BlizzCon 2016 Heroes of the Storm: State of the Game Panel Transcript

Panel Q&A

In Overwatch recently they had a really cool Halloween event where there was this thing called Junkenstein’s Revenge which was just this PvE brawl, and I couldn’t help but think how awesome it would be to get with my friends, and do like a dungeon crawl, or a wave base tower defense thing in Heroes of the Storm. How do you guys feel about adding PvE content to Heroes of the Storm, and what do you see for the future there?


Dustin: I think we like it. There are a lot of guys on the team who are very passionate about that, who are very excited about that, and it is a direction we could take some modes in this game. I don’t know when we will get to it exactly, but you are not alone. There is a small army of developers on the team who will show you a passion for that kind of game mode.



I know you mentioned swaps and they have their own drafting mode with time pools and the bonus time and stuff, when are we going to be able to actually replicate that inside the game client?


Travis: That is actually what I was talking about when we are going to be getting it in the custom games first, our goal is to be able to support the tournament draft like you are talking about in-game through custom games first, and then we are going to be rolling that out into the main game afterwards.



Two questions for you: in Overwatch when the player disconnects at the start of the game, the system kicks everyone out and restarts a new match. Are we going to be seeing that in Heroes? The other question is I have over 100,000 gold. Is there anything I can burn that on?


Alan: As far as when someone leaves the game, and kinda what happens as a result, that is actually something we have experienced ourselves, and we have got a lot of feedback on. It is something we are exploring right now and we want to give some kind of whether it is restarting that game, because there are times when we can allow players to reconnect, we have a grace period where people can come back in; but there’s a point where probably we say: “You know what? This team is at a disadvantage.” We probably want to forgive this loss for them, and whether that is actually disbanding the game, or just making it so that the loss doesn’t count against them, that is something that we are looking at, and we’d love to talk about that some more in the future.

Travis: For the gold question, we are already investigating different ways to spend gold for people like yourself who have tons of it, but I don’t have anything I can talk about right now. Sorry.



Currently, we have got these HOTSlogs for personalized stats. I’m wondering if what you guys showed us here today will end up replacing that at some point?


Travis: We don’t want to replace HOTS logs. We love these guys, but we would like to get you more stats in-game, so you don’t have to go externally to see a lot of these things, but personalized stats is just the next step in that direction, but we do plan to keep expanding down that path.



In ranked, there are people that dropped either intentionally or not, and the times where the teams that have the dropped player lose. Is there any way you guys want to address that as far as maybe making not the penalty so steep if you lose?


Travis: Definitely! We call it loss forgiveness, it is on our list of things to do, and it is something we are actively working towards. Basically, if you are in a situation where through no fault of your own you lose a match, we don’t want to penalize you either at all, or as heavily. It just depends on how that works out.



I have a question about queueing for specific roles. Has the team ever thought of a way to queue for assassin, or a tank, or a support so that we don’t get into a game and have five people that want to play the same role?


Travis: Definitely! I was talking about the party finder and letting you choose a role there from looking for a party. I want to extend that functionality to use when you are queueing up for different gameplay modes; you can select the roles you are interested in playing, and then let the matchmaker use that when making matches. This goes back to what Alan was talking about though, we have to be careful not to continually increase-in the queue times, so we will have to investigate the impact of that first, but it is an interesting thing we are looking into.



First, I’d like to encourage you to bring the team finder, and the party chat to the game ASAP. I think that’s really the gold standard where Heroes is going, but my question is around level 20 rewards. I know that I have got some heroes on accounts, but I know a lot of people have level 20 heroes. They’d like to see some kind of cap stones in there. So do we have anything in the works maybe?


Travis: We were talking about progression and talking about getting rid of that cap; we are also looking at ways that players can more easily show off their prowess within the hero even beyond 20, so yes we are investigating things like that right now as part of that progression update.



I have a question about some of the older heroes that don’t get any of the love like Murky. Are we ever going to get any updates to Murky gameplay?


Dustin: We did 19 hero reworks this year, and I’m sure we have got more reworks coming in future years. I know that the team has been asking themselves about Murky, I don’t know if or when they are going to make the decision to pull the trigger on making a move on Murky, but I will certainly take your feedback on that right now. I understand what you are saying, you want to see a Murky update; I think that is fair feedback, we will talk to these guys, and see if and when they can get that into play. I expect at some point every hero gets hit; as we have gone forward we have changed what we know about talents, the eSports community has taught us a great deal about what is possible in this game, and what is fun. When you guys play on we see your picks, we see your win rates with those picks, and every time that a hero has been out for six months or more, there is always some designer on the balance team that goes “aw look at that, we got to fix it!” So I think you’d expect all of these heroes to go under the microscope at some point, but I will definitely take your feedback right now on Murky. It is good.



I have a question about the theory of building the team with the MMR. The theory of MMR says that average of the MMR is different from the MMR of the team, are you using the variants somehow to build the teams for the matching? Another thing is why are you using only the average for the badges that you just showed saying that your damage is higher than the average, why not show that your damage is in the top 1% of this character?


Alan: On the first part, it is actually more than simply just a straight average, but it is heavily influenced by that, but we realize that there is more to it than just a straight average. It can mean different things if you have a team thati s very close in skill, and then someone who is far lower versus a team that is very close in skill and someone who is far higher. That’s actually one of the things I talked about with all those improvements we are making, that is one of the things that over the course of years, we keep on looking at how we tweak that kind of team MMR that we are looking at. So that is something we will keep looking at as we move forward.

Travis: That second part where you are talking about the badging for the personalized stats, we are looking at exactly what you are talking about as a secondary thing once this comes out. Right now I’m playing around with things like you are 1% global in this particular stat. Something that is really meaningful.



One thing that you guys do that is unique that I think is really interesting is: you take pretty risky design decisions such as Cho’gall getting controlled by two players in this new map you have coming out, but I think that’s part of what makes Heroes really great. Do you ever find issues striking the balance between doing really unique things, and keeping the identity of your game?


Dustin: I think the design team always struggles to find the right balance between really trying to push the limits, and yet also creating something that is easy for players to play and understand; and you will see us throughout the year trying different things until we can figure out how to both bring you new experiences you have never had before; but also trying to bring you things that are very accessible. We certainly tried that out this year with BlizzCon: Varian can be a very easy hero to play in a lot of ways, but his talent flexibility is very high. Ragnaros is kinda nutty when he takes over a building, but he is kind of fairly an ordinary melee assassin in some ways before that moment. So we are always looking to ride the line and we always welcome your feedback when it comes to how much more you’d like to see. We push the boundaries in how much you’d like to sort of see it being played a little more straight from time to time; but it is absolutely an ongoing question. Something we do ask ourselves every week, every month, every year: “Have we gone too far? Have we not gone far enough?” It is a very good question.



Dustin: Alright, everybody. That is it for the State of the Game panel. Thank you all very much. See you all in the Nexus!

Transcriber: rettep (freelancer)
Editor: Medievaldragon

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

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I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for (formerly

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