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Heroes of the Storm: What's Next?

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A recap of the "What's Next' panel from BlizzCon, where the devs discussed changes to Ranked Play, role rework, changes to Armor and XP gains coming in 2019.

Plenty of changes are coming to the game as part of the 2019 Gameplay Update and the Heroes of the Storm developer team discussed what's coming to the game in the near future.

2018 in Review

  • Content is very important, because it keeps the game fresh and more appealing to new players, so they're going to keep prioritizing it.
  • 2018 has been great in terms of content. On the Hero front it was an awesome year for Heroes (Blaze, Maiev, Fenix, Deckard, Yrel, Whitemane, Mephisto, Mal'Ganis).
  • BlizzCon introduced Orphea and you can find more details about her in our Deep Dive panel recap.
  • Reworks are very important to the game and in the past year, they reworked Kerrigan, Diablo, and even Raynor. It helps to keep things fresh.
  • They introduced Alterac Pass and revisited Hanamura Temple and Garden of Terror.
  • Skins are no longer introduced randomly, but as part of various thematic events (Mecha, Lunar, Enforcer, Dark Nexus, Nexomania, Warcraft, War Chrome, Viper Ascendant, King's Crest).
  • Comics and more lore was added this year to pave the way for Orphea.
  • A new comic that focuses on Orphea is coming out later this month.

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  • Features
    • Voice Chat implementation, themed events (quests), and third ban were implemented and the team continues to focus on matchmaking improvements with 2019 gameplay updates, rank point decay and changes to Team League.

Features Coming Soon to Heroes

  • Role Update
    • The current roles do not fully reflect the intent behind Heroes. There's a big difference between Sonya and Johanna.  New players don't necessarily know that, because we call them Warriors.
    • With the role update, they hope to give players a better understanding at what their Heroes are supposed to do in lane.
    • We'll have six roles: Tank, Bruiser, Healer, Support, Melee Assassin, Ranged Assassin. Specialists are gone.

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  • Call of the Nexus
    • The new feature added in the latest patch is introduced to help prevent undesirable Quick Match comps (Assassin, Assassin, Specialist, Specialist, Specialist).
    • Every Quick Match will have a Tank, Healer, Ranged Assasin + 2 Fills (enforced QM comps) in the next content patch and you'll receive a 50% increased XP bonus, if you queue for any roles that are currently in short supply.
    • It will be enabled shortly after the patch goes live.

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  • Stimpacks Boosts
    • Boost provide 5% XP bonus per player (up to 45%) in addition to all bonuses provided by the Stimpack.

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  • Team League
    • Removal of group size limitations had a great impact on Team League play across the board.

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  • Upcoming Changes to Ranked Play
    • Combine Hero League & Team League together while providing an option for solo players to only be matched against other solo players if they choose. This will allow for more flexibility in the matchmaker to find each player an opponent with similar skill.
    • Loss Forgiveness will be introduced and you won't lose ANY rank points if your ally is disconnected for a certain amount of time.
      • Leavers will face stacking penalties during a Season.
    • Reduce Placement Matches: The amount of placement games will be reduced to 3.
    • Seasonal Ranked Quest will be introduced and you'll have to complete a fixed number of games to receive your end-of-season rewards.
    • Promotion/Demotion Games will be removed.
    • Performance-based matchmaking will be used to educate players.
    • Show MMR / Remove Ranked Points from calculation, so winning or losing matches will increase and/or decrease your MMR.

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  • Hero Reworks
    • Brightwing recieved a rework in September, because she felt old undesirable with the introduction of new Heroes.
    • The goal of a rework is to make various talent builds viable. Sometimes, they even make changes to a Hero's base kit.
    • Whenever they do a rework, they must examine Hero fantasy.
    • Next Heroes that will be reworked in December include Stitches, and Sylvanas.
      • Stitches Rework Goals
        • They love his HookHook and want to keep it awesome. No changes to that particular ability are planned.
        • SlamSlam will be made more interesting. You only use it on cooldown and they would like to give players more active decision making when using it.
      • Sylvanas Rework Goals
        • Make her an epic ranged assassin.
        • Introduce powerful new team fight talents (similar to WindrunnerWindrunner).
        • Preserve existing fantasy in some form.
        • Rework her Black ArrowsBlack Arrows trait to allow for more counter play.
  • Gameplay Update Philosophy
    • Last year, they mades some significant changes to core game mechanics:
      • Pulled back camera, Stealth revamp, Neutral Regen globes, Infinite tower ammo.

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  • 2019 Gameplay Updates
    • They don't want games to snowball out of control, so they're making huge adjustments to Experience gains to keep games more even.
      • Forts & Keeps are worth no XP.
      • Towers are worth 50% less XP.
      • Mercenary XP +100%
    • They're also changing how catapults work.
      • Destroyed forts spawn 1 catapult every 3rd minion wave, allowing new strategic decisions.
    • Armor is receiving an update in two areas.
      • On the gameplay side, they received feedback from pros about Armor stacking that was dominating their decision making.
      • On the UI side, the game doesn't accurately show the amount of Armor you have, so in the 2019 gameplay update, the UI is going to show all armor types separately (physical / spell armor have unique icons).
      • Armor stacking will be removed.

Q&A

  • Post-game stat tracking is something they'd like to implement at some point in the future as part of the education system in Heroes of the Storm.
  • Talents that had the ability to stack Armor are now capped (e.g. Tyrande).
  • A new Hero select screen is coming later in 2019. They plan to update it with a new "feature" that has a different appearance.
  • 2019 gameplay updates will be introduced throughout Seasons. They don't want to drop all changes at once, but rather individually to see and determine their impact on the game.
  • Dark Nexus Dehaka skin? Noted.
  • Towers of Doom and Alterac Pass don't have catapults in the traditional sense. On Towers, they kept the XP from towers, because the objective does not provide any XP and in Alterac Pass, they had to significantly tuned down the Reaver that spawns instead of catapults, because it was too powerful in the early game.
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13 hours ago, Stan said:

Skins are no longer introduced randomly, but as part of various thematic events (Mecha, Lunar, Enforcer, Dark Nexus, Nexomania, Warcraft, War Chrome, Viper Ascendant, King's Crest).

I miss when they introduced skins randomly because they'd just make it for one Hero without being chained to any theme. Some of the best skins in the game were released randomly.

13 hours ago, Stan said:

Armor stacking will be removed.

I find it odd that they're doing this and Orphea has a talent that gives her 50 armor and IT STACKS.

Edited by Valhalen
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1 hour ago, Aasgier said:

Why Blizzard didn't make Armor multiplicative instead of the current solution is completely beyond me.

Because multiplicative armor is even more effective than stacking one, which they already said is too good.And I most likely misunderstood what you mean by mpy, but point is that they want to reduce power of armor in game.

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3 hours ago, Valhalen said:

I find it odd that they're doing this and Orphea has a talent that gives her 50 armor and IT STACKS.

Actually that talent works like a mix of BlockBlock and Nerubian ArmorNerubian Armor. It gives you up to 2 stances of 50 armor against a single magic hit. It would for example be very useful against Arcane OrbArcane Orb, but ineffective against DisintegrateDisintegrate.

Edited by lChronosl
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10 minutes ago, lChronosl said:

Actually that talent works like a mix of BlockBlock and Nerubian ArmorNerubian Armor. It gives you up to 2 stances of 50 armor against a single magic hit. It would for example be very useful against Arcane OrbArcane Orb, but ineffective against DisintegrateDisintegrate.

Ohhh, that makes more sense. Maybe they should have worded it better, like the Block talents. "Stores up to 2 charges", because saying "stack" suggests an additive amount.

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58 minutes ago, SleepySheepy said:

Because multiplicative armor is even more effective than stacking one, which they already said is too good.And I most likely misunderstood what you mean by mpy, but point is that they want to reduce power of armor in game.

You probably did.

Example: Ragnaros uses his Catching Fire (25 armor) and then Resilient Flame (40 armor) triggers.

If armor is additive, 65 armor means the damage is reduced by 65% (currently).

If armor is multiplicative, 65 armor means the damage would be divided by 1.65 (so about 39.4% reduction).

 

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Epic Patron

I don't understand removing the experience from the structures; It seems like it negates entire strategy part of the game. If you're not going to win an objective then going for a structure is valuable to keep you competitive.  Poor management of your resources, including structures, should lead you to a loss and should be a valuable part of your decision making as a team. I've had plenty of games where we're behind in levels but we win that crucial team fight, push down some structures and suddenly we're back in it. To me, that's super rewarding? It seems to nullify the supporting role of abathur / vikings otherwise, no?

What makes more sense to me is a modifier on exp value of each structure. For the team that's behind, the modifier is positive and nets more exp per structure that scales with the difference between the levels of the two teams and if you're ahead, the modifier is fractional such that you get significantly less exp from the structures. That way pushing down structures when you're ahead doesn't help your exp pool much but pushing down structures when you're behind helps you catch up faster? Just off the top of my head there.

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1 hour ago, Aasgier said:

You probably did.

Example: Ragnaros uses his Catching Fire (25 armor) and then Resilient Flame (40 armor) triggers.

If armor is additive, 65 armor means the damage is reduced by 65% (currently).

If armor is multiplicative, 65 armor means the damage would be divided by 1.65 (so about 39.4% reduction).

 

Oof... At this point this would create more confusion than it would help, so many numbers would have to change to have same effect. Not to mention how would armor reduction and so on. 1 armor = 1 % damage deducted is far more easier to understand how it works. 

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2 hours ago, Skittastic said:

What makes more sense to me is a modifier on exp value of each structure. For the team that's behind, the modifier is positive and nets more exp per structure that scales with the difference between the levels of the two teams and if you're ahead, the modifier is fractional such that you get significantly less exp from the structures. That way pushing down structures when you're ahead doesn't help your exp pool much but pushing down structures when you're behind helps you catch up faster? Just off the top of my head there.

Great idea. I think we should give these changes some time, maybe a couple of months, to see if they are as bad as we think. But should they fail, your suggestion would be another interesting experiment.

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5 hours ago, SleepySheepy said:

Oof... At this point this would create more confusion than it would help, so many numbers would have to change to have same effect. Not to mention how would armor reduction and so on. 1 armor = 1 % damage deducted is far more easier to understand how it works.  

It is a little more complicated, but once you are used to it it should not be a problem. I have worked with additive and multiplicative armor before in a different game, and I got used to it surprisingly quickly. Having a hero or two with a number above 100 Armor helps, too (Garrosh' Trait with that level 13 talent would be modified to be like this, Hardened Shield could provide 300 Armor or something, and so on...)

Numbers would be changed for heroes across the board indeed, but it would probably make adjusting easier for everyone who reads the patch notes. Seeing the changed numbers in the game will remind you of the changes, after all.

Edited by Aasgier

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same for what is now in game...why is Malganis a tank???

and why would you move chen, dehaka, yrel and leoric to bruisers....and keep tyrael as a tank??? 

You just added the extra classes to remove confusion GREAT IDEA FINALLY ...BUT then you want to remove specialist?

So then I guess I'll just pick murky and I'll be melee assassinating all these fools will I?? And gazlowe just looking for kills??

Lets keep with the fantasy and I'll be assassinating everyone with my photon cannons?? 

And I guess support is shield based characters but what the hell are the vikings gonna shield others with....their bodies?

and whats with the Varian as bruiser now.....it seems to me you need to just call the class 'special whatever' for all your crazier characters, with multiclass included would now also include Greymane and just say if you don't know what this guy does then the 'Class' title is not going to help.

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On 11/7/2018 at 11:23 AM, Dvsazz said:

same for what is now in game...why is Malganis a tank???

and why would you move chen, dehaka, yrel and leoric to bruisers....and keep tyrael as a tank??? 

You just added the extra classes to remove confusion GREAT IDEA FINALLY ...BUT then you want to remove specialist?

So then I guess I'll just pick murky and I'll be melee assassinating all these fools will I?? And gazlowe just looking for kills??

Lets keep with the fantasy and I'll be assassinating everyone with my photon cannons?? 

And I guess support is shield based characters but what the hell are the vikings gonna shield others with....their bodies?

and whats with the Varian as bruiser now.....it seems to me you need to just call the class 'special whatever' for all your crazier characters, with multiclass included would now also include Greymane and just say if you don't know what this guy does then the 'Class' title is not going to help.

i think its safe to assume that they will rework heroes that doesnt fit in to their new class. otherwise it would be dumb what they did and you would be right

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