Heroes of the Storm: Deep Dive - Live Panel Recap



This panel was hosted by Alex Kinabrew (Senior 3D Artist), Matt Villers (Senior Game Designer), Kent-Erik Hagman (Lead Hero Designer), and Alex Neyman (Live Game Designer).

Alexstrasza - Art
  • She's the Queen of Dragons, so they wanted to make her human form regal
  • Addressing the "dragon in the room". Dragons are massive. Team wanted to make her as large as possible. Didn't want a drake but a dragon.
  • They looked at other heroes, like Azmodan who's massive in the Diablo universe but more subdued in Heroes
  • Uther's model size is used for baseline comparisons for all heroes, so they used his model to make her the proper size for the game
  • Movement was also a concern. The heroes need to turn on a dime, so sometimes they need additional animations to not appear janky.
  • They had to do this with Alexstrasza's dragon form
  • Skins and tints affect both her human and dragon forms

Alexstrasza - Gameplay
  • They needed to emphasize that she's a dragon. And not just a dragon, but the aspect of life. They wanted to convey that properly.
  • Check out our hero thread for ability details: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...-Warcraft-Hero
  • Gift of Life is all about sacrificing her own life to heal others.
  • Abundance was inspired by the storm dragons primarly found in Cataclysm (the dragon mobs in Vortex Pinnacle, for example)
  • Abundance did indiscriminate healing at first (heal enemies as well as friendlies), but it didn't work out.
  • The zone on the ground of healing worked well though, so they kept that aspect
  • The ability is well-telegraphed, so enemy team can punish you for standing in it
  • Flame Buffet is inspired by Blackwing Lair dragon abilities. Damage stacks with subsequent hits, low cooldown
  • All that is cool, but they wanted an actual dragon, which is where her trait comes in
  • Inspired by resto shaman Ascendance from World of Warcraft. Improves her stats and her basic abilities for a short duration
  • First heroic, Life-Binder, is inspired by her Hearthstone card where she sets a hero's health to a specific amount of health
  • She links to a hero, and after 2 seconds the lower health hero is healed to the percentage health level of the healthier hero (yo, I heard you like health...)
  • Second heroic is Cleansing Flame. She flies into the air and rains damage and healing down
  • Probius was originally meant to have a Mothership heroic ability raining damage down on the battlefield.
  • They didn't like it, given his builder-oriented gameplay. So they moved it to Alexstrasza instead
  • The flame comes down at your cursor for precision healing/damage.
  • She lands at your mouse cursor 2 seconds after the ability ends

Hanzo - Art
  • What does it take to bring a character from a first-person shooter to a top-down game?
  • Level of detail is of great importance when transfering from one type of game to another
  • Details on the hero were enlarged to make them more noticeable
  • He's a bit bulkier in Heroes, "everyone is getting swol"
  • But why are the adjustments necessary? It's all about "budget". Texture budget, polygon. It's not about money, it's about filesize
  • A lot of info is being loaded by your computer every time you play. Every computer has a limit
  • It's all about the gameview. Need to recreate the hero properly so it looks as awesome as possible

Hanzo - Gameplay And General Hero Testing Insight
  • Hanzo is different from Alex. He's well-known and well-defined already. Players have expectations. He's using bow and arrow
  • His attack range is higher than standard. His attacks are slower but deal more damage
  • Storm Bow is a charged ability, Gazlowe's laser, but he can move while it is charging
  • Scatter Arrow uses new tech to allow for proper scattering
  • They looked at existing abilities/talents to find the right numbers for his abilities, such as Chromie's Sand Blast for his Q
  • They then used that as a baseline to balance his overall damage output.
  • New heroes are playtested every morning on the design team
  • They use a lot of data (and pie charts!) to figure out how his damage is lined up
  • Storm Bow was extremely powerful early on, dealing almost 50% of his total damage in a game
  • They have an ideal "Power Pie", which shows their goal for damage distribution between abilities. No hero fits exactly into it, but it's a good guideline
  • Among other changes, they used this to buff Scatter Arrow by 210% from the values used for the first playtest. The new damage distribution between abilities was much better
  • He did a lot of damage with quite long range early on. They wondered if they had too many snipers in the game
  • Because of this, they lowered the basic attack range to encourage basic attacks more often
  • Hanzo is "Coming Soon(TM)"

Stealth Updates
  • Most players weren't able to spot the shimmer of stealthed heroes, but skilled players saw through it easily
  • They wanted to take the eye test out of stealth and instead put the stealth advantage elsewhere

Stealth - Nova
  • They want to enforce her class fantasy as a proper stealth sniper
  • Snipe Master is being made baseline. Subsequent snipes do more damage as long as she doesn't miss
  • +15% movement speed in stealth
  • New baseline active ability to immediately stealth, reminiscent of her current Ghost Protocol talent

Stealth - Valeera
  • She's the disabling hero. Can pick one hero on the enemy team and reduce their effect in a fight
  • She relies a lot on stealth because of her new ability bar in stealth
  • They will enhance her disabling openers to make up for the stealth changes
  • She can also teleport to enemies baseline if she has been in stealth for at least 3 seconds
  • Playtesting showed it felt better for even the opponents, because it's even more rewarding to knock her out of stealth now

Stealth - Samuro
  • They want to put more control into his images. His trait is now an ability to swap location with a mirror image. Illusion Master will buff it further
  • When activating Mirror Image, the real Samuro will be placed closest to your mouse cursor. Will emphasize skill more than randomness
  • Some damage is being moved from mirror images into Samuro himself

Stealth - Zeratul
  • The team is happy with him currently. Technically demanding, lots of flashy plays, can be threatening in the hands of a skilled player
  • Vorpal Blade is being made baseline
  • That change opens up for Blink to be used in more ways too
  • Shadow Assault didn't really fit with Zeratul's kit. It's too limiting.
  • New Heroic: Might of the Nerazim
  • Low cooldown. Replicates the last basic ability you used
  • All these changes are "Coming Soon(TM)"


Q: About a mechanic that was kinda removed but reintroduced with Garrosh. Stitches can't hook people through walls, but Garrosh can throw over walls. Consistency?
A: Similar to Diablo's Overpower, they don't want an invisible wall to block Throw.

Q: Hanzo's Storm Bow still requires an extra click to release with quick cast enabled. Intended?
A: Currently intended. They're hoping to make improvements before he launches though. It'll require some work

Q: If McCree were to be a hero, would they remove his cigar or give Tychus' back?
A: They'd give Tychus McCree's cigar

Robo-Probius rolled up to ask a question

Q: What's your favorite talent on the new heroes?
A: Alexstrasza's level 20 Ancient Flame. Flame Buffet is normally not usable in Dragonform, but this talent turns her basic attack into Flame Buffet. Hanzo's talent that allows him to instantly mount with his Trait, Natural Agility.

Q: How do you decide which heroes to add to the game?
A: 180 heroes currently on the to-do list. They're all awesome and they want to do them all. They want heroes that players are looking forward to, but they also want to bring in heroes from every universe and for every role. They want a lot of diversity, there's a lot of discussion on which they want to do at any given time.

Q: What about Uther's and Arthas' models?
A: They're happy with the general size of the models, but they'd like to bring the height of the models more in line with each other. Uther and Arthas are some of the older models, they'd like to do something but it's a question of time

Q: Tyrael feels stale and his mana costs are high. Imrpvoements coming?
A: Want lower mana costs? Okay.

Q: Do you have plans to revamp hero roles?
A: First they had warriors, supports, and assassins. And then there was Abathur. So they just made specialists as an oddball category. But now all these years later the waters are getting muddied with all the new heroes with varying roles. They'd love to split up the roles a lot more to emphasize their roles, such as tanks/bruisers. They think it would help the playerbase a lot in understanding which hero belongs where, but it's a question of having the time to do it

Q: Chen was recently changed to get some brew instantly when drinking and then he was nerfed. Are you going to reverse some of that?
A: There is a lot of fallout from any changes made because of how interconnected everything is on him. No immediate plans but they'll continue to watch him. They risk making him too good by buffing him, making it not fun for everyone else.

Q: Have you considered changing the stealth shader depending on how fast the character is moving?
A: Not specifically, but currently they want to make the stealthed hero completely disappear after standing still for 1.5 seconds. They want some psychological strategy added to it. They want to move away from the current eye test completely. Either you "see" the hero when they move, or you don't at all when they stand still

Q: How will stealth changes work with stealth talents on other characters?
A: Global change, all heroes will use it. They're considering changes to those characters if there's a need for it. Medivh talent gives the new stealth shader as well, target goes invisible if they stand still

Q: Brawl-related. Will they ever add new hero selection options, other than the current choose-one-of-three random heroes?
A: None of the panelists work on brawls

Q: When Alexstrasza is on both teams, you can't see which Alexstrasza is going to hit where when both are using the flying heroic at the same time
A: They made the impact of the projectile instant so it won't have much of an effect. Just try to be as evasive as possible.

Q: More multiclass heroes?
A: They're actively discussing where to go with it. They definitely want to do more.

Q: Lost Vikings. Are we going to see more changes? Will we see more retro characters?
A: Balance: The team is okay with most of what TLV does at the moment. It's not perfect, but it's not a high priority at the moment. It would be cool to do changes. Retro: It's a matter of when, not if.

Q: Medivh's power comes from teammates understanding him. It can be frustrating if they don't click portals and such, not knowing what a portal even is, etc. Do you have any plans to address this?
A: They're trying to figure out how to make Medivh feel better without having to rely as much on teammates, but they don't want to break esports. They think some of it will even out over time as the playerbase matures and watches more esports and such.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Heroes of the Storm Hero Deep Dive - Live Recap Thread started by Stoy View original post
Comments 5 Comments
  1. Laserbeak's Avatar
    Wow. Those dragon characters are covered right up Victorian style -- not even the ankles or throat showing. Very progressive!
  1. mittacc's Avatar
    "Most players weren't able to spot the shimmer of stealthed heroes, but skilled players saw through it easily"

    What a load of bullshit.... No one will ever play stealth heroes now - what's the point?
  1. Roudene's Avatar
    180 heroes on to do list? Oh my...
  1. TheDeeGee's Avatar
    When is this turd going to get some proper Anti-Aliasing?
  1. tuxedobob's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeeGee View Post
    When is this turd going to get some proper Anti-Aliasing?
    When you click the checkbox?

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