Heroes of the Storm RSS Feed

by Published on 2019-08-16 11:23 PM

Storm League Bronze 5 Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

With the launch of Storm League season 1 we have seen a dramatic improvement in rank distribution. One of the primary changes in this release was in how rank is determined. In the past, rank and rating were two entirely different concepts, both of which were updated differently after each game. It was very common for a player's rank and rating to diverge throughout each season which could cause the matchmaking system to struggle to find games.

With the changes introduced this season, rank is always updated by taking the change in rating and determining the equivalent number of rank points to reward. This leaves very few ways rating and rank can diverge and results in most players being shown a number equivalent to their rating.

Overall, we are very happy with how the changes are looking; however, we are aware of the inconsistencies players are currently experiencing in Bronze 5. With the new design, players in Bronze 5 will gain/lose far fewer points per game than players in all of the other leagues and divisions. The reason for this is a bit technical but we wanted to take the opportunity to elaborate on what's going on.

Under the hood, matchmaking rating is simply a number on a bell curve. Every league and division encompasses a range of values on the same curve. For example, if the overall bell curve ranges from -10.0 to 10.0 and the range 1.0 to 1.5 maps to Gold 1, then a player with a rating of 1.25 will have the equivalent rank of Gold 1 & 500/1000 points. These numbers are intentionally made up as the real ones are always subject to change but the idea is the same.

The reason for the decrease in points awarded in Bronze 5 is that the range of ratings that maps to Bronze 5 is much larger than other divisions. The difference is that this much larger range of ratings still maps to the same number of rank points. As a result, despite being rewarded the same change in matchmaking rating, the rank points awarded may be lower. This is visualized by the graph below:

(click to enlarge)

We understand that this inconsistency is a negative experience for players so we will be exploring some ways to improve it.

Thanks for participating in Storm League and providing your feedback!
by Published on 2019-08-15 07:48 AM

Heroes of the Storm Hotfix Patch Notes - August 14, 2019
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

We’ve just released a Heroes of the Storm patch in order to address a few live bugs. Read on for details.

Bug Fixes
  • Qhira
    • Fatal Wounds no longer causes Blood Rage to deal bonus damage to enemies that have less than 5 stacks.
    • Fatal Wounds no longer causes the activated portion of Blood Rage to deal bonus damage.

User Interface
  • Ranked: Post-game point breakdown animation now properly counts up or down.
  • Season names now properly display in order on the Profile.
  • Fixed an issue where Blizzard Checkout could fail to load when purchasing Gems.
  • The Loot Chest award animation no longer improperly displays two Loot Chests granted when a Hero Levels and a quest is completed within the same game.
by Published on 2019-08-10 03:12 AM

Qhira & Storm League AMA - August 8, 2019 Recap

  • There are currently no other Nexus-heroes coming.
  • Several existing Blizzard characters are in active development.
  • The team knows that voice lines are not being played for the Missing ping, but fixing it will take time as they need to review all voice line data for all 12 languages the game is available in.
  • We won't see death traits on new heroes again unless it truly makes sense for a character's design.
  • The movement speed change has gone over well, although the team is keeping an eye on the data coming in from skillshot-based heroes such as Li-Ming and Kel'Thuzad in case changes to projectile speeds are required.
    • Remaining bugs from the speed change were fixed in the latest update.

  • Qhira (and Orphea) were both pitched last year and were driven by the development team's desire for fresh concepts and gameplay.
  • The core goal of the team is to provide awesome gameplay, but they hear the call for more backstory on not just Qhira but also the Nexus as a whole.
  • Qhira's trait was actually a level 16 talent during early development, and her W passive was her trait. They put the passive on W and made Grappling Hook her trait as it felt like a natural extension of her base kit.

Ranked Play/Storm League
  • Current league distribution of the Storm League population:
    • Bronze: 14%
    • Silver: 25%
    • Gold: 28%
    • Platinum: 22%
    • Diamond: 10%
    • Master+: 1.15%
  • Some players have been confused that MMR isn't actually visible after this week's update. However, with the change your rank essentially is your MMR now.
  • Rank points and MMR only diverge if a player leaves during a draft. Those points will be given back as bonus points in following matches to catch ranked points up to MMR again.
  • Performance-based Matchmaking won't be making a return in its original form, where it was used to influence your MMR directly. They will be using the technology to make the relevant data visible for players though. No ETA.
  • Matchmaking has a Game Density system. The more you play, the more confident the matchmaker will become of your rank. The less you play, the more uncertain it will become. This will result in larger rank changes when you come back after not having played for a while.
  • No plans for another MMR squish. The need for one should be mitigated by recent changes.
  • There is no longer an upper limit to the rank one can place into after placement games, as that would make your rank points differ from your MMR.
  • No additional updates on Loss Forgiveness at this time.
  • Limiting the party size for Master League and above is being fully considered.
  • The ranked questline is in a simple state since this is the first season it's been introduced to. The team will evolve it and its rewards over time. Feedback is welcome!

  • The Mecha event took over six months to create and coordinate across all departments.
  • Arthas is not likely to get a model update any time soon. He's one of the original heroes and the behind-the-scenes development methods have changed so much that updating his model would impact a lot of other areas, taking extra time away from creating new content.
  • No current plans for user-created content. The team would rather do community-pitched skins, like Azmodunk and Janitor Leoric.
    • If they were to start working on a new community skin right now, we would not see it released until next spring or summer.

  • We haven't been getting a specific roadmap in part due to promises made in the past that the team didn't manage to live up to. However, they still want to bring more visibility on what's to come for the game.
  • AI improvements are waiting to be approved by QA.
  • A working prototype for gifting exists internally.
  • The team has heard the feedback regarding lack of voiceover for the recent hero spotlight.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Is it possible to get some sort of 2019/2020+ future road map for the direction of HotS so we can have SOMETHING, ANYTHING tangible to look forward to longevity wise?
Hi, /u/Zer0ofTime! Great question! Historically, we've shied away from roadmaps because game development is much more art than science, and best laid plans often fall apart - sometimes because we change our minds on what we want to do, and other times because we can't do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it. Still, we love to talk about the things we have coming so we can get your feedback, but we usually do this when these things are solidified enough that we feel confident in being able to deliver them. Even then, there have been many times over Heroes' lifespan that we've shared something we have in the works with the community only to never deliver it. That feels like crap to us, and to you. We don't like feeling like crap. Or for you to feel like crap. So we keep things close to the vest, and we try to surprise and delight by announcing things when their delivery imminent.

All of that said, I recognize that the industry has changed around us. Games as service has evolved and there are teams out there doing great work and being MUCH more communicative about what's coming. So we'll put some thought into this and see if there's a middle ground that can give you all something to look forward to and schedule your gaming time around while avoiding feeling like crap wherever possible.

In the meantime, the closest we'll get to a roadmap today is reiterating that we're really enjoying the groove we've been getting into with frequent, meaningful balance changes, oft-requested feature additions/improvements, lots of hero reworks, our quarterly seasonal themed events, and evolving Storm League seasons. Sprinkle new heroes in, and garnish with love, and that's Heroes of the Storm for the foreseeable future.

Let us see how much more roadmap-y we're comfortable going from there, and give us your thoughts on what info is most important to you.

Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Any plans to bring back the free heroes packs (Mega Hero Bundles) from the 2.0 launch or something similar?
No plans to speak of right now, but if we did something like this again it would be aligned around a specific moment in time rather than something evergreen. (/u/KaeoMilker)

Any update on fixing AI?
Good morning FirebrandSalamander! We are heavily invested in making improvements to our A.I. and one of our gameplay Engineers (Hi Jeff!) has been hard at work on them. We have some substantial changes that we are testing internally and with QA sign-off, plan to get to you ASAP.

This is very important to us, and I doubt we will ever be done trying to improve them. This coming round of changes are looking to improve their fundamental decision making while more accurately establishing and validating different goals and threats. Thank you for your patience, I hope it will be well worth the wait! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Just 2 things. Please be honest and precise with us. I hope we will get something more this time than lots of PR talk. I think we, as the community, deserve more than this. Otherwise I know most of your asnwers: "It is a very cool idea and we would like to do it in the futute!" We don't have plans regarding it at the moment but everything is possible in the nexus!", "We are super excited about our upcoming content!" , "It does sound like a problem, we will look into it but I cannot share any dates when we gona fix it". I could answer many of the questions in such a way. Give us something more please.
I appreciate your thoughts here, /u/arkhamius. Honesty is extremely important to us, but our level of precision can be gated by our desire to avoid overpromising and underdelivering. Sometimes we want to reply and acknowledge what someone's said without making any commitments. I prefer being able to acknowledge feedback in that manner over saying nothing at all because I think that acknowledgment is important even if we can't commit to anything at that time. If there's a general feeling that our answers are hollow and the community is unhappy with this approach, we can reconsider at the cost of having far less responses from our team. That sounds bad to me, and in a world where committing to more is not an option, I'd prefer to lean toward our current approach.

Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Are there any plans to get someone else to do the narration for the hero trailers?
Hello there adamnoo, We all miss Kevin and are super excited to see what he does next. I agree that we can do better with relaying information in the Hero trailers moving forward and the team is actively discussing how we can improve.

While we haven't decided exactly how we want to do it yet, me know that the gameplay is extremely important and needs to be better explained. Thank you (and the rest of the community) for your feedback on this! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Are we going to be able to pick up MMR from the replay files? Would help our site, and others. Especially Amateur league division placements
Thanks for the question! This is an awesome idea and one up to this point I have not thought about! We will not be putting raw MMR into the replay (at least not for now, we are looking to keep raw MMR values purely for matchmaking), but if we're not already we could put in your total rank points, which with the release of season 1, could be an accurate mapping of your MMR. I am interested in this and will go and have a look at what I would need to do to make that happen later today. (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Would there be any chance to see some gifting system?
Glad you asked youtooms! Juno has a working prototype internally and we are trying to get it to you as quick as we can! We'll keep you updated as we finish developing the feature :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

We saw that Qhira had the heads of characters not (yet) in our game. What's up with that?
Anything is possible in the Nexus! (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Hey there -Duality, There are lots of secret creatures in the Realms contained within the Nexus. Some familiar, some not-so-much; Qhira takes no prejudice when claiming trophies. She is a bounty hunter after all ;) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Qhira is a huntress, so it made sense for her to have collection of trophies from her adventures. Regarding who or what is displayed on her wall, well sometimes it's fun to have a little bit of mystery and intrigue. Sometimes artists just make really cool art, and sometimes really cool art inspires others to make new art or designs. Sometimes. What do you think is "up" with those heads on her wall? (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Vikings aren't getting a skin any time soon so I thought I'd make my own, The Lost Bikers! Not finished but would appreciate any quick feedback on what can improve the most.
First off, nice start! Did a quick paint over to show you where I would take this. https://imgur.com/a/M7WTB22 . Generally things just need to get bigger. His Nose, Buckles, Goggles, Bracers, Belly, Beard, Belt loops. You have a lot of opportunity to really push the look of tight leather that doesn't quite fit on Olaf. Giving him a bracer on both arms will also allow the modeler to mirror the arms since there's no huge benefit to giving him a bare arm. Any interior details like the pockets and zippers need to be thicker. The beard could use more plumpness towards the lip. Have it bellow out so there's an arc from the side. The only thing that could go a bit smaller is the tire.

One of the harder part of sculpting is doing stylized folds. Remember your Diamonds, Zs and sideways Vs. Think about cloth folds like this. Where there's a pinch in the cloth you're going to get a taper out. This cascades and creates a diamond shape in parts where there's lots of folds. If it's a larger fold it will taper out in either a Z or V. You have to decide whether the pants are leather or denim because they have different behaviors. Always grab reference. We tend to favor thicker folds and exaggerate folds that would normally be smaller.
Which is better for learning sculpting/modeling, a lot of small warm-up throwaway projects or larger projects? (while making vikings skin is fun, it feels a bit redundant like I'm not really learning anything new).
Both are beneficial. Small warm-up throwaway projects are good if you focus on learning one specific thing and are doing it knowing you might fail. Starting over on those projects can be important for artistic growth. Longer projects that you complete are good to show potential employers because that's the goal, complete an asset to put into some sort of media.
How many hours would you estimate goes into a completed skin on average?
Depending on the complexity of the skin it can take between 2 weeks and 5 weeks.
If you had to pick only 1, who is your favorite artist?
For some reason Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum has been coming up in conversation a lot for me and I've been looking at Dave McKean's art in that comic again. I love his style in that book and hands down is one of the coolest looking Joker's I've ever seen. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Why do a teaser for a hero that is impossible to guess the identity of?
Hey, /u/adamnoo! We think of teasers simply as a fun way to start building excitement and discussion about what's coming to the game next. Sometimes there are things the community can "solve" in teasers, and sometimes we're showing things that are out of left field. We love seeing the discussion, the guesses, the theories, and the passion that surrounds teasers and we intend to continue doing them. Hope you can share in the fun with us! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Hey guys! A little art thing I've poked about, though minor it seems, is whether there are any plans to fix Nova's eye color from blue to its proper green?
Hi Subsourian! I just fixed this yesterday (for you). This will be in the next major content release patch.
Finally. I am glad to see this issue addressed. Also, what does next major patch mean? Rework, hero or skin drop?
Major patches usually mean hero and/or skin drop. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Are there any plans to make MMR more clear?
Hello Unbiased_Bob, With the new system, the MMR is effectively visible as your Rank (minus penalty adjustment). We could show total count of rank points (Bronze 5 = Rating 0, Bronze 4 = Rating 1000, Bronze 3 = Rating 2000, etc.), but that would just change the representation of the number and won't matter much in regards to the actual information visible to players.

The general idea of MMR value change calculation is as follows: we have a win rate prediction system, that tries to estimate the win/loss probablity in each match, depending on the team members' ranks, party sizes, our certainty in the ratings value for each team member, etc. MMR (and Rank) change post-game is calculated based on that estimate, plus or minus some adjustments. The MMR calculation hasn't changed much with the new season, it's just more visible, and, hopefully, more representative of player's actual skill now. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

What's going to be the minimum account level to access Ranked?
Hello BetterTax. The level requirement is fifty right now. On one hand, we want Storm League to be available and accessible. On the other hand, we want to make sure the players are somewhat familiar with the game before they rush into Ranked Play. Level requirement is something that could be tweaked easily. We also could probably gate the League access with certain amount of Quick Match and Unranked Draft games played or won.

Actually speaking, we'd love to revisit the new player experience at some point and make sure the game provides as meaningful and enjoyable learning opportunities to new people as possible. Overall, our goal is to make sure that the ranked experience is a good experience for all players regardless of experience. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

Will there be an opportunity to change menu background, as it was during The Dark Nexus or Echoes of Alterac?
I agree! Those events were a lot of fun and the team had a great time adding atmosphere to spaces that aren't usually updated with new art. We don't currently have any plans for another background takeover but if there is an opportunity in the future I think it's something we could consider. (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

About 1½ year ago you gave this approximate rank distribution. Does it still hold?
Hello, Rokgorr, and thanks for the question! I converted everyone's ending position from Pre-season and converted it to the new MMR bands, and this is how we will start Season 1:
  • Bronze: 14%
  • Silver: 25%
  • Gold: 28%
  • Platinum: 22%
  • Diamond: 10%
  • Master+: 1.15%

This will likely change as the season progresses, but I think it will generally hold firm around these values. (/u/Blizz_DGower)

About Q'hira the new release: Do you consider unbalance that her E ability only spins clock-wise and not player's choice? For example if you are roaming from mid on curse hollow, if you are left team the engage will spin towards your side first and be more dodgable.
Great question jdelrioc! It is something we consider (and considered it for Fenix's Q as well) but we don't feel that it makes a significant enough impact on balance to change it. I think if it were to change directions based on starting side, it would definitely be something you'd have to get used to and would most likely throw you off for a while as you learned the hero. I also don't think there's a clean way for us to implement it. For example, if you're on the left side team and are approaching an enemy Hero from the North, the expected rotation direction would be towards the right side team (clockwise). However, if you're approaching from the south, suddenly the expected rotation direction would change to counter clockwise. So there's not really a silver bullet here that would make it feel good in all situations without giving you some way of controlling the rotation direction at execution, which would add a lot of user input complexity to the ability for what we feel would be very little gain for most players. (/u/BlizzKyle)

In an interview, one of you guys stated that you would like to limit Masters+ to solo queue or duo queue, have you decided on that matter yet and if so, when can we expect it to be implemented?
Hi YugoBetrugo17, thanks for the question! We have been discussing this and it is something we are fully considering. There are two competing forces at play here that we'd like to strike a balance between: Overwatch has received positive feedback for limiting queuing to solo and duo queues at high ranks which could also be a feasible solution in Heroes of the Storm. However, Heroes is a game that has been heavily focused on playing with your friends and is when we feel the game is most fun. Limiting the queuing to solo and duo queues at high levels goes against that general philosophy, but we understand that it can be unfun to go against a 5 stack in higher ranks.

As a result, we are actively investigating other ways to make this experience better for everyone. Other options we're looking at include investigating what's happening with our win probability calculations. We are actively discussing solutions, so if you have suggestions, or ways you would like to see this proceed, please let us know! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

What I really loved was back when 2.0 was released you basically gave us a calendar of what to expect for I think it was a month or two and that was the most exciting thing because we knew stuff was coming and when to expect it. Any chance we can get something like that again? I know things are always in flux especially with recent staffing changes but one can hope for a miracle, right?
Hello, /u/Shinagami091! I answered this in another thread today, but to TL;DR myself here - we'll discuss how we can bring more visibility into our plans for the game. Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

How did the decision to make a nexus-original hero for Qhira's kit come about? As many have pointed out here, there are pre-existing characters and archetypes that could have fit the kit with a different visual design, so what prompted the choice to introduce us to a brand new character and nexus realm?
Qhira's concepts and visual design along with the base kit concept is what got us excited about doing the hero. For us, we didn't feel that there was another Blizzard character that we felt as strongly about for this design.

Forcing this kit on an obscure character from an existing Blizzard game would be just as foreign to some players as Qhira is. Not everyone who plays Heroes of the Storm plays all Blizzard games so as an example, when a hero like Mephisto comes out, if you've never played Diablo 2, you may still not really know who this character is either. In some cases they may have never even heard of that character before their introduction into our game. On the flip side, if you're really passionate about Heroes and play it as your main game, perhaps having a character that you feel like is from your game would be exciting to you, the same way that having Mephisto would excite D2 players, but not necessarily WoW players.

That being said, our focus going forward is on existing Blizzard characters and we don't have any plans for a new Nexus hero at the moment. We're excited and passionate to deliver content such that everyone who plays our game feels like they have a hero who they can latch onto and be excited about! (/u/BlizzKyle)

How does the team use the feedback from post game survey's like "How much fun did you have last game?" To me, this seems like an incredibly subjective question that a simple 1-5 scale doesn't really address.
Hello Shmorrior, We have historically used this to gain 'general' feedback. We can help make heads-from-tails with this feedback by bucketing into different groups (did you win or lose, what map did you play on, what Hero did you play, etc...). While it is very subjective, with enough data, we can see trends and help pinpoint areas in which we can improve.

This said, the designers are actively talking about bringing in some new questions that would be more specific and less general - but we haven't locked that down yet. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Are there any plans to combat smurfing?
Hi Pscythic. Smurfing is a problem indeed, and there are actually some systems that help with adjusting MMR and Rank for accounts that are clearly out of their league already in place. I'd say, the more efficient ways to minimize smurfs' impact are:
  • Discourage playing on multiple accounts (for example, by limiting Ranked play access for totally fresh accounts).
  • Based on new player's winning record, boost their rating up or down until their win/loss ratio gets reasonable. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

What are some surprisingly involved parts of delivering new content or game changes to the Nexus?
To piggyback on what Lana said, Localization also affects modeling as well. For example, Janitor Leoric and Cuddle Bear Stitches' text is localized across 12 languages. All these languages need to be communicated then checked and cross checked then validated and potentially corrected once in game. This is a large task among many departments but I want to talk a little bit about Janitor Leoric and what this actually meant for this skin from an art perspective.

The patch on the back of his work suit is raised up like a patch. What this means is for each of those languages there is a unique Color map texture (some people call this the diffuse), a unique Normal map texture (makes things look like they have details that pop off the surface), a unique Specular/Gloss Texture (controls how light interacts with the model and defines materials) That's 36 unique textures for one Skin (48 if you count the Gloss as a separate texture which is usually an Alpha channel for us) . For Cuddle Bear Stitches it says something different on each tag which means there's a unique texture for the Color map and Specular/Gloss Texture. These textures take time to modify and it requires a meticulousness and organization that is unexpected. Anything that requires a new Normal map means that the high poly details need to be modified or re-sculpted. This can be a lot of work because it requires planing and approaching the sculpt in a smart organized way. So there you go, that little bit of text that you can read on a model took almost a solid week of work for Janitor Leoric alone. In comparison Janitor Leoric took about 3 and a half weeks for just the model and his color variations. That extra week was tacked on after the base model and variations were completed. A total of 4 and a half weeks on Just the modeling and textures. This Isn't counting what our friends over in animation, tech art or any of the other departments involved in getting a skin out to you guys. We love being able to serve our players who play our game in other languages. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

What a great, and well thought out question Emnys.

To be honest, almost everything our dev-team does takes a lot more effort than one would expect. For a more specific answer - our Mecha event took over six months of careful execution with massive collaborations between every discipline (design, art, engineering, quality assurance, and localization). We begin with art concepts which drive the general direction, followed closely by both system and technical design documentation that lay the foundation and sets precedence for all of the future implementation work. Once this is all papered out, the system and technical designs are implemented in-tandem. Iteration and response to critical feedback comes next, before finally being handed of to quality assurance and localization. As we head into 'Golden Ticket' for the release, bug fixing and polish takes over prioritization before giving the go-ahead to our wonderful global publishing teams to make sure players have visibility into all of the exciting content.

As we continue moving into the future, we are trying to build templates and tools that will help do a lot of the manual heavy-lifting that we do today, but that process has to constantly be balanced around making sure we are still delivering the content that we are all so very passionate about. As you can see, it is very much a massive team effort to get content into your hands! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Any update on the Arthas model or him in general coming?
Here's the deal. This is something that we want to do, but it's not a simple task.

Arthas is one of our older models and our development pipeline has evolved a lot since his release. This means that changing his model would also require updates to both his underlying rig and animations. Which also means we have to consider how those changes might affect his VFX, which could have implications for his UI, ability Icons and so on. Not to mention that if we're even going to consider all that work we would want to include design in the process because maybe they want to take the opportunity to do a rework? As you can see, the workload can quickly escalate.

So the bottom line is that yes, we would like to update the Arthas model, but we don't currently have and plans do so and likely won't be able to consider it for a little while longer. Updating old assets will directly take away from creating new ones, so we have to balance our priorities. However, I can promise that we have a lot of really cool stuff in the pipe that we can't wait to share with you! (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

I was wondering if there any work going into the observer mode/Custom lobby changes?
Hi Bahamut and thanks for the question! I have been investigating this and think I have a new version of the Observer interface. It mostly contains things that you guys have already come up with! (Talent pick popouts, smaller player frames - they are now the same as the ones shown to players, updated and polished bottom screen stats frames). I have been working on getting the kinks out and it is something we do want to eventually release. We are very much aware that it will break the existing custom observer interfaces that you have all made, though, so we want to make sure we don't disrupt anything when we do it! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Should we expect Nexus OC heroes WAY more frequently than you initially lead us to believe last blizzcon?
Hi again! Orphea and Qhira are unique in the way they came about, driven by the Heroes team being excited about fresh gameplay elements and visual concepts that were pitched last year. It was the team's way of bringing something new and unique to Heroes – both development-wise, and in-game. That kind of exploration is one of my favorite things about this game – whether it’s a new skin, or the reimagining a hero’s kit for our game, or creating an entirely new hero from the ether - we get to explore and try new things while having fun as developers and players. So as much as we love Qhira and Orphea and we had a ton of fun making them, we currently don't have any other Nexus-born heroes in development. We do have several Blizzard heroes that you know and love in active development, and we can't wait to share more on them soon! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Can we get the emote wheel back?
Hello /u/Spazzo965, As one of Heroes players, this is the feature that I miss the most. I like how heroes in game interact with each other. Using voice lines to communicate with team members could be a good way to add humor and break the tension in game. As I mentioned in other thread, using voice lines to make character feel live is one of the features that I am personally very passionate about. There are other items that I need to work on, but I am hoping that I can find some time to make this happen. (/u/Blizz_JunoK)

I actually got a question about Qhira. Why is she not Belial?
Isn't she? (/u/BlizzNeyman)

What do you think about Hanamura right now ? I spoke with many players from esport, and they dont like the map (even if it's better than the old one).
Hey Malganyr, thanks for the question. One of the original intentions with Hanamura was to create a 2 lane map, where the "third lane" were the camps in the middle of the map. So it's intended that there's a greater emphasis on them than most other maps.

It's also probably okay if the map objective isn't as powerful as other objectives. It shouldn't be ignored, and it shouldn't be more valuable to take camps over and over instead, but it's okay if it isn't a "drop everything you're doing and come here immediately" type objective. We're still having discussions on what changes to make going forward. We agree that it isn't playing out exactly the way we want. There might be some smaller tuning changes (like the increased respawn timer on the Samurai camps), or even slightly more creative ones. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

Are there any plans to add loss forgiveness for games where a player disconnects?
Hi Pscythic, We answered a similar question about the loss forgiveness feature during a previous AMA back in March if you want to check that out here:

We don't have any additional updates to share on this at the moment. (/u/Blizz_PEWing)

Why is the missing ping hero's quote is gone?
Hello /u/Astug, Thank you for bringing this up. We're aware of the issue and looking to find the best way to bring it back. While researching, I also noticed that heroes don't play their voice over lines when you use individual pings. We'll also look at how to bring the voices back for those moments so that our beloved heroes feel lively again.

Since this fix will take us time to review all the voice line data for all Heroes in 12 languages, I cannot promise the date. However, this is one of the features that I am personally very passionate about and am doing my best to make it happen! (/u/Blizz_JunoK)

Whatever happened to performance based matchmaking? Is it being shelved forever or are there plans for it?
Hello again Pscythic! I talked about this at our AMA back in March:

We still don't have any plans to use the data to influence MMR or Rank; however, the designers are actively exploring ways to surface more of this data to players. Changes to the in-game score and recap screens are currently being iterated on but there's no concrete timeline for when or if these would be released. (/u/Blizz_PEWing)

What are your thoughts on traits that only occur when your character dies?
You are absolutely correct in that if you are playing well and not dying, your trait doesn't give you very much value and that's why we've mostly pulled away from doing death traits since Junkrat's release. In the future, if we were to do another death trait it would only be done in a situation where it truly made sense for the hero fantasy and there would most likely be extra bonuses attached to it while alive. (/u/BlizzKyle)

Do you plan to have a workshop for user created skins? Are you making tools for that?
There are no current plans for user generated content. However, there are many avenues to getting your concepts seen by us. Just recently u/Jackice1714 created a poll with a bunch of community ideas for skins that they ran on reddit. We are paying attention to the highest desired skin ideas from the community and would like to do another community skin like Janitor Leoric and Azmodunk Azmodan.
Have you seen a skin popular enough to start working on it so far? I wonder whether the poll convinced you to choose some of them. Also, theoretically assuming that you have chosen one, when will you announce it? When it will be almost ready? At Blizzcon? On the New Year?
There are some contenders for sure. Usually getting a skin made and prepped can take between 5 and 10 months. If we were to choose a community skin today and I started modeling it when I got back to my desk you would probably be looking at a spring or summer release next year. If we were to choose a skin and announce it 8 months ahead of time is that too far out? What do you think is a good time frame to announce something like that? (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Will we see the lore for Qhira expanded upon?
I think it's totally possible that we will expand and evolve the lore of not only Qhira but the Nexus and all of it's inhabitants in the future. Our goal is always to provide awesome gameplay, which was our primary focus with with her design, but we've heard the call to reveal more of her story and is something we would really like to do if the right opportunity arises. However, we don't have any specific plans or details to share at this time.

As for Whimsyshire, I can only speak for myself here, but I am totally on board for adding more rainbow tinted mayhem. I am the artist who created the Whimsyshire cloud mount after all... I just have to find a way to convince everyone else first! (/u/Blizz_Thomas)

Can you guys consider adding a Taunt showcase button for the MVP screen?
This is a good suggestion. It has a lot lot of ramifications that I'm unaware of at the moment. For example, Taunt animations are usually a little more unconstrained in the hands of our animators. So, what does that mean for a hero that steps out of frame of the normal camera? Does that mean they step in front of another player? The next steps would be to go through our 86+ heroes and figure out where it breaks. This is the kind of thing that we need to explore before we're able to implement something. I'll poke around and see if this is an option. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Do you have plans to make keybind settings bound to heroes instead of profiles?
Hello /u/nguyenhothanh, "Empowering players so that they can enjoy game in a way they like it." is one of my goals. This has been requested time to time. The easiest work around would be creating a separate profile for the hero and switch to the profile everytime game starts. I can look into if switching profile automatically is easy if client detects that profile under the same hero name exists. However, this will add some maintenance for players since some common settings should be copied over to all hero specific profiles as well. I won't promise if I can deliver anything, but I'll review how easy it would be. (/u/Blizz_JunoK)

Alterac Pass has a design flaw imo that I think could be easily solved[...]
Hey Riokaii, This is a cool idea, and one that would be interesting to test. I think that you are correct in that the Gnoll camps are relatively safe to take, but part of this is intentional. We like to have a variety of Mercenary camps, and having a mix of some that are easier and some that are harder to take is important. That being said, it doesn't mean that any camp should be unable to be challenged, and the gnoll camps might be too far in that territory.

The complication is that we like to keep objective locations relatively isolated from one another. Now turning the camp around in those locations might be enough, but thing to test would be if that area begins to feel a bit claustrophobic. It would likely require a few other layout changes, which aren't really easy to do. Our art team pours a ton of attention into Battlegrounds, and changing the layout around can require a lot more cleanup and polish that you'd think. Not that it isn't do-able, but it's a matter of priorities and cost/benefit here. It's a cool idea though! Would be interesting to see how that would play out. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

[on the topic of win streaks and how it affects MMR]
Hi Agrius_HOTS! I answered a similar question here:

Regarding the exact difference it will make, it's very difficult to say because there are so many factors taken into account when updating a player's MMR/rank after a game. The win streak bonus applies a scalar factor to the underlying MMR increase so its effects will vary greatly. Furthermore, all of these factors are configurable and subject to change. We'll be keeping a close eye on the health of Storm League and on player feedback and we are always looking for ways to further improve the smurfing problem! (/u/Blizz_PEWing)

Where are the MMR numbers... Why aren't we seeing the MMR ?
Hi MrFizzbin, thank you for the question! With Season 1 of Storm League, we changed how ranked points are calculated.

In the past, after your placement games, your Rank was set to the equivalent of your MMR. Then you won 200 or lost 200 ranked points every game until the end of the season. This could cause a divergence of your MMR and your rank, especially if you didn't play for a while or you went on a winning streak. Now your Rank is always set to the equivalent of your MMR. You'll notice that after every game you can change from 200 to 600 ranked points in most situations. Your ranked points will reflect your MMR in every case, unless you receive penalty points for abandoning a draft or leaving a game. If you have these penalty points, playing more games will quickly bring you back to your MMR reflection again. As abandoning a draft/leaving a game doesn't affect your actual skill level, we didn't want to give you a hit to that rating, but we still want to discourage that behavior. Because of that, this system we felt was the best as a way to both reflect your skill level in ranked points, but also allow us to modify the value if the situation arises. Hope this helps! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Will the rank adjustments in SL Season 1 reduce the rank ascent time of smurf accounts, now that it is going to make your rank and MMR synonymous?
Hi Yegas, Great question and yes, it should! There are mechanisms in place to accelerate MMR gains for smurfs. These have actually always been around; however, in the past, rank and MMR were updated separately which would result in smurfs "dwelling" in lower ranks despite having higher MMRs. Not only did this make the experience worse for other players but it also made the matchmaker's job much harder.

Now that rank is updated based on MMR this should no longer be the case and MMR and rank should rarely diverge. That isn't to say that smurf accounts will instantly rank up but it should be a bit quicker and they will have less of a negative impact on the matchmaker. :) (/u/Blizz_PEWing)

[art/animation feedback]
Thanks for the feedback qortkddj90! These are all cool flavor hits! Best I can do is look into what is required to do these things and weigh it against our current backlog. If it is something that we can justify doing next to some other things that are there then it sounds good. If we can't I hope there won't be any hard feelings. Also, we have a lot of things we would like to do and time is always a big factor. If you can figure out how to add more hours in a day I'm game to explore everything. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

The Ranked Season Quests are cool, but mere gold reward doesn't sound too attractive, nor is the only objective about winning. Can you add some more exclusive rewards and quest objectives?
Storm League's inaugural season has just kicked off and we plan on evolving it season-over-season. So look for us to continue making changes and improvements to both quests and rewards, but I'd like to know what the community would like to see here. Please let us know your thoughts and ideas and we'll see if we're able to incorporate some of them in future seasons! (/u/KaeoMilker)

What are your thoughts on the global movement speed buff now that’s been out for a while? Any hero specific changes to skill shots/ projectile speed in mind?
Hey evilShado1! So far so good! We didn't think there would be too many huge swings in win rates with this change and so far that has been the case. I still want some more data before pulling the trigger on anything, but the biggest concerns that I have are Li-Ming and Kel'Thuzad, and to a lesser extent some other heroes like Ana and Chromie since those heroes rely on their skillshots a lot to be effective.

There are a lot of ways to buff a hero outside of their skillshot speeds, so I wouldn't expect them all to suddenly get skillshot speed increases due to the movement speed increase. After all, the point of the increase was to change the game a bit, not to make it the same as it always has been. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Why does Qhira have an active skillshot D and a stackable passive W? Shouldn't we swap them?
The primary reasoning for Grappling Hook being on the D button is two-fold. It has a relatively long cooldown for a basic ability (25 seconds) and it feels a little awkward to have a mobility skill on your W and E buttons. During Qhira's design process, Grappling Hook was actually a level 16 talent and the Passive portion of [W] Blood Rage was her trait. Over the course of our iterations we were having so much fun with Grappling Hook (and it was considered such a must pick) that we decided to merge the passive portion of Blood Rage (at the time her trait) into the W and put Grappling Hook on her trait.

Q: Can you explain how the [ranked] point system works?
Hi Darak_ and thank you for the question! One of the ways the matchmaker modifies your MMR after a game is through a system called Game Density - Essentially, the longer you go without playing a game, the less confident the matchmaker is that your MMR is correct, so the more it will change after a game. I took a break from Starcraft 2 for a bit one time and I dropped from Gold to Bronze as I forgot how to 4 gate properly, but I slowly cheesed my way back up. As you play more games its confidence returns as the amount you change after a game starts dropping again. Previously your rank points changes hid this, which could lead to rank/MMR disparity. Now the rank points changes accurately reflect this, so you will notice more rank points change if you come back from a break, or a win streak. Hope this helps! (/u/Blizz_DGower)

Is there any clarification as to why the statistics tab seasons were renamed to "Preseason" and "2019 Season 2". At first it was labeled "2018, Season 5", a month later renamed to "2019, Season 1" now suddenly it's Preseason? Wasn't the "2019 Season 2" the real preseason? And are you aware that "2019, Season 1"(Preseason in stats tab) has missing stats?
Hello /u/Hapcher, Thank you for bringing this up. It looks like a bug. Like you mentioned, 2019, Season 2 should be called "Preseason". Original plan was to update the season names for Storm League. But due to limited space, we decided not to differentiate the season names for Storm League. Regarding missing stats issue, can you leave a report on our official bug forum with more details? (/u/Blizz_JunoK)

Are you going to return mishas speed someday?
Hello konqi74! Misha's speed has been fixed in this week's patch along with all of the other units affected. This was touched on in the Bug Fixes section of the patch notes here:

Thanks! (/u/Blizz_PEWing)

/u/Blizz_SMorozov, will you compress the whole Storm League population with a really soft reset for next/each Season in the future?
Hi Elitesparkle! There are no plans for another MMR squish, clamp or reset as of now. We believe those measures should only be taken under extraordinary circumstances, such as significant MMR or Ranked play system revamps. The best way to insure people's rank is on par with their skill is to have them play ranked games, the more the better, especially at the higher ranked tiers. The reason being is that having a bigger game data sample makes matchmaking system's player skill estimates much more reliable. This is why we have set up a more robust rank decay system, and also why we introduced the new seasonal questline. To secure their skill and rank, one must play consistently. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

Will you create a cap for ranking after placements ? Like Diamond 5 or Diamond 3
Hey Malganyr - thank you for all that you do! We have currently removed the beginning of ranked season cap in order to keep player's Ranked Points mapped directly to their MMR (and we don't want to cap skill). However, we are open for feedback on this and can definitely revisit if needed! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

What was the most important step for each of you to get into the game design industry? I'm graduating in a few months and looking for tips on where to start/what to do.
Hey redwings159753! I think everyone has a unique experience for how we got into the positions that we currently have. The most actionable things that I would consider would be:
  • Create your own game. The two most powerful things that I know of that can be on a resume for a Game Designer are prior experience (which most people asking this question won't have), or people who have actually created something and can show it. There are plenty of game creation engines out there that are cheap or free, just go to google or youtube and you will find that there's a whole world out there for game creators. It's seriously never been easier to do this, but most people don't want to take the time to. The experience of going through the iterative process of creating something and learning from your mistakes is incredibly humbling and will teach you more about being a designer than a million years doing paper design of cool stuff based on games that already exist.
  • A lot of people start in Quality Assurance and move into Game Design because they are related fields. Getting experience working on games doing QA work and making your own stuff in your free time is the best way that I know of to reliably get into the industry.

It also helps a lot if you have a reputation for having a strong work ethic. Don't let others tell you that you can't do it, and always bring your A-game and you will stand out among your peers. Again though, this is just my experience and opinion on it. Everyone has a pretty unique story as far as how they got to where they are. However, I think that this advice would be useful for anyone to have a better chance when trying to get the job. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)
by Published on 2019-08-06 04:59 PM

Heroes of the Storm Live Patch Notes - August 6, 2019
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

The next Heroes of the Storm patch has arrived! The update brings a new Hero, Qhira the Iresian Bounty Hunter, alongside bug fixes, new bundles, new skins, and much more! Dive on in for more information.

Quick Navigation:


On-Fire System
  • Hero name-plates will now display that a Hero is On-Fire when they are performing well during a match

New Hero: Qhira, Iresian Bounty Hunter

A sworn knight and holder of a singularity shard, Qhira’s only desire is to seek out others who may have escaped the destruction of her doomed home realm, Iresia. While she searches, she gets by as a bounty hunter--- a job she loathes, despite her exceptional skill.

  • Grappling Hook [D]
    • Qhira fires a Grappling Hook that pulls her to any terrain it contacts. If an enemy Hero is hit, they take 36 damage and Qhira launches at them, dealing an additional 112 damage on impact. Can be used while Revolving Sweep is active.
      • Cooldown: 25 Seconds

Basic Abilities
  • Carnage [Q]
    • Unleash your sword in a targeted direction, continuously dealing 31 damage to enemies caught in its path.
      • Cost: 40 Mana
      • Cooldown: 6 seconds
  • ​​Blood Rage [W]
    • ​Passive: Basic Attack and Ability damage cause enemies to bleed for 46 damage over 4 seconds. Stacks 5 times.
    • Active: Qhira deals 33 damage and heals for 88 health per enemy Hero affected. Damage and healing is increased by 50% per each additional stack on that Hero.
      • Cost: 35 Mana
      • Cooldown: 8 seconds
  • Revolving Sweep [E]
    • ​Attach your sword to the first enemy Hero hit, Stunning them for .25 seconds. Once attached, Qhira becomes immune to all effects, swinging around the target for 2.75 seconds, and dealing 109 damage to any enemies between you and the target. Reactivate to send you to the target’s location, knocking them back, dealing 112 damage and Stunning them for .75 seconds.
      • Cost: 70 Mana
      • Cooldown: 16 Seconds

Heroic Abilities[/b]
  • Unrelenting Strikes [R1]
    • Deal 46 damage to all nearby enemies every .5 seconds for 2.5 seconds as your sword grows outward. Upon expiring, deal 86 damage to all nearby enemy Heroes and Stun them for .75 seconds.
      • Cost: 60 Mana
      • Cooldown: 75 Seconds
  • Final Strike [R2]
    • After 1 second, strike your sword in a line to deal 432 damage to all enemies in its path. This damage is increased by 25% to any enemy below 50% Health.
      • Cost: 45 Mana
      • Cooldown: 40 Seconds

Storm League

Storm League - Season 1, 2019
  • Ranked Points are now directly mapped to a player's Storm League MMR.
    • Rank is no longer considered by the matchmaker.
    • Leaving a Ranked Match Lobby or Game results in a 500 Rank Point penalty which can be slowly regained in future matches.
  • Placement Matches have been reduced from 10 to 3.
  • Promotion and Demotion games have been removed and players will seamlessly transition through Leagues and Divisions.
    • The MMR range has been rebuilt and remapped to handle this.
  • A Team Leader (banning player in Ranked Draft) is selected on the highest Rank for placed players, or MMR for unplaced ones. In mixed teams, placed players have priority.
  • Rank Decay has been adjusted
    • Only players that are Diamond 5 or higher and that have finished their Placement Matches are eligible for decay
    • If a player's decay timer is less than 3 days, it resets to 3 days upon playing a Storm League game. If the timer is at or above 3 days, players will gain an additional grace day for each game played (up to a maximum of 30).
  • A Ranked Seasonal Questline is now available to players
    • This Questline will be available each Season and must be completed in order to be eligible for both the Ranked Seasonal Rewards and the Grand Master Leaderboards.

[NEW] The Storm League pool is now:
  • Alterac Pass
  • Battlefield of Eternity
  • Braxis Holdout
  • Cursed Hollow
  • Dragon Shire
  • Hanamura Temple
  • Infernal Shrines
  • Sky Temple
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Towers of Doom
  • Volskaya Foundry

The Quick Match pool is now:
  • All maps that are available in Storm League
  • Blackheart’s Bay
  • Garden of Terror
  • Warhead Junction

[NEW] Dev Comment: Due to player feedback about their favorite Battleground being removed or least favorite added, and also us questioning the value that we were gaining by having a Battleground rotation, we’ve decided to get our Storm League pool to 11 Battlegrounds and probably leave it there for the immediate future. The original idea behind a rotation was to facilitate a different metagame and make the game feel fresh and different, but we found that this wasn’t really panning out this way and in fact created more confusion and volatility than enjoyment. We still think that altering the game from season to season is important to keep things feeling fresh, and we’ll be exploring ways to do this beyond our regular Hero updates and new Heroes in the future.

Map Updates

Braxis Holdout
  • Functionality of the Braxis control-point is now consistent with that of Dragon Shire
  • Zerg Waves
    • Make-up and stats of the Zerg Wave units have been adjusted
    • Zergling
      • Health reduced from 750 to 450
      • Health scaling over time increased
      • Damage increased from 5 to 10
      • Damage scaling over time decreased
      • No longer has a 10% damage penalty to Structures
    • Baneling
      • Health reduced from 500 to 450
      • Health scaling over time increased
      • Damage increased from 55 to 150
      • Damage scaling over time decreased
      • Now have a 50% damage bonus to Heroes
      • No longer have a 50% damage bonus to Structures
      • Explosion radius increased from 2.75 to 3
      • Now prefers attacking Structures
    • Hydralisk
      • Health reduced from 1500 to 850
      • Health scaling over time increased
      • Damage increased from 25 to 70
      • Damage scaling over time decreased
      • No longer have a 10% damage penalty to Structures
    • Guardian
      • Health reduced from 2250 to 1000
      • Health scaling over time increased
      • Damage increased from 80 to 110
      • Damage scaling over time decreased
      • No longer have a 25% damage penalty to Structures
    • Ultralisk
      • Health reduced from 6000 to 4700
      • Health scaling over time increased
      • Damage increased from 50 to 100
      • Damage scaling over time decreased
      • No longer have a 10% damage penalty to Structures
    • While attacking, Guardian and Ultralisks now spawn Drop Pods with 3 Zerglings and 1 Hydralisk (can occur once every 13 seconds)​

Developer Comment: We've made some changes to Braxis to even out the power curve of Zerg waves and introduce what we've found is a fun new mechanic in Drop Pods. By causing reinforcements of Zerg to periodically appear via Drop Pods, it makes some effects like Planet Cracker and Lava Wave a little less powerful against them. It also provides a stronger focus for single target characters, as removing Ultralisks and Guardians earlier will cause fewer Drop Pods to spawn, thereby indirectly helping against the massive zerg onslaught. The tuning changes get the zerg in line with most of our other Mercenaries and Minions, which mostly mirror a Hero's power level over the course of a game (though Battleground events tend to get more deadly in the late game to force a conclusion to matches). Overall, we think you'll enjoy these small changes to Braxis. It won't greatly change the way the Battleground feels but introduce a little freshness to the map while helping balance a few longstanding issues with over the top Hero imbalances on the Battleground.


New Bundles (Limited Time Only!)
  • Qhira Heroic Bundle
  • Warchrome Commanders Bundle
  • Deathranger Nova Bundle

New Skins
  • Fearless Qhira
  • Jade Qhira
  • Scrapper Queen Qhira
    • Berserk Scrapper Queen Qhira
    • Executor Scrapper Queen Qhira
    • Desert Scrapper Queen Qhira
    • Vanquisher Scrapper Queen Qhira
  • Deathranger Nova (Limited Time Only!)
    • Mirage Deathranger Nova
    • Rugged Deathranger Nova
    • Dusk Deathranger Nova
    • Ember Deathranger Nova
  • Daredevil Roadraider Raynor
  • Molten Diesel Speaker Nazeebo

New Mounts
  • Daredevil Helldorado
  • Scavenger’s Ripper
  • Outrider's Ripper
  • Soldier’s Ripper

New Announcer
  • Qhira Announcer

New Content
  • Several emojis, portraits, banners and other items have been added to the collection!

Bug Fixes
  • [NEW] Interrupting Brightwing’s Intensive Winds cast will now set the cooldown to 5 seconds.
  • [NEW] Fixed various Movement Speed bugs that had occurred with the increased Movement Speed patch.
  • Zeratul no longer auto-acquires targets that walk within range while Cloaked.
  • Taking the Snowstorm talent on Jaina in the middle of a Blizzard cast no longer changes the damage value for the rest of the game.
  • Learning Yrel’s Seraphim talent while channeling or disabled no longer leaves it permanently disabled.
  • Blinding Wind, Shadow Dagger, Seeker Swarm, Frost Blast, Unstable Compound, and Weak Spot Acquired will no longer apply their effects to Heroes in Time Stop.
  • Critical Strike, Oil Spill, Lightning Fury, Ravage, Keg Smash, and Particle Grenade are now affected by cooldown reduction effects.
  • Sgt. Hammer’s Siege Mode can no longer out-range kill credit for the Salvaging the Stables questline.
  • Varian’s Banner of Ironforge now correctly displays the plus-Healing UI when augmented with Glory to the Alliance.
  • Uther can now /dance and /taunt during Eternal Vanguard.

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