Heroes AMA April 30, 2020 - Recap

General Development
  • The development team has an internal roadmap that extends about a year into the future at any time
  • Plans for 2021 are being made at the moment
  • There's a strong desire on the development team to get Arthas' remodel on the 2021 timeline

  • More than one hero (and less than 42) are in active development
  • One of the upcoming heroes is intended to be a Tank
  • There are currently no heroes fitting into the Support category in development
  • Information on the next hero is coming soon
  • The team has a huge lineup of hero reworks
  • The workflow on Tassadar's rework was closer to that of a brand new hero than traditional reworks, with about a year's worth of iteration going into the process
  • Team is still hard at work on D.Va's rework
  • Tracer is on the list to be looked at now that Tassadar is no longer her best friend
  • Tassadar is trending a little low currently. Expect balance changes to come

Nexus Anomaly
  • Average game time has seen an increase of about a minute since the Call For Help Nexus Anomaly
  • Additional tuning is coming in the near future
  • The team is continuing to take feedback in order to tweak the Nexus Anomaly further!

  • Internal discussions regarding Haunted Mines have taken place, but the map requires significant resources allocated to be fixed up
  • There are currently no solid plans for allowing solo-only ranked play as it would split the playerbase and significantly reduce quality in less active regions
  • There are plans to expand on the new talent build feature in the future

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
I'd like to know, what's the roadmap looking like for our favourite game?
Greetings, /u/Klaagzang! We've received feedback on the desire for a roadmap previously and have discussed it a few times since our last AMA. We’re aligned that it sounds awesome to give players commitments on things to look forward to, but we still wrestle with how deep we should be going on that. So while we obviously have an internal roadmap for Heroes that usually looks over a year out, we like to give ourselves flexibility to add to, change, remove, or move things around as needed and a publicly facing roadmap ties our hands in ways we're not always comfortable with.

What are we comfortable saying? We have new heroes in development and will be sharing info on the next one soon. We have a huge lineup of hero reworks that we’re excited about and want to continue breathing new life into old favorites regularly. We have features coming that will make the game better while also improving our ability to support it. We have some of the coolest skins in the history of the game yet to come. And we want to be building toward a world where we can add more content to the game year-over-year. Stay tuned! (/u/KaeoMilker)

More cross-game promotions with WoW, Overwatch, Hearthstone etc came up at the last AMA, and were actioned as something to look into. Do you have any cool stuff to report in this area?
Good morning jjp3! We are indeed discussing how we can cross-promote with our other games, as the past events were extremely awesome! That said, there is a lot of differing opinions on how to set them up and when they should occur. While I don't have anything concrete to share right now, we are definitely discussing it and are always looking for new opportunities to make it happen :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Can we expect a new support hero to be added in the future?
Good afternoon Darak_, Unfortunately, I can't really answer your main question as the kinds of heroes we want to bring in changes all the time. We are in a spot where the team can truly work on the features/Heroes they are most passionate about, and bringing the next Support to the Nexus requires the championing and drive towards it. The Heroes we are currently working on do not fit into the Support mold as of right now, but that can always change (and has many times in the past)! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Can you guys please bring Haunted Mines back into rotation?
Hey secret3332, Actually, the design group just met about this the other day. We have some initial blue-sky ideas on things we could do to improve the gameplay of the battleground, but that is about as far as we have currently gotten. Just bringing it back in its current form is really tricky as there are a lot of bugs (many of them super edge-case) with the way the mines work that are very difficult to tackle and would require a major amount of resources to resolve.

Overall, we love the map and all of its unique assets, and hope to return it to the map pool some time in the future! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Are there any plans to provide players who want to play solo ranked only against & with other solo players a form of play?
This sounds like good idea, and in ideal world it would be!

Now the thing is that matchmaking is not all about the team average raw MMR comparison for soloes vs premades. There are many factors affecting match winrates: MMR average, spread, and party sizes just to name a few. The matchmaker tries to take it all into account, and the winrate prediction is extremely complex. So in ideal world we would just grab all the parties in queue and create 50/50 winrate maches. In theory, it's doable, and according to our data it is actually doing exactly that in the majority of games.

However, it starts to struggle when the number of available parties in outlier MMR ranges is low. The win prediction itself seems to be pretty reliable across all rank brackets, but sometimes there just isn't a 'good match' that can be found. Furthermore, putting hard restrictions on party sizes could potentially cause even more problems, we just tried that out, and in the end, it didn't end up working out the way we had hoped. If we added an optional "solo only" opt-in checkbox: it would split the queue population and lead us right back into the world of 2 separate ranked play queues, which ended up hurting the matchmaking even further.

If you remember old times with Hero and Team Leagues: the latter just wasn't viable in some regions. Consolidating the leagues has made a dramatic improvement to matchmaking across the board.

Unfortunately, there just isn't an easy-win option when it comes to competitive 5v5 matchmaking. Nevertheless, we will be trying out new things, that's for sure! (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

I'm asking for a friend of course: Are there any new main tanks in development or at least conceptually planned? I feel like my this role could use some love in particular. Cheers!


Yes! (source)

Tassadar's was the most in-depth rework so far, with an entirely new talent tree, a new basic ability and a new heroic. In terms of his development, as well as where he fits in the release cycle, does the team consider him a "new hero"? Or was his workflow still closer to that of past reworks?
I would say he’s firmly into new hero territory.

We had talked about shifting him from a support role to an assassin for years, but we didn’t have a solid plan as to what this transition would look like. I knew from the beginning that Plasma Shield would have to be cut in favor of another damage ability, so I started experimenting with various abilities and what became Shock Ray fell into placepretty quickly. We experimented with just that addition for a while, but we realized very early on that that there was no reasonable way we could keep Dimensional Shift *and* inject more numeric power into his kit without it becoming overpowered or making extreme concessions elsewhere. Removing that safety option really broadened the possibilities for what we could do with Tass and we spent a good amount of time (~4-5 months I want to say) trying different things until the base kit resembled what it is now. Figuring out talents took another few months, but came together fairly easily. Moving Force Wall from an ultimate to a Basic Ability was a little contentious at first, but as we got used to playing with it we realized it worked well. Black Hole came very late in the design cycle and went through multiple iterations before it became what it is today. We stopped making big design changes to him probably 2-3 months ago, so his total iteration time was probably a year’s worth of time, which is fairly close to how long we iterate on brand new heroes. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Patch 50.0 included a great quality of life feature: we can now favorite our talents and, more importantly, copy and share builds with other players. Can we expect more features like this in the near future?
Hey Pscythic, We absolutely love bringing new features like this to the game and are always working on and prioritizing the next ones. As passionate developers, any individual features release is normally just the beginning, as we often have improvements or quality of life changes already planned (and adding more from player feedback). These, of course, get put into the chute against all the other features we are wanting to work on. It's a never-ending cycle that is honestly one of the more difficult parts of actively developing a live game. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Why doesn't Kaelthas Living Bomb (W) show a red circle where the damage radius will be?
Hey Senshado, We tried several iterations of this. Every solution that was noticeable was also super noisy and added a lot of clutter to the battlefield. We haven't been able to find a good compromise so far, but we will keep trying. Thanks! (/u/BlizzKGu)

How do you feel about enemy forts attacking you for dealing damage to enemies that are nowhere near that fort? For example, Lunara's poison draws building aggro even when the enemy player leaves the lane, and Azmodan's global summon can hit someone in top lane and cause a bot lane fort to attack him.
Hey Beg_For_Mercy! We anticipated that this kind of feedback could happen, and we had many debates internally about exactly how tower aggro should work. For the release, we landed on a design that emphasized clarity as the most important aspect to guide tower targeting decisions. It’s an extremely clear rule to say “if you hit an enemy Hero, towers don’t like you”, and we initially didn’t want to muddy up that with a ton of exceptions unless we felt it was completely necessary to. Now that we’ve gotten a ton of feedback from you guys since the anomaly has been released, we have some changes coming that should address a lot of these concerns. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Any updates on a potential gifting system?
Hey! We do currently have some hero bundles available for gifting in the battle.net shop, and we also have seasonal chests available during the winter. We’re looking into adding more content to the shop in the future! (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

Hello again! When will Deathwing's emoticons :deathwingembarrassed: and :deathwingsad: finally be swapped?! Literally unplayable
Oh dang, we weren't aware of that one! We've got a bug in now, thanks for the heads up! (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

In 2019 we’ve seen 4 new heroes: Deathwing, Qhira, Anduin Imperius. Can we expect more new heroes for 2020?


Yes. (source)

How many new heroes are you guys working on at the moment?
More than 1. Less than 42. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Will there be any more improvements to the newly implemented saved builds for talents?
Hey RedFive, Those are all really good suggestions we are exploring. Stay tuned!

Thanks! (/u/BlizzKGu)

There have been hints at a D.Va rework dating as far back as July 2019 (as far as I know). Has there been any progress on this front?
Hey Exvaris, There has been progress on D.VA. We are still working on her. :) (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Topic: Battle Passes
Hey, /u/Dsingis! We’ve explored designs for a Battle Pass-like feature for Heroes in the past and still think that’s a cool idea for the game with its combination of a clear roadmap of unlockable content and what's required of players to get it. Ultimately the feature requires a lot of engineering and UI work that we’d rather focus on game content and other features currently, but I wouldn’t rule it out in time. Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

What are currently your thoughts about the new Nexus Anomaly?
Good morning nakno3, Personally, I am greatly enjoying the new Nexus Anomaly (but I may be biased as I was directly involved with its creation). However, I will say that we are very actively reading feedback and discussing it internally (and have some changes coming in the next balance patch). Overall, knowing that my structures will 'help me, help them' allows players to feel more comfortable defending them but it is a very slippery slope as one of the original design pillars of the game was to always promote aggressive play (always be brawling!!!), and this arguably undermines that pillar to a certain extent.

Thank you for your thoughts and feedback. The whole team monitors both battle.net and reddit forum boards and we always appreciate great discussions! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Can you please describe the next big thing in HOTS with as little words as possible?
Pretty cool. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Any updates on kerning?
It’s still on our radar. We have other things that are ahead of it. It’s not scheduled at the moment but when we evaluate priorities it’s something that comes up. Keep fighting the good fight and keeping us honest u/Kamikaze28! (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Can you share (or promise to share soon) statistics that are especially relevant to the current anomaly with the community? In particular, how have game times been affected and are any heroes seeing significant changes in winrates?
Hey Pscythic! Since the anomaly has been released we’ve seen an average game time increase of about ~1 minute across the board, which while not what we want in a perfect world, is not too significant. There hasn’t been any huge change in win rates outside of what we would normally expect between patches. We also have our normal balance patch coming up that will include changes that should address various concerns over the anomaly as well as to multiple heroes. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Any chance you could create a vs. AI game 'Nightmare' level that increases enemy AI hero health, physical damage and spell power by 20%? For most people playing vs. AI mode, 'Elite' level is probably too easy and they're probably looking for a harder challenge. I think the resources required to do this is low, relative to the big pay-off for vs. AI players.
I like this idea a lot. I think there is a lot that can be done to make vs. AI more interesting and unique in a way that PvP doesn't really allow. I will pass this idea along to the team! (/u/Blizz_JeffB)

Are you ever going to fix the Hanamura Samurai's Slash?
Thanks for the detailed report Pscythic. I appreciate the effort of including a video, it makes my job much easier. I've entered an issue to help move this closer to being resolved.
semi related: It's hitbox display gets bugged when targeted on a unit "knocked up" into the air, stretching the semicircle and it actuallys gets cut off.
Ooh, thanks! That looks like a separate issue, will research! (/u/BlizzKofalt)

Does the elemental lord of fire have any skins in the works?
We’re in the process of evaluating what we’re going to do for 2021 and we are well aware that Rag needs another skin. There’s a non-trivial amount of work to get new skins done for him. We have a bunch of cool ideas. It is still a goal. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Have you planned heroes with a more atypical gameplay, for example a hero based on the speed of movement like a rider, or a hero a little artist who while he is channeling a spell we can draw with the mouse the AoE, heroes with surprising gameplay?
Yes! We like to try technically crazy things early in a heroes iteration cycle and sometimes we get cool stuff out of it. Qhira's Revolving Sweep is a good example of that. Long long ago we thought about giving Brightwing an ultimate where you would "draw" a path of healing with your mouse for a few seconds. I think that idea was pared down and refined until it became Blink Heal.

Unfortunately, complex systems that sound really cool on paper often either end up with not-so-cool gameplay or a bottomless pit of technical problems to overcome. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Could you take a look at Sylvanas during Haunting Wave and Lunara Leaping Strike both still being interrupted by the Dragon Knight kick knockback, despite both being unstoppable?
Absolutely! I'll make sure we investigate that shortly. (/u/BlizzKofalt)

What kind of unique challenges have come up from using an old engine? How did you get around them? And most naively, any hope for rebuilding something new like a HotS 3.0?
Every engine and game project has challenges, unrelated to age. Heroes is no different in this regard!

Most of the hard problems we face revolve around systems that were built for other purposes that we have to refactor or systems that simply don't exist that we have to build up from scratch without destabilizing other parts of the game. Things like pathfinding, networking, and ability usage are examples of things that are vastly different between games like Starcraft 2 and Heroes of the Storm.

Our origins in Starcraft give us a ton of benefits as well though. The engine is extremely data-driven, which makes implementation time for designers blazing fast. This is why we can easily test and iterate on things like the Nexus Anomalies. Many general systems like movement, unit selection, and projectiles already existed in the game, so we started with a huge leg up for that stuff. (/u/Blizz_JeffB)

What is your opinion on the current amount of slows, pushes, stuns, roots, stops and displacements in the game? Do you think it’s too much? Do you think that damage across the board needs to be nerfed also?
Greetings FloatingWatcher! I think the current amount of CC effects in the game is appropriate. Many heroes need at least one of these kinds of effects in their kit to be effective, and so that means that you will likely have at least 5 of these kinds of effects in every team composition. This has been the case since the game was released, and I think it's worked out just fine.

To help answer CC, we've also over time added a slew of effects that prevent or negate CC as well, which gives teams ways to answer these things.

In regards to damage, I don't believe it needs to be nerfed across the board. Time to kill hasn't gotten out of control in a general sense, though burst management on an individual hero basis is something that we keep an eye on. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

KT has a bug where his L7 and L1 D talents do not work properly together. The SP increase from the L7 talent doesn't increase the L1 heal. Can we get this fixed?
Thanks for the report - I've entered an issue for tracking. (/u/BlizzKofalt)

Could Murky's Egg health scale at a percentage per level please? BTW, Tychus' health regen scales at 4.5% per level, while his health scales at 4%
Hey Spazzo965! I'll check out Murky's Egg scaling and Tychus's Health regen. Not sure why the egg scaling is not a percentage.

In regards to weird scaling values, there are sometimes limitations in the editor when it comes to very specific percentages that results in this. I remember being frustrated when trying to tune some Lucio healing talents back in the day because they tick every second and some of them were fractions of those ticks, which I wasn't able to get exactly where I wanted them to be :P

Those scaling values not being exact are most likely because Heroes uses a fixed-point float, rather than a real floating point value. This is primarily to support parity when transferring information over the network and is common in games that use lockstep networking like we do and have to have perfect synchronization between clients. Essentially, in our implementation the number %2.5 doesn't exist, so %2.4902 is as close as we can get.
Since the usage is per-level scaling, I guess the number in question is really 1.025, not 2.5. The fixed-point math that I've seen can handle 2.5 just fine. And of course the number 4 can be represented, but 1.04 might not fit.
I will add the % in there to make it more clear! (source)

Are there any changes planned regarding the recent Nexus Anomaly with all the feedback you had? Will it be cancelled, modified, improved, not touched at all?
Yes, we already have changes coming in the pipe for the Nexus Anomaly. You can expect for any Anomaly that we will iterate on and improve them after they've been released if there are things that can be made better. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are there still any plans for Tracer past the Tassadar rework? Her talent diversity could really use some love for sure.
Yes :) (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

/u/blizzkgu are you still using the official forum for your feedback in order to improve the AI?
Yes, I am. (/u/BlizzKGu)

What do you think about the rework Tassadar now that you got some data? Do you regret / wish some additional changes?
He's currently trending a little lower than we'd like, but nothing some balance changes can't fix. :)

The removal of Dimensional Shift had a huge impact on how you need to think about positioning and I think some players are struggling in that regard. It's going to take a bit of time for players to relearn both playing as or with a Tassadar. I've seen dozens of different opinions about which build is best or when Tass is a viable pick, but no real dominant consensus has emerged yet. I feel there's still a lot of community mind-share going on, which is a good thing! We've had great success with Tass internally over the past few months, so I have no doubt about his viability long-term.

While he is considered a mage along the lines of Kael'thas or Gul'dan, a lot of his power comes from the utility or "intangibles" he brings. I think JHow's analysis (check out his Youtube!) that Tassadar should be thought of as a complementary pick instead of a carry pick is pretty accurate.

All that being said, I do think there's room for improvement with his AA build. It's a bit too pointed towards utility at the expense of damage. I have some ideas I want to try once we see how our balance changes settle. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Pretty please can we get end of season mount rewards again for ranked?
We have been exploring season reward options and if things go well should have something to show the next season. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Will the Invisible Horse return?
Yes! (source)

Have there been any discussions about adding new banners to the game? Outside of events and anniversaries, it doesn't seem like many have been added since HotS 2.0.
We have actually just recently started discussing getting some more banners in, but don’t currently have a time frame for them. This is a very helpful list, thank you! Please feel free to leave me a reply with any other banners you’d be interested in having. (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

Could you please bring the Death Knight Arthas skin back? By that I mean the one that looks like his default skin, but without the helmet or glowing eyes (and with the same alternate voice-over used by his Crown Prince skin).
I agree that would be cool. There has been some movement towards getting the Arthas remodel going. We are currently in the planning stage for 2021 and there is a strong desire to get the remodel in your hands. When we release the remodel I think it would be good to have a variation without his helmet on to fulfill this wish.
Maybe keep the old model as a special skin for people who had him above level 15 befoee the new remodel?
We wouldn't replace the old model. We would keep it as an option for people who still like playing with it. (source)

Could you tell us more about the implementation of Janitor Leoric into the game? What is the process of interaction with the author of the original concept? And is there any chance we will see some more fan ideas in the game?
Hunman360 did the art for a competition. There was talks to creating that skin as far back as the moment we were aware of it. Our schedules are written out for us at least a year in advance and there wasn’t good place to put it. By time we decided to do it the concept had been around for quite some time. Community sentiment was the biggest for any community skin we had ever seen. It was a really strong concept as well. We reached out to the artist and asked them if they would like to see it in Heroes. Thankfully the answer was yes and we did it.

Our community has some really great artists and we definitely want to put more community skins in the game. We like to put skins out with pair well with other skins. Theme the packs. This is mostly why Janitor Leoric took as long as it did. We decided it would be cool to pair it with the RCHS Orphea’s Slacker skin and RCHS cheer leader Kerrigan. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out where we can schedule something like that in. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Have any of you ever lost so badly to any hero and thinking "I'm gonna nerf sh*t out of him next patch!"?
Yes, and then I immediately change my mind when I realize that it wasn't the hero.. It was me :( (/u/BlizzKGu)

Are there any plans for future cross over skins, like Zerg Queen Alexstrasza or Eye of C'thun Probius?
We are actively making new content and anything is possible in the Nexus! (/u/BlizzDorothy)

There is some plans to make more skins for ChoGall?
Anything is possible in the Nexus! (/u/BlizzDorothy)

Some people say Deathwing was the last new hero we will ever get. Is that true? Please tell me we are getting Cairne Bloodhoof!
Nope to first question. And anything is possible in Nexus! (/u/BlizzDorothy)

Hey guys! As usual I'm going to harass about lore.[...]
Great question! I'd say it's complicated, because our Heroes generally represent not only a specific character, but a larger mish-mash of relevant gameplay mechanics and lore from their respective universes.

Personally, there's three things I would say I draw upon when designing/naming things:

Obvious established fantasy hits that directly represent the character or archetype that character falls in to. Things like Archon, Khaydarin Amulet, Psionic Storm are all things you would expect Tassadar to have if you've played either of the Starcrafts.

Expanded universe fantasy hits like Thermal Lance, Shadow Walk, or Khala's Gift which speak to a broader category of Protoss technology/magic or specific lore moments from that character's history, but had no established mechanical implications.

Literal mechanical translations like Shock Ray or Black Hole. These can definitely be the weakest, but I think there's a certain value in being straightforward sometimes, especially when it comes to helping players develop heuristics. In Shock Ray's case, I didn't want to double up on the "psionic" nomenclature for abilities and talents. Pushing it to be more "electrically oriented" means I don't have to figure out 10 different ways to describe "psi damage" between two different abilities. It also helps makes it more obvious to players which ability a given talent is going to affect by name alone. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Hi HotS team! Wanted to share a Un'Goro Battleground concept and how humbling an experience it is to realize the absurd amount of work that's put into this game.[...]
First off… holy cow you did a lot of work here. Everyone should look at this and understand that this isn’t trivial. u/jiggywatt64 spent a lot of time on this.
  • Yes we have art bibles and design guidelines for direction. The purpose of the seniors and art director of the team is to make sure that everything is directed towards those goals. There are things that we do in the craft of these things that we teach new artists who join the team what we want them to utilize. Art does dictate some direction abilities will go because of noisiness, performance, or it might look too much like another ability. Ultimately our job is to get creative with it and get it done. Also, Michael Vicente is a friend and I cannot express what a service he’s done for the art community with his Orb Brushes.
  • Towers of doom started out as Arathi Basin but we couldn’t figure out how to get it to work quite right. If you look at the towers they’re themed very similar to main areas in Arathi Basin.
  • Communication over video conference and PMs have been a challenge but it’s been a great learning experience and we’ve been very productive given the circumstances. It’s a tribute to our awesome team. I do miss hanging out with everyone and having those interactions because we feed off each other’s energy. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Is there anywhere we can send ideas for skins?
You can post it in the Heroes Reddit and Heroes Forum. We are actively checking fan art/ skin ideas from these places. (/u/BlizzDorothy)

Lots of Mounts are currently unavailable for purchase, and hasn't been for years. Any chance that these will be brought back, either permanently or as Limited-Time Items?
The answer for this is going to vary entirely based on what mount you’re looking for. Some mounts were promised for meeting specific goals (like season rewards) or for participating during a certain time or event (like the BlizzCon mounts) and we wouldn’t want to make those less special by making them more widely available now. However, some older mounts we might be able to bring back, and there are others that we may be able to do new variations of. If anyone has a specific mount they want us to look into, leave me a reply and I can discuss it with the team! (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

What are your thoughts on melee assassins? It has been talked about by players a lot but I think that devs have only admitted they're in a weird spot.[...]
Hey -Duality! I think that Melee Assassins are in a weird spot due to where they fit into a team composition. Most teams compositions that players are comfortable running consist of a Tank, an offlane Bruiser, a Healer, and two Ranged Assassins. Generally to make a team composition “feel” right, the Melee Assassin has to fit into one of the Ranged Assassin slots or replace the offlane Bruiser slot. This means that other team members have to flex their roles or risk running 3-4 Melee heroes in their composition, which often feels uncomfortable (though statistically is still completely viable). As a whole, Melee Assassins are performing very well in regards to how often they win games, so I don’t think there’s a problem with how effective they are.

In regards to their design, there are specific Melee Assassins who have the high octane style of gameplay where they can dominate an entire enemy team if things go right (ex. Illidan), but they don’t all function that way. I think this is acceptable, as it fits a specific fantasy that many players like to chase. There are definitely some heroes in this category that can use work to be less spikey less often, but this is no different to me than other Assassins, Tanks, or Healers who could also use help in various ways. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Howdy! There are a series of interactions that we are unsure of in regards to them being bugs or intended features. It would be real slick if we could get a definitive answer. The interactions are: [...]
Heya, thanks for all y'all do!

Brightwing's Soothing Mist passively healing while inside vehicles - this is a bug.
Garrosh's Into the Fray able to be cast on allied Turrets - this is a bug.
Tyrande's Elune's Chosen healing Leoric while he is Undying - this is a bug.

I've entered reports for each issue now. Our official bug report forums is the best place to report bugs or potential bugs: https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/heroes/c/bug-report (/u/BlizzKofalt)

About the AI: previously, a big overhaul to their internal workings was mentioned, with changes to the structure of their goal and tactical systems and whatnot. Since that seems to be out with the latest patch already, does that enable you to update the AI faster than before, or is it about the same?[...]
Hi maguszeal, Yes, the overhaul make sit easier to navigate the AI trees in our editor. I don't have to spend as much time figuring out how things work. The issue you describe is more complex as it touches our path finding tech, something that /u/Blizz_JeffB can provide better explanations for you. Thanks!

Hi u/maguszeal,

Our current pathfinding solution doesn't weight terrain based on the existence of dangerous AoE abilities. This means that before an agent enters an AoE, they don't know it is there, so they cannot path around it. There are a number of factors that make refactoring the pathfinding in this way non-trivial, including the nested nature of our ability data and specifics related to the pathfinding system itself.

The overhaul you mentioned does, however, give us a greater and faster ability to iterate on the behavior trees, which is ultimately how an agent decides to handle moving out of AoEs. This power can potentially be leveraged to get us a shorter-term solution to this problem without having to wait for resources and time to become available for a more involved engineering change. (source)

Right after all the spooky announcements, there were a bunch of wild patches. Sweeping balance changed for like 1/3rd of the roster. I personally thought it was fun to see these huge changes as it reinvigorated players to play heroes who are buffed. But they seem to have decreased in size and frequency. Was this just not viable because of the work? Did you find it was actually scaring players off? Or will they continue?
Hey NotParadox!!! I pushed to have the large balance patches at the beginning of last year, and I think it’s been fairly successful since then. As far as the size of the patches, from my point of view they’ve still been very large. There hasn’t been a specific reason that they got smaller then those first couple outside of the fact that it takes a lot of work to consistently find changes that have a high probability to be good for the game. The changes themselves do take a lot of time and work to implement and for QA to verify, but outside of that it also takes a significant amount of time to plan changes that have a higher likelihood of being good for the game.

In the last few patches I’ve tried to focus on having a decent amount of functionality changes that are a little more exciting and make heroes feel fresh to play. Naturally, if more time and effort are being put into those kinds of more complex changes, it takes away from time that could be spent doing a higher volume of simple number changes. At the end of the day it’s a balancing act between these two ideals, and right now we’ve been leaning more towards changes that have more meat to them over volume. Oh, there’s also these Nexus Anomaly things that, ya know, take up a little of our time as well.

Hey Unbiased_Bob, I don't think that the size of a patch correlates with the impact it will have on the game, I think our focus is solely on the quality of the changes and how exciting they are for the players vs. sheer amount of changes. However, as the amount of changes increase so does the amount of testing that is required. We try to be as "balanced" as possible :) Thanks! (source)

I thought for a long time how I knew the name "Joshua Kofalt", and then years of Heroes esports broadcasted before my eyes, and I remembered. Congrats with joining the team, RealRawrJar! It's really nice to see a skilled player and Heroes pro coach as a test analyst. Could you please tell a brief story of how you became a member of the Heroes team, and what tasks are you responsible for? Are there any interesting stories about the recent playtests?
Hey ToH-Cheshire, thanks for the question.

Sure! Blizzard games have played a focal point of the games I've played my whole life. I had been playing the genre for many years when I was lucky enough to be invited to the Heroes Technical Alpha, and I dug in deep. Several of the great friends I made during this early period ended up being members of the Heroes team. I had an incredibly memorable experience with competitive Heroes, but when an opportunity arose, my friends thought my experience would be useful and encouraged me to apply.

As part of Heroes QA team, I help provide end to end test coverage. On a day to day basis, this includes attending design syncs, building out test case libraries, playtesting/providing feedback, researching player reports, and testing! Besides playtesting, something I love about my role on Heroes is the amount of individual responsibility on a specific feature. For example, I was QA's Deathwing 'owner' - I led all of his testing efforts, and was the QA point of contact for all the things. I had a blast at BlizzCon watching players get their hands on something we had spent hours and hours helping polish.

Before Deathwing's release, I, hypothetically, may have used Skyfall to prevent a Cursed Hollow Tribute from being captured for several minutes. If this happened, the enemy may have not been very happy about it. Thankfully Skyfall has had changes to limit this behavior since this incident, if it even did occur. Often we find it important to use abilities in the 'worst case scenario' so we can see possible ways talents/abilities can be exploited. A common phrase we use is "we play against it so the players don't have to." (/u/BlizzKofalt)

Honestly, this one comes from the heart, as I love this game dearly and have been a player since Alpha. Can we ever expect this game to pick up its reigns to return to the glorious state it once was at? Given the state of the game right now, it has become clear to me that this game cannot die. If it was going to, it already would have, yet it still stands strong on Twitch viewership, and that's given all of its current... setbacks.[...]
Hi, /u/express_sushi49! We love this game dearly, too!! The Heroes team remains focused on bringing as much cool stuff to the game as often as they can. This includes new heroes, feature additions and improvements, hero reworks big and small, themed events, skins galore, and more! Our goal is to continue making meaningful updates to the game regularly, and I’ve been so proud of everything the team’s accomplished in the past year and a half. There’s so much in the works that we can’t wait to share with you, so please keep playing and giving us feedback, and we’ll keep pushing to expand our development capabilities in service of making the game ever better. (/u/KaeoMilker)

Around 6 months ago I released something you can use to modify the map that is loaded when you are watching a replay that allows tracking of a bunch more stats[...]
Hey Spazzo, It's one of my dreams of being able to give you guys more numbers from the games. It's still on our wishlist.

I've spoken with our engineers about exposing damage mitigation in the past. My understanding is that it would require code support. Thanks for the question! (/u/BlizzKGu)
This article was originally published in forum thread: Heroes AMA April 30, 2020 - Recap started by Nerraw View original post
Comments 3 Comments
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    I'm suprised that they got plans for 2021. Maybe afterall there is some small hope for that game, and for the first time i might be wrong.

    But still time will tell, what they will do.
  1. KainneAbsolute's Avatar
    It is good that they are still working but I am concerned that they do not have enough resources to make the game more appealing.
  1. Leyre's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by KainneAbsolute View Post
    It is good that they are still working but I am concerned that they do not have enough resources to make the game more appealing.
    HotS will never be appealing so long as they stick with the enforcement of a "team-play"

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