Oxygen

Ana Meta Tier List (September 2017)

24 posts in this topic

nIYgMb1.jpg

We present our eleventh Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier List for the Ana patch of September 2017.

Welcome to Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the Ana 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

 

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

 

Prime Tier

Warrior Assassin Support Specialist
Anub'arak- Genji Uther- -
Arthas Greymane Tassadar  
Stitches- Malthael    
       
       

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 Nazeebo+
Diablo Jaina Stukov Sylvanas
E.T.C.+ Li-Ming Malfurion Xul
Garrosh Valla    
Sonya Zeratul    
Varian (Tank)      

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 (new!) Abathur
Chen Cassia Auriel Azmodan
D.Va Chromie Kharazim Murky
Johanna Gul'dan Li Li Probius
Leoric Illidan Lt. Morales+ Zagara
Muradin Kael'thas Lúcio+  
Tyrael Kerrigan Rehgar-  
Zarya Lunara Tyrande+  
  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   Sgt. Hammer
  Samuro    
  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

Ana epitomizes the double healer meta we have been sufering playing with for the last few months, as I feel she is not designed to be a solo healer. Being unable to heal oneself is a pretty big downside, Biotic GrenadeBiotic Grenade just really promotes the double healer playstyle, and the ability happens to counter it a bit itself. Nano BoostNano Boost is like a good Stim DroneStim Drone (sorry, Morales) on a shorter cooldown and really shines with some of the top tier picks, particularly Genji, Li-Ming, Malthael, Sonya, and Nazeebo. Unfortunately, it follows the annoying trend of healer heroic abilities being unable to be self cast. Basically, this means Ana is a solid pick with another healer, and with a strong Nano Boost target. Viable.

Dehaka's damage was recently reduced by the exact threshold that would make him unable to waveclear effectively in the early stages of the game, greatly reducing his ability to split push and outpush some of the other popular solo laners. This damage loss also has repercussions in his ability to really punish isolated heroes with BrushstalkerBrushstalker's movement speed bonus. Dehaka's ability set makes him thrive with an experience lead, so the nerfs will certainly be felt on Zerus.

Brightwing received the ''combine two bad talents into one'' treatment for Dream ShotDream Shot, (which still probably won't be picked over the improved Hyper ShiftHyper Shift) on top of some quite powerful buffs to her ever-popular Phase ShiftPhase Shift build. With Dehaka becoming less powerful, having a global hero that can clear creep turmors as a bonus is certainly appealing. She's in fact currently the healer with the highest win rate, though she, as with most other healers, feels quite balanced.

Leoric's changes proved interesting, but ultimately not powerful enough to keep him up to the higher tiers. He still sits at a very balanced exact 50% win rate, and will continue to guard his eternal niche of countering tank-heavy team compositions.

Kerrigan is the surprise of the month for me, despite a recent small damage shift towards her Primal GraspPrimal Grasp Impaling BladesImpaling Blades combo, and away from EviscerateEviscerate. This translated into slightly better mercenary camp control and burst waveclear, and, of course, a lot more damage for players who can reliably land the combo against two or more players. The way Kerrigan's shields works makes small changes snowball rather quickly in terms of her power level.

Auriel's best talent (arguably, anyway), Bursting Light, was outright removed. In essence, the talent removed the cooldown of her heal and gated it only behind as much damage as her Bestow HopeBestow Hope target could inflict, though her general hope generation was improved by about 20% to make up for that. Blizzard justified the change by saying she was too reliant upon hypercarries to reach her true potential (read: was probably too strong). This is a rather strange change considering late design decisions have been aimed at specializing heroes, and particularly, healers. Expectedly, her win rate and popularity have plummeted.

Rehgar was just slammed with one of the strangest and least expected changes I have ever seen. In essence, Chain HealChain Heal now heals its main target for approximately 25% less, but provides about 25% more healing to its second and third target. While this can technically provide more overall healing, we can't forget the role of healers in, well, saving individual targets from death. This also makes spot healing less effective in general. The ability's range was also reduced by 20% (about 12% for bounces) for good measure as well. It is also worth noting that Ghost WolfGhost Wolf is also bugged right now and no longer pounces to its target. Either way, I feel like the Chain Heal changes are a nerf, not a sidegrade.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen Kael'thas rising in popularity recently (HGC). And yeah, poor Rehgar; Stukov just has a much better version of Chain Heal. Only for Ancestral he may get picked (or some crazy Archon Bloodlust strats teehee).

Do you guys think that with all of them Overwatch Heroes coming, the game's in danger of becoming trapped in an "OW meta"? The mobility that characterises them (fire on the move etc), only exception being Zarya(?), seems much frustrating to play against and giving an unfair advantage (stronger than Lunara's) And Genji probably didn't convince anyone as a strong assassin at first, but with the right enabling, we all saw the horrors.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Fliits said:

How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

I'm inclined to agree, even if I think he's good. He's hard to use for sure, esp. in uncoordinated play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ana is indeed in the right spot. While she can be used as a solo healer in the likes of QM with the Biotic Grenade build (which is arguably her best build), she just performs much better with another healer; Stukov/Auriel/Lucio are particularly very good with her.

And oh boy, Malthael is a beast with her. Tormented Souls + Nano Infusion + Biotic Grenade is godlike.

I  have a question, though. Does Tassadar's basic attacks become spell damage while in Archon? I've ran a match with a Tassadar yesterday and accidentally Nano Boosted him, and for my surprise he appeared to be dealing way more damage.

Edited by Valhalen

Share this post


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

in danger of becoming trapped in an "OW meta"? The mobility that characterises them (fire on the move etc), only exception being Zarya(?), seems much frustrating to play against and giving an unfair advantage (stronger than Lunara's) And Genji probably didn't convince anyone as a strong assassin at first, but with the right enabling, we all saw the horrors.

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Laragon said:

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

Mobility creep also makes older  designs obsolete as a lame side effect. Yes, it's fun to jump around, but when everyone does, positioning and flanking lose so much value. "I isolated genji/tracer" = a thing you'll never hear.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Laragon said:

Yeah, this is a legit fear. Mobility is ALWAYS king in a MOBA. Ana seems to have locked the double support meta to stay, and junk rat splash/wave clear possibility is terrifying. Obviously they won't be completely overwatch heroes, but they carry a lot of weight in the early pick/ban phase.

 

4 hours ago, Oxygen said:

Mobility creep also makes older  designs obsolete as a lame side effect. Yes, it's fun to jump around, but when everyone does, positioning and flanking lose so much value. "I isolated genji/tracer" = a thing you'll never hear.

But HotS isn't a MOBA, it is a Hero Brawler :^)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg imho. While the OW roster may currently lack a reliable, decent solo tank (Zarya/D.Va can't fill that role imho- or maybe they can, but still, can't tank a whole lot), imagine when Reinhardt/Winston/Roadhog(ewwwww) join. I'm willing to bet they'll all be S tier tanks from the get go (if they stay true to their OW design and thusfar, everyone has). Or stuff like Reaper's ult (for which he can use his blink and wraith walk abilities to position perfectly) and so many more. Holy Mother of God...

10 hours ago, Fliits said:

How is Tyrael viable? He's only use is in a dive composition and even then only as a second tank. I'd say he's niche tier, at least for the time being.

I'm positive he gets picked only for his Heroics, both of which are very good and can make the difference (and Holy Ground, but mostly for the Heroics). The rest... just meh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

And that's just the tip of the iceberg imho. While the OW roster may currently lack a reliable, decent solo tank (Zarya/D.Va can't fill that role imho- or maybe they can, but still, can't tank a whole lot), imagine when Reinhardt/Winston/Roadhog(ewwwww) join. I'm willing to bet they'll all be S tier tanks from the get go (if they stay true to their OW design and thusfar, everyone has). Or stuff like Reaper's ult (for which he can use his blink and wraith walk abilities to position perfectly) and so many more. Holy Mother of God...

I highly doubt Roadhog will ever be added to HotS, since he is pretty much Stitches. I can see him as a skin for Stitches, just like the Widowmaker Nova skin.

Winston or Reinhardt, on the other hand, would be very welcome additions to the roster.

Share this post


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

I highly doubt Roadhog will ever be added to HotS, since he is pretty much Stitches. I can see him as a skin for Stitches, just like the Widowmaker Nova skin.

Winston or Reinhardt, on the other hand, would be very welcome additions to the roster.

I feared that as well, but I delved too deep on the matter and saw a multitude of comments in various places. The "other side of the story" is that skins like that don't necessarily rule out the coming of other Heroes. For example, we got Azgul'dan and Gul'dan. And Widowmaker Nova is stated as "Nova cosplaying as Widowmaker", so that presumably leaves a window- and I believe it does. They're both female (hawt) snipers, ok. But the similarities end there. Nova doesn't have poison mines and grappling hooks. Widow doesn't go invis or make clones of herself and so on. Like you got Jimmy and Tychus (I love how they use the first name for one and last name for the other lul), both in a Marine suit but they play entirely differently. I don't think anyone befalls the "Muradin-Magni" category.

Same with Roadhog. Personally, I'd be glad if he didn't make it (cause my guts hate him), just mentioned him as an example of powerful ('meta') front-line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, SteveFrost said:

I feared that as well, but I delved too deep on the matter and saw a multitude of comments in various places. The "other side of the story" is that skins like that don't necessarily rule out the coming of other Heroes. For example, we got Azgul'dan and Gul'dan. And Widowmaker Nova is stated as "Nova cosplaying as Widowmaker", so that presumably leaves a window- and I believe it does. They're both female (hawt) snipers, ok. But the similarities end there. Nova doesn't have poison mines and grappling hooks. Widow doesn't go invis or make clones of herself and so on. Like you got Jimmy and Tychus (I love how they use the first name for one and last name for the other lul), both in a Marine suit but they play entirely differently. I don't think anyone befalls the "Muradin-Magni" category.

Same with Roadhog. Personally, I'd be glad if he didn't make it (cause my guts hate him), just mentioned him as an example of powerful ('meta') front-line.

I completely agree with you. I keep saying that all the time, specially since I really wanna see Broll Bearmantle added into HotS but people keep saying it will never happen because Malfurion already has the Stormmantle skin, which is based on Broll.

My point is: I think we won't see Roadhog playable because his moveset wouldn't be very different from Stitches (Hook, self heal, etc).

Edited by Valhalen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This time i completely agree to the list, with one exception. 

I don't see Tychus anywhere. The reason I looked for him was that with the recent changes to vehicles now being unstoppable. I feel like he and other % based damage dealers might rise in popularity again, since without the ability to cc the vehicles at all, they have become a lot more scary imo and the best way to counter them is % based damage.

Nazeebo is getting more and more popular and so is his toad-build, wich can deal an incredible damage vs those big hitboxes the and piloted objectives provide. So the + is definitely justified. 

 Tyrael is also where he should be. I can't play him and even if every other tank would be banned I would stil hesitate to take him, but that is just cause I can't play him. Seeing him played by good players in games, streams or videos I can understand how powerful and versatile he is. 

The changes on Rehgar seem to really hit him hard in game. Without the ability to prioritise a target for the heals he is just an aoe healer (apart from his ult of course) but not as good at that as other aoe healers (like Stukov, Brightwing or even Lúcio). Really feel like he should get a rework that makes it possible for him to be the aggressive frontline healer I feel he should/could be. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, ecO1 said:

This time i completely agree to the list, with one exception. 

I don't see Tychus anywhere. The reason I looked for him was that with the recent changes to vehicles now being unstoppable. I feel like he and other % based damage dealers might rise in popularity again, since without the ability to cc the vehicles at all, they have become a lot more scary imo and the best way to counter them is % based damage.

Nazeebo is getting more and more popular and so is his toad-build, wich can deal an incredible damage vs those big hitboxes the and piloted objectives provide. So the + is definitely justified. 

 Tyrael is also where he should be. I can't play him and even if every other tank would be banned I would stil hesitate to take him, but that is just cause I can't play him. Seeing him played by good players in games, streams or videos I can understand how powerful and versatile he is. 

The changes on Rehgar seem to really hit him hard in game. Without the ability to prioritise a target for the heals he is just an aoe healer (apart from his ult of course) but not as good at that as other aoe healers (like Stukov, Brightwing or even Lúcio). Really feel like he should get a rework that makes it possible for him to be the aggressive frontline healer I feel he should/could be. 

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned? Anyway, yes at the rest. Rehgar is in a really weird spot, and I don't like it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned? Anyway, yes at the rest. Rehgar is in a really weird spot, and I don't like it.

I completely agree. Tychus is a very niche-nichy spot where there is absolutely no reason to pick him, as Malthael can do everything he can, but way better due the absurdly high self-sustain, plus his insane synergy with Ana's Nano BoostNano Boost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's worth noting that Nanoboost is still awaiting for a fix so that it correctly increases the healing done by the target; would make it a much more impactful tool to give to a tank and, as you say, help cement her place in a double support comp. 

I personally enjoy her more with a double front line, one mobile assassin and a mage or in betweener, but the positional requirements are unforgiving and you must be consistently landing those Q's as much as you can. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Plergoth said:

I personally enjoy her more with a double front line, one mobile assassin and a mage or in betweener, but the positional requirements are unforgiving and you must be consistently landing those Q's as much as you can. 

A team I have been testing with some friends: Garrosh, Malthael, Kel'Thuzad, Stukov, Ana (I'm usually the Ana, using the Biotic Grenade build).

It is quite effective as Garrosh and Malthael both have high self-sustain, and get higher value from the Biotic Grenade buff. And as I mentioned in the Ana thread, Malthael can melt the entire enemy team with a combination of Nano BoostNano Boost (plus Nano InfusionNano Infusion) and Tormented SoulsTormented Souls. It is amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a bit annoying when they introduce high mobility heroes with some cc focused characters. Most of mages cant land simple hit. Genji for example can easily counter Kael both ult by simply rushing out of Phoenix and deflecting pyro. Tracer is same situation. Ofc its not only Kael but also KTD, Jaina, Li and rest ofc mages/specialists. Sadly new heroes outmatch most of old ones and some more reworks would be welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I completely agree with you. I keep saying that all the time, specially since I really wanna see Broll Bearmantle added into HotS but people keep saying it will never happen because Malfurion already has the Stormmantle skin, which is based on Broll.

My point is: I think we won't see Roadhog playable because his moveset wouldn't be very different from Stitches (Hook, self heal, etc).

Imho, Druids can be Multiclass so yeah, wouldn't say he'd just be a Malfurion skin. 

In HoN (Heroes of Newerth), there are at least 3 different Heroes who can hook (last time I checked); Devourer (classic, Pudge port), Gauntlet (hardest to execute, can either pull enemy towards him or himself towards enemy) and Prisoner 945 (can pull multiple people with 1 hook, even a 5-man); as iconic and signature an ability can look, it can certainly fit in more than one unique Heroes. And one thing I like about HotS is that the characters feel really unique gameplay wise (which is something hard to achieve in the genre). Not trying to argue or anything, just sayin' :3

19 hours ago, ecO1 said:

Tychus

I think he's gonna raise too. Apart from the Vehicles thing, the multiple Warrior comps seem as prevalent as ever (I've been seeing double support double warrior single assassin many games) and imho, he feels like a safer Malthael and both his Heroics can be helpful (Odin seems to dominate because it can be strong for teamfights/objective control/sieging or combination of those but Drakken Laser can have its uses too). And Malth has been hit with the nerfhammer quite a bit (he still seems popular though not as much as before)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4.10.2017 at 12:52 AM, Oxygen said:

I think Tychus hasn't been good since his range nerf. He didn't get anything in return; he's not even great against what he's supposed to counter... due to the low range. How do you attack tanks without getting yanked or stunned?

Tychus was my main HL hero pre nerf and I can see that he struggles since the changes. I stil feel like he has got a spot in the game (also in my heart ;) and though atm he might be niche I see some potential for him to rise again. But that will remain to be seen I guess.

On 4.10.2017 at 1:14 PM, Valhalen said:

I completely agree. Tychus is a very niche-nichy spot where there is absolutely no reason to pick him, as Malthael can do everything he can, but way better due the absurdly high self-sustain, plus his insane synergy with Ana's Nano BoostNano Boost.

I feel like Malthael has the same problems as Tychus. Getting cced and burst down wich in the meta current meta can easily happen. If only one of these aspects or even none is given as he, maybe is picked later into a draft, I feel he is extremely hard to deal with and it can feel like he is unkillable. But that is the reason he is prime tier and Tychus, at least imo, could get up to viable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ecO1 said:

Tychus was my main HL hero pre nerf and I can see that he struggles since the changes. I stil feel like he has got a spot in the game (also in my heart ;) and though atm he might be niche I see some potential for him to rise again. But that will remain to be seen I guess.

I feel like Malthael has the same problems as Tychus. Getting cced and burst down wich in the meta current meta can easily happen. If only one of these aspects or even none is given as he, maybe is picked later into a draft, I feel he is extremely hard to deal with and it can feel like he is unkillable. But that is the reason he is prime tier and Tychus, at least imo, could get up to viable.

Both Tychus and Malthael require a solid frontline and crowd control chains to dish out their tank buster damage. Tychus is in a harder spot because he has no self-sustain unless when talented, and he lacks the somewhat high mobility that Malthael has. However, both of Tychus Heroics can win team fights if properly timed/used. He can deal very high damage under the effects of Nano BoostNano Boost during his Commandeer OdinCommandeer Odin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think ETC is very deserving of his +. His popularity in all modes and leagues has skyrocketed. His survivability is very impressive, and he can shrug off a lot of poke damage he might receive. In addition, he has great means on locking enemies down and knocking them out of position. Mosh Pit is undeniably one of the strongest heroics in the game, provided the enemy has little means of interrupting it, or if you use it one those enemies that might do so. Especially if your team can follow up, Mosh Pit can easily dominate a team fight and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

On the other hand, I would argue that Garrosh is easily top tier, or at least deserving of a +. He might have no mobility, but his sustain and survivability are very good. He also has a great deal of utility, able to throw an enemy in a dangerous position, often meaning death if your team has any sort of follow-ups. His Groundbreaker and Wrecking Ball combo can be quite unpredictable as well, and can easily and utterly destroy an enemy if it takes them by surprise. He also has an exceptionally high amount of bans in all modes and leagues, as well as a large amount of picks. I personally find him to be meta defining and a match dictating hero. 

Edited by Maxkitty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/13/2017 at 6:13 PM, Maxkitty said:

I think ETC is very deserving of his +. His popularity in all modes and leagues has skyrocketed. His survivability is very impressive, and he can shrug off a lot of poke damage he might receive. In addition, he has great means on locking enemies down and knocking them out of position. Mosh Pit is undeniably one of the strongest heroics in the game, provided the enemy has little means of interrupting it, or if you use it one those enemies that might do so. Especially if your team can follow up, Mosh Pit can easily dominate a team fight and can be the difference between a win and a loss.

On the other hand, I would argue that Garrosh is easily top tier, or at least deserving of a +. He might have no mobility, but his sustain and survivability are very good. He also has a great deal of utility, able to throw an enemy in a dangerous position, often meaning death if your team has any sort of follow-ups. His Groundbreaker and Wrecking Ball combo can be quite unpredictable as well, and can easily and utterly destroy an enemy if it takes them by surprise. He also has an exceptionally high amount of bans in all modes and leagues, as well as a large amount of picks. I personally find him to be meta defining and a match dictating hero. 

I'm inclined to agree. Tanks have been in a pretty interesting position as of lately.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Oxygen said:

I'm inclined to agree. Tanks have been in a pretty interesting position as of lately.

Definitely they are. I think Blizzard reached a very good balance with all the Tanks / Bruisers right now (maybe except for Cho'gall, he still thrives to find his place in the meta). Look at Arthas, who was considered one of the worst in the game, but now is at a Top Tier position. Another Warrior that will always have a huge impact in the metagame is Dehaka; even though he was hit hard with some nerfs, he still has huge damage, utility and survivability to bring to the table.

Also, now that Ana's inclusion means that the Double Support meta is here to stay, tanks with self-sustain can be even harder to take down thanks to Biotic Grenade further improving their healing (Dehaka, Stitches and Garrosh particularly).

Edited by Valhalen
  • Like 1

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 Oxygen

       
      We present our twelfth 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.  
      Conclusion
      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