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BlizzCon 2018 Heroes of the Storm Rewards

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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

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BlizzCon 2018 Banner

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BlizzCon 2018 Portrait

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BlizzCon 2018 Spray (Cartoon Nexus Razorgrin)

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Funny how blizz pretends that someone cares about this game yet the token price doesn't move up by even one gold until WoW reward gets announced.

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9 minutes ago, Haheisenberg said:

Funny how blizz pretends that someone cares about this game yet the token price doesn't move up by even one gold until WoW reward gets announced.

Why so negative? I, for my part, will take this news for what it is: A cool new mount announcement for HotS and not about WoW

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4 minutes ago, Istinon said:

Why so negative? I, for my part, will take this news for what it is: A cool new mount announcement for HotS and not about WoW

It's that mob mentality, very often when I see news about HotS somewhere people spam "no one cares about this game", "lul dead game" etc. Sadly, that even spread to Overwatch now. It's basically with every game that had surge of popularity at one point, but then lost many players or isn't in spotlight anymore.

Edited by Arcling
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13 minutes ago, Arcling said:

It's that mob mentality, very often when I see news about HotS somewhere people spam "no one cares about this game", "lul dead game" etc. Sadly, that even spread to Overwatch now. It's basically with every game that had surge of popularity at one point, but then lost many players or isn't in spotlight anymore.

Every game that is at the end of its growth cycle has to deal with these comments. That does not necessarily mean the game is declining - it might just be that the game is stagnating - but it sure as hell isn't growing much anymore.

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25 minutes ago, Arcling said:

It's that mob mentality, very often when I see news about HotS somewhere people spam "no one cares about this game", "lul dead game" etc. Sadly, that even spread to Overwatch now. It's basically with every game that had surge of popularity at one point, but then lost many players or isn't in spotlight anymore.

It's more about blizz releasing an unfinished game which BfA certainly is (don't say it's not, even Icy Veins had an article titled "is wow in open beta?" which was quickly changed). I know those teams are not related but it still feels annoying to see any news from other game, knowing that a rushed expansion will be slowly fixed over time instead of being released later but actually completed. You may ask wouldn't the content draught be a problem if we waited some more time for a new exp? Well maybe if there were more resources put in the main game instead of another shitty, toxic, imbalanced game, then we would have mkore content or the new exp would actually be complete earlier. 

Edit: 

Besides what I wrote above, let me say again that if a considerable amount of people cared about this, the token price would already skyrocket. You will see this if we get a nice mount for WoW as a ticket reward.

Edited by Haheisenberg

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57 minutes ago, Haheisenberg said:

Funny how blizz pretends that someone cares about this game yet the token price doesn't move up by even one gold until WoW reward gets announced.

I always wonder why toxic people take the time to comment negative stuff on forums about things they "don't care" about...

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30 minutes ago, Aasgier said:

Every game that is at the end of its growth cycle has to deal with these comments. That does not necessarily mean the game is declining - it might just be that the game is stagnating - but it sure as hell isn't growing much anymore.

That's true, usually if game is at least successful to a degree, it will get rather stable, albeit smaller playerbase. There is always a wave of players who will leave the game once it's "newness" wears out, usually that's when these comments start appearing.

@Haheisenberg Yes, BfA was released with plenty of unfixed bugs and unfinished content. As for token prices, some people play only WoW, so it's not going to increase just for HotS mount, which isn't even that unique, as it is a retextured model of already existing mount. Gold prices also skyrocket when there is new game on BN (like it was the case with Destiny 2). I guess mount for WoW will have a unique model, so more people will care.

 

Edited by Arcling

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HotS is certainly not dead, but the playerbase feels low, especially if you play team league of unranked at night, you will be playing with the same people over and over and in team league queue times will be huge unless you will get into an extremely unfair match because there is no way around this.

IMHO, HotS worked only because it had Blizzard characters that we all love. It had some conceptual flaws (like shared XP, team dependent gameplay, inability to see your and enemy's MMR etc.) and if any other studio would've made the same game it would've been dead a long time ago. I'm not even talking about matchmaking since perfect matchmaking just wasn't invented yet and it impossible in a game like HotS (too many heroes, maps and other variables).

What I think happened is Blizzard was probably unhappy since they missed their golden chance with DotA and they decided to make their own DotA (if you remember, it was called Blizzard DotA for some time while in pre-prodution). Then they decided to make their vision of a MOBA game, different from MOBAs of the time (DotA, Dota 2, LoL, HoN, RoT, whatever), featuring their characters and lore.

HotS is probably the least profitable Blizz game (besides Diablo III of course), and it treated that way as well. I don't know how it is currently, but it used to be just a side project and an additional workload for Dustin Browder and his SC2 team. It really feels like this was indeed calculated and they perfectly know how much they are spending and what they are doing with their games. 

Also, they sort of cornered themselves with very weak customization and low micro-transaction incentives before HotS 2.0. They could've made much more money off the game if they'd thought of that before, like Gabe did with Dota 2.

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18 minutes ago, Kuarinofu said:

HotS is probably the least profitable Blizz game (besides Diablo III of course), and it treated that way as well.

It's above D3 for sure, and maybe SC2 too, since it also seems rather dead and mostly in maintenance mode. Also the fact that all new co-op commanders and skins are locked behind paywall, isn't attracting new players. Most casuals have abandoned this game, and those who are still playing it are mostly those following esports and/or those who are very competitive in ranked.

I actually like shared team xp in HotS, though many players coming from others mobas hated it and also complained that they couldn't play "solo", to carry whole team. All skins initially locked behind paywall certainly didn't help to attract more casuals, something like heroes 2.0 should have been there from the start. Agree that Blizzard was rather late with releasing this game (and originally it was even supposed to be a part of SC2 arcade), which is rather funny, because this genre started in W3. Another issue is that they initially advertised HotS as casual game, "hero brawler", but later started making changes for the sake of it becoming more "esport friendly" (shorter cc, burst damage being more prevalent than sustained etc.).

Edited by Arcling
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5 hours ago, Arcling said:

Most casuals have abandoned this game, and those who are still playing it are mostly those following esports and/or those who are very competitive in ranked.

You guys are all just being echo chambers of each other... You're wrong.

HotS is not 'dead'.

It's not 'stagnate'.

It's not something that 'most casuals have abandoned'.

And it's not something that only esports and 'very competitive' players play.

All my friends who play HotS are casual players and we play just about every night together (about 10-15 of us). Most of them don't play much else games wise. This is pretty much their one thing they do other then tv/videos to past the time when off work. I play lots of video games myself, but I'm by NO means very competitive.

I rarely ever play ranked matches. I and many of my HOTS friends I game with all the time just do our placements in TL for the free mount. And placements in HL just to see how we stack up. And then don't worry with ranked for the rest of the season. I do have a few HotS friends that play ranked a lot on my friends list but they don't play as much with us more 'casual' players.

And trust me the majority of my friends on HotS are 'casuals' about it. We just enjoy playing the game with each other more then anything else. And getting to play with characters we find fun to play And playing a game that's fun and not got all the bullshit that LoL and DOTA do. Also most of my HotS friends have either never played LoL of DotA or only played it very briefly before trying HotS and MUCH preferring it to the competition.

 And I'm pretty sure money wise it's Overwatch/WoW/HotS/SC2/D3. But it could be that HotS is number 2 in profits for them behind Overwatch or WoW/Overwatch/HotS. but still either 2 or 3 in profits.

And don't even count Destiny 2 or CoD:BC4. Those games have NOTHING to do with the Blizzard studio teams. They are only on B.net by order of Activision (who own Blizzard) for a platform/launcher for them to be played on PC to bypass Steam. So Activision can make all the profits from the games rather then having to give a percentile of it to another service like Steam and the like. So rather then making another launcher they just started having stuff like that added to b.net. Plus it exposes those games to a user base on b.net that might not have thought about getting the games otherwise.

So yeah... you guys are just plain wrong about HotS. And like someone else said, if you don't like the game so much and think it's 'dead' why are you even on here talking about it / bad mouthing it to begin with.

It sounds to me like you guys are all just whining and crying cause you didn't get a fancy new toy that you wanted so now your bitching and complaining and calling your parents assholes for not giving you one. Rather 

Plus they're bonuses for buying the Blizzcon tickets in the first place. The point of bonus items isn't suppose to be the reason you buy something. The primary item is. If you don't give two shits about watching all the Blizzcon event stuff live on Twitch or YouTube or you don't plan on actually going to Blizzcon then don't worry about it. You can easily watch all the important stuff on YouTube soon after. And they run a bunch of the Esports event stuff for it on Twitch live during them without a ticket to watch for free too.

 Infact you should consider the fact that it's 'just a reskin' a good thing! Cause that means you didn't have to spend a SUPER high price just to get an ultra rare unique one time only item. 

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51 minutes ago, CyberDVonaven said:

You guys are all just being echo chambers of each other... You're wrong.

That part with casuals abandoning the game was about Starcraft 2. HotS is mostly casual, with GMs already complaining about long queues.

Edited by Arcling
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That, and stagnating is not necessarily bad. Games can spend a long time in this phase of their life cycle (World of Tanks, for example, is around for slightly less than a decade now and has spent three quarters of its life in this stage).

A stagnating game is also not dead by any means - it means it is no longer growing rapidly in playerbase. But stagnation (HotS life stage) is far from a decline and even declining games are not dead.

Let's take another example from a game I played; Rise of Mythos. I remember when it was growing (for about 9 months after it came out, then it was stagnant for 9 months, then the game developers introduced completely broken bullshit and the game died off in another 6 (losing over 90% of its playerbase in that timeframe). This is what I would call a dead game, currently. It has gone through all of the phases in its life stage, suffered from a complete decline and queue times are through the roof.

Edit: Rise of Mythos, for those that don't know, is a Chinese card game. They tend to have relatively short life cycles, as the numbers here show, since Chinese game design philosophy does not care about longevity - it is all about milking consumers as quickly as you can.

 

Edited by Aasgier
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On 9/19/2018 at 6:49 PM, Arcling said:

That part with casuals abandoning the game was about Starcraft 2. HotS is mostly casual, with GMs already complaining about long queues.

Oh, ok. That makes fair more sense :).

In regards to the GrandMasters complains, I would assume that's an issue in any game with ladders at the highest levels of ranked play.

I know if I was Master or GrandMaster (which I'm far from either, but a can dream 😛 ) I would always just expect my queue times to be longer and longer the higher up in rank I got. It wouldn't exactly make much since for there to be a TON of GM players. It would kinda defeat the principle that so few are good enough to be a Grand Master in the first place.

Edited by CyberDVonaven

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On 9/20/2018 at 4:32 AM, Aasgier said:

This is what I would call a dead game, currently. It has gone through all of the phases in its life stage, suffered from a complete decline and queue times are through the roof.

??? o_O? Are you a Master/GrandMaster or something? Queue times are just fine for me and my friends. They're only slightly longer then they've ever been for us.

The only time we have problems with it taking forever is when one of our Master rank buddies plays with us. Then it takes forever because our 5 person team has such differing ranks it makes it harder on the game to match us up to another 5 player team properly.

Also we play on NA and usually are all playing together at around like 2or3am-6or7am EST (mine and couple others) / 11pmor12am-3or4am PST (several others in our group). Cause one of our friends is in Australia (14hrs ahead of EST) and another is in Hawaii (6hrs behind EST) So at those times of night/morning it's gonna be less people on NA. Like when I'm still up playing at like 7am EST it usually takes longing then when I'm playing at like 2-3am to get a match. And it's obvious to me WHY it takes longer at these times. If I was playing around 5pm-9pm EST or so on a regular basis I'm pretty damn sure queue times would be very short comparatively.

So maybe you guys 'idea' of short and long queue times determining if a game is alive, growing, stable, or dead is flawed. Also I have to wonder what times you consider 'short' and 'through the roof' to begin with. And your basis of comparison as well. Cause the few times I've tried to play LoL in recents months, despite the game having such an I assume large player-base, I found my queue times on there to be longer or about the same as in HOTS for me.

ALSO AN IMPORTANT NOTE; Queue times have increased since they changed the way the system does it's matchmaking and how it tries to pair up players (and their choices of heroes in QM). They've talked about this in Dev blogs to the community. Which have been talked about/highlighted here on Icy Veins before. About how times would be longer when they implemented this change, but they felt that the increase in times would result in better matchmaking for the players. And how they would keep refining the system in the future as well to keep trying to get it to a better balance between the quality of matches versus time waiting for a match in queue. So this is something else you guys don't seem to be taking into account or remembering too.

Edited by CyberDVonaven

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9 hours ago, CyberDVonaven said:

???

Reading is hard, appearantly.

I was talking about Rise of Mythos in what I would call a dead game. In Rise of Mythos you won't find a game often enough even when queuing for 20 minutes - and that is a mostly 1v1 game.

Heroes of the Storm is stagnating; its initial growth phase is over, but this game is far, far from dead. I tend to find games pretty quickly unless I'm in a 5-man trying to play the newest hero in QM or something. Not always, in off-times it can be 5 or 6 minutes easily (EU, Silver) but it's overall pretty doable. But stagnating it definately is; new players are not coming by the droves anymore, players are leaving because they think they have played the game long enough (not because they think it is a bad game, just because they have had enough of it), but also that the influx of new players is still enough to compensate for the players leaving.

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15 hours ago, Aasgier said:

I was talking about Rise of Mythos in what I would call a dead game.

Ahh, I see now. I thought you had moved from talking about RoM back to HotS in the same paragraph.

So ended up both of my defenses of comments on HotS in this thread ended up being me misunderstanding what subject each commenter was talking about at the time in their comment. ...I feel silly now...

I am glad that everyone is in agreement that HotS is doing well these days. Or at least doing well enough to sustain the game to continue for (hopefully) years to come. On a side note to that current sustaining success. I been watching the HGC matches today on Twitch and I noticed that the LoL EU Masters was also going on at the same time on the Riot Games channel. They were only 200 or so concurrent viewers apart with both being just shy of 18,000. With LoL having the slightly higher viewer count at the time I checked this afternoon. So that's great to see :). 

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8 hours ago, CyberDVonaven said:

Ahh, I see now. I thought you had moved from talking about RoM back to HotS in the same paragraph.

So ended up both of my defenses of comments on HotS in this thread ended up being me misunderstanding what subject each commenter was talking about at the time in their comment. ...I feel silly now...

I am glad that everyone is in agreement that HotS is doing well these days. Or at least doing well enough to sustain the game to continue for (hopefully) years to come. On a side note to that current sustaining success. I been watching the HGC matches today on Twitch and I noticed that the LoL EU Masters was also going on at the same time on the Riot Games channel. They were only 200 or so concurrent viewers apart with both being just shy of 18,000. With LoL having the slightly higher viewer count at the time I checked this afternoon. So that's great to see :). 

...Why would I move back to HotS in the same paragraph?

I won't blame you. I made the same mistake of misreading and misunderstanding things often enough, albeit on other forums. It's only a matter of time before I do it here too.

Yeah, HotS is not really in a bad place. The stories I have heard about Riot seemingly screwing up League of Legends can easily lead to a second growth phase for HotS too if they are remotely true. However, it does require that Blizzard gets its act together and gets rid of the bullshit elements (replacing Genji's Protected, Maiev's Vault, Chromie's Time Trap/Time Loop and Mephisto's Consume Souls would probably help a lot). We probably also need some more crazy heroes in terms of design, because those are what make HotS stand out in the first place.

Edited by Aasgier
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On 9/23/2018 at 6:00 AM, Aasgier said:

We probably also need some more crazy heroes in terms of design, because those are what make HotS stand out in the first place.

I agree with this for sure. I really do hope they go ahead with the rumored Mira Han & Matt Horner duo Hero. (picked like ChoGal but separate). And after reading the new comic that came out today (Tuesday Sep 25th) they could do a skin for it that's the Queen of Thorns' Daughter & Son too.

Edited by CyberDVonaven

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On 9/19/2018 at 5:25 PM, Kuarinofu said:

HotS is certainly not dead, but the playerbase feels low, especially if you play team league of unranked at night, you will be playing with the same people over and over and in team league queue times will be huge unless you will get into an extremely unfair match because there is no way around this.

IMHO, HotS worked only because it had Blizzard characters that we all love. It had some conceptual flaws (like shared XP, team dependent gameplay, inability to see your and enemy's MMR etc.) and if any other studio would've made the same game it would've been dead a long time ago. I'm not even talking about matchmaking since perfect matchmaking just wasn't invented yet and it impossible in a game like HotS (too many heroes, maps and other variables).

What I think happened is Blizzard was probably unhappy since they missed their golden chance with DotA and they decided to make their own DotA (if you remember, it was called Blizzard DotA for some time while in pre-prodution). Then they decided to make their vision of a MOBA game, different from MOBAs of the time (DotA, Dota 2, LoL, HoN, RoT, whatever), featuring their characters and lore.

HotS is probably the least profitable Blizz game (besides Diablo III of course), and it treated that way as well. I don't know how it is currently, but it used to be just a side project and an additional workload for Dustin Browder and his SC2 team. It really feels like this was indeed calculated and they perfectly know how much they are spending and what they are doing with their games. 

Also, they sort of cornered themselves with very weak customization and low micro-transaction incentives before HotS 2.0. They could've made much more money off the game if they'd thought of that before, like Gabe did with Dota 2.

Have to disagree on pretty much every point you make, except that hots isn't dead. Sure the blizzard iconic characters helps the game but to suggest that shared xp and team fight focused gameplay are conceptual flaws is incorrect. There is only one reason why Hots isn't bigger, timing. It came out after dota2 and lol had already began to dominate the market and it's hard for people to give up thousands of hours of grind and to also relearn how to play. It's well known that lol and dota2 players that try hots are easily the worst players in the game as they simply can't wrap their heads around how the game works. Personally I could never fathom how badly designed lol and  dota2 are as games and they are only in the lead because they were to big to fail.

Where you really lose me is when you suggest Diablo 3 as being "least profitable" when it's the 10 best selling video game of all time, across all platforms, I wonder how you define profitable? 

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By profitable I mean the ability to make money with in-game microtransactions or in other way. Like they first did with RMAH, they can't do that any more anyway.

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      Stats
      Health increased from 1425 to 1550 Health Regen increased from 2.969 to 3.23 Basic Attack damage reduced from 90 to 81 Abilities
      Withering Fire (Q) Adjusted functionality: Pressing Q once fires 5 Withering Fire arrows at the closest enemy Mana cost increased from 0 to 25 Damage reduced from 48 to 39 Range increased from 6.25 to 8 Cooldown increased from 2 to 8 seconds Cooldown now restores all charges No longer gains charges on Minion kills Nearby Heroes takedowns now refresh the cooldown of this ability Fire rate reduced from .188 to .375 (50% slower) Withering Fire cannot be cast while a previous cast of Withering Fire is still firing Shadow Dagger (W) Adjusted functionality: Shadow Dagger no longer spreads to nearby targets each time it does damage.  Damage dealt by Sylvanas to the primary target of Shadow Dagger spreads its effect to all nearby enemies. Mana cost decreased from 75 to 50 Duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds Damage reduced from 37 to 29 Haunting Wave (E) Banshee travel speed increased by ~6% Mind Control (R) Cooldown reduced from 60 to 50 seconds New functionality: After a .25 second cast, launch a missile that impacts the first enemy Hero in its path.  Impacted Heroes are Silenced, Slowed by 30%, and forced to walk towards Sylvanas for 1.75 seconds. Black Arrows (Trait) New functionality: Activate to cause all Basic Attacks and Abilities to Stun Minions, Mercenaries, and Structures for 3 seconds over the next 10 seconds. 40 second cooldown New Passive functionality – Banshee’s Curse: Basic Attacks infect enemies with Banshee’s Curse for 3 seconds.  Sylvanas deals 25% bonus damage to enemies with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse. Talents
      Level 1 Overflowing Quiver (Q) Removed Dreadful Wake (E) Removed Overwhelming Affliction (Trait) Moved from Level 16 Adjusted functionality: Enemy Heroes with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse are slowed by 15%.  Basic Attacks against Slowed enemy Heroes deal 1% of their maximum Health in damage New Talent: Unfurling Shadows (W) Quest: Each time Shadow Dagger deals damage to enemy Heroes with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse, increase its damage by .5% New Talent: Banshee’s Curse (Q) Hitting an enemy Hero with Withering Fire increases Sylvanas’ Attack Speed and Ability Power by 5% for 6 seconds, stacking up to 5 times Level 4 With the Wind (Q) Removed Mercenary Queen (Trait) Moved from Level 1 Adjusted functionality: Friendly non-Elite Mercenaries near Sylvanas deal 60% more damage.  Sylvanas Stuns and deals 30% additional damage to Mercenaries with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse. Possession (Active) Moved from Level 7 Now requires 3 charges to be used on Catapults Unstable Poison (W) Moved from Level 7 Damage increased from 116 to 130 Now triggers on enemy minions who are afflicted by Banshee’s Curse, Black Arrows, or Shadow Dagger Radius increased from 2 to 2.5 Level 7 Barbed Shot (Q) New functionality: Hitting the same enemy with 5 shots of Withering Fire causes the last shot to deal 350% bonus damage Lost Soul (W) Moved from Level 4 Adjusted functionality: Reduce Shadow Dagger’s cooldown by 1.75 seconds each time Sylvanas uses a Basic Attack on an enemy Hero with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse. New Talent: Festering Wounds (E) Haunting Wave deals 25% more damage and applies 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse.  Level 13 Cold Embrace (W) Moved from Level 16 Duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds Now also reduces the Armor of targets that Shadow Dagger spreads to by 10 Spell Shield (Active) Removed Remorseless (Trait) Moved from Level 16 New functionality: Increase Sylvanas’ Basic Attack range by 1.  Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse fire an untalented shot of Withering Fire.  This shot applies Banshee’s Curse. Windrunner (E) Adjusted functionality: Teleporting with Haunting Wave resets the cooldown of Withering Fire.  Haunting Wave can be cast a second time for free within 5 seconds after teleporting Level 16 Life Drain (W) Moved from Level 13 New functionality: Dealing damage to enemies with 3 stacks of Banshee’s Curse heals Sylvanas for 15% of the damage dealt.  Doubled against Heroes Evasive Fire (Q) Adjusted Functionality: Hitting enemies with Withering Fire grants Sylvanas 6% bonus Movement Speed for 2 seconds, stacking up to 30%.  Basic Attacks refresh this duration. Will of the Forsaken (Active) Moved from Level 13 Level 20 Dark Lady's Call (R) New functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Mind Control by 30 seconds.  Heroes hit by Mind Control have their vision greatly reduced for 5 seconds.  Withering Barrage (Q) Moved from Level 4 New functionality: Hitting an enemy Hero with Withering Fire decreases its cooldown by .75 seconds Warrior

      Stitches
      Abilities
      Hook (Q) Range reduced from 12.5 to 11 Slam (W) Cast time increased from .25 to .313 Cooldown increased from 6 to 7 seconds Range increased from 8 to 9.5 Mana cost increased from 30 to 35 Added functionality: Now has an Inner area that deals 40% Bonus Damage and applies a 40% slow for 1.5 seconds Devour (E) Ability Effects now occur at the start of the ability's cast, rather than at the end Vile Cleaver (Passive) New Functionality: Basic Attacks apply Vile Gas to nearby enemies, poisoning for 45 damage over 3 seconds. Re-applying Vile Gas increases its duration rather than resetting it, up to 10 seconds. Talents
      Level 1 Chew Your Food (E) Removed Dampen Magic (Passive) Removed Heavy Slam (W) Removed Hungry for More (Passive) New functionality: Quest: Regen Globes grant 30 permanent Health Every 15 Regen globes, Stitches gains 5% permanent Movement speed up to a maximum of 20% Savor the Flavor (E) Additional heal over time effect duration reduced from 5 to 4 seconds. Moved from level 7 New Functionality: Casting Devour on a Hero restores an additional 10% of maximum Health and Mana over 5 seconds and permanently increases Stitches’ health regeneration by 1. New Talent: Patchwork Creation (Passive) Increase all healing received by 15%. Nearby Minion and Hero kills Heal Stiches (Minions for 30, Heroes for 300) Hero takedown heal amount reduced from 300 to 240 Level 4 Amplified Healing (Passive) Removed Restorative Fumes (Trait) Removed Putrid Ground (W) Removed New Talent – Playtime! (W) Heroes hit by Slam reduce the cooldowns of Stitches's other Basic Abilities by .5 seconds. This cooldown reduction is increased to 2 seconds for Heroes that are hit by Slam's inner impact area. New Talent – Chop Chop (W) Hitting a Hero with the inner area of Slam increases Stitches' Basic Attack Speed by 50% for 4 seconds. New Talent: Serrated Edge (Q) Hooking an enemy Hero deals 5% of their max life as damage and decreases Hook’s cooldown by 4 seconds. Cooldown reduction decreased from 4 to 3 seconds. Level 7 Last Bite (E) Removed New Talent - Blight (Trait) Vile Gas heals for 33% of the damage it deals. Activate to apply Vile Gas to all nearby enemies and reduce their healing taken by 20% for 5 seconds. 40 second CD Cannibalize (Passive) Moved from level 20 New functionality: Heroes hit by Basic Attacks and Slam’s inner area heal Stitches for 2% of his maximum health. Healing reduced from 2 to 1.75% of maximum health Tenderizer (Passive) New functionality: Basic Attacks slow the target by 25% for 2.5 seconds. If the target is afflicted with Slam’s Slow, refresh its duration. Level 13 Flea Bag (Passive) Removed Mega Smash (W) Removed Indigestion (E) Removed New Talent – Lacerate (W) Slam afflicts enemies with Vile Gas and reduces armor by 10 for 4 seconds. New Talent – Digestive Juices (E) Devouring an enemy Hero reduces their damage dealt by 40% for 4 seconds. New Talent – Gas Flare (Passive) Stitches deals 16 damage per second to enemies around you. This damage is increased by 150% for 4 seconds after successfully Hooking an enemy Hero Damage per second reduced from 16 to 15 Level 16 Pulverize (W) New functionality: Slam slows all enemies by 75% for 1 second. Slow duration reduced from 1 to .75 seconds. Shish Kabob (Q) Removed Toxic Gas (Passive) Removed Fishing Hook (Q) Range bonus increased from 40 to 50% New Talent - Meat Hook (Q) Hooking an enemy Hero restores 16% of maximum health over 4 seconds. For 4 seconds, Basic Attacks against the Hooked Hero will refresh the duration of this healing effect. Level 20 New Talent – Second Helping (E) Gain an additional charge of Devour. Devouring an enemy Hero reduces the cooldown of your Heroic ability by 5 seconds. New Talent – Shambling Horror (Active) Passive: Stitches is no longer affected by Slowing effects Activate to gain 50 Armor for 4 seconds. 60 second CD.   Collection
      Many seasonal items have made their way back into the collection and will be available for crafting and in Loot Chests for a limited time!
      New Bundles
      The following new bundles are only available for a limited time! Toy Heroes Bundle Cuddle Bear Stitches Skin Pack Cosmic Force Valeera Skin Pack Dehakasaurus Rex Skin Pack New Skins (Limited Time Only!)
      Stitches Cuddle Bear Stitches Snuggle Bear Stitches Honey Bear Stitches Dehaka Dehakasaurus Rex Dino-Metal Dehakasaurus Rex Playtime Dehakasaurus Rex Valeera Cosmic Force Valeera Psionic Cosmic Force Valeera Nega Force Valeera Sylvanas Mint Sugar Plum Sylvanas New Mounts (Limited Time Only!)
      Cosmic Lion Psionic Lion Nega Lion Plush Unicorn Plush Zombicorn Pretty Plush Unicorn Fuzzy Plush Unicorn Honey Plush Unicorn New Portraits, Sprays, and Emojis
      Several new emoji packs and portraits have also been added to the game. Bug Fixes
      General
      Fixed an issue causing camera jumps and cursor resets when using drag scroll. Made a number of improvements to AI behavior. Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
      Brightwing: Fixed an issue preventing Brightwing from applying the Sticky Flare talent effect if it hit more than one target. Brightwing: Fixed an issue preventing Brightwing from applying the Hush! talent effect if it hit more than one target. Chromie: Dragon’s Breath’s warning splat will now display after the ability has been cast. Deckard: Fixed an issue causing Deckard’s portal to be visible in Fog of War when using Hearthstone. Leoric: Fixed an issue that allowed Drain Hope’s damage and healing to persist through time stop effects. Lunara: Fixed an issue preventing Lunara from playing a voice line when she died. Stitches: Slam will now reveal its impact area and targets. Stitches: Serrated Edge no longer deals bonus damage to friendly targets when using Helping Hand. Stukov: Fixed an issue causing Massive Shove to remove Weighted Pustule from its target. User Interface
      Fixed a number of tooltip issues and inaccuracies across the game. Fixed an issue causing Hero models to prevent players from pressing the Ready button in the queue screen. Fixed an issue causing grandmaster numbers of 3 digits to extend beyond portrait frames while in a party. Kel’Thuzad: Added a quick-cast option for Glacial Spike. Zul’jin: Added a quick-cast option for Amani Rage. The latest Heroes of the Storm content patch with Stitches & Sylvanas updates is now live.
    • By Oxygen
      Find out more about how the recently-announced 2019 gameplay changes will affect Heroes of the Storm in the long run.
      Just over a year ago, in preparation for BlizzCon 2017, I produced a lengthy article outlining some of Heroes of the Storm's most important issues. Notable among these was that of Quick Match team compositions. To me, Heroes of the Storm had always been clearly designed and balanced with tanks and healers in mind. As such, failing to enforce team compositions that included these classes caused a number of important problems across the game.
      Following disappointing BlizzCon 2017 announcements on the matter (class changes were discussed briefly, but composition changes were not), a reddit post and a blog post published six months later would confirm that changes to Quick match team compositions were indeed in the works, though no ETA was given. BlizzCon 2018 was a pretty safe bet that would turn out to be accurate.
      So, what's the big deal?
      As Heroes of the Storm's introductory - and most popular - game mode, Quick Match must absolutely accomplish two things: Groom its player base for improvement and present Heroes of the Storm in the best light possible.
      Year after year, however, the Quick Match system has continued to fail on both counts completely, discouraging new players and veterans alike with frustrating matches that taught bad habits and ultimately hindered the growth of the player base's skill level. How can players learn to follow up without a tank to initiate? How can they possibly internalize what their reasonable survivability is like against five other assassins? The answer is simple: They can't, because these situations are nonsensical and for the most part subpar in any remotely competent environment. Fortunately, this will soon be a thing of the past.
      Placing players in a tank-healer environment - around which the game was designed - leads me to believe that player base's skill level to improve across all game modes. Drafting skill is likely to improve as well, leading to fewer draft infighting situations. Further, it  will reduce the frustration caused by unreasonable team compositions to ultimately better retain new players, whom will get to experience the game as it was meant to be played as opposed to this rather ridiculous game mode.
      Needless to say, I think this is one of the best BlizzCon announcements to date, though I must still question what took so long. The most educated guess I can produce has to do with fearing longer queue times, but here's to hoping the "Call of the Nexus" incentive will be enough to entice players into checking out classes they haven't tried out just yet. A strong enough incentive could have the positive side effect of allowing players to develop a better global understanding of the game through approaching roles they're less used to.
      Classy new classes
      The new class system builds on the old system simply by further specializing the existing classes and removing specialists. Reworking the class system was necessary to allow team compositions to be reworked themselves.
      Heroes in the old warrior class were divided into the tank and bruiser classes, with tanks now being mandatory for Quick Match team compositions. This makes sense, as many bruisers were typically unable to fulfill the role of true tanks completely, which is to reliably initiate and peel. Allowing the warrior class to continue existing in its current state would have created the kind of lopsided team composition problems we experienced back when Varian was treated as a damage dealer.
      Heroes in the support class were divided into pure healers and support heroes, which is just a way of identifying heroes who do not use healing as their primary means of assisting teammates. Given that healers must now be included in team compositions to the same extent as tanks, this change also makes sense.
      The specialist class was merged with the assassin class because it hadn't made sense in a long time to treat them any differently; most of them were simply fancy damage dealers. The assassin class itself was split up into melee and ranged assassins.
      If you've been keeping up with some of the more recent versions of my tier lists - I don't blame you if you haven't - you'll note that I had already opted to further divide the classes, with a focus on play style rather than role a few months ago. Specifically, melee assassins are divided into fighters and stalkers, and ranged assassins into marksman and casters. My system has the advantage of being a bit more flexible for edge cases such as Genji and Tracer, who play more like melee assassins yet were labeled as ranged by Blizzard. Still, this distinction is of little relevance to most players.
      Conclusion
      Short conclusions mean I am happy with things.
      Oxygen discusses why the announced changes might just be the best thing to happen to HotS.
    • By Stan
      A shroud of uncertainly looms over the future of HGC and Heroes Esports as a whole due to the lack of HGC updates for the upcoming year and many pro players as well as casters are either done with the game or transferring to other games.
      Gillyweed (HGC Caster)
      The well-known female HGC caster is moving to Rocket League in 2019.
      Placeholder for tweet 1070532465503088640 Trikslyr (HGC Caster)
      Tim announced he won't be casting HGC in 2019 and he plans to make streaming his major focus.
      Placeholder for tweet 1071925490473152518 Tetcher (HGC China Caster)
      Chris voiced his uncertainty on Twitter today, following the lack of HGC information.
      Placeholder for tweet 1072029712514510849 We're going to closely monitor any announcements, so keep an eye out on the Heroes news section!
    • By Stan
      Free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of December 11.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: December 11, 2018
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Zarya Li-Ming Deckard Blaze Yrel (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Junkrat (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Tychus (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Whitemane (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)