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by Published on 2020-01-22 11:10 PM

Heroes of the Storm Balance Patch Notes - January 22, 2020
Originally Posted by Blizzquote (Blue Tracker)

Heroes of the Storm has just been updated with Hero balance changes! Read on for details.

Quick Navigation:

  • Toys 2 Event
    • Toys 2 Event has been extended to April 7, 2020, PT.




  • Level 16
    • Beetle, Juiced [Trait]
      • Bonus Health increased from 20% to 40%.
  • Level 20
    • Hive Master [R1]
      • Healing increased from 37 to 50.
    • Cryptweave [R2]
      • Bonus Cocoon duration increased from 4 to 6 seconds.

Developer Comment: We’re giving Anub’arak some additional small buffs to underused talents, which should help increase his diversity in the latter portions of the game.


  • Level 4
    • Deathlord [Q]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the range of Death Coil by 30%.

Developer Comment: We heard you Kyle and Garrett. We’re sorry we took it away. Here, have it back.


  • Health increased from 2850 to 2950.
  • Health Regeneration increased from 5.94 to 6.15.

  • Level 10
    • Upheaval [R2]
      • Cooldown reduced from 60 to 40 seconds.
  • Level 20
    • Favor of the Old Gods [R2]
      • Root duration increased from 1.5 to 2 seconds.

Developer Comment: Cho like buffs.



  • Level 1
    • Stormstout Secret Recipe [Passive]
      • Healing increased from 3% to 3.5% maximum Health.
  • Level 4
    • Withering Flames [W]
      • Spell Power reduction increased from 50% to 60%.
  • Level 7
    • Gift of the Ox [E]
      • Bonus Stagger duration increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds.
  • Level 10
    • Wandering Keg [R1]
      • Cooldown reduced from 60 to 50 seconds.
  • Level 13
    • Pressure Point [Q]
      • Slow amount increased from 35% to 40%.
      • Slow amount when Chen has Shields from Fortifying Brew increased from 70% to 80%.
    • A Touch of Honey [W]
      • Slow amount bonus increased from 15% to 20%.

Developer Comment: While Chen’s talents are in a relatively good spot, there is generally one talent on every tier that is being picked a bit less than its counter-parts. We’re giving some significant buffs to the talents that aren’t currently as popular in hopes that players try out new ways to play the Panderan Brewmaster.


  • Health reduced from 2920 to 2850.
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 6.08 to 5.94.
  • Incinerate [W]
    • Damage reduced from 80 to 75.
  • Onslaught [E]
    • Damage reduced from 40 to 38.
    • Damage at the end of the lunge reduced from 75 to 72.
  • Lava Burst [W]
    • Periodic damage increased from 8 to 10 per second.
  • Earth Shatter [E]
    • Damage increased from 80 to 90.

  • Level 1
    • Molten Blood [Trait]
      • Healing increased from .4 to .5% per second.
    • Draconic Might [Trait]
      • Healing reduced from 30% to 25% damage dealt.
  • Level 4
    • Heat Wave [W]
      • Damage after using Incinerate reduced from 16 to 14 per second.
    • Dragon’s Ire [Trait]
      • Bonus damage reduced from 30% to 25%.
  • Level 7
    • Firestorm [Z]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 12 to 25 seconds.
    • Skyfall [E]
      • Cooldown reduction reduced from 1.5 seconds to 1 second.
  • Level 10
    • Burn Beneath My Shadow [R1]
      • Bonus damage reduced from 100% to 80%.

Developer Comment: While in a much better spot, Deathwing is still overperforming, so we’re bringing him down a peg in various ways. This time, however, we are including some buffs to parts of his kit that could use it, particularly to his Worldbreaker form and to some of his talents.


  • Level 1
    • Rolling Thunder [Q]
      • Bonus damage and healing on Heroic targets increased from 2% to 3%.

Developer Comment: Rolling Thunder’s tuning was a bit low initially. This should make it much more appropriately attractive compared to the other powerful options Thrall has on the tier.



  • Locust Strain [Trait]
    • Locust Health increased from 316 to 350.
    • Additional functionality: Locusts deal 50% bonus damage to enemy Structures.

  • Level 1
    • Envenomed Nest [W]
      • Additional functionality: Enemy Heroes who are hit by Toxic Nests have their Armor reduced by 10 for 4 seconds.
    • Reinforced Carapace [E]
      • Shield amount increased from 30% to 40%.
  • Level 16
    • Volatile Mutation [R]
      • Healing increased from 75% to 100% of damage dealt.
  • Level 20
    • Evolutionary Link [R1]
      • Shield amount Increased from 25% to 35% maximum Health.

Developer Comment: In addition to buffing underperforming talents, we’re experimenting with giving Locusts a larger presence in Abathur’s kit. If left unattended, they will now do increased damage to Structures, which will reward good Abathur players who pay close attention to their position on the map and the state of the game.



  • Level 10
    • Resurrect [R1]
      • Cast range reduced from 7 to 5.
      • Cast time increased from .5 seconds to 1 second.

Developer Comment: We knew Auriel’s Resurrect changes were going to be a big deal, and for the most part they have been going fairly well. It’s now picked much more often, and, to our pleasant surprise, isn’t winning by a large margin over Crystal Aegis. While we like the epic moment of power that the current iteration offers, there is understandably a bit of frustration with Heroic now. To add some more counter-play, we’re reducing its cast range and adding more to its cast time to give opponents a better chance to interrupt her. Auriel players will now have to choose their moments much more wisely if they hope to get a Resurrect off on a key ally who recently died.


  • Basic Attack damage increased from 60 to 64.

  • Level 1
    • Transcendence [Trait]
      • Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds.
    • Iron Fists [Trait]
      • Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds.
    • Insight [Trait]
      • Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds.
  • Level 4
    • Air Ally [Active]
      • Cooldown increased from 20 to 30 seconds.
      • Health increased from 75 to 200.
      • Duration reduced from 40 to 10 seconds.
      • Charges reduced from 2 to 1.
      • Additional functionality: Now also grants nearby allied Heroes 15% Spell Power for its duration.

Developer Comment: Play Kharazim! Also, Air Ally does cool things now. Play that too.


  • Level 20
    • Bio-Explosion Switch [Trait]
      • Silence duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds.
      • Additional functionality: Detonating Lurking Arm also deals 230 damage to enemies caught in its explosion.

Developer Comment: Bio-Explosion Switch has always been in a bit of an awkward spot due to the opportunity cost of ending Lurking Arm early. To make the talent more obviously powerful, we’re adding some significant damage to the explosion and a larger Silence duration to the detonation to make up for the fact that Stukov’s Lurking Arm goes away when the explosion happens. Now, if Stukov players properly detonate the Lurking Arm right as their enemies are leaving it, they should have a significant benefit when taking this talent.


  • Level 13
    • Saintly Greatstaff [E]
      • Damage increased from 50 to 55.

Developer Comment: Due to an issue with Saintly Greatstaff causing Whitemane’s Basic Attacks to heal for more than intended, we are buffing the talent to compensate for the fix.

Melee Assassin


  • Level 16
    • Cruel Chain [W]
      • New functionality: Umbral Bind grants 25% Movement Speed for 2.5 seconds, and its pull damage is increased by 30% for each tethered target beyond the first, up to 120%.
    • Vengeful Knives [E]
      • New functionality: for 5 seconds after teleporting with Spirit of Vengeance, Fan of Knives will deal 1% maximum Health as bonus damage to enemy Heroes. Increase this damage bonus by an additional 1% for each enemy Hero hit by Spirit of Vengeance.

Developer Comment: While Maiev is a terror in the hands of the more elite portion of our playerbase, we don’t want that to be a reason to not improve talents that we feel could use the help. Cruel Chain and Vengeful Knives have parts of their functionality that didn’t feel particularly impactful, so we’re adding more clear and useful benefits to each of them, which should make them more usable.


  • Level 1
    • Way of Illusion [Q]
      • Quest reward bonus damage increased from 20 to 30.
  • Level 4
    • Deflection [Passive]
      • Armor bonus increased from 30 to 35.

Developer Comment: Samuro’s rework, statistically, has gone very well. His pick and win rates across his talents are in a better spot, and we believe his frustration levels have decreased since the changes. We’re being tame with our initial changes due to some bug fixes that can change how some talents pan out over the long haul. While we wait, we wanted to buff a couple underperforming talents that shouldn’t be affected by these fixes.

Ranged Assassin


  • Summon Demon Warrior [W]
    • Basic Attack damage increased from 30 to 35.
    • Damage per second to nearby enemies increased from 16 to 18.
  • All Shall Burn [E]
    • Periodic damage per second increased from 120 to 128.
    • Final explosion damage increased from 320 to 340.

  • Level 4
    • Battleborn [Passive]
      • Additional functionality: Reduce the Mana cost of Summon Demon Warrior from 25 to 20.
  • Level 7
    • Bombardment [Q]
      • Empowered Basic Attacks duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds.
    • Master of Destruction [E]
      • Bonus Annihilation per Hero hit increased from 3 to 4.

Developer Comment: Azmodan’s been in a decent spot in regards to his talent diversity for some time, but he has been slightly underperforming compared to other heroes as a whole. We’re giving him some buffs to his base kit and to a couple underperforming talents, which should help players feel better about having the Lord of Sin on their team.


  • Level 1
    • Malicious Intent [E]
      • Spellpower bonus increased from 20% to 25%.
  • Level 16
    • Animosity [W]
      • Bonus duration increased from .5 seconds to 1 second.
      • No longer increases the duration of Lightning Nova as a result of Basic Attacking enemy Heroes.
      • Additional functionality: Increase the maximum bonus damage of Lightning Nova from 30% to 36%.

Developer Comment: Mephisto’s talents are in a much better place since our last changes, but Malicious Intent and Animosity were underperforming so we’re giving them some buffs.


  • Level 10
    • Ravenous Spirit [R2]
      • Damage increased from 108 to 115.

Developer Comment: Yep.


  • Level 1
    • Growing Nightmare [E]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the damage of Dread’s explosion by 25%.
      • Now shows Crit kickers when hitting 2 or more enemy Heroes.
    • Ancestral Strength [Trait]
      • No longer grants additional Chaos when hitting Stunned, Rooted, Silenced, or Slowed enemy Heroes.
      • Additional functionality: Enemy Heroes who are hit with Overflowing Chaos are Slowed by 20% for 2.5 seconds.
  • Level 4
    • Fright [E]
      • Removed.
    • New talent: Chaotic Assault [Trait]
      • Basic attacks against enemy Heroes while having 3 stacks of Chaos deal an additional 50% bonus damage.
  • Level 16
    • Lurking terror [Active]
      • Additional functionality: If Chomp is cast in this way, then it Slows enemy Heroes hit by 70% for 1 second.

Developer Comment: We’re trying to solve a few issues with Orphea’s current talent tree. Firstly, we’re getting rid of the necessary synergy between Ancestral Strength and Fright, opting to instead bake a more reliable way to Slow enemies into Ancestral Strength. We’re also buffing Growing Nightmare so that it’s the premier E talent in an E build, as well as giving Lurking Terror some love. Ideally, Lurking Terror can now be used as a more unique way to set up Q and W hits on enemies who are far away from Orphea, particularly when combined with Insatiable for quick double W combos.


  • Level 7
    • Particle Accelerator [Q]
      • Maximum bonus damage for enemies hit reduced from 50% to 40%.
      • Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Disruption Pulse by .5 seconds, plus an additional .5 seconds whenever Warp Rift explodes.
    • Tower Defense [E]
      • New functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Photon Cannon by 4 seconds whenever Probius damages an enemy Hero with Disruption Pulse or Warp Rift.
  • Level 16
    • Repulsor [W]
      • Removed.
    • Interference [W]
      • Additional functionality: Enemies that are hit by Warp Rift’s explosion are knocked away from its center.

Developer Comment: We haven’t done many functionality changes to Probius’s talents since his release, so we’re now taking a look at places that could use some design love. We’re targeting Tower Defense and Particle Accelerator as talents that should feel more prominent in their respective builds, as well as removing Repulsor and baking its functionality into Interference, as it wasn’t enough of a stand-alone talent to be worth picking the majority of the time.

Sgt. Hammer

  • Level 4
    • Barricade [W]
      • Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Concussive Blast by 3 seconds.
  • Level 7
    • Pulse Detonation Core [Q]
      • Additional functionality: Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes grant 5 Mana and reduce the cooldown of Spider Mines by 1 second. Increase this bonus to 1.5 seconds while in Siege Mode.

Developer Comment: Both Barricade and Pulse Detonation Core have very low pick rates, so we’re giving them some love, which should hopefully incentivize players to try them out more often.

Bug Fixes

  • Updated missing tooltips in a certain language.

  • Arthas
    • Updated the Deathlord's advanced tooltip description.
  • Deathwing
    • Fixed an issue where Lava Burst's targeting guide range indicator could be shorter than its cast range.
    • Fixed an issue where Deathwing could be affected by Blinds.
  • Samuro
    • Fixed an issue where Casting Image Transmission while selecting an Illusion, could place the ability on the wrong cooldown with Illusion Master.
    • Phantom Pain's bonus damage no longer affects non-Heroic targets.
    • Updated a few tooltip descriptions.
  • Whitemane
    • Fixed an issue where Saintly Greatstaff could be doubling Zeal healing from basic attacks.
by Published on 2019-12-16 08:31 PM

Heroes of the Storm Balance Patch Notes - December 16, 2019

The Toys are Back in Town: Heroes of the Storm 2019 Winter Event
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

It’s not always sunshine, stuffing, and rainbows between the Funtime Pals. It seems Tickle Mephisto has a posable plastic bone to pick with Cuddle Bear Stitches ever since the adorable abomination played a bit too rough during last year’s celebration. Now, the precocious host of last year’s event has settled into slumber and Mephisto has invited you over for another round of games… though he may have a more sinister goal in mind.

Event Dates and Details:

Dust off your dice and round up your friends--the Toys event kicks off at 10:00 am PT on December 16 and will run until the week of March 3, PT.

You’ll embark on the following set of unique quests with the onset of the Toys event, granting awesome 2019 event rewards as you wind your way around the game board for the first time:

  • Have Spacesuit—Will Hunt--Achieve 50 Takedowns in winning games.
    • Rewards: Cute Qhira Spray, Cute Cosmonaut Qhira Portrait
  • Green Tactical Superiority—Kill 200 enemy minions in winning games
    • Rewards: Cute Green Army Raynor Spray, Green Army Team Portrait
  • Thinly Sliced, Please!—Deal 150,000 Hero damage in winning games
    • Rewards: Rampaging Lil’ Butcher Sticker Spray, Cute Lil’ Butcher Portrait
  • More Friends to Have Fun With—Capture 8 Mercenary camps in winning games
    • Rewards: Toy Train Animated Spray, Lil’ Toy Train Portrait
  • Claws Full of Plush—Win 3 games as an Assassin Hero
    • Rewards: Cute Mephisto Spray, Cute Tickle Mephisto Portrait

Tickle Mephisto also has an emoji pack and his favorite green plastic palamino for you to add to your collection after your first time crossing the finish line. Check it out:

This noble steed will be by your side in battle no matter what… unless the base snaps off or it melts in the sun, or something

As with last year’s Toys event, the fun never stops on the Nexus game board. Once you’ve completed the first set of unique quests, you can continue to loop your way around the board, picking up quests and earning additional Loot Chests to your heart’s content.

Peek Inside the Toy Chest:

During this event, all Loot Chests you earn or purchase (except for Hero-specific chests) will be event themed and may contain some Toys-themed loot! Look at what you could unlock in your chests or pick up in the shop:

New Skins:
  • Mephisto:
    • Tickle Mephisto: Hey everybody, it's your favorite buddy Tickle Mephisto! This funtime friend comes with a voice box that plays 5 pre-recorded messages from the hit cartoon! Awesome! WARNING: May develop an insatiable thirst for revenge if exposed to electricity.
    • Grumpy Tickle Mephisto
    • Crazed Tickle Mephisto
    • Shocking Tickle Mephisto
    • Cuddly Tickle Mephisto
    • Unlucky Tickle Mephisto
  • Qhira:
    • Cosmonaut Qhira: While The Cosmonauts franchise is often criticized for not even having a popular TV show based around it, these complaints generally fall on deaf ears to the fans who are too busy actually playing with the toys to care.
    • Commander Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Blazing Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Explorer Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Eternal Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Super Cosmonaut Qhira
  • Deckard Cain:
    • Green Army Deckard Pain
  • Varian:
    • Green Army Commandant Varian
  • Raynor:
    • Green Army Raynor
  • Stitches:
    • Bitter Bear Stitches: There's a monster on the loose, kids... a CUDDLE MONSTER! This fuzzy friend is desperate to prove he's the sweetest snuggle pumpkin in the Funland Pals. Shucks, he'd do just about anything to be the #1 in your heart...
    • Shabby Bear Stitches
    • Fuzzy Bear Stitches
  • Valeera:
    • Galactic Force Valeera: Featuring the actual voice from the hit show, this advanced action figure has brand new space-age joints that allow for fully articulated kung-fu action. Plus, all Valeera's signature jagged metal weapons are included in the box!
    • Proto Force Valeera
  • Dehaka:
    • Ferocious Dehakasaurus Rex: From this summer's blockbuster, Dehakasaurus Rex is on the hunt! With spring-loaded chomping action and patented dino-grasper technology, this beast will tear through playtime like razor-sharp teeth through its prey.
    • X-Treme Dehakasaurus Rex

New Mounts:
  • Toy Train: Choo-choo! This toy train, featured in a popular board game, always has a can-do attitude! Except when it doesn’t. Click on your teammate’s train mount in a game for a fun surprise!
    • Speedy Toy Train
    • Blazing Toy Train
    • Cosmic Toy Train
    • Royal Toy Train
    • Grimrail Toy Train
  • Galactic Lion: Every member of the Cosmic Force forms a permanent and powerful bond with their Force-Beast and never, ever, strays from their battle partner's side. (All figures sold separately. CHOKING HAZARD: contains small parts.)
    • Proto Lion
  • Plush Unicorn: Hooves the Unicorn is the most steadfast friend in the Funtime Pals! Nothing makes her happier than helping out her buddies: Mephisto, Lil' Butcher, Porkchop, Snugglor, Wackie the Wumple, and even sometimes Stitches!
    • Gloomy Plush Unicorn
    • Shabby Plush Unicorn
  • Snowflake: All snowflakes are unique, but not all of them are special. If they were, then none of them would be.
    • Mellow Snowflake
    • Periwinkle Snowflake

And More!
  • This event is also adding a ton of new skins, sprays, emojis, and portraits to the shop.

Choo, choo! All aboard the fun train, kids. Next stop… the Nexus!
by Published on 2019-12-16 06:22 PM

Heroes of the Storm Balance Patch Notes - December 16, 2019
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Heroes of the Storm has just been updated with Hero balance changes! Read on for details.

Quick Navigation:

  • Toys 2 Event Quests
    • Toys 2 is the winter event for Heroes of the Storm running from the week of December 16 to the week of March 3, PST. Roll dice, complete quests, and join Tickle Mephisto on a board game adventure in the Nexus for awesome rewards... and sweet revenge!
  • Loot Chests
    • During the Toys 2 event, all Loot Chests you earn through progression, Heroes Brawl, or by spending gold will be New Toy Loot Chests. (Except Hero-specific Chests, which will remain unchanged.) Most limited-time items shown above have a chance to drop from New Toy Loot Chests only. You can also score Items from previous years’ winter events limited-time loot chests!
  • Balance
    • Gaining Unstoppable now prevents and removes Blinds.

    Developer Comment: We’ve read recent feedback that it is strange that Silences are removed by the Unstoppable behavior, but Blinds are not. While Unstoppable has traditionally been primarily intended to remove effects that cause a hero to not be able to control the movement of their character, this philosophy gets a little grey when it comes to Silences, as heroes can still freely move, but they lose their ability to use movement abilities. In the past we decided that it was better for Silences to be removed, but understand the argument that Blinds are effectively Silences for auto-attack based heroes. We’re trying this change to see how it pans out, as Blinds have traditionally been very powerful forms of soft CC in our game and this can help out heroes that are heavily shut down by them.

  • Experience Globes
    • Heroes who kill Minions with Abilities or Basic Attacks will automatically collect the experience from the Minions.
    • Experience Globes will no longer time out while travelling to a hero.
    • They will still expire if the hero moves out of range of the Experience Globe before it reaches them.
    • Removed a .5 second delay before Experience Globes can be collected.

    Developer Comment: While we’re excited for the experience globes and the increased clarity that they offer in regards to how experience is gained, we’ve read the feedback that it can be too difficult for many heroes to gain the globes. While we think there are some good reasons to keep them as a pick-up only mechanic, we overall agree with the sentiment, and are going to allow heroes who kill Minions to get the experience from them. We still believe that this change will allow for more interesting hero interactions overall, and are excited to see how it pans out over the course of the rest of the season. We’re also including some quality of life changes that should make Experience Globes feel generally better to collect.


Many seasonal items will be returning to the Collection, and will be available for crafting and in Loot Chests for a limited time!

New Bundles (Limited Time Only!)
  • Toys 2019 Bundle
  • Toys 2018 Bundle
  • Cosmonaut Qhira Bundle
  • Tickle Mephisto Bundle
  • Green Army Bundle
  • Train Bundle

New Skins
  • Tickle Mephisto
    • Grumpy Tickle Mephisto
    • Crazed Tickle Mephisto
    • Shocking Tickle Mephisto
    • Cuddly Tickle Mephisto
    • Unlucky Tickle Mephisto
  • Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Commander Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Blazing Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Explorer Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Eternal Cosmonaut Qhira
    • Super Cosmonaut Qhira
  • Green Army Deckard Pain
  • Green Army Commandant Varian
  • Green Army Raynor
  • Bitter Bear Stitches
  • Shabby Bear Stitches
  • Fuzzy Bear Stitches
  • Galactic Force Valeera
  • Proto Force Valeera
  • Ferocious Dehakasaurus Rex
  • X-Treme Dehakasaurus Rex

New Mount
  • Toy Train
    • Speedy Toy Train
    • Blazing Toy Train
    • Cosmic Toy Train
    • Royal Toy Train
    • Grimrail Toy Train
  • Galactic Lion
  • Proto Lion
  • Gloomy Plush Unicorn
  • Shabby Plush Unicorn
  • Mellow Snowflake
  • Periwinkle Snowflake

New Content
  • New portraits, sprays and other items have been added to the collection!




  • Level 10
    • Locust Swarm [R1]
      • Damage increased from 62 to 68.
      • Healing increased from 21 to 24.
  • Level 16
    • Debilitation [E]
      • Spellpower reduction duration increased from 4 to 5 seconds.
    • Beetle, Juiced [Trait]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the Health of Beetles by 20%.

Developer Comment: These buffs are to some of Anub’arak’s talents that have been lagging behind their competitors for some time. Beetle, Juiced in particular should now be more consistent in its benefit to round out a Beetle-oriented build, even if Anub’arak isn’t able to get a lot of Basic Attacks off on enemy Heroes.


  • Surging Fist [Q]
    • Channel time to charge maximum distance reduced from 4 to 2 seconds.

  • Level 1
    • Calloused Hide [Trait]
      • Additional functionality: While Ogre Hide is active, Cho gains 15% Movement Speed.
  • Level 7
    • Enraged Regeneration [Trait]
      • Additional functionality: While Gall’s Ogre Rage is active, enemy Heroes who are hit by Gall’s Dread Orb have their Healing reduced by 35% for 4 seconds.
  • Level 13
    • Twilight Veil [Active]
      • Armor bonus increased from 100% to 200%.

Developer Comment: It’s been awhile since our Old God worshipping Ogre has had some love, so we’re both buffing up some of Cho’s weaker talents as well as reducing the time that Surging Fist needs to be channeled in order to get a significant charge. This should help make Cho’s Q build more viable as well as allow him to better reposition himself during teamfights.


  • Health reduced from 2700 to 2625.
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 5.625 to 5.469.
  • Condemn [W]
    • Damage reduced from 58 to 55.

Developer Comment: Johanna’s become a dominant force in the tanking world, and is currently the #1 most picked hero at high level play. Because of this, we’re slightly reducing her Health, as well as reverting her previous Condemn buff.



  • Health reduced from 3200 to 2920.
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 6.67 to 6.08.
  • Incinerate [W]
    • Damage reduced from 85 to 80.
  • Onslaught [E]
    • Damage reduced from 42 to 40.
    • Damage at the end of the lunge reduced from 80 to 75.
  • Cataslysm [R]
    • Periodic damage reduced from 12 to 11.

  • Level 1
    • Draconic Might [Trait]
      • Healing reduced from 40% to 30%.
  • Level 7
    • Skyfall [E]
      • Healing reduced from 5% to 3% maximum Health.
  • Level 10
    • Burn Beneath My Shadow [R1]
      • Bonus damage reduced from 150% to 100%.
  • Level 16
    • Elementium Plating [Active]
      • Shield amount reduced from 35% to 30% missing Health.

Developer Comment: It turns out that Deathwing has lived up to his name, and has been destroying the Nexus since his release. Cataclysm and Burn Beneath My Shadow in particular have proven to be incredibly powerful, so we’re reducing their effectiveness by a fairly significant amount. In addition to these changes, we’re reducing the power of some overperforming talents as well as slightly nerfing his Destroyer form. Even with these changes, we expect Deathwing to continue to be a powerful addition to any team that he’s on.


  • Level 1
    • Rolling Thunder [Q]
      • New functionality: [Passive] Increase the number of Chain Lightning bounces by 1. For 8 seconds after hitting an enemy with Chain Lightning, Thrall’s next Basic Attack against them grants him a stack of Frostwolf Resilience. If the target is an enemy Hero, then he also deals damage to them equal to 2% of their maximum Health and healing for the same amount.

Developer Comment: Echo of the Elements and Crash Lightning are both fairly solid talents that have different use cases for when to pick them. Rolling Thunder has been less successful, so we’re trying something new with the talent. We’re still keeping its theme of marking targets with Chain Lightning and then hitting them for a bonus, but now this bonus will allow Thrall to deal bonus damage to enemy Heroes while also interacting with Frostwolf Resilience.


  • Level 20
    • Frenzy [R3]
      • No longer increases Varian’s Attack Speed by 15%.
      • Additional functionality: Increase the damage of Heroic Strike by 25%.

Developer Comment: We weren’t super happy with the power of Frenzy’s buff, as well as that it asked Varian players to learn a new Basic Attack cadence after being used to one speed the whole game. Instead, we’re turning the Attack Speed bonus into a bonus to his damage over time by buffing Heroic Strike instead.


  • Level 1
    • Dauntless [Passive]
      • Physical Armor duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds.
  • Level 7
    • Holy Avenger [E]
      • Additional functionality: Hitting an enemy Hero with Avenging Wrath at maximum charge also increases its damage by 25%.
  • Level 16
    • Templar’s Verdict [W]
      • Damage increased from 6% to 7% maximum Health.
    • Divine Favor [Trait]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1.5 to 2 seconds.
    • Holy Wrath [Passive]
      • Bonus splash damage increased from 20% to 30%.
  • Level 20
    • Word of Glory [R1]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the amount that Yrel heals from damage received from 50% to 75%.
      • Range of allied healing increased from 8 to 12.

Developer Comment: These changes are mostly looking to buff Yrel’s late-game by adding more power to her Level 16 talents. We want her to be more relevant without dominating the solo lane too much, so we’re opting to make her Level 16 tier to be an exciting spike for her to hit in her games.



  • Level 10
    • Resurrect [R1]
      • Resurrected Hero’s Health increased from 50% to 100%.
      • Delay before resurrection reduced from 5 to 3 seconds.
      • Additional functionality: Auriel can now see her own ghost. If she presses R while dead, she will cast Resurrect on herself.

Developer Comment: We’re trying some fairly significant buffs to Resurrect in order to help it better compete with Crystal Aegis. Auriel can now Resurrect herself, which should help if she is the focus of the enemy team, and her targets will now come back faster and with all of their Health.


  • Level 1
    • Greater Polymorph [W]
      • Adjusted functionality: Increase Polymorph’s range by 30%. If Brightwing hits an enemy Hero with Arcane Flare’s center within 2 seconds of being Polymorphed, then reduce Polymorph’s cooldown by 7 seconds and gain 50 Mana.

Developer Comment: Our last changes to Brightwing have better rounded out her talents, however Greater Polymorph was a little too hard to consistently proc. Instead of requiring her to hit a Polymorphed target, she now has a slightly larger window of time to get the cooldown reduction proc. We’re also increasing the cooldown reduction bonus from 6 to 7 seconds.


  • Health reduced from 2156 to 2075.
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 4.49 to 4.32.

  • Level 20
    • Bulwark of Light [R1]
      • New functionality: Divine Shield is also applied to an allied Hero with the lowest Health near its initial target, and its duration is increased by 1 second.
    • Divine Hurricane [R2]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 20 to 40 seconds.
    • Divine Protection [Trait]
      • New functionality: Increase Devotion’s Armor to 40, and its duration by .5 seconds.

Developer Comment: Uther is in a bit of a strange spot at the moment, as he has recently had a spike in his win rate, and at higher level play we’ve been seeing him flexed into the main tank role. We think it’s pretty cool that heroes can sometimes splash into other roles, but in general Uther is overperforming, so we’re lowering his Health a bit. On an unrelated note, similar to Greymane, Uther’s Level 20 talents have long been dominated by one choice, in this case Redemption. We’re giving the other talents on the tier some significant buffs so that they can better compete. We hope that this won’t increase his win rate significantly as Redemption has always been a fairly powerful talent, and are prepared to make adjustments if this ends up not being the case.

Melee Assassin


  • Health increased from 1650 to 1725.
  • Health regeneration increased from 3.44 to 3.59.

  • Level 16
    • Fiery Brand [Passive]
      • Damage increased from 8% to 9% maximum Health.

Developer Comment: It’s just a little more Health on Illidan. What could go wrong?


  • Basic Attack damage reduced from 110 to 102.
  • Mirror Image [Q]
    • Cooldown reduced from 18 to 14 seconds.
    • Duration reduced from 18 to 8 seconds.
    • Images now have their duration increased by 1 second each time they or Samuro use a Basic Attack against an enemy Hero.
    • Mirror Image Basic Attack damage increased from 9 to 11.
  • Wind Walk [E]
    • Additional functionality: Samuro is healed for 1% of his maximum Health every second that he has Wind Walk active.
  • Image Transmission [Trait]
    • Cooldown reduced from 25 to 14 seconds.

  • Level 1
    • Way of the Blade [W]
      • Physical Armor reduction reduced from 10 to 5, stacking up to 3 times.
      • Physical Armor debuff duration increased from 2 to 2.25 seconds.
      • Additional functionality: Mirror Images now also apply the Physical Armor reduction.
    • Way of the Wind [E]
      • No longer grants cooldown reduction to Wind Walk when attacking enemy Heroes.
      • Additional functionality: Casting Windwalk heals Samuro for 5% of his maximum Health.
  • Level 7
    • Burning Blade [W]
      • Fixed an issue where Illusions did not deal bonus splash damage with Burning Blade when Illusion Master was picked.
    • Phantom Pain [W]
      • Bonus damage reduced from 45% to 35%.
      • Additional functionality: Now also reduces the cooldown of Image Transmission by 10% when Samuro Critical Strikes an enemy Hero.
    • Crushing Blows [W]
      • No longer gives Critical Strike 2 charges.
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1.75 to 2 seconds.
      • Additional functionality: Critical Strikes against enemy Heroes increase Samuro's Basic Attack damage by 15% for 4 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.
  • Level 10
    • Bladestorm [R1]
      • Cooldown reduced from 110 to 25 seconds.
      • Damage reduced from 47 to 36.
      • Duration reduced from 4 to 3 seconds.
      • Removed functionality: Bladestorm no longer grants Unstoppable.
      • Additional functionality: Bladestorm now also grants Samuro 25 Armor for its duration.
    • Illusion Master [R2]
      • Cooldown reduced from 10 to 8 seconds.
  • Level 13
    • Mirrored Steel [Q]
      • Cooldown reduction reduced from 1 to .75 seconds.
  • Level 20
    • Dance of Death [R1]
      • Damage increased from 25% to 30%.
      • Additional functionality: If Samuro hits enemy Heroes at least 25 times with Bladestorm, then reset its cooldown.
    • Three Blade Style [R2]
      • Mirror Image duration reduced from 36 to 16 seconds.

Developer Comment: These changes are intended to limit Samuro’s split-pushing capabilities, particularly with Illusion Master, as well as increase his presence in teamfights. A good Samuro player can be a bit of a pain to deal with, particularly when he’s spending most of his time macroing and not engaging with the enemy team except to swap to a far away clone. These changes should make this scenario happen less often, while also giving Samuro more rewarding tools for engaging and fighting the enemy team.

Ranged Assassin


  • Level 1
    • Keep Moving! [Z]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the Movement Speed bonus of Shove from 25% to 35%.
    • We See You! [Passive]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the number of Basic Attacks required to kill Eye of Kilrogg by 1.
  • Level 7
    • Edge of Madness [Q]
      • Bonus damage increased from 8% to 12% per stack.
  • Level 13
    • Twilight Nova [W]
      • Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Dread Orb by 1 second.
  • Level 16
    • Leaden Orb [W]
      • Stun duration increased from .75 seconds to 1 second.
    • Shadowsnare [Passive]
      • New functionality: All of Gall’s Basic Abilities Slow enemy Heroes by 15% for 4 seconds. This effect can stack up to 2 times.

Developer Comment: Similar to Cho, we took a look at Gall and we’re giving him some talent love. The buffs to Leaden Orb and Shadowsnare should hopefully cascade into other talents in his tree becoming more powerful as well.


  • Level 7
    • Incendiary Elixir [Q]
      • Adjusted functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Gilnean Cocktail by 2 seconds. Upon quest completion, reduce the cooldown of Gilnean Cocktail by an additional 2 seconds.
  • Level 20
    • Unleashed [R1]
      • New functionality: Increase the damage of Go for the Throat by 25%. If Go for the Throat kills an enemy Hero, reset the cooldown of all of Greymane’s abilities.
    • Gilnean Roulette [R2]
      • New functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Cursed Bullet by 20 seconds and its damage to 30% of the enemy Hero’s current Health.
    • Tooth and Claw [Trait]
      • Additional functionality: Increase the damage of Razor Swipe by 100%.

Developer Comment: For Greymane, we’re giving part of Incendiary Elixir’s cooldown reduction bonus baseline so that the talent gives him some baseline power, as well as making it easier for him to complete the quest. In addition to this change, we’re addressing his Level 20 talent diversity, which has not been the best. We’re giving 3 of his talents significant buffs so that they can compete with Hunter’s Blunderbuss, which has traditionally been the go-to option. Unleashed now makes it easier to proc Go for the Throat, as well as causing those procs to give him significantly more mobility and damage due to resetting his cooldowns. For Gilnean Roulette, we’re trying the idea of the talent changing Cursed Bullet to be more like a 4th Basic Ability that can be used multiple times in a teamfight or as a potent poke tool. Finally, Tooth and Claw is now also turning Razor Swipe into a significant source of damage.


  • Level 1
    • Thing of the Deep [Passive]
      • Spell Power bonus reduced from 10% to 5% for each quest completion.

Developer Comment: We went a little overboard with Thing of the Deep, so we’re pulling back on the Spell power bonus that it provides.


  • Level 16
    • Jagged Barbs [Trait]
      • Attack damage bonus increased from 30% to 40%.

Developer Comment: Yay buffs.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue where enemy XP Globes could be visible through fog of war.
  • Fixed an issue where placed and unplaced accounts could not queue together in Unranked games.
  • Current Ranked Season has been renamed to 2020 Season 1.
  • Seasonal reward portraits for 2019 Season 3 now have the year 2019 (rather than 2020) on them.

  • Samuro
    • Critical Strikes' bonus is now properly applied for 50% increased damage when cast with Merciless Strikes.
  • Whitemane
    • Casting Zeal no longer interrupts channeled effects.
by Published on 2019-12-09 02:01 AM

Heroes of the Storm AMA - December 5, 2019 Recap

  • Deathwing was meant to be the first Mythic hero, hence the 20k gold cost.
  • More heroes are in development.
  • Will we ever see another Overwatch hero? Yes.
  • The Tassadar rework is being finalized, with a Soon(TM) release date.
  • D.Va's rework is still a ways out. The rework will address some fantasy mismatch between her Heroes and Overwatch iterations.
  • Deathwing did not release with an alternative skin due to it not being ready yet. It is in the works though.
  • Destroyer Brightwing was floating around as an idea for years, but the idea was to wait until Deathwing happened.
  • The Butcher is in the spotlight to make him more generally usable.
  • Qhira is untargetable during Revolving Sweep due to weird interactions with other heroes' movement abilities. Playtesting had several incidents, such as Qhira and Chen targeting each other at the same time and then flying off the map together.
  • Lilith would be cool to have in the game, but the team does not want to steal the Diablo team's thunder with her.
  • Chromie had a heroic ability to slow down everyone else on the map during development.

Storm League
  • Seasonal rewards will be adjusted going forward, and communication about potential rewards will be more accurate.
  • Loss-forgiveness is in limbo at the moment due to the current leaver penalty system.
  • Active performance-based matchmaking won't happen anymore, but the system is still passively gathering data about players and their actions. The team is aiming to present this data to players in the post-game score screen to help highlight areas where players are doing well and areas where they can improve.
  • Storm League rank will be added to replay files in the future.

  • Brawl mode will likely be replaced with a full-blown ARAM mode in the future.
  • Other brawls may make a return as seasonal events in the future.
  • Non-ARAM brawls are very expensive for the team to maintain.
  • Azmodan and Chromie are available in ARAM again.

  • The team will continue iterating on the XP globes Nexus Anomaly in future updates.
  • An open API is not likely to happen due to data protection regulations, but the team is looking into releasing balance and winrate info at specific intervals.
  • Spectator mode is still on the table.
  • The team would love to add ingame notifications for player reports resulting in action, but other things in development have been taking precedent.
  • During pre-alpha, the game had a Hero Buyback system where you could swap heroes mid-match.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
with nexus anomalies, how are you going to balance heroes? when the anomaly ends, if the trial game mechanic is not kept, will balance changes made to heroes during the anomaly be rolled back?
Hey superjasegive! We’re still super early on nexus anomalies, and we’re not done with iterating on this pass, as it’s only been live for a few days. In regards to balance, this will depend on the specific heroes and on the anomalies themselves. Each situation will likely be incredibly different, so I’m hesitant to give a blanket statement on how we would tackle every possible scenario. However, to give you a real answer, I will say this:
  • We’re aware of anomalies sometimes impacting heroes, and we don’t plan to leave them in the dust if it’s seriously detrimental to their performance.
  • There is often an initial reaction that the sky is falling when a big change happens. While it’s easy to theorize what will happen, things rarely end up being as huge of an impact as they are initially perceived to be. It’s important on our end to find out what’s really going on, and then to react accordingly
  • In regards to if heroes are balanced around an anomaly and then the anomaly is rolled back, I would say that we’re always balancing heroes based on the current state of the game and what’s going on. If that state changes, due to an anomaly being rolled back, a meta shift, or any other reason, then the game’s balance will move forward accordingly based on the new state of the game. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

What are your thoughts and plans regarding Abathur's Locust? Surely the team can't be happy with the current state of it and its talents. Were ideas discussed that didn't have time to get implemented before the nexus anomaly?
Hey Pscythic, thanks for the question! I think that saying that Abathur’s locust trait serves absolutely no purpose is a bit of a hyperbole, but I understand the sentiment. I largely agree with you, and I think since the removal of tower ammo they have had a less clear role in the game, and that they can use a change to make them feel like a better, more effective part of Abathur’s kit. I’ve made a note to think on it. Thanks for the post! (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are you able to comment on the lack of season rewards ? A large emphasis was placed on reaching the 50 win threshold to unlock these season end rewards.
Late response here, sorry about that. We hear your feedback on the lack of meaningful ranked season rewards. This was our first jaunt into the new quest-like progress in Storm League, and we intend to tweak them season-over-season based on our experiences and your feedback. We will discuss ways we can include things we all love and covet like mounts in the rewards moving forward, and I hear that another part of the concern here was that we did not communicate the rewards (or lack thereof) well. Noted, and we'll do better. Thanks for the feedback here, and please keep chiming in as we tweak this stuff to let us know the kinds of things you'd be excited to see in the reward track. Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Is the official (statistics) API still a possibility?
Hi! I replied in another thread on this, but see this one is much more specific with the replay API ask. I don't think we'll be able to send all replays anywhere for you for the same data protection reasons that limited us in our earlier API efforts, so we'll likely still end up in a similar boat with trying to expose expose aggregate balance and winrate info in a more static fashion at specific intervals around game updates.

As for the supporting/partnering and/or promoting HotSAPI/others - we can talk about this. No promises, but I'm in the boat of wanting the community to have this info in the ways we can safely help them get it. (/u/KaeoMilker)

Are there any plans to expand the information stored in replays regarding quests & quest talents?
This is definitely something I would also like to see. I really like people being able to get some good analysis out of replays so if this is something that we can add I will see what I can do! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Have you guys considered adding a spectate mode?
Every day. We even put some time into designing out how it would look. There are a bunch of challenges with it, but it's definitely something we want to do. (/u/Blizz_RyanM)

Right now it is hard to get friends from other Blizzard games into HotS, because the first few heroes take so long to acquire with in-game currency. Could we award heroes for players' activity in other Blizzard games?
Hi, /u/jjp3! We try to create many opportunities for new players to jump in and get access to heroes that they want to play, including several of these types of cross-game rewards (mostly tied to game ownership) which are still active in-game. I love these kinds of things and will encourage the team to revisit these rewards in search of more ways to help bring in friends from other Blizzard games. We’ll see what we can do! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Hi everyone! Who led the Brightwing as Deathwing troll and did they get a raise?
I think that was our Art Director Trev and I don't have access to his pay information. We're close but not sharing pay stubs close. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

I gave him some Gems, we good. (/u/KaeoMilker)
May I ask, is the art director still is our beloved legendary Samwise Didier?
Trevor Jacobs has been art directing Heroes for several years and is the driving force behind our team delving into all these varied event and skin themes. Trev is a 20+ year Blizzard veteran who worked closely with Sammy for most of that time and he has contributed to our games all the way back to Warcraft II!! He's also super fun to be around and an awesome partner in making amazing things...basically, he completes me. (/u/KaeoMilker)

Any plans to release Official API?
Greetings, /u/DemisodaLemon! We’ve been talking about a data API for Heroes for YEARS and at times have even made strides on bringing it to you. Unfortunately, those initiatives hit hurdles with everything from data compliance complexities (GDPR has been fun!) to prioritization against other game features and have lost steam over the years.

In the absence of the actual API, we’ve discussed exposing official winrates and stats alongside updates that are more balance- and gameplay-centric, and that is something I’d still be open to exploring if you think it gives you a portion of what you’re looking for? (/u/KaeoMilker)

Why can Sonya use E to pull herself to. Deathwing, but Qhira can't use E to pull herself to Deathwing?
Qhira's E (Revolving Sweep) is a special case scenario for becoming disconnected from Unstoppable targets that we found was the most elegant solution to several issues we were having during Qhira's development. Story time!

It all started a long time ago when we were currently working on the Chen rework and Qhira was in development at the same time. During a playtest game we had a Qhira on one team and a Chen on the other. During the middle of the game in a heated team fight, Qhira used her Revolving Sweep on Chen and Chen used his Flying Kick on Qhira. Suddenly, Chen and Qhira both blasted off into the sky and disappeared off the map. Laughter erupted throughout the bullpen as everyone wondered what they just witnessed. This happened because of the way Qhira's Revolving Sweep moves her around her target. It is constantly and instantaneously updating her position. Chen was never able to resolve his Flying Kick movement, and since he has a bit of elevation to it they would fly into the sky.

As more playtests came, we started finding this issue more and more. Kerrigan would leap to Qhira during Revolving Sweep and the same thing would happen. Varian's Charge. Cassia's Fend. Illidan's Dive. The list went on and on. Clearly fixing each of these on a case by case basis would take a significant amount of time and effort and would probably still not cover all of the possible scenarios.

This led us to making Qhira untargetable during her Revolving Sweep -- if she can't be targeted then no other Heroes can use weird movement abilities on her and none of this will happen, right? Well, no. In the rare case that Chen kicks Qhira while she is casting Revolving Sweep, the same problem will happen. Ok, no big deal, we can stun the target too, that way it knocks them out of any kind of movement ability they're doing! Except for if they... are unstoppable. So in that case, the best thing to do is just not let her Revolving Sweep hit an unstoppable target.

We explored many different solutions to this problem. We tried changing the way her movement worked, we tried adding special cases for all of the major movement issues that we could find (a very time consuming process I might add), but ultimately there would always be additional bugs and problems that would appear as a result of those changes. Each hero had a different special case that had to be setup in a different way. We found that the simplest and least bug-prone way of fixing Revolving Sweep was to do exactly what I described above. Become untargetable, stun the target, and pass through unstoppable targets.

This actually meant we had to make significant balance changes to the rest of her kit to compensate for this huge power that was just added to this ability. In the end, we felt that since Revolving Sweep is Qhira's most awesome ability in the first place, it was ok for us to make these power adjustments and balance around it in other places. We also felt that becoming Unstoppable added a level of counter-play to the ability that was somewhat lacking before, as well. (/u/BlizzKyle)

Any traction on getting Storm League rank added to the replay files? Would help Heroes Profile out a lot, on top of allowing us to provide a better service to the Amateur Leagues
Hi there! I looked into this and it is possible to do. I wasn't able to get it in for this release but would love to get some time aside to see if this can go in soon. (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Can you give us more transparency as far as what goes into reporting players and how those situations are handled? I would like it if you could be as specific as you can so I know you're not just tossing bullshit at us.
Hi, /u/silly_walks_! It’s super important that you report players, when appropriate, as we action accounts daily based on a combination of player reports and detected behaviors. This results in thousands upon thousands of players receiving punishments in the form of everything from brief silences to permabans.

I can’t go into specifics on the thresholds, timing, and methods we use as that info simply arms offenders with ways to circumvent them, but we agree that giving you more feedback on your reports would be beneficial. We’ve done some tests with email confirmations that players on reddit have commented on and would still really like to have in-game notifications a la Overwatch as well, though we are constantly prioritizing the work we want to do on the game and that confirmation work has been losing out to broader game-impacting initiatives. Please keep reporting, and keep giving us feedback on how we can make that system and visibility on it better! (/u/KaeoMilker)

When a Hero is killed while a Damage Over Time effect is on them, could the Death Recap be updated to feature the total potential damage that could have happened to them?
This is something we can definitely look into doing. Thanks for the suggestion. :) (/u/BlizzKyle)

If you can answer, what is the day-to-day goings on like as part of the Heroes Dev Team?
I uh... roll in to work, get some water, answer emails, pull up the ol ZBrush, Modo, Max the Editor and Photoshop and get to makin cool stuff. Do the mentoring thing if needed. Every other day or so I participate in a playtest and attend meetings I'm invited to. Rinse then repeat. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Yep, That's pretty accurate for me, except with less modelling and more fire and sparkles... but mostly i'm just waiting for someone to bring donuts and/or cake. (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

What is one thing that keeps you excited about your role or your craft day over day? (Love you guys!)
I really enjoy putting the bells and whistles on the work of everyone that comes before me in the pipeline. Modelling, Animation, Design etc. It's super satisfying to see a piece of art come together, and since VFX is near the end of the dev process I get to help put the icing on the cake and see everyone's reactions when they finally see the finished product. #GGOG (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

What to you is the ultimate goal behind balance patches? Is the goal to strive for some perfectly balanced ideal, or is some sort of change from time to time to keep things fun and diversified more of a priority?
Hey Cheesecakegod, great question! With the balance patch changes over the last year or so, I’ve had a pretty strict philosophy to them that I’m fairly passionate about. Here are some of the major things that we strive for with every balance patch:

  • The ultimate goal of the balance patches is to make the game more fun. This sounds like a very basic concept, but there’s a lot of specific actions that we take to make this happen. When it comes down to deciding between two difficult choices, asking this basic question is a guiding star for decision making.
  • Buffs and design changes are more fun than simple nerfs. As much as possible, we try to make heroes feel better when changing them, not worse.
  • In every patch we try to put in at least 1-2 design changes that are super crazy/exciting. There should be something in each patch that you read the note and go “no way that’s so busted, I’m going to break the game with this”.
    • This has been a change from how we used to do things. We didn’t really used to do this due to the fear of making something incredibly unbalanced, but nowadays we have more embraced the view that it’s better to create more exciting changes to the game than to never try, and if we mess up then we’ll fix it down the road. So far this has worked very well, as we haven’t had any huge blowouts due to changes in balance patches over the last year.
  • Hitting the right balance between player perception and reality is important.
    • If Hero A is being picked and banned in every game and the playerbase is begging for changes to them, but is at a 46% win rate, and Hero B is totally under the radar but is at a 58% win rate, it can be easy to fall into the trap of buffing Hero A and nerfing Hero B by balancing strictly on win rates. The real situation is much more nuanced than that, and in these situations we look for design-related solutions. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

It has been nearly 2 years since Kaeo has stated that performance based MMR is something targeted to return when the time is right. Is this still a possibility or has that project been sidelined into oblivion at this point?
That Kaéo guy!! So where we last left this system is that it’s still on in the background gathering data about player performance. What we really want to do with it is use that data to power a post-game scorecard feature that gives players detailed info on how they played their hero, on that map, vs. other players of similar skill in an attempt to highlight not only areas that they are performing well, but more importantly areas that they should focus on improving (and how). We have some really cool designs for this and would love to bring the feature to the game, but don’t currently have an ETA for it. Thanks for the question, /u/MisterSadPanda and I hope you aren’t even moar sad now… (/u/KaeoMilker)

What was the craziest thing you tested/developed, and then scrapped before us players got to see it?
In one of the the first iterations of Chromie she had a heroic ability that slowed time for every other unit in the game. It was pretty wild.

In general it isn't uncommon to create and discard 10 or more abilities before landing on the final kit. Same goes for talents. It's a lot of work, but it's my favorite part of the process. (/u/BlizzKGu)

My favorite was when we had the Hero Buyback system. This was wayyyyyyyyy back in the day, pre Alpha, when we had Gold, before the talent system that we have today. Basically you could spend a relatively small amount of Gold, and at any time during the game you could completely switch your hero.

Entire metas were based around this, where, for example, you could play as Zagara in the beginning stages of the game to bully your opponent, then switch to Valla or Zeratul midway through for a power spike, then in the end game go to someone tanky like Arthas for the final few teamfights. Entire metas were developed around this, and we actually had it in for a long time. It was wild.

Edit: Oh, and we once had a map that was entirely circular, with both Cores in the middle left and right parts of the map. It was appropriately called Crazy Town. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

With so much of art, and especially art for a larger video game company like Blizzard, being digital nowadays, not to mention how flexible the tools are, do you still have any preference for physical media? Do you still do art on the side for fun?
These days my usual at home medium is crayons, colored pencils and markers on an assortment of Disney princess coloring books... Sometimes I even let my daughter join me! (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Pencils and Pens are my go to. I do art on the side for fun but not as much as I would like. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Please tell us how this amazing bad dragon skin came to be? Who came up with this idea? And why Brightwing (myself) is the real deathwing?
The idea for the Destroyer Brightwing skin has been kicked around for a very long time. Lots of people had the idea but I'm not sure who had it first. I think when it was proposed the team imposed the stipulation that it would only come out if we were able to get Deathwing into the nexus. So there you go.

You'll always be the real Deathwing to me. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Tell us a lie!
/u/Blizz_KinaBREW refuses to soak lanes and never goes bot. (/u/Blizz_Thomas)
100% (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

What's the deal with the little guy that is just below the Tomb of the Spider Queen right-side top-lane fort gate? Little guy gets brutally slaughtered just as soon as the game starts, but I think he deserves to live on.
This is where feeders go to die... for eternity. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

I would like to know why you think he deserves to live on. What do you know?! (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Do you have any questions for us?
Why do you play the heroes/game modes that you play? What stops you playing the heroes/game modes that you don't play? (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Pineapple on pizza? (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Is there a hero that you aren't good at but you really like to play anyways? Why? (source)

Experience globes significantly encourage "freezing" lanes to deny experience. How does the team feel about this becoming a common strategy due to this Nexus Anomaly? Is it good, is it bad, is it different, what's up?
Hey Pscythic! Great question. I think the answer is a bit complicated, so I’ll try to give my views on it in as simple of a way as possible. Hopefully nothing gets misinterpreted! I’ll start with a few declarative statements. I’ll clarify that these are just my point of view, and not necessarily those of everyone on the team, so I wouldn’t take this as gospel:
  • I think lane manipulation is and always has been a part of our game, particularly at the higher levels. There are micro instances where it’s a good idea to let enemy minions hit you in front of your tower to make the waves crash near your tower in order to gain advantages like enabling a gank by a nearby teammate or to soak safely in a bad match up.
  • I don’t believe that being encouraged to freeze a lane ever is a terrible thing for the game. However, I do believe that if this is happening all the time at all stages of the game that it is a problem, largely due to encouraging too much passive play when we want our game to be about aggression.
  • In our experience, the experience globes haven’t universally motivated passive play. In general, they have motivated more aggressive play and more interesting combat, as both sides are trying to get a better position so that they can collect the experience globes for themselves.
  • Our game is very differently paced from other MOBAS due to a variety of factors. I’ve seen the narrative that two people are just going to sit near their minions and do nothing while they collect XP, but, at least in my mind, our games just don’t play out that way. We have multiple 2, 3, and 4 man rotations on nearly all of our maps happening at different points of the game, we have map objectives that heavily encourage teams to fight 4v4 or 5v5 depending on the map and game state, and we have mercenary camps that add another layer of depth to where heroes should be positioned on the map at any given point and time. All of these factors heavily disrupt the idea of being able to sit in a lane for multiple minutes on end while doing nothing but soaking XP. Because of this, I don’t believe that due to this change that the optimal play for all 5 members of each team is going to be to sit near minions and collect globes. If I’m wrong and this kind of passive play does dominate proper gameplay, then we would make changes to ensure that it isn’t the case anymore.

Overall I would say that yes, this is a big change to the game, and it’s something that we are going to iterate on, and, like all changes to our game, it’s something that we can remove, keep, or only keep the best parts depending on how it pans out. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are there any other heroes in development?
Yes. (/u/BlizzKGu)

I wanted to ask you guys about the recent Deathwing spotlight. Was this something that you guys brought Cloaken in for specifically? I know a lot of folks were even guessing that it may have been pre-recorded. Any plans to work with Cloaken again in the future?
We love Kevin. We were super happy to be able to ask him to reprise his beloved role as the voice of our spotlight videos. We're happy that he said yes. We would love for him to do it again. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Can you share any information about your plans for ARAM? Plans in general, or specific ideas, anything would be appreciated.
Heya Dsingis. The team has been discussing replacing the existing Brawl mode with dedicated ARAM queue (random ARAM map rather than weekly map rotation). That would mean reworked rewards, ARAM games will likely to contribute towards daily and special events quests credit, and probably some improvements to the hero selection screen (swaps or rerolls maybe?).
Does this mean we would not be seeing any of the other previous Brawls or would those make a return?
Sadly, non-ARAM Brawls are pretty expensive to maintain. We'd love to keep the Brawl mode hidden, and set up something fun there, for a week or two, on special occasions, such as seasonal events. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

A brightwing polymorphed sheep cannot use Mediehv's portal,why not? Since not rooted and got wings and legs.
Because you need thumbs to use his portal, duh. (/u/BlizzKGu)

Aside of improving the AI, there are any plans to implement any loss forgiveness/safe abandonments features for matches with leavers, specially at draft modes?
I agree, there's hardly anything as frustrating as losing Ranked game 4v5. Handling AFK/desertions in Ranked has been a hot topic for years, and we have done a lot of research on that. Loss forgiveness doesn't play along with the current leaver penalty system too well though. We'd like to rework the ranked penalty system at some point, and that will get us into a better spot for adding some insurance against leavers. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

You stated before Deathwing would be a difficult hero to implement into the game, yet here he is. Does this mean that pretty much any character from a Blizzard IP is fair game for being added?
When we answer questions on whether or not a hero would be challenging to make it is usually because we don't yet know definitively whether the Hero would be fun or compelling to play. For example, Reaper in Overwatch shares almost the same kit as Valla. The same could be said about Roadhog and Stitches. It would be difficult to do something that would stand out. This doesn't mean it is an impossible task, just that the answers aren't clear at the time. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Can we get a progress update on improving the AI? The current state is dreadful.
We have a blog post specifically about the state of Heroes AI that the team is currently finishing up. Please stay tuned. (/u/BlizzKGu)

Why was Deathwing gold cost increased to 20k instead of 15k? I wanted to get him on day one so I saved up 15k. Now I have to go farm another 5k to even get him.
Hi, /u/f....yeah! This was something we planned from early in his development to recognize that Deathwing is something truly special in the game on many fronts. Giant Raid Boss! Two ability kits!! DEATHWING!!! For those reasons and many more, the original intention was actually for him to be our first Mythic hero. Those plans happened long ago and got a little lost across his development even internally, so I understand how people feel disappointed that they didn't have the opportunity to save enough gold for him in advance. We should have set that expectation at his announcement and I'm sorry about that. We'll do better communicating about one-offs like this in the future. (/u/KaeoMilker)

[vegan butcher skin?]
This looks pretty fun for sure. The vegetarian/vegan Butcher is a reoccurring idea that comes up from time to time. Great minds think alike am I right? We're not against the idea of this skin. Could be cool to do. We've got a lot of good ideas for Butcher skins as well. Picking the right one, finding a place to drop it and what it would drop with is the harder part. I think a food related pack with a baked potato mount sounds like a win to me. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Can you shine some light on how the Tass and DVa rework are coming along?
Both are coming along nicely! Tass recently got some of his new art FX (courtesy of /u/Blizz_Thomas) and we're pretty much finalizing his balance/design changes. He should be in your hands soon™. Dva is still a ways off, but we're working hard on it! (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Why did Deathwing have no skin at release?
His skin wasn't ready for this year. We have something really cool planed for him though. This is what I'm personally working on at the moment. Please accept The Destroyer Brightwing skin in the meantime as a peace offering. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Are you willing to release the average player count for Heroes? I'm sure a lot of people are curious.
None of you are average, you're all amazing! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Why does the Collection page for Deathwing have a button to switch modes (which changes nothing) while Alexstrasza does not have a button to switch modes (which changes everything)?
Setting up the collection page with additional information about the kit takes up a good amount of time. But if we were to do this with every hero who has some sort of change we would need to do it for Tychus too for his Odin. It would be nice to go back and add these changes to the collection screen. However, the challenge with that is that once something is in the game and out for players to play we are usually well into the next thing or the thing after that thing. Going back to address some of that work can be challenging to our already packed schedule. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

What has been your favorite part about working on Heroes of the Storm?
Working with the amazingly passionate and talented developers on this team, and being able to interact with you guys has been an inspiring and truly unique experience for me. (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Have you thought of making a weird map, like a single-lane map with a real objective (so not just an aram)? Or 5 lanes, to go silly in the other directions?
Yes! Very early in development we experimented with a lot of different map types like 4 lane maps, giant maps with huge jungles and only 2 lanes, etc etc. We learned a lot about how easily macro play could become the dominant strategy and how mount speed/globals should be tuned. I vaguely remember a map that had "waygates" on either side of the map which let you instantly teleport between the two if your team had control of both. We learned very quickly that giving your entire team a Zagara Nydus Canal was a bit OP. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Last question for ya guys, who is the most notorious in the office for being a shameless one-trick?
Kyle really, really likes to play Kel'thuzad and Li-ming, but he also has a pretty wide hero pool.

While people have phases, no one here is really a one-trick. We pretty highly prioritize playing a lot of different heroes so that our playtests are a better representation of what is happening in the live game. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Not really an important issue, but as a D.Va main across both games it always sort of bothered me how in Overwatch D.Va's mech shoots alternating spread shots, like two shotguns, while in Heroes it is animated more like two chainguns, constantly firing projectiles rather than staccato bursts. Is there a technical / design / deliberate reason for this? Not a big problem, I've always just been curious.
That fantasy/mechanical mismatch is something we will be addressing in her upcoming rework :) (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

u/Blizz_Thomas I think Mephisto needs some fix to his Q animation. The skull forms near his hands but the real damage hitbox starts a bit further. My friend often complains about it when he tries to hit a melee hero.
Interesting, I didn't originally work on Mephisto, but I believe the skull forming is just the "tell" that the ability is about to be cast and the damage doesn't begin until the skull starts moving. I will take a look though and see if it can be adjusted to be clearer or if this is an intentional design decision. Thanks for the feedback. (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Can we get a look under the hood at the Match Point breakdown? as in how does one person get 15 points and the other 26 points in the same Bronze 5 win
Hi there! There are a couple of factors involved with this:
- Uncertainty: The more time between games, the less confidence the matchmaker has in your skill rating and so the more it is adjusted
- Dampening: At extreme ratings, we limit the ability to move in a particular direction. This is so we don't get people off in Narnia without the ability to play with anyone
- Bronze 5 Hugeness: Bronze 5 covers a large skill rating and has its own dampening in it as well, so while you are moving the same rating, you might not be moving the same ranked points until you get to Bronze 4.
This last point is something we're taking very seriously and investigating what to do about it. (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Lilith is clearly the most hyped character from Blizzard IPs right now. She got great introduction followed with perfect visual design. It's going to take years before we see her in Diablo 4. Since hots already introduced decent amount of diablo lore, how insanse is the idea of having Lilith in hots before D4 is released?
Lilith is awesome and though we would love to bring her to the Nexus, we think it would be best for the Diablo team to show her off in their game first. Sorry guys, gonna have to wait on that one for a bit. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

I am clearly biased when I ask this, but are there any plans to retune Butcher into baseline Ranked viability while simultaneously nerfing his snowball potential (so he doesn’t simply break QM completely, especially for new players)?
We're currently taking a holistic look at Butcher, focusing especially on ways to make him more "generally" usable and reducing some of the pain points with his baseline quest :) (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Why don't you update all Regions at the same time? I'm just curious!
We want to make sure the game is available to the maximum number of players the maximum amount of time, so we try to make sure we take each region down when the lowest number of players would be playing. When the US has the most people online, Europe has the least and vice versa. There are other factors that affect the time, but that is far and away the biggest reason. (/u/Blizz_RyanM)

You undoubtedly have lots of internal statistics on which you based your hero balancing. Would you mind sharing these statistics? It does not have to be something fancy - for example just posting a spreadsheet here on the subreddit. I might be useful to see how i.e. hero winrates differ from the data available to community through replay analysis.
Hey AnkisCZ! We do use a lot of statistics when looking at balance. However, at this time we don’t have plans to share them publicly. I do share statistics from time to time, but am wary of showing something like a whole spreadsheet of win rates on some specific date. The main reason is because statistics can and almost always are misinterpreted to fit a certain narrative, and it takes lots of stats from different places to put together a complete picture about what’s going on.

For example, in regards to purely win rates the game has almost always been in an excellent spot across the board, yet that hasn’t always felt like the case with player feedback, nor with what they are picking and banning at various levels of play. If we balanced the game purely based on win rates alone, you would see a whole lot of changes that seem to make no sense at all, because they don’t reflect the reality of what players are experiencing.
I can give some broad points about our statistics over the years that I’ve observed:
  • Win rates across the board, especially for talents, are almost always very close. I would say about half the time is the most picked talent the one that’s actually winning the most often.
  • Niche heroes tend to have much higher win rates than others. This is even more impressive if you think about how they often have a negative stigma for not being strong, yet they still win despite that team morale hit that often happens when they are taken.
  • Hero pick and ban rates rarely reflect what’s actually winning, and more often reflect community sentiment on what they believe is strong, or is something that players more generally just don’t want to play against. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Since we got ARAM, both Chromie and Azmodan got reworked. Would you consider enabling them for ARAMs in their current state?
Good news! Azmodan and Chromie are available in ARAM as of the Deathwing patch :) I'll bring up the Varian question in our next design meeting. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Will we ever see another Overwatch hero?
Yes (source)

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