BlizzCon 2015 LIVE: Heroes of the Storm – State of the Game

Heroes of the Storm

20:26: Restrictions on Hero League to have minimum level for the hero you want to play? Browder agrees with this sentiment, but doesn’t want to increase barriers to entry to HL at the moment.

Melee assassins vs ranged assassins – doing anything to increase strength of melee? Nothing planned yet.

Tyrael’s Trait? No plans yet, they like how his death still makes everyone spread as that’s what Warriors are meant to do.

20:19: Question time! Totally didn’t miss the first questions due to technical issues, I know the second question had to do with player perception on changes and getting the community on board with trying things they hadn’t tried before.

Unranked Draft or 3s/4s in HL: Browder gets the same thing where he only gets a group or 3 or 4. Intention is to either reintroduce 3/4 to ranked if the new MMR system works, otherwise they may introduce unranked draft mode.

Supporting of eSports, what are they doing for low numbers on Twitch? Working on it. More info at the finals

Any thought on putting in the dragon aspects? Humanoid forms with heroics to change them into dragons? An idea that they will take back to the office (aka I guess not).

20:18: Talent gating is now cut! No more levelling to 4 to find out how a hero actually plays, so that should be awesome. Also, free hero rotation is increasing to 10 heroes! No idea on the restriction for levels, but having a larger pool should be good for that new player pool.

20:17: Also to come in 2016 is bans in ranked mode, for those of us that want to feel more like we’re in tournament and can strategise a lot more! Will be interesting to see how that will go ahead in Hero League to decide on who SHOULD get banned, but it’s certainly a desired feature. Grandmaster’s league is also coming later on.

20:15: Death recaps are coming! You can see the last 10 damage sources (including heals!) so you can finally find out why you died other than the killing blow. This is a fantastic change in my opinion!

20:14: Ranked play was a mix of StarCraft and Hearthstone ladder, but they felt it is too harsh and there’s not enough transparency as to whether you’ll increase or go down in rank. There’s nothing to be announced as they want to fix MMR first, and there’s a similar story for Season 1 release.

20:12: In 2016, they’re aiming to increase mirror matchups of weird comps, such as 3 specialists against 3 specialists or whatever. Should bring more interesting and fun games this way. MMR will change depending on how YOU played in that game, not whether you won or lost. It looks like you could stand to gain more MMR if you lose than someone on the other team who played badly.

20:10: They intend to roll this out in the next couple weeks – no promises though! Definitely before the end of the year. Looks pretty interesting, even if I don’t fully understand it myself and need a moment or two to think about it, but it looks like it’s better than the old system!

20:08: The new system relies less on this swapping, and builds games to be good. It creates a queue of people so that they are made sure to be matched well as others are finishing and leaving their games. Time waited doesn’t affect match quality however, and so far the simulations look pretty good internally, according to Blizzard.

20:04: Rebuilding MM from the ground up. Originally it was based on the StarCraft MM, but this isn’t working out well within HotS. In the next few weeks however they’re looking to revamp it. In the old system, it built games quickly but matched 10 people with 10 others, and then swapped people around depending on what they system thought would be the best matchup. At high levels however, this became more challenging as matching people up with each other constantly ended up with no results. At 6 (now 10) minutes of queue, the system just puts you straight into a game.

20:02: They don’t however like this 80/20 split of people having good games, while 20% of people aren’t. New users have an inflated MMR when they first come into the game, but weren’t matched by how many games they had played. Newbies however only had a 38% win rate, so they changed this so that new players would be more likely to be matched with new players, and that percentage raised to 48%.

20:00: Matchmaking is a word on so many player’s lips right now, everyone’s talking about it! 80% of their games are even in matchmaking apparently (so stop having those mindgames of you going up against rank 1-5’s when you haven’t completed your placement matches!). 65% of games are close on levels however, but the changes explained earlier should increase this percentage.

19:59: For Tychus, they want to increase his winrate and make him more of a unique assassin. They want to make him an anti-warrior, to go against the double or triple warrior comps, or to go against Cho’gall. Giant Killer could be moved earlier, but they’re not sure where to go just yet.

19:57: They also want to improve Nova’s talent diversity and change how she feels in casual vs ranked and tournament play. One of the talents they want to do is to increase snipe’s damage every time you hit it, but if you miss one then your stacks will go. This is a great thing for skilled players to really master, while not making her seriously OP in casual play.

19:55: Gazlowe isn’t seen in tournament play at all, so they’re looking to change him. They want to enhance his role of being a good pick for zone control for maps like Sky Temple. They’re looking at a talent that will make his turrets use laser at the same time as him. Other talents include exploding with scrap in late game.

19:54: These changes are currently on the test maps, but they will be going live with the Cho’gall patch!

19:53: This change had a bad side effect of making the early game not matter as much, so they’re also looking to increase the death timers for the early game. I believe there was a blog about this a few weeks ago that it evens out again at level 10-12 so that it’s purely for the early game itself.

19:51: Benefits of scaling changes were that you can now fight while behind a lot easier – it’s not about trying to pick off overextending and overzealous heroes that think they’re invincible with a 2 level lead. It’s also sharpened roles a lot more, and winning games felt more meaningful instead of demolishing the enemies if you got an early game lead.

19:48: 65% of games are actually pretty close, but Blizzard wants more, so they’re looking to change not Cho’gall to balance him, but perhaps they need to balance the game overall: They’re looking to decrease the power of level bonuses to health so that power creep isn’t as big as it is on live.

19:45: Games with Cho’gall tend to snowball, either for or against him. Once he gets a couple levels lead on the other team, he has so much health that it becomes so difficult to kill him. Cho’gall would then begin to win 2v1 situations easily. On the flipside, when they’re a couple levels behind, it became easy to kill him and you’d effectively lose two heroes from play.

19:44: Cho’gall is a tough hero to balance, as he’s one hero controlled by two players. Cho controls movement and has his own set of abilities that a Warrior would have, whereas Gall is the powerhouse for spells that you’d see on a mage assassin. Cho’gall has 50% more health than any other hero to balance two heroes in one.

19:42: Divine Shield’s cooldown increased from 70 to 90 seconds, and his ghost trait is reduced from 10 to 8 seconds. This is just to change him in competitive play and hopefully doesn’t nerf him too hard in standard play.

19:41: Uther is bang on 50% and has an extremely stable winrate with other filters attached. Tournament games however, he was 100% pick/banned in NA and Korea, and in EU he slipped through one draft untouched at 97% pick/ban.

19:39: Kerrigan was at 47.3% winrate without a particularly diverse talent build (that also didn’t have high winrates either), so they changed 8 talents, cut 4 of them and created 3 new ones. Since the change, she’s got much more diversity in pick rates, so this was a successful change overall.

19:38: Their goal is to listen and react to feedback on twitter, the official forums and reddit. Those are the best avenues to provide feedback to them.

19:36: Talents is also another balance option on their radar: Gazlowe might be have 43% pick rate on Extra TNT, but it’s not the highest winrate talent for him, so they’re happy with talent picks being biased in that case. I guess it becomes a problem if a talent has high pick and winrate for a hero.

19:35: Their goal for winrates is between 45-55%, outliers are TLV, Butcher, Li Li, Leoric all over 55%, whereas heroes like Abathur and Stitches are down at 44%. This is actually not too bad in my opinion, though there are other factors that need to be considered, such as how new you are to the hero/game, QM vs Ranked, etc.

19:34: I like Cooper, he allows me to write while he slowly speaks! 4 new Battlegrounds have been added in the past year too.

19:32: It’s hard to believe that the game has only been live since June 2nd, it was even still in alpha at the start of the year! There’s been 11 new heroes in the past year too, with 3 more coming soon!

19:31: Li Li and Murky are classed as the most overpowered heroes within the Nexus, according to Blizzard statistics. Li Li matches with Hotslogs, but Murky is a surprising sight – it’s usually TLV with the little panda as highest winrates (if not seen in tournament play at all).

19:30: The second of three panels, we’re taking a look in this next hour of how the game’s evolved and where it’s going next, including upcoming changes for Heroes, Battleground, and talents. Although not mentioned in the brief, we’ll hopefully get a look at what’s happening with MMR and how Blizzard seeks to fix it. Maybe announcement of season 1 and Grandmaster’s League too? It’s a lot to fit into an hour, let’s see where it takes us.

On the main stage we’ll miss out on the World of Overwatch, which is the lore panel of Blizzard’s new IP. I can imagine it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and I know I’m more invested into Heroes now anyway, but I’ll be sure to check it out at a later time.

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