Jump to content
FORUMS
Stan

Game Design & Balance AMA Recap: September 19th

Recommended Posts

38157-upcoming-ama-schedule.jpg

Heroes of the Storm developers answered your design and balance questions on reddit yesterday and here's a summary of the AMA.

Heroes of the Storm Game Design & Balance Team

The following members of the Heroes of the Storm dev team answered your questions:

AMA Highlights

  • Vile InfectionVile InfectionPhoenixPhoenix, and Lightning SerpentLightning Serpent will have their tooltips changed to match their existing functionality (they will list as a separate damage number instead of a percentage bonus).
  • Rampant HellfireRampant HellfireDragonstrikeDragonstrikeZei's VengeanceZei's VengeanceArcane OrbitArcane Orbit, and BuzzsawBuzzsaw will all see gameplay changes so that their perentage based bonuses stack additively with other percentage based bonuses.
  • It's not great that the optimal play at highest levels is to kill minions and ignore the enemy Hero.
  • A constant struggle of developers is that they want to create a game where offensive play is the optimal strategy. However, at the top end of play, pros are encouraged to find a situation where the optimal play is to be safe so they have a better chance to consistently win more often, as offensive play is more risky and less desirable.
  • They have many reasons for infinite tower ammo and they'd like to make laning interactive outside of reverting that change.
  • Solutions to improve laning?
    • a) More Health/Mana management. It's bad when Heroes have too much sustain (Blaze, Yrel).
    • b) More rewards for winning a lane. The risk/reward is not enough in favor of the player who is outplaying their opponent in the lane.
  • A quest (be it baseline or a talent) is all about adding asymmetrical power spikes to an otherwise fairly static power curve.
  • Uncapped quests are fun, because all games start out with a chance to become infinitely powerful.
  • They will continue to rework quests that require less optimal play in order to stack quickly. Recently, they got rid of Tyrande's SentinelSentinel quest.
  • New Heroes oftentimes have low Mana costs. They want to make Mana costs more meaningful and are discussing things internally. They need to definewhat Mana means to the game and what direction they want to move towards. It's not fun to run out of Mana.
  • Following the release of the matchmaking improvements, they've seen a dramatic increase in match quality, but also longer queue times, mostly during off-peak hours.
  • Blizzard's working on adding dynamic matchmaking restrictions that scale based on the number of players in the queue.
  • They're looking at the entire ranked play system. Removing queue restrictions from Team League is a small step towards larger changes.
  • It's unacceptable if players are unable to find games due to their MMR and rank points being too divergent.
  • They're internally discussing getting rid of points and mapping MMR bands directly to a more granular rank system.
  • Malthael: Tormented SoulsTormented Souls changes are planned. No ETA, but the reworked version would likely focus on dealing spread damage, enhancing Reaper's MarkReaper's Mark-focused gameplay.
  • Role rework is planned later this year.
  • The biggest hurdle to making Heroes that break fundamental gameplay rules (Abathur, Cho'gall, Murky) is that it's not good enough to just make them fun to play, they also have to be fun to play alongside and against.
  • Ragnaros was intended to be a core-replacement Hero who would sit in your base and command fiery minions on the battlefield.
  • There were points in development where Stukov could revive dead Heroes as Zerg constructs with unique abilities, Alexstrasza could heal enemies, Mephisto could make enemy Heroes hostile to each other, and more.
  • Ana: Healing DartHealing Dart will gain the functionality to pass through full life Heroes in a future patch. Eye of HorusEye of Horus and Aim Down SightsAim Down Sights will be updated when they decide to do a talent rework for her.
  • Catapults can't be blinded right and and this is a bug that has been fixed in the Brightwing/Kerrigan rework patch.
  • The general philosophy has moved toward increasing emphasis on interactive & skill-based gameplay for Support Heroes.
  • Illidan: Small tuning is planned for him, but nothing substantial.
  • The larger the rework, the greater risk of hurting the Hero's core identity. More abundant changes means that the game is fresher for people, and fewer Heroes are left alone for less time.
  • Lunara was a Hero they thought would be overpowered at launch, but the opposite was true. Conversely, they thought Malthael was fine when released, but he ended up completely crushing the solo lane.
  • Mobility is a great way to allow playrs to make flashy plays and has a high skill cap, we'll likely see more forms of it with added counterplay in the future.
  • Garden of Terror rework was done in response to years of consistent player feedback (apparently it was the least favorite map in the game). Goal of the rework was to preserve the map's thematic elements while removing the elements that made players sigh when they saw the loading screen.
  • Blackheart's Bay changes are in the works, but they currently do not expect a complete mechanical overhaul like the Garden rework.
  • Chen: Will be revisited at some point, the update won't be happening in the next few months though. It's clear that he's not a tank with his current kit.
  • Multiclass is gone with the role rework. Varian will be categorized as Bruiser/Tank.
  • Tassadar: Has been a challenging Hero to balance. They'll look at him to see how he can improve.

Previous AMA Recaps

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

Why are there so many systems for damage multipliers in use, and what are the intended interactions

Me and /u/zanzure have written multiple posts about this topic, and the current system seems to be very unintuitive 

(QuizResults)

There are also many edge cases which seem to make no sense. There are currently three different variations on % multipliers.

  1. Differing CEffectDamages (e.g. Hanzo's [[Dragonstrike]])

  2. MultiplicativeModifierArray (e.g. Alarak's [[Sadism]] and Lightning Surge center bonus)

  3. AccumulatorArray (e.g. Ming's [[Arcane Orb]]Gul'dan's [[Rampant Hellfire]])

Each of these have large differences between each other. Which one is intended? These different methods are frequently worded identically as well (For comparison: [[Dragonstrike]], [[Sadism]], [[Rampant Hellfire]]).

Hey lemindhawk and zanzure, we appreciate your passion and the time you've invested into discussing how damage multipliers work.

In general, our principle for percentage based bonuses is for them to be additive with one another. This allows us to tune them to feel like nice meaty benefit when taken on their own, without getting out of control when stacking several together.

There have been a few instances where the tooltips are not matching the effects in game -- we plan on fixing these soon. Vile Infection, Phoenix, and Lightning Serpent will have their tooltips changed to match their existing functionality (aka, they'll list a separate damage number instead of a percentage bonus). Rampant Hellfire, Dragonstrike, Zei's Vengeance, Arcane Orbit, and Buzzsaw will all see gameplay changes so that their percentage based bonuses stack additively with other percentage based bonuses.

This is an early look at what we're planning on changing, and there's a chance that when we start to fix these bugs that things may change slightly, so don't be alarmed if the course changes slightly. But I wanted to share what we are working on since you've put so much effort into compiling the list of exceptions. Thanks again!

What is the general consensus on Infinite Ammo vs Ammo for turrets. Infinite ammo has put the Solo Lane into a boring, stagnate state that revolves around high-sustain and waveclear with no incentive to push the structures (due to infinite ammo, 250 xp towers, risk of being ganked)?

Thanks for the question ZerglingHOTS!

We’ve been reading a lot of the discussion on the solo lane, and are still talking with each other internally about what the true causes and solutions are for the current state of the solo lane.

Here are some of my thoughts on the current state of the solo lane:

  1. I agree that there is an issue with there not being enough interaction between some heroes in the solo lane, and that at the highest levels it’s not great that the optimal play is to kill minions and largely ignore the enemy Hero.
  • As a side note here, a constant struggle we have as developers is that we want to create a game where offensive play is generally the optimal strategy. It’s important that, most of the time, offensive play is optimal so that the game has exciting moments and is driven towards its inevitable conclusion. However, at the extreme top end of play, pros are actually encouraged to find any situation where the optimal play is to be safe so that they have a better chance to consistently win more often, as offensive play is generally also more risky, and therefore less desirable.
  1. I believe it’s a complicated problem. There are a lot of factors going on, and saying that the cause is purely something like infinite tower ammo is a bit scary to me as we could easily make a mistake and create system-level changes that don’t actually resolve the true issues, which could, at best, do nothing to solve the problem, and at worst create more issues with the flow of the game as a whole.

  2. From my perspective, we didn’t really see these issues so much after Tower Ammo specifically came out, and we saw it a lot more with the release of Blaze and Yrel, who are both heroes with incredibly high sustain, good waveclear, and who are difficult to gank. Because of this, we targeted the sustain of both of these heroes in our balance patch which is coming out today. I don’t think this will completely solve what’s going on, but it’s a step that we wanted to take in the short term and see how that works.

  • I admit that this could be an incorrect observation, as it could have just taken this long to have other root issues of the solo lane experience come to light.
  1. We had many reasons for tower ammo being infinite, and we would like to explore other ways to make laning interactive outside of reverting that change. We’re totally open to feedback and suggestions here, and will be having discussions going forward about how to make this more interactive. One cool suggestion that I thought was neat was ChaosOS’s post about the mage minion having Sapper-like qualities to it.

  2. In regards to my view on the specific problems and where I’d like to see the solo-lane go, the two things I’d like to see are:

  • More management of Health, Mana, and getting value in trades against the enemy hero. When heroes have too much sustain (ex. Blaze and Yrel), it’s a heavy de-motivator to interact with the opponent since that damage will quickly be undone.
  • More reward for winning the lane. Right now I believe that the risk/reward for shoving the opposing hero out and pushing with the lane is not enough in favor of the player who is outplaying their opponent in the lane.

You have recently reduced the amount of quests (Stukov, Tyrande), realizing that you went a bit overboard with them. Are you happy with the baseline quests of the Assassins I mentioned above (Alarak, Kel'Thuzad, Zul'jin, The Butcher)? Because I honestly don't feel very happy about those and wish for a way to not make them feel too feast-or-famine-like.

Good morning Lorhand - great question!

While we do read quite a bit of criticism about baseline quests, typically pointing at the feast-or-famine nature of them, there are also a lot of players that enjoy the thrill of chasing power. At the end of the day, a quest (be it baseline or a talent) is all about adding asymmetrical power spikes to an otherwise fairly static power curve.

The Heroes you listed above all bring a unique playstyle to the Nexus that I think is actually very fun for a large number of players. I personally love designing and playing with quests that are uncapped, because every game starts out with a chance to become 'infinitely' powerful. That said, the reality is that we know the average stacks that a player gains in a game, and at what time they are unlocking the rewards behind them. Ultimately, we still like these types of quests because they make for increased variability between games--sometimes a player feels like a God, and sometimes not so much. If you think about the 'carry' role in other mobas, it is very similar. Many of us love that feeling of a really good game - one where everything just clicks. This makes up for those games where maybe you're not playing at your best and can find areas to improve your game. While we don't want to push this philosophy towards ALL of our Heroes by any means, I think we definitely have room for a few of them.

Lastly, it is important to know that we are always actively looking at a lot of the quests in the game. We went through a period where we tried to add as many of them as possible, which actually ended up creating a lot instances where you needed to play less than optimally in order to stack quickly. Your example of Tyrande is actually perfect - I originally created the baseline Sentinel quest, and although a lot of players enjoyed it, when working on her recent rework, I knew I needed to remove it. We still have quite a few quests in the game that do this and we will continue to either remove them or change them in ways that reward you for using them correctly.

The next PTR patch seems to bring us back into a direction where mana is a real, present, limiting factor on the sustain of powerful heroes (thinking of Blaze and Yrel changes in particular). Many recent heroes such as Fenix or release Yrel have either no mana or no meaningful mana costs. Where is the dev/balance team at on mana in terms of the fun factor versus usefulness in creating balance?

Hi Hermitpurplerain!

We have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to talk about this exact issue. I can’t give any specifics in regards to what changes we’re looking to make, but I wanted to let you know that it’s on our mind.

Regarding Matchmaking, especially at the top end. 

What is in the works to correct the issues in master/GM right now. queue times are getting worse, game quality continues to decline, and high profile streamers/pros that should be ambassadors for the game continue to be displeased. 

What Matchmaking updates can we anticipate in the future to re-gate the top end and ensure better match quality.

I have been summoned.

Following the release of the matchmaking updates in H35, we've seen a dramatic overall increase in match quality as a result of our prediction rates tightening significantly. Since then, we've also seen longer queue times, particularly during off-peak hours. We've also seen some situations recently where players have had their MMR dramatically diverge from their rank. This makes it even harder for those players to find matches over time, as we're typically looking for matches that band them nearer to their rank in order for that player to more easily move into the appropriate league and division. If a bronze player with a high MMR keeps getting matches with platinum players, that doesn't help that player leave bronze, and the platinum players tend to get tilted because they don't think bronze players belong in their games.

First, we're working on adding dynamic matchmaking restrictions that scale based on the number of players in the queue. If you're playing during off-peak hours. you may end up with the occasional rainbow game--but you'll find games.

Second, we're looking into situations in which players are having a hard time finding games due to their MMR and rank points being too divergent. This is unacceptable and we're going to resolve the situation.

Lastly, we're taking a long, hard look at the entire ranked play system. Removing queue restrictions from Team League is a small step towards larger changes. We think it's time to take a step back and take a look at our existing ranked play framework and ensure that it's the right fit for Heroes of the Storm today.

Low-hanging fruit solution: get rid of rank? Only have MMR, and matchmake off that alone. Could still have "Leagues", but all they denote is what percentile your MMR falls in.

We're discussing getting rid of points actually and mapping MMR bands directly to a more granular rank system. That said, this is all early and we'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Has there ever been thought of completely revamping a hero’s role with a rework? (Ie turning Xul into a tank, or Tassadar into a complete assassin)

Hey Sprinklings, thank you for the question!

The short answer is yes! In fact we just did something similar with Tyrande. While a lot of players loved her hybrid Support/Assassin playstyle, she was having a hard time finding a solid spot in the meta. Since her rework last year, we have read a lot of feedback saying that our support players really missed playing her as a healer. When starting her most recent rework, we took the opportunity to shift her role and rebuilt her talent tree and kit around embracing that.

As for the future, I can honestly tell you that we have heard your feedback about Tassadar, and when his time comes, we will be having a lot of discussions about potentially shifting him towards the High Templar you all want and deserve - En Taro Tassadar!

Since Malthael's latest rework, Tormented Souls has become very redundant with his cleaving auto-attacks and is rarely ever picked (along with Last Rites' flaws also being addressed and making it feel a lot better). Are there any changes to Tormented Souls currently in the works to make it more viable in any way?

Hey maguszeal, thanks for the question.

It's true that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction for Tormented Souls after the changes giving Malthael cleaving attacks. We've toyed around with the idea of making some changes to make sure that it's still an attractive pick that offers something useful (and unique), but we don't have anything ready to share right now. It's likely that whatever will be done would focus on dealing spread damage, as well as enhancing Reaper's Mark-focused gameplay.

Anecdotally, when we were working on Malthael's cleaving changes, we knew that there was a possibility that Tormented Souls would lose value so we experimented with a few changes to it then. One of them was trying to make it deal flat damage that was increased by enemies affected by Reaper's Mark, but we decided to shelve the idea because it felt pretty similar to Kerrigan's Maelstrom.

It's something that we might revisit soon, since we think having an AoE-focused Heroic for Malthael is good design space to explore.

Any news regarding the Role Rework?

Hello, Gnueless! I'm excited for the role changes and yes, we've been preparing for them with some shifts in surrounding areas. We don't have a solid release date as of yet, but if all goes well, we hope to roll out the update later this year. 

So...Soon™ to Soonish™.

Are there any plans to continue to release "quirky" heroes in the future? (Similar to Abathur, Cho'gall, Murky) I always felt like that was HotS' niche was that they weren't afraid to create heroes that were very unique in their play. Lately it seems the development team has focused on more traditional playstyles rather than quirky ones.

The short answer is "yes, we'd like to", but I also want to share some of our philosophy.

The biggest hurdle to making heroes that break fundamental game rules is that it's not good enough to just make them fun to play -- they also have to be fun to play alongside and against. If a hero is extremely fun, but your teammates groan when you lock them in, it's fair to say that's not a satisfactory place for that hero to be in. I think it's cool to have heroes that are a little more niche and don't show up as often, and do unique things because it makes the games where they do show up more special. They're awesome when they work out.

Currently I'd say Abathur is a great example of what we want to see from these types of heroes. He's relatively rare, but shows up in games often enough that players are familiar with who he is and what he does. Players generally recognize what a good Abathur is capable of and how to adapt their play when he's on their team. Most importantly of all, our game is very much about team fights, and despite his weirdness Abathur has a clear and reliable way to contribute that doesn't leave his team feeling like they're fighting 5v4.

We want to make more heroes that fit in that space and continue to explore ideas. We originally wanted to do Ragnaros as a "core replacement" hero who would sit in your base in all his raid boss glory and command fiery minions on the battlefield. We ultimately decided not to do this for fantasy reasons (it just didn't feel like Ragnaros if you couldn't smite insects with your own two fiery hands), but the gameplay is still promising and we want to revisit it at some point with a more appropriate hero.

We also try varying levels of wacky ideas on almost every new hero we make. There were points in development where Stukov could revive dead heroes as Zerg constructs with unique abilities, Alexstrasza could heal enemies, Mephisto could make enemy heroes hostile to each other... We have good reasons for why we didn't end up implementing those examples, but the point is we're not afraid to try new things and look for ways to surprise our players that are both fun and make sense within the context of our game.

Put simply, we want to make heroes that are unique, AND that players are still excited to play and play with 3, 6, and 12+ months after they come out. This is a very difficult standard to achieve when it comes to truly rule-breaking heroes, but it's something we're excited to keep chasing.

Ana

  1. Ana’s Detachable box magazine has been left untouched after quick emergency change. Does the team has any play on this talent?

  2. Will Ana receive her update to make her basic kit interact like Overwatch too? i.e. heal pass through full health.

  3. Does the dev have plans on updating Eye of Horus to increase its attractiveness as well as aim down sight and custom optic?

Thank you.

Good morning Boom0128!

I will try to answer all three questions for you - I think the fantasy and reward for Detachable Box Magazine are awesome and would like to keep these. However, the way it is unlocked could probably be tweaked in the future.

Ana's Healing Dart will indeed be gaining the functionality to pass through full life Heroes in a future patch!

As for updating Eye of Horus and Aim Down Sights - these will most likely be addressed when we get ready to do a full pass on her talent tree (potentially a rework).

Game design: Why can't Catapults be blinded, when Siege Giants (similar projectile) and Minions (same classification) can?

Hey Zanzure!

This was a bug that has been fixed in the Kerrigan\Brightwing rework patch. You should see the change to address this go live next week sometime.

What proportion of Heroes are flagged as needing a rework a la Kerrigan and Brightwing, and can the team share the list of Heroes who make up this proportion?

Great question JimmyTurx!

The short answer is that it varies. There was a point last year where we had almost 5 Hero reworks in flight at the same time (boy, that was crazy). Since then, we have gone into a much more stable timeline for them and normally have Live Designers working on about 2 at any given time. We normally have a rotating list of about 8 to 10 that we want to work on, but there are many times where someone not on that list sneaks in (Tyrande for example).

There is (IMO) a lack of frontline supports in HotS. Not necessarily supports trying to be a pseudo-dps, but someone who isn’t afraid to fight alongside their frontline with strong defensive tools. The roster overwhelmingly leans toward fragile, divable heroes, and we only have three genuine melee supports in Kharazim/Uther/Rehgar. This is why I believe people are still upset about no self-casting Ancestral; because Rehgar is one of the few supports who shouldhave a resilient/aggressive playstyle, but was deliberately hamstrung. 

Is there any chance we will see more supports that can stand up with the frontline, or have mechanics added to require/encourage that gameplay (similar to Insight/Transcendence Kharazim, or Malf/Whitemane but melee)? A great example of what I’m describing would be Brigitte from OW.

You mean you don't play Deckard as a frontliner? >_>

Kidding aside, I think this is fair feedback and that there's definitely room in the roster for more of these types of heroes. I'll defer to the Live Design team when it comes to our plans for existing supports, but in general our philosophy has moved toward increasing emphasis on interactive & skill-based gameplay for support heroes, and frontline supports feel like a natural fit for that type of gameplay.

There are many factors we consider when deciding which heroes to add to the game so I can't make any immediate promises, but we'll be keeping this in mind as we look to add more support heroes in the future.

I have a question about the state of Mana:

New heroes normally dont have mana issues if they have mana at all (Genji, Hanzo, Tracer,Maiev,Deckard, Yrel, Whitemane,Fenix,Junkrat). Older heroes like Rehgar or Uther are out of mana after the first mid lane brawl. 

Is this discepancy intentional or do you want to close this Mana cost gap?

Thank you for the question Kallesin.

This is actually a very hot topic right now among us. We have an hour long meeting this week to align ourselves with what Mana means to our game and what direction we want to move towards. 

While it is a very powerful tool from a balance design perspective, it is not really 'fun' to run out of Mana. Since our game is fast paced and 'brawly', I think we need to be a little on the forgiving side when it comes to Mana tension.

As more heroes enter the Nexus, knock backs and displacements in the game are increasing. Will dazes/knock backs ever become keywords and have talents that interact with them?

For example, supports have ways to give armor or interact with stuns/silences/slows, but the only way to deal with knock backs is Cleanse, or other Unstoppable effects. Will this continue as is, or will there be other ways to counter play?

Hey USSKorolev, thanks for the question.

Just to clarify for some readers, we have a number of displacement abilities that also have stuns tied to them. For example, Johanna’s Condemn, Garrosh’s Wreckling Ball, or Junkrat’s Concussion Mine. One of the key reasons to have these stuns is to break moving channeled abilities such as a Li Li’s Jug of 1,000 Cups. Another core reason is that the stun can help to add “weight” to the ability and make it feel a lot better to use. Without the stun on Condemn, heroes would immediately start moving following the initial displacement, often due to previously queued up move orders, and the ability just wouldn’t feel right. That pause helps players to recognize the impact and allows Johanna a small opportunity to capitalize on this ability.

There are of course a number of displacement abilities that do not have this stun which we refer to as “dazes”, including ETC’s Face Melt and Falstad’s Mighty Gust. I’m not sure we have discussed adding a new keyword to interact with these abilities specifically, although it’s an interesting thought.

We’re always interested in giving players counterplay options, so it is something we will talk about internally. I do think there are a few issues though which I’ll go through: 

First off, most knockbacks happen extremely quickly, too quickly for you to react once they occur in many cases. Take the ETC Face Melt example, you’d basically have to preemptively use your counter to avoid the displacement – which gets into the territory of pre-cleansing and Unstoppable effects, which we already have. If we said this new counter was always on and waited for a displacement effect to hit you (i.e. Spell Shield), then I’m not sure how fun that would be to play against. If you see someone with Spell Shield, you can often try to poke this off with a weaker ability, but you may not have a secondary displacement effect that you can use to remove this new buff.

Another thought is, we must be careful about how niche we make talents or abilities. Pointing a talent towards a very specific use case will often go unpicked and we will end up adding secondary effects to the talent for it to become an attractive option. In a lot of cases, those secondary effects can overshadow the original design and that becomes why you pick the talent. As an example, take Ana’s level 13 talents, one is for Stuns while the other is to counter Slows and Roots. We ended up having to put secondary effects on these talents to make them useful in more cases, and now those secondary effects have become the primary reason to pick these talents in a lot of cases (i.e. more healing vs. armor).

On map design

It seems like there is a shift towards maps with a single must-win objective (e.g. Hanamura rework). Some players find this is good, as the simplification requires less strategic thought and team coordination. By and large, it simply involves making sure you are at least on even level tiers and win the team fight to get the objective. 

For other players, this simplification goes a little too far. There is really only "one way" to win the match, especially with the recent nerfs to other map strategies such as split pushing (for better or worse). I was wondering what your map design principles are and whether the team is fine with having one straightforward and clear method of winning, or are there plans to create more strategic depth to maps, whether this is adding new map mechanics or enabling different team comp metas. 

On a personal note, I would love to see more map mechanics added to some maps as it would open up more macro play options and increase the replay value of those maps.

We purposefully crafted our battleground design principles so they do not steer us toward a specific type of map objective. Instead, they focus on driving the game forward, managing emotional tension, and providing mechanical and visual variety (among others). There’s no principle that tells us to collapse players into a small area for a highly impactful, centralized objective. It’s true that we’ve been doing that more than usual recently (Volskaya Foundry and Hanamura Temple for sure, Alterac Pass and the Garden rework to some extent) but this is not the new standard.

General: Frequently Blizzard will include very small numbers changes that don't appear to be intended to seriously shift a heroes power level. Are these intended as signals to the player base to rethink how they're approaching the hero or are you using data to tell you to do those very fine tuned changes?

Hey ChaosOS!

First off let me say - "Thank you so much for all of your work and passion for the Heroes community!"

Now, to address your question: Small number tweaks are normally done when a Hero or Talent is just slightly off-balance. While losing 2 Basic Attack damage is pretty minor for most Heroes, Raynor might see a slightly larger shift since the vast majority of his damage output comes from there. 

For a different example - there are a lot of times where we may see a vast difference in pick rates between talents on a tier, but parity between win-rates. Sometimes we might do a slight nudge to the under-picked talent in order to get players to reevaluate it. Sometimes it takes multiple nudges before the community starts using and respecting it (Mighty Gust for example).

What's the great plan for illidan? Why not just buff his 10.

Any insight on that? He does not need a rework just specific 10 buffs, Hunt back to 60~75 sec CD and moving some 20 demonic form buffs to 10 IMO.

Hey TheGameOn, thanks for your question about The Betrayer. He's one of my personal favorite Heroes.

Right now Illidan primarily takes The Hunt because it offers unique and fun gameplay, so we aren't all that upset that it's the more commonly picked Heroic ability. That being said, Metamorphosis is being chosen 40% of the time in higher level Hero League, though it doesn't always feel like it. It isn't winning nearly as much though, so there might be room for improvement.

Illidan isn't seen all that often partly due to this being an unfavorable metagame for him. With a bruiser-heavy meta, not only is there a lot of crowd control to deal with him, but also fewer squishy targets for him to chase down. Just a year ago Illidan was very meta, and hasn't seen many changes since, so we're confident that maybe small tuning changes combined with a more favorable meta will allow him to fulfill his niche in the game again.

Why do you prefer slower, larger scale reworks over smaller, more abandunt changes?

We see time and time again heroes get ignored for months/years and they slowly devolve into a critical state requiring a full on rework like raynor, kerrigan, vikings, chen. 

We have other heroes that are at a decent winrate with low use/unused talents that havent been changed for a while, making for a 1-dimensional talent builds and overall less compelling interactivity and gameplay, yet these issues go seemingly ignored for an incredible amount of time.

Hey Dreadnought7410!

We don't prefer to do slower, larger scale reworks over small changes--they both have their uses. We've released balance patches regularly with many changes to multiple heroes over time, and generally save large reworks for heroes who need more sweeping changes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to smaller balance tweaks and large rework changes. I went over many of these specifics in our last AMA, but some things we think about are:

  1. The larger the rework, the greater the risk of hurting the hero's core identity. Even if you make a slam dunk design, it will not have as great a chance of being widely accepted if it significantly alters the hero's fantasy.

  2. As you mentioned, more abundant changes means that the game is fresher for more people, and fewer heroes are left alone for less time.

  3. Small number or functionality tweaks can make talent builds feel fresh, which in turn makes the hero feel new and exciting without the need for a major rework.

  4. That said, large reworks are sometimes necessary. Some examples of why this happens are:

  • To update older heroes and bring them in line with current design philosophies.
  • To carve out a role for heroes who have fallen out of use relative to other heroes currently favored in the game.
  • To solve fundamental design issues with their kits.

Going forward, you can expect to see us make numerous smaller changes to improve hero and talent pick/win rates. For example, today we just released a balance patch with changes for 17 different heroes.

General: What does the process for building a balance patch look like? How do you decide what issues to tackle, how do you test ideas in terms of doing what you want them to do, and when are things locked in for implementation and bugtesting?

Hey ChaosOS!

Every week the members of the balance team meet to talk about the state of the game. One of the things we do during this meeting we all bring up individual changes/heroes/issues that we would like to see addressed in the upcoming balance patch.

In regards to how we decide what issues to tackle, there isn’t a single method, as our decisions can come from various sources. Some of these are:

  1. We have a lot of data that we can look through to find anomalies. We can see hero and talent win/play rates across various filters to see if something is over/underperforming.

  2. We watch pro play and have discussions about what is happening there.

  3. We all play the game regularly, and use our personal experience to see where we can make improvements for the average player.

  4. We look at heroes who haven’t been tweaked in awhile to see if there’s any room to make changes.

We make the actual changes the week before the patch releases so that we have time for QA to check the changes and fix bugs.

Sometimes for larger balance changes, for example Artanis’s changes that came out in a balance patch, we will test the changes for weeks/months in advance and merge them into the next balance patch once we’re confident in the design.

I am curious, which hero did you think would be extremly OP on release, yet turned out to be very weak.

Vice versa, which hero did you feel was UP, but turned out to be overtuned on release?

Hey SeeALot, great question.

Lunara was a character we thought would be OP on release and we were a little worried about, however she ended up being really low initially and needing lots of buffs.

Malthael is an opposite example where the balance team felt he was fairly solid overall but the larger development team thought he was going to be really weak. Malthael ended up completely crushing the solo lane and being extremely powerful upon release.

Thoughts on heroes who almost always only has a single talent in certain tiers? examples being garrosh picking into the fray, dehaka picking feeding frenzy, ana picking sleep dart quest

We put a lot of work into building out talent tiers and trying to offer players interesting choices, so when a single talent ends up dominating a tier it's pretty disappointing.

The Hero Design team does the initial work of designing talent trees for all new heroes, and most of the time we can recognize and prevent these cases early so that the Live Design team never has to worry about it. This is something I feel we're getting even better at as we learn from previous talents like Into the Fray or Glacial Spike, and even from Heroic abilities like Cleansing Flame that end up as one-sided choices.

When lopsided talent tiers do make it out the door, it forces us to think very carefully about how we want to bring them back in line. Usually the reason these talents are so popular is that they're very fun to use or provide key utility a hero doesn't otherwise have - so simply removing or weakening them may not be the way to go. In that case we can either-

A: Make the effect baseline (as with Glacial Spike on Kel'thuzad) and reshuffle other talents accordingly

or

B: Revisit the talents on that tier and try to make the other two choices feel just as impactful (as with Holy Ground on Tyrael)

Which of these options is preferable varies case-by-case, but the most important value is not to undermine what's cool and enjoyable about a hero with whatever changes we decide to make. Given the choice between having uneven talent picks, or making a hero less fun overall, we'd prefer to wait on changing the talents until we're confident that our changes will have the desired effect.

Hi homer12346,

We do review talent trees to make sure there is some diversity in options. The goal would be that every talent is viable in some situations and your talent selection can feel fluid based off the match state, team compositions, etc. If there are two solid talent options at a tier that garner the majority of picks and a third lesser chosen one, this can still be okay as long as there is some scenarios where this third (or fourth) talent can be viable. Sometimes it’s purely a personal playstyle preference for why players pick certain talents, other times it can be different skill bands where some players may simply avoid active talents all together.

Funny enough for Feeding Frenzy, while it is the most picked talent, Symbiosis does still see around 20% of the picks and has an overall higher win rate. ?

Xul: As you have noticed, he became a maintank in certain comps (shown in the HGC). Are you happy about this and do you have plans for him, either making him a real maintank (like changing his role from assassin to Tank) or tune him more into the assassin role wih removing some survivability?

Hey Elegostelkai!

Right now we're pretty happy to see Xul in HGC, and in general we like to see weird/wacky comps have their time in the spotlight. A core tenet of our design philosophy is that we want to push the boundaries of what a conventional MOBA is, and as such we're excited when our players do the same.

That being said, if an off-meta strategy becomes too powerful and dominates pro-play for too long, it can be a problem if it drastically warps the fundamentals of our game and take it to places where there isn't enough interaction between both teams. 

We don’t currently have any plans to change Xul due to his recent games in pro play. We’ll be keeping an eye on it, but for now, we’re cool with it.

How are you guys reacting to the pushback against the mobility Overwatch heroes have brought into HotS? By that I mean, is this feedback you've listened to and found yourselves agreeing with, which you will apply for future hero releases or do you feel different, and if so how/what?

Tracer and Genji's translation into the game has really shaken up the game and the community, given that their kits and mobility break a lot the core mechanics and penalties of the genre. Combining high damage with ranged attacks, while being able to apply it on the move. Mages and older HotS heroes, in particular, adhere to these limiters and have to sacrifice mobility or expose themselves in order to apply their damage. Tracer and Genji have an easy time getting in and out of combat while being nigh impossible for most heroes to shake off while taking very significant damage. 

Very frustrating, being killed by heroes which do not adhere to the moba mechanical rulesets which restrain most other heroes. Especially by characters from a new Blizzard universe which after 3 years is still struggling to establish itself. (We've embraced the characters, but there's still no real plot or enough world building for it to currently stand next to IPs such as Diablo, Warcraft and Starcraft. Though I understand that they can bring interesting new mechanics and gameplay to the game.

Hey Mozerath, thanks for your question! Mobility in Heroes is something that we've been watching for a long time.

To start with, we've always pushed the boundaries with Hero Design in HotS; we think that it's one of the things that makes Heroes of the Storm special. We have characters like Cho'gall, Abathur, or The Lost Vikings that really "break the rules" of traditional character design. The key to these characters is adjusting their power the appropriate amount while keeping these unique traits in mind.

The great mobility offered by Tracer and Genji is another one of these unique traits, though not as flashy as a two-headed ogre. We knew that during development they would need to be balanced around it (in fact at one point Tracer had so little Health that she was being one-shot by Nova). We didn't anticipate how much we would need to tune them down though, so unfortunately they've been steadily nerfed (for the most part) since their release. We think they're much healthier than they started in terms of balance at this point, though we're always looking to make further tuning adjustments when we think the time is right.

We do have other characters in the game with high amounts of mobility (as has been pointed out in this thread). Illidan, Zeratul, and Lucio are good examples. The biggest difference between them and Tracer or Genji is that their mobility has more conditions. These include target selection (Illidan's Dive), range limitations (Zeratul's Blink), or inability to travel over terrain (Lucio's Movement Speed). These added forms of counterplay make these abilities feel better to play against than they would otherwise, and allow us to really push the envelope with them.

At this point, we think that the low-condition mobility from Tracer and Genji makes them special, and we likely won't add more characters with this level of mobility without conditions. But we do think that mobility is a great way to allow players to make flashy plays and has a high skill cap, so you'll likely see more forms of it with added counterplay in the future.

Some heroes have heroic abilities with extremely low pick/win rate. For example: Lili's Dragon, Kelthuzad's Frost Blast, Mephisto's Durance and Guldan's Rain.

Are there any plan for changing how these skills work fundamentally beside number tweaks?

Hello blacktiger226,

We are always looking to bring both win and pick rate parity to all Heroics. The reality is that it is actually very difficult sometimes without making sweeping changes. Some of the examples you list above fit that bill and will most likely see changes if and when they are looked at for reworks ?

On developing new heroes, I wonder if we will have heroes of the Heroes of the Storm universe or if all the heroes will be from other Blizzard universes

One of the many amazing things about Heroes of the Storm is that ANYTHING is possible in the Nexus!

I feel like there's a lot of controversy around Garden of Terror and a lot of people saying it lost it's identity mainly (including myself unfortunately). That said, what are your guys plans for other maps like Blackhearts Bay? I think it would be good if the team communicated more with the community before putting so much effort into a map redesign.

The Garden of Terror rework was done in response to years of consistent player feedback (in community discussion and in our own user experience research) saying Garden was among the least-loved maps in the game. Our goals for the rework were to preserve the map's thematic elements (seeds, shamblers, terrors, weather effects) while removing the elements that made so many players sigh when they saw the loading screen (chasing a vehicle around, eternal night phase, zero sum double vehicle phases, vehicle time-out).

We iterated on the Garden rework several times internally. First we tried small changes like repositioning/renumbering shambler camps, changing timers, and changing the vehicle's abilities and spawn point, but none of those changes made the map notably more fun or interesting. The map still had the same problems it did on live servers. Then we went wild for a bit with experimentation - at one point we had a completely new layout and a "siege vehicle" objective reward that could dig in, spawn bushes around it, spawn shamblers to push in a direction, and shoot out burrowing seed bombs that detonated for aoe damage. We tried a "gauntlet" type design where we spawned a series of seeds, one at a time, all over the map, and the first team to gather three won the objective. Those were interesting experiments, but they each had their own fatal problems. Ultimately, we found that the version on PTR right now provided the most fun we've ever had on Garden. The story might not be over, though. We're confident that this version of Garden will do much better than its original version, but if we're wrong, we'll do what we need to do.

As for Blackheart's Bay, we do plan on adjusting the map, but we currently do not expect a complete mechanical overhaul like the Garden rework.

Any plans on having shuffle pick be an option in custom games? (instead of forcefully enabled for ARAM?)

It makes doing, for example, 1 versus 1 battles on the same hero impossible on Lost Cavern since you are forced into a new hero upon game start.

Adding a Shuffle Pick option to the custom games screen (with some additional buttons and levers to customize it further) would be cool, I agree.

You recently vastly improved the reconnect feature. Will a spectate feature ever be added?

Hi, reddituser25987! We continue to improve the rejoin functionality and while doing so are touching areas of the game that could, eventually, make spectating a possibility...

HOWEVER, while we'd love to watch HGC games live in client or check out our friends playing while waiting to party up, we have no plans to prioritize a spectate feature above the myriad of core game systems and features that we want to keep improving at this time.

Tooltips are very inconsistent. 

[[Archon]] states its splash radius. [[Fury of the Swarm]] doesn't say what the splash radius is.

[[Water Dragon]] lists the range in which it summons. [[Divine Reckoning]] doesn't list its radius.

[[Maelstrom]] says "per second" while dealing damage every 0.25s, while [[Fend]] states its tick rate (every 0.25s).

[[Varian/Charge]] can target structures. [[Colossus Smash]] can not. It's impossible to know cases like these from the tooltip.

Generally, information seems to be extremely lacking in tooltips.

Also, summon descriptions are nearly always extremely lacking. They sometimes state health, sometimes state attack speed and usually damage. Why are they not always mentioned? For example:

[[Abathur/trait]] lists the Locust's health, but most others don't (say, [[Ultralisk]]). Right now on the PTR Ultralisk now doesn't even state its attack damage (only the skillshot's damage, and that it splashes for 50% when attacking). [[Gargantuan]] doesn't even mention the stomp's damage, or the fact that it slows!

Writing good tooltips is a really important and often underappreciated skill in game design. It becomes particularly challenging when you have a really big game being made by many people, and a ton of heroes made over several years alongside and evolving design philosophy.

You're totally on the mark that our tooltip consistency could be better and it's something we've been gradually working to improve. I don't think we'll do one "huge" update in a single patch per se, but we regularly revisit our tooltips (especially during hero reworks) and plan to continue those efforts going forward. If you see anything that looks particularly off, bringing it to our attention as you've done here is also great.

That said, one thing I'll add is that consistency is only one of many values we employ when writing tooltips. Technically most abilities in the game have a 0.125 second cast time, but we don't actually put that in the tooltip for the sake of readability. It may not seem like a big deal for one tooltip, but every hero in the game has dozens and dozens of tooltips, so readability ends up driving many of the decisions we make around how to present information. However this is something we're very open to feedback on as there may be places where something is off (like your Varian example), and we greatly appreciate players bringing cases like this to our attention. Thanks!

When is the Chen rework coming?

Chen is the 3rd least picked hero behind Lost Vikings and Probius. His winrate is awful. There's zero way at this point that the balance team can claim he's "balanced" at this point. Take a look at the info that jhow provided in the solo lane matchup. He has very few positive matchups. He needs fixed in a bad way. This is very frustrating for people who love the brewmaster. I've running with the #FixChen hashtag on twitter for a while now. Almost over a year now at this point. Please save us. At least give us a timeline at this point. ?

Hi Zexerous, glad to hear you’re a Chen fan and hopefully we can make some changes in the future that will help address some of those concerns.

To touch on his win rate quickly, depending on the filters I’m looking at (HL vs QM, MMR bands, games played as Chen, etc.), he is sitting around 47-49%. This does put him on the lower spectrum of hero win rates, but it’s still not that far off.

We made some talent adjustments to Chen a few months back, but we will revisit him at some point – I think it’s clear that he’s not a tank with his current kit (having to constantly stop and channel in fights), but we haven’t fully embraced him as a Bruiser either. We will likely look towards that direction in the future. 

I’m not able to provide a timeline at this point, only that a major Chen update won’t be happening in the next few months. While not part of your primary question, we do also want to look at Probius, Lost Vikings, and other low play rate heroes as well.

Lastly, I'd like to ask if some skins or Heroes make it forbidding for other Heroes to come in the game. Widowmaker from Overwatch can never come due to Widowmaker Nova existing? Mercy because of Auriel? Kaldalis because of Artanis? 

I really hope they don't come as skins cause that would be terrible and huge disrespect to those characters imho.

Cheers and thank you for your time, God bless.

Hi BertRaccoonGR!

Making skins that have crossover with existing heroes does not necessarily mean we won’t add those heroes in the future. An example of this is with the Novazon skin which was clearly inspired by the Amazon from D2. Even with this skin, we knew we wanted to do a D2 Amazon and we’re super excited to bring Cassia to the Nexus ?

Would the team at Blizzard ever consider more instant point and click crowd control (a la Brightwing and Medivh polymorph)? I don’t feel like there are enough reliable ways to shutdown mobility and am often frustrated by this in QM.

We have a handful of these, the ones you call out and others like Varian’s Taunt. In general, we’re trying not to introduce a ton of new hard-CC that is targeted as these are not very skillful to execute well (you clicked on the enemy), and have low counterplay options (the enemy clicked on you). It’s likely over time that a few of these will trickle in on new heroes though.

Is it possible to see other heroes in the Multiclasses category, besides the Varian, or the Blizzard Classics, in addition to the Lost Vikings?

Hey Zequi21, good question.

For the Multiclass category, we’re planning to remove that with our eventual role update. Varian would most likely fit into a couple of the newer categories, Tank and Bruiser. There would be a few other heroes who would also hit multiple categories such as Zarya in Support and Bruiser. Overall, the multiclass role wasn’t very clear to players and often you couldn’t play Varian the way you wanted due to your team’s composition.

For Blizzard Classics, I would love to explore some of these characters in the future. There’s so many awesome characters we want to add, so it’s a question of when they make the most sense and when is the right time. There’s other things we of course need to consider like making sure they’re bringing fun new mechanics and playstyles as well.

Chromie was designed as an artillery mage. The recent rework did away with that role completely changing her playstyle to a hybrid auto attack spell caster and many players were not fond of it which was reflected by the fall of her pick and win rates. Would you ever consider reverting the rework and adjusting her numbers which many Chromie mains had requested?

Hey Demon_Ryu, thanks for the question.

Through reworks and balance updates we’ve pushed Chromie out of the artillery mage role. Overall this is a playstyle we weren’t happy with as it didn’t feel great to play against. To touch briefly on a few points:

-Her abilities were extremely long range (artillery design), but that meant that she was often off-screen from an enemy perspective and you didn’t have a lot of control over her damaging you. Basically, just keep in perpetual motion and hope she misses.

-Because her abilities were fairly hard to land, the damage they dealt had to be cranked up to extreme levels to keep her win rate and effective damage output in a reasonable spot. Essentially, if she only lands 20% of her abilities, then those abilities have to be extremely impactful when the hit. This could lead to her 1-shotting enemies which again is not fun to play against.

-She was extremely hard countered by certain enemies. I don’t believe we’ve really addressed this point, but it is something we’d like to soften. 

-She has a ton of CC between her Time Trap and both Heroic abilities. In general, multiple CC effects can be frustrating to play against and she brought more than many characters. This combined with the above points was just not a great spot for her to be in. This CC also made the rest of her kit much easier to use and much more consistent which was a challenge to tune around and make feel fair.

As for the future, we will likely make more Chromie changes and potentially even reimagine what her core playstyle should be, but its unlikely we will go back to that long-range artillery mage style.

Tassadar-

From what I understand the lifesteal component to Tassadar's shields has been a problem with his balance for a long time, initially only being a talent option then becoming baseline with a talent to increase it. Has the dev team considered eradicating lifesteal from his base kit and talent tree to balance him better for pros and non-pro play as a pure utility support? (There is also the matter of lifesteal not fitting Protoss from a SC gameplay/lore perspective.)

Hello T-280_SCV!

Tassadar has definitely been a unique challenge for us the balance side. I think we have learned a lot of valuable lessons from him, though, and we'll definitely be taking a look at him to see how we can improve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

can someone explain to me what they talk about chromie?

Not so understand.

They don't like her to be long range?

Why they say she always off screen? Her max range still in 1 screen and not edge to edge of the screen. That is 2/3 of screen and it reveal her when she use W. Really dunno what he say.

Then now they show where "W" gonna hit but why reduce her dmg? should increase right? They forget to mention it is aim shot not like kael pyro is target shot and even hard to avoid compare to W

Share this post


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

Ana: Healing DartHealing Dart will gain the functionality to pass through full life Heroes in a future patch.

YES, FINALLY!

20 hours ago, Stan said:

Eye of HorusEye of Horus and Aim Down SightsAim Down Sights will be updated when they decide to do a talent rework for her.

I hope they don't completely destroy her. I love her talent tree except for the ShrikeShrike-related talents. They're pretty garbage and never ever picked. I'd love that they made the Shrike build something agressive, turning Ana into a pseudo-Assassin.

20 hours ago, Stan said:

Chen: Will be revisited at some point, the update won't be happening in the next few months though. It's clear that he's not a tank with his current kit.

The solution would be making him a complete Bruiser and pair him with the likes of Sonya and Artanis; pump his damage a bit and balance it by reducing his shields from Fortifying BrewFortifying Brew. Even though they stated they don't like the idea of Chen being a Bruiser, that is the only option I see for him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 A constant struggle of developers is that they want to create a game where offensive play is the optimal strategy. However, at the top end of play, pros are encouraged to find a situation where the optimal play is to be safe so they have a better chance to consistently win more often, as offensive play is more risky and less desirable.

I think the real problem here is there is one too many talent tiers.  If you open up a big enough lead, you end up in situations where games (especially high level ones) become very passive due to one team having a constant one talent tier lead.  One team wants to risk nothing, the other team doesn't want to engage down talent tiers.  I honestly think talents at 1-5-10-15-20 would work much better then the current 1-4-7-10-13-16-20.  At the very least, removing one talent tier (say, 1-4-7-10-15-20) would open up a longer mid-game engagement window for teams that have fallen behind.

Quote

Solutions to improve laning?
a) More Health/Mana management. It's bad when Heroes have too much sustain (Blaze, Yrel).
b) More rewards for winning a lane. The risk/reward is not enough in favor of the player who is outplaying their opponent in the lane.

I will say that post-10, there are a LOT of heroes who can spam abilities and never have to seriously worry about mana management.  This has been a peeve of mine for a very long time; I've long held that non-mages need to see their max mana cut as much as 50% in the lategame.

The best solution was done by a now dead MOBA: Strife.  If your hero doesn't take damage for more then a few seconds, you get an accelerated health/mana regen.  That cleanly solves the laning problem; you can adjust health/mana totals downward due to the regen mechanic.  Heroes that lose the lane won't have the regen benefit, and simply will get bullied out of the lane for extended periods as a result.

Quote

 They're internally discussing getting rid of points and mapping MMR bands directly to a more granular rank system.

Do this.  MMR works by itself as its directly tied to wins/losses.  Having a rank system on top of it is a leading cause of people getting stuck in the wrong rank because of other players, not their individual skill.  If ranks are based strictly on MMR, that problem goes away.

Quote

The larger the rework, the greater risk of hurting the Hero's core identity. More abundant changes means that the game is fresher for people, and fewer Heroes are left alone for less time.

In my opinion, every hero needs to have ONE unique thing about them that defines their gameplay style.  If there are heroes that are too similar, the one seen as worse will always fall into "never played".  There's a few heroes that certainly need to be made more unique, even if it means a total redesign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      Here is the official preview of Nexomania II. The event has gone live with the latest patch and will run until September 7.  
      The event revolves around three new Hero skins: Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis, Gata de Batalla Li Li, and El Bandido Imperius. A new MC Tombstone Announcer has also been added together with a duck mount on steroids, and a rat mount.
      All chests obtained during Nexomania II have a high chance to contain event-themed loot (expect for Hero-specific chests).
      El Jefe Garrosh, El Chamuco Diablo, La Parca Lunara, and La Pantera Sonya (skins from last year's event) received new tints.
      (Source)
      When a swaggering wrestler in a tight pink singlet grabs a hot dog out of your hand en route to deliver a folding chair to the face of an unsuspecting sucker down in the ring—That’s Nexxxx-oooo-mania!
      For our latest wrestling-themed event, we’re taking Heroes of the Storm to the Intermultiversal Nexoweight Championship, where there are no rules and no mercy, just nonstop bicep-busting carnage. Gird your girdles for new Skins, Mounts, the bellowing Announcer MC Tombstone, special Quests, and more. All Loot Chests you obtain during Nexomania II have a higher chance to contain event-themed loot (except for Hero-specific chests). The action starts this week and won’t let up until our next major update!
      NEW SKINS: MEET YOUR CONTENDERS
      We have three new contenders entering the Intermultiversal Nexoweight Championship! These masters of mayhem have trained for years and their skills in the ring are only matched by the style they bring.

      Mal’gaucho Mal’ganis
      Mal’gaucho Mal’ganis is the favorite to win this competition. The Swingin’ Scourge of Stratholme tore a bloody path through his side of the bracket, burying opponents beneath a deluge of demonic blows.

      Gata de Batalla Li Li
      On the other side of the bracket, a mysterious upstart known only as La Gata de Batalla has emerged as a worthy challenger, defeating foes many times her size en route to the championship match.

      El Bandido Imperius
      And then there’s El Bandido Imperius, an outlaw who refuses to play by the rules. He might just make an unscheduled appearance in that final bout. . . .
      NEW ANNOUNCER: MC TOMBSTONE

      The arena is packed, and the Singularity-infused bellows of MC Tombstone himself reverberate through the loudspeaker. The final battle is about to begin. Whose side are you on? NEW: A CHAMPION’S QUEST
      The next time you launch Heroes of the Storm, you’ll be invited to choose a contender in the Intermultiversal Nexoweight Championship. Complete the corresponding Questline to unlock a barrage of themed rewards, but remember—you can only choose sides once!
      NEW MOUNTS, BUNDLES, TINTS, AND MORE!

      Ratón de Batalla
      La Gata de Batalla rides into the fray astride a massive, fearsome rodent with just the cutest widdle whiskers.

      Pumped Up Pato
      What do you say when an inflatable training dummy comes to life and threatens to knock out your friend? "Duck!"
      Bold New Tints
      Check out new Tints for Skins from the first Nexomania, including fresh looks for El Jefe Garrosh, El Chamuco Diablo, La Parca Lunara, and La Pantera Sonya!
      Bundles Galore
      While the fists, knees, and elbows are flying, we’re adding Nexomania II Bundles so you can pick up everything you want at a discounted price, alongside new Sprays, Emojis, and Portraits!
      AAARRREE YOUUUU READDYYY?
      The action starts this week and will continue in pulse-pounding fashion until our next major update. Get in there and fling some swings!
    • By Stan
      Game Designer David Warner breaks down what went into bringing Mei into the Nexus.
      The devs knew that a direct translation of Mei's kit from Overwatch would not work for Heroes of the Storm, because being able to attack while moving is a big advantage. Pair that with CC effects and you would have the most frustrating Hero of all time. As a result, they decided to port her over as a Tank/Bruiser despite her damage-oriented role in Overwatch. They had to carry over Blizzard (W) to Heroes, because the ability was so iconic in Overwatch. Mei went live earlier today. Check out the official patch notes for more details.  
      (Source)
      “Our world is worth fighting for.” – Dr. Mei-Ling Zhou 

      Despite her sunny demeanor, Dr. Mei-Ling Zhou has always had a knack for manipulating the colder elements to aid in her fight against the enemies of Overwatch. Now, utilizing the latest in temperature-dropping technologies, Mei has stepped out of the lab and into the Nexus to give her opponents a thorough thermal thrashing. 
      Ability Breakdown: 
      Thanks to the disruptive, protective, and surprisingly restorative properties of Mei’s icy engineering, this bone-chilling bruiser can get in the opponent’s face with her Endothermic Blaster, disrupt and devastate teamfights, then slide out of the skirmish unscathed. 
      Basic Abilities
      (D) - CRYO-FREEZE
      Encase yourself in ice for 3 seconds, gaining a rapidly decaying Shield that absorbs damage. While active, this Shield grants Unstoppable and restores up to 35% maximum Health.
      (Q) - SNOW BLIND
      Throw a snowball that hits all enemies in an area. Enemies hit take damage, are Slowed by 35%, and are Blinded for 1.5 seconds.
      (W) - BLIZZARD
      Command Snowball to create a blizzard at the target location for 2 seconds. Enemies within the blizzard take damage every 0.25 seconds and are Slowed by 7%, stacking up to 35%. When the blizzard ends, enemies within its area take additional damage and are stunned for 1.25 seconds.
      (E) - ICING
      Slide quickly in the targeted direction. When this effect ends, enemies near Mei are knocked back, take damage, and are Slowed by 80%, rapidly decaying over 1.5 seconds.
      Heroic Abilities
      (R) - AVALANCHE After 0.5 seconds, roll a massive snowball that consumes enemy Heroes in its path. At the end of its path, the snowball crumbles, releasing the consumed Heroes, dealing damage and stunning them for 0.5 seconds per Hero consumed.
      (R) - ICE WALL After a 0.75 second delay, create an impassable wall that traps enemy Heroes hit for 2.5 seconds. When the wall expires, trapped Heroes are slowed by 75%, decaying over 3 seconds.
      Making Mei: 
      Join Game Designer David Warner as he briefly breaks down what went into bringing one of Overwatch’s most polarizing agents into the Nexus: 
      Defining Mei’s playstyle: 
      Translating Mei from Overwatch to Heroes of the Storm: 
      Friends and Foes: 
      Works Well With:
      Burst Mages
      Mei’s ability to slow and disable enemies from long range makes it easier for fragile high-damage mages, such as Tassadar and Kael’thas, to land their big abilities. Additionally, Mei’s disruption effects can keep her fragile backline safe from would-be divers. Disabling Heroes
      Anyone with area crowd control effects, such as Malfurion, Imperius, or Junkrat, can easily combo their disables with Mei’s Blizzard and Icing, potentially shutting down whole teams for long periods of time. Jimmy
      Our favorite Renegade Commander, Jimmy Raynor, loves having Mei around for near constant uptime on his Ace in the Hole talent. Struggles Against: 
      Disabling Effects
      Outside of Cryo-Freeze, Mei lacks any way to avoid disabling effects, so she is susceptible to being locked down and interrupted by other tank and bruiser Heroes like Muradin or Diablo. Solo Engagements
      Because of her low damage output, Heroes with smaller health pools don’t have to avoid confronting Mei as they might for some other tanks. Mei is highly dependent on her allies for dishing out damage and serving up killing blows. Sustained Damage
      Mei lacks sustained healing and damage reduction, so damage dealers can soften her up between teamfights with consistent poke damage. Mei is taking the Nexus by storm (blizzard, of course) with today’s patch. We can’t wait to see what you do with this crystalizing climatologist! 

    • By Stan
      Mei has joined the Nexus! Check out our build guide to get started!  The latest patch for the game comes with a new Nexus Anomaly, Nexomania II, Mal'Ganis rework, and more.
      Patch Highlights
      Mei has entered the Nexus. Mal'Ganis has been reworked. Blizzard has done some last-minute changes to the new Anomaly which revolves around weather disturbances that grant your Hero various effects. You can find more information in the patch notes linked below. Starting with 2020 Season 3, Blizzard is replacing Gold rewards with Loot Chests from Storm League/Seasonal Questlines. Mount rewards are returning, and you will receive the Regal Tiger Mount for winning 50 games in Ranked Play in 2020 Season 3. Nexomania II is the summer event for Heroes of the Storm running from the week of June 23 to the week of September 7. (Source)
      Our next Heroes of the Storm patch is live and brings a new Hero - Mei, the Nexomania II event, a new Nexus Anomaly - Climate Phenomena, along with a Mal'Ganis rework and more! Read on for more information.
      NOTE: Orange text indicates a change between PTR and Live notes.
      Quick Navigation:
      New Hero: Mei Nexus Anomaly General Event Collection Storm League Heroes Rework: Mal'Ganis Heroes Bug Fixes New Hero: Mei, A Climatologist
      A brilliant mind with a sunny disposition, Dr. Mei-Ling Zhou joined Overwatch to help solve the world's growing climate problems. Armed with a host of weather-altering technologies, Mei now fights to protect her friends and secure a future for a troubled world.
      Trait [D]
      Cryo-Freeze Mei encases herself in ice, gaining a rapidly decaying Shield that absorbs up to 1104 damage. While active, this Shield grants Unstoppable and restores up to 35% maximum Health. Cooldown: 40 seconds. Basic Abilities
      Snow Blind [Q] Throw a snowball that hits all enemies in an area. Enemies hit take 70 damage, are Slowed by 35%, and are Blinded for 1.5 seconds. Cost: 35 Mana. Cooldown: 10 seconds. Blizzard [W] Command Snowball to create a blizzard at the target location for 2 seconds. Enemies within the blizzard take 13 damage every .25 seconds and are Slowed by 7%, stacking up to 35%. When the blizzard ends, enemies within its area take an additional 75 damage and are stunned for 1.25 seconds. Cost: 70 Mana. Cooldown: 14 seconds. Icing [E] Slide quickly in the targeted direction. When this effect ends, enemies near Mei are knocked back, take 52 damage, and are Slowed by 80%, rapidly decaying over 1.5 seconds. Cost: 70 Mana. Cooldown: 14 seconds. Heroic Abilities
      Avalanche [R1] After .5 seconds, roll a massive snowball that consumes enemy Heroes in its path. At the end of its path, the snowball crumbles, releasing the consumed Heroes, dealing 220 damage and stunning them for .5 per Hero consumed. Cost: 70 Mana. Cooldown: 65 seconds. Ice Wall [R2] After a .75 second delay, create an impassible wall that traps enemy Heroes hit for 2.5 seconds. When the wall expires, trapped Heroes are slowed by 75% decaying over 3 seconds. Cost: 60 Mana. Cooldown: 90 seconds. Talent
      Level 1 Heavy Pack [Q] Increases the duration of Snow Blind’s Slow by 100%. Each time Blizzard damages an enemy Hero, reduce the cooldown of Snow Blind by .125 seconds. Ice Storm [W] Every 3rd hit of Blizzard against enemy Heroes deals an additional 45 damage. Blizzard’s final stun damage is increased by 125% against all enemies. Heat Transfer [Passive] Basic Attacks against Rooted, Stunned, or Slowed Heroes deal 33% more damage. Each time Mei Stuns or Slows an enemy Hero she heals for 18 Health. Level 4 Slushball [Q] Snow Blind deals 50% increased damage and Structures hit are disabled for 3 seconds. Cold Front [E] If Mei enters her own Blizzard while Icing is active, the cooldown of Icing is reduced by 7 seconds and she gains 50 Mana. Crystallize [Trait] Reduce the cooldown of Cryo-Freeze by 15 seconds. Mei gains 50 Spell Armor while Cryo-Freeze is active and for 2 seconds after. Level 7 Induce Hibernation [W] Enemy Heroes inside of Blizzard’s area have their damage dealt reduced by 40%. When Blizzard ends, enemy Heroes within its area gain this effect for an additional 4 seconds. Skating Away [E] When Icing ends, grant Mei and nearby allies 20% Movement Speed and 50 Physical Armor for 3 seconds. Backup Battery [Active] Activate to remove all Roots and Slows and regenerate 20% of maximum Health over 2 seconds. The cooldown of this ability is reduced by 10 seconds each time Mei picks up a Regeneration Globe. Level 13 Flurry [W] While in her own Blizzard, Mei gains 50% increased attack speed and Blizzard’s cooldown refreshes 75% faster. If Mei is in her own Blizzard when it ends, gain these bonuses for 3 additional seconds. Cooling Servos [Trait] Basic Attacks Slow their target by 20% for 1.5 seconds. While Cryo-Freeze is active, Mei’s Basic Ability cooldowns recover 200% faster. Polar Vortex [Passive] Using an ability causes Mei to deal 24 damage a second to nearby enemies for 4 seconds. Enemy Heroes damaged by this effect also have their movement and attack speed Slowed by 20%. Level 16 Fresh Powder [Q] Snow Blind gains an additional charge and its range is increased by 33%. Black Ice [E] Icing’s Slow effect no longer decays over its duration. Icing deals 300% more damage to enemies very close to Mei. Acclimation [Passive] Each time Mei Slows or Stuns an enemy Hero, the damage she deals and healing she receives is increased by 1%, stacking up to 20 times. While at maximum stacks, Mei also gains 10 armor. Lasts 8 seconds. Level 20 Cascade [R1] Reduce the cooldown of Avalanche by 25 seconds. While traveling, Avalanche constantly launches a volley of untalented Snow Blind snowballs ahead of itself. Shatter [R2] When Ice Wall expires, trapped enemy Heroes hit take 210 damage and have their Armor reduced by 25 for 5 seconds. The Big One [Q] Every 15 seconds, your next Snow Blind has 66% increased area and 200% increased damage. Flash Freeze [Trait] Upon taking fatal damage, Mei instantly gains Cryo-Freeze. This effect has a 180 second cooldown. Return to Top
      Nexus Anomaly
      A Call For Help New Nexus Anomaly - Climate Phenomena Strange weather disturbances have been spotted across the Nexus, with realms experiencing rain storms, snow flurries, and foggy mists! Mei's arrival is just in time to help analyze and study these strange weather conditions that have begun occurring. Climate Phenomena is our newest Nexus Anomaly, bringing a variety of fun weather effects to the game. Each battleground has a specific type of weather event that will occur every 4 minutes, with the first event starting at the beginning of the match. Each weather event lasts for 2 minutes before clearing up. This cycle will repeat periodically until the game ends. While these weather events are active, Heroes can gain a unique buff based on the type of active weather. These buffs are:
      Rain Storms Periodically Strike all heroes with lightning every 25-40 seconds, increasing Movement Speed and granting a Lightning Shield that damages nearby enemies. Movement Speed increased by 15%. Damage nearby enemies for 46 damage per second. Buff lasts 8 seconds. Snow Flurries Heroes accumulate a small shield over time while out of combat. Heroes gain 28 Shields every 0.5 seconds, stacking up to 224 (8 stacks total). Shield lasts until destroyed or until the Snow stops falling. Foggy Mists Allows Heroes to gain Stealth after standing in shrubs for a few seconds. After standing in a shrub for 1.5 seconds, Heroes gain Stealth. Stealth lasts 40 seconds or until attacking, taking damage, using an ability, or until the Foggy weather dissipates. Weather events will be active on these Battlegrounds:
      Rain Storms Garden of Terror Sky Temple Warhead Junction Braxis Holdout Dragon Shire Blackheart's Bay Snow Flurries Cursed Hollow Infernal Shrines Volskaya Foundry Alterac Pass Foggy Mists Tomb of the Spider Queen Battlefield of Eternity Hanamura Temple Towers of Doom All other Battlegrounds will use a random weather, including Brawls mode. Return to Top
      General
      A.I. The maximum follow distance for A.I. agents has been increased from 5 to 7. This will allow melee Heroes who are following ranged Heroes to attack targets at maximum range. Favorite Talents New hotkey named "Quick Talent Selection Favorite (Ctrl + `)" has been added under the Hero Management section in Advanced Hotkey settings. You can press this hotkey to select the favorite talent you prepicked when the quick talent selection panel is open. If the prepicked talent is disabled or a future tier is selected, pressing this hotkey will have no effect. Return to Top
      Event
      Nexomania II Event Quests Nexomania II is the summer event for Heroes of the Storm running from the week of June 23 to week of September 7, PDT. One of the most prestigious stops on the Nexomania circuit is the Intermultiversal Nexoweight Championship: No rules, no mercy, just nonstop, bicep-busting carnage. This time, many fans expected Mal’gaucho Mal'Ganis to win it all. The Swingin’ Scourge of Stratholme tore a bloody path through his side of the bracket, burying opponents beneath a deluge of demonic blows. But on the other side of the bracket, a mysterious upstart known only as La Gata de Batalla has proven herself a worthy challenger, defeating foes many times her size en route to the championship match. The arena is packed, with Nexomania legend MC Tombstone roaring away on the mic, and the final battle is about to begin. Whose side are you on? Loot Chests During the Nexomania II event, all Loot Chests you earn through progression, Heroes Brawl, or by spending gold will be Nexomania II Loot Chests. (Except Hero-specific Chests, which will remain unchanged.) Most limited-time items shown above have a chance to drop from Nexomania II Loot Chests only. You can also score Items from previous years’ summer events limited-time loot chests! Note: Loot Chests earned prior to the start of this event will not become Nexomania II Loot Chests. Return to Top
      Collection
      Many seasonal items will be returning to the collection, and will be available for crafting and in Loot Chests for a limited time!
      New Bundles (Limited Time Only!) Pajama Party Mei Heroic Bundle Nexoweight Championship Bundle Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Skin Pack El Bandido Imperius Skin Pack Gata de Batalla Li Li Skin Pack Nexomania Best Bros Bundle Nexomania Bitter Rivals Bundle Pumped up Pato Bundle New Skins Renowned Mei Vanguard Mei Pajama Party Mei Panda Pajama Party Mei Gnoll Pajama Party Mei Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Nemesis Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis Underworld Mal'gaucho Mal'Ganis El Bandido Imperius El Fuego Imperius Sinister El Bandido Imperius Vigilante El Bandido Imperius Gata de Batalla Li Li Comeback Gata de Batalla Li Li Underworld Gata de Batalla Li Li Hulking El Chamuco Diablo Pink Singlet El Chamuco Diablo El Festejo Garrosh El Jefe Amarillo Garrosh La Medianoche Lunara La Rosa Lunara La Campeona Sonya Pink Pantera Sonya Championship El Mariachi E.T.C. El Cielo E.T.C. New Mounts Ratón de Batalla Comeback Ratón de Batalla Underworld Ratón de Batalla Pumped Up Pato Pumped Up Swan Underworld Pumped Up Pato Championship Luchihuahua Festive Luchihuahua Wild Pigñata Festive Pigñata Thraller Bill New Announcer Mei Announcer New Content Several new Portraits, Sprays and other items have been added to the Collection! Return to Top
      Storm League
      With the upcoming third Season of 2020, we wanted to make some changes to the reward structure of Storm League.
      Replacing Gold Rewards Starting with Season 3 of 2020, we are removing all Gold rewards from Storm League, End of Season prizes and Seasonal Questlines. This will also affect Season 2 rewards. The new Seasonal Questline reward structure is as follows: a Nexomania II Chest after 5 wins, a Rare Nexomania II Chest after 15 wins, and an Epic Nexomania II Chest after 30 wins. Storm League Reward Mounts Since the inception of Storm League, we have received a lot of feedback about the retirement of Ranked Play reward Mounts. We have heard you and are extremely happy to announce the return of exclusive Storm League Mounts starting next season. The ultimate and final reward of the 2020 Season 3 Questline will be the Regal Tiger Mount, which will be awarded after winning 50 games in Ranked Play. As of Season 3, you won't have to wait for the end of the Season to claim your well-earned Regal Tiger. It will become available as soon as you complete the four-step Storm League Quest Line. The mount only requires you to win 50 games and will be granted to players in all Leagues and Divisions. As usual, we're happy to listen to your feedback. Please share your thoughts with us, so we can continue to adjust and evolve the Storm League rewards further. Return to Top
      Heroes Rework: Mal'Ganis
      Base
      Vitals Health reduced from 2500 to 2450. Health Regeneration reduced from 5.21 to 5.11. Basic Attack Basic Attack damage reduced from 100 to 92. Fel Claws [Q] Damage reduced from 69 to 63. Talents
      Level 1 Vampiric Aura [Trait] Additional functionality: Mal'Ganis heals for 30% of Physical Damage dealt. Time to Feed [Passive] Healing reduced from 52 to 44. Additional functionality: If Mal'Ganis damages a nearby enemy Hero with Fel Claws, double this healing. Level 4 Fueled by Torment [W] Bonus Healing against enemy Heroes increased from 15% to 20%. Might of Sargeras [W] No longer reduces the duration of Necrotic Embrace. Echo of Doom [W] Explosion damage increased from 50 to 54. No longer increases the duration of Necrotic Embrace when its explosion damage hits enemy Heroes. Additional functionality: Gain 5 Mana and reduce the cooldown of Necrotic Embrace by .75 seconds for each enemy Hero hit by its explosion damage. Level 7 Nightmare Fuel [E] Removed. Black Claws [Q] Additional functionality: Basic Attacks after hitting enemy Heroes with Fel Claws also reduces their Armor by 15 for 2 seconds. Will of Tichondrius [Q] New functionality: Each enemy Hero hit by the first 2 slashes of Fel Claws causes the final slash to steal 1% maximum Health, up to 4%. If Mal'Ganis hits at least 4 enemy Heroes with the first 2 slashes of Fel Claws, then the final slash Stuns enemies for an additional .25 seconds. Spreading Plague [E] Adjusted functionality: Spreading Plague’s effect now starts when Mal'Ganis begins using Night Rush instead of when Night Rush expires. Level 13 The Night Beckons [E] Additional functionality: Basic Attacks deal 200% more damage to Sleeping targets. Level 16 Frenzied Assault [Passive] New functionality: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with a higher Health percentage heal for an additional 50% of damage dealt. Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with a lower Health percentage grant 35% Attack Speed for 2 seconds. Blind as a Bat [Active] Additional functionality: Enemy Heroes hit by the final slash of Fel Claws reduces the cooldown of this Ability by 5 seconds. Level 20 Vanquish the Weak [Q] Slow amount increased from 15% to 25%. Alone in the Dark [E] Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Night Rush by 4 seconds. Return to Top
      Heroes
      Murky
      Base
      Spawn Egg [Trait] Health increased from 324 to 420. Health Scaling changed from 30 to 4% per level. Return to Top
      Bug Fixes
      General
      Fixed an issue where Toys 1 Event reward Portraits could not be equipped for those who had earned them in Toys 1 Event in 2018. Heroes
      Anduin Anduin's Light of Stormwind now correctly removes damage over time effects. Murky Murky's Egg Health now properly scales at 4% per level. Stitches Fixed an issue where Slam would go on cooldown when Stitches was interrupted during its initial cast. Tassadar The Ranged Assassin tooltip at the bottom is now properly displaying for Tassadar. Return to Top
      A new Hero, Nexus Anomaly, and Nexomania II await in the Nexus!
    • By Oxygen
      Our thirtieth Heroes of the Storm Meta Tier list for June 2020 is here!
      The latest meta tier list for June 2020 is here!
      Welcome to another Icy Veins's Meta Tier List for the June 3 patch. The goal of this list is to try and detail game's current metagame state. The prime goal of such lists is to inform players regarding popular and trending team composition drafting strategies (i.e. the drafting metagame).
      A new format, soon™
      First off: sorry for taking so long to update the list. We're in the final stage of a complete (and overdue) redesign of our tier lists. While I can't say for sure when we'll be showcasing it, it'll make both the updating process and your browsing experience that much better. In the meantime, I've restricted the class system to the system used in-game so as to reduce confusion. Stay tuned!
      Current ranked mode map rotation
      Current anomaly
      A Call For Help!. For more information about this Anomaly, simply refer to our Anomaly guide.
       

      S-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support E.T.C.   Cassia       Johanna   Mephisto        

      High-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Blaze Sonya Falstad Ragnaros Deckard Abathur Garrosh Xul Fenix Samuro Lùcio   Mal'Ganis Yrel Greymane Thrall Rehgar       Jaina   Stukov       Kael'thas   Whitemane       Raynor           Sylvanas           Tassadar           Tracer        

      Mid-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Arthas Artanis Azmodan Alarak Alexstrasza Zarya Anub'arak Chen Chromie Gazlowe Ana   Diablo Deathwing Hanzo Kerrigan Anduin   Muradin Dehaka Kel'Thuzad Maiev Auriel   Varian (Taunt) Leoric Li-Ming Qhira Brightwing     Malthael Lunara Zeratul Lt. Morales     Varian (Blades) Nazeebo   Malfurion     Varian (Smash) Orphea   Tyrande       Sgt. Hammer           Tychus           Valla           Zagara           Zul'jin        

      Low-tier Tank Bruiser Ranged Assassin Melee Assassin Healer Support Cho D.Va Gall The Butcher Kharazim Medivh Stitches Rexxar Genji Valeera   TLV Tyrael   Nova           Probius      
    • By Stan
      With Mei available for testing until Monday, we've updated our Heroes section and added her to the talent calculator.
      Mei is now available in the talent calculator on our site. You can access it by clicking on the image below.

×
×
  • Create New...