Heroes of the Storm RSS Feed

by Published on 2018-05-18 03:31 PM

Reddit Developer AMA Recap
The Heroes development team conduced a reddit AMA this week with 6 members of the team taking part in answering questions from the community. We've included a shorter list of highlighted points for those who may not have time to read through every answer.

Upcoming Hero Changes
  • Kerrigan is on the list of heroes looking at an update
  • Azmodan will be getting a talent rework in coming months
  • Chromie will receive changes at some point in the future
  • The Lost Vikings are being discussed internally, with the aim of making them more accessible
  • An update to Stukov is currently being worked on, with a similar scope as the recent Kael'thas update
  • Varian should receive a small health buff for Colossus Smash and Twin Blades soon
  • Tyrande may be made a full healer, or a full assassin, at some point, but the team isn't sure whether this is the right way to go about her. They want more player feedback
  • Stitches is scheduled for a look in the near future
  • Brightwing may receive small tweaks to bring her back into the meta a bit
  • Cho's Surging Dash talent is a concern and will likely be toned down
  • Raynor will be getting an actual trait!

Hero Tidbits
  • Mobility creep is always a concern, but the team feels it's been improved with the recent nerfs to Tracer, Genji, and Hanzo. The possibility of a "grounding" ability against mobile heroes is being explored
  • We should expect more hero price reductions in the future
  • 70% of the hero roster is sitting between 48%-52% winrate currently

Role Rework
  • A role rework is actively being worked on: Tanks, Bruisers, Melee Assassins, Ranged Assassins, Supports, Healers
  • Tags will be assigned to each hero, such as Wave Clear or Burst Damage. Currently 15 major tags in development
  • Multi-class will be removed with the role rework. A few heroes might land in multiple categories, such as Kharazim and Zarya

Battlegrounds
  • The team is making good progress on Hanamura
  • The team is looking at the Braxis Holdout objective to reduce snowballing

Other
  • Performance-based matchmaking will enter a test phase with showing players how they did in various areas after a match, but won't affect your actual MMR until a later update
  • A map editor is not actively being worked on

AMA Archive
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Are there any plans to redesign Kerrigan's Ultralisk heroic?
We’d like to make the Ultralisk more of a moment and have more interesting gameplay for sure. Having the Ultralisk spawn/appear on the battlefield in a more interesting way is probably part of this. Maybe when you summon the Ultralisk, it charges towards the targeted direction, for example. We may also explore an active ability on the Ultralisk to enhance its unique gameplay moment. Kerrigan is on our list of characters we would like to update. (u/BlizzCooper)


Would it be possible to push the 3rd ban to the tournament draft mode sooner rather than later so it is in effect for the first week of HGCO and HGC.
So our dev work has 3rd Ban dropping with the release that comes out with the next season roll. We outlined the timing in this recent blog post: https://news.blizzard.com/en-us/hero...-2018-season-3

However, we'll be discussing the exact ban process with HGC teams leading up to that so that they can develop their strategies. We'll also have that patch up on the PTR before it goes live for some testing in the client. (u/BlizzAlan)


PvE Brawls : I loved the PvE style brawls you did in the past. Are there plans to do more of those, perhaps even a game mode that offers some approximation of 'a dungeon run' with boss stages and a chance for loot to drop?
We loved working on those Brawls, so we're glad you guys enjoyed playing them.

We don't have anything new to announce in this area, but we always love trying new things with the game.
That deflection is sooo smooth. Must be a requirement to work a blizzard.
:) (u/BlizzAlan)


Are there any plans to redistribute the power in Azmodan's kit?
We agree, Azmodan's Globe of Annihilation vastly overshadows the rest of his kit. We actually have him slated for a Talent Rework in the coming months to address this, as well as give him more Talents that can actually change the way that he plays. We don't like that the proper way to play the Lord of Sin is to rarely use All Shall Burn or Summon Demon Warrior, and we feel that the base power of the character isn't all that strong (Azmodan is one of the weakest characters in the game without Talents).

A few tidbits from the upcoming update:
  • Taste for Blood is becoming Azmodan's baseline quest.
  • All Azmodan's level 1 Talents are going to alter the baseline quest, allowing you to add an additional bonus or way to get stacks.
  • Summon Demon Warriors are getting a baseline damage aura, similar to Burning Rage.
  • All Shall Burn won't last indefinitely, but instead does more DPS over a shorter period.

Obviously, lots of new Talents to go alongside these changes, and hopefully spice up the way Azmodans play from game to game. (u/BlizzNeyman)


Can you supply us with any details about the new roles and specifically the tags that will be used in the new system and how they complement each other?
We are hard at work on both systems. I've been tanking a lot of the design work, and here's a sneak peek at what you can expect (keep in mind that this is still a work in progress and nothing is set in stone):

Roles
  • We are currently looking at six different roles: Tanks, Bruisers, Melee Assassins, Ranged Assassins, Supports, and Healers. This gives us enough bandwidth to classify the vast majority of our Heroes. That said, in Heroes we have several characters who bring something unique to the genre and as a result they don't easily fit within these conventions. Lost Vikings are a good example. We'll need to make some concessions in those cases.

Tags
  • I have personally been working on the tag system and although it is still very much a work in progress, we can share a few things. We want the system to be easy to understand, but also robust enough to give quality details about how each Hero plays. We currently have about 15 major tags (things like Wave Clear, Burst Damage, Crowd Control, etc.) that can be attached to a Hero. These should help players understand the focus of each Hero while also allowing them to find similar Heroes in their comfort zone or specific qualities they might need in a given draft/match.(u/Blizz_Daybringer)


PBMM [Performance-Based Matchmaking]: In the past I believe you said that before you implement it in game you might consider showing it to us in the UI before actually making the effect of PBMM go live, perhaps as a sanity check to catch any crazy outliers where the system was not working as intended. Is this, or something like this still the plan?
Yes, this is still the plan!

In a future update (not for a few more patches), we're going to add a tooltip to the end-of-game screen which will let you see how the system thinks you did in the various criteria that it is using to judge your performance. This will help you understand what areas you are doing well in, and what areas you may want to consider focusing on to improve your performance.

We will have the PBMM rank point adjustments turned off for this initial release. We're just going to provide the information that the system would have used. During this "beta" period we'll gather feedback from you guys and monitor how the stats are looking internally. Then we'll turn on the point adjustments in a subsequent season. (u/BlizzAlan)


How do you feel about the lane mechanics patch of December 12, that was supposed to make "early game more meaningful"? Did you collect statistics on what it did to game outcomes?
We had a few design goals with the gameplay updates that were released in December. One of those goals was to make the laning phase more meaningful. Laning is a great opportunity to showcase a player’s individual skill, especially on 3 lane maps. With the increased time before the first map objective, we also extended this part of the match and kept players laning for a little bit longer.

Snowballs are always a potential concern for us. We tend to look at snowballs from an overall health of the game but also on a map-by-map basis. Braxis Holdout, for example, tends to be one of our more snowbally maps. As a result, we’re looking to explore some changes to the Zerg Wave mechanic on Braxis to address this individual map.

The other side of things is that we want the early game to matter, but there is a balancing act in how much. A team’s decisions and execution at the start of a match should have some impact on the rest of the game, but not to the level where comebacks don’t exist or feel unlikely. This is a tight line we try and walk. I think in the past we’ve treaded on the side of “Early game doesn’t matter at all, both teams will hit 20 and the next team fight decides things.” It’s possible we’re too far the other direction now though.

Thanks for the data on the 2017/2018 Western Clash stuff, we will take a closer look at that. Obviously HGC is very important to us, but it’s also important to remember that this is a very small sample size and a couple of very strong teams could easily sway this data significantly. We want to make sure that our changes are pushing the game in a positive direction for the highest level of play, but also for as many players as possible. (u/BlizzCooper)


Have you considered using the PBM algorithm to determine the MVP or other recognitions for the victory screen?
Regarding using the PBMM algorithm/data in other places like MVP: Yes, this is something we've talked about doing! After we get the system out live, we're going to look at a lot of other places where we can use this algorithm/data to improve the game. MVP is definitely one of those. Catching AFK/feeders/griefers is another area. (u/BlizzAlan)


What is the future of multiclass heroes?
Multiclass was really an exploration for us in talent design. How far can we let a player alter the direction of their hero through the talent system?

When we update our new role system, we’re planning to remove multiclass as a category. Varian would likely fit into a couple of the new roles, most likely Tank and Bruiser. There would be a handful of other characters who fit into multiple categories, Kharazim or Zarya are other strong candidates for this. (u/BlizzCooper)


How concerned are you about mobility creep?
We talk about mobility creep (and power creep in general) a lot as a design team. Here's our take on it:
  • We always want to push the envelope of what our new characters can do. We think we can do that and still make these characters feel balanced and fair.
  • Some Heroes probably pushed this envelope too far. We recently made balance changes to Genji, Hanzo and Tracer to reduce their mobility and force them to be a little more exposed when they try to do their thing. We're still tuning them, but overall we think they're in a much healthier state now than immediately after their respective releases.
  • You can look forward to more Chromie changes in the future. I can't give a date, but we've started to experiment with various ideas, like pulling in her range further but reducing her cast time, and making her W visible to enemies. All of this is still early in development, but the idea is to make her feel more interactive with enemies, and not create such a binary experience for Chromie herself (if enemies reach her, she dies and can't do damage, otherwise she's untouched).
  • We've discussed coming up with creative abilities that can combat mobility, but haven't really found one we liked that met all of our criteria so far. It would have to punish mobile characters without also hurting non-mobile ones, have clear implications of what it would stop and wouldn't stop, and make sense from a fantasy and clarity standpoint. (u/BlizzNeyman)


Is a publicly available editor something we still might see down the line?
It's something that we've definitely discussed in the past. Of course we've seen a lot of awesome content created by the communities in War3 and SC2 (I personally worked on parts of the custom map support for both games), but it's not something we are actively working on for Heroes right now. Maybe we can revisit in the future. (u/BlizzAlan)


What alternatives for self-sustain were examined for Ana?
We explored a few alternatives for self-sustain for Ana. We thought about grenade-centric ideas, however we shied away from it for a couple reasons:
  • Ana's Grenade already does a whole lot of stuff, and we really didn't want to add more mechanics to it. It already Deals damage, heals, negates enemy healing, and gives allies an Ana-specific healing buff. We didn't want to tack on even more functionality to this.
  • We didn't want to add more use cases for her Grenade if we can help it. She already wants to use it to secure kills on enemies when they are put under pressure, as well as to save allies with her healing buff. If we added the third use case of using it on herself as her primary method of self-healing, then there's a high chance that players wouldn't have it for the other use cases when they needed it. There's an argument that this adds mastery to the hero, to know how and when to use the ability, but I think there's also a high chance that, since it's a high-cooldown ability, that players will often just end up frustrated when they use it for one of the above use cases and then the situation of the fight changes drastically and they have large missed opportunities to use it for its other cases. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


When can we expect a Vikings update?
We love The Lost Vikings, and think they're important to the game as a whole as they exemplify how Heroes of the Storm is unique among MOBAs. I can't give you any specifics on a date or scope of a rework since we haven't decided on anything yet, but here's what I can share:
  • We don't like that the Vikings' primary function is to be in all lanes to soak experience.
  • We love when the Vikings work together, and think that the coolest part of the Hero is having 3 units that combined are stronger than their individual pieces.
  • We would like to see the Vikings be more accessible. There's a small section of the player base that loves the Vikings, but by and large they are not a very popular Hero due to their power feeling hidden and their high micro demands.
  • We would love to see more interactivity and plays made with their kit. We have to balance that out with making them approachable.

Again, keep in mind that these are just our thoughts, and it might be that we may drastically change their kit... or just make small tweaks over time. We honestly don't have any concrete plans yet, but I wanted to be very transparent and share what we think about the Hero at the moment. We would love to get them into a more prominent role in the Nexus at some point, though. (u/BlizzNeyman)


The community has increasingly called for more balance patches that give small "tweaks" to heroes that are falling out of favor, and in that light, larger balance patches like last week's have been mostly well-received. Has the team given any serious thought to making these larger balance patches more of a regularly scheduled thing, so as to help provide continual smaller "tweaks" to heroes that don't need reworks, but are still dipping somewhat in popularity or success?
Hey CriticKitten!

First off, thanks for the work that you do. Your insightful posts on our balance patches are a great help to our community, and we all read your posts when you put them out.

Secondly, great question! This is something that I'm personally very passionate about.

The short answer is "yes," we like putting out smaller balance tweaks, and want to do it more often. However, there are many levels of balance changes, and each come with their own risks and rewards.

Some examples of these, and their associated risks and rewards are:

Small, numeric balance changes.
These are changes like those made to Maiev in our last balance update, where we lowered her Health and increased the cooldown on Vault of the Wardens.

These are usually used to influence pick and/or win rates. Simply put, in making these changes we want to move a hero or talent in a direction of being picked more or less often, so we buff or nerf them.

PROS
  • These are simple changes. The risk of unintentionally changing other parts of the game is relatively low. • As you mentioned, we can push out many of these changes in a short period of time, which can make the meta feel fresh and new.
  • There is little Development and QA validation. We can make these changes in a relatively short amount of time, and the risk of bugs is much lower than other changes. This is a bigger deal than I think most people give credit for. More complicated changes just take longer to do to make sure that they come out in a polished state, and even then, the more complicated the changes, the more inherent risk that things will be missed.

CONS
  • They can't fix design-related problems.
    • To give an example, for Kael'thas's recent changes, I had a strong desire to help his Level 16 Talent tier, which has been dominated by Fury of the Sunwell for a long time. From a pure win-rate perspective, his other talents on the tier were close. I could buff them, but I was pretty confident that the numeric buffs would have to be so high to offset the "cool" factor of Fury of the Sunwell, that they would have to be absurd to get people to pick them. This is partly why we eventually settled on Ignite as a competing talent on the tier.
  • Pick rate and Win rate are two very different things, and it's hard to make small, numeric balance changes without directly changing the win-rate of a hero.
    • A common problem we run into is that community perception simply doesn't match what's actually winning in the game right now, and if we tune up heroes who are "not performing well," they would start to have unreasonably high win rates pretty quickly.
    • As an example, over the last year Probius, The Lost Vikings, Rexxar, Sgt. Hammer, and Samuro have pretty much been dominating in regards to win rate at high rank Hero League. I think it's pretty fair to say that these heroes haven't been considered overpowered over the last year. If we wanted to give them the Thrall small number buff treatment, as in your example, then these heroes would be pushing 60% and beyond pretty quickly.

Reworks
These are the large, dramatic changes to heroes, where we change a large part of their talent tree, and sometimes their base abilities as well. Our upcoming changes to Diablo and Lunara are examples of this.

PROS
  • We can fix complicated design-related problems.
  • We can take lessons that we've learned from playing with/against these heroes over time and apply current design philosophies to them.
  • We can remove or mitigate frustrating aspects of these heroes and give them more healthy gameplay.

CONS
  • We can alienate existing lovers of the hero. If we change them too much, inevitably some people are going to be upset that they play differently.
  • These are a lot of work, and take a lot of time to validate and for QA to test. We can't just push them out quickly to solve immediate cries for change.
  • There's a higher chance that reworks will result in unintended consequences for the meta due to the hero changing drastically—or because the hero is not being picked anymore due to the changes pushing them out of the current meta during their release, which results in a negative reception.

Smaller Talent Updates
These are changes where we change, remove, or add a small number of new talents to a hero. We do these less often, but we want to do more of them in the future. A recent example of this are changes to Kael'thas, where we changed a few talents but didn't fundamentally change how he plays. I'm a huge fan of these, as we can have the flexibility of fixing smaller design problems without having to wait to do a full rework of a hero (say 1-2 talent tiers on a hero that we really want to fix).

PROS
  • We have more flexibility. We can fix design-related problems that have plagued a hero for a long time without having to do a full rework.
  • We can make a hero feel fresh and new without the risk of drastically changing them. We get a lot of the benefits of reworks with less of the downsides.

CONS
  • They're in that sweet spot where we can push these changes out much quicker than a normal rework, but that also means there are design changes that have less time for QA to validate. As an example, I'll totally take the blame for Kael'thas's Level 20 Pyroblast talent coming online at Level 10 when he came out. I made a simple mistake when implementing the new talent that we didn't have enough time to properly test.
  • It's easy to go down the rabbit hole and turn a small talent update into a full rework. I also worry a bit that if we go in and fix some talents but not others, that there could be a negative reception around "well why didn't you fix everything?"

When all is said and done, I think that we can do more small balance number tweaks and smaller talent updates. The key is using the right tool for the right job, which can be hard to properly discern when looking at the entire game. As a small nugget, we're currently working on a similar update for Stukov, which should be similar in scope to Kael'thas! =) (u/BlizzAZJackson)


What is your plan for newer players in this game? As in, how will you relieve the pressure of nearly half the roster being 10k gold.
It's definitely a goal of ours to continue to reduce the gold and gem prices of older heroes. Right after Heroes 2.0 launched, we slowed this down because of all the other changes that happened during that time. We've since picked this back up and plan to continue to be vigilant in reducing gold and gem prices for existing heroes.

I should also call out that we don't do this simply based on time in the game. There are other factors that go into the decisions about which heroes to lower gold prices on, like we might be more aggressive on gold price drops for newbie friendly heroes, while being a bit slower on complex or high skill floor heroes.

We'll definitely keep looking for compelling ways to offer extremely low cost hero bundles, or in some cases just outright giving away a hero or two. (u/BlizzAlan)


How does the balance team feel about Varian's level 4 diversity?
Varian's a tricky one! First, some stats for context.

In Hero League, Hero Level 10+, Diamond League+, Deckard Release:
  • Taunt - 75% pickrate, 50.3% winrate
  • Colossus Smash - 17% pick rate, 48% winrate
  • Twin Blades - 8% pick rate, 47.8% winrate

Ideally, we'd probably want to get Taunt to about 50% pickrate, and maybe 30/20 amongst the two DPS specs. The damage Heroics could use a small buff, though the winrate isn't quite as bad as the memes would lead you believe.

We have some plans to give both Colossus Smash and Twin Blades some more Health in a coming patch (just went into internal playtesting yesterday, so I can't give a date yet). (u/BlizzNeyman)


My question is: what's your philosophy regarding giving small buffs to weak heroes more frequently, and why is it not happening too often?
This has been a very hot topic lately, and I want everyone to know that we are actively discussing and taking it to heart. You saw a bit of our reaction with the last balance patch, as we touched ~18 Heroes (a couple of them bringing very significant talent changes). There are a multitude of reasons that the amount of changes fluctuates each patch. A couple of these are:

Stability
  • With the exception of a couple outliers, the current state of the game is actually pretty evenly balanced. All but a handful of Heroes are sitting between 45%-55% win rate (70% of the roster is actually between 48%-52%). If we inject too many changes at once, we’ll have a hard time narrowing down the cause/effect of any particular change. This can become problematic as every change has a ripple effect and we don't want to upset the equilibrium too much at any given time.

Perception vs Reality
  • This one is what keeps us live/balance designers up at night. Let’s say that I come read reddit and see 10 threads on the front page about the frustrations surrounding Hanzo and how over-powered he is. I immediately run to our data dashboard and see that his win-rate is sitting at 46% (this is what it was before the last round of nerfs). What is the correct course of action - technically he needs buffs right? This is where balancing on win-rate alone becomes impossible. The frustration of playing against Hanzo has surpassed the reality that he is winning a lot less than he should. To 'fix' the issue we would need to make design changes alongside number tweaks, which take a lot more consideration and testing. In this example we opted to send out more nerfs in order to relieve frustrations and are internally looking at design changes to fix the core problem. Once we are happy with that, we can release it alongside some buffs in order to stabilize the Hero. In a perfect world we want each Hero in the Nexus to feel powerful and rewarding to play, but just as importantly to feel fair to play against.

Razor Edges
  • We have a handful of Heroes that walk on a razor's edge of balance. Each member of the live/balance team has been working on the game since before it was launched. We have seen a lot of situations where a very small number buff can turn a borderline Hero into a nightmare. As the perfect example, let’s look at the crowd favorite—Chen. There was a time where Chen was completely un-bear-able (tee-hee) to play against. In certain compositions, he still is! His design is very binary in that you can either deal with him and his trait, or you can't. This is something we can't really fix through tuning and need to go into much deeper design changes to fix. We have a handful of these types of Heroes and they are very much on our radar.

All this said, we are definitely listening and we will be trying our best to keep bringing balance changes and design updates as frequently as possible. We love bringing patches like our last one and will do our best to keep that bar going forward!
Is there no consideration of releasing detailed stats if only for reasons of perception?
This is an ongoing discussion that involves people well above my pay-grade, sorry (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Can you add a feature to allow us to save our settings in Try Mode so that when we exit it and go back in, it remembers our previous settings?
Good suggestion. Let me pass it on to the team and see what they think. Thanks! (u/BlizzAlan)


Are there any plans to help melee assassins out, maybe even by giving more Supports Cleanse again, to enable these heroes?
I think this is more of an issue with the current meta and the range of some ranged heroes and less a problem about melee assassins. We've recently nerfed the auto-attack range of Hanzo and Fenix, which should help with this feeling of being poked out all the time.

As a counter-point, there are quite a few melee assassins that are performing very well at high level play, including Kerrigan (56%), Samuro (55.4%), Thrall (54.3%), Maiev (53.8%), Valeera (52.1%), and Malthael (52%). Not all of these heroes are seen a ton in the current meta, but they are performing very well, so I'm personally concerned that this is largely a perception issue about it feeling bad to be poked to death by ranged assassins, and less an issue of melee assassins actually being weak.

Also to answer the second part of your question, we don't currently have plans to give other supports Cleanse.

It's tricky to simply buff these melee assassins to get them to see more play, as they can easily become overpowering in their games, especially if the meta shifts more in their favor and they become more popular. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


How do you prioritise what heroes to balance first?
Great question! Here is the rough order we tend to follow when prioritizing who to balance:

1) Newly Released Heroes: This is normally done in the two-week balance patch following the release (occasionally this comes quicker if we need to react sooner).
2) Hot Heroes: We are scanning the forums and reviewing feedback constantly. If we see balance conversations and threads with supporting data backing them up, we will very likely make changes quickly.
3) Heroes Outside of Our Bands: Unless we have a very good reason, Heroes that are sitting outside of our 45%-55% win-rate band will most likely see number changes to bring them back within bounds.
4) Dusty Heroes: Sometimes a Hero hasn't seen any meaningful changes in a very long time. We try to go in and see if there are any number changes that can help freshen them up.
5) Passion: Lastly, all of us have Heroes that we are currently spamming in Hero League and are very passionate about. If we feel that there are some fun and easy changes to help these Heroes, being intimate with that Hero's kit helps expedite these changes. (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Is it true you're moving away from specialized heroes and releasing more rounded ones for the foreseeable future?
Whenever we work on a new Hero (or rework), one of the questions we stop to ask ourselves is "What is this Hero's role on a team and who are they competing for a spot with? Why would I pick them over other Heroes?".

Different Heroes having different capabilities is important if we want to provide a meaningful answer to that question. However when we put too much emphasis on counter-picking, it can create a situation where match outcomes depend too much on how you played the draft lobby, and not enough on how well you played the actual game.

To offer a concrete example, Deckard and Stukov are Heroes who reflect the shift in philosophy we've been talking about. Both of them bring reasonable levels of burst and sustained healing to the table, as well as powerful CC and utility, but beyond those similarities they also bring very different things to a team. This is the goal we're aiming for when we talk about making Heroes less sharply specialized.

We're not going to stop giving Heroes unique playstyles with distinct strengths and weaknesses. We still think it's important that you can make meaningful choices in draft based on your composition and the Battleground you're playing on. The important thing is not to put so much emphasis on that aspect of the game that it feels like Rock-Paper-Scissors. (u/BlizzMattVi)


Some support heroes like Tyrande and Tassadar are not able to heal solo. But we saw changes to prevent double support lineups. What is the plan for these off-support heroes?
We have a few plans regarding Tyrande and Tassadar:

  • In the new role system that we’re aiming to release later this year, we have a distinction between “Healers” and “Supports.” The current thinking is that characters like Tyrande and Tassadar would be flagged as Support, and would be treated differently for QM matchmaking purposes then someone like Stukov or Malfurion.
  • We’re okay with compositions that utilize a support Hero like Tassadar, Zarya, or Medivh in addition to a dedicated Healer. We understand that most (if not all) team comps will likely require a dedicated Healer regardless of whether or not you take a Support character like the three I just mentioned. We think that teams with some kind of Support-Healer combination could lead to some fun and interesting strategic and tactical gameplay situations, much like team comps where you take both a dedicated Tank and an off-Tank or Bruiser Hero as well. We very much prefer these kinds of team comps to double-healer comps, which we already nerfed last year because they were creating unpleasant gameplay experiences for many people.
  • Tyrande’s current play style and talent builds can be really unique and compelling for certain players, but she doesn’t really have a role in the current meta. Internally, we are currently exploring some design changes to Tyrande that would make her viable as a solo healer. Overall the changes have been received very positively by our team, but there is a tradeoff: She is losing a lot of damage and her ability to chunk people from long distances with her owl build. This is something that we recognize can be fun for Tyrande players, so we’re carefully debating if this is the right direction for her. I’m curious to hear any thoughts you all have on this. Obviously, we could go the opposite route for her and remove/reduce her healing mechanic and point her more towards a ranged assassin.
  • As I’m sure I will be asked in response to what I wrote above: Why make Tyrande a Healer, why not Assassin? We’re exploring the healing side of things as the rest of Tyrande’s kit can really encourage a Support-y playstyle—she can provide strong scouting for her team using Owls (using them to deal tons of damage works, but it’s a bit odd), her trait debuffs an enemy and helps the rest of your team to set up kills. We could make the trait more selfish, but we like its current iteration that sets up your team and essentially calls out a focus target. For her stun, were cautious to put a hard CC (stun) on the base kit of most ranged assassins. We do break this rule from time to time so it’s kind of soft for either way, but we feel more comfortable putting strong CC on Supports and Healers. This allows them to set up your team do meaningful things outside of purely healing.
  • Tassadar is someone we would like to look at more in the future but he’s not someone we’re currently working on. In the past, he could be viewed as a really frustrating character to play against and he was often paired with characters like Genji or Illidan who could essentially “hyper-carry” with his shields. We think the role of ‘enabler’ for Tassadar is pretty unique and fun, especially with someone like a Valla who is a little easier to deal with. Not sure what changes we will make to Tassadar in the future. (u/BlizzCooper)


Is the development team happy with where Valeera is now?
We think that Valeera is in a better state now than when she was released, but there's definite room for improvement. You've correctly identified one of our issues: players like to focus fully on a few openers and therefore as the game progresses and you pick Talents, you have fewer gameplay choices. That runs contrary to one of the design goals for Talents in our game, we want them to increase the options and abilities available to your character over the course of the game.

Anecdotally: When we designed Valeera, we decided to make her different from Heroes like Zeratul by really capturing one of the World of Warcraft Rogue fantasies of locking down an enemy Hero. When Valeera was in development, the Valla/Greymane hyper carry meta was in full force, so we thought that this would also be a welcome addition to the game that would shake up the meta. If Valeera is good at locking down only one enemy, and a team's composition relied on having one major damage dealer, she'd be great at it.

That's why the balance changes we've made to Valeera over time have tried to reduce her damage, and kept her focus on disabling one enemy. We're still trying to adjust the Talent tree to fit into that philosophy, and trying to balance making her good at reducing a carry without also making her too strong in setting up kills. (u/BlizzNeyman)


There are many talents that clearly underperform compared to others in their tier, e.g. Maiev’s Tier 4 talent Pin Down is clearly worse than any of her other talents. Can we expect to see buffs to these underperforming talents with bad win rates?
Yes, we're always looking at making these tiers healthier. Sometimes that means we can make tuning changes, sometimes it means we need to make design changes so that two Talents aren't competing with each other to accomplish the same goal. We periodically do sweeps of Talent trees and try to make a series of small incremental adjustments. Typically you'll see a lot of these changes in our balance patches two weeks after the release of a Hero or Rework. (u/BlizzNeyman)


Does the potential viability of support Abathur concern the balance team? Will Abathur be balanced around this role in the future?
Personally I think it's really cool that solo-support Abathur has emerged as a fringe strategy. One of the exciting things about playing and watching games in this genre is when these very unique types of strategies have some success, so we're hesitant to immediately remove it until it becomes a larger problem.

As far as longer term, Abathur isn't considered a primary Healer for his team, so if this became "the" way to play him, then that would be a concern, additionally because his healing is tied to his Level 1 talent.

I won't say never, but there's a very low chance that Abathur would be balanced around being a primary healer in the future, and we have no plans for it. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


Are you considering adding maps that have weather effects which influence the gameplay?
We have talked about this a little bit. Early on in development for Garden of Terror, the night cycle actually reduced player vision range significantly – this is a mechanic that we felt was interesting in Warcraft 3 and wanted to explore it. Ultimately, we didn’t end up doing this for a couple of reasons. First off, it tended to result in more passive play, players were scared to move around the map without their team. It also set a more dreary and dark tone for the match. As a development team we felt that this could psychologically take a toll on the player.

That being said, there is more room for us to explore here, whether that’s a Day/Night cycle, weather effects, or other layered events on top of our Battleground mechanics. One thing we always consider is making sure that our Battlegrounds provide a unique area for our epic heroes to do battle in. We like player driven events that require team action. Events that happen automatically that put the hero or the player in a backseat are things that we would explore cautiously. Ultimately, the Battlegrounds should enhance the heroes and make the players feel more awesome, not overshadow them. (u/BlizzCooper)


Why did the balance team determine that nerfing the top two healers was the correct way to restore diversity rather than buffing the healing output of less popular options?
This is a very popular question on the forums.

Each of us on the balance team has slightly differing views on the subject, and we all work together to come to the best consensus we can. The reasoning behind the last round of changes came down to two major reasons:
  • They were both over-performing and out-classing the other Healers in the game. Stukov and Malfurion were dominating drafts and winning more than their counterparts by 3%-4%.
  • We are being very careful not to power-creep the Healers as we do not want to step back into a mandatory double-support meta. When it comes down to it, ending a game in a timely manner relies on players actually dying.

Here is some (hopefully) fun win-rate data since our last patch:
  • Auriel: 54.8%
  • Deckard: 52.7%
  • Alexstrasza: 52.7%
  • LiLi: 52.2%
  • Ana: 52.1%
  • Brightwing: 51.8%
  • Morales: 51.1%
  • Lucio: 50.7%
  • Malfurion: 50.4%
  • Rehgar: 50.2%
  • Kharazim: 49.9%
  • Uther: 49.7%
  • Stukov: 47.8%

As you can see, the Healers are all pretty close in terms of viability (this is data from Hero League @ Diamond+, Hero Level 10+). It would seem that we may have hit Stukov a bit too hard and under-estimated the 5% PvE buff we gave Auriel. (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Is there any chance, even slim, of a hero being reworked into a whole different role?
So in general when doing a rework, we try to keep the vibe (and role) of the hero the same while making improvements to their feel, power, and utility.

Having said that, we've talked internally for a while now that we don't think this is a hard rule. We would be open to making significant (and drastically different) changes to a hero if it made sense to do so. Maybe to the point of even changing their role. Obviously, this would probably only ever be considered on a hero which has very low pick rates, or simply doesn't fit in the current game anymore (and lesser changes wouldn't be effective).

Do you guys have any thoughts on what current Heroes in the game you think we should consider taking this approach? (u/BlizzAlan)


Are there any plans to freshen him (Stitches) up?
Yes - I am currently slated to take point on looking at him in the near future. This may change, but I hope it doesn't as I am hooked on some fun new ideas! (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Any plans to buff Rexxar?
We don't have any current plans to buff Rexxar, however:
  1. He has a very high win rate, but we understand that he has a low play rate and that that matters. Part of this is obviously that he is a multi-unit control hero, so he already has a large barrier to entry.
  2. I believe that he also isn't played as much because he doesn't FEEL powerful enough to play for the work it takes to master him.

I think we can do better here, but to be transparent we don't have any plans for changes right now. I'll add him to my list of things to do.
And there's also that bug that causes charge to go on cooldown with no effect... It's been bringing him down for years now.
I haven't heard of this bug. If you could get steps to replicate it and post on our forums, our QA team would gladly check it out. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


If you could release any hero tomorrow that you'd personally love to see in game who would it be?
Yogg'Saron. I freaking love that guy. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


How did you get into design and balancing for heroes of the storm?
Many years ago I was a Customer Service Rep in our Billing department (you may have talked to me at some point!), but got my start in Design by working on projects for the SC2 Arcade in my spare time. I had so much fun making maps that I decided to pursue a career in Level Design, and after a temporary assignment on Diablo 3, I had the honor of joining the SC2 Campaign team to work on Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void missions.

While working on SC2, we started the project that you know today as Heroes of the Storm, and as a MOBA fan I was fascinated with it. I spent a lot of time talking with the team and regularly sent them lengthy feedback emails about which new Heroes I'd like to see and how I'd design them, or which Talents I'd always or never pick on existing Heroes and why, much the same as many of our players do here. The Heroes team saw my passion for the game and, after work wrapped up on Legacy of the Void, they offered me a chance to come over and work with them—which I happily accepted =)

Based on my experience both from applying for Design jobs, and later being involved in hiring others for those jobs, the single biggest piece of advice I can give is to pick up a tool and start making things. I often see people complain that "even entry level jobs require experience," which is true to some extent, but the thing that some people don’t realize is: modding and making your own small game projects is a totally valid way to gain that experience.

If you can apply for a design job with playable samples of your work, it will show you're capable of both creating and executing on a design. If you can walk into an interview prepared to discuss what decisions you made on your projects and why, it will give you a huge leg up over the competition. Remember that every game studio is different and they're much less interested in whether your answers are "correct" than they are in seeing how you think about the design choices you've made and your ability to clearly communicate why you made those decisions.

Good luck and I hope this helps! (u/BlizzMattVi)


How do you guys feel about Brightwing: are you happy with how she compares to modern supports like Alexstraza and Deckard?
We love Brightwing - she is personally one of my favorite supports! She has gone through a couple major updates in the past but I would not be surprised to see another head her way in the future.

If I were going to start working on her right this second I would probably start by looking at the following:
  • Is there a way we can make her healing more interactive?
  • How can we embrace her global nature?
  • Are there some more interesting build-paths we can explore? (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Is completely reworking a hero’s kit on the table? And if not, why?
The short answer is yes, but it's going to be extremely rare. There's a large cost to completely dismantling a hero's kit in regards to players being unhappy with the changes purely because we removed a hero that they know and love to play. There's also a risk that the changes also don't pan out, and we just wasted a bunch of time for a side-grade in regards to design and popularity of the hero.

However, if a hero needs it enough, we aren't above drastically changing abilities. We've begun to do this with Garrosh's Q and Genji's Dragonblade, and I can see us doing it more often down the line. (u/BlizzAZJackson)


Do you have any plans to take a pass at ults with extremely low pick rates?
Yes! We normally do a pass on these every few months. Unfortunately, sometimes our hands our bound as some of these disparities cannot be fixed with tuning due to:
  • Perception: We feel some Heroics that are overlooked are actually extremely powerful (but maybe not meta at the moment). Past examples of this are Mighty Gust and Twilight Dream.
  • Design: Some Heroes have one Heroic that enable a playstyle that is core to the Hero. We have been getting better at this on the Hero Design side, but we still have some outliers that we would like to eventually fix through design changes. (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Will there be any mechanics specially designed to counter mobile skills? What about some mechanic which punishes only teleporters while "pedestrians" are not affected, instead of bringing in more stun/ root chains to further hurt those who aren't evasive enough?
While we have no concrete information to share at the moment (Sorry, wish there was), I can say that we have had meetings about this exact thing and are exploring ideas on how to make this type of 'grounding' mechanic a reality. (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Do we have to wait for another SC anniversary in order to get an awesome character like Fenix from the BW universe?
We'd actually been wanting to do Fenix for a while, and timing it with the SC2 anniversary worked out well. That said, we consider a huge number of factors when deciding which new Heroes to bring to the game and when, including balance across different roles and universes, and of course whether there are specific Heroes the development team or community are excited about (like Fenix!).

While I can't go into specifics about future Hero releases, I can say both Blaze and Fenix were awesome BW additions to the Nexus and we're excited to explore more of those Heroes in the future. Do you have any specific ones in mind that you think would be good candidates? =) (u/BlizzMattVi)


Does the dev team see Brightwing as underpowered, out of the meta, or something else?
I am not sure she is underpowered, per-say, but definitely out of the meta. I would love to see some small tweaks to her in order to fix that. Hopefully soon! (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Any news regarding Hanamura?
There has been a lot of work and testing on this Battleground internally. We've made a lot of good progress, and have plans to talk about the specific changes some more in the future! (u/BlizzAlan)


"Is there a reason you got rid of Diablo's Health percentage damage without any compensation?"
We feel like we've actually properly compensated the rest of his kit, though Devastating Charge does have more counterplay now. We removed the percentage Health on Devastating Charge because we thought his unrestricted ability to kill enemies regardless of their high Health pools or defensive buffs wasn't healthy for a tank character. There weren’t many ways to counter it besides positioning or immunities. We tried to keep the spirit of what Devastating Charge is, and actually if used on a lower Health Hero will do basically the same damage it did previously (more if you can get external Spell Power or reduce enemies Armor).

One of the challenges facing reworks—especially ones affecting characters who are already powerful—is that we have to take away from somewhere in order to add additional power in order to keep them balanced. Sometimes this means we trim out some of the less important or noticeable effects (like the armor on Shadow Charge), and sometimes we have to add additional counterplay to already powerful existing effects (like Devastating Charge).

"Any changes planned for Cho's level 16 talent Surging Dash?"
Yes. It's a bit too transforming when Cho gets the Talent, and shuts down too much of the counterplay for opponents after level 16. We'll likely keep the overall balance of Cho in mind (he's still really powerful in Team League and Quick Match, so it might be okay to just flat nerf).

"Why did you feel Hanzo needed the longest AA range in the game when he was released?"
First, a bit of history on Hanzo development (this was partially explained in Kent-Erik's BlizzCon talk last year on Hanzo). When we were working on Hanzo, we started to become hyper-aware of the frustration that long range Heroes can pose at times. We were pursuing a sniper fantasy for Hanzo: his Storm Bow (Q) had a much longer longer and did much more damage than it does now. What we decided to do was pull in his Q range, increase his Basic Range, and shift some of the power of his Q over to his Basic Attacks. I think the version of Hanzo that shipped is a more fun Hero to play against than the one we were iterating on at the time (which was essentially Chromie with mobility).

Then his release happened, the winrate wasn't especially high, so we made a bunch of buffs to the Hero. That pushed his Basic Attack damage into an area that started to make the range feel frustrating again. In hindsight, we should have reduced the Basic Attack range when we increased his damage to a point where being "poked" by it was really becoming meaningful.

Hopefully that makes sense! (u/BlizzNeyman)


Can you share any details about the planned Raynor rework?
I gave him a Trait ;) (u/Blizz_Daybringer)


The Varian and Diablo changes both gave them self-sustain. Have you changed your approach on what is required of a hero to be a solo tank?
We don't think that all tank Heroes need self-sustain, but it doesn't hurt. We specifically added it to Diablo because we wanted Fire Stomp to feel more meaningful, but we didn't want to add a ton of damage to Diablo. It also fit well with any Talents that increased the damage of Fire Stomp, since that could mean more healing for Diablo too (which as a tank should be one of his primary focuses).

We added it to Varian because it gave him more solo lane presence that he would need as an occasional bruiser, and it was a method of survival that wasn't tied to Parry (since too much of it was tied into Parry already, causing Talent issues). (u/BlizzNeyman)
by Published on 2018-05-14 06:18 PM

Nexomania Is Coming!



Heroes of the Storm PTR Notes – May 14, 2018
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Our next Heroes of the Storm patch has just hit the Public Test Realm and will be available for playtesting until May 21. As always, if you encounter any bugs during your PTR play sessions, please stop by the PTR Bug Report forum to let us know about your experiences.


Quick Navigation:



Nexomania!

PTR Note: While elements of this event may be visible on the Public Test Realm, any progress or rewards earned during PTR testing will not transfer to the live version of the game when this patch is officially released next week.

La Parca Lunara and La Pantera Sonya are looking to recruit new tag-team partners for Nexomania, a contest where Heroes battle it out to become the Champions of the Nexus! Choose your partner, train up, and conquer the competition to claim the spoils of victory before Monday, June 11. Each of the four-part quest chains below grant different rewards based on who you side with, and the quests must be completed in order. Choose your partner wisely, because once you’ve picked Lunara or Sonya, your decision cannot be undone!

La Parca Lunara Quest Chain and Rewards
  • Train Up, La Parca Style: Play 3 Games.
    • Reward: Máscara de la Parca Portrait.
  • Show Match, La Parca Style: Achieve 70 Takedowns in winning games.
    • Reward: The Underworld Grip Spray.
  • Climb the Ladder, La Parca Style: Win 6 games.
    • Reward: Ojos de la Parca Animated Spray.
  • Cage Match, La Parca Style: Achieve 100 Takedowns in winning games.
    • Rewards: El Guapo Announcer and La Parca Lunara Portrait.

La Pantera Sonya Quest Chain and Rewards
  • Train Up, La Pantera Style: Play 3 Games.
    • Reward: Máscara de la Pantera Portrait.
  • Show Match, La Pantera Style: Achieve 70 Takedowns in winning games.
    • Reward: The Panther Forearm Spray.
  • Climb the Ladder, La Pantera Style: Win 6 games.
    • Reward: Furia de la Pantera Animated Spray.
  • Cage Match, La Pantera Style: Achieve 100 Takedowns in winning games.
    • Rewards: El Guapo Announcer and La Pantera Sonya Portrait.

Nexomania Loot Chests

Starting the week of May 22, Loot Chests earned through progression (except Hero-specific Chests), Heroes Brawl, or by spending Gems will be Nexomania Loot Chests. These Loot Chests guarantee at least one item from the Nexomania or Sun’s Out, Guns Out events. Step into the ring and start leveling-up to pin down some loot before the competition concludes on June 11!

Please Note: Loot Chests earned prior to the start of this event will not become Nexomania Loot Chests.


Art

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents

  • Diablo: Diablo and Archangel Diablo’s Abilities have received updated visual effects to coincide with Ability and Talent changes.
  • Garrosh: Garrosh’s Abilities have received updated visual effects.
  • Malfurion: A new leaf icon and timer will now appear above Regrowth targets’ nameplates to indicate remaining Heal duration.
    • The icon and timer will change color based on Regrowth’s remaining Heal duration: from green to yellow at 10 seconds remaining, and then to red during the last 5 seconds.


User Inteface

MVP Screen
  • Players can no longer vote for themselves on the end of match awards screen.
    • This should help encourage players to spread the love by commending others for their epic plays!
  • The number of votes required to achieve epic and legendary commendations on the end of match awards screen have each been reduced by one vote.
    • This has been done to account for the removal of self-voting. Previously, a self-vote could often make the difference for a player who was one vote shy of reaching epic or legendary status.

Loot Chests
  • The Loot Chest carousel on the Loot screen now automatically switches to a Loot Chest type the player already owns, rather than always defaulting to Rare Loot Chests.


Design

General
  • Holding right-click and dragging the cursor to move is no longer interrupted when entering targeting mode prior to casting an Ability.
Movement Speed Visual Effects
  • Visual effects for Movement Speed bonuses and Slows will now only display on units whose Movement Speeds are being increased or decreased by more than 5%.
    • Previously, a Hero could display these visual effects even if their Movement Speed hadn’t been significantly altered. This could occur as a result of multiple stacking Movement Speed bonuses and Slows, or due to a stacking Quest Talent.


Battlegrounds

Mercenaries
  • Infernal Shrines
    • The Khazra at the southernmost Mercenary Camp on Infernal Shrines now move into lane once they are captured, rather than path around the lane to attack opposing structures directly.


Heroes

Assassin

Lunara


Abilities
  • Nature’s Toxin (Trait)
    • Damage reduced from 34 to 30.
  • Wisp (E)
    • Mana cost removed.
    • Wisp Movement Speed increased by 100%.
    • Vision radius reduced from 7 to 6.
    • Additional functionality:
      • When a Wisp is in a bush for 2 seconds, its vision radius is increased by 75%.

Talents
  • Level 1
    • New Talent: Sentinel Wisp (E)
      • When a Wisp is in a bush for 5 seconds, its vision radius is increased by 200% and reveals the surrounding area.
    • Photosynthesis
      • Removed.
    • Cruel Spores (Q)
      • Removed.
    • New Talent: Hippity Hop (Z)
      • After not Basic Attacking or taking damage for 5 seconds, increase the Movement Speed bonus of Dryad’s Swiftness by 10%.
  • Level 4
    • Timelost Wisp (E)
      • Removed.
    • Skybound Wisp (E)
      • Removed.
    • Dividing Wisp (E)
      • Removed.
    • Blossom Swell (Q)
      • Moved from Level 1.
      • Additional functionality:
        • Now also increases Noxious Blossom’s range by 25%.
    • Siphoning Toxin (Trait)
      • Moved from Level 7
      • Heal amount reduced from 18 to 9 Health per second.
      • Additional functionality:
        • When an enemy Hero has 3 stacks of Nature’s Toxin, this Healing increases to 28 per second.
    • Nature’s Culling (Trait)
      • Moved from Level 7.
  • Level 7
    • Choking Pollen (Q)
      • Moved from Level 16.
      • Bonus damage reduced from 125% to 50%.
      • Additional functionality:
        • This damage bonus increases by an additional 50% against enemies who have 3 stacks of Nature’s Toxin.
  • Level 13
    • Pestering Blossom
      • Removed.
    • New Talent: Endless Spores (W)
      • Casting Crippling Spores while at least 2 enemy Heroes are afflicted with Nature’s Toxin reduces its cooldown by 3 seconds.
    • Let Them Wither (W)
      • Moved from Level 16
      • Adjusted functionality:
        • No longer increases Crippling Spores’ Slow amount. Instead, increases Crippling Spores’ Slow duration by 1 second and causes it to no longer decay.
    • Giant Killer
      • Removed.
    • Abolish Magic (Active)
      • Moved from Level 20.
  • Level 16
    • New Talent: Accelerated Contamination (Q)
      • While at least 2 enemy Heroes are afflicted with Nature's Toxin, Noxious Blossom's cooldown recharges 100% faster.
    • Invigorating Spores (W)
      • Attack Speed bonus reduced from 50% to 30%.
      • Additional functionality:
        • Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes with 3 stacks of Nature’s Toxin deal damage equal to 1.5% of their maximum Health.
    • Unfair Advantage (Trait)
      • Moved from Level 13.
      • Bonus damage increased from 50% to 60%.
      • Now also deals this bonus damage to Rooted and Stunned Heroes.
  • Level 20
    • Forest’s Wrath (R)
      • No longer increases Thornwood Vine’s speed.
      • Additional functionality:
        • Thornwood Vine now applies 2 stacks of Nature’s Toxin.
    • Boundless Stride (R)
      • Additional functionality:
        • Now also decreases the Leaping Strike’s cooldown by 5 seconds.
    • New Talent: Intensifying Toxin (Trait)
      • Nature’s Toxin deals 40% more damage to enemies afflicted with 3 stacks.

Developer Comment: Our goals for Lunara’s rework are twofold: first, we want to add some gameplay to Wisp and consolidate its related talents into something more interesting. We also want to give Lunara more potential playstyles, which we’re doing by adding some new powerful talents into her tree. Because we added so much more power into her talents, we had to reduce her baseline power by a marginal amount to compensate. We’ve had a blast with Lunara in our internal playtests, and we’re excited to release her new and improved version into the wild!


Warrior

Diablo


Abilities
  • Black Soulstone (Trait)
    • Maximum Health gained per Soul reduced from 0.5% to 0.4%.
  • Shadow Charge (Q)
    • Range increased from 7 to 8.5.
    • Mana cost increased from 60 to 70.
    • Damage reduced from 75 to 40.
    • Terrain collision damage reduced from 150 to 120.
    • No longer grants Armor.
    • Now also increases Movement Speed by 15% for 2 seconds.
  • Fire Stomp (W)
    • Now unleashes fire waves in a large cone in the chosen direction, rather than a 360° area around Diablo.
    • Number of fire waves reduced from 8 to 5.
    • Multiple fire waves can now hit the same target.
    • Cooldown increased from 6 to 8 seconds.
    • Mana cost reduced from 40 to 30.
    • Outgoing fire wave damage reduced from 54 to 12.
    • Returning fire wave damage reduced from 81 to 36.
      • Damage dealt by returning fire waves now counts as critical damage.
    • Now Heals Diablo for 125% of the damage dealt to Heroes.
  • Overpower (E)
    • Mana cost reduced from 60 to 40.
  • Lightning Breath (R)
    • Range increased from 10.5 to 12.
    • Each tick of Lightning Breath damage now also Slows enemies hit by 5% for 2 seconds, up to a maximum of 50%.

Talents
  • Level 1
    • New Talent: Feast on Fear (Passive)
      • Stunning an enemy Hero with Shadow Charge or Overpower Heals Diablo for 15% of his maximum Health over 4 seconds.
    • Soul Shield (Active)
      • Moved from Level 7.
      • New functionality:
        • Activate to gain Spell Armor equal to 25 plus 50% of Diablo's current Souls for 4 seconds. 60 second cooldown.
        • Every time Diablo damages an enemy Hero, reduce this cooldown by 1 second.
    • Bulwark (Q)
      • Removed.
  • Level 4
    • New Talent: Sacrificial Soul (Q)
      • Stunning an enemy Hero with Shadow Charge grants 5 Souls and 15 Armor for 4 seconds. While at 100 Souls, increase this Armor to 30.
    • New Talent: Souls to the Flame (W)
      • Fire Stomp grants 1 Soul every 3 times it damages an enemy Hero and Heals for an additional 1.25% of its damage dealt per Soul.
    • Life Leech (Passive)
      • Moved from Level 1.
      • New functionality:
        • Diablo gains 1 Soul and Heals for 1.5% of his maximum Health for every Basic Attack against an enemy Hero. While at 100 Souls, increase this Healing to 3% of his maximum Health.
    • From the Shadows (Q)
      • Removed.
    • Speed Demon (Passive)
      • Removed.
    • Demonic Strength (E)
      • Removed.
  • Level 7
    • New Talent: Eternal Flames (W)
      • When Diablo Stuns an enemy Hero with Overpower or Shadow Charge, Fire Stomp’s cooldown is reset.
    • Malevolence (Passive)
      • Using Basic Abilities causes Diablo’s next Basic Attack within 6 seconds to deal an additional 100 Spell Damage. Stores up to 2 charges.
    • Soul Feast (Trait)
      • Removed.
    • Diabolical Momentum (Passive)
      • Basic Attacks now also reduce Fire Stomp’s cooldown.
      • Cooldown reduction granted per Basic Attack decreased from 1.5 to 0.75 seconds.
  • Level 13
    • Devastating Charge (Q)
      • Adjusted functionality:
        • Now increases Shadow Charge’s terrain collision damage by 100%, rather than a percentage of the target’s maximum Health.
        • Quest: Each time an enemy Hero takes terrain collision damage, increase this bonus by 15%, to a maximum of 75%.
    • New Talent: Cruelty (Passive)
      • Stunning an enemy Hero with Shadow Charge or Overpower increases Diablo's Attack Speed by 50% for 5 seconds, up to 100%.
    • Hellfire (W)
      • New functionality:
        • Each enemy Hero hit by Fire Stomp grants 2% Spell Power for 10 seconds, up to 30%.
    • Fire Devil (W)
      • Removed.
  • Level 16
    • Debilitating Flames (W)
      • New functionality:
        • Enemy Heroes hit by Fire Stomp are Slowed by 5% for 4 seconds, up to 50%. Heroes Slowed 25% or more by Debilitating Flames deal 50% less damage.
    • New Talent: Overpowering Nightmare (E)
      • Gain 2 additional charges of Overpower, with a 2 second cooldown between uses.
    • Fearful Presence (Active)
      • Removed.
  • Level 20
    • Dying Breath (R)
      • Now reduces Apocalypse’s cooldown by 20 seconds per enemy Hero hit (to a minimum total cooldown of 5 seconds), rather than reducing its cooldown by a static amount.
    • Hellstorm (R)
      • No longer increases Lightning Breath’s range.
      • Bonus duration increased from 50% to 200%.
    • Lord of Terror (Active)
      • Now also grants 5 Souls per enemy Hero hit.


Developer Comment: Diablo's update aims to give the Lord of Terror more control over his kit and add fun new gameplay without compromising his core identity in the Nexus. We're putting the power in the hands of Diablo players by allowing them to target their Fire Stomps and allowing multiple fire waves to hit the same Hero to help execute the perfect combo. We're adding self-healing to Fire Stomp so that Diablo has a way to maintain his health beyond relying on a Support to heal him. Shadow Charge now grants increased Movement Speed to reduce situations where enemies are just beyond Overpower’s reach after charging in. Diablo’s level 4 Talents all allow him to collect souls in new ways, so he can still get the most out of his Trait during low takedown games. There is also a spiderweb of fun synergies and interactions between the Talents in his tree, so we're excited to see what creative combinations players will latch onto.


Collection

New Bundles
  • Sun’s Out, Guns Out event items have returned for the duration of the Nexomania event! Add them to your collection by opening Nexomania Loot Chests or purchasing the Sun’s Out 2017 Bundle.
  • The following new bundles are available for a limited time!
    • Hell’s Screamers Bundle
    • Match of the Century Bundle
    • Sun’s Out 2017 Bundle

New Announcer
  • El Guapo

New Skins
  • Diablo
    • El Chamuco Diablo
    • Underworld Chamuco Diablo
    • Hell’s Screamer Diablo
  • E.T.C.
    • El Mariachi E.T.C.
    • Underworld Mariachi E.T.C.
    • Festival Mariachi E.T.C.
  • Garrosh
    • El Jefe Garrosh
    • El Fuego Garrosh
    • Underworld Jefe Garrosh
  • Kharazim
    • Dropkick Kharazim
    • Champion Dropkick Kharazim
    • Dropdead Kharazim
  • Lunara
    • La Parca Lunara
    • La Catrina Lunara
    • Los Muertos Lunara
  • Sonya
    • La Pantera Sonya
    • La Pantera Dorada Sonya
    • Underworld Pantera Sonya

New Mounts
  • Luchihuahua
    • Hell's Screamer Luchihuahua
    • Underworld Luchihuahua
  • Pigñata
    • Hell's Screamer Pigñata
    • Lucha Pigñata


Bug Fixes

General
  • Fixed a number of typo and tooltip errors across several aspects of the game.

A.I.
  • General: After casting Hearthstone, A.I. Heroes will now wait in the Hall of Storms to restore most of their Health and Mana before leaving.
  • D.Va: Fixed an issue that prevented A.I. D.Va from casting Boosters.
  • Deckard: Learning Bottomless Flask no longer causes Allied A.I. Heroes to remain near a Healing Potion’s location indefinitely.
  • Sgt. Hammer: A.I. Sgt. Hammer will no longer become stuck in a Vent behind the opposing bottom-lane Fort on Battlefield of Eternity.
  • The Butcher: Fixed an issue in which A.I. Butcher would repeatedly cast and then cancel Ruthless Onslaught.
  • The Butcher: Fixed an issue that prevented A.I. Butcher from casting Butcher’s Brand.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
  • Artanis: The Target Purified Talent no longer causes Purifier Beam to acquire Invulnerable targets after its initial target dies.
  • Chromie: Time Traps revealed by Abilities like Tassadar’s Oracle can now be correctly auto-acquired as Basic Attack targets.
  • Fenix: The Talent tooltips for Singularity Charge and Mobile Offense now correctly append to the Ability tooltip for Weapon Mode: Phase Bomb.
  • Garrosh: Casting Into the Fray on Abathur now correctly interrupts Symbiote Channeling.
  • Genji: A damage over time preview now correctly appears in Genji’s Health bar when affected by Lunara’s Nature’s Toxin.
  • Johanna: Can no longer escape Zagara’s Devouring Maw early if Iron Skin expires while inside the Maw.
  • Junkrat: Can now move himself while he is Unstoppable by detonating a nearby Concussion Mine.
  • Malfurion: Reduced Healing applied by Strangling Vines now correctly lasts for its full 3 second duration, even if Entangling Roots expires or its Root effect is removed.
  • Medivh: Dying while attempting to redirect Ley Line Seal after learning Medivh Cheats! no longer causes its targeting indicator to visually persist on the terrain.
  • Nova: Fixed an issue that could cause Holo Decoys to stop attacking nearby targets.
  • Nova: Fixed an issue in which Holo Decoys would not Basic Attack enemy Heroes if Nova did not have enough Mana to cast any of her Abilities.
  • Nova: Armor reductions granted by Anti-Armor Shells and Crippling Shot now stack correctly when applied to the same target.
  • Sonya: Battle Rage no longer grants bonus damage versus Monsters.
  • Tassadar: Plasma Shield Healing done after completing the Khaydarin Resonance quest is now correctly tracked on the in-game stats screen (TAB).
  • Tassadar: The Talent tooltip for Khala’s Light now correctly states that only Heroes will gain Armor when Plasma Shield expires or breaks. This was only a tooltip correction; functionality has not been changed.
  • Thrall: Invulnerable Heroes who are within bounce range after casting Chain Lightning on a nearby target will no longer grant Crash Lightning quest progress.
  • The Lost Vikings: Casting Spin to Win! no longer causes offscreen Vikings to play false “under attack” voice lines.
  • Zul’jin: Using Guillotine with the Buzzsaw Talent to kill Nova’s Holo Decoys or Samuro’s Mirror Images no longer grants Healing.

Sound
  • Lt. Morales: Replaced incorrect voice processing for voice lines used by the base Lt. Morales and First Lt. Morales skins.
  • Volskaya Foundry: Achieving victory will now correctly cause Overwatch-themed music to play.

User Interface
  • Loadouts: The Hero’s name at the top of the Loadout pane will now update correctly when switching among Heroes during Hero Select.
  • Collection: Fenix now correctly appears when using the terms “Protoss” and “Dragoon” to filter the Hero roster.

Weekly Hero Rotation
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: May 15, 2018
  • Raynor
  • Muradin
  • Sonya
  • Nazeebo
  • Uther
  • Jaina
  • Stitches
  • Leoric
  • Tychus
  • Kharazim
  • Alexstrasza (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5)
  • Maiev (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10)
  • Probius (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15)
  • Medivh (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20)

Weekly Sales
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Our next set of Heroic Deals will begin on Tuesday, May 15! Check out the list of upcoming featured items and Hero discounts below.

Upcoming Hero Sales
  • Medivh — Sale Price: 375 gems
  • Tyrael — Sale Price: 250 Gems

The following skins and mounts will be added to the featured item rotation and will become purchasable with gems until this round of Heroic Deals comes to an end:

Upcoming Featured Skins
  • Magus Medivh the Black
  • Silver Archangel Tyrael
  • Lovely Archon Li-Ming
  • Ara Tribe Probius
  • Golden Crypt King Tassadar
  • Reef Admiral Krakenov
  • Hearty Lovebug Anub'arak
  • Monkey King Samuro

Upcoming Featured Mounts
  • Sapphire Heart Stone
  • Amani War Bear

Heroes Learning Video
The fourth video in a series of learning videos from the Heroes of the Dorm casters is here. This one revolves around keeping your win conditions in mind at all times.

by Published on 2018-05-13 07:46 PM

Ranked Play Enhancements Coming With 2018 Season 3
Following last month's blog post on upcoming changes to the game, the first round of ranked play improvements are almost upon us. What you can expect from the next ranked season of the game includes:
  • Third round of bans
  • MMR/Rank Decay
  • Better seeding for placement matches...
  • ... and tigher overall matchmaking

The developer team need some extra time to implement these changes however, so the start of next season has been moved to the week of July 9th. Read on for more information and reasonings behind the upcoming changes.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

With 2018 Ranked Season 3, we’re planning to implement a number of the changes and improvements we proposed in last month’s Development Updates blog. Before we do so, we’ll need some additional development and testing time to ensure these changes will work as intended once we release them.
  • As a result, we’re pushing back Season 3’s start date from the week of June 11 to the week of July 9.

We understand this may be inconvenient for those of you who are eager to snatch up your end-of-season rewards, but we’re hopeful the changes we’re making will be well worth the wait. Additionally, we’re going to push back future seasons by about one month, rather than shorten them, in order to compensate for the length of Season 3. Read on for more details about the ranked improvements, and check out the Development Updates blog if you’d like to get some background on the reasoning behind them.


Third Ban During Drafts
  • We’re going to add a third ban for each team during draft mode’s existing initial-ban phase.

When we announced the addition of a third ban for draft mode last month, we initially proposed adding it to the mid-ban phase. A lot of players responded by saying they’d prefer to see it added to the initial ban phase, however. After considering your feedback, we’ve decided to move forward with this suggestion. We’d like to thank everyone who shared their thoughts with us; your feedback helped to shape this change, and we hope it’ll provide some additional strategic depth during your drafts!


MMR and Rank Decay
  • We’re introducing both matchmaking rating (MMR) and rank decay for inactive Diamond, Master, and Grand Master Hero League players.

Diamond, Master, and Grand Master Hero League players who have placed in the current season but haven’t completed any games in a while will have both their Ranked Points and their MMRs slowly adjusted downward to compensate. This should help Hero League players who may need a few games to shake off the rust and get back into fighting shape after taking a lengthy break from ranked play.

Each league has its own inactivity rules before decay begins. Once a player becomes “inactive,” they will receive a small amount of rank and MMR decay each day until they complete one Hero League match. Players will also be able to earn additional “grace period” days by regularly playing Hero League matches during the current season. To be considered active and avoid decay, all a player needs to do is play a single match of Hero League to completion.

League Inactive Days Before Decay Extra Grace Period Days
Diamond 20 10
Master 15 10
Grand Master 10 10

As an example, a Grand Master who has played very actively may be able to take a 20-day break from Hero League, for a vacation or otherwise, before suffering from decay. That player can still be passed by other active GMs in the interim, however.

We’ve mentioned this previously, but it’s very important to us that this decay rate is not overly punishing. We’d love to hear your feedback on the decay system once it’s in place so that we can make any necessary adjustments. All of the numbers in this system are easily tunable between seasons, so we’ll work to find the right spot for our community.


Placement Seeding and Re-seeding
  • Players who enter ranked play for the first time can no longer be seeded into placement matches higher than Gold 5.

Currently, players who enter ranked play for the first time can place as high as Diamond 3 after completing their placements. We recognize that being placed so highly can lead to some negative experiences for the new ranked player as well as their teammates. To help address this, we’re making Gold 5 the maximum placement seeding for new players. Additionally, since players can no longer rise or fall more than one full league (or five Divisions) during placements, Platinum 5 is now the highest rank a new Hero League player can achieve as a result of their placement matches.
  • Players who return to Hero League after an extended break will no longer be re-seeded into placements based on their performance in other modes.

Previously, a player could skip the current Hero League season entirely and attempt to increase their MMR by playing in other game modes. By doing so, they could gain more favorable placement match re-seeding at the start of the next ranked season. We’d prefer to see players progress through the ranking system naturally by competing in Hero League rather than using Quick Match or Unranked Draft to give a boost to their rankings. As a result, all returning Hero League players will now be re-seeded based on their most recent Hero League performance data, instead of their skill in other game modes. For Diamond, Master, and GM players, this performance data will be adjusted for any MMR and rank decay received during Hero League breaks.


Ranked Matchmaking Improvements
  • We are hardening Hero League matchmaking rules to enforce higher-quality matches over reducing queue times.

Currently, the longer players wait in the Hero League queue, the looser our match quality restrictions become in order to get players into games as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, decreasing wait times can come at the expense of match quality. When this occurs, players can find themselves in games that include allies and enemies outside of their skill range, which is especially noticeable at the highest skill levels. Given the feedback we’ve read from many of you in the Heroes community, we believe we’ve been favoring shorter queue times a little too much. When Season 3 begins, we’re going to firm up these rules in Hero League in order to enforce higher-quality matches. As a result, higher-skilled players may see longer queue times in exchange for more evenly-matched games.

While these rule changes are specific to Hero League right now, the next set of matchmaking improvements we’re planning to implement will be targeted at Quick Match. While we aren’t ready to announce a date just yet, we’ll have more details to share with you later this summer.


We hope you’re as excited for these ranked play enhancements as we are! Since we’ve covered so much in this blog, we’d like to remind you that 2018 Ranked Season 3’s start date is moving to the week of July 9. Until then, we’ll see you in the Nexus!

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Lunara Rework
Thornwood Vines still applies Nature's Toxin, the level 20 upgrade makes it apply an additional stack. (u/BlizzNeyman)

Ranked Season Enhancements
does the lack of mentions about PBMM [performance-based matchmaking] & Visible MMR mean that they have been scrapped from the plans for the next ranked season?
Sadly we won't be shipping PBMM in Season 3. We've made some exciting progress with it internally, but I'd rather give it the soak time it deserves than rush it out alongside the features we mentioned above. This also affords us the opportunity to measure the impact of these Season 3 changes before making another big move. In the interim PBMM is collecting data on player performance that continues to help us validate the model.
What about visible MMR. Is that tied ot PBMM somehow?
It is at the moment. If something unforeseen takes place during PBMM development that would throw us off course than we would decouple that aspect of it from the rest of PBMM and ensure it gets to live as its own standalone feature.

Decoupling it however would not have allowed us the time needed to ship it for the Season 3 start date. I'll be sure to update the community once we have a firm date in mind for PBMM or otherwise. (u/Blizz_Joe)

It is kinda disappointing honestly, most of those changes coming in mostly affect high ranked players ... PBMM could have helped us tremendously with our "low rank peasants" issues
I understand where you're coming from with these concerns. PBMM is a feature we think is going to help capable players move through ranks a little more easily, but it's important to release it when it is ready. (u/Blizz_Joe)

Unranked Draft will also received third ban. (u/Blizz_Joe)

Heroes Learning Video
The third video in a series of learning videos from the Heroes of the Dorm casters is here, and it centers around making the proper call on whether you should go for the core or not.

by Published on 2018-05-11 05:18 PM

Lunara Rework Spotlight
Looks like Lunara will be getting a rework at the same time as Diablo!



Heroes Learning Videos
Three of the Heroes of the Dorm casters took some time out of their schedule to provide a couple of helpful videos on topics that many may struggle with in the game.





Blue Posts
Following yesterday's reveal that Diablo is getting a rework with the next big update, Live Designer Alex Neyman took to reddit to answer questions.
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
No lightning breath change?
Lightning Breath now has a ramping slow effect on it as well. (u/BlizzNeyman)

but what about Lunara
Soon. (u/BlizzNeyman)

Does anyone know if they're keeping [[From the Shadows]] with this update? I felt like it was problematic on current Diablo, and with the new movespeed it kinda gives him some insane mobility.
From the Shadows is gone, but part of that range was put into the base Shadow Charge. We felt the ability felt bad to use without the Talent, but the increasing the range any more started to feel unfair to play against. (u/BlizzNeyman)
Isn't that exactly what you did with Chromie? Almost every time you have done a talent that increases an ability's range, that talent dominates. There are many exceptions, but a lot of these exceptions are for abilities that were never meant to have long ranges anyway.
Yeah, we try to be cognizant of when adjusting someone's range goes beyond adding gameplay, but drastically reducing counterplay or making an ability feel completely different. Sometimes it's okay (like Jaina), sometimes it's better to come up with something else (like Chromie). (u/BlizzNeyman)

"each can damage a single target like a shotgun, piercing through them" This is not like shotguns I've used.
The shotgun comment was mostly meant to highlight the fact that multiple flame waves can damage the same Hero, so if you hit someone up close with all 5 flame waves, the ability will do 5x damage and healing (also true on the return). (u/BlizzNeyman)

Quick questoin they didnt show his AOE stun ulti at all which makes me assume its the exact same but any proof for it being untouched? Firebreath thing looked untouched to but just want to double check.
Lightning Breath has a slow and increased range, Apocalypse was unchanged (though the 20 is slightly different). (u/BlizzNeyman)

Why would you rework Diablo when he was already seeing top tier level play? I would have thought a hero like Raynor, who is literally so bad he can only lane, would have priority..?
We're also working on Raynor, these things just take time. (u/BlizzNeyman)

HGC 2018 - Top 5 Plays - Phase 1 Crucible
With the HGC Crucible having come to an end, Blizzard put together a short compilation of last weekend's best plays:


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