Stan

Reddit Developer Q/A: Apr 13 Roundup

18 posts in this topic

36902-heroes-of-the-storm-development-up

We have a full list of questions answered by Blizzard from the latest developer Q/A.

Earlier today, Game Director Alan Dabiri, Lead Game Designer Travis McGeathy, Lead Content Designer Matt Cooper and Lead Systems Designer Joe Piepiora have been answering your questions on r/heroesofthestorm.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

In order to have a better system reconnect and replay and spectate, does the game need a "new engine", or is it otherwise impossible to make those systems significantly better? Ideally you'd want to be able to change the netcode to send some kind of "full state" so that the game doesn't have to re-simulate every single command (which is what takes so damn long). Is this assessment even close to correct, and how hard is this to change in the current engine?

There is some validity to what you are saying, but I don’t think “impossible” is the right word.

Heroes of the Storm uses a peer-to-peer networking architecture. This architecture offers a lot of benefits, but also makes certain things more difficult. Unfortunately, reconnect is one of those things. Having said that, it is not impossible to make improvements to the system. We’ve actually improved the system on a couple occasions since the original launch of the game. But we’re absolutely with you guys that the system is far from perfect, and could use more love.

This again comes down to prioritization. The same people who would work on improving the reconnect system are the same engineers working on matchmaking and ranked improvements. After looking at the reconnect stats, we decided that matchmaking and ranked system improvements would benefit far more players right now.

The only simple improvement I could see with the current engine is to pause the game while a player is reconnecting, with a timer that shows where he's at in the game and roughly how fast he's catching up. A pause is annoying, but I feel it would be an overall plus over playing longer with a bot.

Regarding the pause idea: We do have the ability to pause the game which we use for esports scenarios. So far we've decided that this would be too disruptive to use in normal games if a single player had a bad connection/computer.

Will you change matchmaking rules for QM so that the games are more balanced and don’t have 4 assassins vs 3 specialists?

Yes, I actually discuss this in more detail here.

Are you considering allowing to downvote / remove maps, so I can only play the maps I like?

This is something that is brought up occasionally within the team. At the moment our focus is squarely on improving the matchmaking process, and while some sort of map preference system could be interesting it’s not on our radar in the near-term. We believe there are gameplay improvements that can be made for some of our existing battlegrounds in order to make them more enjoyable to play for the majority of our players, so our strategy is to prioritize making all the battlegrounds we have more fun to play rather than giving players more means to opt out of playing them. We have several battleground updates in the works already; Matt discusses them in more detail here.

Are we getting the ability to watch games of our friends live at some point?

The team is very interested in delivering this functionality to players, but the technology that drives our replay system and it’s peer to peer nature does not make this simple to deliver. Compared to other features we are discussing this is pretty low on the priority list.

Are you considering improving the tutorial system?

We’re considering several different methods of better educating our players. I touch on some of these in this comment.

Will you consider a surrender option, especially when team mates are AFK or inactive for a long time?

We don’t plan to include a surrender option to the match experience, and instead are focusing on improving our actioning for AFK or inactive players. We feel that the addition of the surrender option will ultimately yield a net negative social experience for players in the match. It serves as a point of contention during the match where the team cooperation can grind to a halt in the face of deciding whether or not to quit the game.

We do however have plans to include a Loss Forgiveness feature for players who are affected by leavers during a ranked match. I intend to write a blog post sometime in the next two weeks to describe this system in more detail.

Are there any plans to improve the bot AI? Currently the bots cannot help win a game if somebody disconnects.

We’ve actually made great strides with our AI tools over the past year. While an AI-controlled player will never be able to fully replicate a human player, we have improvements planned to help shore up some of our weaker AIs and ensure that they perform their roles more effectively in the match experience. This is an ongoing process that happens in parallel to other development.

Did you ever consider a full MMR reset with all the issues and effects coming with that?

We tend to consider everything when looking at solutions and, yes, we’ve considered what an MMR reset would mean. Man…it’s UGLY. The utopian view is that a reset would be a short period of utter chaos where everyone starts out equal and is essentially tossed into a giant thunderdome where the weak are slaughtered by the strong until everyone is sorted properly.

More realistically, it would be an extended period of utter chaos long after placements as those placement games would be almost completely arbitrary. With no starting MMR to use to match players up, it would be entirely luck-of-the-draw for team comps and where you end up after placements would come down to chance more than anything.

From there, the ranks would have to slowly sort themselves out as the GMs who ended up in silver/gold due to being matched repeatedly with teams full of bronze/silver players dominate those games where the bronze players who found themselves in platinum due to being in games filled with masters end up throwing most of their games as they slowly work their way back down the ranks. In the process, the GMs are inflating the win rate of the low rank players they’re playing with and the bronze players are tanking the win rate of the ones they’re playing with making it more difficult for everyone to end up at their deserved rank.

In short, it would be expected to be an awful experience for everyone.

An API for individual and global statistics has been another topic since forever...

Releasing a public API has been something the dev team has also wanted for a long time. We have an initial version of this API working internally that is used by our HGC and Heroes Game websites. The problem is that it isn’t complete, and it isn’t setup in a way to support the needs of a public facing API (i.e. reliability).

Unfortunately, the same people who would work on finishing this public API are the same people that are working on features like improving matchmaking and the ranked game mode. Because of that, we simply haven’t been able to justify prioritizing it above those features. As of right now, we don’t have engineers working on this, and until we get through a lot of the player facing improvements (matchmaking, ranked, etc), we wouldn’t prioritize this.

Regarding our philosophy of what we’re ok with having in an API, I would say that we’re ok with having almost everything you can see in your own in-game profile. On the match history side, we’d like to include basically every game stat that we track for a match. Everything you see on the scorescreen, and probably a bunch of stuff that we track but don't show on the score screen. We’ve also ok with even adding “aggregate” stats across the whole player base like hero pick/win rates, talent pick/win rates, etc. Again, this is the philosophy of what we’d like to get in, now it’s just a matter of when we can dedicate resources to it.

Quick Match has been a hot topic in the community lately. What's your take on it?

Quick Match is still our most popular game mode in Heroes of the Storm by far. We don’t think the right move is to shunt Quick Match aside, we would rather improve upon it. The problem that we see is that team compositions rarely feel balanced or competitive. In the blog post that we posted yesterday we discussed making a shift away focusing on getting players into matches quickly, and instead to focus more on getting players into better quality matches. That is absolutely applicable to Quickmatch and serves as the plan of action here.

The first improvement we’re going to make is to strictly enforce role compositions for the matchmaker. A team will not be constructed without a balanced team composition on its own. This means that assassins or specialists may potentially have longer queue times, while some tank-capable warriors and healers may have shorter ones.

This means: every quickmatch team will, at some point in the future, have at least 1 tank-warrior and at least 1 full healer, with 3 flex picks. Am I reading this right?

In our current thinking we believe that it'd require 1 tank-warrior, 1 healer and 1 assassin, so 2 flex picks. Pending testing and the queues not erupting in molten lava, yes. I think it likely that initially this will be the new standard for the vast majority of QM compositions.

The plan then is to follow up on this change by adding more incentives for queuing as roles that are currently underrepresented in the matchmaking queue which will then make this a hard requirement for every team.

"Teaching the community" is another big topic lately. Do you have thoughts towards that that you can share?

There are some big improvements we can make in the realm of educating our players and preparing them for competitive play. One thing we’re working on currently is a revised Hero Selection system that provides far more detail on things like their playstyle and main mechanics behind different heroes. This is something that is still a little ways out, but it will help players identify weaknesses in their draft composition and potential for synergies and counters.

As we bring the Player-based Matchmaking system back for ranked play we’re considering new ways to contextualize player performance based upon the stats we currently examine. It’s important that we celebrate areas where players have been successful, but even more important to identify opportunities for improvement.

Beyond these things we’re looking for more opportunities to provide actionable feedback to players through the end of match sequence. Right now we’re considering an “XP Missed” stat that tracks missed team opportunities for experience generation. This should help reinforce the importance of laning. There are places here for improvement, and if you have suggestions we’re happy to consider them.

We’ve also been creating additional educational content on places like the Heroes of the Storm esports website for some time now to help expose players to things like pro player insight. Every time a new hero is released now, for instance, we work with an HGC player to create a first impressions build guide that you can find on our HGC website. Here’s the latest one for Fenix, or example: https://esports.heroesofthestorm.com/en-us/news/21659396/fenix-tips-from-yoda. We’re also starting to do more things like Hero update spotlights to keep all our players better informed of incoming changes to heroes’ balance or playstyle.

As a followup to Team League, do you have plans about social features like a Clan System, a Party Finder or similar?

Lots of plans. As you’ll likely hear a lot today, it’s a matter of priorities and how we spend our resources. The plan is to start with an updated party finder which significantly improves that system. The major changes would be to decouple the party finder from chat channels, which would significantly expand the pool of available players, and allow players to look for others based on the game mode and role they want to play.

We feel that’s the important first step. From there, we can build upon that with clans, which would be a great addition to the game as well.

But, again, you can see the list of things we’re working on currently and we feel those items are higher priority than the social features right now. So, while we’d love to get to them, and they’re coming, they’re further out.

Hero Swaps and its alternatives

Unlike a lot of the things we’re discussing here today, hero swaps aren’t a clear win for the majority of the community so while it is something we’re investigating, it’s a lower priority item.

To be effective, swaps would need their own phase, extending the time it takes for drafts to complete. They also open the door to additional toxicity and, although the core of the feature is available in custom games, it’s reliant on the players on the teams trusting each other. For it to come to other draft modes, there’s a significant development effort involved to add a lot of validation between players. You wouldn’t want someone grabbing your first-pick treasure without your permission, for example, which you can do with the implementation in custom games.

On top of that, for swaps to be effective, they require significant upfront communication by the players. That’s certainly something we want to encourage, but that also means the feature wouldn’t be used by a lot of players beyond the top end of ranked play.

So, right now, we’d rather focus our development efforts on features that will more clearly be beneficial to all players.

For the alternatives, such as trying out first-come first-served (FCFS) drafting which provides a similar benefit, we can do that relatively quickly. There’s some skepticism about whether FCFS can work outside of a team environment, though. We had the same concerns when we allowed 2s and 3s in team league and were pleasantly surprised by the results. It’s an area where we want to gauge community interest and if the feeling is that players would prefer FCFS over nothing, we’d try it out in Unranked Draft first.

Could we not just do what League of Legends does and have a "request swap" feature, where both players need to agree to swap rather than giving people the power to steal people's picks from them? I can see why the current swap feature works in custom games where players are assumed to know and trust each other, but clearly that is not going to work for Hero League. Instead it would make more sense to force people to communicate to optimize their drafts, this would further penalize people who AFK during draft because their team would be worse off compared to a team that communicated and organized themselves around their preferred roles.

I don't see how people stealing their teammates picks is a concern with swapping, but there appears to be less concern around FCFS, which could just as easily be used to do the same thing. I can fully see people instalocking first picks without any communication.

It would be perfect if we could swap at any point during the entire duration of the draft so draft time wouldn't even need to be extended since adding another phase to the draft was another concern.

Yes, that's exactly the kind of validation that has to be put in place before swaps could go to the main ranked modes. It's just a non-trivial amount of development time that we need to put towards higher priority issues right now, which is why we're looking at alternatives, like trying out FCFS, that could be done quickly.

As of now, Team League seems to have a lot of issues to the point where barely anyone plays the mode. Do you have thoughts towards that?

This is a particularly difficult question to answer. Ultimately the population for this mode is lower than others due in part to it being difficult to organize a team to play regularly. Many of the ranked improvements we’re making will improve Team League without resolving this underlying concern. We believe that Team League needs some of the upcoming major social features, such as clans and group finder, to truly flourish. Since adding these social features would result in a significant update not only to Team League but to many other areas of the game as well, they’re still a ways out in terms of when we believe we can successfully deliver them. More on social features here.

We originally reduced division requirements for Team construction as a means of increasing Team League participation, which had a small effect on the population of the mode. I don’t believe reintroducing harsher requirements will alleviate the issue, but I’ll take it back to the team to discuss at more length. In the interim if there are other suggestions for Team League I’d like to hear them.

Hero Class Design

  • Tank (ETC, Muradin, Diablo)
  • Bruiser (Sonya, DVA,
  • Healer (Stukov, Malfurion, Uther)
  • Support (Tassadar, Tyrande, Abathur, Medivh)
  • Melee Assassin (Thrall, Malthael)
  • Range Assassin (Valla, LiMing, Zuljin)
  • Siege/spec (Azmodan, Sgt Hammer, Murky)

Would be nice to get a new role system.

Teaching

maybe build in guide videos from known youtubers in the launcher like you did with HGC livestreams

Quests rework

an idea to improve quests like in Hearthstone where you have to do tasks to get the reward:

  • Gather X experience - 300g
  • Tank X damage - 300g
  • Heal X amount - 300g
  • Get X takedowns - 300g
  • replace "play 3 tank heroes" - "play 2 starcraft heroes"

This helps players to learn the game mechanics.

Information about values, timing and objective-behaviour

Can we get updated data on scaling bosses, camp timings and objective-behaviour like when does a boss use his root and when he casts the circle around him?

Thanks for the question Nyroku_Hots!

In terms of new roles, this is something we want to do. Our current design leaning is to keep it to your first 6 (Tank, Bruiser, Healer, Support, Melee & Ranged Assassins). We’ve always felt that the Specialist category is a little weird. In the best cases, a lot of characters like Nazeebo and Zagaras fit nicely into the Assassin categories. That does leave some oddities, such as Lost Vikings potentially fitting into the “Support” category (they do provide a lot of indirect benefit for your team). Curious what your thoughts are on this, and the rest of the communities thoughts, surrounding placing these odd heroes into more defined categories.

In terms of timeline for this: it is absolutely something we want to do. We think it’s correct for the game moving forward. Currently our priority is around improving the matchmaking and ranked experiences though, so this will be on hold for a little while longer.

For Quests: Many years back, we had a design very similar to this (most likely internal only?). We ultimately moved away from this as it encouraged players to farm out matches they had already won: “I need another 10k healing to finish my quest, don’t end the match!”. We also tried some quests such as “Land X Hooks” but that also encouraged weird player behavior. Ultimately, we stuck with a few simple quests of essentially “Play The Game” but with different requirements. We would love to update the quest system in the future and maybe we can explore some ideas here that could help teach players, as you suggest.

For updated data on bosses, scaling, etc. This is something the balance team has internally. I’ll make a note for us to send out the current numbers either here or somewhere else visible to the community. I will say things like Bosses and other mercenary camps rarely change unless we have a specific design or balance reason that we’re trying to address.

Any words on tags? If you have a minute, please read this. There is a reason many industries (porn, videos, stack overflow) use tags instead of categories. They just work. It is also the reason libs are better than frameworks. Right? It is my opinion that presenting tags would be extremely pedagogical, and, mostly, that matchmaking by tag union would greatly increase the quality of QM :)

  • Tracer: [Mobile] [Sustained-Damage] [Burst-Damage]

  • Falstad: [Global] [Sustained-Damage] [(extra: Displacement)]

  • Diablo: [Initiation] [Control] [Bulk]

  • Dehaka: [Global] [Clear] [Bulk] [(extra: Self-Sustain)]

  • Chromie: [Burst-Damage] [Poke] [(extra: Stasis, Control)]

  • Lucio: [Mobile] [Buff] [Heal] [(extra: Displacement)]

  • Nova: [Stealth] [Burst-Damage]

  • Genji: [Mobile] [Mobile] [Bullshit]

As part of the role update we will be introducing a tag system similar to what you're suggesting. This definitely helps provide more context and information beyond what a higher-level role category can provide.

Do you plan to add any system of rewards for good performance? If someone played well, wasn’t toxic, wasn’t afk, there could be an opportunity to reward him somehow. In the current situation some players feel pressure because they can be reported for any mistake they may/or may not make. It could be a good motivation for players to play till the end, reduce the toxicity even when a match is lost.

We've definitely had conversations on this. While we're not currently working on this right now, we'd love to incorporate a system like you mention into our existing set of "tools" to combat toxicity. While we think a commendation/reward system can be a huge help, there are still some players who aren't motivated by these systems. So we think it is important to have a combination of systems to make sure we can still remove players who simply can't play nicely in the game.

What do you think about the option to show the number of players in the queue with a chosen role (assassins, warriors, support, specialists)? There could be a bonus reward for those who choose the least popular role.

Yeah, so we've already got a bonus for playing "Auto-Select" when the matchmaker is getting into trouble (a new hero launches and everyone wants to play that hero). We're looking into potentially expanding that to offer more rewards for under represented roles in QM (e.g. Support).

Showing the percentage of players who have selected particular roles is interesting. I'll take that back to the team and see what they think. Thanks!

The current observer UI is about 3 years old now and has not received nearly any significant changes (2015, 2017). The official UI is used in all HGC broadcasts for more than a year now, and despite that it’s still missing very important features that have been introduced in the three years of its life, like for example showing quest progress, and a lot of smaller stuff that I won't list because it's already a long comment.

A year ago we got a great in-game feature with party frames. While I can't find a source, I'm pretty sure I remember someone from Blizzard saying that the goal is to eventually include the new party frames into the spectator UI, but that's unfortunately still not the case.

And the lack of updates aside, it's not even maintained well, with Heroic cooldowns not fitting into their place and covering the talent icon since the start of HGC this year (2017, 2018) and simply not being shown for the last few weeks, which has still not been fixed and will hugely impact at least 4 weeks of HGC unless hotfixed.

So, I'd like to ask about what work are you doing regarding the observer UI and can we expect any updates soon?

Yeah, we agree that our current observer UI is long in the tooth. As you mentioned we’ve wanted to bring stuff like the current in-game party panel into the observer UI. As we’ve gone on, our observer UI has diverged from the normal UI a bit, and it’s part of the reason why you’ve seen some bugs in the observer UI lately. That’s no excuse and we need to fix it, but I just wanted to provide some context.

The current plan is to better unify the in-game UI and the observer UI. We’re going to be using the same party panel UI that appears at the top of an actual game. Once we have that unification, we can start to consider more functionality that would benefit esports viewers.

Has there been a conscious design decision to give recent heroes a lot of tools for their kits (waveclear, mobility, etc) to make them more generalist heroes vs. designing them to excel in very niche situations?

Hey JK_roll, thanks for the question.

The short answer is yes. For a more detailed explanation:

In the past the design team went through a phase where we wanted to make sure every hero had a really sharp role. Internally we discussed this a lot, but we wanted to make sure that there was a unique gameplay reason to pick every hero at some point. As an example, we wanted there to be a unique decision point of why to pick Tychus over Valla, or vice versa, without players simply choosing whichever character has a higher win rate. This is ultimately what led to Tychus’ updated design that he deals bonus % damage on his base kit. We designed his role to be strong against lots of high health targets. We also did a lot of this on our Healers: Malfurion wasn’t supposed to have burst healing as he was designed as a sustained healer, Uther was intended to be a weak sustained healer but strong with burst, and so on. For the healers, we looked at not just their healing mechanics but everything on their kit.

Ultimately we ended up backing off from this. We found that it made the game feel like there was a lot more hard counters and you could win or lose in draft. We still want to have good design and gameplay reasons for drafting each hero in a game, but we’re letting those be a lot softer.

What are your long term plans for support viability? Do you want each support to be viable as a solo support now that you have decided to push away from the dual support meta?

Related to that, there has been discussion about bringing back duo queue now that voice chat has been implemented. What are your thoughts?

You’ve said that Hanamura is coming back soon with big changes. Are there changes coming for maps like Haunted Mines (where the dominant strategy is to ignore the objective entirely) or Blackheart’s Bay (where Xul and Ragnaros double soaking has been incredibly dominant)?

I’ve played a significant amount of Ana since her release (about 150 games in Masters) and I tend to agree with the majority opinion that her rework really missed the mark. She was considered underpowered at nearly all levels of play and her rework gave her a very weak self-heal in exchange for a slew of nerfs. Can you speak to any opinions about the current state of Ana? Would you consider reverting the rework or giving her grenade increased self-heal instead of the Shrike healing?

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Medivh rework seems to have made Medivh more popular and hated than ever, even seeing a huge popularity spike in competitive play where Medivh is known for being unliked. Do you think mistakes were made with Medivh? Will he see more changes?

You’ve been talking about reworking heroes with frustrating playstyles - what heroes are in queue for changes? Chromie? Diablo? Garrosh? Genji?

Hey LuckyLightning, thanks for the questions. I’ll try to tackle the ones related to gameplay:

Support Viability: I would say that we want every healer to be viable in at least some situations as a solo healer. Some healers will of course be better at preventing sustained damage, burst damage, or even keeping themselves safe. But overall, yes, ideally there isn’t a healer that you feel like you could never pick without another full-on healer.

Map Update: The map team is currently working on revising a number of our existing maps. The big focuses right now include large updates to Hanamura and Gardens of Terror. We also have some smaller updates planned for a few maps but these are more akin to balance changes. Braxis Holdout, as an example, we’re planning some small changes to address how snowbally that map can feel. We would love to make larger changes to Haunted Mines & Blackheart’s Bay, but those are both further off ☹

Ana: The rework was intending to help address the idea that she couldn’t solo heal because she had no easy way to heal herself back up. I know internally we played with a wide range of values on this, and even had a playtest or two where she could outduel everyone in the game because her self-healing was way too high. Ana’s overall win rate is a little on the low side so we have room to bring her up a little bit. I’m hoping we can accomplish what you’re looking for via tuning though, or potentially some slight mechanic tweaks. I will say we love Ana as a healer because of how much skill there goes into doing her healing well.

Medivh: Overall we consider the rework a success. It is interesting to see how much more popular he is now (which is a great thing!) but it does mean that players who feel he is frustrating to play against will see him more often now. With our rework, we did attempt to reduce some of the frustrating aspects of his kit: There is more downtime between using Portals & Force of Will, which ideally gives the enemy team more options for counterplay. This is an area we could easily explore and try to do more with.

Frustrating Heroes: Chromie and Genji are both being looked at internally. Genji has some small stuff that will be coming out really soon (similar to Tracer). Chromie is something we’re evaluating a lot more internally. We’ve done a number of changes such as reducing the range of her Q & W abilities so she would have to be within enemy vision range (you could see it coming and try to dodge), showing the splat for her W ability, and so on. Honestly, it feels a little bit better internally but we might need to do more to really succeed here. Chromie is further off as a result. I don’t think we view Diablo or Garrosh as that frustrating to play against. The recent change to Garrosh where his Q no longer pulls enemies in has helped a lot. In general, every character is going to have some level of bullshit they can bring, but it’s important that you feel like you have counterplay options and ways to outplay your opponent.

Will Gul’dan’s Rain of Destruction be changed or replaced with a different one that can be a considered an alternative to Horrify?

We're talking about this internally. We do want to do something with this heroic to make it feel less RNG and more competitive with Horrify.

Will Zarya receive some changes?

She's in an okay spot right now. The balance team might make some small tuning changes but no immediately plans.

Will Artanis receive any changes or buffs in the future?

Similar to Zarya, no current plans.

Are you planning to add M.U.L.E. to other heroes?

We're leaning closer to removing this from the game as it feels really bad when the enemy team resets your progress. We think this mechanic works decent on Abathur since he really needs those safe forward positions, so decent chance that something like this remains on Abathur.

Hello and thank you to the HotS devs for being willing to have this AMA.  I have so many questions I'd like to ask (especially in regards to mobility, as I'm doing a piece on that soon) but I'm going to avoid being selfish and stick to the big one, the one that I feel many of us are the most concerned about: The third ban.

I'll start with the question before I go too far into my little diatribe here: What made you conclude that the third ban is best served being added to the middle of the draft and not the start?  And given the very large number of pros who feel differently (i.e. that we should have two early bans and remove the 3/2 split from drafts in favor of letting both teams draft 3 before the mid-phase ban), are you open to the idea of changing this to better fit what the professional scene feels is more appropriate?

In case you are still on the fence about another early ban, I'd like to offer my thoughts on the subject.  And, as I often do when I'm passionate about a topic, I have crafted a spreadsheet to help supplement this discussion with HGC data that I feel will help shed light on why the ban belongs in front.  That is located here.  I apologize as it is not the prettiest or most easily read thing in the world, but I had to whip it up over night to be ready for this AMA, so hopefully you'll forgive my tidiness failure. :)

This sheet helps showcase how HGC picks and bans have been distributed thus far in NA, EU, and KR in the regular season (up to Week 8).  I've divided the figures by patch and by map to account for various competitive differences that could lead to more heavy prioritization on "meta" picks.  What I found is that the first ban typically only includes about 2-4 "must-bans" on any given patch or map (i.e. heroes that are banned in more than 25% of matches) out of a much larger range (usually 12-24) of total early phase bans.

This suggests, at least to me, that the first ban is already being used very strategically by teams in the HGC to target enemy team hero pools as they should be, and not just to ban out "meta" heroes, as many people are afraid that a second early ban might create.  Pro teams are currently using the first ban to target their opponent's strengths more often than they use it to target "meta" heroes, and "generalist" picks will still be viable as early draft selections.  As such, adding a second ban to the start of the draft could provide greater diversity in the overall draft process by allowing teams to influence the draft more at the early stages.  If I'm playing HHE and I'm afraid of Khroen's Hanzo, but also don't want to give up Dehaka to Mcintyre on a rotation-heavy map, being able to ban both of these is a much more valuable use of two bans than to just ban generic top-tier choices like Malf and Stukov (i.e. the common counterargument to two early bans, a "role choke").  I can force them out of comfort picks and make them adapt to what I want, giving me more strategic value for my bans, not less.

The only heroes that tend to buck this trend of being picked by map or team are heroes like Maiev, i.e. the ones that crop up as "OP" for a time and then fade away as they become less of a balance issue.  So most typically, the only heroes which show up frequently in the first ban phase are those which exceeded balance boundaries.  And while obviously the goal is to avoid having any of these, it's always possible that strong heroes manage to slip through.  A second early ban provides a "buffer" against this by allowing teams to ban out the "OPs" and still giving them a chance to target their bans based on their opponents or based on the map.

To summarize this before I run too long (though it may be too late for that), I believe that a third ban belongs in front, not at the mid-phase, and that both teams should get to pick 3 heroes before the mid-phase ban.  My reasons are thus:

1) Greater diversity in draft by allowing teams to prioritize more potential strengths on a given map or vs a given team

2) Provides an additional "buffer" against balance issues that could spoil draft

3) Greater strategic decision making and influence on the draft

We’ve been discussing adding third bans since around the middle of last year. The idea to place the third ban in the mid-ban phase came from feedback from both the community and the pros. The initial requests for the third ban started coming up because there were now enough heroes in the pool that could fill similar roles that a counter-ban in the mid-ban phase was losing effectiveness. Adding an additional ban at that point would bring teeth back to mid-draft bans.

Taking a step back, the core idea is that the mid-ban is a strategic ban based on how the draft is unfolding, while the first ban is primarily a meta ban. At the highest levels of play, some strategy comes into play during the first ban phase, as HGC teams have done significant research into their opponents, but for most players, the first ban gets used to remove whatever hero tends to be on top of the meta at that moment. In higher ranks, it gets a bit more variety as it will sometimes be the hero that is on top of the meta for that battleground, but that’s not the typical situation.

That being said, sentiment shifts over time, and we’re open to revisiting this and adding the third ban as a first-ban instead. The feeling is that doing so would be mainly addressing a more short-term concern, the release of overpowered heroes, where an additional mid-ban is more interesting long-term. We’ve been watching the community response and are interested to see if folks still feel strongly about adding it as a first-ban after seeing the reasoning behind the mid-ban.

The lack of MMR and rank being directly related to each other can be very helpful to give players a sense of progress, but it can also be an issue, especially on the highest level of play. Being high on the Grandmaster leaderboard often requires playing the most games out of the good players instead of actually being the best (especially this season), and can lead to complaints about matchmaking because matches look imbalanced in regards to rank even if they are fine by MMR.

My question is, are you still considering at least adding visible MMR alongside the current rank system, and is it a bit more than "we're discussing it internally" which we've been getting since the game was released?

Yep, its coming. Over the years, there’s been a lot of back and forth about whether showing MMR is more valuable than harmful. In the end, we’ve come to feel it’ll be more helpful.

To go a bit more in-depth, it’s good to understand the purpose of both MMR and rank. You touch on this, but I want to use this post to also make sure it’s clear to everyone reading this.

Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is purely a measurement. It’s an indication of your skill as a player which is then used by the matchmaker to put together games. The more accurate MMR, the better the matches that can be made. Gaining, or losing, skill is a slow process that happens over the course of many games, so MMR does not change quickly. It purposefully doesn’t react strongly to short streaks of wins or losses as they’re not necessarily an indication of a skill change so much as a streak of good, or bad, luck. This is where issues come up with showing MMR. Once it’s visible, it draws a lot of attention and gets treated like a reward system. Players tend to focus on figuring out how to make it go up by any means necessary, looking for ways to push it higher as quickly as possible. That’s not a healthy outlook and leads to frustration when it doesn’t happen.

On the other side of the coin, Rank is a reward system. It represents how well you’ve done over the course of a season. If you go on a win streak, your rank spikes accordingly.

The issue we run into is that Rank is currently the only visible indication of skill in the game, so it can’t diverge too much from MMR. When players are put together in a match with players of disparate rank, the assumption is that they are also disparate skill, and that feels bad.

This had led to the need for Rank and MMR to stay relatively close, which is why Personal Rank Adjustment exists. That blunts the ability for rank to be a true reward system. It also means that matchmaking must consider rank, in addition to MMR, when putting together teams. Visible MMR would allow us to get rid of both of those, which we feel is more beneficial than the downsides that are likely to come about with visible MMR.

We’re working out the details currently, but the plan right now is to add it as part of the updates we’re doing for Performance-based Matchmaking, where we’re already working on new ways to provide you with more—and more clear—types of information on how you performed in a game. Joe went into more detail on that here.

Would you be willing to put together a roadmap similar to what the Destiny team has put together to solve similar community related issues and concerns? https://www.bungie.net/en/News/Article/46735

This way you could effectively and consistently show timelines for the re-release of PBMMR, Rank/MMR decay, and some of other Ranked announcements from yesterday.

So we definitely want to communicate with you more about what we’re currently working on, and what our view of upcoming priorities are. The blog post and this AMA are some steps in that direction. We're also discussing lots of ideas about how best to communicate with the community going forward.

That being said, here’s some info for you in terms of timing/order of stuff:

  • New toxicity report validation system: We should be turning this on within the next couple weeks. This will increase the amount of reports we action by a significant amount. We’re going to put out a dedicated post on this soon.
  • Matchmaking improvements: Since the majority of these are on the server side, we’re going to be rolling these out independently of our normal client patches. Some will come quicker than others. For example, we’re going to try and get the hardening of rules to favor match quality more over queue time in the near term.
  • Loss Forgiveness / Improved Leaver Punishments: This is deep into implementation and is currently lined up to come out in a patch in the next couple months.
  • Ranked improvements: Several of these improvements make the most sense to release with a new season roll. So, we’re trying to get some of these changes into the next season roll (~June). 3rd Ban is high on the list.
  • Performance Based Matchmaking: We’re wrapping up the improvements we discussed in the blog post, and are planning to re-introduce this system also with the next season roll. We may initially introduce this as a purely informational system, and then turn on the actual point adjustments after the community has had time to provide feedback. If we do that, it technically doesn’t need to align exactly with a season roll.

I'd like to take this opportunity to ask a few questions regarding your stance on Vision Control in the Nexus.

  • In terms of power level, how do you compare vision-enhancing talents and spells to other forms of utility, such as mobility or defensive cooldowns?
  • Should vision spells always be tied to other effects, such as how Hanzo's Sonic Arrow can deal damage and be talented to stun, or how Chromie's reveal talent is also tied to a quest?
  • What are your thoughts on vision spells that don't alert players when they've been spotted, like a Wisp hidden inside a bush that players walk past without checking?

Thanks for the question Beg_For_Mercy.

Vision is an interesting part of the game that we don’t really augment too often. We do some bonuses to vision that you mention, and have some heroes (Dehaka) who can also limit enemy vision. Overall, I think it’s a super interesting mechanic that can add fun and strategic depth when designed correctly.

In terms of power level, we typically start internally as a ‘feel’ thing, and then eventually we can use player data to validate those decisions. Many of the talents players are choosing from can offer a lot of sheer power. It’s hard to make a vision talent compelling to choose over 25% more damage, without at the same time making that vision talent feel unfair or unfun to play against. This is typically why we will add secondary bonuses to these abilities or talents. Vision can also be considered situational, so by adding damage as an example, we’re guaranteeing some baseline power on the ability/talent.

In general, I think we want vision abilities to alert the enemy that they have been spotted in some way. As an example, you can visually see Zagara’s creep, so there is likely to be a Creep Tumor near by. For Lunara’s Wisp, this is an interesting one. I think we could alert you that a Wisp has spotted you, but it does lose some of its power as a result. We are working on a Lunara update that has some changes to her Wisp and related talents, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. We can revisit any of these rules though!

I'd love to see some thoughts on this. I feel like sometimes, the design guys give a character a kit they feel is lore-appropriate and unique, and then toss it to the balance guys for number tweaking without them having any input on the kit design. Vision and mobility are the two big standouts -> it breaks the game when some heroes have vision as a core part of their identity and then a new hero gets it as just some sort of flavorful thing they can do.

Just to touch on this quickly: We absolutely involve a lot of the design team as early into the process as we can. The live/balance designers are paired with a hero designer from the beginning. One thing the balance designers will try to surface early on in the hero design process is if they feel they have tuning knobs for each talent and ability. In the past we might design a talent that simply increases charges from 2->3 on an ability. If this is too strong, we don't have a lot of tuning knobs without adding a kiss/curse mechanic or something else.

Some summoned units are quite frustrating at low MMRs, but not that useful at higher MMRs (Raynor's Banshees, Kerrigan's Ultralisk, Malfurion's treants, ...). Is it something the team is looking at?

We’re not currently looking at summons as a whole but will likely try and tackle this on a case by case basis. An ability that is really high impact (and frustrating) at lower levels of play but not useful for higher tiers of play is a bit of a red flag for us. That being said, this is kind of the nature of a summoned unit. In some ways, you can think of a summoned unit like an ability with a huge variance in its damage potential, and this largely depends on how the enemy team plays against it. Obviously higher level players can downplay the value of these summoned units much more easily.

The question: how about Raynor's rework? (really, just putting his level 7s on the W and E, and making marksman baseline would already be very appreciated)

It’s not the next set of reworks that will be coming out, but we are actively working on it. Overall we wanted to keep the feel and playstyle of Raynor, keeping him simple to play, but we’ve made a number of changes to modernize his base abilities and introduce a lot of new talents. The team is super excited to share more with you guys on this soon (next few months).

Are you overall happy with Hammer's rework, even though some claim it's a bit bland and could offer less options?

I think we added some fun new stuff to Hammer’s kit, allowing her to access some of her key defining talents earlier on. We haven’t seen a ton of Hammer play, but she’s also a character that probably shouldn’t be core to the meta. We don’t currently have more plans for Hammer but we will likely revisit her again in the future.

Do you plan on changing ranked seasons, so they have the same durations/times as HGC seasons: Two six-month seasons per year? Do you plan on adding a team system, for named teams (in team leagues for example)?

Regarding season length: We've discussed season length quite a bit on the team. We've actually considered everything from once a month to one season for the whole year. We think the current system is a balance between those, but I would say that we're still open to discussion on this topic.

Regarding named teams: We actually had this in Heroes originally! :) Team league worked this way when it was initially launched. The issue was that problems we currently face with Team League (which I think one of the other guys answered a question on that already), are actually worse with the fixed named teams. The tl;dr is that it's tough for players to align schedules with their teammates. As a result, we saw even less participation in that system than we see with the current system.

Is it possible we'll get a second look at older cleave talents, or that modern/incoming cleaves will be toned down in power?

Great question hailcrest.

I agree that a lot of those recent examples have very strong AOE. In general, we try and look at the design of the kit and balance of the hero kit overall. Every hero will have some obvious strengths and weaknesses, but are hopefully balanced within the larger overall picture. For the Junkrat example specifically, I agree that his wave clear is insanely strong! Hopefully however his overall power is about in line with what makes sense. We of course have the ability to tune this down in a number of ways including the splash size, and the fallout of the damage (i.e. less damage further from the center).

I will say we will absolutely revisit old heroes and even these newer ones and make adjustments where needed. Nova has never been intended to have strong wave clear, so I’m not sure we will make changes there. It may be possible that we need to tone down some of the newer heroes wave clear, bring some of the older heroes up (Kael’thas in this example), or meet somewhere in the middle.

Can we expect a specialist balance pass similar to what you did with the warriors anytime soon?

The specialists as a whole have been struggling for a while in the meta and ended up being relegated mostly at low ranks, with only a few being competitively viable. If you exclude the pseudo supports the number of viable specialists is even fewer.

On that topic, can we also expect a role rework anytime soon?

For Specialists: Most of them actually tend to have higher win rates, so in terms of that, they're not currently struggling. As part of the pass we're working on to reduce frustrating moments with various heroes, there are a number of Specialists who are on that list. Usually its surrounding when they're split pushing and it feels like the enemy team has to constantly respond to them.

For the role rework, this was covered in another part of the thread. TLDR is we want to do it, but its lower priority then some of the ranked and matchmaking stuff we're currently working on. Definitely dig up that other reply though as there's more detail!

Share this post


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

Genji: [Mobile] [Mobile] [Bullshit]

/slowclap

  • Like 3
  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man this is amazing, we definitely need more of this. Even real honest bad news like for the API, knowing the real stuff is so much better than just vague maybe PR BS

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, EDL666 said:

Man this is amazing, we definitely need more of this. Even real honest bad news like for the API, knowing the real stuff is so much better than just vague maybe PR BS

I completely agree. Players should know what’s going on in the game they play, so this is a good step forward for the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate the MULE. I refuse to use something completely contrary to Abathur's look, even when using Mecha. Place some creep around the building, infest it, add a symbiote/parasite, but just get rid of that construction bot look please.

On a side note, a temporary secondary symbiote that slowly heals structures and offers a small twin symbiote window to defend such a structure would be cool. Might actually be worth taking when going locust or mines. But current MULE? Nope. No thanks.

Definitely need to spread out the mine talents though, make the mine build more of its own thing as a possibility than deciding between global and cooldown. Maybe switch the useless spike heal to replace the global mine. Abathur could then choose between burst healing vs healing over time. Would still need the spike heal boosted though.

Meh. No real hope for that, but it would be nice.

No mention of Vikings. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish they would give us details on the Lunara rework already. Still hoping most of all that the Wisp will be made into a talent more than anything, and something new get's added to her kit instead.

Even making it a 1 ability rather than E would be okay. Just make room for something more intuitive than a ghost eye that gets nuked by a slight breeze.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good questions and good answers. And I also hope Lunara gets a rework, she is very fun to play and rewarding for playing her right, but she has some very poor talent choices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Stan said:

It’s not the next set of reworks that will be coming out, but we are actively working on it. Overall we wanted to keep the feel and playstyle of Raynor, keeping him simple to play, but we’ve made a number of changes to modernize his base abilities and introduce a lot of new talents. The team is super excited to share more with you guys on this soon (next few months).

 

Soon™

  • Haha 1

Share this post


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

Well, we know they are working on it and that it will take a few more months, and then it will take about another month for it to be released. Sure, it'll take a while, but it's better than hearing they have yet to start working on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hammer rework in far future. Farewell old friend, you'll be missed.

But hey, at least we are getting Jimmy rework soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RIP hope for Lost Vikings rework, they're not even thinking about them yet.

Hello darkness my old friend.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, SleepySheepy said:

Hammer rework in far future. Farewell old friend, you'll be missed.

But hey, at least we are getting Jimmy rework soon!

 

On 14.4.2018 at 8:20 PM, SteveFrost said:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot less of pandering and instead more hard facts, I like it! Less "We're thinking on it" or "Maybe soon" and more "definitely not" and "will be done and released in a few months." I just hope they keep doing updates like these and don't leave us in the radio silence we have been experiencing lately.

Edited by Fliits

Share this post


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

A lot less of pandering and instead more hard facts, I like it! Less "We're thinking on it" or "Maybe soon" and more "definitely not" and "will be done and released in a few months." I just hope they keep doing updates like these and don't leave us in the radio silence we have been experiencing lately.

Well if them telling you maybe, soon, and we are thinking on it makes you happy then they should be able to tell you that every day haha

Share this post


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

A lot less of pandering and instead more hard facts, I like it! Less "We're thinking on it" or "Maybe soon" and more "definitely not" and "will be done and released in a few months." I just hope they keep doing updates like these and don't leave us in the radio silence we have been experiencing lately.

That is because these are the developers themselves doing this and not the marketing department.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 14/4/2018 at 9:06 PM, Aasgier said:

Well, we know they are working on it and that it will take a few more months, and then it will take about another month for it to be released. Sure, it'll take a while, but it's better than hearing they have yet to start working on it.

It better be worth the wait- if you ask me, Jimmy should be prioritized long ago instead of re-visiting other Heroes for a 2nd, 3rd, zillionth time, since he clearly needs it more, talk about a talent tree showing its age (and since it's not going to be a big one from the context, what's the hold-up?) Same with Vikings and Kerri. 

Share this post


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

It better be worth the wait- if you ask me, Jimmy should be prioritized long ago instead of re-visiting other Heroes for a 2nd, 3rd, zillionth time, since he clearly needs it more, talk about a talent tree showing its age (and since it's not going to be a big one from the context, what's the hold-up?) Same with Vikings and Kerri. 

It looks actually to be quite major to me - they talk as if they are working on the Raynor rework for a few months already and that he potentially gets new base abilities, and they need a few more months to share stuff about it.

I wouldn't be surprised if his E becomes his Trait and he gets a new ability in its place.

Share this post


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

It looks actually to be quite major to me - they talk as if they are working on the Raynor rework for a few months already and that he potentially gets new base abilities, and they need a few more months to share stuff about it.

I wouldn't be surprised if his E becomes his Trait and he gets a new ability in its place.

That modernizing of basic abilities part got away from me; still, since they say they want to keep his overall gameplay experience the same, I don't expect huge changes. I really want to see how many these "a lot of new talent"s will be- Starcraft heroes seem to be getting the short end of the stick in that department so far.

And yeah, it feels he doesn't really have a Trait right now so any change would be welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      Blizzard is currently working on a new Heroes of the Storm forums with brand-new features including new notification features, real-time updates, and a new flagging system to foster more engaging conversations. The current forums is hosted on a different platform so older posts will not be migrated over to the new forums.
      Old posts will be in a read-only mode after the transition. We don't know if the revamp only targets the Heroes of the Storm forums. The post also mentioned Overwatch before it was edited out. It would, however, make perfect sense to update the platform on all game forums in the future.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey everyone,
      Over the past years, we’ve seen your suggestions on how to level up the forums and ensure your time in our community stays positive. We know that currently the forums can be difficult to navigate, sometimes posts you want to see get buried, and reporting doesn’t always appear to lead to action. On that note, we’re excited to announce that we will be launching the new Heroes of the Storm forums starting soon. With a streamlined look and new features to match, this change will provide a better experience for the Heroes of the Storm community. Brand-new notification features will help you keep on top of your posts and real-time updates ensure that you don’t miss any of the conversation. Additionally, we have replaced the previous report function with a new flagging feature to help keep the forums a place to foster more engaging conversations. These are just a couple of the changes that will be coming soon to the Heroes of the Storm forums which we can’t wait for you to use. 
      Please keep in mind that the current forums will be hosted on a different platform so older posts and threads will not be migrated over to the new forums. These will be available in a read-only state for a short period of time after the transition. As such, be sure to save your favorite conversations elsewhere if you plan to revisit old memories in the future. New posts will automatically be directed to the new forums.
      Stay tuned and get ready for the new forum experience!
    • By Stan
      BlizzCon 2018 rewards have been added to the game in the latest content update. Virtual Ticket holders will receive a mount, spray, banner, and portrait this year.
      Nexus Razorgrin Mount

      BlizzCon 2018 Banner

      BlizzCon 2018 Portrait

      BlizzCon 2018 Spray (Cartoon Nexus Razorgrin)

    • By Stan
      A new balance patch will go live this week and here are the official patch notes a few days ahead of release. 
      Tomorrow, Mephisto will be live for two weeks and that means we're getting a balance update. This week's patch includes buffs to Chromie's Health and Dragon's Breath, adjustments to Falstad's Mana costs, cooldowns, and more. 
      Blizzard (Source)
      We’ve just released a new Heroes of the Storm patch to apply a number of balance changes and bug fixes.
      Battlegrounds
      Hanamura Temple
      Sentinel and Engineer camps have had their XP and XP scaling values adjusted to grant more overall experience Recon camps have had their kill and capture XP adjusted to grant slight less overall experience NOTE: These changes are intended to slightly increase the amount of overall experience available from mercenary camps, but in a more consistent spread. Heroes
      Assassin
      Chromie

      Stats
      Base Maximum Health increased from 1323 to 1390 Health Regen increased from 2.76 to 2.9 Abilities
      Dragon's Breath (W) Cooldown reduced from 9 to 8 seconds Bronze Talons (Timewalker Passive) (Trait) Bonus attack damage increased from 125 to 140% Talents
      Level 1 Mounting Sand (Q) Bonus Echo damage increased from 40 to 50% Deep Breathing (W) Damage per quest stack increased from 3 to 5 Hits required to complete quest reduced from 20 to 12 Level 5 Mobius Loop (W) Cooldown reduction for Hero hit increased from 2 to 3 seconds Mana refund from Hero hit increased from 50 to 100 Falstad

      Abilities
      Hammerang (Q) Mana cost reduced from 70 to 60 Lightning Rod (W) Cooldown reduced from 15 to 13 seconds Mana cost reduced from 70 to 60 Barrel Roll (E) Cooldown reduced from 14 to 13 seconds Mana cost reduced from 75 to 70 Flight (Z) Cooldown increased from 55 to 60 seconds Fenix

      Abilities
      Purification Salvo (R) Cooldown increased from 75 to 90 seconds Genji

      Abilities
      Swift Strike (E) Damage reduced from 205 to 190 Mephisto

      Abilities
      Lightning Nova (W) Damage reduced from 48 to 45 Damage bonus reduced from 4% to 3% Maximum damage bonus reduced from 40 to 30% Consume Souls (R) Slow amount reduced from 40 to 25% Durance of Hate (R) Missile Speed increased by 25% Ability range increased by 25% Root duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds Damage increased from 160 to 250 over its duration Talents
      Level 1 Unyielding Power (Q) Damage bonus upon hitting 20 Heroes increased from 60 to 100 Anger (Passive) Basic Ability cooldown reduction from Basic Attacking Heroes increased from .75 to 1 second Level 4 Static Barrier (W) Shield amount reduced from 50% to 40% of Lightning Nova’s damage dealt to Heroes Level 16 Lightning Reaction (Q) Damage reduced from 144 to 138 Static Field (W) Damage reduced from 12% to 10% of enemies maximum Health Level 20 Shade Lord (E) Cooldown reduced from 60 to 40 seconds Nova

      Talents
      Level 1 Advanced Cloaking (Trait) Movement speed bonus increased from 5 to 10% Level 7 Perfect Shot (Q) Cooldown reduction on Hero hit increased from 3 to 4 seconds Level 16 Explosive Round (Q) Area of effect damage increased from 70 to 80% Raynor

      Stats
      Basic Attack Damage reduced from 103 to 101 Specialist
      Sgt. Hammer

      Abilities
      Neosteel Plating (E) Cooldown increased from 12 to 16 seconds Talents
      Level 4 Siege Tactics (E) Shifting out of Siege Mode now removes the Unstoppable effect. Support
      Deckard

      Talents
      Level 4 Potion of Shielding (Q) Shield amount reduced from 135 to 122 Level 13 Ancient Blessings (Trait) Cooldown increased from 30 to 60 seconds
      Tyrande

      Stats
      Light of Elune (Q) Mana cost increased from 10 to 15 Heal amount reduced from 275 to 265 Shadowstalk (R) Heal amount reduced from 40 to 38 Talents
      Level 4 Lunar Blaze (E) Bonus range from reduced 50 to 40% Trueshot Aura (Active) Bonus Basic Attack damage reduced from 20 to 15% Activated Basic Attack damage reduced from 20 to 15% Level 7 Elune's Chosenn (Active) Duration reduced from 10 to 8 seconds Level 13 Quickening Blessing (Q) Movement Speed granted from Light of Elune reduced from 20 to 15% Level 16 Darnassian Archery (Active) Duration reduced from 8 to 6 seconds
      Whitemane

      Abilities
      Desperate Plea (Q) Heal amount reduced from 145 to 140 Searing Lash (E) Cooldown increased from 5 to 6 seconds Talents
      Level 1 Righteous Flame (E) Bonus damage increased from 50 to 75% Level 4 Indulgence (E) Mana return on hit increased from 10/25 to 20/40 Warrior

      Anub'arak

      Abilities
      Harden Carapace (W) Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds
      Arthas

      Stats
      Base Maximum Health increased from 2650 to 2782 Health Regeneration increased from 5.52 to 5.80 Abilities
      Frostmourne Hungerss (Trait) Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds
      Blaze

      Stats
      Base Maximum Health increased from 2775 to 2900 Health Regeneration increased from 5.78 to 6.04 Abilities
      Flame Stream (Q) Mana cost increased from 25 to 30 Oil Spill (W) Mana cost increased from 40 to 50 Jet Propulsion (E) Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds Bunker Drop (R) Flamethrower damage reduced from 179 to 170 Cooldown increased from 60 to 80 seconds Mana cost increased from 40 to 80 Combustion (R) Damage increased from 52 to 55 Self-Slow amount decreased from 50 to 40% Talents
      Level 1 Endurance Stimpack (Active) Shield amount increased from 450 to 480 Neural Stimpack (Active) Mana restoration reduced from 50 to 30 New Habits (Trait) Regeneration Globe collection cooldown reduction increased from 5 to 8 seconds Level 13 Nanomachine Coating (W) Attack Speed slow increased from 40 to 50% Level 16 Thermal Protection (E) Cooldown reduction decreased from 2 to 1.5 seconds
      E.T.C

      Stats
      Base Maximum Health increased from 2180 to 2250 Health Regeneration increased from 4.54 to 4.69   Tyrael

      Stats
      Health increased from 2468 to 2517 Health Regeneration increased from 5.14 to 5.24 Abilities
      Righteousness (W) Cooldown decreased from 10 to 9 seconds Mana cost reduced from 50 to 45
      Yrel

      Abilities
      Vindication (Q) Mana cost increased from 50 to 65 Righteous Hammer (W) Mana cost increased from 50 to 65 Avenging Wrath (E) Mana cost increased from 50 to 65 Bug Fixes
      General
      Tyrande: Fixed an issue preventing the cooldown for the Ranger talent from appearing in the tooltip. Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Li Ming: Fixed an issue that could cause Disintegrate to cast immediately and become uncontrollable if Li Ming’s abilities were reset with specific quick cast settings. Tyrande: Fixed an issue preventing damage dealt to targets with Hunter's Mark from splashing to Laning Mercenaries after learning the Huntress' Fury talent. Tyrande: Fixed an issue allowing Shadowstalk to affect players in vehicles. (Garden Terror, Dragon Knight, etc)
    • By Stan
      Fall of the King's Crest is a new event available starting next week. Here's an overview of new quests, rewards, skins, and various cosmetic items that can be collected through October 25.
      Fall of the King's Crest revolves around the conflict between the Raven Lord and Lady of Thorns. A new comic will be available on September 24. 5 new skins will be added to the game. Two Legendary Skins: Alexstrasza & Whitemane Two Epic Skins: Maiev & Zarya Standard Loot Chests will be replaced with Fall of King’s Crest Loot Chests for the duration of the event. The new Loot Chests have a chance to contain skins from previous fall events in addition to new Skins. Players must complete four quest lines to gain access to the final quest and claim the Tombstone Mount (two different quests are available). The official event spotlight can be found here. Blizzard (Source)
      THE FALL OF KING’S CREST
      After the battle for Alterac Pass, the Raven Lord sets his sights on the kingdom of Dragon Shire. Catch up on the first two comics, and keep an eye out for Issue #3 when it becomes available on September 24!
      RAVENOUS REWARDS OF CONQUEST
      Behold the Raven Lord’s fearsome generals: Cursed Witch Whitemane, Spectral Wyrm Alexstrasza, Spider Warden Maiev, and Phantom Knight Zarya. Also check out haunting new Mounts, Banners, Sprays, and Portraits.
      LEGENDARY SKINS

      Spectral Wyrm Alexstrasza, Phantom Wyrm Alexstrasza, Infernal Wyrm Alexstrasza

      Cursed Witch Whitemane, Court Witch Whitemane, Forgotten Witch Whitemane (Includes special mounting animation)
      EPIC SKINS
      Spider Warden Maiev, Forgotten Spider Warden Maiev, Night Spider Warden Maiev

      Phantom Knight Zarya, Geist Knight Zarya, Infernal Knight Zarya
      NEW MOUNT
      Pumpkin Eye Pad Mount, Sunny Side Eye Pad Mount
      BANNERS

      Raven Army Warcrests, Witches & Warden Warcrest, Spectres & Phantoms Warcrests
      PORTRAITS

      New Portraits to freshen up your profile
      SPRAYS
      A sprawling collection of sharp new Sprays
      NEW MOUNT
      Copper Pig\
      ANNOUNCER PACKS

      Queen Nightshade, Blackheart, Lady of Thorns
      NEW SKIN TINTS
      Spectral Bewitching Brightwing, Spectral Countess Kerrigan
      OTHER SEASONAL EVENT LOOT
      Awesome rewards from previous fall events will also be available in Fall of King’s Crest Loot Chests. If you missed something last year, it’s not too late to get in on the action!

      NEW QUESTLINES
      LAST STAND AGAINST THE RAVEN LORD
      Dive behind enemy lines to defeat the Raven Lord’s generals and stage a last-ditch defense of King’s Crest. Complete four Questlines (with four Quests each) to unlock themed rewards. Once all four generals are defeated, choose between two Quests in a final act of resistance against the Raven Lord. Unlock a different Tombstone Mount depending on the final Quest you choose.
      DEFEAT ALL FOUR GENERALS
      PHANTOM KNIGHT ZARYA QUESTLINE REWARDS
      Spray, rare loot chest, portrait, animated emojis

      WITCH OF THE HOLLOWS WHITEMANE QUESTLINE REWARDS
      Spray, rare loot chest, portrait, animated emojis

      SPIDER WARDEN MAIEV QUESTLINE REWARDS
      Spray, rare loot chest, portrait, animated emojis

      SPECTRAL WYRM ALEXSTRASZA QUESTLINE REWARDS
      Spray, rare loot chest, portrait, animated emojis
      FINAL QUEST (CHOOSE ONE)
      FINAL QUEST REWARDS
      Redeemed Tombstone Mount OR Cursed Tombstone Mount
    • By Stan
      The latest Heroes of the Storm content patch is available for playtesting until September 24. Check out the official patch notes for details!
      Fall of the King's Crest Event
      Fall of the King's Crest is a new event available next week where players can complete up to four different quests to earn themed rewards. We have a new type of Loot Chests that will have a chance to contain new skins.
      Fall of the King's Crest Event Trailer Event Overview & Comic TBA Garden of Terror Revamp
      Blizzard also decided to change the objective on Garden of Terror to make a Cursed Hollow & Tomb of the Spider Queen hybrid out of it by removing the day/night cycle and the Garden Terror vehicle.
      Garden of Terror Battleground Rework Hero Reworks
      The patch will hit live servers next week and it's time for two Hero reworks as Brightwing and Kerrigan both received talent overhauls. The patch notes contain detailed information about all new, updated, and removed talents.
      Brightwing Hero Rework Spotlight Kerrigan Hero Rework Spotlight Blizzard (Source)
      Our next Heroes of the Storm patch has just hit the Public Test Realm and will be available for playtesting until September 24. As always, if you encounter any bugs during your PTR play sessions, please stop by the PTR Bug Report forum to let us know about your experiences.
      NOTE: This patch also includes balance changes for an update that will be hitting the live servers later this week. You can find those notes here.
      General
      New Event: Fall of King’s Crest
      The Fall of Kings Questline is now available for players. The hunt is on for the generals of the Raven Lord! Loot Chests have been replaced with Seasonal Loot chests for the duration of this event. Battlegrounds
      Garden of Terror
      Garden of Terror has received significant gameplay and layout changes. Find out more in the Garden of Terror Spotlight video or on the updated Garden of Terror Battleground site. Art
      Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Kerrigan and Brightwing have received some new and updated art to coincide with their gameplay updates. User Interface
      Mercenary Camp and Banner floating text has received readability improvements. Heroes
      Assassin

      Kerrigan

      Abilities
      Ravage (Q) Charges increased from 1 to 2 Range reduced from 8 to 6 Mana cost reduced from 40 to 20 Damage reduced from 210 to 130 Added functionality: Now also refunds 20 Mana when used on an enemy that dies within 1.5 seconds Impaling Blades (W) Damage reduced from 261 to 180 Primal Grasp (E) Pull damage reduced from 114 to 25 Added functionality: 2.5 seconds after using Primal Grasp, Kerrigan damages all nearby enemies for 180 damage Summon Ultralisk (R) Splash radius increased from 1.5 to 2 The initial cast of Ultralisk is now directional skill shot that causes the Ultralisk to charge in the targeted direction until impacting an enemy Hero. It deals 250 damage and stuns for .5 seconds to the first Hero it hits. Assimilation (Trait) Shield amount increased from 10 to 15% of damage dealt Talents
      Level 1 Siphoning Impact (Q) New functionality: Using Ravage on an enemy Hero grants an additional 90 Assimilation Shield Assimilation Mastery (Trait) Moved from level 7 No longer increases the duration of Assimilation Shield In addition to increasing Kerrigan’s Health and Mana Regeneration by 100% while Assimilation is active, now also causes Regeneration Globes to grant 40 Assimilation Shield per second while active Fury of the Swarm (Passive) Moved from level 4 New functionality: Kerrigan gains 10% more Assimilation Shields from Basic Attacks. Casting Ravage causes Kerrigan’s next 2 Basic Attacks within 3 seconds to splash for 100% damage around the target Sharpened Blades (W) Removed Block (Passive) Removed Level 4 New Talent - Sharpened Blades (Q) !Quest: Every time an enemy Minion or Hero dies within 1.5 seconds of being damaged by Ravage, increase Ravage's damage by .5 (5 for Heroes), up to 50 !Reward: After reaching 50 damage, gain an additional 50 damage New Talent - Kinetic Fulmination (W) Damaging an enemy increases the damage of Kerrigan's next Impaling Blades by 15%. Stacks up to 150%. Lasts 10 seconds. Psionic Pulse (E) New functionality: Primal Grasp deals damage a second time 2.5 seconds after the initial burst Clean Kill (Q) Removed Envenom (Active) Removed Level 7 New Talent - Queen of Blades (Q) Every time Primal Grasp's pull or explosion hits an enemy Hero, reduce the cooldown of Ravage by 4 seconds New Talent - Boundless Fury (Q) Casting Ravage on an enemy Hero grants a charge of Ravage. Can only occur on each Hero once every 10 seconds Bladed Momentum (Passive) Now only triggers when attacking enemy Heroes Now works with splash damage from Fury of the Swarm Blade Torrent (W) Removed Level 13 New Talent - Psionic Barrier (E) Kerrigan gains 15 Spell Armor for 4 seconds for every enemy Hero she hits with Primal Grasp's pull or explosion New Talent - Volatile Power (Trait) Increase the base Shield amount gained from Assimilation by 15%, but reduce the duration of Assimilation Shields from 6 to 3 seconds New Talent - Chrysalis (Active) Activate to place Kerrigan in a chrysalis with 550 Health for 5 seconds. Kerrigan regenerates 5% Health per second while inside the chrysalis. 90 second cooldown. Eviscerate (Q) Removed Double Strike (Q) Removed Queen's Rush (Active) Removed Level 16 New Talent - Mounting Potency (Q) Casting Ravage on an enemy increases Kerrigan's Spell Power by 5% for 4 seconds, stacking up to 40% New Talent - Painful Spikes (W) After stunning an enemy with Impale, Kerrigan deals an additional 75 damage the next 6 times she damages them within the next 5 seconds New Talent - Unbridled Energy (R) When Kerrigan damages a Hero with a Heroic Ability she gains 30% Spell Power for 4 seconds Aggressive Defense (Trait) Removed Essence for Essence (Active) Removed Overdrive (Active) Removed Level 20 Omegastorm (R) New Functionality: Maelstrom's duration is increased by .125 seconds every time it damages an enemy Hero New Talent - Assimilation Blades (Trait) Damaging an enemy increases Kerrigan's Basic Attack damage by 4%, up to 40%, for 5 seconds Psionic Shift (Active) Shield amount is now doubled when damaging enemy Heroes Nexus Blades (Passive) Removed Support

      Brightwing

      Abilities
      Arcane Flare (Q) Outer damage from 87 to 75 Inner damage from 260 to 180 Missile speed increased ~30% Added functionality: If an enemy Hero is hit by the center of Arcane Flare, instantly pulse a free Soothing Mist Polymorph (W) Duration from 1.25 to 1.5 seconds Cooldown from 10 to 12 seconds Pixie Dust (E) Range from 8 to 7 Phase Shift (Z) Cooldown from 55 to 60 seconds Added functionality: Heals the target for 20% of their maximum health Soothing Mist (D) Heal amount reduced from 115 to 105 Added functionality: Activate to instantly pulse a calming wave, clearing all Stun, Root, Slow, and Silence effects from nearby allies 120 second cooldown Emerald Wind (R) No longer grants passive healing to Soothing Mist Damage reduced from 303 to 225 Cooldown reduced from 60 to 50 seconds Talents
      Level 1 Greater Polymorph (W) Moved from Level 16 New functionality: Increase the cast range of Polymorph by 30%. Anytime a nearby enemy Hero is killed, reset the Cooldown of Polymorph Hyper Shift (Z) New functionality: Increase the heal amount of Phase Shift to 30% of targets max Health Every Minion killed near you lowers the cooldown of Phase Shift by 2 seconds Pixie Charm (1) New functionality: Every Minion killed near you grants you a Bribe Stack. Hitting an enemy with the center portion of Arcane Flare grants you 5 Bribe Stacks Level 4 Manic Pixie (E) Removed Unstable Anomaly (W) New functionality: Increase the slow amount of Polymorph to 40%. When it expires, it explodes dealing 2% of all nearby enemy Heroes max Health in damage Dream Shot (Q) Moved from Level 1 New functionality: Increase the range of Arcane Flare by 50%. If it hits an enemy Hero, lower the cooldown to 2 seconds. New Talent – Magic Spit (D) Increase your Basic Attack range by 20%. Attacks against Heroes reduce the cooldown of Soothing Mist’s active by 5 seconds Level 7 Mistified (D) Removed Cleanse (Active) Removed Phase Shield (Z) Removed Sticky Flare (Q) Moved from Level 13 New functionality: Arcane Flare slows Heroes by 20% for 3 seconds, or 40% if hit by the center of Arcane Flare Peekaboo! (Z) Moved from Level 4 Added functionality: Also grants the you and your target a temporary health Shield New Talent – Critical Mist (D) If Calming Mist removes a status effect from an ally, instantly heal them for 200 Level 13 Ice Block (Active) Removed Shield Dust (E) Removed Pixie Boost (E) Movement Speed decay duration increased from 1.5 to 3 seconds Movement Speed bonus reduced to 40% New Talent – Safety Dust (E) Increase the duration of Pixie Dust by 1 second. Healing dealt by Brightwing is increased by 25% on targets with Pixie Dust New Talent – Pixie Power (E) Lower the cooldown of Pixie Dust by 3 seconds and increase the Spell Armor it grants to 50 Level 16 Bouncy Dust (E) Removed Hardened Focus (Passive) Removed New Talent – Phase Out (Active) Activate to phase out and become invulnerable for .5 seconds 20 second cooldown New Talent – Hush (Q) Enemy Heroes hit with the center of Arcane Flare are Silenced for 1 second and deal 25% less damage for 3 seconds. Level 20 Double Wyrmhole (R) Removed Continuous Winds (R) Removed Revitalizing Mist (D) Removed Storm Shield (Active) Removed New Talent – Invisible Friends (R) Blink Heal grants you and the target stealth. They are unrevealable for .5 seconds. While under this effect, they regenerate 20 Health Per Second New Talent – Intensive Winds (R) Lower the cooldown of Emerald Wind to 3 seconds. It now costs 200 Mana New Talent – Faerie Protector (Active) Activate to instantly cast Pixie Dust on all nearby allied Heroes 60 second cooldown New Talent – Speedy Dragon (Passive) Gain 20% permanent movement speed Collection
      New Bundles
      The following new bundles are available for a limited time: Fall of King’s Crest Bundle Spectral Wyrm Alextrasza Skin Pack Spider Warden Maiev Skin Pack Cursed Witch Whitemane Skin Pack Phantom Knight Zarya Skin Pack New Announcers
      Queen Nightshade Blackheart Lady of Thorns New Skins
      Alexstrasza Spectral Wyrm Alexstrasza Infernal Wyrm Alexstrasza Phantom Wyrm Alexstrasza Brightwing Spectral Bewitching Brightwing Kerrigan Spectral Countess Kerrigan Maiev Spider Warden Maiev Forgotten Spider Warden Maiev Night Spider Warden Maiev Whitemane Cursed Witch Whitemane Forgotten Witch Whitemane Court Witch Whitemane Zarya Phantom Knight Zarya Infernal Knight Zarya Geist Knight Zarya New Mounts
      Redeemed Tombstone Corrupted Tombstone Copper Money Pig Pumpkin Eye Pad Sunny Side Eye Pad New Portraits, Sprays, and Emojis
      Several new emoji packs and portraits have also been added to the Heroes of the Storm Collection tab. Bug Fixes
      General
      Fixed several confusing or incorrect tooltips across all parts of the game. Drag Scroll: Fixed an issue that could occasionally cause the camera to jump in the direction of the cursor when using the drag scroll feature. Reconnect: Fixed an issue that could cause players to lose control of their Hero if they reconnect while piloting a vehicle. AI: A number of improvements have been made to AI Hero behavior. Art
      Chromie: Fixed an issue that caused Chromie’s hourglass to go missing during her Hearthstone animation. Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Abathur: Fixed an issue preventing Monstrosity from gaining damage when nearby enemy minions die. Alarak & Gazlowe: Fixed an issue that allowed Gazlowe and Alarak to cast charged abilities while time stopped. Ana: Fixed an issue that allowed Ana to used Eye of Horus shots between mine levels on Haunted Mines. Lúcio: Fixed an issue preventing Lúcio from issuing attack commands while silenced. Mephisto: Fixed an issue preventing the Static Barrier talent from granting Mephisto shields if damage was dealt to Shields or Protected Heroes. Raynor: Raynor's Raider will now clear attack or move order when entering or exiting the mines on Haunted Mines. Stealth: Fixed an issue that prevented Ping markers from being visible on clones if the clones were created after the ping was initiated. User Interface
      Fixed an issue that caused Garrosh’s Groundbreaker splat to appear under the wrong team color in observer mode. Fixed an issue that could cause Heroes to fail to play stun animations and effects if stunned twice in quick succession. Lúcio: Fixed an issue causing the UI displaying the number of allies in range of crossfade to stop working after Lúcio exits a vehicle. Brightwing & Kerrigan talent updates, Garden of Terror battleground revamp, and the Fall of King's Crest event are coming to the Nexus soon!