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by Published on 2019-07-20 02:32 PM

Heroes Balance & Movement Speed Change AMA - July 18, 2019 Recap
Below you'll find some of the highlights of Thursday's developer AMA on reddit, along with all the answers given for additional insight, context, and hints for the future of the game. Happy reading!

Movement Speed
  • The game felt a little slower than the team liked after the camera was pulled back in the December 2017 update
  • The movement speed change has been tested internally for 18 months
  • Balance team did not want to preemptively change a lot of things that might end up making the transition worse
  • Balancing of individual skills being affected will continue

Heroes
  • Whitemane rework coming
    • Clemency looks to be going baseline
  • D.Va rework coming
    • Internally she can currently spec into solo-laning, team-support frontlining, and self-destruct/pilot builds
    • Rush-Down is being removed but gaining other speed options to compensate
    • Mech is only slowed while attacking
    • Defense Matrix can be re-targeted while active
    • Big Shot is baseline in Pilot Mode
    • New heroic ability is Micro Missiles
    • Pilot Mode still offers the most damage
  • Samuro changes are being tested internally
    • Clones have a shorter duration which is increased every time they attack
    • No-context change: Bladestorm's cooldown is currently 20 seconds
  • Tyrande's talent pickrates are on the radar
  • Deathwing?
  • Blackthorne is still on the list

Miscellaneous
  • Performance-based matchmaking is not currently a priority, but it's not forgotten
  • Extra loadout slots is not a priority
  • Missing voicelines for certain pings is being looked into


Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Can we make XP much more visible?
Hello GentleTigerson! Funny you should mention this, as we are currently testing some very cool changes internally that will greatly help people realize the importance of XP collection. We are not quite ready to announce exactly what they are, but we are extremely passionate about helping educate the player base as much as possible! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


About Whitemane[...]
Hey there a2xI08! I love playing Whitemane and agree with your assessments here! We have been testing some pretty significant changes to her internally, and they should be hitting the Nexus very soon!

PS - Clemency on her base kit is a great idea! ;) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


The movement changes are fantastic
Glad you are enjoying them! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Could we see more stats see in the target info panel?
Hey Spazzo965 - thanks for being so active on the forums!

I think the entire design team would like to increase the amount of information and stats we are showing players. Finding the best way to do that without causing too much clutter (or analysis paralysis) can get a little bit challenging. We do have some changes coming to the tab-screen statistics soon and look forward to hearing your feedback! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Have you thought about changing Ana's Vampiric Rounds at level 1? Maybe it would be better to count the seconds you maintain 5 doses on someone. Right now you have to let the stacks drop to get them to 5 again for the bonus.
Good morning -Duality, This is a good suggestion - there is definitely some awkwardness having to wait for the stacks to fall off in order to reapply and continue stacking. We will look into it! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Quality of life: Can you make switching between vikings faster and allow switching the order?
Hi Sgtmurder, Just off the top of my head, I think there are technical reasons why this has to be this way, but I think it's something worth looking in to. We've made a number of engine improvements since the original design was implemented, so it's possible that we can tighten things up a bit. No promises though! (/u/Blizz_DWarner)


A recent post here revealed that some heroes' specific speed modificators tied to their unique mounts or movement particularities, were not adjusted to the global 10% increase resulting them in relatively losing speed compared to other heroes[...]
Hey Myrrhia, These Heroes all have unique Movement Speed Modifiers tied to their abilities, we are aware that a few of these Heroes were missed in the recent updates and have plans to update their speeds as well. (/u/Blizz_Shane)


Any planned changes for DVA?
Yes! We're currently iterating on a D.Va rework that I'm personally very excited about. We can't spoil too much, but we would like to call out that we've heard a lot of feedback about D.Va's nebulous identity. In the rework's current state, I would say she can opt into a solo-laner bruiser build, a team-support front-liner build and a pretty ridiculous self-destruct/pilot build, with lots of interactions between these options. In addition to the typical talent shuffles/improvements, there's a host of QOL changes across many parts of her kit including, but not limited to:​
  • D.Va's Mech mode only suffering a movement speed reduction while Basic Attacking or channeling an ability, rather than at all times.
  • Defense Matrix can be re-targeted (with a short cooldown) while it is active.
  • Big Shot (Heroic 2) is now baseline in Pilot mode with re-adjusted stats to compensate. Yes this means there's a new heroic! You'll never guess what it is! It's Micro Missiles.
Is D.Va's [[Rush-Down]] talent going to survive the rework?
The live functionality doesn't exist (shame cause it can be really fun), but similar CDR bonuses can be found elsewhere from two talents. The rework offers much more potential power for Q than she currently has so having a super short CD would be fairly game-breaking.

Pls don't remove Diverting Power!
*power diversion intensifies* (source)


Is (was?) there any discussion about the lvl 20 talents of Zagara ?
Hey -Kishin-!!!!! I like the way you think! I’ve had an idea that I really want to get in. The talent’s called Broodlust, and it’s an activated button that, when pressed, calls down 2-3 Bile Drops around Zagara and then she and the Roaches get an Attack Speed/Movement Speed buff.

If I (or you all…?) can convince Brett to let me make this happen, I can promise it’ll at least make it to the testing phase. :P (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

It's going to take a lot of convincing - Broodlust, come on ;) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


While I'm not against the new movement speed change, I felt that the reasoning for it was brief and vague, given such a huge change. Could you tell us more to why you came to the conclusion that this was a needed change and if there's further plans to balance hero's (skillshots and mobility) around it?
Hello Tyragon! Ever since we pulled the camera out, the game has felt a little bit slower. We had actually begun testing it right after making that change and have been playing with it internally ever since.

All of our design and balance playtests were being played at this speed and every time we would swap back to live, the game just felt a bit...well, slow. Since we were actively balancing Heroes and Reworks with the new speed, we needed to make a call to either slow back down the testing branch or bring the speed increase to live. The team felt like the increased speed made the game more fun overall, so we pulled the trigger and shipped it.

All this said, we are also very aware that there will be some balance fallout from it. We are keeping a close eye on any significant changes in all the Heroes performances, and will definitely make changes as needed!

To clarify my initial statement - the Movement Speed increase has been turned on and off in our Development Branches since we moved the Camera out (hence why I said when we would swap back to live's speed). We are constantly simultaneously testing many different things, and just like any of them it was done in cycles. My comment was meant to show the community that we have had a lot of testing with the change over the past 18 months and were extremely confident in shipping it, not that we were balancing and/or designing the game around it. Large system changes like this require a lot of time and data analysis by the team in order to instill confidence. My apologies for any confusion my original comment may have caused - have a great day! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


How has the speed change affected Nazeebos spiders?
Their tiny little legs have to move 10% faster to keep up :) (/u/Blizz_Shane)


How happy are you with the state of Auriel?
Hey there ZodoJats! I love Auriel's design and find her healing mechanic to be super interesting and engaging. That said, it has been a long while since we dove into her kit and she is definitely due for some love. Maybe I can get some time to do that in the next couple of weeks :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


So concerning recent movement speed changes I was wondering.... are you guys making Deathwing? :D
Thanks for this question, nemanjanemanja992! I really want to take a moment and dive into the recent movement speed changes aspect of your question. That said, concerning recent movement speed changes... Anything is possible in the Nexus ;) ! (/u/Blizz_Steve)


Some Force move bugs:
while hanzo is using his Q it bugs and cancels the skill
monstruocity and longboat ride! have force move disable

Hey wolvos, Thanks for the call outs, we will look into those! We always appreciate bug reports being posted to the forums as well.
I wasn't going to post in this AMA since the focus is hero balance and MS, but you gave me a great in. Is it a separate team that responds to issues there, vs more casually engaging here on reddit? More specifically- I've been carrying a torch for the VS AI limited map pool bug for some time now. Can you share anything about progress towards a fix?
Hey etchasletch! Not necessarily, the entire team casually browses both Reddit and the Forums. QA is more active at responding on the Forums but are also looking at Reddit for bug reports. Posting to either or both is extremely helpful to the team. Thanks for carrying the torch on the limited map pool bug in VS AI! We are aware of the issue and have a bug report in. (/u/Blizz_Shane)


Why does Gall have combat abilities that are simpler than other heroes, on top of not needing to think about walking or attacking?
We meet again Senshado! Gall’s design has always been intended to be super simple and approachable by pretty much anyone. We wanted the bulk of Cho’gall’s difficulty to come from the cool interactions that both players have with each other, and not from high mechanical skill. Since he requires 2 people to play, which is already a high barrier to entry, having both players required to be highly skilled would really push people away from playing as the hero.

Essentially, we want Gall to be a hero that you can play as someone who has never played Heroes of the Storm before and still have a good time. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


Is it possible to add Kyle "The Blackthorne" Vlaros to the nexus finally?
Biggest answer of all time... We have previously discussed Blackthorne coming into the Nexus and many on the team want to see him get in the game... Anything is possible in the Nexus ;) ! (/u/Blizz_Steve)


Medivh's Dust of Disappearance was changed in the most recent balance patch to feature an increase duration - from 20 seconds to 40 seconds. This is a nice buff and all, but most other "active" Cloaks all have an additional feature that Medivh's Dust of Disappearance doesn't - for the first half-second or so of the Cloak, they also grant Unrevealable, which makes them actually super impactful during fights
Hey Spazzo965! Good point, I'll make a note to investigate Dust of Disappearance and see if we want to make this happen. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


Many people have suggested changing Chen's [[Brewmaster's Balance]] so that you can get the regen bonus at 40 Brew or more and the movespeed bonus at 60 Brew or less, rather than requiring you to be at exactly 50 to get both. If you take [[Deadly Strike]] at 4, there is no easy way to fully take advantage of the talent. Are there any plans to enact this change? If not, are there any other solutions to the talent's newfound awkwardness that you're willing to consider?
Hey PhDVa! We’ve considered some changes, but we’re going to sit on it for awhile longer before deciding on whether or not to pull the trigger on anything. Chen’s rework is still fairly fresh, and we would like to wait for a while to see how the talent’s pick and win rate settle over time as people get used to his new playstyle. Brewmaster’s Balance has always been an incredibly strong talent, and even post-rework it’s still sitting as the highest win-rate talent on the tier, despite many initial claims that it’s “dead” now that it’s harder for Chen to be at 50 Brew.

It also isn’t impossible or even that hard to get to the magical 50 Brew state, it just requires that Chen to also use his Flying Kick instead of only Keg Smash and Breath of Fire, which is what he does in most engages on enemies anyways. While we understand that it’s a change for players and makes it harder to get to exactly 50 Brew (for one he needs a nearby target for Flying Kick to reach the threshold), the talent was never intended to exist in such a way that its expected output was only around Chen being at exactly 50 Brew. If it was, then he would not gain any benefit when above or below that threshold. While some players greatly desire that it be super easy and simple to get both sides of the benefits, it’s not intended for Chen to always be at that threshold, and we think it’s a good thing if it’s a little harder to get there. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


With the assassin Tassadar rework coming, what is happening with his autoattacks?
Hi Sir-Types-A-Lot, The current plan is that Tassadar keeps the channeled beam auto-attack, but it has a host of changes from its live version.

I've mentioned a few times my desire to better capture the High Templar fantasy with this rework and speed is definitely a big 'texture' hit. High Templar in the Starcraft universe are slow and plodding and I think it's important for that to be reflected in Tass' kit. Giving him a passively reduced move speed would be disastrous, but building appropriate cast times and periods of immobility into the kit (and then riffing off those 'downsides' with talents!) gives him both a solid fantasy hit as well as the opportunity for a more unique play-style.

It might sound all negative right now, but it will make much more sense in the greater context of his reworked kit. I think right now, his auto-attack talents work as their own cohesive build or as compliments to other builds. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)


Smurf accounts continue to hurt the competitiveness and fairness of SL. Is there anything in the works to help curb this ongoing issue?
Hello Agrius_HOTS, This has always been a concern for us and we are always looking to find ways to make Storm League as competitive and fair as possible. However, we have to be careful because if we get too heavy-handed, it could hurt the experience for legitimate players.

We have talked about increasing the account level needed in order to play Storm League and may do it with the next Season Roll. As for increasing MMR quicker for higher win-rates, we actually already do this in the form of Streak Bonuses - players just can't see that right now because MMR and Rank Points are not connected. Next season, this will no longer be the case :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


I feel like Valla buffs made her go to the right direction, but imho Caltrops talent still cause incredible mana hunger, any plans on lower Vault cost?
Hey Klank92! You make a good point. I made a note to myself to check it out and i'll see what I can do. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


When will we get a pogo stick mount or the car or horsey stick mount?
Hi SynergyRave, So, with regard to the pogo stick, car and horsey stick mounts... those are all good suggestions, we would just have to figure out how to properly balance them ;) ... But seriously now... Anything is possible in the Nexus! (/u/Blizz_Steve)


Will Nazeebra ever come back to the store?
Hello RussianVitaminC, There is a possibility that any mount or skin that was in the store at one time will be available again. Keep an eye out in game in the future... Anything is possible in the Nexus ;) ! (/u/Blizz_Steve)


About armor balance[...]
Greetings Malganyr! We did a pass on everything that gives Armor in the game when we modified how Armor stacking worked, and individually made decisions on how to compensate each effect. Simply buffing the Armor values of every individual effect now that they can’t stack to “compensate” them would create a host of other balance issues, as not all Armor values were designed or balanced completely around the idea that they would be stacked in every scenario. For example, increasing Greymane’s Worgen Form Armor would be a significant buff to him in all games, whereas that specific case wasn’t causing the Armor stacking issues that we were trying to solve with our change.

Going forward, we can and likely will over time buff or even nerf the cases you mentioned or others that we missed as general Hero balance updates. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


[performance-based matchmaking]
Great question thebilbobobbins! We are still very much looking to re-explore the performance based matchmaking and would love to be able to reintroduce it. I can't tell you when, as it has to be prioritized by the team first, but I do want to let you know it is up there and we haven't forgotten about it! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Are there any plans to rework Nova?[...]
WereElf, we meet again. Thanks for the link and feedback. She's on my radar. Nothing concrete to share, unfortunately. (/u/BlizzKGu)


[movement speed questions]
Hello Jackice1714! Reading your questions, 7/8 of them essentially boil down to: “The Movement Speed changes will change how a lot of interactions work. Will you change these interactions to be how they were before?”

There are also a lot of related questions in this thread and on Reddit in general, so I’d like to give a consolidated answer here:

Firstly, the Movement Speed change was in fact intended to change the game and how many interactions work. This means that yes, many skillshots will be somewhat harder to hit (though you also can move into position quicker to hit them so it’s a little more complicated then that), and yes, some abilities will be relatively easier to dodge. This also means that rotations will be impacted and some maps will play differently. We intended for the Movement Speed changes to, well, change how the game played. If we compensated everything in the game to be how it was before, then it wouldn’t be much of a change.

We played with this change for a long time internally and felt like it didn’t have as much of an impact as the initial perception has been from players when we released the change. While we get that the sticker shock of the game moving 10% faster is significant, we believe that the change isn’t going to warp the game in a huge way that we can’t tune around. While we understand that there may be some fallout, we didn’t feel the need to pre-emptively change how 50+ Abilities and interactions work in anticipation of the changes coming, as it’s much riskier to do that than to see how the changes play out and react to the outliers.

We were aware that there may be fallout with some heroes and abilities, such as Artanis’s Purifier Beam, Kel’Thuzad’s and Li-Ming’s Skillshots, and AoE abilities like Blizzard and Flamestrike, however we want to see if there are significant changes in the performance of these and other interactions before making adjustments. Going forward, we are keeping an eye on the performance of these and other heroes, and speeding up the speed of their abilities will be an arrow in our Balance quiver going forward.

In regards to your final question, while we’ve tried some changes internally and we’ve been iterating on, we don’t have any plans to buff or rework Probius in the near future. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


I recently played a lot of ARAM with friends and I have some suggestions about it :[...]
I will say that we're currently exploring some minor changes to ARAM mode to help soften some of the rougher edges of the format. One problem with ARAM (from a design perspective at least) is that everyone has a different expectation of what ARAM should be. Some people like the sheer chaos of 5 assassin bloodbaths, some prefer the more traditional tank/healer/3 fill teams. Neither of these opinions is 'wrong', they're just different!

The lack of shields on the core was done intentionally because of the format's reduced hero death timers. With a shield and short timers, it becomes very difficult to end a game unless you're absolutely stomping the opponent. Without it, you can at least make incremental progress. Back-dooring can certainly be obnoxious, but it's usually counter-able with vigilance and strategic game-play.

It's very likely that we will prevent the Vikings from showing up in this format. Additionally, we'd like to re-introduce some of the characters we've restricted (like Chromie, Azmodan, etc), perhaps with some pick weighting to prevent them from appearing in a majority of games. We're not 100% sure yet but we're working on it! (/u/Blizz_DWarner)


Big questions I have had forever (for several AMAs now) and a few new ones in order from most to least important:[...]
Hello Zer0ofTime!
  • We have talked a lot about potentially bringing Kyle to the Nexus and a lot of the team is excited about the opportunity to get more classic style Heroes into the game.
  • It is completely possible for us to redo some of Valeera's kit. I think we have a lot of room to improve her (and all of our Stealth Assassins) but I don't think we need to blow up her current design to do so.
  • We currently like where Kharazim is sitting, especially for being a bit of a hybrid style Hero. I will bring it up with Adam, but normally when we shift talents like you suggest, it opens up a bit of a rabbit's hole that we end up going down.
  • We have discussed adding more load-out slots but it is not a high priority right now.
  • I know that Art has been looking into a new skin for Ragnaros, but there are some challenges when it comes to performance. They would know a lot more and this is a great question to bring up in the next Art AMA! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


You have been and still are removing or editing neutral talents like cleanse, MULE, bolt etc. Can you further explain your problems with these talents?
Hey, OzanOlmez, great question. Our philosophy is that if we should try to incorporate generic talents to fit a hero's kit and fantasy so that those talents feel more unique and exciting. I think Diablo's [[Hellgate]] is a perfect example.

Sprint no longer exists because it was OP on the heroes who had them, like Jaina and Kerrigan. We now provide movement speed via other talents, where appropriate. (/u/BlizzKGu)


Any cool skins for Cassia in the works?
We are always looking at cool skin possibilities and have a variety of skins in development at any given time. With regard to Cassia specifically... Anything can happen in the Nexus ;) ! (/u/Blizz_Steve)


Voicelines for missing enemies and "attack here" have been gone since at least the Anduin patch. Any plan to bring them back?
Hey, let's bring back TychusCigar, thanks for the question. I just had a conversation with someone about this last week. It's something we are looking into. (/u/BlizzKGu)


Are there any plans to continue balancing Samuro in balance patches?
Hey Blackstar_9! We have some changes to Samuro that we’re testing internally. Without going into too much detail since we’re still iterating, we are currently testing a change where Samuro’s clones have a much shorter duration, but it’s increased whenever he or they attack an enemy Hero. This greatly limits his split-pushing potential, and enables us to give him some cool, new stuff when team fighting.

We don’t like the popular idea of giving his Clones a leash range or Samuro a teleport range. It results in a lot of user frustration where players can’t do things that they want to do, or Clones don’t behave in the way that the user expects them to (ex. With a teleport range Samuro suddenly can’t teleport to certain clones that are off-screen, which is fatal when he’s in a bind). Also, as a no-context teaser to wet your appetite, currently in our playtests Bladestorm’s cooldown is 20 seconds :P (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


The recent balance patch changed 5 talents on Orphea, and 4 of those changes were to replace one number in the talent with a slightly-better number. Why such a simple approach?
Hey Senshado! There are a lot of tools that we have to change the balance of a Hero or talent, and two people will rarely agree on what the perfect change is. Each tool has advantages and disadvantages which may not be super apparent to everyone. As a super simple example, one tool we have to fix a talent that’s not being picked is to redesign the talent, however one side-effect is that it usually results in alienating the small percentage of players who really like that talent.

In Orphea’s case, I wanted to try number tuning some of her talents before doing a bunch of functionality changes. I agree that she has a relatively unique limitation in her casting animations, but even so her cooldowns being reduced still has significant value (as an example think if her Q didn’t have any cooldown reduction at all in any way. The ability would feel much different than it does now).

If the number tuning doesn’t work, then we can go into more functionality changes.

I suppose the crux of what I’m getting at is that there is a lot of thought that gets put into these things, but that doesn’t mean that they will always work out. Even so, I would rather try something and it not work out perfectly than be too afraid to make changes or only make the changes that we are 1000% confident in (spoiler alert, that almost never happens). The beauty of working on a Live game like this is that we can always go back and iterate more if things don’t go exactly as we hoped they would. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


Have you noticed (internally) any change in Kerrigan's winrate after the movement changes? Subjectively, it feels like, her combo is easier to dodge now. Are there any plans to compensate for that in any way?
Hey Haetred, We are keeping a close eye on all the data coming in on our Heroes with the Movement Speed Updates. Right now its too early to tell if anything needs to be changed. But if we notice any major changes in winrates we will adjust accordingly. (/u/Blizz_Shane)


Whats up with Galls's Mastery Taunt, or lack there of?
Hey Shaltharis, The design team is definitely aware of it and will have a chat about allowing you to show off your mastery with the brains of the two-headed ogre :) (/u/Blizz_Shane)


Hello yes I have a question for the dog. Who's a good boy/girl????
That's my girl Asha! She's a sassy Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix. She's 75% good, 25% pointless borking. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)


A little feedback about some heroes[...]
Hey Malganyr! I am a support main and LOVE the new [[Blazing Fists]] at level 7. Kharazim is my second favorite go to support in internal playtests!​

My build is:
  • Level 1 - [[Insight]]
  • Level 4 - [[Earth Ally]]
  • Level 7 - [[Blazing Fists]]
  • Level 10 - User Choice
  • Level 13 - enemy comp dependent but i go [[Sixth Sense]] most of the time
  • Level 16 - [[Echo of Heaven]]
  • Level 20 - Doesnt really matter have some fun

Insight + Blazing Fists gives you a TON of CDR and 100% uptime on Deadly Reach. If you get Echo of Heaven at level 16 you have nearly 100% uptime on Breath of Heaven/Echo of Heaven. With the survivability Earth Ally and Sixth Sense give you, you can brawl and punch for days. It's a blast to play, give it a try! And a friendly reminder to all you Kharazim players out there A.B.P (Always Be Punching). (/u/Blizz_Shane)


I want to start with competitive balance (I speak with Mene about this and he gives me his concerns)
Hey again Malganyr! Thanks for the feedback on Tyrande, Diablo, and Hanzo. I can’t make any promises, but I’ve made a note to look at them for the next balance patch. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)


Do you prefer changing Dva to make her become a Bruiser and Solo Laner or change her to Support and Flex?
In the upcoming rework she will still be classified under the 'Bruiser' category, but her talents should allow her to fill a more traditional solo-lane role or a team-support role.

Personally, I love playing her as a 2nd front-line in a support role. She's got a lot of new tools to shutdown picks or engages, which can really swing the momentum of games. We've had quite a few internal games where D.Va has paired up with squishy melee assassins and functioned as an almost-tank, with very good results.
Does new Dva still have situations where it is simply better to be a pilot than a mech? For example, in the current version if you're trying to stop a boss from getting your keep, the pilot is over twice as good.
D.Va's pilot mode still generally offers higher single-target DPS than her Mech mode. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)


Is there any chance for other heroes to get the ability to repair structures? Can Abathur lose his MULE? Or do you think things are okay as they are?
Hi WereElf (spooky), thanks for the question. We've discussed this internally and we are happy with MULE being only available to Abathur. Like you said, it fits his playstyle and it's a great reason to pick Abathur over another Hero. Historically, MULEs have caused pacing issues because they can stall lanes and inflate game times. That being said, though, anything can happen in the Nexus! Which heroes would you give MULE to? (/u/BlizzKGu)


Hey all, my question is about the AI bots in game. I'm under the impression that in a Master's match if someone leaves, the bot is at the same level as it would be in a bronze match. Is there going to be any type of AI rework or chabges in the future we can look forward too?
Hey, Shankmaster13. Thanks for the question. Replacement AI for a disconnected player is always set to Elite. Elite AI is currently unlikely to match the skill level of a Master player.

We are currently exploring making disconnect replacement AI sit and wait in the Altar of Storms unless someone pinged them to follow. I.e. They would no longer attempt to play the game on their own and would fall back to safety of the Altar unless they are told to follow a human player. How would you guys feel about that? (/u/BlizzKGu)


What are your plans for Tyrande's talent tree?
Hello Pscythic, Adam had responded to a thread the other day, but he plans on making some changes to help address a lot of your concerns here - Elune's Chosen and Celestial Attunement are specifically on his radar! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)


Why is Kaeo Milker not listed in this AMA? Don't tell me he has been transferred to an unannounced project!
Fear not shalashaska2825! Kaeo is just being a slacker this week! He is off in the desert getting a sunburn and some much needed rest and relaxation. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)
by Published on 2019-07-17 02:24 PM

Upcoming Heroes AMA - July 18th
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Greetings, Heroes!

We’re going to host a Hero Balance & Hero Movement Speed Change AMA right here on /r/heroesofthestorm on Thursday, July 18, 2019! The Heroes devs will join the thread and answer your questions starting around 10:00 a.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. CEST) until 12:00 p.m. PDT (9:00 p.m. CEST).

We have the following developers on hand answering questions:

When posting multiple AMA questions: Please make an effort to post one question per comment. This will make it easier for others to read through the thread, and will help the devs focus on one question at a time. However, please feel free comment as many times as you'd like in order to get your questions posted.

You can start posting your questions right now, and we'll see you on Thursday!
by Published on 2019-07-11 12:16 PM

Heroes of the Storm Balance Patch Notes - July 10, 2019
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

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


Quick Navigation:


General
  • Movement Speed Increase
    • Increase the base movement speed of Heroes from 4.4 to 4.84 (+10%)

Developer Comment: We were evaluating this change last year for the gameplay updates but wanted some more time to soak it. While this is a modest increase, we feel like it makes the game feel a bit snappier, especially while in combat. We will be carefully watching how this affects Heroes with lots of skillshots and will balance as needed.

  • Each Mecha Tyrael's repeatable Mission can now only be completed up to 50 times
  • Gem purchasing has a new checkout interface. This streamlined system gives players access to more payment options from directly within the client


Heroes

Tank

Anub'arak


Base
  • Harden Carapace [W]
    • Cooldown increased from 6 to 7 seconds

Abilities
  • Level 16
    • Epicenter [E]
      • Cooldown reduction reduced from 1.25 seconds to 1 second

Developer Comment: Anub’arak is still slightly too powerful and popular compared to other Warriors, so we’re making some more adjustments to his overall power level to bring him in line. In the past, we reduced Harden Carapace’s cooldown soon after changing the Ability to provide significant Spell Armor, which greatly increased Anuba’rak’s overall survivability. We’re pulling back on that change now which should help other Warriors better compete with him.


ETC

Base


  • Guitar Solo [E]
    • Cooldown increased from 8 to 9 seconds

Abilities
  • Level 1
  • Guitar Hero [E]
    • Healing amount increased from 40% to 60%

Developer Comment: ETC is the Warrior with the highest win-rate in the game, and his popularity has seen a spike since our last balance patch. To get ahead of any issues, we’re slightly nerfing Guitar Solo’s cooldown and buffing Guitar Hero to compensate for the nerf.


Mal'Ganis


Base
  • Fel Claws [Q]
    • Cooldown reduced from 9 to 8 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 50 to 45

Developer Comment: We’re slightly buffing Mal’ganis’s base kit to make him a little more competitive with other Warriors. Since so much of his power is tied to Fel Claws, even 1 second off of its cooldown should be a meaningful boon to his ability to engage, disengage, and CC opponents.


Bruiser

Artanis


Abilities
  • Level 4
    • Psionic Synergy [E]
      • Armor bonus increased from 20 to 30
    • Shield Battery [Trait]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 100% to 125%
  • Level 13
    • Graviton Vortex [E]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 1.25 to 1.75 seconds

    • Templar's Zeal [Q]
      • Cooldown reduction increased from 5 to 6 seconds

Developer Comment: MY BUFFS FOR AIUR!


Chen


Base
  • Keg Smash [W]
    • Delay before being able to cast Breath of Fire reduced from 1.5 to 1.25 seconds
    • Duration of 10% Slow reduced from 1.5 to 1.25 seconds
    • Duration of 40% Slow increased from 1.5 to 1.75 seconds

Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Freshest Ingredients [Trait]
      • Additional Functionality: Upon quest completion, also reduces the cooldown of Fortifying Brew by 1 second
    • Stormstout Secret Recipe [Passive]
      • Heal amount increased from 2% to 2.5%
  • Level 4
    • Withering Flames
      • Spell Power reduction increased from 30% to 40%
  • Level 10
    • Wandering Keg [R1]
      • Additional Functionality: Now also grants Chen 25 Armor for its duration
      • Cooldown reduced from 70 to 60 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Touch of Honey [W]
      • Slow amount increased from 15 to 20
  • Level 16
    • Celerity [E]
      • Armor bonus increased from 15 to 20

Developer Comment: Our favorite Brewmaster has made a big splash in the Nexus. We’ve read the feedback that players want the interaction between Keg Smash and Breath of Fire to be more fluid, so we’re reducing the delay between the two abilities, which should make them feel better to play with as people get used to his new cadence. We’re also buffing many of Chen’s talents, particularly those that are related to his survivability, which should help him stay in fights longer.


Imperius


Base
  • Molten Armor [E]
    • Healing reduced from 100% to 50% of the damage dealt
    • Bonus healing against Heroes reworded to say it is increased to 100% (baseline functionality is the same)
  • Valorous Brand [Trait]
    • Consuming a mark heals Imperius for 70
    • Damage bonus reduced from 30% to 20%

Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Impaling Light [Q]
      • Redesigned: Celestial Charge’s final damage is increased by 50% and cooldown is reduced by 1 second for each Valorous Brand on the target when the Stun completes
    • Consuming Flame [W]
      • The first enemy Hero hit with Solarion’s Fire also restores 30 Mana
  • Level 4
    • Bulwark of Flame [W]
      • Removed
    • Unshakeable Faith[E]
      • Removed
    • Battle Hunger [Trait]
      • Redesigned: Increased the healing of Valorous Brand by 50%
    • ​​Sovereign Armor [E]
      • Moved from 16
      • Armor reduced from 50 to 25
      • Duration reduced from 2.5 to 1.5 seconds
      • Damaging an enemy Hero with Molten Armor increased the duration by 0.5 seconds
    • ​​[NEW] Press Forward [Passive]
      • ​Damaging an enemy Hero sets the duration of a Regeneration Globe on Imperius to 5 seconds (unless it was already higher)
  • Level 7
    • Blaze of Glory [W]
      • The secondary explosion from Blaze of Glory now consumes and benefits from Valorous Brand
    • ​​Holy Fervor [Active]
      • Now has a maximum duration of 10 seconds
      • The cooldown for the Ability begins after the first attack, instead of the last
      • Cooldown increased from 25 to 30 seconds
      • Tooltip updated to reflect that the damage is a percentage bonus and stacks additively with other percentage bonuses
  • Level 13
    • Divine Rage [E]
      • Redesigned: Consuming a Valorous Brand reduces the cooldown of Molten Armor by 1 second
    • Heat of Battle [E]
      • Redesigned: Increase Molten Armor’s healing against Heroes by 2% for every 1% Health Imperius is missing
  • Level 16
    • Celestial Swiftness [Q]
      • Redesigned: Gain 20% Movement Speed for 5 seconds after casting Celestial Charge; Gain 40% Attack Speed for 5 seconds for each Hero Stunned with Celestial Charge
    • Valorous Pursuit [Active]
      • Moved from level 20
      • Cooldown increased from 12 to 20 seconds
  • Level 20
    • [NEW] Brand of Solarion [Trait]
      • Reduce the duration of Valorous Brand to 3 seconds, but it is no longer consumed when triggered
    • ​​Impervious [Active]
      • Duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds

Developer Comment: Most of these changes are designed to make a few more of Imperius' Talents viable and interesting, as well as provide more opportunity for Imperius' players to show their skill with the Hero while also allowing for mechanics that opponents have more counterplay with. We shouldn't see a large shift in Imperius' role or playstyle, but rather more interesting interactions between him and his opponents.


Sonya


Base
  • Health increased from 2341 to 2450
  • Health Regeneration increased from 4.879 to 5.105

Developer Comment: Sonya has been a bit out of the meta in recent months. She has a good talent tree and no outstanding issues, so we’re giving her a small buff to help her compete with other heroes in her role.


Yrel


Abilities
  • Level 4
    • Hand of Freedom [Active]
      • Can now be used on Yrel
      • Cooldown reduced from 22 to 20 seconds
      • Movement Speed bonus reduced from 50% to 35%
  • Level 7
    • Samaara's Light [Passive]
      • Removed
    • Righteous Momentum [W]
      • Removed Functionality: No longer increases Yrel’s Movement Speed while at maximum charge
      • Additional Functionality: Yrel’s Movement Speed is increased by 5%. Instead of being Slowed while charging Righteous Hammer, she instead quadruples the bonus
  • Level 13
    • Aldor Peacekeeper [Q]
      • Damage reduction increased from 30% to 40%
    • Repentance [E]
      • Slow duration increased from .5 to .75 seconds
  • Level 16
    • Templar's Verdict [W]
      • Damage bonus increased 4% to 6% maximum Health

Developer Comment: We gave Yrel some buffs not too long ago, and we’re doing it again to slowly bring her power level up. Like Illidan, Yrel can be a monster when she gets going, so we’re incrementally increasing her power so that she doesn’t go out of control. She can now cast Hand of Freedom on herself, which should make the talent much less situational. With this round of buffs, we are looking at bringing up her mid-late game power so that she has a more meaningful power spike as the game goes on and her enemies gain more options to deal with her.


Healer

Ana


Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Slumber Shells [E]
      • New Functionality: Enemy Heroes are Slowed by 25% for 3 seconds when they wake up from Sleep Dart
  • Level 4
    • Overdose [E]
      • Doses applied with Sleeping Dart increased from 3 to 4
    • Anti-Healer [W]
      • Bonus area of Biotic Grenade reduced from 100% to 25%
      • Fixed a bug where the bonus duration was showing as 20% when it is 25%

Developer Comment: We’re changing up some of Ana’s talents to better compete with Biotic Grenade-related choices. Slumber Shells and Overdose are receiving some buffs and changes, and Anti-Healer’s bonus radius to Biotic Grenade is being dramatically reduced. While it still remains a powerful talent, Ana players will now have to be much more precise to deny healing on multiple members of the enemy team.


Anduin


Abilities
  • Level 7
    • Blessed Recovery [Passive]
      • Tooltip now shows the required damage taken to proc its effect
    • Blinding Heal [Q]
      • Heal amount increased from 95 to 104

Developer Comment: To give players more insight into what the damage threshold is that they need to meet for its effect, Blessed Recovery will now show the damage required for its effect to proc.


Rehgar


Abilities

Changed the order of various talents ot better match other Heroes (Q, W, E, etc.)

  • Level 4
    • Spiritwalker's Grace [Q]
      • Removed
    • Totemic Projection [E]
      • Moved to Level 7
    • Tidal Waves [Q]
      • ​Additional Functionality: Also reduces the Mana cost of Chain Heal from 55 to 40

Developer Comment: Spiritwalker’s Grace is not performing compared to other options on its tier, and its synergy with Tidal Waves is strong enough that it warrants the talents being combined. To add some flavor to his Level 4 talents, we’re also giving Rehgar the option to pick Totemic Projection on this tier, which should open up some new options now that it can be picked in combination with talents like Blood and Thunder and Cleanse.


Support

Medivh


Abilities
  • Level 7
    • Mystic Assault [Q]
      • Damage and Healing bonuses increased from 40% to 50% of damage dealt
  • Level 20
    • Arkane Brilliance [Active]
      • Spell Power bonus increased from 10% to 15%
    • Dust of Disappearance [Active]
      • Duration increased from 20 to 40 seconds

Developer Comment: We’re making some small adjustments to Medivh’s under-picked talents. Mystic Assault sees a fairly significant buff to its overall output as long as Medivh can consistently land Arcane Rifts, whereas Arcane Brilliance and Dust of Disappearance should now better be able to compete with the other Level 20 options.


Melee

Illidan


Abilities
  • Level 4
    • Rapid Chase [Q]
      • Movement Speed bonus increased from 15% to 20%
      • Movement Speed bonus duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds
  • Level 7
    • Reflexive Block [Q]
      • Number of attacks blocked increased from 2 to 3
  • Level 16
    • Fiery Brand [Passive]
      • Damage increased from 7% to 8% maximum Health
    • Blades of Azzinoth [Active]
      • Now starts with Blades of Azzinoth able to be cast when the talent is picked

Developer Comment: Due to his resourceless, infinitely life-stealing, highly mobile nature, even a small buff can turn Illidan into an unstoppable nightmare. It’s been long enough though, and a few talent buffs couldn’t possibly cause him to go wildly out of control… right? Right.


Maiev


Abilities
  • Level 4
    • Sudden Vengeance [E]
      • Damage increased from 5% to 6% maximum Health
  • Level 7
    • Bonds of Corruption [W]
      • Adjusted Functionality: Now reduces Armor by 10 for 4 seconds

Developer Comment: We’re slightly adjusting Bonds of Corruption to better take advantage of Maiev’s ability to capitalize on good Umbral Bind pulls by following up with multiple casts of Fan of Knives. This should allow the talent to be more generally useful outside of teams that primarily take advantage of auto-attacks for their damage.


Valeera


Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Vigor [Passive]
      • Energy Regeneration increased from 2.5 to 3 per second
    • ​​Subtlety [Trait]
      • Energy Regeneration increased from 8 to 10
  • Level 4
    • Hemorrhage [E]
      • Bonus Basic Attack damage increased from 30% to 40%
    • Initiative [Trait]
      • Additional Functionality: Also grants Valeera an additional 15% Movement Speed for 3 seconds when using Ambush, Cheap Shot, or Garrote
  • Level 7
    • Fatal Finesse [W]
      • Damage bonus per stack increased from 4 to 6
      • Stacks required to finish quest reduced from 20 to 15
      • This changes the maximum bonus damage to Blade Flurry from 80 to 90
  • Level 16
    • Thistle Tea [Active]
      • Cooldown reduced from 60 to 40 seconds

Developer Comment: Since we have not made changes to her for some time, we took a pass at Valeera’s talents and found some that could use improvements.


Zeratul


Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Shadow Hunter [E]
      • Cooldown reduction from Basic Attacks increased from 1 to 1.5 seconds
    • ​​Move Unseen [Trait]
      • Additional functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Permanent Cloak by 1 second
  • Level 7
    • Wormhole [E]
      • Adjusted Functionality: Wormhole cannot be cast for 1.25 seconds after Blink is used
      • Duration that Zeratul can use Wormhole increased from 3 to 4 seconds
    • Warp Skirmisher [Passive]
      • Bonus damage increased from 40% to 50%
      • No longer requires Zeratul to attack a target within 6 seconds of teleporting with Vorpal Blade
      • Additional Functionality: Bonus damage also activates on Zeratul’s first Basic Attack after entering Stealth
    Level 16
    • Sentenced to Death [W]
      • Adjusted Functionality: Bonus damage also applies to enemies who are Slowed by Singularity Spike
      • Damage bonus reduced from 30% to 25%

Developer Comment: For a long time, Zeratul’s talent picks have been dominated by the combination of Wormhole and Cleave-related talents. We’ve tried to nerf various Cleave talents in the past to promote other playstyles, but it has not yielded effective-enough results. We believe that the main culprit is the power of Wormhole giving Zeratul too much control over dealing damage incredibly quickly with Cleave before enemies can respond. With this change, Zeratul will have to commit for a little over 1 second to where he teleports to before being able to return to his starting location, which should give opponents who are paying attention to him time to punish him for mistakes. In addition to this change, we’re buffing some of Zeratul’s alternative talents to promote his other playstyles.


Ranged Assassin

Falstad


Abilities
  • Level 4
    • Updraft [E]
      • Shield bonus increased from 40% to 60%
  • Level 7
    • Secret Weapon [Q]
      • Bonus damage increased from 60% to 80%
  • Level 16
    • Crippling Hammer [Q]
      • Slow amount increased from 50% to 60%

Developer Comment: It’s been awhile since we last touched Falstad, so we took a look at his talents and found some spots that could use some buffs.


Greymane


Base
  • Basic Attack damage increased from 140 to 148

Abilities
  • Level 7
    • Incendiary Elixir [Q]
      • Damage bonus per stack increased from 15 to 20
  • Level 10
    • Cursed Bullet [R2]
      • Damage increased from 35% to 40%

Developer Comment: Greymane has a storied history of being an incredibly powerful, consistent hero in the hands of experienced players. While we had to nerf him several times over the years, we believe it’s been long enough, and so we’re giving him some small buffs to be brought back into the meta.


Mephisto


Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Anger [Passive]
      • Removed
    • ​​Furiour Spark [W]
      • Damage increased from 90 to 95
    • ​​Malicious Intent [E]
      • Spell Power bonus increased from 15% to 20%
  • Level 4
    • Spite [Passive]
      • Healing Globe duration bonus increased from 100% to 125%
      • Cooldown reduction increased from .5 to .75 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Shard of Hate [Passive]
      • Additional Functionality: Now also causes Mephisto’s attacks to activate Lord of Hatred, reducing Basic Ability cooldowns by 1 second

Developer Comment: Anger and Shard of Hate have such obvious synergy that it is too often a mistake to not take one without the other. We’re combining their functionalities while also doing a pass on his other underperforming talents.


Orphea


Abilities
  • Level 1
    • En Pointe [Q]
      • Bonus damage increased from 75% to 90%
    • ​​Growing Nightmare [E]
      • Adjusted functionality: If at least 2 enemy heroes are hit by Wave of Dread, then its eruption’s damage is increased by 60%
  • Level 4
    • Allegrissimo [Q]
      • Shadow Waltz cooldown when hitting enemy Heroes at its end changed from 1 second to .75 seconds
    • Backbiter [W]
      • Bonus maximum Health increased from 10% to 15%
  • Level 7
    • Insatiable [W]
      • Chomp’s cooldown when hitting enemy Heroes changed from 2 seconds to 1.5 seconds

Developer Comment: The combination of Ancestral Strength and Fright is both powerful and currently too attractive compared to other options, so we’re beefing up alternatives to promote Orphea’s other playstyles.


Valla


Base
  • Health increased from 1273 to 1340

Abilities
  • Level 1
    • Caltrops [E]
      • Slow amount increased from 25% to 40%
  • Level 16
    • Seething Hatred [Trait]
      • Removed Functionality: No longer increases the duration of Hatred
      • New Functionality: Valla gains 15% Spell Power while at 10 stacks of Hatred

Developer Comment: Similar to Greymane, Valla has had a storied history of being a powerhouse hero in the right situations. She has not been meta for some time, so we’re buffing her up some to incentivize people to try her a little more often.


Bug Fixes/Updates

General
  • Remove Sgt. Hammer from ARAM

Developer Comment: We have been receiving a lot of feedback regarding Sergeant Hammer's playstyle in ARAM. While we are looking to make larger changes to the game mode in the near future, we decided it was best to remove her from the ARAM shuffle-pick for the time being

  • [MechaStorm II] Fixed MechaStorm countdown timer
  • [MechaStorm II] Fixed MechaStorm repeatable event quests to 50 times
  • Fixed issue where voice lines for Maltheal couldn’t be used while equipped with the Xenotech Malthael skin
  • [MechaStorm II] Fixed issues with text being cut off during Special Event Quest Tooltip Windows when switching Tooltip Windows

Battlegrounds
  • Hanamura Temple
    • Swordsman Mercenary camps respawn timer increased from 120 to 150 seconds
  • Mercenary
    • Impaler Mercenary Basic attack damage has been increased from 50 to 65
by Published on 2019-06-22 03:44 PM

2019 Season 3 - Changes and Updates
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

2019 Season 3 is the first season that shows off some updates and changes to ranked play within Heroes of the Storm.


Season Roll Dates

2019 Season 3 will begin as soon as our next patch becomes available for download in each region. Check the season start and end dates below to make sure you’re able to dive into the rankings as soon as the season rolls:


Event Date
2019 Season 3 Start Week of August 5, 2019*
2019 Season 3 End Week of December 2, 2019*

*Exact date may vary slightly by region.


Rank Changes

Your Rank (League Tier and Division) is now determined by your MMR directly and adjusted by penalties, such as Leaver Penalty. As a result, you will see a bit more volatility in your Rank Points changes after winning or losing a game.


Placement Games Count Reduced to 3

Players will only have to play 3 games to be placed in Storm League.


Promotion and Demotion Games Removed

Promotion and Demotion Games will be removed. You will seamlessly transition between League Tiers and Divisions as you earn or lose Rank Points.


Rank Penalties

Leaving a Ranked Draft Lobby or abandoning a Ranked Game will result in 500 Rank Points penalty. Penalized players will be able to slowly redeem the points lost due to penalty by playing Ranked Games.

Ranked matches are still affected normal Leaver penalty, preventing penalized players from playing Draft games until they play a certain amount of Quick Match or Brawl games and matching them with other leavers.


Rank Decay

We’re introducing MMR and Rank decay for inactive Storm League players.

As with Hero League, the decay will affect players in Grand Master, Master and Diamond leagues. Contrary to Hero League, Storm League’s rank decay will also affect unplaced players if their MMR is equal to Diamond League level or above.

The rules will be the same throughout all affected Leagues. At the beginning of Ranked season, inactivity timer will be at 10 days. By playing Ranked games, players will earn extra inactivity time, up to 30 days. When the inactivity timer expires, player is considered “inactive”. Inactive players will slowly lose their MMR and Rank until it decays below Diamond League, or Diamond League-level MMR for unplaced players, or until they play a Storm League match.

By playing a ranked match, inactive player will reset their inactivity timer to 3 days.


Ranked Seasonal Quests

Special Seasonal questlines will be available to all players. It will consist of 4 quests, each requiring a player to win a certain amount of Storm League games. Each quest yields increasing gold rewards.

New quest lines will be available every season, and a player must complete the entire quest line to be eligible for the End of Season rewards. Placement games count towards the quest line progress.

You will see the Ranked Seasonal Quest line progress on the Ranked Play screen.


We’ll be sharing what ranked play rewards will be in our next blog closer to 2019 Season 3 launch.

See you in the Nexus!

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