Ana PTR Patch Notes: Sep 18

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The latest patch is now available for testing on PTR. A few balance tweaks were applied in this build. Blizzard added a sandbox version of Volskaya Foundry to Custom Games (similar to Cursed Hollow) and updated the map rotation in Ranked.

This patch also contains changes that will be deployed to live realms later this week. You can find those notes here.

Ranked Map Rotation

After the patch goes live (week of September 25), Ranked map rotation will be as follows:

  • Battlefield of Eternity
  • Cursed Hollow
  • Dragon Shire
  • Haunted Mines
  • Infernal Shrines
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Towers of Doom
  • Volskaya Foundry
  • Warhead Junction

Many Heroes received tactical AI improvements. Full patch notes can be found below.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)


New Special Event: Pachimari Mania

  • Open Loot Boxes and be the first team to find the Golden Pachimari!
    • At the beginning of a match, Loot Boxes will spawn around your starting area. Open as many as you can, and try to find the legendary Golden Pachimari!
      • Opening a Loot Box will grant you a movement speed boost, enabling you to open even more boxes.
      • The player to open the most Loot Boxes on each team will be announced when the event ends, so be sure to always try your best!
    • The first team to find the Golden Pachimari will win the event and earn credit toward their Pachimari Mania quest progress!
  • Quests and Rewards
    • Pachimari Mania is a four-part quest chain. All quests must be completed in order, and only one quest will be active at a time.
      • Part 1: Find 2 Golden Pachimaris to earn a set of Pachimari in-game Emojis
      • Part 2: Find 5 Golden Pachimaris to earn a Pachimari-themed Banner
      • Part 3: Finding 8 Golden Pachimaris will unlock the Golden Pachimari spray
      • Part 4: Finding 10 Golden Pachimaris will unlock the Pachimari Portrait
  • PTR Note: While elements of this event may be visible on the Public Test Realm, any progress or rewards earned during PTR testing will not transfer to the live version of the game when this patch is officially released next week.

New Hero: Ana

As a founding member of Overwatch and one of the world's best snipers, Ana Amari uses her skills to protect the innocent. Though she went MIA after losing her eye, Ana's sense of duty and responsibility has brought her back to the fight.


  • Shrike
    • Basic Attacks apply a Dose to non-Structure enemies, dealing an additional 44 damage over 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.

Basic Abilities

  • Healing Dart (Q)
    • Fire a dart which heals the first allied Hero hit for 250 Health.
  • Biotic Grenade (W)
    • Toss a Grenade at the target area. Allied Heroes hit are healed for 175 Health and receive 25% increased healing for 3 seconds. Enemies hit take 60 damage and receive 100% less healing for 2 seconds.
  • Sleep Dart (E)
    • Fire a dart that Sleeps the first enemy Hero hit, rendering them unable to act for 3 seconds. Sleep’s effects end instantly if the target takes damage after the first 0.5 seconds.
    • Cannot be used on Vehicles.

Heroic Abilities

  • Nano Boost (R)
    • Instantly boost an allied Hero, restoring 200 Mana. For the next 8 seconds, they gain 30% Spell Power and their Basic Ability cooldowns recharge 150% faster.
    • Cannot be used on Ana.
  • Eye of Horus (R)
    • Assume a sniping position, gaining the ability to fire up to 8 specialized rounds with unlimited range. Rounds hit the first allied or enemy Hero or enemy Structure in their path. Allies are healed for 300 and enemies are damaged for 175. Deals 50% damage to Structures.
    • Ana is unable to move while Eye of Horus is active.


New Battleground: Volskaya Foundry

  • Objective
    • Control Points
      • Throughout the match a Control Point will activate at one of three locations, beginning in a neutral capture state.
      • Once a player stands on the control point without any enemies, they gain control progress for their team at a steady rate.
      • If an enemy enters the point, the point becomes contested and will not gain or lose control progress.
      • When a team's control progress hits 100, they gain control of the point.
      • As long as a team has control of the point, they gain victory progress at a steady rate.
        • Victory progress does not decay for any reason.
      • Overtime: When a point is at 99% victory progress about to tick over to 100%, it will stay at 99% and enter the overtime state if there are any enemy heroes on the point or the point just flipped from the enemy's control.
      • When a team's victory progress hits 100%, they win the event. The control point deactivates and a two-person Triglav Protector spawns on the point for the winning team after a short delay.
    • Triglav Protector
      • Pilot Abilities
        • Charge (Q)
          • After .5 seconds, charge to the target unit's current location and deal damage in an area.  Deals double damage to structures and minions. 8 second cooldown
        • Rocket Fist (W)
          • Launch a Rocket Fist that impacts the first Hero or Structure hit.  Roots Heroes for 1 second.  Disables Structures for 2 seconds.  Destroys all minions in its path. 14 second cooldown.
        • Shield Emitter (E)
          • Grants 25 armor to vehicle and grants a Shield to all nearby allies equal to 25% of their maximum health. 16 second cooldown.
      • Gunner Abilities
        • Particle Cannon (Q)
          • Enables the Particle Cannon ability and increases its range over 3 seconds. Reactivate to launch an orb dealing damage in an area. 5 sec cooldown.
        • Gatling Cannon (W)
          • Fires a barrage of cannon fire at the location of your cursor for 4 seconds. 11 second cooldown.
        • Scorching Laser (E)
          • A laser quickly cuts a line across the terrain dealing light damage. A secondary explosion triggers 0.75 seconds later for heavy damage. 10 second cooldown.

New Sandbox Custom Game: Volskaya Foundry

  • A sandbox version of Volskaya Foundry has been added to Custom Games.
    • Much like Sandbox version of Cursed Hollow, this Battleground allows up to 10 players at once to use a variety of “cheats” to test the limits of their Heroes, and the Battleground.
    • Sandbox Volskaya Foundry also features a “Triglav Protector” button, which allows a player to immediately spawn a Protector at their Hero’s location.


  • All vehicles, including the Dragon Knight, Garden Terror, and Triglav Protector are now Unstoppable.

Ranked Battleground Rotation Update

  • Added to Rotation
    • Volskaya Foundry
    • Haunted Mines
    • Towers of Doom
  • Removed from Rotation
    • Blackheart’s Bay
    • Braxis Holdout
    • Sky Temple
  • The full Ranked Battleground Rotation is now as follows:
    • Battlefield of Eternity
    • Cursed Hollow
    • Dragon Shire
    • Haunted Mines
    • Infernal Shrines
    • Tomb of the Spider Queen
    • Towers of Doom
    • Volskaya Foundry
    • Warhead Junction



  • AI Heroes will now perform more dynamic strategies.
  • Many Heroes have received tactical AI improvements, including:
    • Anubarak
    • Arthas
    • Azmodan
    • Brightwing
    • The Butcher
    • Falstad
    • Illidan
    • Kael’Thas
    • Kerrigan
    • E.T.C.
    • Li Li
    • The Lost Vikings
    • Malfurion
    • Muradin
    • Nazeebo
    • Raynor
    • Stitches
    • Sylvanas
    • Thrall
    • Uther
    • Valla
    • Xul
    • Zul’jin
  • Read our recent blog, “Under the Hood: AI” for an in-depth look at these and upcoming AI improvements.


Voice Lines

  • Voice lines that have been selected for use in players’ Loadouts have had their volume increased in-game.
  • Now have a larger 3D falloff, increased sound exclusivity, and can interrupt other voice lines.

User Interface

In-Game UI

  • Banners
    • Banners that are placed after completing an objective, capturing Mercenaries, etc., will now display the name of the player who owns that Banner.
  • Healing Indicators
    • Increased and Decreased Healing indicators have been added and will now appear next to Heroes’ healthbars when they are affected by healing modifier effects, such as Ana’s Biotic Grenade.
  • Minimap
    • Hero icons on the Minimap now indicate which direction that Hero is facing.

Daily Quests

  • A new “Play 2 Games as an Overwatch Hero” Daily Quest has been added.


  • Players under level 5 can no longer whisper non-friends using chat channel player lists.
  • However, players under level 5 who receive a whisper from a non-friend can whisper that player back.


  • It should now be easier to differentiate between Owned and Unowned Items in your Collection.
    • Additionally, item prices are now always displayed on unowned items.
  • Item backgrounds and borders have received visual improvements and rarity coloring to help players more easily distinguish between items of different rarities.






  • Time Trap (E)
    • Now has a unique minimap icon.




  • Flight (Z) will now go on a 10 second cooldown when interrupted by enemy or allied abilities, including self-cancelling.
  • Flight (Z) now has an allied chat announcement upon activation. 




  • Holo Decoy (E)
    • Sight range increased from 6 to 12 (now matches Heroes)


  • Level 4
    • Remote Delivery (E)
      • Removed
    • Holo Stability (E)
      • New functionality:
        • Increases the cast range, sight range, and duration of Holo Decoy by 100%
  • Level 7
    • Anti-Armor Shells (Passive)
      • Added functionality:
        • Basic Attacks also decrease the physical Armor of your target by 10 for 3 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Psionic Efficiency (Q)
      • Range increase from 10 to 15%
Developer Comment:  We made a few changes to our resident Ghost - mostly targeted at fixing some under-performing talents. Alongside that, we figured that we may as well point Anti-Armor Shells, you know, into a direction more befitting its name.





  • Deep Tunnel (Z) will now go on a 10 second cooldown when interrupted by enemy or allied abilities, including self-cancelling.
  • Deep Tunnel (Z) now has an allied chat announcement upon activation. 





  • Phase Shift (Z) will now go on a 10 second cooldown when interrupted by enemy or allied abilities.
  • Phase Shift (Z) now has an allied chat announcement upon activation. 




  • Breath of Heaven (W)
    • Cooldown increased from 8 to 10 seconds
    • Mana cost increased from 60 to 65


  • Level 1
    • Transcendence (Passive)
      • Healing increased from 73 to 96 per 3 Basic Attacks
    • Insight (Passive)
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds per 3 Basic Attacks
  • Level 16
    • Dash of Light (Q + W)
      • Increased bonus healing from 50% to 75% for dashing to an ally
Developer Comment:  These changes are designed to increase the power of Insight and Transcendence by shifting more of Kharazim's healing power pie into them. We want to encourage the same active gameplay that Iron Fist Kharazim's have, but increasing healing and utility instead of damage when the other Talents are chosen.




  • Chain Heal (Q)
    • Cast range reduced from 8 to 6
    • Bounce range reduced from 8 to 7
    • Primary target healing reduced from 334 to 250
    • Secondary bounce healing increased from 167 to 250
Developer Comment:  We'd like to make positioning for Rehgar's Chain Heal matter more, so that we reward players and teams that can get the most of it. To do this we're reducing the range and radius of the heal, while also making the jumps a greater portion his overall healing.





  • Brushstalker (Z) will now go on a 10 second cooldown when interrupted by enemy or allied abilities.




  • Falling Sword (R)
    • Mana cost reduced from 100 to 90
    • Damage reduced from 365 to 183
    • Added functionality:
      • Now applies a 50% slow for 2.5 seconds after enemies are knocked into the air.


  • Level 1
    • Laws of Hope (Active)
      • Moved from Level 4
        • Health Regeneration reduced from 10 > 1.5
        • Heal increased from 20% > 30% Maximum Health
        • Cooldown reduced from 60 > 40 seconds
    • Regeneration Master (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Righteous Smash (Q)
      • Removed
    • Hold Your Ground (D)
      • Moved from Level 13
      • No longer requires Iron Skin’s shield to be broken for the 4-second cooldown reduction
  • Level 4
    • Conviction (W)
      • Moved from Level 7
    • Sins Exposed (E)
      • Moved from Level 7
      • Damage increased from 68 > 90
    • Eternal Retaliation (W)
      • Cooldown reduction decreased from .75 seconds to .5 seconds 
  • Level 7
    • The Crusade Marches On (D)
      • Removed
    • (New Talent) Zealous Glare (E)
      • Increases the Blind duration of Shield Glare by .5 seconds. Your auto-attacks against Blinded heroes increases their Blind duration by 1 second, up to a maximum of 3 seconds 
    • Subdue (Q)
      • Moved from Level 13
        • New functionality:
          • Hitting 2 enemy Heroes with Punish causes the slow to be increased to 80% and no longer decay.
          • !Quest: Hit 4 enemy Heroes with a single cast of Punish. !Reward: Punish now always slows enemies by 80% and no longer decays.
  • Level 13
    • Roar (Q)
      • Moved from Level 4
      • Damage bonus reduced from 50% > 25%
      • Additional Functionality:
        • Punish deals 125% increased damage if it hits 2 or more enemy Heroes
    • Burning Rage (Passive)
      • Removed
    • Blessed Hammer (Active)
      • Moved from Level 16
        • New Functionality: Activate to create 2 hammers that spiral around Johanna. Hitting enemy Heroes with Shield Glare reduces the cooldown of this ability by 8 seconds. 30-second cooldown
        • Damage increased from 41 to 80
    • (New Talent) Holy Fury (W)
      • Deal damage to enemies around you. Each enemy Hero hit by Condemn increases the damage by 40% for 5 seconds
  • Level 16
    • Fanaticism (D)
      • Additional Functionality: Now also increases the duration of Iron Skin by 2 seconds
  • Level 20
    • Heaven’s Fury (R)
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 2 to 3 seconds
    • Indestructible (Passive)
      • Duration reduced from 5 to 4 seconds
    • Storm Shield (Active)
      • Removed
    • (New Talent) Blinded by the Light (Active)
      • Activate to grant nearby allies a shield equal to 25% of their maximum Health for 3 seconds. Hitting enemy Heroes with Shield Glare reduces this cooldown by 8 seconds. 60-second cooldown
Developer Comment:  To her credit, Johanna has not needed many changes since she was first released into the Nexus. Her talent pick and win rates have been fair compared to most heroes, and she has almost always had a place in the meta. While she is not in dire need of changes, we saw an opportunity to spruce up her talent tree and give her some more interesting options to choose from on various tiers.


Collection Adjustments

  • Loot Chests
    • Loot Chests purchased via the Loot tab will now only grant Rare Loot Chests, rather than Normal Loot Chests.
      • Please note: This only applies to Loot Chests purchased after this patch is applied to the live version of the game in each region. Normal Loot Chests the player already owns will not convert to Rare Loot Chests.
  • Rewards
    • The Celestial Steed Mount has been removed and replaced by the Celestial Raptor as a reward for purchasing Loot Chests.
    • The 1,000 Gem reward for reaching level 5 has been removed.
      • Please note: Veteran players who have not logged in following the release of Heroes 2.0 earlier this year will no longer be able to claim this reward once this patch is applied to the live version of the game in each region.
  • Bundles
    • The Welcome Bundle has been removed from the Collection.

New Skins

  • Ana
    • Midnight Ana
    • Burnished Ana
    • Sunset Ana
    • Twilight Ana
    • Medic Ana
    • Shrike
      • Agent Shrike
      • Aquamarine Shrike
      • Rescue Shrike
      • Stealth Shrike
  • Varian
    • Commandant Varian
    • Grand Commandant Varian
    • Recon Commandant Varian
    • Stealth Commandant Varian
    • Tundra Commandant Varian
  • Anub’arak
    • Deatholme Underking Anub’arak
  • Auriel
    • Kuroi Sakura Auriel
    • Sora Sakura Auriel
  • Azmodan
    • Lucky Azmodunk
  • Cassia
    • Aranoch Warmatron Cassia
    • Askari Warmatron Cassia
  • Dehaka
    • D.Haka
  • D.Va
    • Camo D.Va
    • Global Pro D.Va
    • Perfect Pro D.Va
    • X-Treme D.Va
  • Lúcio
    • Prime Ribbit Lúcio
    • Rosa Ribbit Lúcio
  • Nova
    • Moonlight Widowmaker Nova
  • Tracer
    • Hot Rod Turbo Tracer
  • Valeera
    • Emerald Bloodfang Valeera
    • Moonstone Bloodfang Valeera
  • Zarya
    • Golden Cyberdemon Zarya
    • Restored Cyberdemon Zarya


  • Illidan’s Nightmare
    • Wretched Illidan’s Nightmare
    • Crimson Illidan’s Nightmare
  • Invisible Horse
  • Celestial Raptor – As mentioned above, this Mount is awarded upon purchasing Loot Chests with Gems.

Bug Fixes


  • Fixed a number of typo and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game.


  • Zeratul: Zeratul’s mask will no longer stretch and bend oddly during Hero Select or in the Collection on low graphic settings.


  • Blackheart’s Bay: Fixed an issue that could allow Medivh and Falstad to enter and stand in certain areas inside the enemy Hall of Storms.
  • Haunted Mines: The right-side team’s top Keep can no longer hit enemy Heroes who path into the Gate.
  • Try Mode: The You Want Axe? Talent will now correctly grant bonus Basic Attack range after using the Complete Quest button.
  • Try Mode: Garrosh will no longer continue to benefit from the Warbreaker Talent after clicking Reset Talents.
  • Try Mode: Toggling off Minion spawns will no longer cause AI Heroes to wait at their Fort Gates indefinitely.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Alarak: Rite of Rak’shir will no longer be placed on a dead target if it was cast just as that target took fatal damage.
  • Diablo: Fixed an issue that could prevent Diablo from traveling with his Shadow Charge target if another Hero stood between Diablo and his target.
  • D.Va: Using Boosters to smash destructible barrels on Blackheart’s Bay will no longer place the Ability on full cooldown.
  • D.Va: Fixed an issue that could cause D.Va to inconsistently activate Healing Wells while using Boosters.
  • D.Va: Dying while casting Call Mech will no longer create an untargetable Mech that persists until D.Va respawns.
  • D.Va: Mech deaths that occur while no enemy Heroes are nearby will now correctly grant XP and update D.Va’s death count on the in-game score screen.
  • D.Va: A Nuke’s area of effect indicator will no longer disappear if D.Va finishes channeling Nuke in the same moment that her Mech is destroyed.
  • Garrosh: Wrecking Ball will no longer end Rehgar’s Ghost Wolf.
  • Garrosh: Using Body Check with the Brute Force Talent on a Boss no longer causes the Healing debuff icon to appear next its Health bar.
  • Garrosh: Bloodthirst will no longer cause Garrosh to automatically retarget his Basic Attacks to the closest enemy.
  • Garrosh: Into the Fray will no longer place targeting indicators on attacking Hydralisks on Braxis Holdout.
  • Genji: Fixed an issue that could prevent Fort attacks from Slowing Genji if he has Dodge charges remaining, and there is another Genji on the opposing team.
  • Genji: Fixed an issue that could cause Dodge to behave inconsistently against Sylvanas’ and Lunara’s Basic Attacks.
  • Illidan: Abilities that can interrupt Dive, like Li-Ming’s Wave of Force, will no longer cause Illidan to become briefly unresponsive.
  • Jaina: Fixed an issue that prevented Jaina from casting Water Elemental if unpathable terrain existed between Jaina and the desired casting location.
  • Jaina: Fixed a typo in the Icy Veins tooltip which incorrectly stated that the Talent provided a 300% cooldown recharge rate , rather than 200%. This only affected the tooltip, and the Talent's functionality has not changed.
  • Johanna: Abilities that block pathing, such as Sonya’s Arreat Crater and Tassadar’s Force Wall, will no longer block Johanna’s movement during Falling Sword.
  • Leoric: Fixed an issue that could prevent the Mithril Mace Talent from granting bonus Attack Speed for Minion and Hero kills.
  • Leoric: Percentage damage dealt by the Spectral Leech Talent will now properly count as Ability damage rather than Basic Attack damage.
  • Probius: Floating Combat Text will now indicate the amount of Shields granted to Probius by a Pylon after learning Shield Battery, rather than displaying zero for each tick.
  • Stukov: Abilities that move Heroes, like Alarak’s Telekinesis and Stiches’ Hook, no longer remove Weighted Pustule from the affected Hero.
  • Sylvanas: Withering Fire can no longer target destructible barrels on Blackheart’s Bay.
  • The Lost Vikings: Can no longer clip into Gates on Braxis Holdout during the pre-game countdown.
  • The Lost Vikings: Casting Longboat Raid immediately after one of the Vikings is killed will no longer prevent the player from using Mortar during the Heroic Ability’s duration.
  • Tychus: The That’s the Stuff! Talent’s Heal indicator will no longer disappear if Tychus stops attacking before Minigun expires.
  • Tyrande: Sentinel can no longer leave the starting zone during the pre-game countdown.
  • Valla: Enemy Heroes who were broken out of Stealth by Hungering Arrow can now correctly be hit by subsequent Hungering Arrow strikes.
  • Valla: Caltrops dropped by the Vault Talent will no longer display Health bars, and are no longer selectable.
  • Zagara: Creep Tumors no longer exhibit a short delay before granting vision of the area affected by Creep.


  • Li-Ming: Templar Li-Ming will now correctly play death sounds when killed.
  • Valeera: Enemy Heroes will no longer hear when Valeera primes her activated Talents, like Crippling Poison, when she is Stealthed.

User Interface

  • Hotkeys: The Dragon Knight and Garden Terror will now correctly follow Force Move commands.

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37 minutes ago, Stan said:



  • All vehicles, including the Dragon Knight, Garden Terror, and Triglav Protector are now Unstoppable.

Honestly surprised it took them this long to make this a thing.

Edited by Fliits

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19 minutes ago, Fliits said:

All vehicles, including the Dragon Knight, Garden Terror, and Triglav Protector are now Unstoppable.

I'm not sure I like it. On the one hand, it means that heroes like Arthas don't have an immediate and powerful advantage over other picks, but on the other, it also means that they have even more of a potential to go stompy stomp stomp through to early keeps or at least gates. Out of all of them, the Dragon Knight feels the most balanced but no other changes to reflect this buff for them? Wasn't all cc halved by 50% enough, or was it too hard to make things like Diablo's Overpower work with them? 

Also curious if Void Prison will work on them still? 

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Developer Comment:  To her credit, Johanna has not needed many changes since she was first released into the Nexus. Her talent pick and win rates have been fair compared to most heroes, and she has almost always had a place in the meta. While she is not in dire need of changes, we saw an opportunity to spruce up her talent tree and give her some more interesting options to choose from on various tiers."

This seriously tilts me. "We have a hero that is reasonably balanced, and always has a place in the meta. So we changed her just because she was in line to do so." I really hope this "sprucing up" which looks like a massive adjustment doesn't hurt her.

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The change from normal to rare loot boxes when purchasing chest was about time, it was barely worth to buy loot chests :D

I wonder why they will remove the Welcome Bundle.

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

All vehicles, including the Dragon Knight, Garden Terror, and Triglav Protector are now Unstoppable.

I'm not sure if like this or not.


1 hour ago, Stan said:

(New Talent) Zealous Glare (E)

  • Increases the Blind duration of Shield Glare by .5 seconds. Your auto-attacks against Blinded heroes increases their Blind duration by 1 second, up to a maximum of 3 seconds 


I like this! Now Johanna will synergize even better with Cassia and Li Li.

Her overall changes seems really nice. They merged some talents, removed the never used. It is a nice cleanup.

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8 hours ago, Stan said:

Indestructible (Passive)

  • Duration reduced from 5 to 4 seconds



(New Talent) Holy Fury (W)

  • Deal damage to enemies around you. Each enemy Hero hit by Condemn increases the damage by 40% for 5 seconds


Edited by Fransoa
  • Like 1

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This will make the Vehicles sure feel more.. significant and formidable. Still, out of everyone, Dragon Knight (casters always say Dragonite lul) feels at a loss compared to others imho and this saddening to me cause he's my favorite. I guess maybe cause Dragon Shire is a really straightforward map.

Mages will sure love first Ana Heroic. Nice seeing new Heroes not only bringing something new themselves but also enabling different strategies.

I loved Johanna from the get go; her teaser and spotlight were solid 5/7. And I liked how she was such a strong tank with the option to make her even more tanky via talent selection. I dislike the nerf to Laws of Hope passive regen (it's one of my favorite talents in the entire game); it allowed you to not be so reliant on a healer and do stuff like roam, help with merc camps etc. They also gave her an Alarak-like quest which is kinda impossibru to get unless vs Samuro clones lul. The other changes seem nice- particulary the ones to Blessed Hammer, it was one of my favorite talents on her, but kinda unreliable, seems much better now.

"Until our Faith is pure." <3

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Also, the Nova changes do little to nothing to address her still "feast or famine" gameplay imho...

Edited by SteveFrost

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 Didn't the Garden Terror/Dragon Knight automatically reduce CC duration by 50%? It should get a new trait now which wasn't stated here.

Edited by Xaethron
Wrong thread

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On 9/19/2017 at 12:19 PM, SteveFrost said:

Also, the Nova changes do little to nothing to address her still "feast or famine" gameplay imho...

I think someone that has such a hard kill-focused gameplay will unfortunately always have this, unless they add CC to her. But then you essentially just have a ranged Valeera.

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On 23/9/2017 at 3:32 PM, Blainie said:

I think someone that has such a hard kill-focused gameplay will unfortunately always have this, unless they add CC to her. But then you essentially just have a ranged Valeera.

They said her 'rework' was supposed to make her 'healthier' to play and less around the edges. I'd say it miserably failed for that. And she's only gotten number tweaks since that (and a change Snipe Master should have already)-which, while I certainly do appreciate, they still leave her way below average compared to most of the roster. Hope she'll get some bigger love soon (not tm) cause she clearly needs it imho

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3 hours ago, SteveFrost said:

They said her 'rework' was supposed to make her 'healthier' to play and less around the edges. I'd say it miserably failed for that. And she's only gotten number tweaks since that (and a change Snipe Master should have already)-which, while I certainly do appreciate, they still leave her way below average compared to most of the roster. Hope she'll get some bigger love soon (not tm) cause she clearly needs it imho

I'm hoping she's on their to-do list, but what they look at in regards to judging these things may be completely different from what we expect/see, unfortunately.

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On 24/9/2017 at 8:25 PM, Blainie said:

I'm hoping she's on their to-do list, but what they look at in regards to judging these things may be completely different from what we expect/see, unfortunately.

Yeah, I hope they won't just leave her like that and just keep making skins for her (cause she's an obvious favorite)...

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      We present our twelfth&nbsp;Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Junkrat patch of October 2017.
      Our twelfth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the month of October 2017 is here!
      Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Junkrat 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 low-to-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 map rotation
      Prime Tier
      Warrior Assassin Support Specialist Anub'arak- Genji Tassadar- Nazeebo↑ Arthas Greymane     E.T.C.↑ Malthael     Garrosh↑               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 Dehaka Falstad Brightwing Azmodan↑ Diablo Jaina Lúcio+ Sylvanas Sonya+ Li-Ming Malfurion Xul Stitches↓ Valla Stukov-   Varian (Tank) Zeratul Uther↓-       Lt. Morales↑   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 Abathur Chen Cassia Auriel Murky D.Va Chromie Kharazim Probius- Johanna Gul'dan Li Li Zagara Leoric Illidan Rehgar   Muradin Kael'thas Tyrande   Tyrael Kerrigan     Zarya Lunara       Ragnaros       The Butcher       Tracer       Zul'jin       Kel'Thuzad     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 Cho'gall Cho'gall - Gazlowe Rexxar Nova   Medivh   Raynor   Junkrat (new!)-   Samuro   Sgt. Hammer   Valeera       Thrall       Tychus       Varian (Damage)     Niche tier heroes have niche application on certain maps or for certain team compositions. They are generally 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.
      Bottom 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
      Junkrat felt quite undertuned on the PTR, yet suffered little more but nerfs to what was arguably his best heroic ability option, Rocket Ride. You  may have noticed that I labeled him as a specialist, and that's because he feels like one. I can't stop drawing parallels between Gazlowe and him, which are limited sustained area of effect damage and zone control. Heck, Grav-O-Bomb 3000 is just a RIP-Tire that pulls instead of knocking back, is it not? Junkrat's winrates are hovering around some 42% as it stands, making him one of the worst heroes in the game. On one hand, my PTR gut feeling seemed accurate. On the other hand, I think he's excessively difficult to play, but has potential, meaning that I think he will get a bit better over time, winrates-wise. Still, buffs are needed, and we're talking ~15-20% cooldown reductions and damage increases across the board. I would usually never dare suggest something as drastic, but Junkrat feels way off. Niche, probably bottom.
      E.T.C. has finally ascended to metal godhood, potentially as a response to Garrosh's popularity, or possibly because healers can't really shred him off due to Guitar Solo's near-infinite self-sustain and just enough basic attack damage to be threatening.
      Garrosh is now the most popular (and banned) hero in the game. The way armor works in conjunction with healing makes him ridiculously hard to kill in this healer-heavy metagame, while one good Wrecking Ball is often enough to secure a kill, granted you're not throwing E.T.C. Warlord's Challenge also happens to be a pseudo Mosh Pit that can't be interrupted and on a much shorter cooldown, which is really good for ripping kills away while healers can't... well, heal.
      Nazeebo's late game power was recently redefined (read: improved), and Gargantuan is a nightmare to deal with when disengaging or killing it is impossible. As it turns out, healers tend to lack the damage to quickly focus the thing down. In general, I feel that specialists begin to shine in such metagames, where proper waveclear and sieging tend to be rarer. This also means slightly longer games, which translates into more Voodoo Ritual stacks.
      Stitches is falling out of favour as blowup comps are. His lack of CC and single target damage are just what you don't want your tank to lack right now. Still, he's not bad by any means; simply falling out of favour.
      Uther no longer prime? What's going on! As stated for Stitches, blowout team compositions are a thing of the past. Uther's niche is just that: countering such blowouts with his burst healing and armor buffs, and setting up or following up with Hammer of Justice. These things aren't particularly useful in a sustain-oriented metagame. If Tyr's Deliverance wasn't such a late game talent, Uther may work, but it isn't.
      Lt. Morales is pretty much the polar opposite of Uther; high sustained healing, little burst, zero follow up potential, thrives in extended fights, and so on. Although she was slightly nerfed recently, it wasn't really enough to seriously affect her performance.
      Azmodan is rising for the same reasons Nazeebo is: waveclearing and sieging are in high demand right now, and massive health pools can become a problem, especially for teams that might run two low damage and waveclear support heroes such as Ana and Lúcio.
    • By Oxygen

      Oxygen goes over some of Heroes of the Storm's features that most need improvement.
      BlizzCon 2017 will be Heroes of the Storm's 4th showing at our favourite yearly event. Since Blizzard has certainly delivered on the esports side of the game with HGC, I thought I'd share my thoughts on some of the game's systems. Here it is, then: Six aspects of Heroes of the Storm that need improvement.
      I) The Class System
      This point is extremely complex to discuss because it directly criticizes one of the core aspects of the game, and cannot be separated from resulting issues. I’ll try and break it down as simply as I can.
      The premise of this discussion point is a firm belief in the following statement: Heroes of the Storm was designed to be played with team compositions that include at least one tank, and at least one healer.
      I’ll develop this point further, but I’d first like to draw a parallel with World of Warcraft’s 5-player dungeons. In World of Warcraft, dungeons are specifically designed with parties composed of 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 damage dealers in mind. You are allowed to twist party compositions at your own risk, if you can field 5 players willing to partake to the experiment, but the automatic group finding tool will never deviate from the established “1-1-3” norm. Why? Because these dungeons are designed, and tested that way. The damage taken output is normalized for a single healer to handle; the kill timers are made for 3 competent damage dealers to handle; no tank-switching mechanics are present, and so on.
      I understand that the normalized team composition statement is very bold for Heroes of the Storm because we have all experienced those matches where the above rules were all but respected. But, you may have observed that matches involving irregular team compositions were either extremely long or extremely short, or that they featured absurdly high or absurdly low kill counts. Why do such extremes occur?

      Not my most memorable performance. Or match.
      Tanks and healers are what I might call “inhibitors”; they inhibit kills. The sheer resilience of tanks – which is generally about 3 to 4 times that of your typical assassin or support hero – and general access to long-range mobility allows them to scout with relative safety to contribute to the own safety of teammates. Their access to reliable crowd control allows them to protect teammates as well. On the flip side, this crowd control also punishes poor positioning dearly… which is where healers intervene.
      Healers’ ability to undo damage contributes to safely capturing certain objectives, razing structures, closing out games, and, of course, making mistakes less impactful. Have you ever tried sieging a guarded core without a healer? Unless your team has a 3-man advantage or the help of a map objective, and assuming relatively competent players, this is generally unreasonable to pull off. Structures hit hard in this game, and minions die very quickly.
      Actually, everything hits hard; most assassins can kill each other in less than 5 seconds; heroic ability combos are devastating and almost always lead to kills. But tanks and healers help reduce these outcomes drastically; they create breathing room, partly due to their defensive nature and utility, and partly due to the fact that they generally have limited or otherwise very situational sustained damage outputs.
      6 paragraphs in, and I have yet to explain why this is problematic. Here it is, then: in essence, I feel that matches where tanks or healers are absent are too different from so-called “normal” matches. Lacking either role closes off several strategic options for your team; the game loses strategic depth, and often breaks down to which team fields the greatest abilities to quickly wrench kills away – usually through raw combat mobility or long range poke which makes retaliation difficult. This is not a problem (beyond design intent) when the playing field is even, of course; when both teams do feature irregular compositions, but the playing field is seldom even in this respect. Why? Two reasons, both related to drafting.
      The first reason deals with player preferences and proficiencies. The tank and healer roles are essential, but by design, less represented in any given team composition. Due to their importance, the skill disparity between two opposing tanks or healers may be felt more strongly than for assassins; in other words I feel it is much less punishing to have to handle a poor assassin player, as team compositions generally feature at least one or two more. This is especially true when considering that tanks and healers tend to require more knowledge and practice to play well. In a random drafting environment, you may find yourself in a situation where neither you nor any of your teammates are proficient at either role versus players that do display proficiency in these roles. Of course, it makes sense to reward players that master multiple roles, but the set drafting order, inability to trade hero picks, and questionable ability to blanket-block all forms of communication with teammates makes coordinating a messy business. This contributes to making the drafting process random at best, and toxic at worst. How? Nobody likes being forced into playing a role they do not wish to play, especially if they know they might perform poorly. But, nobody likes having a sub-par team composition either, nor tilting teammates before a given match has even begun. After all, specializing one’s hero pool and role is the norm for the MOBA genre, not the exception. If a player is stuck playing a role they do not wish to play due to the game’s design heavily promoting specific team compositions, they may set their team at a disadvantage. Would you rather risk something unconventional, or stick to one of your weaker or less interesting roles? In both cases, you are setting yourself up for a potentially frustrating match.
      The second reason has to deal with drafting and in of itself; what if, for whatever reason, your team did not manage to secure either role? Most players are used to having a certain stability, and while I do not doubt that many would not mind experimenting, not everyone is capable of nor open to doing so. As I see it, the role system exists to guide players very strongly towards what the developers had in mind. We simply need to remember the Varian debacle to see what happens when the intended system fails to function properly. For those of you who weren’t around back then, here’s a recap: Varian, as a multiclass hero that can elect to become a tank or an assassin, used to be considered an assassin for matchmaking purposes. This left Quick Match players in a situation where they were consistently matched against a tank without one of their own. Blizzard addressed the situation by making him a tank for Quick Match-making purposes.
      This ties in nicely with my next point: Quick Match, as the most played game mode by far, and the “logical” introductory step to PvP, ill-prepares players for drafting. It makes little sense to me to, on one hand, have a well-defined class system around which the game is designed, to then have a game mode that essentially throws the concept of team composition right out the window. As it turns out, tanks and healers are less popular than assassins, which often forces the matchmaking system to deal with an unevenly distributed population of players. It then has to make a choice between creating irregular team compositions, or to keep players waiting for an indefinite amount of time. I’ll also argue that Quick Match, in its current form, tends to put players into an “I play what I want when I want” mindset that translates poorly into other game modes. This would be fine if the natural progression was not Quick Match into Unranked Draft into Ranked Draft, but it is. When you design a game around team play, you need to groom your players into becoming team players from the get-go.
      If Blizzard is bent on keeping its current role system, Quick Match mode simply cannot continue to exist in its current form. The solution is rather simple: Just like the World of Warcraft dungeon system, and, more closely related, League of Legends’ Draft Pick system, players should simply select the role they wish to play before a given match, and not the hero itself. Enforce a basic 1-tank, 1-healer, 3-assassins/specialists rule. If there aren’t enough tank or healer players around to make queue times reasonable, incentivize players to switch to these roles with gold and experience bonuses that scale directly with how many players for roles are necessary to regulate said queue times. This would have the positive side effect of pushing players towards experimenting with new, different roles, potentially increasing hero purchases, and giving players a better understanding of the game as a whole. The same system should certainly be introduced to non-Team-League-Draft modes as well.
      For the record, changes to the class system were announced recently. I’m certainly looking forward to attending BlizzCon and reporting on those changes.
      tl;dr: Heroes of the Storm’s class system puts an inordinate amount of importance on drafting a basic, functional team composition, as individual matches come apart at the seams by design when tanks or healers are not present. The importance of such roles puts a huge amount of pressure on players playing these roles, making them less popular and generally more punishing to experiment with. Quick Match ill-prepares its players for mid- and high-level drafting experiences.
      II) Lack of Transparency
      It’s no secret that the MOBA genre is extremely competitive from a business standpoint. Two extremely well established giants – DotA and League of Legends – are estimated to hold over 80% of the genre’s market shares, and have accustomed players to a number of transparent systems.
      Heroes of the Storm features several systems that could benefit from improved transparency. One of the most broadly discussed subjects in this regards has been the nonexistence of an API for the game. Such a system would essentially allow third parties to use Blizzard’s data to disseminate information about a wide variety of game-related statistics, such as player performance information. This might include information such as experience level and win rates.
      While alternative ways of obtaining this information do exist as of today, they must rely on clunky user-submitted replay scraping to gather said information, meaning that their success depends directly upon the goodwill of players to feed the system. This presents several problems. First, it is difficult for newer websites to compete fairly with older monopolies, as good data depends on quantity. Second, statistics at different skill levels may be misleading due to low and otherwise uneven player contributions. Third, the ability to “rig” one’s performance by uploading only desirable replays may skew data. Furthermore, some of the more well-known Heroes statistics websites have been notoriously poorly managed and come under fire like clockwork. Whether ill-intentioned or not, this poor management ends up hurting the integrity of the game.
      Still, I must hold back a bit and admit that I’m thankful – not only as a player, but also as a guide writer – to have a way of accessing such data at all. If it weren’t for third parties, we’d be left in complete darkness with regards to any of the aforementioned information.
      Could we live without having data about, say, individual hero win rates or talent pick rates? Of course; and we did for a long time. However, I’ll be capricious and quote myself here: “Two extremely well established giants have accustomed players to a number of performance-related information systems.” When trying to create a name for yourself, you need to offer more than the established standard, not less. Regardless of the state of Heroes of the Storm, I feel that having an API or an equally transparent system is extremely important to make your typical MOBA contender feel like a complete game.
      The first reason is about being able to find concrete information about the metagame. MOBAs are – at their core – complex strategy games; thousands upon thousands of strategic choices and permutations are open to players. Even though outstanding websites do exist to help players out, the complexity and highly competitive nature of MOBAs makes them particularly cutthroat for beginners. Having access to detailed and accurate statistics allows content creators to provide new players with the information they need to get off on the right foot. Veterans, too, can make use of such data to analyze, adapt to, and potentially exploit metagaming trends to their own benefit. Ultimately, information is power for all players, and power is player retention.
      Information also empowers players in another markedly different way that I might call watchdogging. Without basic data such as win and pick rates, players would never be able to meaningfully criticize the state of the game’s balance. Blizzard developers are known to use individual hero and talent win rates to dictate at least some of their balance changes, as they so often comment. We cry out when things feel poorly tuned or unappealing because we love Heroes of the Storm. But without data, we are left relying on subjective and ineffective hunches to discuss balance; with it, we can support our assertions, and be proactive when things aren’t moving. Having access to exact player statistics also allows players to track and compare their progress, instills players with a sense of competition, and allows for watchdogging of the matchmaking system.
      I feel I must insist on how difficult proper design- and system-related criticism is to produce without data at our disposal. Transparency might mean exposing yourself to scrutiny, Blizzard, but it also means significantly improving your image, and providing yourself with an effective way of self-regulating. I suppose this is where I mention that the company has been displaying questionable transparency as of late; Overwatch doesn’t have an API either (though it is regularly discussed by Blizzard staff, and scraping websites do exist as well), and Hearthstone players can’t see their win rates or match history. By contrast, Warcraft III still lets you browse its ladder.
      The creation of an API is not the only way Blizzard can improve its transparency, however. In fact, an API might not even be necessary if all desirable information was simply given to us somewhere or in some form. Some of it is available, such as individual player statistics, but remains hidden behind a clunky, hermetic system that requires you to work through the chat or friends list system to use. In other words, if you want to look a specific player up, they need to be in a chat room with you (general channel, in-game, and so on) or on your friends list. No ladder exists outside of the Grandmaster ladder and unofficial ladders spawned by data websites. The match history log makes no listing of who played with you. There’s no way to see anyone’s mmr (matchmaking rating), including your own, so you can never tell if you’re being matched with and against players of your skill level. And to this I must ask a resounding “Why?”
      tl;dr: Heroes of the Storm lacks the basic level of transparency other similar games have accustomed players to having. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to assess the quality of the matchmaking system and of balance and design changes. The reliance upon third-party websites for such basic data creates a number of ethical issues.
      III) The Reconnection System
      If I were asked to point out the most frustrating element in Heroes of the Storm, this might just be it. If you’ve never experienced being dropped out of match before, for whatever reason – crashes, connection or computer issues, and so on – here’s how it goes: after obviously relaunching the game, you are treated to a screen inviting you to rejoin your game in progress. There are no other options here, not even an exit button; you either hit “Rejoin” to, well, attempt to rejoin the match, or ALT+F4 your way out of Heroes of the Storm. That’s fine; it incentivizes players to not purposefully disconnect from their matches to go and play another match right away. For some obscure reason, however, this screen doesn’t always appear. I’m not sure what triggers this problem, but if this happens to you, you’re done. There’s no rejoining that game, and you’ll be awarded a loss, your rating will feel the consequences of a left game (that’s 600 points – or 3 wins worth of points, on average) regardless of the match’s outcome. You might also earn yourself a leaver status, on top of potential player reports. This is a rather rare occurrence, however.
      Under normal circumstances, the Rejoin screen will appear, and you’ll hit rejoin, naturally. If the game you’re trying to rejoin is in the process of ending, however (in the Defeat/MVP screens), you’ll be stuck on this screen for an indefinite period of time and have to reboot the game. Again, you’ll be awarded a leave & loss. If the Rejoin button does work, you’ll have to go through the classic Loading screen. Once this is done, you hop right back into the match and get the full control of your Hero and, ready to make a comeback. At least, that's what you'd expect from playing League of Legends, DotA II, or Smite.
      No. After this short loading period, you’ll experience one of the most bizarre and scary things in Heroes of the Storm: The “Reconnect Successful” screen. It looks like this:

      Well, is it? Where'd the game go?

      I’m not certain why it exists, and I certainly don’t claim to understand the underlying systems, but this screen might be best described as some kind of limbo where you hear every sound (including death “bings”) in the match and see every shattered screen from the AI controlling your hero’s inevitable, repeated deaths, in a fast forward kind of replay. As the image above shows, during this time, you’re trapped “catching up” because “the server is X minutes ahead” of you. The quirkiest part of this strange experience, however, is that the time it takes you to reconnect is directly proportional to the current length of the match. On average, you can divide this length by four and end up with a pretty good guess of how long it’ll take you to actually successfully reconnect. Since most Heroes of the Storm matches last between 15 and 20 minutes, disconnecting at any point after 12 minutes means you’ve probably lost, or at least made the match excessively difficult (and more importantly, frustrating) for your teammates. If you do manage to finally reconnect, you’ll have to deal with the AI’s suboptimal talent choices, just to add insult to injury. As it stands, disconnections simply end up being too impactful. Nobody likes their losses (and victories, for that matter) to be defined by outside factors. Online tournaments, too, are affected by this, as thousands of viewers often end up held hostage by the system.
      I feel like I need to reiterate here that I don’t claim understand how the system works. What I do know is that this is the most frustrating reconnection system I have ever experienced, in any game. There’s no sugar coating this one: The process simply needs to become faster; the dreaded “Reconnection Successful” screen has to go. Players need a way to force the system to put them back into matches if the Rejoin screen fails. AI-controlled heroes need to stop picking talents for you; have we considered implementing a shared unit control system instead?
      IV) The Replay System
      Heroes of the Storm’s replay system shares its biggest issue with the reconnection system: Skipping through replays also happens to be an awfully slow process. Jumping to the end of a 16 minutes game took about 2 minutes of loading time, leading me to believe that replays can’t “seek” any faster than their 8x maximum play speed. Thankfully, scanning only has to be performed once; subsequent skipping is much faster. This lengthy initial loading time can still certainly turn off content producers from browsing replays to create highlight reels or showcase certain aspects of the game if they have a number of replays to go through. This also disincentivizes players from reviewing their matches to go over specific events or study certain strategies. Other than that, the replay system is functional, but very bare bones. Blizzard is obviously aware of this because they’ve officially promoted Ahli’s work on a better replay interface. But even with these enhanced features, the system’s polish and features pale in comparison to DotA II’s and League of Legends’ own.
      V) The Queue System
      Although I find queues to be on the long side of things, I can at least understand how the system would struggle to find an appropriate match for players with unusually high win rates, let alone 5 of us – and especially when considering that the game’s population is split across six different game modes. What I do find completely unacceptable, however, is receiving the all too familiar “A player you were matched with has disconnected or left the service” message followed by the need to go through the entire queue again. My group typically has to wait between 8 and 10 minutes to find Quick Match and Unranked matches, and often twice as long for Team League matches. Forcing 9 people to go through the entire process is both insulting and inefficient; if the system has found a match, why not just toss all 9 of us back into the queue and just look for one more instead of wasting some 90 minutes of collective time? Again, I don’t claim to understand the system, but other games do it, and for good reasons. This behavior is considered baseline, not exceptional.

      Awfully typical.
      VI) The Drafting System
      Although Heroes of the Storm heavily touts itself as a team-oriented game, I find it rather strange that we still do not have access to a draft hero trading system. I say “still” here because, as with the above features, hero trading is considered commonplace in the MOBA genre. My guess is that, at this point, there was an active decision to not include one. If this is the case, I must protest: On top of promoting draft interactions, hero trading reduces the impact of randomness in picking order. In other words, the system allows specialized late-pick players to focus on their role, and early-pick flex players to cover a broader variety of roles without feeling forced to play high priority heroes, regardless of the randomized picking order. Imagine yourself in a situation where your tank player might be the 4th or 5th player to pick on your team, in a metagame environment where tanks are generally prioritized. As the 1st pick, would you push your dedicated tank player’s away from their role so as to secure heroes considered high tier? As I mentioned earlier in this article, specializing one’s role is the norm, not the exception; the flexibility of this system is needed to reduce the randomness of drafting. I will mention that about a year ago, there were talks of adding such a system to the game. Here’s to hoping the upcoming BlizzCon will bring us good news about this. If the system does end up implemented, blanket chat blocks will have to be reworked to exclude lobbies. Or, at the very least, an indicator should show who isn’t receiving messages so that attempts at communicating aren’t in vain.
      While we’re at it, I’d also like to quickly touch on the horror that is giving AFK players a random hero instead of outright removing them from the game at hand. I don’t really have an argument for that one; it’s just annoying, and players who are serious about playing should be present for the drafting process.
      VII) Bonus Comments About Other Systems
      Here are some other thoughts that I feel don’t really need a dedicated paragraph to be taken into consideration. In no particular order:
      I’d like to be able to check out mounts in Try Mode. I wish I could use my Stimpacks whenever I please. As it stands, I don’t open Loot Chests unless I know I’ll be playing for a while, and if I do open a Stimpack by accident, I just ALT+F4 my way out of the game to preserve it. I would love to have an item gifting feature for my teammate’s birthday. I don’t particularly care for the forced MVP cut scene after every single match. I rarely see more than 2 people vote anyway; let’s at least have the option to opt out of it. I’d like to be able to check out anyone’s profile, at any time, if I happen to know their BattleTag. I wish my heroes were available across other regions. Players who opt out of receiving messages from non-friends probably shouldn’t be able to whisper other players.  
      Heroes of the Storm is relatively feature-rich as far as modern MOBAs go. Unfortunately, many of these features and systems feel unpolished or underexplored when compared to the game's competitors. While it's difficult to tell just how much they affect the game's popularity, Blizzard has a history of continuously improving and supporting its games over their extensive lifetimes. Furthermore, many developer comments hint at improvements for some of the topics underlined in this article to be announced no later than this BlizzCon, making me excited about what's to come. I'll be there in person to report everything, so stay tuned!
    • By Stan

      The free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of October 24.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: October 24, 2017
    • By Stan

      Heroes of the Storm Highlights are back with the 93rd episode of WTF Moments.
      If you have any interesting replays to share, you can submit them here, but don't forget to include a time stamp!
      Previous Episodes
      WTF Moments Episode 92 WTF Moments Episode 91 WTF Moments Episode 90 WTF Moments Episode 89