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by Published on 2018-04-13 08:04 PM

Reddit AMA Highlights
Following yesterday's blog about the near future of the game, the development team also held a reddit AMA on the Heroes subreddit. We have the full answers below, but if you're interested in just the highlights, you'll find them right here:

  • Third ban has been discussed since last year, aiming at making it a mid-ban. Team is taking recent feedback about making it a first-ban
  • Incomplete API is working internally and is currently being used for the HGC website. The API team is working on improving matchmaking and ranked at the moment, so API is on backburner for now
  • A full MMR reset has been considered, but it would be "UGLY"
  • Reconnect system is an issue, but the engineers are currently working on matchmaking and ranked improvements as those benefit far more players
  • Hero swaps are currently a lower priority for public games, with potential issues being extended draft times and additional toxicity
  • Social features will be improved in the future, starting with an improved party finder tool and followed by clans. Low priority compared to current issues though, so it will be a while
  • Toxicity report validation system coming in the next few weeks
  • Matchmaking imrpovements are made server-side and are thus independent from regular patches
  • Loss forgiveness is being implemented and will be released in the next few months
  • Ranked improvements make most sense with season rolls. Third ban is high on the list for the next one (June)
  • Performance-based matchmaking is planned to be re-introduced with the next ranked season as well
  • Current season length is a balance between two extremes
  • Commendation system is a good idea but not currently in development
  • Visible MMR is coming and is planned to be part of the performance-based matchmaking updates
  • Team is looking at expanding rewards for picking "auto-select"
  • Raynor is getting a rework Soon(TM)
  • Quick match will have strict role enforcing in the matchmaker implemented in the future, with the current plan to have 1 tank, 1 healer, 1 assassin, and 2 flexible spots
  • Team League participation is a tought nut to crack, and will likely need the improved social systems coming in the future
  • Surrender option is not currently on the table

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
We’ve been discussing adding third bans since around the middle of last year. The idea to place the third ban in the mid-ban phase came from feedback from both the community and the pros. The initial requests for the third ban started coming up because there were now enough heroes in the pool that could fill similar roles that a counter-ban in the mid-ban phase was losing effectiveness. Adding an additional ban at that point would bring teeth back to mid-draft bans.

Taking a step back, the core idea is that the mid-ban is a strategic ban based on how the draft is unfolding, while the first ban is primarily a meta ban. At the highest levels of play, some strategy comes into play during the first ban phase, as HGC teams have done significant research into their opponents, but for most players, the first ban gets used to remove whatever hero tends to be on top of the meta at that moment. In higher ranks, it gets a bit more variety as it will sometimes be the hero that is on top of the meta for that battleground, but that’s not the typical situation.

That being said, sentiment shifts over time, and we’re open to revisiting this and adding the third ban as a first-ban instead. The feeling is that doing so would be mainly addressing a more short-term concern, the release of overpowered heroes, where an additional mid-ban is more interesting long-term. We’ve been watching the community response and are interested to see if folks still feel strongly about adding it as a first-ban after seeing the reasoning behind the mid-ban.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Releasing a public API has been something the dev team has also wanted for a long time. We have an initial version of this API working internally that is used by our HGC and Heroes Game websites. The problem is that it isn’t complete, and it isn’t setup in a way to support the needs of a public facing API (i.e. reliability).

Unfortunately, the same people who would work on finishing this public API are the same people that are working on features like improving matchmaking and the ranked game mode. Because of that, we simply haven’t been able to justify prioritizing it above those features. As of right now, we don’t have engineers working on this, and until we get through a lot of the player facing improvements (matchmaking, ranked, etc), we wouldn’t prioritize this.

Regarding our philosophy of what we’re ok with having in an API, I would say that we’re ok with having almost everything you can see in your own in-game profile. On the match history side, we’d like to include basically every game stat that we track for a match. Everything you see on the scorescreen, and probably a bunch of stuff that we track but don't show on the score screen. We’ve also ok with even adding “aggregate” stats across the whole player base like hero pick/win rates, talent pick/win rates, etc. Again, this is the philosophy of what we’d like to get in, now it’s just a matter of when we can dedicate resources to it.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Just for completeness sake: Did you ever consider a full MMR reset with all the issues and effects coming with that?

We tend to consider everything when looking at solutions and, yes, we’ve considered what an MMR reset would mean. Man…it’s UGLY. The utopian view is that a reset would be a short period of utter chaos where everyone starts out equal and is essentially tossed into a giant thunderdome where the weak are slaughtered by the strong until everyone is sorted properly.

More realistically, it would be an extended period of utter chaos long after placements as those placement games would be almost completely arbitrary. With no starting MMR to use to match players up, it would be entirely luck-of-the-draw for team comps and where you end up after placements would come down to chance more than anything.

From there, the ranks would have to slowly sort themselves out as the GMs who ended up in silver/gold due to being matched repeatedly with teams full of bronze/silver players dominate those games where the bronze players who found themselves in platinum due to being in games filled with masters end up throwing most of their games as they slowly work their way back down the ranks. In the process, the GMs are inflating the win rate of the low rank players they’re playing with and the bronze players are tanking the win rate of the ones they’re playing with making it more difficult for everyone to end up at their deserved rank.

In short, it would be expected to be an awful experience for everyone.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In order to have a better system reconnect and replay and spectate, does the game need a "new engine", or is it otherwise impossible to make those systems significantly better? Ideally you'd want to be able to change the netcode to send some kind of "full state" so that the game doesn't have to re-simulate every single command (which is what takes so damn long). Is this assessment even close to correct, and how hard is this to change in the current engine?
There is some validity to what you are saying, but I don’t think “impossible” is the right word.

Heroes of the Storm uses a peer-to-peer networking architecture. This architecture offers a lot of benefits, but also makes certain things more difficult. Unfortunately, reconnect is one of those things. Having said that, it is not impossible to make improvements to the system. We’ve actually improved the system on a couple occasions since the original launch of the game. But we’re absolutely with you guys that the system is far from perfect, and could use more love.

This again comes down to prioritization. The same people who would work on improving the reconnect system are the same engineers working on matchmaking and ranked improvements. After looking at the reconnect stats, we decided that matchmaking and ranked system improvements would benefit far more players right now.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Regarding the pause idea: We do have the ability to pause the game which we use for esports scenarios. So far we've decided that this would be too disruptive to use in normal games if a single player had a bad connection/computer.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Hero Swaps and it's alternatives

Unlike a lot of the things we’re discussing here today, hero swaps aren’t a clear win for the majority of the community so while it is something we’re investigating, it’s a lower priority item.

To be effective, swaps would need their own phase, extending the time it takes for drafts to complete. They also open the door to additional toxicity and, although the core of the feature is available in custom games, it’s reliant on the players on the teams trusting each other. For it to come to other draft modes, there’s a significant development effort involved to add a lot of validation between players. You wouldn’t want someone grabbing your first-pick treasure without your permission, for example, which you can do with the implementation in custom games.

On top of that, for swaps to be effective, they require significant upfront communication by the players. That’s certainly something we want to encourage, but that also means the feature wouldn’t be used by a lot of players beyond the top end of ranked play.

So, right now, we’d rather focus our development efforts on features that will more clearly be beneficial to all players.

For the alternatives, such as trying out first-come first-served (FCFS) drafting which provides a similar benefit, we can do that relatively quickly. There’s some skepticism about whether FCFS can work outside of a team environment, though. We had the same concerns when we allowed 2s and 3s in team league and were pleasantly surprised by the results. It’s an area where we want to gauge community interest and if the feeling is that players would prefer FCFS over nothing, we’d try it out in Unranked Draft first.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Yeah, we agree that our current observer UI is long in the tooth. As you mentioned we’ve wanted to bring stuff like the current in-game party panel into the observer UI. As we’ve gone on, our observer UI has diverged from the normal UI a bit, and it’s part of the reason why you’ve seen some bugs in the observer UI lately. That’s no excuse and we need to fix it, but I just wanted to provide some context.

The current plan is to better unify the in-game UI and the observer UI. We’re going to be using the same party panel UI that appears at the top of an actual game. Once we have that unification, we can start to consider more functionality that would benefit esports viewers.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
As a followup to Team League, do you have plans about social features like a Clan System, a Party Finder or similar?
Lots of plans. As you’ll likely hear a lot today, it’s a matter of priorities and how we spend our resources. The plan is to start with an updated party finder which significantly improves that system. The major changes would be to decouple the party finder from chat channels, which would significantly expand the pool of available players, and allow players to look for others based on the game mode and role they want to play.

We feel that’s the important first step. From there, we can build upon that with clans, which would be a great addition to the game as well.

But, again, you can see the list of things we’re working on currently and we feel those items are higher priority than the social features right now. So, while we’d love to get to them, and they’re coming, they’re further out.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
So we definitely want to communicate with you more about what we’re currently working on, and what our view of upcoming priorities are. The blog post and this AMA are some steps in that direction. We're also discussing lots of ideas about how best to communicate with the community going forward.

That being said, here’s some info for you in terms of timing/order of stuff:
  • New toxicity report validation system: We should be turning this on within the next couple weeks. This will increase the amount of reports we action by a significant amount. We’re going to put out a dedicated post on this soon.
  • Matchmaking improvements: Since the majority of these are on the server side, we’re going to be rolling these out independently of our normal client patches. Some will come quicker than others. For example, we’re going to try and get the hardening of rules to favor match quality more over queue time in the near term.
  • Loss Forgiveness / Improved Leaver Punishments: This is deep into implementation and is currently lined up to come out in a patch in the next couple months.
  • Ranked improvements: Several of these improvements make the most sense to release with a new season roll. So, we’re trying to get some of these changes into the next season roll (~June). 3rd Ban is high on the list.
  • Performance Based Matchmaking: We’re wrapping up the improvements we discussed in the blog post, and are planning to re-introduce this system also with the next season roll. We may initially introduce this as a purely informational system, and then turn on the actual point adjustments after the community has had time to provide feedback. If we do that, it technically doesn’t need to align exactly with a season roll.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Do you plan on changing ranked seasons, so they have the same durations/times as HGC seasons: Two six-month seasons per year? Do you plan on adding a team system, for named teams (in team leagues for example)?
Regarding season length: We've discussed season length quite a bit on the team. We've actually considered everything from once a month to one season for the whole year. We think the current system is a balance between those, but I would say that we're still open to discussion on this topic.

Regarding named teams: We actually had this in Heroes originally! Team league worked this way when it was initially launched. The issue was that problems we currently face with Team League (which I think one of the other guys answered a question on that already), are actually worse with the fixed named teams. The tl;dr is that it's tough for players to align schedules with their teammates. As a result, we saw even less participation in that system than we see with the current system.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Do you plan to add any system of rewards for good performance?
We've definitely had conversations on this. While we're not currently working on this right now, we'd love to incorporate a system like you mention into our existing set of "tools" to combat toxicity. While we think a commendation/reward system can be a huge help, there are still some players who aren't motivated by these systems. So we think it is important to have a combination of systems to make sure we can still remove players who simply can't play nicely in the game.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
My question is, are you still considering at least adding visible MMR alongside the current rank system, and is it a bit more than "we're discussing it internally" which we've been getting since the game was released?
Yep, its coming. Over the years, there’s been a lot of back and forth about whether showing MMR is more valuable than harmful. In the end, we’ve come to feel it’ll be more helpful.

To go a bit more in-depth, it’s good to understand the purpose of both MMR and rank. You touch on this, but I want to use this post to also make sure it’s clear to everyone reading this.

Matchmaking Rating (MMR) is purely a measurement. It’s an indication of your skill as a player which is then used by the matchmaker to put together games. The more accurate MMR, the better the matches that can be made. Gaining, or losing, skill is a slow process that happens over the course of many games, so MMR does not change quickly. It purposefully doesn’t react strongly to short streaks of wins or losses as they’re not necessarily an indication of a skill change so much as a streak of good, or bad, luck. This is where issues come up with showing MMR. Once it’s visible, it draws a lot of attention and gets treated like a reward system. Players tend to focus on figuring out how to make it go up by any means necessary, looking for ways to push it higher as quickly as possible. That’s not a healthy outlook and leads to frustration when it doesn’t happen.

On the other side of the coin, Rank is a reward system. It represents how well you’ve done over the course of a season. If you go on a win streak, your rank spikes accordingly.

The issue we run into is that Rank is currently the only visible indication of skill in the game, so it can’t diverge too much from MMR. When players are put together in a match with players of disparate rank, the assumption is that they are also disparate skill, and that feels bad.

This had led to the need for Rank and MMR to stay relatively close, which is why Personal Rank Adjustment exists. That blunts the ability for rank to be a true reward system. It also means that matchmaking must consider rank, in addition to MMR, when putting together teams. Visible MMR would allow us to get rid of both of those, which we feel is more beneficial than the downsides that are likely to come about with visible MMR.

We’re working out the details currently, but the plan right now is to add it as part of the updates we’re doing for Performance-based Matchmaking, where we’re already working on new ways to provide you with more—and more clear—types of information on how you performed in a game. Joe went into more detail on that here: https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthe..._2018/dxb7gm7/
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
What do you think about the option to show the number of players in the queue with a chosen role (assassins, warriors, support, specialists)? There could be a bonus reward for those who choose the least popular role.
Yeah, so we've already got a bonus for playing "Auto-Select" when the matchmaker is getting into trouble (a new hero launches and everyone wants to play that hero). We're looking into potentially expanding that to offer more rewards for under represented roles in QM (e.g. Support).

Showing the percentage of players who have selected particular roles is interesting. I'll take that back to the team and see what they think. Thanks!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In terms of new roles, this is something we want to do. Our current design leaning is to keep it to your first 6 (Tank, Bruiser, Healer, Support, Melee & Ranged Assassins). We’ve always felt that the Specialist category is a little weird. In the best cases, a lot of characters like Nazeebo and Zagaras fit nicely into the Assassin categories. That does leave some oddities, such as Lost Vikings potentially fitting into the “Support” category (they do provide a lot of indirect benefit for your team). Curious what your thoughts are on this, and the rest of the communities thoughts, surrounding placing these odd heroes into more defined categories.

In terms of timeline for this: it is absolutely something we want to do. We think it’s correct for the game moving forward. Currently our priority is around improving the matchmaking and ranked experiences though, so this will be on hold for a little while longer.

For Quests: Many years back, we had a design very similar to this (most likely internal only?). We ultimately moved away from this as it encouraged players to farm out matches they had already won: “I need another 10k healing to finish my quest, don’t end the match!”. We also tried some quests such as “Land X Hooks” but that also encouraged weird player behavior. Ultimately, we stuck with a few simple quests of essentially “Play The Game” but with different requirements. We would love to update the quest system in the future and maybe we can explore some ideas here that could help teach players, as you suggest.

For updated data on bosses, scaling, etc. This is something the balance team has internally. I’ll make a note for us to send out the current numbers either here or somewhere else visible to the community. I will say things like Bosses and other mercenary camps rarely change unless we have a specific design or balance reason that we’re trying to address.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Has there been a conscious design decision to give recent heroes a lot of tools for their kits (waveclear, mobility, etc) to make them more generalist heroes vs. designing them to excel in very niche situations?
The short answer is yes. For a more detailed explanation:

In the past the design team went through a phase where we wanted to make sure every hero had a really sharp role. Internally we discussed this a lot, but we wanted to make sure that there was a unique gameplay reason to pick every hero at some point. As an example, we wanted there to be a unique decision point of why to pick Tychus over Valla, or vice versa, without players simply choosing whichever character has a higher win rate. This is ultimately what led to Tychus’ updated design that he deals bonus % damage on his base kit. We designed his role to be strong against lots of high health targets. We also did a lot of this on our Healers: Malfurion wasn’t supposed to have burst healing as he was designed as a sustained healer, Uther was intended to be a weak sustained healer but strong with burst, and so on. For the healers, we looked at not just their healing mechanics but everything on their kit.

Ultimately we ended up backing off from this. We found that it made the game feel like there was a lot more hard counters and you could win or lose in draft. We still want to have good design and gameplay reasons for drafting each hero in a game, but we’re letting those be a lot softer.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Vision is an interesting part of the game that we don’t really augment too often. We do some bonuses to vision that you mention, and have some heroes (Dehaka) who can also limit enemy vision. Overall, I think it’s a super interesting mechanic that can add fun and strategic depth when designed correctly.

In terms of power level, we typically start internally as a ‘feel’ thing, and then eventually we can use player data to validate those decisions. Many of the talents players are choosing from can offer a lot of sheer power. It’s hard to make a vision talent compelling to choose over 25% more damage, without at the same time making that vision talent feel unfair or unfun to play against. This is typically why we will add secondary bonuses to these abilities or talents. Vision can also be considered situational, so by adding damage as an example, we’re guaranteeing some baseline power on the ability/talent.

In general, I think we want vision abilities to alert the enemy that they have been spotted in some way. As an example, you can visually see Zagara’s creep, so there is likely to be a Creep Tumor near by. For Lunara’s Wisp, this is an interesting one. I think we could alert you that a Wisp has spotted you, but it does lose some of its power as a result. We are working on a Lunara update that has some changes to her Wisp and related talents, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out. We can revisit any of these rules though!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Just to touch on this quickly: We absolutely involve a lot of the design team as early into the process as we can. The live/balance designers are paired with a hero designer from the beginning. One thing the balance designers will try to surface early on in the hero design process is if they feel they have tuning knobs for each talent and ability. In the past we might design a talent that simply increases charges from 2->3 on an ability. If this is too strong, we don't have a lot of tuning knobs without adding a kiss/curse mechanic or something else.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Is it possible we'll get a second look at older cleave talents, or that modern/incoming cleaves will be toned down in power?
I agree that a lot of those recent examples have very strong AOE. In general, we try and look at the design of the kit and balance of the hero kit overall. Every hero will have some obvious strengths and weaknesses, but are hopefully balanced within the larger overall picture. For the Junkrat example specifically, I agree that his wave clear is insanely strong! Hopefully however his overall power is about in line with what makes sense. We of course have the ability to tune this down in a number of ways including the splash size, and the fallout of the damage (i.e. less damage further from the center).

I will say we will absolutely revisit old heroes and even these newer ones and make adjustments where needed. Nova has never been intended to have strong wave clear, so I’m not sure we will make changes there. It may be possible that we need to tone down some of the newer heroes wave clear, bring some of the older heroes up (Kael’thas in this example), or meet somewhere in the middle.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Support Viability: I would say that we want every healer to be viable in at least some situations as a solo healer. Some healers will of course be better at preventing sustained damage, burst damage, or even keeping themselves safe. But overall, yes, ideally there isn’t a healer that you feel like you could never pick without another full-on healer.

Map Update: The map team is currently working on revising a number of our existing maps. The big focuses right now include large updates to Hanamura and Gardens of Terror. We also have some smaller updates planned for a few maps but these are more akin to balance changes. Braxis Holdout, as an example, we’re planning some small changes to address how snowbally that map can feel. We would love to make larger changes to Haunted Mines & Blackheart’s Bay, but those are both further off

Ana: The rework was intending to help address the idea that she couldn’t solo heal because she had no easy way to heal herself back up. I know internally we played with a wide range of values on this, and even had a playtest or two where she could outduel everyone in the game because her self-healing was way too high. Ana’s overall win rate is a little on the low side so we have room to bring her up a little bit. I’m hoping we can accomplish what you’re looking for via tuning though, or potentially some slight mechanic tweaks. I will say we love Ana as a healer because of how much skill there goes into doing her healing well.

Medivh: Overall we consider the rework a success. It is interesting to see how much more popular he is now (which is a great thing!) but it does mean that players who feel he is frustrating to play against will see him more often now. With our rework, we did attempt to reduce some of the frustrating aspects of his kit: There is more downtime between using Portals & Force of Will, which ideally gives the enemy team more options for counterplay. This is an area we could easily explore and try to do more with.

Frustrating Heroes: Chromie and Genji are both being looked at internally. Genji has some small stuff that will be coming out really soon (similar to Tracer). Chromie is something we’re evaluating a lot more internally. We’ve done a number of changes such as reducing the range of her Q & W abilities so she would have to be within enemy vision range (you could see it coming and try to dodge), showing the splat for her W ability, and so on. Honestly, it feels a little bit better internally but we might need to do more to really succeed here. Chromie is further off as a result. I don’t think we view Diablo or Garrosh as that frustrating to play against. The recent change to Garrosh where his Q no longer pulls enemies in has helped a lot. In general, every character is going to have some level of bullshit they can bring, but it’s important that you feel like you have counterplay options and ways to outplay your opponent.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
For Specialists: Most of them actually tend to have higher win rates, so in terms of that, they're not currently struggling. As part of the pass we're working on to reduce frustrating moments with various heroes, there are a number of Specialists who are on that list. Usually its surrounding when they're split pushing and it feels like the enemy team has to constantly respond to them.

For the role rework, this was covered in another part of the thread. TLDR is we want to do it, but its lower priority then some of the ranked and matchmaking stuff we're currently working on. Definitely dig up that other reply though as there's more detail!
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Summons: We’re not currently looking at summons as a whole but will likely try and tackle this on a case by case basis. An ability that is really high impact (and frustrating) at lower levels of play but not useful for higher tiers of play is a bit of a red flag for us. That being said, this is kind of the nature of a summoned unit. In some ways, you can think of a summoned unit like an ability with a huge variance in its damage potential, and this largely depends on how the enemy team plays against it. Obviously higher level players can downplay the value of these summoned units much more easily.

Raynor is getting a rework: It’s not the next set of reworks that will be coming out, but we are actively working on it. Overall we wanted to keep the feel and playstyle of Raynor, keeping him simple to play, but we’ve made a number of changes to modernize his base abilities and introduce a lot of new talents. The team is super excited to share more with you guys on this soon (next few months).

Hammer: I think we added some fun new stuff to Hammer’s kit, allowing her to access some of her key defining talents earlier on. We haven’t seen a ton of Hammer play, but she’s also a character that probably shouldn’t be core to the meta. We don’t currently have more plans for Hammer but we will likely revisit her again in the future.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Rain of Destruction: We're talking about this internally. We do want to do something with this heroic to make it feel less RNG and more competitive with Horrify.

Zarya: She's in an okay spot right now. The balance team might make some small tuning changes but no immediately plans.

Artanis: Similar to Zarya, no current plans.

MULE: We're leaning closer to removing this from the game as it feels really bad when the enemy team resets your progress. We think this mechanic works decent on Abathur since he really needs those safe forward positions, so decent chance that something like this remains on Abathur.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Quick Match has been a hot topic in the community lately. Whats your take on it?
Quick Match is still our most popular game mode in Heroes of the Storm by far. We don’t think the right move is to shunt Quick Match aside, we would rather improve upon it. The problem that we see is that team compositions rarely feel balanced or competitive. In the blog post that we posted yesterday we discussed making a shift away focusing on getting players into matches quickly, and instead to focus more on getting players into better quality matches. That is absolutely applicable to Quickmatch and serves as the plan of action here.

The first improvement we’re going to make is to strictly enforce role compositions for the matchmaker. A team will not be constructed without a balanced team composition on its own. This means that assassins or specialists may potentially have longer queue times, while some tank-capable warriors and healers may have shorter ones.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
"Teaching the community" is another big topic lately. Do you have thoughts towards that that you can share?
There are some big improvements we can make in the realm of educating our players and preparing them for competitive play. One thing we’re working on currently is a revised Hero Selection system that provides far more detail on things like their playstyle and main mechanics behind different heroes. This is something that is still a little ways out, but it will help players identify weaknesses in their draft composition and potential for synergies and counters.

As we bring the Player-based Matchmaking system back for ranked play we’re considering new ways to contextualize player performance based upon the stats we currently examine. It’s important that we celebrate areas where players have been successful, but even more important to identify opportunities for improvement.

Beyond these things we’re looking for more opportunities to provide actionable feedback to players through the end of match sequence. Right now we’re considering an “XP Missed” stat that tracks missed team opportunities for experience generation. This should help reinforce the importance of laning. There are places here for improvement, and if you have suggestions we’re happy to consider them.

We’ve also been creating additional educational content on places like the Heroes of the Storm esports website for some time now to help expose players to things like pro player insight. Every time a new hero is released now, for instance, we work with an HGC player to create a first impressions build guide that you can find on our HGC website. Here’s the latest one for Fenix, or example: https://esports.heroesofthestorm.com...tips-from-yoda. We’re also starting to do more things like Hero update spotlights to keep all our players better informed of incoming changes to heroes’ balance or playstyle.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
In our current thinking we believe that it'd require 1 tank-warrior, 1 healer and 1 assassin, so 2 flex picks. Pending testing and the queues not erupting in molten lava, yes. I think it likely that initially this will be the new standard for the vast majority of QM compositions.

The plan then is to follow up on this change by adding more incentives for queuing as roles that are currently underrepresented in the matchmaking queue which will then make this a hard requirement for every team.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
As of now, Team League seems to have a lot of issues to the point where barely anyone plays the mode. Do you have thoughts towards that?
This is a particularly difficult question to answer. Ultimately the population for this mode is lower than others due in part to it being difficult to organize a team to play regularly. Many of the ranked improvements we’re making will improve Team League without resolving this underlying concern. We believe that Team League needs some of the upcoming major social features, such as clans and group finder, to truly flourish. Since adding these social features would result in a significant update not only to Team League but to many other areas of the game as well, they’re still a ways out in terms of when we believe we can successfully deliver them. More on social features here: https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthe..._2018/dxb9duv/

We originally reduced division requirements for Team construction as a means of increasing Team League participation, which had a small effect on the population of the mode. I don’t believe reintroducing harsher requirements will alleviate the issue, but I’ll take it back to the team to discuss at more length. In the interim if there are other suggestions for Team League I’d like to hear them.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Are you considering allowing to downvote / remove maps, so I can only play the maps I like?
This is something that is brought up occasionally within the team. At the moment our focus is squarely on improving the matchmaking process, and while some sort of map preference system could be interesting it’s not on our radar in the near-term. We believe there are gameplay improvements that can be made for some of our existing battlegrounds in order to make them more enjoyable to play for the majority of our players, so our strategy is to prioritize making all the battlegrounds we have more fun to play rather than giving players more means to opt out of playing them. We have several battleground updates in the works already; Matt discusses them in more detail here: https://www.reddit.com/r/heroesofthe..._2018/dxbah5a/
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Are there any plans to improve the bot AI? Currently the bots cannot help win a game if somebody disconnects.
We’ve actually made great strides with our AI tools over the past year. While an AI-controlled player will never be able to fully replicate a human player, we have improvements planned to help shore up some of our weaker AIs and ensure that they perform their roles more effectively in the match experience. This is an ongoing process that happens in parallel to other development.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Will you consider a surrender option, especially when team mates are AFK or inactive for a long time?
We don’t plan to include a surrender option to the match experience, and instead are focusing on improving our actioning for AFK or inactive players. We feel that the addition of the surrender option will ultimately yield a net negative social experience for players in the match. It serves as a point of contention during the match where the team cooperation can grind to a halt in the face of deciding whether or not to quit the game.

We do however have plans to include a Loss Forgiveness feature for players who are affected by leavers during a ranked match. I intend to write a blog post sometime in the next two weeks to describe this system in more detail.
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
Are we getting the ability to watch games of our friends live at some point?
The team is very interested in delivering this functionality to players, but the technology that drives our replay system and it’s peer to peer nature does not make this simple to deliver. Compared to other features we are discussing this is pretty low on the priority list.
by Published on 2018-04-13 03:58 PM

Upcoming AMA with Heroes Developers – April 13, 2018
Following yesterday's blog on the future of the game, developers will take to reddit later today to answer any follow-up questions the community might have. We will of course be providing a highlight of the proceedings right here on MMO-Champion.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
Greetings, Heroes!

Mark your calendars—we’re hosting a AMA here on r/heroesofthestorm on Friday, April 13 at 10:00 a.m. PDT!

We recently released a blog to share our thoughts on a few areas where we’ve seen lots of feedback and conversation taking place in the Heroes community. We know it’s impossible for a blog to cover every topic you may be curious about, so we’re bringing in several members of the dev team to answer some of the additional questions you might have.

A few specific areas we’d like to focus on during the AMA include: matchmaking, ranked play, Hero balance, and player behavior.

Attending will be:

The Q&A will last roughly 2 hours, so make sure to post your questions in the thread we’ll be creating on the morning of April 13.

See you there!

Please note: We’ll also be asking players from non-English speaking communities to partake in the AMA by submitting their questions to the Community Managers representing their regions. As such, you might see a few Blizzard Community Managers posting questions (in English) on behalf of their communities during the Q&A. Feel free to upvote any questions you’d like to see answered.

Blue Posts
Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment
We just released a new hotfix in order to resolve a bug affecting Nova's Snipe ability. (@BlizzHeroes)

I do want to say that I heavily disagree with the proposed implementation of the third ban, for the following reasons:

- Does not help Hero Diversity enough
- Increases the draft time more
- Does not address the uneven draft opening
- Makes drafting harder

I think that another ban in the opening phase would do even more to help in all of those areas and more, and in my opinion decreases the likelihood of role chokes by forcing the aggressor to show their hand at the opening of the draft phase.

Thanks for sharing your insight, this is super helpful! (@azgaz)

HGC Minute
Developer Lana Bachynsky shares updates from the last week of the Heroes Global Championship:

by Published on 2018-04-12 07:11 PM

Heroes of the Storm Development Updates - April 12, 2018
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

As many of you are aware, there’s been a lot of feedback and community conversation about topics like matchmaking, ranked play, new Hero balance, and player toxicity. It’s clear to us that some players in the Heroes community are unsure if their concerns are being heard. We take your feedback seriously, and we definitely haven’t done enough lately to acknowledge and respond to it. We can do better, so we’d like to shed some more light on a few of these topics today, starting with Matchmaking.

MMR and Matchmaking
Our goal with matchmaking is to ensure your Heroes of the Storm games are fun, fair, and challenging. While we’ve made progress in some areas, we don’t think we’ve hit that goal in all of them. We’re working on some matchmaking improvements that will bring us closer to our objective and hopefully give players more positive gameplay experiences.

Queue Time vs. Match Quality
Matchmaking in Heroes boils down to striking a balance between creating the best possible matches in terms of player skill, and initiating games in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, the matchmaker is always seeking to make the best possible matches it can based on a set of criteria it uses to find equally skilled allies and opponents. The longer players wait in the queue, the looser these restrictions become in order to get players into a match as quickly as possible. We originally set up these somewhat elastic matchmaking rules to speed up wait times. Unfortunately, decreasing wait times sometimes comes at the expense of match quality. This can be especially noticeable at the highest skill levels, where there are fewer players in the queue at any given time. When this situation occurs, players can find themselves in games that include allies and enemies outside of their skill range.

Given all your feedback, it’s clear we’ve been favoring reducing queue times a little too much. Moving forward, we’re going to harden these rules in order to enforce higher quality matches. As a result of the changes we plan to implement, higher-skilled players may see longer queue times in exchange for higher quality matches.

MMR and Rank Decay
Your matchmaking rating (MMR) is an internal numerical representation of your skill that is adjusted based on the outcome of the games you play. This value is most accurate when you regularly play within the current meta against other active members of the player base. When players take an extended break from the game, or only play a few ranked games each season, it can create situations where a player’s current skill no longer matches their MMR (if only temporarily). We’ve heard from those of you who feel it’s unfair to be matched with players who are in this situation.

To alleviate this, and to help improve the accuracy of a player’s MMR and rank, we’re working to institute both MMR and rank decay. Players who have not played any games for a while will have their MMR slowly adjusted to compensate. Likewise, players who do not regularly participate in a given season will see a decline in their rank points over time.

All of this said, it’s also very important to us that the decay rate is not overly punishing. We’re still working on the specifics of this decay system, and we’re interested in hearing any feedback you might have.

Performance-Based Matchmaking
Performance-Based Matchmaking is a system we introduced late last year, which aimed to improve MMR accuracy by taking your individual performance into account when adjusting your MMR. Its release unfortunately coincided with some unrelated issues that occurred during the new ranked season. As a result, we disabled performance-based matchmaking so that we could focus on addressing those issues. While it was active, we absorbed your feedback and took note of additional improvements we wanted to make.

When we bring this feature back, we intend to add additional context about how point adjustments are determined. This should help you better understand how you’re performing and where you can improve in the future. Keep an eye out for those details in the near future.

We also received feedback that performance-based matchmaking isn’t as effective at the highest levels of ranked play. This subset of players is relatively small, which can result in too few players setting the standard for in-game performance in specific situations. As a result, when performance-based matchmaking returns, it will no longer adjust point totals for Grandmaster and Master league players.

Though we had disabled the performance-based matchmaking system’s ability to adjust players’ ranked points, it has continued to gather live player data and improve upon itself over time. We believe it is ready to be turned back on soon, and we’ll have more details to share with you in the coming future.

Ranked Play
We know that many of our most dedicated players have been curious to hear about any updates we might have in store for ranked play. We are working on several improvements for ranked, and we’d like to share a few of them with you today.

Placement Matches
Placement matches were primarily intended as a way for us to gain more information about your skill level in the absence of previous match history. However, the more games you play during a season, the less necessary it becomes to reassess you at the start of the next. Going forward, those who play enough ranked games during the current season will only need to complete as little as one placement match when the next season begins. After completing your placement, you will be placed based on your MMR at the end of the previous season.

New and Returning Player Seeding
The first time a player steps into ranked play, we use the knowledge we have about their performance in other game modes as a general starting point for assessing their skill. We also do this if a player hasn’t played ranked in a long time, and their MMR in other modes is now significantly different than their existing ranked MMR. Currently, players who enter ranked play for the first time, or after a long absence, can place as high as Diamond 3 after completing their placements.

We recognize that being placed highly when a player is new to ranked can lead to some less than positive experiences if they lack some of the more nuanced game knowledge necessary for success in that league. As a result, new players can no longer place higher than Platinum 5 at the end of their placement matches going forward.

Additionally, we believe the introduction of MMR and rank decay will help account for players who take long breaks from ranked play. As such, these returning players will no longer be re-seeded into placements based on their skill in other game modes.

Hero Bans and Swaps
We’re going to add a third ban for each team during drafts. We’ve been considering this addition for some time, but we wanted to wait until our Hero roster grew to an appropriate size. We believe we’ve now reached that threshold, and adding a third ban should provide teams with another layer of strategy when choosing their Heroes for a given match. We’re currently planning to add this ban to the existing mid-ban phase rather than create an entirely new third phase. This will enable us to keep drafts moving quickly, so that players can get to the action. It also allows teams to use that additional mid-ban to react to the draft as it unfolds.

Second, and more nebulous, is the addition of a Hero swap feature. We’ve seen a lot of mixed discussion on this topic in the community, and there are many things to consider when introducing this system to Hero League, including increased draft time, complexity, and player conflict during the draft. Because of these complexities, Hero Swaps are lower on our priority list compared with some of the other improvements we’re discussing today.

Despite these concerns, we’re still exploring a few options. We’ve considered alterative ideas like position swaps, in which players could rearrange their team’s pick order. We’ve also considered simply using the same “first come, first served” pick method that exists in Team League and Custom Games, and we may bring some of these ideas to Unranked Draft as a test.

We’d love to hear your feedback on this topic, so let us know what you think!

New Hero Balance
We do our best to provide fun and satisfying experiences with every new Hero we release. This goal can take many forms, from offering exciting new abilities, to bringing the fantasy of a character to life, and making sure they’re fun to play as, with, and against. It’s also important that each new Hero feels impactful in players’ hands and has the potential to shift the meta. We’d like to share how we look after our new Heroes in the days following release.

New Hero Balance Changes
We received a lot of feedback from players who felt that both Maiev and Fenix were too powerful on release, and we agree. In the past, many of our Hero releases have been considered balanced, or even weaker than they should be. When a new Hero is weak, it tends to see minimal competitive and ranked play, which limits how much live Hero data we’re able to quickly gather and doesn’t evolve the metagame. We want new Heroes to feel compelling for players at launch, but we also want to do that while maintaining the core gameplay balance of Heroes of the Storm. We’ll continue to work toward improving on this going forward.

Over time, we’ve developed a cadence of releasing balance updates for new Heroes every two weeks. This gives us enough time to collect data and allows players to learn how to play with and against the latest additions to the Nexus.

Occasionally, we’ll release a balance update for a new Hero outside of this time frame, as we recently did with Maiev (and Zarya even further back). This isn’t ideal, as it doesn’t give the community enough time to actually explore a character’s strengths and weaknesses aside from initial gut reactions. It also means we have to make these decisions with very little data and live play experience. Our goals are to avoid knee-jerk reactions, to give players enough time to learn new Heroes, and to gather data before we make any balance adjustments.

New Heroes in Ranked
We understand that some players in the community would like us to lock new Heroes out of ranked modes for a couple of weeks following release, and we’ve discussed this internally. Despite this concern, Hero League data is critical for us to fine-tune a new Hero and hit their two-week patch timing. We hope the addition of a third ban in ranked play will help relieve the pressure when expending a ban on any new or reworked Hero that may be considered too strong.

Toxicity and Reporting
A competitive game of Heroes can really get the blood pumping, but we understand that just one player’s negative behavior can ruin the fun for all 10 players in a match. We want to make this clear: Toxic behavior will not be tolerated. We’ve been working on improvements to the ways we detect negative behavior, mitigate detrimental effects on others when it occurs, and message when we take corrective action.

Ramping Up Actions
We’ve been working on a new system that uses machine learning to help improve the validation of player reports. Our internal testing shows the new system allows us to take action against many times the number of reports than we could using our previous methods, while also maintaining an even higher level of confidence in those actions. We’re still doing some additional tuning, but we expect to be able to roll this new system out in the very near future.

Repeat Offender Penalties
Along with the improvements around detecting toxic behavior, we’re also revisiting punishments for repeat offenders. Currently, repeated abusive chat penalties result in an escalating silence duration. This has proven to be enough for most players to get the message, but a subset of players continually return to their toxic behavior, continuing to ruin games for everyone around them. Rather than simply issue them even longer silences, we’re going to start escalating penalties from silences, to suspensions, and even bans as repeat offenses stack up.

Non-Participation and Intentionally Dying
Going AFK during a match, leaving matches early, and dying intentionally are all behaviors that harm the game and compromise a match. We’ve been working on ways to address these behaviors while limiting the negative impact they have on others. As part of this endeavor, we’re deep into development of a loss forgiveness feature, which will mitigate ranked point deductions for players who lose a game due another’s failure to participate. The leaver will be penalized for the loss and repeated offenses will result in harsher penalties. The system will initially only forgive losses caused by leavers, but we plan to expand it to include AFK players and intentional dying in the future.

One of the challenging parts about combating toxicity is that most of the action happens behind the scenes, so it can seem like nothing is being done. A few months ago, we started sending e-mails to players when their reports on non-participating or intentionally dying players lead to action being taken against the offender’s account. We eventually want to bring those notifications in-game where they’ll be more visible. In the meantime, we’re going to increase visibility for the suspension and ban waves we issue by bolstering our broader communications. This is something we’ve done sporadically in the past, but we’ll be moving to a more consistent cadence going forward.

We recognize that we haven’t been as communicative with the community recently as we could have been, and going forward, we want to increase our presence and share more of our thoughts and plans with you. We hope our post today has addressed some of your questions about our plans for Heroes of the Storm in the near future. If not, several members of the Heroes development team will be available to answer more of your questions in an AMA thread on the Heroes of the Storm Subreddit. The AMA begins at 10 a.m. PDT on Friday, April 13, and we’re planning to answer questions for about two hours. Until then, we’ll see you in the Nexus!
by Published on 2018-04-12 01:17 AM

April 11th Balance Update
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)

Our most recent Heroes of the Storm patch is now live containing a number of balance changes and bug fixes.

Quick Navigation:




  • Level 1
    • Gathering Storm (Q)
      • Added functionality:
        • Every Hero Hammerang hits also returns 10 Mana.
    • Wingman (Active)
      • Added functionality:
        • Reduces Lightning Rod’s cooldown by 3 seconds
  • Level 4
    • Updraft (E)
      • Added functionality:
        • Removes the duration of Shields granted by Barrel Roll.


  • Basic Attack damage reduced from 96 to 86.

  • Plasma Cutter (Q)
    • Damage reduced from 145 to 135.
  • Planet Cracker (R)
    • Damage increased from 105 to 108.

  • Level 1
    • Advanced Targeting (Q)
      • Damage bonus reduced from 0.75 to 0.5.
      • Maximum bonus damage reduced from 75 to 60.
    • Arsenal Synergy (W)
      • Damage bonus increased from 100% to 175%
  • Level 4
    • Emergency Protocol (Trait)
      • Movement Speed bonus reduced from 30% to 25%.
  • Level 7
    • Combat Advantage (Q)
      • Damage bonus against Slowed targets reduced from 50% to 40%.
  • Level 13
    • Auxiliary Shields (Trait)
      • Shield regeneration reduced from 20% to 15% of Basic Attack damage dealt.
    • Dampening Field (Trait)
      • Spell Armor increased from 15 to 20.
    • Rapid Recharge (Trait)
      • Shield recharge increased from 20% to 40% of healing received.
  • Level 20
    • Singularity Charge (W)
      • Repeater Cannon bonus Attack Speed increased from 50% to 100%.
    • Unconquered Spirit (Passive)
      • Shield amount increased from 600 to 800.

Developer Comment: Fenix has proven himself quite powerful, mainly due to his capability for consistent damage output. While we’re happy with how he plays, we’re making a few changes to bring his damage in line and address Talent imbalances.


  • Natural Agility (Trait)
    • Cooldown increased from 20 to 25 seconds.
  • Dragon Strike (R)
    • Damage increased from 64 to 70.

  • Level 4
    • Serrated Arrows (W)
      • Bonus damage granted versus Minions, Mercenaries, and Monsters reduced from 150% to 100%.


  • Level 1
    • Aether Walker (E)
      • Reduced the time required after taking damage from 5 to 4 seconds.
  • Level 4
    • Dominance (Trait)
      • Adjusted functionality:
        • Takedowns now restore 30% of missing Health.


  • Level 7
    • Perfect Shot (Q)
      • Added functionality:
        • Each Hero hit also grants an additional Precision Sniper stack.
  • Level 13
    • Ionic Force Field (Trait)
      • Armor duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds.
    • Double Tap (W)
      • Added functionality:
        • Also increases Pinning Shot’s cooldown by 2 seconds.
  • Level 16
    • Lethal Decoy (E)
      • Holo Decoy damage bonus reduced from 35% to 30%.
    • Crippling Shot (W)
      • Armor negation reduced from 25 to 20.
    • Explosive Round (Q)
      • Area of effect damage increased from 50% to 70%.


  • Health reduced from 1350 to 1280.
  • Health Regeneration reduced from 5.625 to 5.332.
  • Basic Attack damage reduced from 29 to 28.



  • Health increased from 1850 to 1924.
  • Health Regeneration increased from 3.8554 to 4.0078.

  • Taunt (R)
    • Bonus Health and Health Regeneration reduced from 30% to 25%.



  • Level 7
    • Force of Magic (W)
      • Bonus Spell Power increased from 20% to 25%.
    • Arcane Explosion (W)
      • Base damage reduced from 90 to 80.
      • Maximum additional damage reduced from 350 to 315.
  • Level 13
    • Circle of Protection (W)
      • Now also increases Force of Will’s cooldown by 2 seconds.
    • Reabsorption (W)
      • Heal amount increased from 60% to 70%.


  • Basic Attack damage increased from 85 to 90.

  • Black Arrows (Trait)
    • Abilities no longer disable Structures.

Developer Comment: As part of our ongoing quest to increase counter-play and curb frustration when playing against certain Heroes, we’re changing Sylvanas’ Black Arrows trait so that her Abilities no longer disable Structures. This effect is incredibly powerful and, in the past, has limited how Battlegrounds can be designed and played. We realize that turning off enemy Structures is an important part of Sylvanas’ identity, so rather than removing this functionality completely, we’re addressing it in such a way that she now has to put herself in danger to get maximum value. This should allow more counter-play for opponents when Sylvanas is pushing, and enable us to improve her teamfight capabilities, which we’re doing initially via a small Basic Attack damage buff. We’ll be keeping an eye on her performance, and are ready to make further tuning changes as needed.



  • Health increased from 1949 to 2027.
  • Health Regeneration increased from 4.0585 to 4.2226.

  • Level 1
    • Transcendence (Trait)
      • Healing increased from 98 to 104.


  • Regrowth
    • Heal amount reduced from 400 to 380.
  • Moonfire
    • Heal amount reduced from 140 to 135.

  • Level 4
    • Strangling Vines (E)
      • Heal reduction duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds.



  • Level 1
    • Accumulating Flame (Q)
      • Adjusted quest reward functionality:
        • Gain 15 Armor per Hero ignited with Breath of Fire. This lasts 3 seconds.
    • Freshest Ingredients (Trait)
      • Health Regeneration granted by gathering Regeneration Globes no longer caps at 30.
  • Level 4
    • Keg Toss (W)
      • Bonus damage per Hero hit increased from 3 to 4.
      • Bonus damage maximum increased from 60 to 80.
  • Level 7
    • Purifying Brew (Trait)
      • Added functionality:
        • Spell Armor persists as long as Chen has Fortifying Brew Shields.


  • Adaptation (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 90 to 80 seconds.

  • Level 1
    • Enduring Swarm (W)
      • Spell Armor increased from 40 to 50.
  • Level 4
    • Lurker Strain (E)
      • Slow duration increased from 2 to 3 seconds.
    • Hero Stalker (Trait)
      • Added functionality
        • Enemy Heroes hit by Dark Swarm grant 1 Essence.
  • Level 13
    • Ferocious Stalker (W)
      • Bonus damage increased from 40% to 50%.


  • Basic Attack damage increased from 105 to 109.

  • Drain Hope (W)
    • Cooldown reduced from 11 to 10 seconds.


  • Level 1
    • Ardent Restoration (Passive)
      • Healing increased from 13.75 to 15 per stack.
  • Level 4
    • Stalwart Angel (Q)
      • Armor increased from 20 to 25.
      • Armor duration reduced from 3 to 2 seconds.
  • Level 7
    • Purge Evil (E)
      • Basic Attack damage bonus increased from 35% to 45%.
  • Level 16
    • Burning Halo (Q)
      • Damage increased from 15 to 18.
      • Bonus damage after teleporting increased from 100% to 150%.
      • Bonus damage duration reduced from 3 to 2 seconds.
    • Smite the Wicked (E)
      • Cooldown recharge rate increased from 100% to 125%.
      • Cooldown recharge rate duration after teleporting reduced from 3 to 2 seconds.

Developer Comment: We’re making adjustments focused on the viability of some of Tyrael’s Talents. In particular, Sword of Justice was not picked very often, and was underperforming. We’re addressing this by taking a few Talents (Stalwart Angel, Burning Halo, and Smite the Wicked) and increasing their synergy with Sword of Justice by increasing the bonuses that Tyrael receives while El’druin is out, but reducing the bonuses for teleporting. This should enhance Sword of Justice’s playstyle, by allowing players to teleport into a fight, but still having an active El’druin’s.


  • Health increased from 2225 to 2292.
  • Health Regeneration increased from 4.6406 to 4.7750.

  • Particle Grenade (Q)
    • Damage increased from 71 to 75.
  • Graviton Surge (R)
    • Cooldown reduced from 80 to 60 seconds.

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed a pair of issues that could cause the game client to crash.

  • Johanna: Learning Holy Renewal and casting Shield Glare while using one of Johanna’s Enforcer Skins no longer causes placeholder art to appear at her feet.

Heroes, Abilities, and Talents
  • Ana: After learning Grenade Calibration, Biotic Grenade’s floating combat text now displays the correct amount of Healing received with each tick.
  • Auriel: Bestow Hope’s buff and visual effects will no longer be removed if the target enters a Stasis effect, like Zagara’s Devouring Maw.
  • Cassia: After learning Martial Law, Basic Attacks now correctly apply bonus damage against Slowed Heroes.
  • Fenix: Fixed an issue that could prevent the Rapid Recharge Talent from providing its Shield recharge effect when Healed.
  • Fenix: Plasma Cutter is now correctly interrupted by Stasis effects, like Stitches’ Gorge and Anub’arak’s Cocoon.
  • Fenix: Casting Plasma Cutter on an Invulnerable target no longer grants quest progress for the Advanced Targeting Talent.
  • Fenix: After learning Singularity Charge, the Talent description that is appended to the Weapon Mode Ability tooltip now states the correct amount of bonus range provided to Phase Bomb Basic Attacks.
  • Greymane: The Wizened Duelist Talent’s Basic Attack counter no longer continues to update after achieving maximum quest progress.
  • Leoric: Fixed an issue preventing Leoric from casting Hearthstone while in Undying form.
  • Malthael: After learning Black Harvest, quest progress indicators now correctly appear every second while a target is affected by Reaper’s Mark.
  • Medivh: Fixed an issue in which Medivh could create four Portals at once after learning Portal Mastery.
  • Medivh: Is no longer dismounted after casting Arcane Brilliance.
  • Probius: Disruption Pulse no longer gains bonus damage from the Particle Accelerator Talent when it passes through non-targetable units, like Gazlowe’s Scrap.
  • Varian: Learning Colossus Smash no longer reduces Varian’s Health Regeneration by more than the intended 10%.
  • Zeratul: Casting Void Prison on Blaze’s Bunker while players are inside no longer halts their Ability cooldowns indefinitely after Void Prison expires.

Developer Interview - Heroes Reddit Community
The team looking after the Heroes subreddit had a sitdown with developers Kaeo Milker and Matt Villers during PAX East. We've got a few highlights below:

  • Scroll of Sealing originally had players draw their own triangle shape
  • The team tries not to go too crazy with mobility
  • The Live Design team who do final hero testing are Grandmaster-level players
  • Hanamura had too many things going on at once, creating a lot of confusion
  • No current plans to introduce a "Grounded" status effect to deal with mobility, they would rather do things like Maiev's chain ability to deal with the issue
  • Only a question of priorities and time before the stats API will be made available
  • Educating the playerbase is a big challenge, a massive undertaking
  • Voice chat feedback has been positive
  • The Bunker health meme lasted until they actually had to nerf it

Developer Interview - BlizzPro
BlizzPro's Leviathan likewise had the opportunity to speak to Kaeo Milker and Matt Villers. We've gathered a few highlights:

  • Deckard originally had an Identify ability that would reveal enemies and reduce their armor
  • Horadric Cube started out as an ability that could be thrown on the ground and empowered by other abilities used on it, but this felt too limiting
  • The Gem talents retain some of that playstyle however, such as the one that creates an explosion of health potions when hitting enemies
  • The sound designers dialed it up to 11 on Deckard, focusing on invoking the Diablo nostalgia; potion sounds, papers, scrolls
  • The story of how existing universes came to be represented in the Nexus will have to wait a while longer
  • Specialists used to be the bucket for weird heroes, but lately the team has been trying to classify heroes as other roles if possible
  • They are actively re-evaluating some role classifications
  • Varian's heroic shuffle was due to the fact that he only felt like half a hero until level 10
  • Performance-based Matchmaking (PBMM) was disabled because of unrelated problems with the launch of the December 2017 ranked season but is coming back Soon(TM), the team is really excited for it to go live again
  • PBMM was running in the background for a long time as a simulation for data comparisons, with the data revealing that players would be placed in their correct ranks faster than without it
  • The team is very pleased with the reception of the PVE brawls

Heroes of the Storm Comic
Russian Heroes fansite Tavern of Heroes ran a comic strip contest recently. You can take a look at the winners right here!

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