Heroes of the Storm What's Next - Live Panel Recap

Alexstrasza - Ranged Support - Warcraft Hero



This panel was hosted by Matthew Cooper (Lead Live Designer), Alan Dabiri (Game Director), and Travis McGeathy (Lead Game Designer)!

2017 Recap
  • The release of Heroes 2.0 was the single-biggest moment in Heroes history
  • Hanamura brought a lot of new things, but some didn't quite work out as planned. They're still working on a rework for the map
  • 15 new heroes were added in 2017! Hanzo will be the 75th hero in the game, more than double the 30 on release
  • 16 hero reworks for existing heroes were carried out just in 2017 alone.
  • 59 heroes had balance updates made to them.

Looking Ahead
  • Previously the team has focused on very big updates. It feels cool but it can also become cluttered, individual pieces of content often feel overshadowed.
  • Massive amounts of concurrent changes can also disrupt the meta.
  • They're planning on spreading out individual content/releases/changes to several updates. New hero in one patch, hero rework in the next one, and so on.

UI Updates
  • Target frame being added to the game. You can select units and see their stats. Includes armor, attack, etc.
  • Heroes in Hiding: New way of showing heroes inside vehicles, Stitches Gorge, Zagara Maw, etc.

Voice Chat
  • Blizzard Voice being integrated directly into the game client.
  • The system is opt-in.
  • Ingame voice chat indicators for easy overview to see who has opted in.

Performance-based Matchmaking
  • Goal is to improve matchmaking accuracy by taking personal ingame performance into account
  • Matchmaker tries to match players together by MMR. The higher the accuracy of your MMR, the better the game.
  • MMR is hard to pin down though. Current system is solely decided by win/loss.
  • They've been adding data hooks to the game for a while (MVP, on-fire system) to pinpoint personalized stats and help with the new MMR system.
  • Illidan example: Damage, xp soak, few deaths, camp captures.
  • Kerrigan example: Damage, xp, few deaths, but focus on Crowd Control instead of camps.
  • These hero/role-specific stats can be incorporated into the matchmaker for it to more accurately figure out how well you actually do in a game.
  • The new matchmaker has quietly been running on Live servers in parallel to current systems for a while, for statistics gathering
  • MMR example: Master tier player took control of a Bronze player's account under the current matchmaker.
  • The data gathered from both old and new MMR systems showed that the Master player would reach his intended rank (Master) in only half the time under the new system.
  • This sytem can also help detect feeding to help with punishing bad behaviour. The system isn't currently automated, but it could be with time
  • This is releasing in mid-December with the new ranked season!

2018 Gameplay Update - Camera
  • Can currently be claustrophobic.
  • Over time they've added heroes with long range or crazy mobility (Chromie, Genji), so they want to pull the camera out a little bit.
  • How far out can they go? Question of performance vs visibility.
  • They want to reach the right balance. Too far can impact performance significantly, and it can be hard to see details

Gameplay - Stealth
  • Stealth heroes are typically powerful heroes in quick match, but weak in competitive.
  • They want to even out the playing field
  • The stealth visual can be hard to see for the untrained eye.
  • Goal is to make stealth easier to see for moving heroes.
  • In internal testing, stealth is being changed so that heroes standing still will disappear completely after a few seconds
  • Stealth should still be a strategic advantage. You're still invisible on the minimap, and you cannot be directly targeted.
  • Stealth heroes are being updated and buffed in response to being easier to see
  • Nova: New active ability to insta-stealth. Baseline +15% movement speed in stealth. Base Snipe damage reduced, but Snipe Master is baseline.
  • Full stealth changes will be covered on tomorrow's panel.

Gameplay - Laning
  • The laning phase currently carries to small of an impact.
  • Towers now have infinite shots.
  • Currently too easy to just clear a lane and go elsewhere while the minions push the towers and drain shots.
  • The change will make pushing require more active measures and less passivity
  • Minions have been buffed to compensate.
  • New Regeneration Globes: Team-specific for 4 seconds, and then it turns Neutral for another 4 seconds before timing out.

Gameplay - Fortifications
  • The standalone tower in towns is being removed.
  • It's not really that important, and sometimes even hinders defender movement.
  • Remaining town structures have had health buffed to compensate
  • Like the core, forts and keeps are getting Truesight. Any stealth heroes in range are revealed.
  • This will help heroes like Abathur and Murky.

Gameplay - Map Mechanics
  • Some maps keep you in the lane (Tomb, Dragon Shire), while others pull you out of the lane (Sky Temple, Cursed Hollow).
  • Certain map objectives will be pushed back to allow for longer laning phases.
  • Simplified objective timers. Two rulesets: Objectives spawn at 1:30, or 3:00. 30 second warnings are being added so people are aware of objectives coming up.
  • Upcoming objectives will be telegraphed, such as the next active shrine on Infernal Shrines being highlighted beforehand
  • They still want variation on maps, such as random Tribute spawns, but they want to make the randomness more visible.
  • The goal is to make the game more interesting without increasing game length.

Gameplay - Mercenaries
  • Currently many are working as tower ammo fodder. Won't work with the new tower system
  • Knight Camp caster will emit a spell armor aura, to encourage pushing with the camp.
  • Hellbat will decrease armor on the targets.
  • Siege Giants will now always telegraph their attacks at all times, even when capturing the camp
  • They're still looking at the other camps too, to ensure they're all interesting.

Upcoming Timeline
  • Community summit was held back in October, to collect feedback from prominent community members and pro players
  • 3-week PTR will be coming up later in November, with release in December alongside new ranked season.


Q: Are you considering moving duo-queue back into Hero League?
A: Not currently. Always looking to evaulate, but they currently like Hero League solo-queue. They'd rather work to improve the Team League experience for grouped players

Q: It's difficult to see things like sprays and emojis on 4K monitors. Improvements, like up-scaling, coming?
A: Known issue, the team will work on it

Q: Will you do personal commendations and the like?
A: Want to do it, team has been thinking about it for a while. Want to call out good players in various ways. Nothing specific to announce right now.

Q: Will you expand interactive environment, like conveyor belts, to more maps?
A: The battleground team is always looking to push boundaries. Crazy ideas are always being tried, so who knows what will happen

Q: Have you considered repositioning fountains to make them less vulnerable?
A: Battleground team has been looking at this and want to improve. Not a huge concern, but they're keeping an eye on it.

Q: QM team comps. Sometimes you get actual comps, sometimes you get the exact opposite Will you look at improving this?
A: QM is an interesting beast. Meant to be the Wild West. Constrained compositions runs contrary to the goal of the gamemode. They've run simulations with trying to find good comps every time, and the queue times "explode". They continue to tweak the matchmaking rules, but no sweeping changes
This article was originally published in forum thread: Heroes of the Storm What's Next Panel - Live Recap Thread started by Stoy View original post
Comments 1 Comment
  1. mmocf89c8b0f36's Avatar
    Some much needed QoL changes, nice.

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