I think Blizzard has recognized this by not releasing a single specialist in over a year.
    • By Stan

      Check out items available in the next Collection Update starting February 20.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Weekly Collection Update: Feb 20 – 27, 2018
      Our next Collection Update will begin on Tuesday, February 20! Check out the list of featured items and Hero discounts below.  Upcoming Hero Sales
      Falstad — Sale Price: 312 Gems Thrall — Sale Price: 250 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
      Storm Lord Falstad  World-Shaman Thrall  Riptide Rehgar  Black Grand Marshal Uther  Neon War World Sgt. Hammer  Old Marshal Raynor  Azure Lo’Gosh Varian  Obsidian Desert Queen Zagara  Upcoming Featured Mounts
      Cyber Wolf  Jade Nimbus Cloud
    • By Stan

      The free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of February 20.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: February 20, 2018
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Lunara Lt. Morales Xul Leoric Alarak (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) D.Va (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Illidan (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Stitches (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
    • By Oxygen
      Oxygen discusses Heroes of the Storm's newly announced performance-based matchmaking system and why it may prove to be problematic.

       
      One of the biggest changes announced at BlizzCon 2017 was the introduction of the performance-based matchmaking system for ranked game modes in Heroes of the Storm.
      In a nutshell, this new system seeks to quickly adjust individual player matchmaking rating (MMR) by using data from past performance, other players, and a number of other unspecified systems. Unfortunately, players quickly found out how flawed the system was upon receiving seemingly unjustified penalties to their MMR despite perceived strong performance, and ultimately figured out how to game the system to maximise their gains by exhibiting counterintuitive in-game behaviour.
      And unfortunately for Blizzard, the release of the system coincided with other “bugs” that affected placements and general matchmaking, which exacerbated the problem. Not one but two placement match history resets have now been performed. Blizzard claimed that the issues were not related to the new performance-based matchmaking system, but the system in question has been disabled for three days at the time of writing. I can’t help but to wonder why the system was disabled if it in fact wasn’t part of the issues, but I’ll offer Blizzard a highly skeptical benefit of the doubt for now. They need all the help they can get.
      However, I’m not here to criticise Blizzard’s course of action, which I believed to be reasonable and timely enough, if not a bit opaque. I’d much rather look into the very existence of the performance-based matchmaking system. I’ll start by going over some of the comments made in the official system announcement linked above.
      Blizzard (Source)
      The team-focused nature of Heroes presents challenges when using this system to determine an individual player’s matchmaking rating, since any single player is only 1 part of the 5-man team that won or lost the match. The system works since, all things being equal, a player will win more games than they lose over the long run if their skill is higher than other players at the same rank.
      I must admit I was not ready to respond to a “we know it works, but we’re changing it anyway” approach. Leaving aside the obvious flaw in basic argumentation theory, I know how frustrating it is to have a strong performance and still lose; I’ve certainly been there before. But, in general, players need to be groomed into being able to look at the larger, statistically-significant picture. If you consistently perform well and are never the cause for losses, you will rise. After all, the opposing team would have 5 chances of “messing up” whereas yours would only have 4. This means that if you can maintain an approximate 55.5% win rate, you know you’re good. (That approximate 55.5% value comes from 100 - 4 / 9 * 100; this calculation essentially compares each team’s chance at a liability if you’re never a negative factor, hence why it only take 9 players into account and giving each player an approximate 11.11…% of the responsibility for losing.). If your win rate is actually higher than that, you may even be good enough to even make up for negative factors on your team. That’s powerful, and certainly doesn’t require any fancy system to work, even in a team environment, unlike what Blizzard seems to be claiming. Even if your impact is small, you still have an impact.
      However, I don’t want people to get me wrong here; in theory, I think that the idea of a performance-based matchmaking system is great, though just not for the purpose of long-term MMR adjustment. If Heroes of the Storm did have a way to accurately identify high- and low-level players, the matchmaking experience would be vastly improved for both groups: high-level players would no longer have to endure low-level players with high MMR uncertainty, whereas low-level players would no longer be thrown into victimizing and soul-crushing matches. Higher match quality promotes player retention; player retention is profitable for everyone.
      Blizzard (Source)
      What differentiates a highly skilled player on a given Hero isn’t always obvious, though.
      In a complex game such as Heroes of the storm, is it ever? The system is claimed to be “dynamic”, which means that, over time, it reevaluates how it defines skilled play for a given hero as it is fed new data. However, in practice, I just don’t think "skill" is something that can be reliably measured by in-game performance data alone. Nor should it be. Let us draw comparisons between Heroes of the Storm and chess, which has used a similar matchmaking system known as ELO for some decades now. In chess, what would you say matters most between the two following statements?
      Claiming multiple pieces without trading your own?
      or…
      Focusing on claiming key pieces during key moments?
      The answer is “it depends”. Although both tactics may lead to victory, the first style is opportunistic whereas the second is analytical. Unfortunately for the second player, their strategy would be much harder for a performance-based system to evaluate; how would it know what defines a key piece, let alone a key moment? The first approach is mathematical; one is better than zero and, generally, “free” trades correlate with winning, which is more or less why they are inexistant at a high level chess unless intentional.
      In chess, you aren’t rewarded for losing less, and the reason for this is that the underlying ELO system is robust and self-correcting; rating resets don’t occur every couple months, let alone twice in a week, and rating gains and losses are small. Of course, the ELO system isn’t beyond reproach, but I think it’s fair to say that players understand that long-term results are what matter, not individual game results. And, it doesn’t run the risk of overvaluing Queen taking Rook because of insufficient or misinterpreted data.

      Queen literally takes Rook during a Tribute fight. Siege damage is important to Zagara, says data.
      As you can tell probably tell by now, I’m very skeptical about how such a system is supposed to evaluate what differentiates a highly skilled player, period, regardless of what hero it is they’re playing. Here’s a concrete example of what I mean by that: Although I don’t consider myself to be a particularly strong mechanical player, I have always managed to maintain a rather high win/loss ratios, for a team game, back in my active days anyway. Why? I’d be lying if I didn’t say that many of these victories weren’t simply due to outdrafting opponents, clear non-confrontational shotcalling, encouraging teammates, defusing infighting, taking every match seriously, knowing when and why to engage, going over mistakes, and generally making powerful macro decisions. On top of being that one weird guy that says “can play anything*, prefer assassin or specialist, let’s try to ban x and pick y.” Doesn’t reading that first thing in any given lobby instill confidence in the rest of your teammates? I bet this translates into wins every once in a while, so why not do it?
      I tend to thrive on waveclear tanks with strong engaging power because they let me decide exactly when a minion wave needs to push or when an enemy hero needs to die despite low mechanical ceilings.

      And now you know how to ban me out.
      *…whereas I couldn’t outplay most of my opponents to save my life. I accept my fate as one of the worst Illidan players in existence, and I’m fine with it.

      I have nothing to add, your honor.
      The great irony here is that none of the aforementioned elements that I feel make me, and probably many other players, reasonably strong are – nor can be – taken into account by any automated system because they’re simply too subjective. Why exactly am I being punished for not mindlessly using my abilities on-cooldown and padding my numbers? We get it; dealing damage is important. But what about useful damage? How can that ever be taken into account by a machine? This might sound like an argument from incredulity but, as I see it, we have plenty of evidence to conclude that the system isn’t quite working as intended.
      Of course, within this system, winning is still what matters most, and by far. Fortunately for me, my skillset does tend to translate into wins. But obfuscating one’s point gains and losses behind questionable variables is going to, at best, confuse players, and at worst, breed harmful behaviour. These two consequences have already been observed.
      TL;DR:
      A solid performance-based matchmaking system can have positive effects on matchmaking by allowing players to find their appropriate MMR faster. However, what defines a good player in a complex, team-oriented game goes well beyond what any data collection system can collect, interpret, and use. In its current state, the performance-based matchmaking system is at best unnecessary and at worst obfuscating, and ultimately risks breeding harmful player behaviour.
      I’ll allow myself to end on a bit of wisdom: If you play to improve, you’ll never lose a game in your life. And the sooner you quit worrying about your rank, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on what really matters.