Heroes of the Storm/State of the Game Recap

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November 7, 2015: State of the Game Panel[edit | edit source]

Who's considered Overpowered right now?[edit | edit source]

  • Lili and Murky have the highest win ratios.
  • Lili has seen increased win ratio due to heroes like Thrall and Raynor being picked more often.
  • Murky has had a high win ratio for a year now. So even though he isn't picked often in competitive, he isn't the highest priority right now.

Recap 2015[edit | edit source]

  • Technical Alpha > Beta > Launch on June
  • First year for E-Sports on Heroes - Heroes of the Dorm (nationally broadcast and vert big) and Road to Blizzcon Tournaments
  • 11 new heroes added this year - 43 total heroes!
  • 4 new battlegrounds - 9 total!

Balance Tools & Their Uses[edit | edit source]

  • The win ratio they strive for Heroes to have is 45-55%.
  • Heroes like Lost Vikings are at the top, while Abathur and Stitches are more towards the bottom.
  • Talent pick and win ratio are also an important indicator of hero balance.
  • Tournaments and E-Sports serve to identify the future meta beforehand - very important to determine necessary balance changes!
  • Player Feedback is another tool for game balance - Forums, Reddit, Twitter. So keep sending your feedback!

Big Issues[edit | edit source]

  • Kerrigan - melee assassin, initiator for her team, all-in aspect getting in the middle of enemies and bolstering her survivability.
    • She had an extremely low talent diversity - with even low win rates for less picked talents.
    • Improved Talent Diversity - by sharpening her role, giving her build options, and making her viable in competitive play.
    • Changed 8 talents, cut 4 previous ones, created 3 new ones - much improved talent diversity!
  • Uther - melee support, has lots of burst healing, very strong and complete kit. Very stable win rate (across most skill levels) at 50% win ratio.
    • BUT he's always picked or banned in competitive games.
    • They believe his strongest trait is to "disrupt coordination". Which is what competitive play is about.
    • Divine Shield - cooldown from 70 to 90 seconds.
    • Eternal Devotion - ghost duration decreased from 10 to 8 seconds.
    • They are meant to be minor changes, to bring him down a notch. They don't want to overdo it!
  • Cho'Gall
    • Two-headed hero, controlled by two players. One player is the warrior Cho, who controls the movement, and the other is the assassin Gall, who's responsible for the damage and combo'ing his abilities for maximum impact.
    • They cannot balance based on a previous template like with Greymane or Lunara. They don't have a "two heroes in one" template.
    • Playtesting games with Cho'Gall often ended in a snowball, either in favor and against him. Early game advantage / lead grows out of control.
    • Really hard to balance because he's 2-in-1. If he's ahead then he can wreck havok really easily, and if he's behind he can be picked off and the team immediately loses TWO heroes!
  • Scaling Changes
    • 65% of the games are really close! (only decided towards the end) ... they wanted more of this.
    • Cho'Gall helped them realize that scaling was an issue, and what lead to snowballs - hence why they implemented the "Test Map" released on Morales patch.
  • Benefits
    • Players can still fight while behind!
    • Roles were sharpened. Your character feels like what they're supposed to be from the start.
    • Wins feel more meaningful. It doesn't feel like you're stomping other teams.
  • Consequences
    • Early game matters less - which lead to "increased death timers".
    • Takedowns should be a "power play", which gives you map control and allow you to take objectives more easily.
  • This is all coming with the Cho'Gall update in a couple weeks!

Future Balance Updates[edit | edit source]

  • Gazlowe Updates
    • Improve E-Sports viability.
    • Enhance his zone control.
    • Couple crazy ideas (not sure if they will make it): talent that makes your turrets shoot a laser while you're charging yours; another crazy idea is an active that he starts throwing scraps around and he has to run around and pick them up.
  • Nova Updates
    • Improve talent diversity.
    • She walks a thin line (balance) between casual vs competitive.
    • Increased skill cap on her skills/talents - one of the ideas being analyzed is "if you land a Snipe, it increases the dmg of your next Snipe by a %".
  • Tychus Updates
    • Increase his win rate - it's kinda low now.
    • If they're only going to make him stronger (flat buffs) he might simply push aside other assassins (Valla, Raynor).
    • They want him to be a Unique assassin on his own.
    • Might become a "tank buster" assassin.

Matchmaking & Online Updates

  • 80% of their games are "even" on their matchmaker. That means the MMR numbers are at least well paired.
  • 65% of the games are at least close on levels.
  • 20%~ are launched with the matchmaker knowing that the match is not very well paired.
  • These are averages, but may vary from player to player. Some player might experience a 95-5% variation, while another experiences bad matches 50% of the time.
  • Improvements in 2015
    • Early on for New Users, MMR was inflated (slightly more than "bottom"). They didn't get matched by games played. Now both factors are fixed!
    • New User win ratio was 38%, which is bad. Now after changes, it's 48%.
    • Rank was a combination of skill and games played - now there are more placement matches, where rank reflects player skill.
  • Rebuilding the Matchmaker
    • The original matchmaker came from Starcraft 2 - but the two games are very different! It's much harder to put together a "fair" match in Heroes due to variation.
    • Old system builds games quickly, takes into account the thousands of players searching for a match, then starts swapping players to find a "good match". Complicated system that doesn't work when they add rules (similar matchups, parties, not having a support).
    • The new 10 minute limit (up from 6) does not help that scenario! That's why people are still experiencing bad matches.
  • New System
    • Builds games to be good. Relies less on player swapping around. Creates a queue!
    • On simulations the new system looks much better.
    • They WANT to release it over the next couple weeks. They cannot promise it, but that's the plan. It's their TOP PRIORITY right now!
  • 2016 Goals / Fixes
    • Improve MMR accuracy.
    • Mirror team composition in quick match (not same heroes, but same categories).
    • They have months of data for calculating "Team MMR".
    • Use match performance to adjust MMR.
    • Per Hero MMR adjustment.
  • Ranked Play
    • Their original system was a mix of Starcraft + Hearthstone.
    • The current system is a little bit too harsh. If they want to be accurate (MMR), you're always prone to dropping in ranks.
    • Right now there's not enough transparency for players (why they ranked up or dropped in ranks).
  • Death Recap Screen - likely coming early next year! Will contain heals and shields too!
Death-recap-screen.jpg
  • Bans were tested throughout this year on competitive, and the devs loved it. Also coming very soon!
  • Grandmaster League
    • Talent Gating (requiring hero or account level to unlock talents) = removed.
    • Free Hero Rotation from 7 to 10 heroes.

Q&A[edit | edit source]

  • They don't really manipulate players' perception on things. If the community tells them a hero is weak or strong, they might wait to either see if the community figures it out, or wait for the community to just PROVE the devs wrong. Both cases are a win-win scenario for them.
  • The decision to remove 3-4 parties from Hero League was based on the intention to improve the matchmaker - sort of a defensive stance from them. Ideally they want such a good matchmaker that they can re-add 3/4-player parties back to Hero League. Or maybe do an unranked draft.
  • On Twitch viewership and sheer game popularity - the devs are aware of that, and everything they do (new features, heroes, matchmaker changes) is with the intent of improving the game and making it better.