BlizzCon 2017 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive Panel Transcript

Community Q&A

Participant 1: Hi. I have a question about a mechanic that you guys kind of removed, and then reintroduced when you put Garrosh into the game. For example, like Stitches when he hooks like the character gets stick into the wall, and don’t like jump over the wall. So like when Garesh was introduced you could throw enemy heroes inside your turrets. So what are your thoughts on that?

Alex: The way we view this is simply a pull, right? So Stitches still can’t hook over a wall and pull someone through it. Whereas Garrosh really has to hook you first from outside and then he can toss you over. Some of the things we’ve seen with Diablo with his Overpower. So yeah, overall I think it just sort of made sense. I don’t think it would make a lot of sense for Garrosh to throw people, and then they hit an invincible wall in the air.


Participant 2: I am a Chromie main, and I really enjoy her. So when I was playing Hanzo, I was really interested in his Q. I just wanted to ask… when I played this even with the global autocast on, when I released Q I had to hit it again to actually fire. I wonder if that was intentional.

Kent: It’s currently intentional. It’s what we got, but can we get a shout out for Andy Thorne — an amazing engineer in our team; and yeah… These guys understand the hard work he is doing. He actually got us an improvement for Storm Bow literally. I think it was Thursday, or Wednesday — he called me over to “hey check this out” — so we’re hoping to ship is that when you press you can just press and release and it ll fire off the Q for Hanzo. Even while you’re moving. So we have some improvements. It should be coming with Hanzo ship.


Participant 3: This is a question I asked yesterday, but I was wanting to ask it to more of the art guys: if Mccree were hypothetically to join Heroes of the Storm would you remove his cigar? And if you didn’t, would you give Tychus back his cigar?

Andrew: I think Alan said it best when he said yes we will give Tychus: Mccree’s cigar.

Andrew: Over there on the right. What have we got there? Mysterious questioner. Can you translate this?

Matt: I got this. Don’t worry.


Probius: [beep-beep-Beep-boop…]

Matt: Probius would like to know (for those who don’t speak Probius), It is for me and Kent: what’s our favourite talent on each of the new heroes?

Kent: That’s a very insightful and helpful question.

Alex: He is programmed well.

Matt: For me it is Alexstrasza’s level 20 Ancient Flame. This is kind of caps off for her E talent. See the big thing with her E when we were working on it for a long time is these talents are about getting you in dragon form more often, and you can actually use Flame Buffett while you’re in dragon form.

So having this talent 20 that then allows Alexstrasza’s basic attacks in dragon form allows you to feel more rewarded for taking those other Flame Buffet talents along the way.

Kent: I would say my favorite Hanzo talents is called Mounted archery. So his trait natural agility (to counter that of Genji’s cyber agility, I will let you think about that) let’s him leap over walls… so what mounted archery does: when he leaps and lands on a wall, he gets instantly mounted, and that mount has a move speed boost. It is really fun. Great question, Probius.


Participant 4: I was wondering how you decide which heroes get added into Heroes of the Storm? Is it just whim or is someone like: “Hey, we want this guy in here?

Kent: That’s a great question. So we have a list of about… I think we’re down to like 180 heroes now in the office, and we started at 200 about two years ago, and slowly been whittling them away.

Just awesome heroes characters from across all Blizzard’s games that we’d love to add; and of course, you guys the fans you guys do these awesome fan website polls, and they were checking all the time. What is it the community is just begging clamoring for? Kel’Thuzad all the time.

And so we take some mixture of that as well, but we’re also trying to make sure we bring heroes from different universes all the time, and in addition to that, different roles and archetypes. So we have healers like we try to make sure this year we’ve got a lot of healers to you guys: Lucio, Stukov, Ana, and now Alexstrasza.

A great year if you’re a healer player, but in addition to that on the art side– they want to get a lot of different shapes, and silhouettes, and sizes; and just different creature types as well; and so there’s a bunch of different factors that we weigh in, and it’s a constant back and forth, and it’s never a matter of if we’ll do a character… it’s always a matter of when we’ll get to that character; but thank you.


Participant 5: There are some questions about Arthas and Uther, specifically their models being a little bit more squat, and they look dwarfish, and we were wondering if maybe if we might see a taller Lich King or a taller Uther in the future.

Andrew: So we’re happy with the size of them, but to answer your question “making them look more squat,” what we would like to do is, we would like to make their height be equivalent, so he would look less squat, but it’s the same relative height. Does that make sense?


Participant 5: So you are considering some adjustments to the model to make them look more svelte, I guess?

Andrew: Definitely. I mean, we are looking at that as an option. Uther and Arthas are a couple of our older models. So we definitely have heard your feedback, and we want to do it. It’s just a matter of when.


Participant 6: First off, hi Andrew. You may recognize me as the guy who always harassed you every weekend at Albertson’s.

Andrew: Hi, Logan. I remember you. How are you?


Participant 6: I loved Tyrael, but he feels really stale, and mana cost seems way higher compared to a lot of newer characters, and I was wondering if you were looking at him and any changes you could make to him in the future.

Andrew: You want lowe mana cost? Ok.


Participant 7: I had a question about your classifications for different heroes. There has been a lot of questions about tanks and healers vs warriors and supports — and stuff like that; but the question is about if you have plan on redesigning your system of classification, or if you design your hero specifically for the classifications that are already there?

Kent: Right, now that’s a great question. So early on in the game, we were really freeform with it. It was like hey we got warriors, assassins, and supports; and then we have Abathur.

I don’t know what to do with this guy, right? So we needed that specialist category. We decided if characters have got a hint of that oddballness let’s chuck them into that specialist category; and that worked fine a few years ago; but now we are really at a point where as designers we’ve evolved, as players you guys have evolved, the game… our relationship with it has evolved to where we kind of have this language of like hey bring some frontlin,e and make sure we got at least one healer right. All these new words that weren’t in our lexicon a few years ago.

So going forward it is something we would love to update… the role system, to better reflect the way the community has embraced this game; and so we’d love to take warriors and split them out into tanks and bruisers.

We would love to take supports and split them now into healers and supports. In fact, we did a little bit of this. If you go into like Quick Match or Versus AI, you will notice that when you hover over you try to attack somebody you’ve got like that capitalized keyword. All the different types that’s where we like to move to eventually. It’s just a matter of when we think is the right time to get it into the game.

But it is definitely I think something that would help the playerbase as well, like kind of get all on the same page about: “hey, this guy’s a tank and this guy is a bruiser; or like we need at least one tank in the team.” Thrall is great, but he’s not a tank for the team.


Participant 8: I have a question for Alex. You recently changed Chen to whatever he drinks he instantly gets brew, and then he’s been receiving a lot of subsequent nerfs. Do you think that you would potentially ever change that or revert it, and potentially give him back a lot of his power? Because like I know you were nerfing him because the freshest ingredient bug was giving him a lot.

Alex: So Chen has a really interesting effect. Whenever you touch Chen, he’s such an interconnected character that has such like an engine that works, that there’s usually a lot of fallout from the changes you make to him.

So I don’t know that we’re planning on making any changes immediately right now. But we always keep an eye on him, and we will continue to watch to make changes as the meta changes, or things like that. Chen is also a really interesting character. I think there are really passionate Chen players out there that really want him to be awesome all the time, and so there’s also some slight risk rose-tinted glasses where the people realize that Chen is really, really, really good. No one is really enjoying that experience either.

So we think about balancing that to make sure if you play as Chen you feel that he’s awesome and fun without having it be OP (Overpowered). So yeah I mean we are keeping an eye on Chen, and we will always look to make changes whenever we think that he needs it.


Participant 9: With the new invisibility shader, have you guys played around with changing the visibility of the character based on how fast it’s moving?

Alex: We haven’t done that specifically, but we try to get some of that flavour in. I didn’t talk about that today, but we talked a little bit yesterday is that it’s not available at BlizzCon, but we are trying right now, and I think we’ll go to the PTR at some point soon. If a stealth character ever stay still for more than 1.5 sec, they actually completely disappear.

So they’re completely gone. Actually Kent and I were talking about this yesterday. It was really cool thing about it is that it adds a lot of that mystery and fantasy — of you’re never really sure if that stealth character could be around, and all this is going to play a lot. It’s a very interesting psychological thing that we have really cool game that we got from it as well.


Participant 9: The reason I bring that up is some characters can be invisible while mounted while some can only do it while walking. That’s why I am curious about that.

Alex: Yeah, we accept that there is a difference. Overall, I think we mostly want to view it like a combat benefit.

Kent: We want to move away from the eyetests. We want you to be clear that guy is there in stealth, because it’s just a much clearer interaction for all parties.


Participant 10: Hey, guys. My name is Steve. How will the stealth really work with talents like Sergeant Hammer’s stealth and Medivh’s level 20 Invisibility, and Dehaka’s Burrow?

Alex: So this was a global change. All stealth characters have this new shader. Shader is the term for what they look like visually. And so they will be using the new stealth, and we will reconsider the balance as we go. With this new stealth — because obviously there are some adjustments to be had there. But an interesting one about hammer is that since she doesn’t move unless you take Hover Siege Mode; but she’ll actually most of the time be completely invisible while she is in siege mode.

Kent: They get this invisibility as well. So yeah Medivh given his invisibility, he has that new shader, but if that person stands still they will go fully invisible.

Alex: So these are all things we’re testing. It is one of the reasons why we’re having such a long PTR. We really want to get a feel for it, because we know there’s a lot of potential changes to make there.


Participant 10: I was wondering if you would ever be able to pick heroes from a different method than random three pick in the Lost Cavern custom games?

Kent: I just realized none of us work on the brawls or what not. It is definitely something we could be open to. We would love to get more feedback from you guys, and how you like the brawls, and the A-Ram maps in custom games. We are definitely open to hearing other pitches and other ideas for that. So you’re going to take to our forums. We are on there quite frequently. I think Matt posts there daily, it seems like.

Matt: Except the two weeks leading up to BlizzCon.

Kent: Yeah. But we’re always listening to our player feedback — on the forums especially; and so by all means pitch us ideas, and how we can improve that mode for you guys.


Participant 11: So I was playing the demo on the showfloor yesterday, and there’s now Alexstrasza on both teams obviously, and I realized her second heroic ability whose name escapes me right now. You can see where it lands when you’re an ally or an enemy. Is that a balance thing? Or is it something you are going to keep an eye on?

Matt: Do you mean seeing where she’s going to land?


Participant 11: Yes, like where all the shots are going to land… there’s always telegraphing.

Matt: Got it. So originally when we were working on that ability, I was really scared about it. So I actually had something like a like a 0.75 second delay on each shot kind of like a warning on the area. It ended up making the ability feel really kind of delayed and not very responsive. Yea, clunky very much.

So I was a little bit scared, but we tried just moving it down to instant. What does that feel like? It just goes off right at your mouse cursor, and it actually felt great playing as Alexstrasza, and playing against it… It did mean it was something that was much harder to avoid. You can still kind of dodge her and take her out, because the shots are on a fixed interval, and you can listen for the sounds.

So it’s more about just trying to be as evasive as possible when they’re happening and also to try not to be too much group up to make it more difficult for her to hit.


Participant 12: I was wondering if we’re going to see more of split class heroes like maybe Anduin as a Holy or a Shadow Priest?

Kent: It’s a great question. Multi-class is a tree we added last year. It is definite something we’re actually discussing. There’s a lot of really cool things that can come out of it. There’s also a lot of really Shield Wall Parrying Varian things that can come out of it as well. So it is definitely something we are actively discussing in the team. We are listening to you guys’feedback or watching Carbot animations. All these things as a whole, we are evaluating where we go from here. So… thank you.


Participant 13: So I’m a Lost Vikings main, and so my question is in regards to balance changes coming to the Lost Vikings. They haven’t received anything in the longest time; and also if they will eventually be accompanied by future retro characters?

Alex: So talking about the balance. So I think that overall we’re OK with a lot of what the Vikings does right now. That’s not to say that there couldn’t be improvements we make in terms of more interesting talents or just balance adjustments.

We are also trying to do a ton of balance changes to a lot of heroes, so it’s not always like the highest priority to have Vikings changes, but that being said it’s a matter of probably when, not really if. There might be some cool things that we could do there.

Andrew: As for the second question, I would like to see Blackthorne.

Kent: Also would be really cool. It is up there with dragons. Who doesn’t like Monster Trucks? Absolutely.

Andrew: So it is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. It’s about 185. But thank you for your question. We will definitely… we will consider it.


Participant 14: I am a main Medivh. Yeah. So one of the things about Medivh is his power very much depends on your teammates understanding how to play that character. And this is really frustrating because I think people who made Medivh or play Medivh love how we play it, love the flavor, and that’s probably why it hasn’t been rewarded, because it has a very unique flavor and role. But it is very frustrating when your teammates will not click in portals, accidentally click in portals, not know exactly what a portal is. I wonder if you guys are looking at this, if you have any plans of addressing it in the future.

Alex: We’re aware of that problem and we think about it, and we’re trying to figure out ways to make the Medivh players feel better about what they’re doing and not necessarily rely always as much about what their teammates do.

We also don’t just completely break eSports, like that’s one of the things they are using high level play. He’s one of those characters before where that he has an incredibly powerful kit and we don’t want to go too far with just the raw individual things as well.

What I have actually discovered in Medivh in particular is that as our playerbase matures, as you play with more people, and kind of get used to it, and as you start watching more eSports games you see what he can do– it is pretty cool to see players learn to actually start to do more cool and fun things like the Stitches gorge with Medivh portals, and all sorts of fun things.


Participant 15: That was my hope as well. That my teammates would learn.

Alex: Yea. Eventually they have to learn. Right? Like they will figured it out.


Andrew: That’s it for us, guys. Thank you.

1. Modeling: Alexstrasza2. Design: Alexstrasza3. Modeling: Hanzo4. Design: Hanzo
5. Live Heroes Revamp6. Community Q&A

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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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