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by Published on 2018-09-20 03:23 PM

Game Design & Balance AMA - Recap
As prmoised, here follows a recap of yesterday's developer AMA about game design and balance. The full session is included below the recap for anyone wishing to peruse the answers further.

  • Malthael's Tormented Souls has been on the radar since his cleave changes
  • The team is aware of the solo lane issues. This week's changes to Blaze and Yrel will hopefully mitigate some of it while a solution is being worked on
  • Blaze and Yrel were meant as main tanks but became strong solo laners instead. The team would love to move Blaze in a tank direction, but Yrel would require a massive overhaul that the team is unwilling to do currently as her playstyle is unique
  • The developers went a bit overboard with quest talents once that mechanic was introduced and has since been dialing them back a bit
  • Mana issues, or the lack thereof for some heroes, is a big topic internally and has a dedicated meeting scheduled today to discussing the issue
  • Ragnaros was originally meant as a core-replacement hero, but ultimately it didn't feel true to his fantasy. They liked the playstyle though, so it's still on the table for a future hero
  • The team has read a lot of feedback about Tassadar, and he will have his time
  • Chen's current state is a concern, but we won't be seeing a major update to him in the next few months. Probius and Lost Vikings were mentioned in the same breath
  • Ana's Healing Dart will be able to pass through full health heroes in the future
  • Match quality has gone up significantly since the matchmaking changes earlier this year, but queue time has gone up as well, especially during off-hours
  • Ranked play in general will be scrutinized heavily to make sure it's the right fit for the game. Removing the grouping restrictions for Team League is but a small first step
  • MMR/rank visibility and function is still being discussed internally. The team is open for feedback!
  • Tooltip consistency is an ongoing effort to rectify
  • Chromie will likely see additonal changes in the future, but the team is not aiming to give her back the role of extreme artillery mage as it was not fun to play against
  • Role rework is coming before the end of the year
  • The Garden of Terror changes were prompted by feedback often saying it's the worst map in the game. Several iterations of changes were attempted internally, but most still ended up with the problems of the current live version. New version is the most fun the team has had playing the map
  • Blackheart's Bay will see adjustments but not to the extent of the upcoming Garden of Terror update
  • Multi-class will be removed as a role with the upcoming role rework. Instead, some heroes will be labeled with several categories, such as Varian being both tank and bruiser
  • The Live Designers usually work on 2 hero reworks at a time, with a total of about 8-10 they'd like to look at
  • We're unlikely to see more heroes with the kind of low-condition mobility we see in Tracer and Genji
  • A spectate feature is not currently on the table as there are far more important aspects of the game that need to be worked on

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Game design: Why can't Catapults be blinded, when Siege Giants (similar projectile) and Minions (same classification) can?
Hey Zanzure! This was a bug that has been fixed in the Kerrigan\Brightwing rework patch. You should see the change to address this go live next week sometime. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

Since Malthael's latest rework, Tormented Souls has become very redundant with his cleaving auto-attacks and is rarely ever picked (along with Last Rites' flaws also being addressed and making it feel a lot better). Are there any changes to Tormented Souls currently in the works to make it more viable in any way?
Hey maguszeal, thanks for the question. It's true that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction for Tormented Souls after the changes giving Malthael cleaving attacks. We've toyed around with the idea of making some changes to make sure that it's still an attractive pick that offers something useful (and unique), but we don't have anything ready to share right now. It's likely that whatever will be done would focus on dealing spread damage, as well as enhancing Reaper's Mark-focused gameplay.

Anecdotally, when we were working on Malthael's cleaving changes, we knew that there was a possibility that Tormented Souls would lose value so we experimented with a few changes to it then. One of them was trying to make it deal flat damage that was increased by enemies affected by Reaper's Mark, but we decided to shelve the idea because it felt pretty similar to Kerrigan's Maelstrom.

It's something that we might revisit soon, since we think having an AoE-focused Heroic for Malthael is good design space to explore. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

What's the great plan for illidan? Why not just buff his 10. Any insight on that? He does not need a rework just specific 10 buffs, Hunt back to 60~75 sec CD and moving some 20 demonic form buffs to 10 IMO.
Hey TheGameOn, thanks for your question about The Betrayer. He's one of my personal favorite Heroes.

Right now Illidan primarily takes The Hunt because it offers unique and fun gameplay, so we aren't all that upset that it's the more commonly picked Heroic ability. That being said, Metamorphosis is being chosen 40% of the time in higher level Hero League, though it doesn't always feel like it. It isn't winning nearly as much though, so there might be room for improvement.

Illidan isn't seen all that often partly due to this being an unfavorable metagame for him. With a bruiser-heavy meta, not only is there a lot of crowd control to deal with him, but also fewer squishy targets for him to chase down. Just a year ago Illidan was very meta, and hasn't seen many changes since, so we're confident that maybe small tuning changes combined with a more favorable meta will allow him to fulfill his niche in the game again. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

What is the general consensus on Infinite Ammo vs Ammo for turrets. Infinite ammo has put the Solo Lane into a boring, stagnate state that revolves around high-sustain and waveclear with no incentive to push the structures (due to infinite ammo, 250 xp towers, risk of being ganked)?

Latching onto this - Krosby, Ezareal and I were chatting in Kala's discord about this issue. What we came up with
  1. Increase minion damage versus heroes, so it's harder to freeze
  2. Give the mage minion a limited use spellbomb they throw when they get into tower range, so it's not a mistake to push with it. We suggested when a mage minion gets within ~10 range it starts casting a bomb over 1 second, then it sacrifices itself (dropping the globe away from the towers) and dealing ~400 damage to a structure
  3. Really work on how mana is supposed to work in the offlane - more gank resistant offlaners should be more mana hungry, so the tension is if you leave the lane alone mana becomes the deciding factor

Thanks for the question ZerglingHOTS! We’ve been reading a lot of the discussion on the solo lane, and are still talking with each other internally about what the true causes and solutions are for the current state of the solo lane.

Here are some of my thoughts on the current state of the solo lane:
  • I agree that there is an issue with there not being enough interaction between some heroes in the solo lane, and that at the highest levels it’s not great that the optimal play is to kill minions and largely ignore the enemy Hero.
  • As a side note here, a constant struggle we have as developers is that we want to create a game where offensive play is generally the optimal strategy. It’s important that, most of the time, offensive play is optimal so that the game has exciting moments and is driven towards its inevitable conclusion. However, at the extreme top end of play, pros are actually encouraged to find any situation where the optimal play is to be safe so that they have a better chance to consistently win more often, as offensive play is generally also more risky, and therefore less desirable.
  • I believe it’s a complicated problem. There are a lot of factors going on, and saying that the cause is purely something like infinite tower ammo is a bit scary to me as we could easily make a mistake and create system-level changes that don’t actually resolve the true issues, which could, at best, do nothing to solve the problem, and at worst create more issues with the flow of the game as a whole.
  • From my perspective, we didn’t really see these issues so much after Tower Ammo specifically came out, and we saw it a lot more with the release of Blaze and Yrel, who are both heroes with incredibly high sustain, good waveclear, and who are difficult to gank. Because of this, we targeted the sustain of both of these heroes in our balance patch which is coming out today. I don’t think this will completely solve what’s going on, but it’s a step that we wanted to take in the short term and see how that works.
  • I admit that this could be an incorrect observation, as it could have just taken this long to have other root issues of the solo lane experience come to light.
  • We had many reasons for tower ammo being infinite, and we would like to explore other ways to make laning interactive outside of reverting that change. We’re totally open to feedback and suggestions here, and will be having discussions going forward about how to make this more interactive. One cool suggestion that I thought was neat was ChaosOS’s post about the mage minion having Sapper-like qualities to it.
  • In regards to my view on the specific problems and where I’d like to see the solo-lane go, the two things I’d like to see are:
  • More management of Health, Mana, and getting value in trades against the enemy hero. When heroes have too much sustain (ex. Blaze and Yrel), it’s a heavy de-motivator to interact with the opponent since that damage will quickly be undone.
  • More reward for winning the lane. Right now I believe that the risk/reward for shoving the opposing hero out and pushing with the lane is not enough in favor of the player who is outplaying their opponent in the lane. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

It seems like there is a shift towards maps with a single must-win objective (e.g. Hanamura rework). Some players find this is good, as the simplification requires less strategic thought and team coordination. By and large, it simply involves making sure you are at least on even level tiers and win the team fight to get the objective.

For other players, this simplification goes a little too far. There is really only "one way" to win the match, especially with the recent nerfs to other map strategies such as split pushing (for better or worse). I was wondering what your map design principles are and whether the team is fine with having one straightforward and clear method of winning, or are there plans to create more strategic depth to maps, whether this is adding new map mechanics or enabling different team comp metas.

On a personal note, I would love to see more map mechanics added to some maps as it would open up more macro play options and increase the replay value of those maps.

We purposefully crafted our battleground design principles so they do not steer us toward a specific type of map objective. Instead, they focus on driving the game forward, managing emotional tension, and providing mechanical and visual variety (among others). There’s no principle that tells us to collapse players into a small area for a highly impactful, centralized objective. It’s true that we’ve been doing that more than usual recently (Volskaya Foundry and Hanamura Temple for sure, Alterac Pass and the Garden rework to some extent) but this is not the new standard. (/u/Blizz_SHolmes)

Is it a concern for you that the last tank releases (Both Blaze and Yrel were advertised as tanks in the spotlight) are only accepted as bruisers by most of the comunity? Is there any plan to push them into the main tank role?
Hey TheUnwillingOne! As the main balance designer on Blaze, I was a but surprised that he ended up in the solo-lane as an offtank. We gave him a lot of tools to be a main tank, and I still believe that while he’s not quite there, especially for pro play, he is closer than most to being viable in that role, similar to how Arthas can fulfill both the main and offtank role in a composition.

I’ve worked on many Warriors over the last few years, and can confidently say that it’s hard to quantify what exactly makes a main tank, off tank, and bruiser, especially before they are released. I remember a time when ETC and Muradin were dominating the meta and community sentiment strongly saying that every tank needed mobility and a hard engage tool to ever be viable. However, during Alpha and even during recent times, we’ve seen tanks without these tools like Stitches and Arthas be successful for periods of time.

Currently I think we’d like to see Blaze be better in the role of a main tank, whereas Yrel would require a larger rework of her abilities to work in that role, which is something we’re more resistant to do as her gameplay is fairly unique and we wouldn’t want to ruin what’s special about her to fit her into that role. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

As more heroes enter the Nexus, knock backs and displacements in the game are increasing. Will dazes/knock backs ever become keywords and have talents that interact with them?
Hey USSKorolev, thanks for the question. Just to clarify for some readers, we have a number of displacement abilities that also have stuns tied to them. For example, Johanna’s Condemn, Garrosh’s Wreckling Ball, or Junkrat’s Concussion Mine. One of the key reasons to have these stuns is to break moving channeled abilities such as a Li Li’s Jug of 1,000 Cups. Another core reason is that the stun can help to add “weight” to the ability and make it feel a lot better to use. Without the stun on Condemn, heroes would immediately start moving following the initial displacement, often due to previously queued up move orders, and the ability just wouldn’t feel right. That pause helps players to recognize the impact and allows Johanna a small opportunity to capitalize on this ability.

There are of course a number of displacement abilities that do not have this stun which we refer to as “dazes”, including ETC’s Face Melt and Falstad’s Mighty Gust. I’m not sure we have discussed adding a new keyword to interact with these abilities specifically, although it’s an interesting thought.

We’re always interested in giving players counterplay options, so it is something we will talk about internally. I do think there are a few issues though which I’ll go through:

First off, most knockbacks happen extremely quickly, too quickly for you to react once they occur in many cases. Take the ETC Face Melt example, you’d basically have to preemptively use your counter to avoid the displacement – which gets into the territory of pre-cleansing and Unstoppable effects, which we already have. If we said this new counter was always on and waited for a displacement effect to hit you (i.e. Spell Shield), then I’m not sure how fun that would be to play against. If you see someone with Spell Shield, you can often try to poke this off with a weaker ability, but you may not have a secondary displacement effect that you can use to remove this new buff.

Another thought is, we must be careful about how niche we make talents or abilities. Pointing a talent towards a very specific use case will often go unpicked and we will end up adding secondary effects to the talent for it to become an attractive option. In a lot of cases, those secondary effects can overshadow the original design and that becomes why you pick the talent. As an example, take Ana’s level 13 talents, one is for Stuns while the other is to counter Slows and Roots. We ended up having to put secondary effects on these talents to make them useful in more cases, and now those secondary effects have become the primary reason to pick these talents in a lot of cases (i.e. more healing vs. armor). (/u/BlizzCooper)

You have recently reduced the amount of quests (Stukov, Tyrande), realizing that you went a bit overboard with them. Are you happy with the baseline quests of the Assassins I mentioned above (Alarak, Kel'Thuzad, Zul'jin, The Butcher)? Because I honestly don't feel very happy about those and wish for a way to not make them feel too feast-or-famine-like.
Good morning Lorhand - great question! While we do read quite a bit of criticism about baseline quests, typically pointing at the feast-or-famine nature of them, there are also a lot of players that enjoy the thrill of chasing power. At the end of the day, a quest (be it baseline or a talent) is all about adding asymmetrical power spikes to an otherwise fairly static power curve.

The Heroes you listed above all bring a unique playstyle to the Nexus that I think is actually very fun for a large number of players. I personally love designing and playing with quests that are uncapped, because every game starts out with a chance to become 'infinitely' powerful. That said, the reality is that we know the average stacks that a player gains in a game, and at what time they are unlocking the rewards behind them. Ultimately, we still like these types of quests because they make for increased variability between games--sometimes a player feels like a God, and sometimes not so much. If you think about the 'carry' role in other mobas, it is very similar. Many of us love that feeling of a really good game - one where everything just clicks. This makes up for those games where maybe you're not playing at your best and can find areas to improve your game. While we don't want to push this philosophy towards ALL of our Heroes by any means, I think we definitely have room for a few of them.

Lastly, it is important to know that we are always actively looking at a lot of the quests in the game. We went through a period where we tried to add as many of them as possible, which actually ended up creating a lot instances where you needed to play less than optimally in order to stack quickly. Your example of Tyrande is actually perfect - I originally created the baseline Sentinel quest, and although a lot of players enjoyed it, when working on her recent rework, I knew I needed to remove it. We still have quite a few quests in the game that do this and we will continue to either remove them or change them in ways that reward you for using them correctly. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

The next PTR patch seems to bring us back into a direction where mana is a real, present, limiting factor on the sustain of powerful heroes (thinking of Blaze and Yrel changes in particular). Many recent heroes such as Fenix or release Yrel have either no mana or no meaningful mana costs. Where is the dev/balance team at on mana in terms of the fun factor versus usefulness in creating balance?
Hi Hermitpurplerain! We have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to talk about this exact issue. I can’t give any specifics in regards to what changes we’re looking to make, but I wanted to let you know that it’s on our mind. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are there any plans to continue to release "quirky" heroes in the future? (Similar to Abathur, Cho'gall, Murky) I always felt like that was HotS' niche was that they weren't afraid to create heroes that were very unique in their play. Lately it seems the development team has focused on more traditional playstyles rather than quirky ones.
The short answer is "yes, we'd like to", but I also want to share some of our philosophy.

The biggest hurdle to making heroes that break fundamental game rules is that it's not good enough to just make them fun to play -- they also have to be fun to play alongside and against. If a hero is extremely fun, but your teammates groan when you lock them in, it's fair to say that's not a satisfactory place for that hero to be in. I think it's cool to have heroes that are a little more niche and don't show up as often, and do unique things because it makes the games where they do show up more special. They're awesome when they work out.

Currently I'd say Abathur is a great example of what we want to see from these types of heroes. He's relatively rare, but shows up in games often enough that players are familiar with who he is and what he does. Players generally recognize what a good Abathur is capable of and how to adapt their play when he's on their team. Most importantly of all, our game is very much about team fights, and despite his weirdness Abathur has a clear and reliable way to contribute that doesn't leave his team feeling like they're fighting 5v4.

We want to make more heroes that fit in that space and continue to explore ideas. We originally wanted to do Ragnaros as a "core replacement" hero who would sit in your base in all his raid boss glory and command fiery minions on the battlefield. We ultimately decided not to do this for fantasy reasons (it just didn't feel like Ragnaros if you couldn't smite insects with your own two fiery hands), but the gameplay is still promising and we want to revisit it at some point with a more appropriate hero.

We also try varying levels of wacky ideas on almost every new hero we make. There were points in development where Stukov could revive dead heroes as Zerg constructs with unique abilities, Alexstrasza could heal enemies, Mephisto could make enemy heroes hostile to each other... We have good reasons for why we didn't end up implementing those examples, but the point is we're not afraid to try new things and look for ways to surprise our players that are both fun and make sense within the context of our game.

Put simply, we want to make heroes that are unique, AND that players are still excited to play and play with 3, 6, and 12+ months after they come out. This is a very difficult standard to achieve when it comes to truly rule-breaking heroes, but it's something we're excited to keep chasing. (/u/BlizzMattVi)

Has there ever been thought of completely revamping a hero’s role with a rework? (Ie turning Xul into a tank, or Tassadar into a complete assassin)
Hey Sprinklings, thank you for the question! The short answer is yes! In fact we just did something similar with Tyrande. While a lot of players loved her hybrid Support/Assassin playstyle, she was having a hard time finding a solid spot in the meta. Since her rework last year, we have read a lot of feedback saying that our support players really missed playing her as a healer. When starting her most recent rework, we took the opportunity to shift her role and rebuilt her talent tree and kit around embracing that.

As for the future, I can honestly tell you that we have heard your feedback about Tassadar, and when his time comes, we will be having a lot of discussions about potentially shifting him towards the High Templar you all want and deserve - En Taro Tassadar! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Why are there so many systems for damage multipliers in use, and what are the intended interactions
Hey lemindhawk and zanzure, we appreciate your passion and the time you've invested into discussing how damage multipliers work.

In general, our principle for percentage based bonuses is for them to be additive with one another. This allows us to tune them to feel like nice meaty benefit when taken on their own, without getting out of control when stacking several together.

There have been a few instances where the tooltips are not matching the effects in game -- we plan on fixing these soon. Vile Infection, Phoenix, and Lightning Serpent will have their tooltips changed to match their existing functionality (aka, they'll list a separate damage number instead of a percentage bonus). Rampant Hellfire, Dragonstrike, Zei's Vengeance, Arcane Orbit, and Buzzsaw will all see gameplay changes so that their percentage based bonuses stack additively with other percentage based bonuses.

This is an early look at what we're planning on changing, and there's a chance that when we start to fix these bugs that things may change slightly, so don't be alarmed if the course changes slightly. But I wanted to share what we are working on since you've put so much effort into compiling the list of exceptions. Thanks again! (/u/BlizzNeyman)

From what I understand the lifesteal component to Tassadar's shields has been a problem with his balance for a long time, initially only being a talent option then becoming baseline with a talent to increase it. Has the dev team considered eradicating lifesteal from his base kit and talent tree to balance him better for pros and non-pro play as a pure utility support? (There is also the matter of lifesteal not fitting Protoss from a SC gameplay/lore perspective.)
Hello T-280_SCV! Tassadar has definitely been a unique challenge for us the balance side. I think we have learned a lot of valuable lessons from him, though, and we'll definitely be taking a look at him to see how we can improve. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

When is the Chen rework coming?
Hi Zexerous, glad to hear you’re a Chen fan and hopefully we can make some changes in the future that will help address some of those concerns.

To touch on his win rate quickly, depending on the filters I’m looking at (HL vs QM, MMR bands, games played as Chen, etc.), he is sitting around 47-49%. This does put him on the lower spectrum of hero win rates, but it’s still not that far off.

We made some talent adjustments to Chen a few months back, but we will revisit him at some point – I think it’s clear that he’s not a tank with his current kit (having to constantly stop and channel in fights), but we haven’t fully embraced him as a Bruiser either. We will likely look towards that direction in the future.

I’m not able to provide a timeline at this point, only that a major Chen update won’t be happening in the next few months. While not part of your primary question, we do also want to look at Probius, Lost Vikings, and other low play rate heroes as well. (/u/BlizzCooper)

  1. Ana’s Detachable box magazine has been left untouched after quick emergency change. Does the team has any play on this talent?
  2. Will Ana receive her update to make her basic kit interact like Overwatch too? i.e. heal pass through full health.
  3. Does the dev have plans on updating Eye of Horus to increase its attractiveness as well as aim down sight and custom optic?

Good morning Boom0128!

I will try to answer all three questions for you - I think the fantasy and reward for Detachable Box Magazine are awesome and would like to keep these. However, the way it is unlocked could probably be tweaked in the future.

Ana's Healing Dart will indeed be gaining the functionality to pass through full life Heroes in a future patch!

As for updating Eye of Horus and Aim Down Sights - these will most likely be addressed when we get ready to do a full pass on her talent tree (potentially a rework). (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Regarding Matchmaking, especially at the top end. What is in the works to correct the issues in master/GM right now. queue times are getting worse, game quality continues to decline, and high profile streamers/pros that should be ambassadors for the game continue to be displeased. What Matchmaking updates can we anticipate in the future to re-gate the top end and ensure better match quality.
I have been summoned.

Following the release of the matchmaking updates in H35, we've seen a dramatic overall increase in match quality as a result of our prediction rates tightening significantly. Since then, we've also seen longer queue times, particularly during off-peak hours. We've also seen some situations recently where players have had their MMR dramatically diverge from their rank. This makes it even harder for those players to find matches over time, as we're typically looking for matches that band them nearer to their rank in order for that player to more easily move into the appropriate league and division. If a bronze player with a high MMR keeps getting matches with platinum players, that doesn't help that player leave bronze, and the platinum players tend to get tilted because they don't think bronze players belong in their games.

First, we're working on adding dynamic matchmaking restrictions that scale based on the number of players in the queue. If you're playing during off-peak hours. you may end up with the occasional rainbow game--but you'll find games.

Second, we're looking into situations in which players are having a hard time finding games due to their MMR and rank points being too divergent. This is unacceptable and we're going to resolve the situation.

Lastly, we're taking a long, hard look at the entire ranked play system. Removing queue restrictions from Team League is a small step towards larger changes. We think it's time to take a step back and take a look at our existing ranked play framework and ensure that it's the right fit for Heroes of the Storm today. (/u/Blizz_Joe)
Low-hanging fruit solution: get rid of rank? Only have MMR, and matchmake off that alone. Could still have "Leagues", but all they denote is what percentile your MMR falls in.
We're discussing getting rid of points actually and mapping MMR bands directly to a more granular rank system. That said, this is all early and we'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. (/u/Blizz_Joe)

Would the team at Blizzard ever consider more instant point and click crowd control (a la Brightwing and Medivh polymorph)? I don’t feel like there are enough reliable ways to shutdown mobility and am often frustrated by this in QM.
We have a handful of these, the ones you call out and others like Varian’s Taunt. In general, we’re trying not to introduce a ton of new hard-CC that is targeted as these are not very skillful to execute well (you clicked on the enemy), and have low counterplay options (the enemy clicked on you). It’s likely over time that a few of these will trickle in on new heroes though. (/u/BlizzCooper)

Are there any plans to do a huge tooltip update? Tooltips are very inconsistent.
Writing good tooltips is a really important and often underappreciated skill in game design. It becomes particularly challenging when you have a really big game being made by many people, and a ton of heroes made over several years alongside and evolving design philosophy.

You're totally on the mark that our tooltip consistency could be better and it's something we've been gradually working to improve. I don't think we'll do one "huge" update in a single patch per se, but we regularly revisit our tooltips (especially during hero reworks) and plan to continue those efforts going forward. If you see anything that looks particularly off, bringing it to our attention as you've done here is also great.

That said, one thing I'll add is that consistency is only one of many values we employ when writing tooltips. Technically most abilities in the game have a 0.125 second cast time, but we don't actually put that in the tooltip for the sake of readability. It may not seem like a big deal for one tooltip, but every hero in the game has dozens and dozens of tooltips, so readability ends up driving many of the decisions we make around how to present information. However this is something we're very open to feedback on as there may be places where something is off (like your Varian example), and we greatly appreciate players bringing cases like this to our attention. Thanks! (/u/BlizzMattVi)

Why do you prefer slower, larger scale reworks over smaller, more abandunt changes?
Hey Dreadnought7410! We don't prefer to do slower, larger scale reworks over small changes--they both have their uses. We've released balance patches regularly with many changes to multiple heroes over time, and generally save large reworks for heroes who need more sweeping changes.

There are advantages and disadvantages to smaller balance tweaks and large rework changes. I went over many of these specifics in our last AMA, but some things we think about are:

  1. The larger the rework, the greater the risk of hurting the hero's core identity. Even if you make a slam dunk design, it will not have as great a chance of being widely accepted if it significantly alters the hero's fantasy.
  2. As you mentioned, more abundant changes means that the game is fresher for more people, and fewer heroes are left alone for less time.
  3. Small number or functionality tweaks can make talent builds feel fresh, which in turn makes the hero feel new and exciting without the need for a major rework.
  4. That said, large reworks are sometimes necessary. Some examples of why this happens are:
    • To update older heroes and bring them in line with current design philosophies.
    • To carve out a role for heroes who have fallen out of use relative to other heroes currently favored in the game.
    • To solve fundamental design issues with their kits.

Going forward, you can expect to see us make numerous smaller changes to improve hero and talent pick/win rates. For example, today we just released a balance patch with changes for 17 different heroes. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

I have a question about the state of Mana: New heroes normally dont have mana issues if they have mana at all (Genji, Hanzo, Tracer,Maiev,Deckard, Yrel, Whitemane,Fenix,Junkrat). Older heroes like Rehgar or Uther are out of mana after the first mid lane brawl. Is this discepancy intentional or do you want to close this Mana cost gap?
Thank you for the question Kallesin.

This is actually a very hot topic right now among us. We have an hour long meeting this week to align ourselves with what Mana means to our game and what direction we want to move towards.

While it is a very powerful tool from a balance design perspective, it is not really 'fun' to run out of Mana. Since our game is fast paced and 'brawly', I think we need to be a little on the forgiving side when it comes to Mana tension. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Is there any chance we will see more supports that can stand up with the frontline, or have mechanics added to require/encourage that gameplay (similar to Insight/Transcendence Kharazim, or Malf/Whitemane but melee)?
You mean you don't play Deckard as a frontliner? >_>

Kidding aside, I think this is fair feedback and that there's definitely room in the roster for more of these types of heroes. I'll defer to the Live Design team when it comes to our plans for existing supports, but in general our philosophy has moved toward increasing emphasis on interactive & skill-based gameplay for support heroes, and frontline supports feel like a natural fit for that type of gameplay.

There are many factors we consider when deciding which heroes to add to the game so I can't make any immediate promises, but we'll be keeping this in mind as we look to add more support heroes in the future. (/u/BlizzMattVi)

Chromie was designed as an artillery mage. The recent rework did away with that role completely changing her playstyle to a hybrid auto attack spell caster and many players were not fond of it which was reflected by the fall of her pick and win rates. Would you ever consider reverting the rework and adjusting her numbers which many Chromie mains had requested?
Hey Demon_Ryu, thanks for the question.

Through reworks and balance updates we’ve pushed Chromie out of the artillery mage role. Overall this is a playstyle we weren’t happy with as it didn’t feel great to play against. To touch briefly on a few points:

  • Her abilities were extremely long range (artillery design), but that meant that she was often off-screen from an enemy perspective and you didn’t have a lot of control over her damaging you. Basically, just keep in perpetual motion and hope she misses.
  • Because her abilities were fairly hard to land, the damage they dealt had to be cranked up to extreme levels to keep her win rate and effective damage output in a reasonable spot. Essentially, if she only lands 20% of her abilities, then those abilities have to be extremely impactful when the hit. This could lead to her 1-shotting enemies which again is not fun to play against.
  • She was extremely hard countered by certain enemies. I don’t believe we’ve really addressed this point, but it is something we’d like to soften.
  • She has a ton of CC between her Time Trap and both Heroic abilities. In general, multiple CC effects can be frustrating to play against and she brought more than many characters. This combined with the above points was just not a great spot for her to be in. This CC also made the rest of her kit much easier to use and much more consistent which was a challenge to tune around and make feel fair.

As for the future, we will likely make more Chromie changes and potentially even reimagine what her core playstyle should be, but its unlikely we will go back to that long-range artillery mage style. (/u/BlizzCooper)

Any news regarding the Role Rework?
Hello, Gnueless! I'm excited for the role changes and yes, we've been preparing for them with some shifts in surrounding areas. We don't have a solid release date as of yet, but if all goes well, we hope to roll out the update later this year.

So...Soon™ to Soonish™. (/u/KaeoMilker)

I feel like there's a lot of controversy around Garden of Terror and a lot of people saying it lost it's identity mainly (including myself unfortunately). That said, what are your guys plans for other maps like Blackhearts Bay? I think it would be good if the team communicated more with the community before putting so much effort into a map redesign.
The Garden of Terror rework was done in response to years of consistent player feedback (in community discussion and in our own user experience research) saying Garden was among the least-loved maps in the game. Our goals for the rework were to preserve the map's thematic elements (seeds, shamblers, terrors, weather effects) while removing the elements that made so many players sigh when they saw the loading screen (chasing a vehicle around, eternal night phase, zero sum double vehicle phases, vehicle time-out).

We iterated on the Garden rework several times internally. First we tried small changes like repositioning/renumbering shambler camps, changing timers, and changing the vehicle's abilities and spawn point, but none of those changes made the map notably more fun or interesting. The map still had the same problems it did on live servers. Then we went wild for a bit with experimentation - at one point we had a completely new layout and a "siege vehicle" objective reward that could dig in, spawn bushes around it, spawn shamblers to push in a direction, and shoot out burrowing seed bombs that detonated for aoe damage. We tried a "gauntlet" type design where we spawned a series of seeds, one at a time, all over the map, and the first team to gather three won the objective. Those were interesting experiments, but they each had their own fatal problems. Ultimately, we found that the version on PTR right now provided the most fun we've ever had on Garden. The story might not be over, though. We're confident that this version of Garden will do much better than its original version, but if we're wrong, we'll do what we need to do.

As for Blackheart's Bay, we do plan on adjusting the map, but we currently do not expect a complete mechanical overhaul like the Garden rework. (/u/Blizz_SHolmes)

Is it possible to see other heroes in the Multiclasses category, besides the Varian, or the Blizzard Classics, in addition to the Lost Vikings?
Hey Zequi21, good question.

For the Multiclass category, we’re planning to remove that with our eventual role update. Varian would most likely fit into a couple of the newer categories, Tank and Bruiser. There would be a few other heroes who would also hit multiple categories such as Zarya in Support and Bruiser. Overall, the multiclass role wasn’t very clear to players and often you couldn’t play Varian the way you wanted due to your team’s composition.

For Blizzard Classics, I would love to explore some of these characters in the future. There’s so many awesome characters we want to add, so it’s a question of when they make the most sense and when is the right time. There’s other things we of course need to consider like making sure they’re bringing fun new mechanics and playstyles as well. (/u/BlizzCooper)

What proportion of Heroes are flagged as needing a rework a la Kerrigan and Brightwing, and can the team share the list of Heroes who make up this proportion?
Great question JimmyTurx!

The short answer is that it varies. There was a point last year where we had almost 5 Hero reworks in flight at the same time (boy, that was crazy). Since then, we have gone into a much more stable timeline for them and normally have Live Designers working on about 2 at any given time. We normally have a rotating list of about 8 to 10 that we want to work on, but there are many times where someone not on that list sneaks in (Tyrande for example). (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

General: Frequently Blizzard will include very small numbers changes that don't appear to be intended to seriously shift a heroes power level. Are these intended as signals to the player base to rethink how they're approaching the hero or are you using data to tell you to do those very fine tuned changes?
Hey ChaosOS!

First off let me say - "Thank you so much for all of your work and passion for the Heroes community!"

Now, to address your question: Small number tweaks are normally done when a Hero or Talent is just slightly off-balance. While losing 2 Basic Attack damage is pretty minor for most Heroes, Raynor might see a slightly larger shift since the vast majority of his damage output comes from there.

For a different example - there are a lot of times where we may see a vast difference in pick rates between talents on a tier, but parity between win-rates. Sometimes we might do a slight nudge to the under-picked talent in order to get players to reevaluate it. Sometimes it takes multiple nudges before the community starts using and respecting it (Mighty Gust for example).
like a mamma bird throwing her kiddo from the nest and saying "fly, you fool!"
Exactly <3 (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

How are you guys reacting to the pushback against the mobility Overwatch heroes have brought into HotS? By that I mean, is this feedback you've listened to and found yourselves agreeing with, which you will apply for future hero releases or do you feel different, and if so how/what?

Tracer and Genji's translation into the game has really shaken up the game and the community, given that their kits and mobility break a lot the core mechanics and penalties of the genre. Combining high damage with ranged attacks, while being able to apply it on the move. Mages and older HotS heroes, in particular, adhere to these limiters and have to sacrifice mobility or expose themselves in order to apply their damage. Tracer and Genji have an easy time getting in and out of combat while being nigh impossible for most heroes to shake off while taking very significant damage.

Hey Mozerath, thanks for your question! Mobility in Heroes is something that we've been watching for a long time.

To start with, we've always pushed the boundaries with Hero Design in HotS; we think that it's one of the things that makes Heroes of the Storm special. We have characters like Cho'gall, Abathur, or The Lost Vikings that really "break the rules" of traditional character design. The key to these characters is adjusting their power the appropriate amount while keeping these unique traits in mind.

The great mobility offered by Tracer and Genji is another one of these unique traits, though not as flashy as a two-headed ogre. We knew that during development they would need to be balanced around it (in fact at one point Tracer had so little Health that she was being one-shot by Nova). We didn't anticipate how much we would need to tune them down though, so unfortunately they've been steadily nerfed (for the most part) since their release. We think they're much healthier than they started in terms of balance at this point, though we're always looking to make further tuning adjustments when we think the time is right.

We do have other characters in the game with high amounts of mobility (as has been pointed out in this thread). Illidan, Zeratul, and Lucio are good examples. The biggest difference between them and Tracer or Genji is that their mobility has more conditions. These include target selection (Illidan's Dive), range limitations (Zeratul's Blink), or inability to travel over terrain (Lucio's Movement Speed). These added forms of counterplay make these abilities feel better to play against than they would otherwise, and allow us to really push the envelope with them.

At this point, we think that the low-condition mobility from Tracer and Genji makes them special, and we likely won't add more characters with this level of mobility without conditions. But we do think that mobility is a great way to allow players to make flashy plays and has a high skill cap, so you'll likely see more forms of it with added counterplay in the future. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

Lastly, I'd like to ask if some skins or Heroes make it forbidding for other Heroes to come in the game. Widowmaker from Overwatch can never come due to Widowmaker Nova existing? Mercy because of Auriel? Kaldalis because of Artanis?
Hi BertRaccoonGR! Making skins that have crossover with existing heroes does not necessarily mean we won’t add those heroes in the future. An example of this is with the Novazon skin which was clearly inspired by the Amazon from D2. Even with this skin, we knew we wanted to do a D2 Amazon and we’re super excited to bring Cassia to the Nexus :) (/u/BlizzCooper)

You recently vastly improved the reconnect feature. Will a spectate feature ever be added?
Hi, reddituser25987! We continue to improve the rejoin functionality and while doing so are touching areas of the game that could, eventually, make spectating a possibility...

HOWEVER, while we'd love to watch HGC games live in client or check out our friends playing while waiting to party up, we have no plans to prioritize a spectate feature above the myriad of core game systems and features that we want to keep improving at this time. (/u/KaeoMilker)

Any plans on having shuffle pick be an option in custom games? (instead of forcefully enabled for ARAM?)
Adding a Shuffle Pick option to the custom games screen (with some additional buttons and levers to customize it further) would be cool, I agree. (/u/Blizz_SHolmes)

General: What does the process for building a balance patch look like? How do you decide what issues to tackle, how do you test ideas in terms of doing what you want them to do, and when are things locked in for implementation and bugtesting?
Hey ChaosOS!

Every week the members of the balance team meet to talk about the state of the game. One of the things we do during this meeting we all bring up individual changes/heroes/issues that we would like to see addressed in the upcoming balance patch.

In regards to how we decide what issues to tackle, there isn’t a single method, as our decisions can come from various sources. Some of these are:

  1. We have a lot of data that we can look through to find anomalies. We can see hero and talent win/play rates across various filters to see if something is over/underperforming.
  2. We watch pro play and have discussions about what is happening there.
  3. We all play the game regularly, and use our personal experience to see where we can make improvements for the average player.
  4. We look at heroes who haven’t been tweaked in awhile to see if there’s any room to make changes.

We make the actual changes the week before the patch releases so that we have time for QA to check the changes and fix bugs.

Sometimes for larger balance changes, for example Artanis’s changes that came out in a balance patch, we will test the changes for weeks/months in advance and merge them into the next balance patch once we’re confident in the design. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

On developing new heroes, I wonder if we will have heroes of the Heroes of the Storm universe or if all the heroes will be from other Blizzard universes
One of the many amazing things about Heroes of the Storm is that ANYTHING is possible in the Nexus! (/u/KaeoMilker)

With Regards to Mephistos Ult what made you give it so much utility? Why does it give a slow, vision, and no diminishing damage. Lucios shield is a viable counter but at least requires allies to be within range. While Tyrandes ult can heal all, the comparison to the damage it not viable and the vision will be wasted.
Thanks for the question Delta-Sniper.

When we first implemented Consume Souls, it only did damage. Vision was primarily added as a quality of life aspect, since we wanted players to be able to see what opponents were doing to counter the incoming damage as it happened if they were in fog (plus, it adds lots of fun drama moments when you can see what's going to happen). We decided to add a slow about halfway through the process for a couple reasons.

  1. It added something to the Heroic that wasn't damage, so we could tune that aspect of it down. Believe it or not, the damage was much higher internally for a good portion of Mephisto's development.
  2. It also gave another use case for using the ability, rather than always as an execute. Since the ability doesn't have an aiming or targeting component, it's important to make the decision as to when you use the ability interesting, even after you've used it for the 50th time.

We've since pulled back on the damage slow amount so that we can get it properly balanced. We're hesitant to change the damage value on Consume Souls at this point. We think that right now it's at the sweet spot between dealing a significant damage to a single enemy (to execute them) and just being white noise damage on the whole enemy team. Of course, we will make further changes if we feel they're necessary, but you'll likely see other adjustments first. (/u/BlizzNeyman)
Long story short is that Jade Martin (Mephisto's Designer) was recently promoted and has become mad with power! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Thoughts on heroes who almost always only has a single talent in certain tiers? examples being garrosh picking into the fray, dehaka picking feeding frenzy, ana picking sleep dart quest
Hi homer12346,

We do review talent trees to make sure there is some diversity in options. The goal would be that every talent is viable in some situations and your talent selection can feel fluid based off the match state, team compositions, etc. If there are two solid talent options at a tier that garner the majority of picks and a third lesser chosen one, this can still be okay as long as there is some scenarios where this third (or fourth) talent can be viable. Sometimes it’s purely a personal playstyle preference for why players pick certain talents, other times it can be different skill bands where some players may simply avoid active talents all together.

Funny enough for Feeding Frenzy, while it is the most picked talent, Symbiosis does still see around 20% of the picks and has an overall higher win rate. (/u/BlizzCooper)

We put a lot of work into building out talent tiers and trying to offer players interesting choices, so when a single talent ends up dominating a tier it's pretty disappointing.

The Hero Design team does the initial work of designing talent trees for all new heroes, and most of the time we can recognize and prevent these cases early so that the Live Design team never has to worry about it. This is something I feel we're getting even better at as we learn from previous talents like Into the Fray or Glacial Spike, and even from Heroic abilities like Cleansing Flame that end up as one-sided choices.

When lopsided talent tiers do make it out the door, it forces us to think very carefully about how we want to bring them back in line. Usually the reason these talents are so popular is that they're very fun to use or provide key utility a hero doesn't otherwise have - so simply removing or weakening them may not be the way to go. In that case we can either-

A: Make the effect baseline (as with Glacial Spike on Kel'thuzad) and reshuffle other talents accordingly
B: Revisit the talents on that tier and try to make the other two choices feel just as impactful (as with Holy Ground on Tyrael)

Which of these options is preferable varies case-by-case, but the most important value is not to undermine what's cool and enjoyable about a hero with whatever changes we decide to make. Given the choice between having uneven talent picks, or making a hero less fun overall, we'd prefer to wait on changing the talents until we're confident that our changes will have the desired effect. (/u/BlizzMattVi)

Ana & Lunara - If these two heroes got together to bake cupcakes what kind would they make?
Red velvet cupcakes. Because they're delicious. (/u/BlizzNeyman)

Xul: As you have noticed, he became a maintank in certain comps (shown in the HGC). Are you happy about this and do you have plans for him, either making him a real maintank (like changing his role from assassin to Tank) or tune him more into the assassin role wih removing some survivability?
Hey Elegostelkai!

Right now we're pretty happy to see Xul in HGC, and in general we like to see weird/wacky comps have their time in the spotlight. A core tenet of our design philosophy is that we want to push the boundaries of what a conventional MOBA is, and as such we're excited when our players do the same.

That being said, if an off-meta strategy becomes too powerful and dominates pro-play for too long, it can be a problem if it drastically warps the fundamentals of our game and take it to places where there isn't enough interaction between both teams.

We don’t currently have any plans to change Xul due to his recent games in pro play. We’ll be keeping an eye on it, but for now, we’re cool with it. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

I am curious, which hero did you think would be extremly OP on release, yet turned out to be very weak. Vice versa, which hero did you feel was UP, but turned out to be overtuned on release?
Hey SeeALot, great question.

Lunara was a character we thought would be OP on release and we were a little worried about, however she ended up being really low initially and needing lots of buffs.

Malthael is an opposite example where the balance team felt he was fairly solid overall but the larger development team thought he was going to be really weak. Malthael ended up completely crushing the solo lane and being extremely powerful upon release. (/u/BlizzCooper)

Some heroes have heroic abilities with extremely low pick/win rate. For example: Lili's Dragon, Kelthuzad's Frost Blast, Mephisto's Durance and Guldan's Rain. Are there any plan for changing how these skills work fundamentally beside number tweaks?
Hello blacktiger226, We are always looking to bring both win and pick rate parity to all Heroics. The reality is that it is actually very difficult sometimes without making sweeping changes. Some of the examples you list above fit that bill and will most likely see changes if and when they are looked at for reworks (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Did you experiment with adding high ground to the maps? I was doing maps for WC3, so i know what the editor supports that. Right now all maps are essentially flat. Or you think flat maps are the way to go? Thanks.
We've thought about playing with terrain height, but it's always been a fun neat thing we could shoehorn into a map instead of something intentional that directly supports the map's design. We use unpathable terrain, line-of-sight blockers, bridges, and pits in specific ways to control the flow of movement around maps, but we've never had a need to change terrain height. It's not off the table, but we're currently not working with it. (/u/Blizz_SHolmes)
by Published on 2018-09-19 03:11 PM

Game Design & Balance AMA with Heroes Developers – September 19, 2018
The third and final developer AMA in the current planned series of AMAs is coming up later today, and you can post your questions about game design and balance over at the reddit thread right now. We will of course provide a full recap after the AMA ends, so you won't miss out on anything.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Greetings, Heroes!

As mentioned in our recent blog post, we’re going to host a Game Design & Balance AMA right here on /r/heroesofthestorm tomorrow, September 19! 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).

Here's who will be joining us from the dev team:

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 might also see Blizzard Community Managers posting questions on behalf of players in our non-English speaking communities during the AMA. Feel free to upvote those questions if you’d like to see answers to them.

You can start posting your questions right now, and we'll see you tomorrow!

New Official Forum Platform And Features Incoming
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Hey everyone,
Over the past years, we’ve seen your suggestions on how to level up the forums and ensure your time in our community stays positive. We know that currently the forums can be difficult to navigate, sometimes posts you want to see get buried, and reporting doesn’t always appear to lead to action. On that note, we’re excited to announce that we will be launching the new Heroes of the Storm forums starting soon.

With a streamlined look and new features to match, this change will provide a better experience for the Heroes of the Storm Overwatch community. Brand-new notification features will help you keep on top of your posts and real-time updates ensure that you don’t miss any of the conversation. Additionally, we have replaced the previous report function with a new flagging feature to help keep the forums a place to foster more engaging conversations. These are just a couple of the changes that will be coming soon to the Heroes of the Storm forums which we can’t wait for you to use.

Please keep in mind that the current forums will be hosted on a different platform so older posts and threads will not be migrated over to the new forums. These will be available in a read-only state for a short period of time after the transition. As such, be sure to save your favorite conversations elsewhere if you plan to revisit old memories in the future. New posts will automatically be directed to the new forums.

Stay tuned and get ready for the new forum experience!

HGC Insider Episode 3
A new HGC Insider episode is available, and this one focuses on one of the biggest names in Heroes of the Storm: James "Bakery" Baker, formerly team captain of Team Dignitas.

by Published on 2018-09-19 02:24 AM

Upcoming Team League Changes
A late edit to yesterday's PTR patch notes revealed that Team League will now allow solo players and groups of any size to queue up. A blog post with more details is coming later this week.

Originally Posted by Blizzard
Ranked Play
  • Team League
    • Team League now supports all party sizes, including solo players.
      • All solo players will need to choose which League to play for the first time after the patch.

Developer Comment: Heroes of the Storm is primarily a team-based experience and, with this change, we’re hoping to make it easier to have that experience without putting restrictions on party size. In our current system, competitive solo players do not have many opportunities to find groups of players to play with in a ranked queue. To give these players more options for their competitive experience, we have removed all party size queue restrictions from Team League. Our hope is that this leads to a more robust Team League experience and that solo players find more regular groups to play with.

Heroes of the Storm Patch Notes - September 19, 2018
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment

We’ve just released a new Heroes of the Storm patch to apply a number of balance changes and bug fixes.

Quick Navigation:


Hanamura Temple
  • Sentinel and Engineer camps have had their XP and XP scaling values adjusted to grant more overall experience
  • Recon camps have had their kill and capture XP adjusted to grant slight less overall experience
  • NOTE: These changes are intended to slightly increase the amount of overall experience available from mercenary camps, but in a more consistent spread.




  • Base Maximum Health increased from 1323 to 1390
  • Health Regen increased from 2.76 to 2.9

  • Dragon’s Breath (W)
    • Cooldown reduced from 9 to 8 seconds
  • Bronze Talons (Trait)
    • Bonus attack damage increased from 125 to 140%

  • Level 1
    • Mounting Sand (Q)
      • Bonus Echo damage increased from 40 to 50%
    • Deep Breathing (W)
      • Damage per quest stack increased from 3 to 5
      • Hits required to complete quest reduced from 20 to 12
  • Level 5
    • Mobius Loop (W)
      • Cooldown reduction for Hero hit increased from 2 to 3 seconds
      • Mana refund from Hero hit increased from 50 to 100


  • Hammerang (Q)
    • Mana cost reduced from 70 to 60
  • Lightning Rod (W)
    • Cooldown reduced from 15 to 13 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 70 to 60
  • Barrel Roll (E)
    • Cooldown reduced from 14 to 13 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 75 to 70
  • Flight (Z)
    • Cooldown increased from 55 to 60 seconds


  • Purification Salvo (R)
    • Cooldown increased from 75 to 90 seconds


  • Swift Strike (E)
    • Damage reduced from 205 to 190


  • Lightning Nova (W)
    • Damage reduced from 48 to 45
    • Damage bonus reduced from 4% to 3%
    • Maximum damage bonus reduced from 40 to 30%
  • Consume Souls (R)
    • Slow amount reduced from 40 to 25%
  • Durance of Hate (R)
    • Missile Speed increased by 25%
    • Ability range increased by 25%
    • Root duration increased from 2 to 2.5 seconds
    • Damage increased from 160 to 250 over its duration

  • Level 1
    • Unyielding Power (Q)
      • Damage bonus upon hitting 20 Heroes increased from 60 to 100
    • Anger (Passive)
      • Basic Ability cooldown reduction from Basic Attacking Heroes increased from .75 to 1 second
  • Level 4
    • Static Barrier (W)
      • Shield amount reduced from 50% to 40% of Lightning Nova’s damage dealt to Heroes
  • Level 16
    • Lightning Reaction (Q)
      • Damage reduced from 144 to 138
    • Static Field (W)
      • Damage reduced from 12% to 10% of enemies maximum Health
  • Level 20
    • Shade Lord (E)
      • Cooldown reduced from 60 to 40 seconds

Developer Comment: Mephisto is certainly making an impact on the Nexus. He's been on the higher end of Hero winrates and, judging from how players with a lot of games are performing with him, we expect that he will continue to rise as players gain experience. Our goal with these changes is to bring his overall damage down, balance out a few of the Talent tiers performance, and increase the consistency of Durance of Hate.


  • Level 1
    • Advanced Cloaking (Trait)
      • Movement speed bonus increased from 5 to 10%
  • Level 7
    • Perfect Shot (Q)
      • Cooldown reduction on Hero hit increased from 3 to 4 seconds
  • Level 16
    • Explosive Shot (Q)
      • Area of effect damage increased from 70 to 80%


  • Basic Attack Damage reduced from 103 to 101


Sgt. Hammer

  • Neosteel Plating (E)
    • Cooldown increased from 12 to 16 seconds

  • Level 4
    • Siege Tactics (E)
      • Shifting out of Siege Mode now removes the Unstoppable effect.



  • Level 4
    • Potion of Shielding (Q)
      • Shield amount reduced from 135 to 122
  • Level 13
    • Ancient Blessings (Trait)
      • Cooldown increased from 30 to 60 seconds


  • Light of Elune (Q)
    • Mana cost increased from 10 to 15
    • Heal amount reduced from 275 to 265
  • Shadowstalk (R)
    • Heal amount reduced from 40 to 38

  • Level 4
    • Lunar Blaze (E)
      • Bonus range from reduced 50 to 40%
    • Trueshot Aura (Active)
      • Bonus Basic Attack damage reduced from 20 to 15%
      • Activated Basic Attack damage reduced from 20 to 15%
  • Level 7
    • Elune’s Chosen (Active)
      • Duration reduced from 10 to 8 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Quickening Blessing (Q)
      • Movement Speed granted from Light of Elune reduced from 20 to 15%
  • Level 16
    • Darnassian Archery (Active)
      • Duration reduced from 8 to 6 seconds



  • Desperate Plea (Q)
    • Heal amount reduced from 145 to 140
  • Searing Lash (E)
    • Cooldown increased from 5 to 6 seconds

  • Level 1
    • Righteous Flame (E)
      • Bonus damage increased from 50 to 75%
  • Level 4
    • Indulgence (E)
      • Mana return on hit increased from 10/25 to 20/40



  • Harden Carapace (W)
    • Cooldown reduced from 7 to 6 seconds


  • Base Maximum Health increased from 2650 to 2782
  • Health Regeneration increased from 5.52 to 5.80

  • Frostmourne Hungers (Trait)
    • Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds


  • Base Maximum Health increased from 2775 to 2900
  • Health Regeneration increased from 5.78 to 6.04

  • Flame Stream (Q)
    • Mana cost increased from 25 to 30
  • Oil Spill (W)
    • Mana cost increased from 40 to 50
  • Jet Propulsion (E)
    • Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds
  • Bunker Drop (R)
    • Flamethrower damage reduced from 179 to 170
    • Cooldown increased from 60 to 80 seconds
    • Mana cost increased from 40 to 80
  • Combustion (R)
    • Damage increased from 52 to 55
    • Self-Slow amount decreased from 50 to 40%

  • Level 1
    • Endurance Stimpack (Active)
      • Shield amount increased from 450 to 480
    • Neural Stimpack (Active)
      • Mana restoration reduced from 50 to 30
    • New Habits (Trait)
      • Regeneration Globe collection cooldown reduction increased from 5 to 8 seconds
  • Level 13
    • Nanomachine Coating (W)
      • Attack Speed slow increased from 40 to 50%
  • Level 16
    • Thermal Protection (E)
      • Cooldown reduction decreased from 2 to 1.5 seconds

Developer Comment: Blaze is performing very well in professional play but is currently our lowest winning Warrior in the game. To balance his effectiveness in the pro scene, we’re increasing the cooldown and lowering the effectiveness of Bunker Drop. His laning phase is also not as interactive as we’d like it to be, so we’re increasing the Mana costs of his abilities to reduce his perpetual wave clear and sustain in the early phases of the game. In exchange for these nerfs, we’re giving him some base survivability buffs, reducing the cooldown of Jet Propulsion, and improving some of his talents.


  • Base Maximum Health increased from 2180 to 2250
  • Health Regeneration increased from 4.54 to 4.69


  • Health increased from 2468 to 2517
  • Health Regeneration increased from 5.14 to 5.24

  • Righteousness (W)
    • Cooldown decreased from 10 to 9 seconds
    • Mana cost reduced from 50 to 45


  • Vindication (Q)
    • Mana cost increased from 50 to 65
  • Righteous Hammer (W)
    • Mana cost increased from 50 to 65
  • Avenging Wrath (E)
    • Mana cost increased from 50 to 65

Bug Fixes

  • Tyrande: Fixed an issue preventing the cooldown for the Ranger talent from appearing in the tooltip.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
  • Li Ming: Fixed an issue that could cause Disintegrate to cast immediately and become uncontrollable if Li Ming’s abilities were reset with specific quick cast settings.
  • Tyrande: Fixed an issue preventing damage dealt to targets with Hunter’s Mark from splashing to Laning Mercenaries after learning the Huntress’ Fury talent.
  • Tyrande: Fixed an issue allowing Shadowstalk to affect players in vehicles. (Garden Terror, Dragon Knight, etc)

Weekly Hero Rotation
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: September 18, 2018
  • Raynor
  • Muradin
  • Sonya
  • Nazeebo
  • Uther
  • Jaina
  • Lunara
  • Greymane
  • Stukov
  • Tyrael
  • Gul'dan (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5)
  • D.Va (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10)
  • Nova (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15)
  • Murky (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20)

Weekly Heroic Sales
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Every Tuesday, we place a number of Heroes on sale, and swap a fresh set of cosmetics into the featured item rotation. Check out this week’s items and then head in-game to pick up anything that catches your eye.

Heroic Deals: September 18 – September 25, 2018

Our next set of Heroic Deals will begin on Tuesday, September 18! Check out the list of upcoming featured items and Hero discounts below.

Upcoming Hero Sales
  • Anub’arak— Sale Price: 250 gems
  • Johanna — Sale Price: 250 Gems

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

Upcoming Featured Skins
  • Arctic Enforcer Johanna
  • Anub’alisk
  • Showtime Azmodunk
  • Spectre Tracer
  • Zergy Pajamathur Abathur
  • Striped Pure Country E.T.C.
  • Shiroi Sakura Auriel

Upcoming Featured Mounts
  • Dark Nexus Hound
  • Dominion Cyber Ram
by Published on 2018-09-17 10:59 PM

Heroes of the Storm PTR Patch Notes - September 17, 2018
Be sure to check up on everything related to the upcoming Fall of King's Crest event in case you missed it earlier.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Our next Heroes of the Storm patch has just hit the Public Test Realm and will be available for playtesting until September 24. As always, if you encounter any bugs during your PTR play sessions, please stop by the PTR Bug Report forum to let us know about your experiences.

NOTE: This patch also includes balance changes for an update that will be hitting the live servers later this week. You can find those notes here.

Quick Navigation:


New Event: Fall of King’s Crest
  • The Fall of Kings Questline is now available for players. The hunt is on for the generals of the Raven Lord!
  • Loot Chests have been replaced with Seasonal Loot chests for the duration of this event.


Garden of Terror
  • Garden of Terror has received significant gameplay and layout changes. Find out more in the Garden of Terror Spotlight video or on the updated Garden of Terror Battleground site.


Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
  • Kerrigan and Brightwing have received some new and updated art to coincide with their gameplay updates.

User Interface
  • Mercenary Camp and Banner floating text has received readability improvements.




  • Ravage (Q)
    • Charges increased from 1 to 2
    • Range reduced from 8 to 6
    • Mana cost reduced from 40 to 20
    • Damage reduced from 210 to 130
    • Added functionality:
      • Now also refunds 20 Mana when used on an enemy that dies within 1.5 seconds
  • Impaling Blades (W)
    • Damage reduced from 261 to 180
  • Primal Grasp (E)
    • Pull damage reduced from 114 to 25
    • Added functionality:
      • 2.5 seconds after using Primal Grasp, Kerrigan damages all nearby enemies for 180 damage
  • Summon Ultralisk (R)
    • Splash radius increased from 1.5 to 2
    • The initial cast of Ultralisk is now directional skill shot that causes the Ultralisk to charge in the targeted direction until impacting an enemy Hero. It deals 250 damage and stuns for .5 seconds to the first Hero it hits.
  • Assimilation (Trait)
    • Shield amount increased from 10 to 15% of damage dealt

  • Level 1
    • Siphoning Impact (Q)
      • New functionality:
        • Using Ravage on an enemy Hero grants an additional 90 Assimilation Shield
    • Assimilation Mastery (Trait)
      • Moved from level 7
      • No longer increases the duration of Assimilation Shield
      • In addition to increasing Kerrigan’s Health and Mana Regeneration by 100% while Assimilation is active, now also causes Regeneration Globes to grant 40 Assimilation Shield per second while active
    • Fury of the Swarm (Passive)
      • Moved from level 4
      • New functionality:
        • Kerrigan gains 10% more Assimilation Shields from Basic Attacks. Casting Ravage causes Kerrigan’s next 2 Basic Attacks within 3 seconds to splash for 100% damage around the target
    • Sharpened Blades (W)
      • Removed
    • Block (Passive)
      • Removed
  • Level 4
    • New Talent - Sharpened Blades (Q)
      • !Quest: Every time an enemy Minion or Hero dies within 1.5 seconds of being damaged by Ravage, increase Ravage's damage by .5 (5 for Heroes), up to 50
      • !Reward: After reaching 50 damage, gain an additional 50 damage
    • New Talent - Kinetic Fulmination (W)
      • Damaging an enemy increases the damage of Kerrigan's next Impaling Blades by 15%. Stacks up to 150%. Lasts 10 seconds.
    • Psionic Pulse (E)
      • New functionality:
        • Primal Grasp deals damage a second time 2.5 seconds after the initial burst
    • Clean Kill (Q)
      • Removed
    • Envenom (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 7
    • New Talent - Queen of Blades (Q)
      • Every time Primal Grasp's pull or explosion hits an enemy Hero, reduce the cooldown of Ravage by 4 seconds
    • New Talent - Boundless Fury (Q)
      • Casting Ravage on an enemy Hero grants a charge of Ravage. Can only occur on each Hero once every 10 seconds
    • Bladed Momentum (Passive)
      • Now only triggers when attacking enemy Heroes
      • Now works with splash damage from Fury of the Swarm
    • Blade Torrent (W)
      • Removed
  • Level 13
    • New Talent - Psionic Barrier (E)
      • Kerrigan gains 15 Spell Armor for 4 seconds for every enemy Hero she hits with Primal Grasp's pull or explosion
    • New Talent - Volatile Power (Trait)
      • Increase the base Shield amount gained from Assimilation by 15%, but reduce the duration of Assimilation Shields from 6 to 3 seconds
    • New Talent - Chrysalis (Active)
      • Activate to place Kerrigan in a chrysalis with 550 Health for 5 seconds. Kerrigan regenerates 5% Health per second while inside the chrysalis. 90 second cooldown.
    • Eviscerate (Q)
      • Removed
    • Double Strike (Q)
      • Removed
    • Queen’s Rush (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 16
    • New Talent - Mounting Potency (Q)
      • Casting Ravage on an enemy increases Kerrigan's Spell Power by 5% for 4 seconds, stacking up to 40%
    • New Talent - Painful Spikes (W)
      • After stunning an enemy with Impale, Kerrigan deals an additional 75 damage the next 6 times she damages them within the next 5 seconds
    • New Talent - Unbridled Energy (R)
      • When Kerrigan damages a Hero with a Heroic Ability she gains 30% Spell Power for 4 seconds
    • Aggressive Defense (Trait)
      • Removed
    • Essence for Essence (Active)
      • Removed
    • Overdrive (Active)
      • Removed
  • Level 20
    • Omegastorm (R)
      • New Functionality:
        • Maelstrom's duration is increased by .125 seconds every time it damages an enemy Hero
    • New Talent - Assimilation Blades (Trait)
      • Damaging an enemy increases Kerrigan's Basic Attack damage by 4%, up to 40%, for 5 seconds
    • Psionic Shift (Active)
      • Shield amount is now doubled when damaging enemy Heroes
    • Nexus Blades (Passive)
      • Removed

Developer Comment: Kerrigan is receiving an update to increase the tactical depth of using her abilities and increase the impact that her Talents have on her playstyle. We've reduced the range on Ravage but added a second charge so that smart Kerrigan players can use it to maneuver on the battlefield, as well as utilize a lot of her Talents to get the most out of the ability. We've added a secondary explosion to Primal Grasp so that Kerrigan will want to continue to worry about her positioning after her initial engagement occurs, as well as provide the opportunity for new Talent interactions. We've also added a skillshot component to Ultralisk so that the Heroic can feel like it has a big moment when it is first unleashed. Overall, Kerrigan should play mostly the same, but have increased room for mastery and playstyle specific builds.



  • Arcane Flare (Q)
    • Outer damage from 87 to 75
    • Inner damage from 260 to 180
    • Missile speed increased ~30%
    • Added functionality:
      • If an enemy Hero is hit by the center of Arcane Flare, instantly pulse a free Soothing Mist
  • Polymorph (W)
    • Duration from 1.25 to 1.5 seconds
    • Cooldown from 10 to 12 seconds
  • Pixie Dust (E)
    • Range from 8 to 7
  • Phase Shift (Z)
    • Cooldown from 55 to 60 seconds
    • Added functionality:
      • Heals the target for 20% of their maximum health
  • Soothing Mist (D)
    • Heal amount reduced from 115 to 105
    • Added functionality:
      • Activate to instantly pulse a calming wave, clearing all Stun, Root, Slow, and Silence effects from nearby allies
      • 120 second cooldown
  • Emerald Wind (R)
    • No longer grants passive healing to Soothing Mist
    • Damage reduced from 303 to 225
    • Cooldown reduced from 60 to 50 seconds

  • Level 1
    • Greater Polymorph (W)
      • Moved from Level 16
      • New functionality:
        • Increase the cast range of Polymorph by 30%. Anytime a nearby enemy Hero is killed, reset the Cooldown of Polymorph
    • Hyper Shift (Z)
      • New functionality:
        • Increase the heal amount of Phase Shift to 30% of targets max Health
        • Every Minion killed near you lowers the cooldown of Phase Shift by 2 seconds
    • Pixie Charm (1)
      • New functionality:
        • Every Minion killed near you grants you a Bribe Stack. Hitting an enemy with the center portion of Arcane Flare grants you 5 Bribe Stacks
  • Level 4
    • Manic Pixie (E)
      • Removed
    • Unstable Anomaly (W)
      • New functionality:
        • Increase the slow amount of Polymorph to 40%. When it expires, it explodes dealing 2% of all nearby enemy Heroes max Health in damage
    • Dream Shot (Q)
      • Moved from Level 1
      • New functionality:
        • Increase the range of Arcane Flare by 50%. If it hits an enemy Hero, lower the cooldown to 2 seconds.
    • New Talent – Magic Spit (D)
      • Increase your Basic Attack range by 20%. Attacks against Heroes reduce the cooldown of Soothing Mist’s active by 5 seconds
  • Level 7
    • Mistified (D)
      • Removed
    • Cleanse (Active)
      • Removed
    • Phase Shield (Z)
      • Removed
    • Sticky Flare (Q)
      • Moved from Level 13
      • New functionality:
        • Arcane Flare slows Heroes by 20% for 3 seconds, or 40% if hit by the center of Arcane Flare
    • Peekaboo! (Z)
      • Moved from Level 4
      • Added functionality:
        • Also grants the you and your target a temporary health Shield
    • New Talent – Critical Mist (D)
      • If Calming Mist removes a status effect from an ally, instantly heal them for 200
  • Level 13
    • Ice Block (Active)
      • Removed
    • Shield Dust (E)
      • Removed
    • Pixie Boost (E)
      • Movement Speed decay duration increased from 1.5 to 3 seconds
      • Movement Speed bonus reduced to 40%
    • New Talent – Safety Dust (E)
      • Increase the duration of Pixie Dust by 1 second. Healing dealt by Brightwing is increased by 25% on targets with Pixie Dust
    • New Talent – Pixie Power (E)
      • Lower the cooldown of Pixie Dust by 3 seconds and increase the Spell Armor it grants to 50
  • Level 16
    • Bouncy Dust (E)
      • Removed
    • Hardened Focus (Passive)
      • Removed
    • New Talent – Phase Out (Active)
      • Activate to phase out and become invulnerable for .5 seconds
        • 20 second cooldown
    • New Talent – Hush (Q)
      • Enemy Heroes hit with the center of Arcane Flare are Silenced for 1 second and deal 25% less damage for 3 seconds.
  • Level 20
    • Double Wyrmhole (R)
      • Removed
    • Continuous Winds (R)
      • Removed
    • Revitalizing Mist (D)
      • Removed
    • Storm Shield (Active)
      • Removed
    • New Talent – Invisible Friends (R)
      • Blink Heal grants you and the target stealth. They are unrevealable for .5 seconds. While under this effect, they regenerate 20 Health Per Second
    • New Talent – Intensive Winds (R)
      • Lower the cooldown of Emerald Wind to 3 seconds. It now costs 200 Mana
    • New Talent – Faerie Protector (Active)
      • Activate to instantly cast Pixie Dust on all nearby allied Heroes
      • 60 second cooldown
    • New Talent – Speedy Dragon (Passive)
      • Gain 20% permanent movement speed

Developer Comment: Late last year we decided that we wanted to add a fun mini-game to Brightwing utilizing her Arcane Flare as the focal point. As it often happens, while making the initial changes we started diving in deeper and deeper. Nearly a year later, we are excited to showcase a fully updated talent tree alongside some fundamental game-play changes to our resident Faerie Dragon. With a baseline AoE cleanse-type effect and added healing potential to her Arcane Flare, Brightwing should bring some new major play-making abilities to her team.


New Bundles
  • The following new bundles are available for a limited time:
    • Fall of King’s Crest Bundle
    • Spectral Wyrm Alextrasza Skin Pack
    • Spider Warden Maiev Skin Pack
    • Cursed Witch Whitemane Skin Pack
    • Phantom Knight Zarya Skin Pack

New Announcers
  • Queen Nightshade
  • Blackheart
  • Lady of Thorns

New Skins
  • Alexstrasza
    • Spectral Wyrm Alexstrasza
    • Infernal Wyrm Alexstrasza
    • Phantom Wyrm Alexstrasza
  • Brightwing
    • Spectral Bewitching Brightwing
  • Kerrigan
    • Spectral Countess Kerrigan
  • Maiev
    • Spider Warden Maiev
    • Forgotten Spider Warden Maiev
    • Night Spider Warden Maiev
  • Whitemane
    • Cursed Witch Whitemane
    • Forgotten Witch Whitemane
    • Court Witch Whitemane
  • Zarya
    • Phantom Knight Zarya
    • Infernal Knight Zarya
    • Geist Knight Zarya

New Mounts
  • Redeemed Tombstone
  • Corrupted Tombstone
  • Copper Money Pig
  • Pumpkin Eye Pad
  • Sunny Side Eye Pad

New Portraits, Sprays, and Emojis
  • Several new emoji packs and portraits have also been added to the Heroes of the Storm Collection tab.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed several confusing or incorrect tooltips across all parts of the game.
  • Drag Scroll: Fixed an issue that could occasionally cause the camera to jump in the direction of the cursor when using the drag scroll feature.
  • Reconnect: Fixed an issue that could cause players to lose control of their Hero if they reconnect while piloting a vehicle.
  • AI: A number of improvements have been made to AI Hero behavior.

  • Chromie: Fixed an issue that caused Chromie’s hourglass to go missing during her Hearthstone animation.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
  • Abathur: Fixed an issue preventing Monstrosity from gaining damage when nearby enemy minions die.
  • Alarak & Gazlowe: Fixed an issue that allowed Gazlowe and Alarak to cast charged abilities while time stopped.
  • Ana: Fixed an issue that allowed Ana to used Eye of Horus shots between mine levels on Haunted Mines.
  • Lúcio: Fixed an issue preventing Lúcio from issuing attack commands while silenced.
  • Mephisto: Fixed an issue preventing the Static Barrier talent from granting Mephisto shields if damage was dealt to Shields or Protected Heroes.
  • Raynor: Raynor’s Raider will now clear attack or move order when entering or exiting the mines on Haunted Mines.
  • Stealth: Fixed an issue that prevented Ping markers from being visible on clones if the clones were created after the ping was initiated.

User Interface
  • Fixed an issue that caused Garrosh’s Groundbreaker splat to appear under the wrong team color in observer mode.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause Heroes to fail to play stun animations and effects if stunned twice in quick succession.
  • Lúcio: Fixed an issue causing the UI displaying the number of allies in range of crossfade to stop working after Lúcio exits a vehicle.

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