Jump to content

Creating the Nexus's First Multi-Hero Mount

Recommended Posts


Hero Designer Kyle Dates shares with the community how the first multi-Hero mount came to be. The Toy Train first revealed at BlizzCon is now available for purchase during the Toys 2 Event.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

“It almost seemed like some people were more excited about the train mount than about Deathwing.”

Veteran Hero Designer Kyle Dates leans back in his chair and a bright-eyed smile flashes across his face. We’ve just asked him to recount how Heroes of the Storm’s first multi-Hero mount came to be, and it’s clear he has a story to share about this little engine that… almost didn’t.

When the team first showed off the mount at BlizzCon, Dates explains, “everyone just kind of assumed it [linking up your train cars] would be automatic.” Though, as he knew, this was not currently the case. “At the time they didn’t connect,” says Dates, “and there was no intention for them to connect.” The only way to form a train was to organize your buddies and have everyone meticulously control their character in line. Sure, you could make it work, but players wanted more.


The crowd’s reaction to what they thought was the first multi-person mount in the Nexus was immediate, loud, and for Dates and the team, a little terrifying. His eyes pop as he walks us through his panicked thoughts - “There was this insane amount of excitement that I don’t think anyone on our team was prepared for (…) crap, everyone is saying 5-player mount, we can’t not deliver on that!” So, come Monday morning, the team headed into the office invigorated and determined to turn these related but disconnected mounts into a fully functional train. But, how? They knew it was technically possible. In fact, they had originally considered the same idea using the Scarlet Heist’s motorcycle and sidecar but getting everything running smoothly was deemed too complicated to realize at the time. Now, they were setting out to do it again, but on a much larger scale. Deadlines were looming. It was Monday, the patch had to be complete on Friday, and no one was quite sure where to begin.

After seeing firsthand the passion of players who directly approached him about the mount at BlizzCon, Kyle stepped up to the plate. Though his primary role is that of a Hero designer, Dates’ twelve-year history of testing, game design, and implementation at Blizzard prepared him to take on the responsibility of getting this train out of the station, tricky as it may be. “The community was so excited for it. It would have felt wrong to not give it my best effort.” Now, thanks to his initiative and expertise, the project was chugging along, though not without some brain-bending and panic-inducing bumps in the track:

“They all need to follow each other, but the game also needs to let you bail out immediately. So, what happens if car #3 decides they want to bail out and go a different way. Should car #4 start following car #2 or should car #4 keep following car #3? Can you break them up? Does car #3 become a new engine? There were all these weird things we had to figure out how to handle gracefully.”

With the final submission deadline looming ever closer, Kyle buckled down and had the linked-up train cars figured out and functioning in two days. The shiny new tech was securely committed to the final published build, and the train was in the hands of the larger Heroes team. The choo-choo was now laden with players and plowing full steam down the lanes of Cursed Hollow where the team could see the fruits of their labor during playtesting:

"One team is just playing the game and the other is [mounted on a train]. They’re trying to stay in sight range of the other team so they can show off like ‘oh yea, we’re all on this train.’ But not in range where they can get damaged because they’ll get dismounted (…) One person will get hit and dismount, but no one else will dismount to help them because they’re like, ‘Pfft, I want to stay on my train.’ It’s great!”

Thanks to the efforts of Kyle and the Heroes team, the overwhelming reaction of passionate Heroes of the Storm players at BlizzCon 2019, the Toy Train is now in the Nexus in all its multi-hero glory. You can conduct your very own by picking up the limited-time mount in Loot Chests, crafting it with Shards, or by purchasing the Toys Bundle as part of the Heroes of the Storm Winter Toys event.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: yes, there’s plenty of room for the Vikings (if they could ride):


Related News

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, to think they managed to create this new tech in 2 days, just because of a "misunderstanding" of the players.

Ours devs sure are the best.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ArtVandelay said:

Can heroes without a mount get on it?

Only heroes who can ride mounts can get on it. This also excludes heroes who can only ride "platform" mounts, like Azmodan, Zagara, Alarak.

Share this post

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

(...) they had originally considered the same idea using the Scarlet Heist’s motorcycle and sidecar (...)

That is something I've wanted since I saw that mount. A shame they couldn't implement at the time. Maybe they can patch it in the future and make it a multi-seat.

But this whole experience just shows how talented (and severely unappreciated) the Heroes Dev Team is. Definitely the best of all Blizzard Teams.

I wish they'd implement a /train emote akin to WoW. It is so missed now.

Edited by Valhalen
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

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.

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.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Stan
      Wonder William has been removed and we have the Footman Varian Skin Pack available for 675 Gems this week.
      Hero Sales
      Heroes Old Price New Price Arthas 625 Gems 312 Gems Greymane 625 Gems 312 Gems Johanna 500 Gems 250 Gems Skins
      Footman Varian Skin Pack is on sale for 675 Gems. The following skins are included:
      Stormwind Footman Varian Stromgarde Footman Varian Kul Tiras Footman Varian
      Latest Heroes of the Storm News
      Icy Heroes App for Heroes of the Storm Free Hero Rotation: Week of February 25th Internal Data Usage and Balance Patches
    • By Stan
      We've developed a Heroes of the Storm helper app in collaboration with Overwolf that is powered by our guides. The app is called Icy Heroes and is currently in beta testing. It detects the Heroes on both teams, gives you talent recommendations based on your chosen build, and it's completely FREE! 
      Table of Contents 
      Introduction How to Get Started Introduction 
      We at Icy Veins are excited to bring you our Heroes of the Storm helper app developed in collaboration with Overwolf called Icy Heroes.
      The app will detect the Hero you choose at the start of the match, give you build suggestions, and notify you which talent to pick while playing.
      The Home screen displays Global Stats and win rates of all Heroes. We gather data about win rates, picked/banned Heroes, and hope to make use of this data in the future to help you during the draft to pick and ban Heroes.

      The Heroes tab has all the Heroes listed alphabetically based on their roles (Tanks, Bruisers, Ranged Assassins, Melee Assassins, Supports, Healers).

      The app is powered by guides taken directly from our site and each Hero comes with a basic overview, abilities list, recommended builds list, talents discussion, and useful tips & tricks to help you become a better player!

      The Current Game tab provides quick access to all Heroes currently in-game, allowing you to look up information about them without opening a browser.

      [Return to Top]
      How to Get Started 
      Click here to download Icy Heroes and launch the app; Launch Heroes of the Storm; Pick a Game Mode and start a match. The app will automatically detect your chosen Hero as well as Heroes on both teams. After loading into the game, you will be prompted with a screen and muss press Alt+F to pick the desired build for your Hero.

      The app will automatically suggest talent recommendations based on the build you have chosen.

      You can bring up the app at any time or make it disappear by pressing Alt+F.
      Note that the app is still in beta, and we're looking forward to your feedback and suggestions!
      Download Icy Heroes Now
      [Return to Top]
      We present to you Icy Heroes, the Heroes of the Storm helper app.
    • By Stan
      The free Hero rotation has been updated for the week of February 25.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: Week of February 25, 2020
      Alexstrasza Deathwing Greymane Jaina Leoric Muradin Nazeebo Qhira Raynor Sonya Tassadar Uther Varian Yrel Latest Heroes of the Storm News
      Internal Data Usage and Balance Patches Heroes of the Storm Balance Update Patch Notes: February 12th Weekly Brawl - Lost Cavern: Week of February 21st
    • By Stan
      Heroes' Live Designer Adam Jackson explains how the team uses internal data for balancing decisions to give players more insight into all the different areas that affect the decision-making process when making changes to a specific Hero.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Dear developers & testers,
      In your balance patches you often write notes that refer to internal data gathered by you when explaining a balance change or talents change.
      I would appreciate it if you provided an example of how the data are organized of a talent or a hero and how different categories of data are given weight to push into a change decision.
      For example if we chose illidan’s “Friend or foe” talent , and I am going to assume that data is collected from all game modes, do you have a system of point allocation depending on the rating of the player ? , Is team’s composition are taken into consideration ? Or is it just simple statistics of pick & win rates over all game modes & ranks ?
      Your answer and example will help us to better understand how you evaluate a talent or a hero before changing something & perhaps lower the ranting rates against every balance change and lower the differences in opinions between players a bit about heroes and talents balance wise.
      Thank you for your time & effort.
      I’m not going to give away everything, but I can answer this question.
      We get raw data on basically everything that’s happening in the game across all modes based on win/pick rate, as well as things like damage dealt/taken etc.
      We are able to parse through this data to look at it through many lenses. This is where raw statistics become less useful and the skill and experience of a designer come into play more so that we can draw meaningful conclusions from the data, and decide what changes we want to make based on the results.
      To get a full picture of what’s going on in the game, for example, I can and do look at things like win/loss data that’s filtered by different leagues and game modes. I can also see hero pick and ban popularity with this kind of granularity, which lets me see, for example, what the meta is looking like in the Bronze - Silver range as well as the Diamond - GM range.
      While incredibly useful, I want to emphasize that it’s not just the raw data that’s important, but also having the game knowledge and experience to make correct conclusions based on the knowledge. This is something that’s a lot more esoteric, and there are often multiple right and wrong answers, which can and often does lead to a lot of debate within the design team and with the playerbase at large.
      As an example, let’s say that you’re the designer and your job is to evaluate Samuro in the next balance patch with these facts (I made these up in my head right now because i’m at home, they are not what’s actually happening though there are truths in these statements):
      He’s currently at a 55% win rate
      He has a very low pick rate, let’s say he’s the 5th lowest pick hero in the game.
      He’s considered a highly skilled but highly rewarding hero by the bulk of the community who argues that he should deserve a relatively high win rate as a reward for being hard to play. They argue that if you nerf or remove what’s unique about him, then why would anyone play a hard hero when they can pick someone like Raynor or Lili every game and just win more often?
      Others feel he’s frustrating to play against and a different section of the community thinks he’s obviously way too strong and needs nerfs. They can and do show you videos of crazy things that he does that look and feel unfair.
      The people that play him love the unique things he can do, like swapping to clones and tricking his opponents, which is what his entire design is based on. If you decide to change these things, the likelihood of having an extremely vocal and negative and reaction from his community is very high.
      Do you make changes? If so, what do you do?
      I can guarantee you not everyone will agree with your proposed changes, which is fine and normal. A large part of being a designer is having the courage to make these kinds of calls and dealing with the fallout, even if your ideas are not always perfect. Even so, there are many cases like this and there are many times where changes need to be made. That’s essentially what we spent the bulk of our time figuring out and doing.
      Also as a side note, finding out community sentiment doesn’t come from data, and community sentiment is often a large part of the picture as well, so if you only rely on data to make changes, you’ll end up making a lot of weird changes that no one will agree with.
      As an example, Probius has always had an extremely high win rate and statistically deserves heavy nerfs. I don’t think that’d go over too well with the community ?.
      Latest Heroes of the Storm News
      Heroes of the Storm Balance Update Patch Notes: February 12th Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: Week of February 18th Heroic Deals: Week of February 18th Weekly Brawl - Lost Cavern: Week of February 21st
    • By Stan
      This week's brawl is Lost Cavern and comes with the usual ARAM rules that include shuffle pick, standard play, and no Hearthstones at spawn. A game is won by destroying the enemy Core. Play three games to earn a New Toy Chest.
      Blizzard (Source)
      This week’s brawl is Lost Cavern! It’s all-out mayhem on our single-lane battleground – Lost Cavern. Queue up, choose your Hero, and try to best to bring down the enemy Core!

      Shuffle pick - Choose from one of three Heroes before entering the battle. Standard play - no talent or level restrictions. The first team to destroy the enemy Core wins! Rewards:
      Complete three matches of Lost Cavern to earn a New Toy Chest! Find out more about the Heroes Brawl game mode on our Heroes Brawl site; and as always, you can find more information on this week’s Brawl by clicking the Brawl Info button at the bottom of the play screen when preparing to queue for the Brawl game mode.
  • Create New...