Heroes AMA July 16, 2020 - Recap

  • D.Va's rework release schedule has moved from "Soon(TM)" to "Soon". Below are a few select details from the rework, but these are in no way comprehensive:
    • Mech is now only slowed while attacking or channeling.
    • Basic attack damage lowered, but now deals more damage to targets closer to the Mech.
    • Speed bonus and duration of Boosters slightly reduced, with cooldown slightly increased.
    • Re-target Defense Matrix while active, damage reduction reduced.
    • Call Mech/Self-Destruct now has slightly increased cast time and slightly reduced damage.
    • Big Shot is now baseline!
    • Bunny Hop no longer slows but instead stuns on every 4th hit.
    • New Heroic: Micro Missiles.
      • Fire a stream of 12 missiles in a target direction, hitting the first enemy in the long path. Upon impact, each missile deals a small amount of damage and slows in an area. Short cooldown, holds 2 charges.
        • Level 20 upgrade (Timing Attack) gives an additional charge and gives reduced cooldown for each Hero hit.
  • There are new heroes in the pipeline.
  • Uther is slated for a tune-up in the next balance patch.
  • Tassadar's level 20 Black Hole upgrade is being looked at.
  • Some of Mei's in-game artwork is placeholder and will be replaced by their final version in the near future.
  • Reinhardt was briefly in development, but translating his barrier ability into Heroes turned out to be too complicated and time-consuming at the current time. The hero is no longer in active development, but he's still on the wishlist.
  • There are not currently any new artillery mages in work.
  • The team are not entirely happy with Kael'thas' current talents but haven't arrived at better solutions yet.
  • Murky is not up for changes in the near future either, for similar reasons.
  • The team has a few ideas to adjust Li Li's Cloud Serpent + talents. They indicate that her "lack of viability" at higher ranks seems to be mostly a perception issue.

  • The team is looking at updating a few of the maps in the not-too-distant future. Haunted Mines has been mentioned!

  • New unique themed events are in development.
  • Whitemane will not be receiving a new skin for this year's Fall event.

Game Features
  • Re-queue/ready-check are currently the highest tech-feature priority.
  • The team are looking into splitting ranks into solo- and team-ranks but need to do additional engineering work for this to happen.
  • Clans are not actively being worked on due to the sheer workload required.
  • A publicly-available map/hero editor is not currently in the works due to a lot of obstacles.
  • Adding more bans to the draft modes has a lot of side-effects, such as having to increase the owned-heroes requirement and additional engineering requests.
  • The hero-interaction system is being worked on and we're going to see results of that soon.
  • The team were playing around with adding sapper units to minion waves to make wave management more exciting, but it ended up being too stressful to deal with.

  • The patch/update cadence is typically decided more than a year in advance.
    • Next balance patch is currently slated for the week of August 10th.
  • The development team are unifying a lot of internal tools and processes to allow for faster content creation.
    • They are also currently hiring additional developers!
  • "Mega-bundles" don't help as much in attracting new players as many people think. A surprising amount of players start playing the game on their own every single day.
  • Early development of the game saw some crazy concepts, including a circular map, proper flying heroes, elevation, and other features that did not survive play-testing.
  • Leadership once pondered what it would take to import a World of Warcraft character to the game. The idea did not go far, although it is still brought up occasionally for a fun thought experiment.

Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker)
**UPDATE: The AMA is now complete. Thank you everyone for participating!

*UPDATE: The AMA is NOW LIVE! Proof of Dev's:

Greetings, Heroes!

We’re going to host our next AMA on Thursday, July 16th, 2020, PDT.

The following Heroes developers will join the thread and answer your questions starting around 10:00 a.m. PDT (7:00 p.m. CET) until 12:00 p.m. PDT (9:00 p.m. CET).

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

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

What's the most radical thing you all have talked about doing with the game that you'd feel comfortable sharing with us in this AMA
Good afternoon kn0thing - it's good to see you!

Let me take you on a magical journey that originated seven years ago and still ruminates in the head of one of our Lead Engineers!

Right as we begun transitioning Blizzard All-Stars from a Starcraft II Map Mod to an entirely new game, one of our coworkers really loved the idea of being able to 'port' your World of Warcraft character into Heroes and do battle in the Nexus as them. At the time, I was still just a baby balance designer, trying to explain to Dustin why it was a bad idea to add different statistical bonuses to, at the time, a very different and rudimentary version of today's Talent Tree. Listening to leadership talk through what it would actually take to make that a reality still gives me a tinge of anxiety, especially since I was in charge of trying to balance the game. As you can imagine, at the end of the day, there was really no feasible way we could make that work without blowing out the scope of the game massively.

But...that idea still floats around in Pat's head and just a couple months ago, he was talking to us how he really wanted a logging-in player to create and customize an avatar, land in a 3-dimensional world (the Nexus), and socialize with other players (completing quests and feats of strength), all while forming parties and jumping into QM and SL game portals... (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

I've got a tool of sorts [...] Is there any danger of players using this getting their account actioned on?
Hey, /u/Spazzo965! We’re always really impressed by your breakdowns of our game data changes each patch and the bugs that you preemptively call out – thanks so much for all your efforts there!

This is a complicated area that involves lawyers and EULAs and we really can’t get into specifics on this in an AMA with such limited information. That said, THE FOLLOWING IS *NOT* ME GIVING MY OR BLIZZARD’S BLESSINGS IN ANY WAY…

What you’re describing sounds like a custom map/replay file and the visualization of data that already exists in our generated replay file. I don’t hear anything about modifying memory or our static game data files. In theory, viewing replays in that manner would not trigger any of our account actions, BUT you may be doing other things we can’t anticipate here and you may have unintended errors or consequences that we can’t condone or support that could result in things including, but not limited to, potential account actions.

Thanks for being such an active member of our community, and for always contributing to our AMAs! (/u/KaeoMilker)

Can we please get an announcement of the regular cadence to the balance patch schedule (i.e it will always be 2/3/4 weeks post patch), or at the very least get a post indicating "the balance patch will hit on XXX" a week ahead of release moving forward, similar to what team 5 does
Good morning krosber04!

First off, we absolutely love seeing the growing trend of grass-root tournaments and events! As for being more transparent about balance patch dates, I don't mind the community knowing them, but the problem comes when we are 'held' to those dates. A lot of work and time goes into each of our patches and while we have targeted dates (over a year in advance!), we also want to be agile enough to push them forward or backward if the landscape changes. We also need to make sure that we have enough space and flexibility to quickly insert any additional patches or hotfixes that may be needed.

That said our next balance patch is currently slated to hit the week of August 10th :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Do you have any plans to bring new players to the game? Why are Mega Bundles not featured more? Isn't it possible to have some smaller Mega Bundles featured whole year with rotating some heroes in and out to help new players get into the game?
Hi, /u/Saidet! A surprisingly large number of new players start playing the game every day organically, but you're asking about the ways we actively attract new players. Our current approach to this has been a combination of our new content/events, evergreen hero bundles, and these windows of time where we make all heroes free to play.

Ultimately things like mega bundles don’t move the needle as much as you’d think since most new players are interested in just a handful of heroes initially and we’re better served giving them ways to earn those specific heroes quickly while they’re onboarding – which is what the new user experience/boost/quests are intended to do.

We have some other stuff cooking that I can’t go into details on now, but look for some higher-visibility offers that should appeal to new players starting later this year. And if you have other ideas on cool ways to help new players jump in and have fun, we’re always interested in hearing them. Thanks! (/u/KaeoMilker)

You've made an amazing Tassadar rework. The only frustrating thing is his "blackhole" upgrade talent at lvl 20. Since damage from multiple storms doesn't stack, this upgrade is pointless. [...]
Hey Bellegar97, I agree. I keep reading this feedback and forgetting to put it on my list of things to look at for balance patches.

It's been added. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are there any updates on the re-queue and/ or ready-check features to share?
Oh hi there, fishyPenguin! The only update I have on them is that they are currently the highest priority of our tech feature initiatives :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

This is propably silly and also propanly won't get an answer but did you ever get any congratulations from the other dev teams for your work at HOTS? Like a WoW developer saying "Hey, your implementation of Deathwing is really doing him justice." or something along those lines?
There are many other devs on other game teams at Blizzard who regularly play Heroes on their lunch breaks – especially on the WoW team. We also have a company-wide chat channel for players looking to form a group where people play regularly, share feedback, and even sometimes jump into team playtests! We occasionally have full on tournaments with shout casters that have been streamed to twitch. Seeing the love for Heroes at Blizzard is greatest compliment we could get, I think. :) (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

Apparently, Mei still uses placeholders in place of some art assets. [...]
True. For some reason the intended artwork didn't get swapped in for the live patch. It's not the kind of thing we fix in balance patches because new art generally increases the potential for problems to arise in the QA and deploy process as well as bloating the patch size. And since the point of a balance patch is to respond to balance it doesn't fit with the goals of getting things out to the community asap. That's why it still hasn't been updated.

The character select screen and in game portrait on the top bar is currently fixed in the in house build. The loading screen has a bug for it. The Talent Icon is something that was lost in the shuffle to get out such a big content patch. We have a task in for it.

You should see these fixed in a future patch. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Any update on the Dva rework? Anything new you want to tease is about it??

To start, this rework should be hitting soon. No ™, just actual, literal soon. Her new design is pretty much locked down at this point, so I think it’s safe to share some of the juicier details of the core kit changes. Keep in mind that this rework has been fairly involved and we’ve done a lot of power redistribution across her entire kit, so some changes that seem drastic/unwarranted will make more sense when you can look at the rework holistically. Please keep knees safe and away from sharp desk corners!

Mech Basic Attack:
Damage reduced, but enemies closer to the Mech take more damage.

This is a pretty close replication of the “shotgun” effects her weapons have in Overwatch and since D.Va is already heavily encouraged to get into people’s faces, it feels appropriate to reward her for doing so. There are a few talents that tie into this bonus area including healing, self-destruct charge, and even T H I C C er damage. Overall I feel she can put out more damage than before, but it requires a little more effort on the part of the player.

Boosters (Q):
Speed bonus and duration slightly reduced. Cooldown slightly increased.

One of the big points of frustration playing against D.Va was how slippery she could be against a majority of the Hero roster. This sort of playstyle is core to her being, but it felt appropriate to tone it down slightly. Keep in mind her passive move speed reduction is now only active when attacking or channeling an ability, so her overall mobility feels different. There’s a lot more power packed into Q talents too, so it’s not all negative!

Defense Matrix (W):
Can now be retargeted while active. Damage reduction reduced.

Similar to Q, this ability is core to her identity, but tuned a bit too high to where it can be very frustrating to play against. The retargeting mechanic makes this ability MUCH more generally usable and there’s a lot more power available in talents, so don’t worry too much about the numbers!

Call Mech/Self-Destruct (E):
Cast time slightly increased/Damage slightly reduced.

Like with the Q/W changes, some of these changes were to address the pain points of dealing with D.Va’s slipperiness. The impacts of these changes are tough to qualify though, because D.Va has a lot more tools to manipulate/restore her health across all talents. My experience in internal playtests is that, overall, it’s easier for D.Va to get Self-destruct charge, easier to keep yourself alive in Mech form, AND easier to get Mech charge back in Pilot form. So the way you want to think about consuming your E “resource” is fairly different than in the live version.

Bunny Hop (R1):
Cooldown reduced. Damage and radius slightly reduced. No longer slows on impact. Every 4th consecutive hits stuns and deals more damage.

This is probably going to be a bit controversial because the slow + unstoppable gave her a lot of zoning/soft CC potential, but trust me, it’s cool and feels good! It’s now a little easier to escape D.Va’s wrath, but the penalty for not doing so is much higher and it gives her some hard CC, which is usually something Bruiser type Heroes need to bring to the table to be effective.

(New) Micro Missiles (R2):
Fire a stream of 12 missiles in a target direction, hitting the first enemy in the long path. Upon impact, each missile deals a small amount of damage and slows in an area. Short cooldown, holds 2 charges.

This ultimate gives D.Va some “reach” that she didn’t previously have as well as some dependable soft CC. Its got a relatively low cooldown, so it should be thought of like a 4th ability more than an ultimate, similar to Garrosh’s Decimate. It’s really good in corridors and against tightly stacked teams, since you can throw out a ton of quick AoE damage and stall an advance/retreat. The level 20 talent (Timing Attack) gives her an additional charge and gives reduced cooldown for each Hero hit, giving her very scary late-game AoE potential.

I’m very excited to share the full details of the rework soon, cause there’s lots more than what you see here! :)
Is big shot just gone? That was one of the coolest parts of her kit.
Big Shot is now baseline! I should probably have recapped some of the info I had shared in past AMAs.

Do you mind answering if the implementation of Defense Matrix remains similar in that it's still a multiplicative modifier?
I'm fairly sure it's the same mechanically as live version, just adjusted numbers. It's been a hot minute since I touched that stuff, so it's not fresh in my mind. (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

In the most recent AMA, Kaeo described how the Heroes team is wanting to move towards a place where they want to be releasing more content year on year. Is there any way the community can help in moving towards that goal, or is it strictly an internal decision?
Hi, /u/jjp3! We're currently doing a bunch of work to unify and extend our art tools, and that's probably the biggest part of unlocking our ability to make more content. The community can always help Heroes of the Storm by continuing to do the things I called out in an AMA answer last year:

Play the game. Bring a friend or four. Try some healers and tanks more often, if you aren’t maining them already. Keep telling us what you love and, more importantly, what we need to do better. When we make something you think is awesome, spend your Gold or Shards or Gems on it. Be kind to each other and have fun together, because that’s what this is all about. Thanks!!
This sounds really interesting - any chance that you could further explain what kind of art tools you're speaking of and what they're supposed to do? Cheers!
Hi fishyPenguin, the best way to sum it up is empowering artists to use the right tool for the right job. To do that we're working to transforming our art production into a lightweight DCC-agnostic pipeline.

We're well on the way, and we are looking for a technical artist to join us to make awesome things: https://careers.blizzard.com/global/...rtist-Pipeline (source)

You had mentioned needing to do more to educate players. What is currently in the works? Can we hope to get an actual tutorial to guide new players?
I personally think that experience collection is extremely important information that is often overlooked by players, so I've been working on a way to surface some statistics related to how/where experience is coming from. What I’ve done so far is made a system that tracks which lane each source of experience originated from and whether that source was collected or not. This lets us do some boring mathy stuff that we can turn into useful information for players and potentially turn into automated alerts or pings or something when a certain threshold of experience goes uncollected or a specific lane goes unattended for too long. It’s all very rough so far, so I don’t have any concrete details to share, but that’s the basic idea.

I would actually be very interested in hearing what the community thinks they would like to see about this topic, so hit me with your thoughts! (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Any plans for Cho'Gall being able to carry the Pegasus mount?
The team is currently looking into it :) (/u/BlizzDorothy)

In recent interview, /u/Blizz_Daybringer said you guys had some issues with Reinhardt's barrier. Can you explain what exactly were they? Because it's a pretty common skill mechanism with most of other MOBAs including mobile ones. Even SC2 using the same engine with HOTS has skills like Point Defense Drone which negates enemy projectiles.
Hi sonyagod! Thanks for the question :)

Reinhardt presents several challenges to the team that we haven't been able to cleanly solve in a way we are happy with.

The first of these is of course, his barrier. Blocking projectiles isn't a huge problem, but blocking AOE abilities is! I think everyone would expect basic attacks or abilities like Frostbolt and Hungering Arrow to be blocked but what about abilities like Cone of Cold or Multishot? Then of course there's the case of abilities like Flamestrike simply being able to be cast behind Reinhardt's barrier. Should basic attacks like Tassadar's beam be blocked by the shield if the targeted hero moves behind it? At the end of the day, we felt there would just be a ton of confusion as to which abilities pass the shield and which shouldn't, plus the fact that it would be a massive amount of work to do a sweep through the game and add special cases for all of the things that shouldn't bypass the shield as well. We wouldn't be able to dedicate a lot of Reinhardt's power pie to his shield which is unfortunate because that's one of the most unique aspects of his overall kit.

Next is the rest of his kit. His charge is very similar to Diablo's charge or Stukov's heroic Massive Shove. His projectile attack is nearly identical to Varian's Q ability, Lion's Fang. We would have to put a lot of work into redesigning his kit or making it feel uniquely different from other heroes we already have in the game.

Because of these and several other factors, we ultimately came to the decision that Reinhardt would simply be too much work and require too much engineering time to make everything work the way we wanted it to and in a reasonable time frame. That being said, the team has a long list of Heroes that we would love to bring to the game, so while we are working on new Heroes we'll definitely keep Reinhardt in mind. It's not uncommon to have Heroes on the backburner until we get the right inspiration or ideas to make them the best they can be for Heroes! (/u/BlizzKyle)

Can you PLEASE give us a Fenix skin, in which he has Matt’s ABSOLUTELY AMAZINGLY BADASS DANCE MOVES?
Can't guarantee anything but this animation looks amazing! (/u/BlizzDorothy)

For the latest few releases, you haven't added new Emblems for events or new heroes. Those Emblems do exist! They appeared on Twitter icons, so... why weren't they added to the game?
Hey! Our awesome community team creates those emblems, so they don’t always get created in a timeline that allows them to get into the game immediately. We will be adding Mei and Deathwing’s emblems into an upcoming patch, though! As for sprays and banners, we got a lot of cool suggestions for banners from the last AMA and are taking that into consideration for future content drops. If you have any suggestions for Overwatch sprays we’d love to hear them!
Any thoughts on adding some missing Hearthstone portraits? Especially some newer ones like kaelthas. A lot of these heroes don't have much.
Yep, that's actually something I've been looking into recently! (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

At some point you mentioned that you are searching for ways to create more content in less time (I assumed through new technology and not through hiring). How's that going?
Hey -Duality, thanks for being so active in the community!

We are actively working on it - and it's honestly going very well, thanks for asking! We are actually trying to tackle this through multiple means but the most impactful is deep in phase 2 of 3 (opening up technology pipelines to help us scale animation and FX support). (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Hi -Duality, your assumption is partially correct, as we are hard at work improving our technology to create more content more efficiently. But we can’t do that without the right people, and we’re looking for an additional technical artist to help us do just that:

Come help us make awesome things! (/u/Blizz_MarkPetro)

I know this probably isn't something that can properly be answered in case they get revisited down the line, but what are some different battleground mechanics that have been explored throughout the years?
Hey Spazzo965! I’m happy to answer this, going down memory lane is really fun for me.

We had a map that I believe was called Crazy Town, where Heroes spawned in the center of the map on the middle left and right sides, and the map was one giant lane that went around the center area like a race track. I think the Kings Cores were in the left and right corners? It was absolutely wild and resulted in really crazy games.

We had multiple 4-lane maps in development for quite a long time. They had some issues but definitely felt different to play on due to how lane transitions and matchups worked.

We had truly flying heroes in the game for quite awhile, I remember both Broody the Broodlord (who would later become Falstad), and Tyrael could passively fly over terrain. As you can imagine, this was less than ideal for Melee heroes to deal with, but was really cool.

We had elevation in the game for quite awhile. Heroes like Sgt. Hammer could rain fire down from on high onto enemy towns.

One of the more unique maps we had was the Dragon Gate map. The map essentially had 3 lanes and a Dragon boss in the center, with two gates on either side of it spaced pretty far out. If a team killed the dragon, the gates would connect and the enemy team wouldn’t be able to pass through the area anymore (think of how the front walls work right now on forts/keeps). You’d have a teamfight around the area then all of the sudden one team would get split in half and have to run around this gate or kill the dragon again to be able to move around the map.

We had multiple small vehicles that were part of towns that players could get into. A Brett favorite, the Trebuchet, was a very slow, super long-range AoE damage vehicle that could bombard enemy towns from across the map. I remember Brett very often cackling out of his mind when he found a spot to hide with it and would kill an enemy town while the rest of us were busy actually playing the game.

There's a lot more fun mechanics/memories/stories I could tell from those early days. It was a magical time that I in many ways miss. These experiments were what led us to the game that we have today, and for me the ride getting there was as great as the result. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Have you considered giving each players two diffrent ranks, one solo-rank and one team-rank, while still having all players in the same queue? This could make solo-rank a bit more meaningful while still allowing all players to play with their friends.
Hi Simsala91, We have indeed considered this and it is on our list of things to explore further. There are some technical hurdles and engineering work to be done before we can add it, but it is definitely on our radar (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Is there any desire to revisit the artillery mage archetype?
Good morning PygmyBBQ! We don’t have anything in flight right now in regards to revisiting artillery mages. As you pointed out, they archetype is incredibly hard to balance and make fun for players on the receiving end due to issues related to counter-play. I don’t think it’s impossible, and if we get a great idea I think it’s something that we can revisit someday. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Do you have a plan for the clan system?
Hey there Valadran! Our entire team is right there with you! Over the years, we have created multiple different system designs trying to identify what a Clan System would look like in Heroes. Unfortunately we never got a chance to break-ground on any of them. One of the trickiest things about game development is managing the scope of the feature you are designing. Looking back at what we had planned, I feel like one of the major reasons we never started on them was due to their sheer size. As for where we head now, I have been talking with a couple of our Engineers and I think there are ways we could approach this that could bring a robust Clan System to the game in smaller, more digestible waves, but as you are probably very used to hearing, we have to prioritize it against all of the other amazing things that the team wants to do for the game. (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Are we getting new demonic skins or diablo/warcraft thematic skins for any characters that can't fit this fantasy style as of now, such as Tychus or most Overwatch characters? [...]
Glad you like Greed, we were super excited to be able to get that one into the game! When we’re planning new themes for upcoming skins, we try to balance silly vs. serious so we can make sure that we’re giving all different types of players something they can enjoy. We’re big fans of the Blizzard-specific themed skins as well, and we’re definitely taking into consideration players like you who want to see more of that! I can’t get into more details yet but we’re working on a few things right now that I think you’ll be excited about. (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

It is exciting to see that Blizzard are hiring developers to contribute towards a shared game engine across all their games. Are there any plans to tinker with the underlying game engine in Heroes?
Hey there jjp3 - thanks for the question. It is SUPER exciting, but also a massive undertaking. As far as tinkering with the Heroes engine, we have done that from day one. As most know, the underlying engine was originally built for Starcraft II, but over the past 7 years has been adapted and tweaked heavily in order to better serve Heroes' development. Honestly, while the roots are the same, the Heroes engine has grown into a very different beast. And, as chance may have it - we are actively looking for another tinkerer to continue helping us improve it :)

Come join us! (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

Is there any chance that we might see a quicker response to heroes that are over-performing by a huge margin?
Hey Dark_Polaroid! I don’t think the chances are high that you’ll see faster response times than what we have, unless there is either a critical bug that is causing the hero to break the game, or they are wildly overpowered (somewhere around the 62-68+ percent range). We currently patch every 3-4 weeks which is already a whole lot.

Additionally, I don’t think we would gain much by patching more often, unless the hero was so far out of bounds that it was breaking the game in all modes. None of the heroes you listed that have been super meta this year have hit that threshold, they have just been what has been considered meta for the last few patch cycles.

There will always be a group of meta heroes for each role that is considered the strongest in the game at any point and time. Oftentimes, they aren’t even what is winning the most, it is just what the community believes is the safest, most consistently powerful pick at that time. I think accepting this fact and slowly bringing them down to the power of other heroes while also bringing alternative choices up is a more healthy way to balance the game than slamming the currently overpowered heroes down in a huge patch, which always results in players being sad when their hero is completely removed from the meta and just causes another hero to rise on top. This method also has a much higher chance for more volatility, which would result in more problematic hero changes that we would then be pressured to also quickly fix. As long as a single hero isn’t dominating the meta for an extended period of time, I’m totally OK with some heroes like Cassia or Xul having some time in the spotlight. I think it adds variety to what’s normally acceptable to be seen very often, and also brings freshness to the game. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

You guys gave up on banners? I really loved them.
Hi Vulnero666, thanks for asking!

Banners are an area of hero loadouts that we agree could be more meaningful. Myself and the rest of the design team have been discussing ways we could create more uses for banners to make them feel as important to hero selection as the other choices like your skin, mount, voice line, etc... We also got a bunch of feedback from our last AMA on what banners players were excited to see (and of course your hope of a Warsong banner!) and we are taking that into consideration as well! Nothing solid to share about what the specifics of any of those changes are but I just wanted to chime in to mention it is on our radar and the team is passionate about improving this system. (/u/BlizzKyle)

What is stopping you from making the Murky model the same size as Deathwing?
Nothing really. But when you increase the size of a character the walk cycle can get disjointed from the ground which means he would need to be reanimated or the animation speed would need to be changed which could cause weird stuttering or make it look choppy. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

The decay system is often abused to refresh the smurfyness of smurfs, boosters, and climbing accounts. Do you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of the system? And is there any initiative to review the system or improve it?
Hi BigMcLargeHugs, The goal of the whole MMR system is to represent player's skill numerically as accurately as possible. Decay follows the same purpose: adjusting the MMR to what we expect to be the player's skill after a long break. That's an upside. A downside is: our confidence in the decayed MMR value is lower, since it's no longer purely based on player's actual win rate. And win rate isn't the perfect skill estimate to begin with.

So all and all, we believe the existing decay system is an acceptable compromise. It's by no means ideal though, so we will be reviewing and improving it. There's no exact plans to share just yet though. (/u/Blizz_SMorozov)

Uther received some nerfs to bring his winrate down [...]
Hey -Duality! I have recently put some cycles into thinking on Uther, and I believe he’s in a very weird place that makes him difficult to balance. Right now in compositions where he’s not taken as a tank or a second Healer, he is performing very well, to the point that in this patch he’s the second highest winning Healer behind Rehgar. However, the community believes that he’s not powerful due to his intended weakness to being poked down. I believe that just buffing him would only result in him dominating the meta again and, at higher level play, being used the same way he was last time, which is in those kinds of compositions and would only further promote that that’s the only place where he is useful. Based on his power level he really should just be nerfed, but the perception is obviously that that’s not what he needs, and I don’t think it would make him a healthier hero anyways.

We normally don't share this kind of stuff this early (heck, I haven't even told the other designers yet!), but for transparency, I have already had some changes planned for the next balance patch for Uther, with the goal of making him less sharp in his weakness to sustained healing while also keeping his win rate in check and not promoting him more as a tank or double Healer. These changes aren’t guaranteed to happen, but they are what I currently have papered out for the next balance patch:

Health reduced from 2000 to 1975
Health Regeneration reduced from 4.17 to 4.11

Holy Radiance [W]
Cooldown reduced from 12 to 10 seconds Mana cost reduced from 70 to 55 Healing amount increased from 177 to 190


Level 1
Wave of Light [W]
Cooldown reduction reduced from 1 to .75 seconds

Level 16
Beacon of Light [Q]
Adjusted functionality: Uther receives 100% bonus self-healing when healing others with Holy Light. This bonus is increased to 100% while he is below 50% Health

Tyr’s Deliverance [W]
New functionality: Increase the damage and healing of Holy Radiance by 10%. Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes cause Uther’s next cast of Holy Radiance to have its damage and healing increased by an additional 10%, stacking up to 4 times (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Who does the concept art now? I love your concept art but now there is no visible concept artist like Oscar Vega used to be.
I'm really lucky to work with an awesome team of artists on Heroes. We have super talented people that work behind the scenes who aren't as visible on reddit or the forums like I am. Florencia Kristiani does amazing concept work and you guys have most recently seen her work with the new Nexomania II content.

Also if you have specific problems or call outs, please head to our forums or post here on reddit. We regularly read both and are happy to jump in! (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Map/hero editor?
Hi lemindhawk, we are always looking for ways improve our tools and process to develop new content. Right now there's a lot of hurtles with bringing our tooling to the community, but anything is possible in the Nexus.

While I can't promise anything, out of curiosity I have some questions for you and the rest of the community:
  • What would you expect to see in a hero editor?
  • What features would be most important in a hero editor?
  • Are there any specific examples what would like a hero editor to be? (/u/Blizz_MarkPetro)

Can we expect the developer team to grow again and therefore more (frequent) content?
Hi Faquizm, we love making new content, and we hope to keep making a lot more of it. To do that we need smart and talented people to help us craft it!

Right now we're looking for another technical artist to join myself and u/BlizzDorothy to help bring new content to the Nexus. If you like making art work(pun intended), and like making artists even better, come join us!
https://careers.blizzard.com/global/...rtist-Pipeline (/u/Blizz_MarkPetro)

Anything coming up regarding Murky's talent diversity?
Hey azmodanfan! Sadly nothing is coming in the near future, but I have had a note for a few patch cycles to do something with Murky’s level 1’s. I’ve spent some time thinking on it every patch recently, but haven’t found any solutions that I’ve been particularly happy about. Murky is in a uniquely difficult place to make changes due to how well he’s performing combined with his level 1 talents being fairly thematic while also not giving him direct power, which makes creating alternatives difficult to do. I think to do any real meaningful changes, I would like to make changes to how Pufferfish works at a base level to make it less about split pushing and hoping your opponent can’t kill it, and more about being a more generally useful ability. This rabbit hole leads to a much larger suite of changes though, which is why I haven’t committed to any specific changes yet. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Will you ever bring back haunted mines?
Hi Zockmeister! Thanks for the questions.

The team would love to bring back Haunted Mines at some point in the future. As we mentioned in our forum post ( https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/he...-anomaly/40990 ) we will be looking at ways to update the design of some maps. Please stay tuned! (/u/BlizzKGu)

Braxis was a hard map to play when it first came out, but when the change was made that the point is contested just by standing on it the map became amazing. That change was unfortunately reverted, but I really felt it made that map. Is there any chance for that game play to be added back to Braxis?
Hello and thanks for the question! For the Braxis part, the team is currently happy with the way the mechanics of Braxis work and have no plans on changing any of that at the moment.
I love the hero interactions with voice lines in the game. Are there any plans to increase the occurrence of those? (and let Li-Ming call out her kill streaks again?)
For the second part, the team loves hero interactions as well and we are working on improving the hero interaction system and are going to get some of these changes in your hands soon! One of the changes coming will increase the frequency of hero specific kill lines. I would also love to revisit the Li-Ming kill streaks again and see what can be done there to bring them back but haven't had an opportunity to check that out yet. (/u/BlizzKyle)

What is your opinion on recent skin concept contest? Is there a possibility that skins that didn't win the first place will be put into consideration too?
First off. We love that our community is so passionate about creating art and ideas for skins. You inspire us. <3

I wouldn't rule it out. Just because the concept didn't get a majority support the idea could be really strong and that hero might need a skin. We Sometimes that idea will spark an entire themed hero pack which makes it a much larger idea. This means it needs to be placed into an event slot and we might be scoped out for a year plus. The other option is that we do a smaller pack which we fit in between the larger events like the Altered fates pack we just dropped. All of this requires scheduling and ironing out the kinks of development.

Everyone did an awesome job with this contest and you should all be proud. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Are we gonna get more new seasonal events? Not more Nexomania X,Toy event X etc.
Hiya! We always look to do a balance of brand new ideas and bringing back old favorites. We have a couple new themes that we’re working on right now that we think you’re all going to like very much. (/u/Blizz_Hankins)

As of the past few hero releases and skin releases since Anduin you guys have stopped putting talking animations on heroes in the shop, is this intentional or will they be getting fixed?
Unfortunately character lip sync requires a large amount of development time and resources. with our goal of bringing as much awesome new content into the game as we can, we have decided that those development resources and time would be better served working on bringing you guys awesome new skins, mounts, and more! (/u/BlizzDorothy)

Can you share if there are any new heroes in the pipeline?
Of course! (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Any chance we could see some updates to Kael?
Greetings Sumadin! We don’t have any changes in flight for Kael’thas, but I have had him on my list of heroes to look at for quite some time. He’s in a similar place as Maiev, where his talents are largely in a pretty good place, but there’s one talent on almost every tier that isn’t picked. His Level 1 talents also could use some work, though at every level outside of the highest level of play Convection and Fel Infusion are actually being picked and performing at a reasonable level compared to Mana Addict.

I’ve never been super happy with how his trait talents worked out (and I designed them!), but every time I’ve spent time thinking on it I haven’t found alternative solutions that I’ve been happy with. I think there’s something there, and am open to ideas from you all for talent adjustments/replacements for them. (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

Are you planning any changes to Valeera and/or Nova (especially talents)?
Hi Lucas_Trask, thanks for the question.

I can speak a bit about Nova and my thoughts on where she is and how I would adjust her. Thematically, Nova is sneaky, bursty, but fragile, perfect for a Ranged Assassin. However, I agree with your statement that she is being pushed out of a team slot because other heroes can probably be more effective.

Here are some areas I think we could improve.
  • Lack of Wave Clear - Even though she excels at taking down Heroes, lack of waveclear can still be a reason Nova is left behind during hero select. I think there's room in either her base kit or talents that can give her a moderate amount of wave clear. She doesn't need Gul'dan levels of minion smashing, but any waveclear would be fine, right??
  • Lack of Hard Crowd Control (interrupt) - This is another deficiency that prevents Nova from being a viable pick for the valuable Range Assassin team slot. This is also tricky to address without falling too deep into powercreep. I think it would be fair to say that if she were to receive more powerful crowd control, it will have to be very carefully and deliberately with plenty of counter play.
  • Talent Philosophy - While effective, I think Nova's talents could use some more interesting mechanics. I think it would be worthwhile to look at her basekit and heroics as well.
  • Frustration Factor (AKA Salt Wall) - Finally, it's always tricky when thinking about making changes to a hero with salt inducing mechanics like Cloaking, especially when a hero is made to be a decloak -> slow -> blow you up -> run away. It will be more important than ever to make sure that opponents can respond to any new power Nova could receive.

Hope this was helpful, have a great day! (/u/BlizzKGu)

Can we see concept art for the Grave Keeper? I love seeing concept art for the different HotS characters!
The original concept art was done by our very own Samwise Didier. I had a quick chat with him about it. This is what he said.

I was listening to a lot of Doom Metal at the time and created this image based off the music from Gates Of Slumber's new band Wretch. I ended up using the art for the Grave Keeper since it was cool looking and was already done. And this is why I always say to artists, ABC, Always Be Creating, One never knows when some image created for fun, can turn into something millions will see.

These are the two images that inspired the final version.

https://imgur.com/a/21RMsxn (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

I think draft takes too long especially for ban phase though we need more bans since we have more heroes and now we're getting balance patches with longer cycle. So how about implementing 10 bans(1 ban per 1 player) at the start of the draft? It would make more bans, less ban time, but not too many bans (because there will be likely 2-3 duplicates).
Hey sonyagod, This is a great idea but there are some challenges that would have to be overcome (as well as new engineering requests), one the major ones is having to substantially increase the number of owned Heroes to enter Storm League. That said, I think it could be interesting to explore and will talk to some of the engineers to get a better grasp on the actual development cost of something like this :) (/u/Blizz_Daybringer)

A while back (over a year and a half ago) myself and some friends (namely ChaosOS) had proposed a concept for the mage minions to be changed to sapper minions to help increase the offlane meta and encourage engagement there. I was wondering if you could share if that was ever iterated on internally and what the results on that ended up being.
Hi krosber04! Great question, and I'll start off by saying that we actually did implement this idea and tested it for a while.

Overall, we weren't too happy with how it was working out. Sappers are actually a very powerful mechanic and it essentially meant that missing a wave of two of soak would end up causing devastating damage to your wall or potentially even taking the entire fort as well. Combined with well timed merc pushes, it was incredibly powerful.

Going forward with this would have required us to do a massive balance pass on all merc camps, minions, tower and fort damage, etc. While it was fun for a while, it added a high level of stress and responsibility to the lanes that just felt like too much, especially when combined with already being punished for missing out on soak and any structure damage you take from the minion wave.

Do you plan to buff or change Li Li so she may become more playable at higher ranks?
I have some ideas I want to try to make Cloud Serpent and its talents a little more interesting, but nothing concrete to share at the moment. I think the idea that Li Li isn't viable in high level play is mostly a perception problem, the statistics don't support the claim ;) (/u/Blizz_DWarner)

Will we be seeing another Whitemane skin this upcoming Halloween? Since her release, Whitemane has gotten a new skin every Halloween and I'd hate to see the tradition end.
We're giving Whitemane a break for this Fall patch. We do have some pretty fun skins that we are excited about coming. (/u/Blizz_KinaBREW)

Is there any chance Ragnaros' level 7 talent Molten Power gets a new functionality? On a sidenote: Blistering Attacks has a bug in that the cooldown reduction doesn't trigger when Empower Sulfuras hits non-heroes.
Hey SleepingVulture, Regarding Blistering Attacks, I'll investigate that interaction shortly. Thanks for forwarding that along! (/u/BlizzKofalt)

Hey SleepingVulture! I agree, Molten Power is in a bit of an awkward place. It’s been on my list of things to look at for a bit now and am still thinking on a good solution (I’ve spent some time on it in the last few balance patch cycles but couldn’t find something that I was happy with). I’m open to ideas and suggestions on what you think would work here! (/u/BlizzAZJackson)

There was a recent update to the Starcraft 2 editor that now allows for terrain cliff layers to be stacked up to 15 times. I know there are other map additions, but does this tie into your plans to update the design of our battleground maps? Is there room for multiple cliff layered areas?
Hey RamenEmp1re, thanks for the question.

It's really cool tech, but there are a couple of issues with elevation in Heroes of the Storm. First, and most importantly, adding elevation would likely go hand in hand with a hit/miss mechanic that gives players on higher elevation the advantage. RNG mechanics like this often do not feel fair to play against. Finally, missiles and splats do not play well with elevation changes. More specifically, missiles can travel in unpredictable ways when changing elevation and can no longer appear to match their corresponding search effects.

A bit of trivia: many of the first maps that the team created for Heroes featured elevation changes. But due to the issues mentioned above, map creation philosophy was adjusted and elevation changes on maps were phased out.

Have a great day! (/u/BlizzKGu)
This article was originally published in forum thread: Heroes AMA July 16, 2020 - Recap started by Nerraw View original post
Comments 4 Comments
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    What murky needs atm, is better talents choice on level 1 because only viable for me, is buying mercenaries but as i said, it is only me.

    Too bad that also Reinhardt for now is postponed, but is understable. If we look at Braum in LoL, yeah it's hell a work about making Reinhardt playable. But maybe for now instead of Reinhardt, they may introduce Winston or Orisa as tanks from OV? About new maps... I still hoping for second Warcraft map, but either haunted mines will be good to see again.
  1. Hollycakes's Avatar
    Not sure I understand what this means:

    "We are actively working on it - and it's honestly going very well, thanks for asking! We are actually trying to tackle this through multiple means but the most impactful is deep in phase 2 of 3 (opening up technology pipelines to help us scale animation and FX support"

    Shame about Reinhardt tho. I'd still love to see what the hero list looks like currently.
  1. Inukashi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by this news View Post
    We try...
    We wish...
    We would...

    But we don't have the resources.
    Boy, this sounds like a cry for help. If a dev-team writes like this in the changelogs, I can just imagine how the internal discussion with Blizzard looks like.

    At this point it would be better to make HotS open source and allow community pull requests.

    Apart from that I can't wait to see the uther tuneup. Love this hero, half tank, half heal.

    Sadly he isn't viable like this in soloQ-quickmatch, same as kharazim.

    Both take a healslot, but they are a bit like Abathur/Medivh who are second heal/support.
  1. DesoPL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Inukashi View Post
    Boy, this sounds like a cry for help. If a dev-team writes like this in the changelogs, I can just imagine how the internal discussion with Blizzard looks like.

    At this point it would be better to make HotS open source and allow community pull requests.

    Apart from that I can't wait to see the uther tuneup. Love this hero, half tank, half heal.

    Sadly he isn't viable like this in soloQ-quickmatch, same as kharazim.

    Both take a healslot, but they are a bit like Abathur/Medivh who are second heal/support.
    And giving the fact, the current state of the world. Things for HOTS looks pretty grim.

Site Navigation