Oxygen

Six Aspects of HotS That Need Improvement (The Aftermath)

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BlizzCon 2017 has been Heroes of the Storm's 4th showing at our favourite yearly event. Those who, like me, were poised for sweeping changes and improvements to the game were left quite surprised by some of the announced changes.

About two months ago, I produced a lengthy article about what I perceived Heroes of the Storm's main weaknesses to be. The article – named Six Aspects of HotS That Need Improvement – was generally met with positive reviews and generated much, much discussion, racking up some 400 reddit comments over a 48-hour period. If you haven't read the piece yet, I suggest you do, as I'll be referring to it quite a bit. Here's a quick recap:

Quote

1 – 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.

2 – 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.

3 – The reconnection 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.

4 – Heroes of the Storm’s replay system shares its biggest issue with the reconnection system: Skipping through replays is an awfully slow process. This lengthy initial loading time turns off content producers on top disincentivizes players from reviewing their matches to go over specific events or study certain strategies.

5 – The game’s population is split across six different game modes, which increases queue times significantly. “A player you were matched with has disconnected or left the service” message followed by the need to go through the entire queue again is unacceptable.

6 – 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. Giving AFK players a random hero instead of outright removing them from the game at hand is frustrating.

7 – Bonus issues:

  • 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.

Although it would be rather pompous for me to assume that my vision of the game lines up perfectly with Blizzard's, I was left rather shocked to see that none of the aforementioned issues were actually publicly announced. I specifically say publicly here because some more upcoming changes were in fact discussed during interviews, but were either judged unimportant or not quite ready in time for BlizzCon. The changes that were instead officially announced are as follows: 

  • Structure ammunition removal.
  • Regeneration globes rework.
  • Map objectives reorganization and standardization.
  • Stealth mechanic and related heroes rework.
  • Performance-based matchmaking.
  • Camera distance improvements.

These changes – most of which seem to be aimed at improving new player gameplay experience – are good for the most part, if not a bit unexpected.

My BlizzCon 2017 experience would then become one of hunting down developers and engineers alike to try and figure out what exactly was going on behind the scenes to ultimately see whether or not something was going to be done about the issues I discussed (or if something could be done at all). 

Without further ado, here's what I learned.

I) The Class System

The class system will be expanded to include 7 roles instead of 4. Specifically, warriors will be split into bruisers and tanks, and supports will be split into healers   and "true" supports (Tassadar, Tyrande...). The 7th category was not discussed, but I expect it to split assassins into two more categories which would include ability-based damage dealers and those who tend to rely on basic attacks.

I think the goal of these changes is to give players a better sense of what their role is going to be. However, this information is not going to be particularly useful to anyone if no information about how to play said roles is available. Right now, they're just a label. This just adds more labels.

For Quick Match, the introductory PvP game mode, I'd argue that whether or not players have a better name for their role is irrelevant. Match quality and learning how to play Heroes of the Storm depends on key playmaking pieces such as initiation and healing. These playmaking pieces are often missing from team compositions because tanks and healers being less popular than assassins, and the matchmaker has to deal with whatever it has available or have players wait longer for games. For Draft and Ranked modes, players don't really care about role information because team compositions aren't generally built around the game's class system anyway; they're simply a coincidence because, for the most part, resilient initiators happen to be tanks, and healers are often support heroes.

Other MOBAs have never embraced a hard class system to instead list what individual heroes are capable of, and ultimately simply let players build their compositions from there. If Heroes of the Storm were to ever embrace such a system, heroic abilities would probably have to be changed to no longer dramatically shuffle what individual heroes are capable of. But I digress.

I feel like I need to reiterate here: If Heroes of the Storm is hell bent on having and being designed around a class system, it needs to not throw this system away in its most popular game mode. Words like "tank" and "bruisers" are meaningless without a context.

II) Transparency

In an interview with Travis McGeathy, Lead systems designer, it was stated that Blizzard were afraid of showing player MMR because they feel like like players are going to see it as a thing to chase. I must admit that I'm not too sure how this is a problem; if a player's MMR is going up, it must mean that they're winning... and if they're winning, their MMR needs to go up to account for this. If having one's MMR displayed incentivizes players to play better, I'm all for it. Besides, third party websites already give players something to chase, with the obvious downside of running the risk of being inaccurate. What we currently have is basically the worst of both worlds; we might as well just give players the information and make it clear that it isn't related to their rank.

III) and IV) The reconnection and replay systems

These two systems are artifacts of the Starcraft 2 engine salvaged to build Heroes of the Storm. In a nutshell, this engine keeps track of every action made by players. Upon attempting to reconnect, each of these actions are checked in order to "catch you up" to where you should be. This presents several advantages such as being lightweight and making cheating extremely difficult. The main downside is the loading time experienced by players. In general, and as frustrating it is, the upsides outweigh the downsides. Changing this system would mean rebuilding an entire engine from the ground up, which would be completely unrealistic time- and money-wise. We always need remember that Heroes of the Storm was a passion project turned actual game for Blizzard to ride the MOBA wave. I assume that this came with pretty harsh constraints financially and that reusing the Starcraft 2 engine was just one of many concessions that had to be made to see the project come alive.

Everything else

Most of the other topics I discussed back in October fall under the "quality of life change" and the "on the radar" categories. Things such as shop features or interface options are always in the works but never a priority. Other topics, such as any improvements to drafting (third ban, hero trading, etc.), have their own sets of challenges; how do you clearly communicate these changes, and how do they impact overall game balance are the kind of questions that need be asked. Deeper still, anything that involves microtransactions is kept tightly under control even if it makes little sense to us laymen. Questions such as "why can't I use my Stimpacks whenever I want?" or "why can't I purchase skins directly" all find answers somewhere in the grand Loot Chest scheme which was found to be so successful through Hearthstone and Overwatch that Heroes had to get in on the action.

I wish I had a bit more information to share with everyone, but lips tend to seal up when you mention anything about writing (which, I have to because I generally try and stay out of trouble). And although I did not get to interview anyone this year, fellow Icy Veins writer Kendric did, so I recommend you check that out.

 

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I hope they do something about these most of them are true

I play on EU and QM and ranked queues take about a day :D but AI co-op starts in a sec and brawls also.. they should remove at least co-op and just let players do AI with AI teammates for learning their heroes to stop these people who just want to farm Xp or complete events in short time from coop... this coop just looks like a bug in game which makes pvp queues longer and a system for farming Xp

only thing I disagree is about what some people say..it is that having heroes on all regions... then we should have our skins and also profile levels too so maybe u mean they should remove regions haha 

And the main reason is it means many people will change their regions whenever they want and what's next? Many Chinese people on EU and US so we'll have crap QMs with people who don't understand us lol.. I'm already having problems with Russians since most of them don't understand english and then Chinese people?no thx :)

hots is hots EU US Asia are using same heroes and game so play in your region and have fun n don't ask blizzard for something crap because blizzard put them to put u guys who understand each other better in same place so they could remove regions and let people split everywhere and destroy matches and finally the game..

Edited by MZLICH

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24 minutes ago, MZLICH said:

Many Chinese people on EU and US so we'll have crap QMs with people who don't understand us lol.. I'm already having problems with Russians since most of them don't understand english and then Chinese people?no thx :)

 

I play with game chat turned off so i dont have to hear ^(*^*( from people. I wish i could turn draft chat off too. I dont need to hear your garbage suggestions. 

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Matchmaking (including MMR transparency) and reconnect system have been huge issues for 3 years now.

If they wanted or could fix those, they'd do that already.

So don't get your hopes high, most likely you'll only get another Overwatch hero nobody asked for and more random loot.

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2 hours ago, Oxygen said:

I must admit that I'm not too sure how this is a problem; if a player's MMR is going up, it must mean that they're winning... and if they're winning, their MMR needs to go up to account for this. If having one's MMR displayed incentivizes players to play better, I'm all for it.

He was talking about something everyone could have seen if they played World of Tanks. Community made metric  (game itself didn't have perfomance based MM, don't know about now) was obviously open to everyone to see and what could everyone see is that damage dealt was the biggest component by far. 
So while system itself was fairly correct, system was open to cheesing, don't know other word to express it. Basically, some players would go out of their way to win and stayed as far as they can and farmed free damage that was meaningless in the end (came too late, they didn't share their HP, etc), by the system they were great, while in the reality they were not. 

They just want to prevent people from fooling the system by not letting them know what even precisely makes the system. Is it right move, I don't know.

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I think the bigger problem with transparency is that people would too heavily rely on it to justify their stats or actions. If other people would see that I'm (for example) a gold 1 with a win rate of 1:11 (purely in theory, people), they would justifiably be furious that someone that bad could get to the same rank as them. These are problems that a 10 placement match and a performance based system would entail. If you give people the option to see who is statically the best, there is bound to be some dick measuring.

Edited by Fliits
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Almost 3 years and people still dont understand the main issue are people who deliberatly join games and go afk or rush in to die 1vs5 so that the match gets over sooner.And right after that is the reconnect bug ( stuck in reconecting and needing to close client and wait for aaaaaall the catch up since then). 

Nah who cares about that stuff,the important thing is to split warrior and support classes to sub classes,thats way higher prio.

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46 minutes ago, Kurosu said:

Almost 3 years and people still dont understand the main issue are people who deliberatly join games and go afk or rush in to die 1vs5 so that the match gets over sooner.And right after that is the reconnect bug ( stuck in reconecting and needing to close client and wait for aaaaaall the catch up since then). 

Nah who cares about that stuff,the important thing is to split warrior and support classes to sub classes,thats way higher prio.

I don't actually see that happen very often.

Transparency is good as Oxygen says though because who cares if some try to cheese and pad stats, it only works if you WIN. An extra kill at the end isn't a big deal and probably wouldn't be too huge of a problem.

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I personally don't care that much about the disconnect system.  Yes, it is painful, but I have only been disconnected a few times in the couple years I have played.

My main things I am desiring right now are:

Trolls in ranked. 

They need to get rid of them.  It is hard to define "troll", which is why they probably do nothing about it.  But when I see a teammate that just puts down a hero, everyone else says "is there something else you can play, we need 'X' for our team" or someone puts nothing down and just picks something in 2 seconds that we certainly don't need...that is trolling.  I have had triple spec teams in HL because people refuse to team draft.  As you said, QM does not prepare you for this, so everyone in HL suffers.

Additionally, I think at a bare minimum they need to UP the ranked requirements.  People should not be allowed to play level 6 heroes in ranked.  There needs to be a higher baseline on experience with a hero to use it.  If they want to play it in Unranked, sure.

I am sick of trolls in general.  People that pick solo tank and then solo lane the entire game without helping on objectives.  I don't know how to fix this, but it is very toxic and new people won't invest money in a game that fosters toxic behavior.  If someone is just not as good as me (still talking about ranked), then I can live with that.  I can't live with people who troll games on a ladder system.

 

Global skill usage

I wish they would allow you to target the players Icon on the top bar.  So if I am brightwing, I want to be able to Z to the person without trying to get them on mini map (which sometimes works and sometimes not), and also I really don't like scrolling the map there and not seeing what is around ME for a few seconds.  Same goes for Illidan hunt, ETC stage dive, and probably some others.  I would also like to be able to cast Azmodon trait without scrolling to the lane. I don't care about the precise unit I cast it on, I'd like to be able to cast it on the mini map and it just pick the closest unit to my pick coordinates.

 

Team compositions

I agree %100, the labels don't really translate into drafting system.  They need to show the role as an icon next to your team, so you can see what roles you have and don't have and what the other team has.  I would also love to see some sort of team stats shown, based on the heroes selected.  I don't know how that would work, but like an aggregation of DPS, health, attack dps, spell dps (of course at level 1 with no talents selected).  That way you can sort of see a team's dps vs soaking potential so far, spell vs auto attack dps, etc.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, ArtVandelay said:

I am sick of trolls in general.  People that pick solo tank and then solo lane the entire game without helping on objectives.

I wouldn't really say that is trolling. I have been "forced" to solo lane as a Main Tank many times because the rest of the team simply gives no fucks to waveclear. When the Tank is forced to waveclear because the Specialists are not paying attention, we have a serious problem.

I also have a few suggestions of what I wanna see:

Mouse-over glow in low resolution settings: that green/red highlight is something I've always found very handy, as it makes targetting a lot easier. The problem is, it is disabled if you run on low settings, which is my case (I play on a shitty 7 year old Macbook).

Show health percentage on the character's healthbar: another thing that would be very handy.

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I wish they'd add some kind of signal option for quickplay so it'd stop giving you teams without tanks and healers when you are facing such because the varians never go tank and the kharazims never go healer

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12 hours ago, Banard said:

I play with game chat turned off so i dont have to hear ^(*^*( from people. I wish i could turn draft chat off too. I dont need to hear your garbage suggestions. 

go play other mobas then.. hots is just about teamwork and teammates should be in harmony and hear each other ... if it wasn't necessary blizzard wouldn't add chatbox to game... but these days people even use voice chat on a just simple QM... your text just looks like a joke mate:)

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2 hours ago, Kurosu said:

Almost 3 years and people still dont understand the main issue are people who deliberatly join games and go afk or rush in to die 1vs5 so that the match gets over sooner.And right after that is the reconnect bug ( stuck in reconecting and needing to close client and wait for aaaaaall the catch up since then). 

Nah who cares about that stuff,the important thing is to split warrior and support classes to sub classes,thats way higher prio.

One of the reasons newer (and less knowledgeable) players continue to make mistakes when trying to fight in a team environment is not knowing the role of characters they're not familiar with. 

"AFK Abathur reported."   "D.Va why you not tanking?"  "Brightwing, mount and get to us!"

 

One of the things the labels help to do is let others know what a character is capable of doing and what they're not. A warrior isn't necessarily a tank. Assassins don't all have burst damage. Supports don't mainly heal. Specialists likely don't do what they think they do.  New and less knowledgeable players think that because they get outplayed that a character has better damage. Or that all characters should or DO have equal damage/surviability/lanin/seige potential.

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1 hour ago, Tarvesh said:

One of the reasons newer (and less knowledgeable) players continue to make mistakes when trying to fight in a team environment is not knowing the role of characters they're not familiar with. 

"AFK Abathur reported."   "D.Va why you not tanking?"  "Brightwing, mount and get to us!"

 

 

That is not what i descibed.What I did mean are the kind of people that literally run and engage to die.Oh and I forgot to mention the people that join to play pve and never engage in any pvp situations ( no i do not mean exp soaking )

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The reconnection and replay issues and system are still by far the most hindering things this game experiences, especially when Blizzard wants to be taken seriously on the esport circuit. You can't have outdated engines or playing on newest patches with known issues (?????) and then expect sponsors and professional teams to devote time and money to your game when there isn't even an outline or a timeframe to at least make attempts at improving the infrastructure. 

On top of the other little things, most recently I would like to see 'bundle only' things either a) offer far more for your money or b) be scrapped and let us choose which skins we want to buy that are gem only rather than have to buy a bundle to gain one specific variant. 

More loudout slots as well might be nice. 

Edit: More options to find groups. I'd love to be able to log on and not rely on broadcast to 40+ people, 10 of which are on HotS, that I am a tank/support up for QM stacks or TL and what bracket of general skill level rather than what it is currently where it's literally just quite random... it might even help QM games be better overall and rounded experiences as well. 

Edited by Plergoth

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I agree with every thing from the list and bonus list except for getting rid of the mvp screen. They should give like 10 or 20 gold for every vote you give. Also ranked bots need to be better.

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6 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

Additionally, I think at a bare minimum they need to UP the ranked requirements.  People should not be allowed to play level 6 heroes in ranked.  There needs to be a higher baseline on experience with a hero to use it.  If they want to play it in Unranked, sure.

Man, most of what you said I wouldn't care too much, but this I wholeheartedly disagree! Like, it takes already WAY too long to be able to play Ranked, especially since QM as almost nothing to do with ranked. I play some really mean Johanna, Li Li, Alex, Abathur and Leoric in Ranked, none of those I'm even close to being as good with in QM because of all the random elements like Team comp being usually garbage for the map, the map being the worst map for the character or just not having anything that synergizes well enough with the character you picked... I played Alex and Hanzo right out the door(as soon as I could) and found great success(I still do but need to be more careful since they've been figured out by fairly everyone now, see all the Hanzo bans).

I just think that if you suck, you should be filtered with others that suck, then again I wonder how that doesn't just doom the person to forever be someone that sucks because they get used to poor tactics, little to no coordination and just overall terrible teammates...

The only thing I think we can agree is that the system needs A LOT of improvement.

Edited by EDL666
Just cleaning the post.

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The biggest cancer right now is the performance-based matchmaking in QM. I have no idea if its turned off right now as in HL/TL but before this i never got people who just completly dont have a clue on whats going on. QM is unplayable right now because, these noobs never lane/soak. They never take camps. On top of that they just go teamfight someone and suicide. Im not the best player in the world but i know when im supposed to be laning,when is a good time to take mercenarries and when is a good time to initiate a teamfight. Right now it probably put me in complete bottom with people that have no map awareness what so ever. Im thinking im gonna play HL/TL because of this.

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That Imperius pic lol.

Sums it up my feelings perfectly. This game needs more Imperiusness in it. Brazenly!

"SILENCE!!!!"

 

On topic though, I believe Quick Match mode should not be put so much attention upon. It's like both the player community AND the developers are using it as a source of statistics for hero balance/tuning purposes. Frankly, they should remove it from the game; it makes other modes, namely Unranked Mode completely unused, almost redundant. (I don't wanna say "fully redundant" because they're completely different since one of them has a drafting phase and the other doesn't, but it's a fact that QM displaces Unranked as the most played mode other than the Leagues). QM fails to teach players basic aspects of the game such as the importance of ALL roles (there are other roles besides assassin & warrior) and how to draft.

Edited by Leadblast

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3 hours ago, Leadblast said:

That Imperius pic lol.

Sums it up my feelings perfectly. This game needs more Imperiusness in it. Brazenly!

"SILENCE!!!!"

That's exactly why I picked it. You'll notice that my article about performance-based matchmaking uses Tyrael, who represents justice...

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18 hours ago, MZLICH said:

go play other mobas then.. hots is just about teamwork and teammates should be in harmony and hear each other ... if it wasn't necessary blizzard wouldn't add chatbox to game... but these days people even use voice chat on a just simple QM... your text just looks like a joke mate:)

There is no communication in chat. There is attempted communication. All you need in this game is pings. Simple as that. Anything else is some moron thinking he knows better then the rest of the team. 

And did I say anything about not using voice chat? 

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7 hours ago, Oxygen said:

That's exactly why I picked it. You'll notice that my article about performance-based matchmaking uses Tyrael, who represents justice...

lmao, I didn't get it at first... Tyrael embodies justice, which you may see fitting in that article as in "the matchmaking system needs to have justice in it" but Imperius embodies valor? Maybe "the valor to go ahead and make changes to this game you are afraid of, in order to improve it"? rofl

 

Oh, and thinking further about the hero classes (or roles, whatever). There are a lot of assassins that feel like specialists in one way or another (Ragnaros, Junkrat, etc). There are specialists that feel like supports (Abathur, Medivh) and one that feels like an assassin (Sylvanas). I think just "expanding the classes and make existing heroes with a dubious classification fit better into it" is not gonna do in the long run.

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8 hours ago, Oxygen said:

That's exactly why I picked it. You'll notice that my article about performance-based matchmaking uses Tyrael, who represents justice...

So if things work out you'll put a picture of Auriel? Because "There is always hope"?

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4 hours ago, Valhalen said:

So if things work out you'll put a picture of Auriel? Because "There is always hope"?

Or if things turn out bad and this game dies... there will be a Malthael picture lol. "In the end, only death remains".

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16 hours ago, Leadblast said:

That Imperius pic lol.

Sums it up my feelings perfectly. This game needs more Imperiusness in it. Brazenly!

"SILENCE!!!!"

 

On topic though, I believe Quick Match mode should not be put so much attention upon. It's like both the player community AND the developers are using it as a source of statistics for hero balance/tuning purposes. Frankly, they should remove it from the game; it makes other modes, namely Unranked Mode completely unused, almost redundant. (I don't wanna say "fully redundant" because they're completely different since one of them has a drafting phase and the other doesn't, but it's a fact that QM displaces Unranked as the most played mode other than the Leagues). QM fails to teach players basic aspects of the game such as the importance of ALL roles (there are other roles besides assassin & warrior) and how to draft.

I disagree with how you feel about QM. As someone who plays almost exclusively QM (and maybe half a dozen unranked and 0 ranked despite playing for over a year) I think it is absolutely a mode worth keeping and should at least partially be factored into balance changes. 

The types of quests the game gives is a major reason for keeping QM around. If I have quests to play let's say 3 games as a support and 2 games as a starcraft hero I would be best served playing as either Stukov, Morales, or Tassadar but then if one of them gets banned, another picked by someone else that could leave me either playing a character I am not good with or a character that does nothing to help me progress my quests but does help the team comp so I have to try my luck in another game to see if I can get a character that helps me complete my quests efficiently. Quick Match lets a player hop into a match with whatever hero they want and get the quests done quickly. There is matches against the AI but that does even less to prepare for the modes with drafts. The quests would need to be more play X games or win Y games and less forcing specific franchises or roles and/or the AI matches would need to give the same experience as playing with humans for this game to work without quick match 

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      Taking a Boss in the early game is generally considered an extremely risky move with very little payoff. The Boss will demand a soft defense but won’t get much done unless your teammates are pushing with it. If you’ve already committed multiple members to taking the Boss and there is no going back now—what do you do next? “A big mistake teams make on Sky Temple is taking the Boss in the midgame and letting it push alone on its own. The best utilization of the Boss is when there is a specific plan you can get your team behind: ‘Take this Boss and push with it’, or ‘take this Boss and go kill top Keep while they defend the Boss on bot Keep’, or ‘take this Boss and then go to the other side of Cursed Hollow and take that Boss and push with it while they defend the first one’. If you take a Boss and let it wander on its own, it's a mistake.”
      Baiting a Fight on Boss
      Yes, the Boss does an excellent job of pushing the lane, creating map pressure, and demanding a response. However, it can be an amazing tool for starting a fight as well. “If you're up—say level 16 to 14—that is usually a good time to start a Boss. If the other team tries to contest you, you're fine taking that fight, so long as everyone on your team gets off the Boss and fights. If they don't contest you, take the Boss and push their Keep with a talent tier advantage. You turn your level lead into getting a Keep down, or if you get a pick while they're defending you might just win the game.”
      Communication is key! When you’re not trying to bait a fight, you should make that as clear as possible to your teammates. “If there are times when you know you're just sneaking the Boss and you can't win a fight if they enemy team finds you, you should try and let your team know that like, 'Hey, we're trying to sneak this, if someone scouts us just back up and give it up unless it's almost dead'.”
      Sneaky, Sneaky, Dead.
      Sneaking Bosses can be good when you have Heroes that have high damage output such as Greymane, Sonya, or Jaina. “A common Boss sneak happens on Tomb of the Spider Queen,” said Cauthonluck. “If you can force the enemy team to clear the bottom Web Weaver last, your team can start Boss on top as soon as the Web Weavers die. It's very easy to kill and capture that Boss before the enemy team can rotate top from the bottom Web Weaver.”
      The Hail Mary Play
      When a game looks all but over, sometimes the only option is to pull a Boss and pray for the best. This fight usually determines the outcome of the game, so make sure your lanes are pushed out enough that catapults or a devious backdoor won’t spell your unfortunate demise before you engage. “The point of this desperation play isn't necessarily to get the Boss. If they don't fight you, you get it for free and it's a little bit of an advantage, but the entire point of that move is to get the enemy team to fight you while they're not quite 20. It's a valid strategy.”
      Should I Try and Solo the Boss? ave a Reason and Follow Through
      Short Answer? No.
      Long Answer: “I would almost never recommend soloing a Boss. Maybe with an Illidan and Abathur combo, it could be worth it—but in general, it takes so long that even if you're capable of doing it, it's far too risky and the map control you give up just isn't worth it. Anytime you have someone capable of soloing a Boss it's generally way more effective to just bring one extra DPS with them and kill the Boss much quicker and make yourself less vulnerable to being invaded. You can still have the same benefit, you're doing the Boss without the enemy team knowing and you can still do that while having three of your Heroes visible on the map instead of four. It's something that really shouldn't be attempted.”
      Thieves in the Night
      It is possible, albeit difficult, for Medivh to steal the Boss with Ley Line Seal. So, you’re casually strolling between mid and bot lane with some of your teammates minding your own business when you catch a glimpse of the enemy Varian wailing away on the Boss. Prepare to invade!
      “Tyrael's Holy Ground is your best friend when it comes to stealing a Boss," said Cauthonluck. "Although, Zarya's Expulsion Zone is also very good. Chen's Wandering Keg can achieve kind of the same thing, although it can be difficult to get all their members off the point long enough to capture it. Falstad's Mighty Gust is another tool, but it can be tricky to setup because it requires hitting the Gust into Barrel Roll from a very specific angle where it sweeps the entire enemy team off and leaves you on the point. Any time you do that you're basically resigning yourself to death. I would be very careful with that one.”
      To Defend or Not to Defend
      What is the best way to go about deciding who needs to defend against a pushing Boss? "Most of the time you're going to want to defend with everybody," said Cauthonluck. "However, if the enemy team isn't pushing with their Boss, it's usually best not to defend with all five but to have your highest DPS Heroes defending while your Warriors and Supports are doing useful things on the map such as soaking, defending other lanes, or doing Mercenary camps."
      As always, do your best to be constantly aware of the variables in play. "If you're one or two creep waves away from getting to 16 or 20, then it can be good to have four people defend and one person on your team go to soak that talent tier before you defend hard."
      Armed with this information, hopefully your next attempt at Boss will be a little more thought out. Check back with us tomorrow for more of Midgame Moves Week when Team Dignitas' Vilhelm "POILK" Flennmark explains how to recover from a lost team fight.  
    • By Stan
      It's time for Midgame Moves week in Heroes of the Storm! In the first installment, Wade "Dreadnaught" Penfold covers map pressure and mercenary camp timings.
      Dou you remember Opening Moves that covered a wide range of subjects, aimed to educate players on the variety of different ways to start a competitive match?
      #1: The 4-1 Split #2: How to Know If You'll Win the Level 1 Fight #3: Pushing Towers Early #4: The 5v5 Mid Strategy #5: The Chinese Bush Meta Midgame Moves is a continuation of the series and the second installment about boss control will be available tomorrow!
      Blizzard (Source)
      It’s Midgame Moves Week for Heroes of the Storm—and we’re continuing the educational content series that kicked off 2018 featuring some of the smartest personalities in the scene. Midgame Moves will be focusing on the meaty middle portion of a competitive game! Today we will focus on Map Pressure and Mercenary camp timings.
      What is Map Pressure?
      Every game of Heroes of the Storm is a race between two teams. The team winning the race is the team with more map pressure at any given time, demanding a response from their opponents. That team is in the driver’s seat. That is the team with the freedom to make decisions.
      The team that doesn’t have map pressure is that team responding to it, trying to defuse it. That team is on the back foot—defending their structures against minion waves, Impalers, Punishers, Hellbats, Armored Gnolls, Grave Golems, Immortals, Calvary… you get the picture.
      “Map pressure is probably one of the most important aspects of Heroes of the Storm,” said Wade “Dreadnaught” Penfold, former professional player for Tempo Storm and current HGC caster. “When you apply pressure at multiple points of the map at once you are buying yourself more time to rotate and more time to make decisions before your opponent. Map pressure is the tool used to increase the chance of obtaining and maintaining an experience advantage.”
      When Should I Be Doing Camps?
      You should never take any camp without having a reason for doing so. Obviously, it’s less risky to take camps on your side of the map (safe camps) than it is on your opponent’s side (not-safe camps). Sneaking enemy camps almost always ends in tragedy, so it’s in your best interest to refrain unless your team is on the same page.
      Ask yourself this series of questions every time you consider taking a camp:
      Does my team need me elsewhere? Are we going to be able to push with this camp? If I start this camp, am I in danger ob eing invaded by the enemy? Do I need help to do this camp quickly? Which enemy Hero am I anticipating will come to clear this camp? “Before level 10 you should not be doing camps if you do not have a member of the team soaking in every lane,” Dreadnaught adds. “I am not saying that you must have a person in each lane for every waking moment of the laning phase, but it is very important to capture as much experience as possible on the battleground as fast as possible.”
      Know Your Mercenary Camp
      Siege Giants – “Siege Giants have a long-range, high-damage auto attack. Try to focus on keeping them alive by zoning out your opponents. Late game pressure is where the Siege giants are a step above the rest of the mercenaries—but no matter the point of the game, if they are left unchecked, you are going to regret not clearing them.” Found on: Dragon Shire, Cursed Hollow, Garden of Terror, Haunted Mines, Blackheart’s Bay, Sky Temple, and Tomb of the Spider Queen. Sappers – “The Sappers do a large amount of damage and they are one of the more reliable camps to get structural damage from, but they need to reach a certain range from the Towers before they cast their charge. You will need to escort them into Tower range.” Found on Towers of Doom and Haunted Mines. Impalers – “Impalers act much like Siege Giants, in that they auto attack from outside of Tower range, but their overall effectiveness is a notch down. They can be stacked on certain maps like Infernal Shrines, and that can make them more threatening.” Found on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines. Hellbats – “Hellbats are tougher in terms of health than the other siege camps, but their limited range makes them less impactful in sieging. Their splash damage helps to clear, and their large health pools allow them to tank Tower shots. Their auto attacks reduce Armor on Heroes, which makes them a pain to clear on your own.” Found on Braxis Holdout and Warhead Junction. Assault Troopers – “Assault troopers can out-range enemy towers and will help push a wave, but this camp struggles to pack the same punch compared to Siege Giants or Sappers.” Found on Volskaya Foundry. Armored Gnolls – “Alterac Pass is brand new and we are still learning how to play the map in the most effective way possible, but [Armored Gnolls] function much like the Hellbats. I think it’s safe to say that the Armored Gnolls should be treated as Hellbats both in effectiveness and how to approach them.” Found on Alterac Pass. Knights – “Knights are the best camp in the game to push with because the Wizard minion provides a Spell Armor aura. This aura helps increase everyone’s ability to push and makes your minion wave difficult to clear. When the Wizard falls, the camp is far less impactful, so try to protect that little guy at all costs.” Found on Dragon Shire, Cursed Hollow, Garden of Terror, Blackheart’s Bay, Sky Temple, and Tomb of the Spider Queen. Fallen Shaman – “The Fallen Shaman spawns dogs that will fight on his behalf and when they die he will bring in a new set of puppers. The Shaman will stay out of range of Towers and Forts the entire time, so unless you respond to him and kill him, you are relying on the minions to clear him and his dogs. This takes a very long time to make happen and because of this, the camp is the best at split pushing.” Found on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines. Goliaths and Raven – “Goliaths can’t out-range the Towers which makes the camp not ideal for sieging. It does provide a solid amount of threat to heroes because the Raven has a long-range seeker missile that can do a decent amount of damage. You can out-range the ability and avoid the damage, but it will force you away from the camp a significant distance. The Raven also has AoE damage to try to help the Goliaths push and the Goliaths are pretty tanky.” Found on Braxis Holdout and Warhead Junction. Why Wait to Capture the Camp?
      So, you’ve done the camp and it’s time to stand on the circle to capture it and get those Mercs pushing. WAIT! You could get so much more out of this if you put a little thought into what you’re doing!
      “You should be stalling the cap whenever you know that there is going to be an objective spawning on the map and that there is no way that anyone on the opponent’s team can contest you," Dreadnaught said. "There are hundreds of different situations where stalling will help your team out, but in all of these cases you are stalling to ensure that you are capping your camp with a purpose and timing it in order to give your team the greatest advantage possible.”
      Stalling the cap of a camp is small change you can make to your game that can have a potentially major impact. “A good example of this would be on the first Shrine Phase of Sky temple," Dreadnaught said. "Your opponents are likely going to start their Knight camp at some point during this time frame and if they do, you may consider stalling the cap of yours to ensure that the Knights meet up under the cover of your top Fort Towers. This gives you the easiest defense position to clear and will allow your Knights to push without interruption while your team fights on the Temple.”
      Common Camp Capture Timings
      Battlefield of Eternity:
      “Capture Impalers before first Immortal.” “Capture Shaman camp as the Immortal spawns.” Braxis Holdout:
      “Either Camp during the Beacon Phase to create pressure and help enable the control.” Cursed Hollow:
      “Capture Giants as the first tribute spawns.” “Capture Knights in between the first and second tribute spawns.” Dragonshire:
      “Roughly 45 seconds after a Dragonknight dies, capture any camp available. This better sets up the map for the next shrine phase.” Garden of Terror:
      “Whenever you have one of the two Garden Terrors cleared, pick up a close camp to demand a response and then get free seeds from the opposite terror. “ “Capture Giants as you are channeling to pilot your own Garden Terror and then pressure mid and bottom with the terror.” Haunted Mines:
      “Capture Sappers and Giants during mine phase to get free damage while everyone is getting skulls.” “Capture Giants when the Grave Golem is sieging to help defend and get counter pressure.” Infernal Shrines:
      “Capture Impalers during the laning phase between rotations of middle and bot lane.” “Capture bottom Impalers once you have control over mid with first Impaler set.” “Capture the Shaman Camp anytime the Shrine spawns middle or bottom, especially bottom.” Sky Temple:
      “Capture Giants and Knights before first Temple phase.” Tomb of the Spider Queen:
      “Capture Knights before or during first turn-in phase.” Towers of Doom:
      “Capture Sappers as soon as they spawn and as often as you can on bottom half of the map.” Volskaya Foundry:
      “Capture bottom Turret Camp as soon as it spawns and as often as possible” “Capture the Support Camp as soon as the Turret camp is picked up, try to take this camp as frequently as possible.” With a little practice and patience, split-pushing and pressuring your opponents can become second nature. Be sure to check back in with us tomorrow for more of Midgame Moves week when we cover everything you need to know about Boss control with HeroesHearth Esports’s Coach Rori "CauthonLuck" Bryant-Raible.
    • By Stan
      Free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of July 17 and features Yrel!
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: July 17, 2018
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Falstad Cassia Ana Lt. Morales Hanzo (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Alarak (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Chen (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Yrel (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
    • By Stan
      Blizzard today fixed a bug from July 10 that affected team compositions in Quick Match games.
      Placeholder for tweet 1017845167808659456 The latest Heroes of the Storm content patch went live earlier this week and with it a bug that lead to erroneous matchmaking in Quick Matches.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hi everyone,

      We've just rolled out a fix in order to address this issue. Please let us know if you continue to encounter very unusual team compositions during your Quick Match games.

      Thank you!
    • By Stan
      Heroic deals for the week of July 17 include the Butcher and Lost Vikings!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Every Tuesday, we place a number of Heroes on sale, and swap a fresh set of cosmetics into the featured item rotation. Check out this week’s items and then head in-game to pick up anything that catches your eye. Heroic Deals: July 17 – 23, 2018
      Our next set of Heroic Deals will begin on Tuesday, July 17! Check out the list of upcoming featured items and Hero discounts below. Upcoming Hero Sales
      The Butcher — Sale Price: 312 gems The Lost Vikings — Sale Price: 375 Gems The following skins and mounts will be added to the featured item rotation and will become purchasable with gems until this round of Heroic Deals comes to an end:
      Upcoming Featured Skins
      The Butcherlisk Pajama Party Lost Vikings Mecha Rehgar Cheerleader Kerrigan Toxic Demonic Auriel Deep Herald of N'Zoth Alarak Upcoming Featured Mounts
      Crimson Ringmaster's Pride Ghost Speeder