Heroes of the Storm – Dev Q&A Part 4 Transcript

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Kevin: I have had a blast myself, it has been really awesome and congratulations guys. It has been a really cool week; and I know, the game is just the very very tip of everything you guys have to offer here; but I know it has been exciting and we are looking forward to the future.

We are going to jump into the meat of the show now and talk about Talents. I would love to hear from you guys how do we kick this conversation off. What has Talents been like for you? Where have they come from and where are we now? I am very interested in hearing what that story has been like for you guys.

Browder: We have a huge amount of work that has gone into this character customization system; and we tried over many many years now to get this system to a place that we are really excited about, and we have got it in a place where we feel like it is pretty close. It is not done by any stretch of the imagination; but it is pretty close.

I actually have a Powerpoint that I have bought that I can show you guys. What we have got and what we are planning. Some of the changes we have made.

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Browder: So if we look at the first slide we can see what we have got in-game today, and I joke that this is version 3452; but it may not be far from the truth. We have worked on so many versions of this, it is insane and I know Rich personally has done a ton of work on these different systems.

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Some of our earlier systems for customization were a generic talent tree for all heroes and you would have a couple of hundred talents lying around that anyone can choose from; and one of the challenges we had with this kind of structure is we find it very difficult to make the talents seem epic and to give appropriate talents to appropriate heroes.

So for example, I always use is … what if we want to give a cooldown talent to E.T.C because we want him rocking out on his guitar and he is always wow there is a talent I can get where I can just go nuts with E.T.C.

We give that same talent to Nova and like … “Woah, wooah? This doesn’t work. She’s insane. She is sniping every 3 seconds. This is insane! What do we do? do we nerf snipe? Oh and if you don’t choose a talent it feels terrible.”

And so begins this very dark weird place where it doesn’t really work and/or you start really watering down these talents. Having a custom talent tree per hero, we can say if you want a cooldown talent on E.T.C that is ridiculous let’s do it and Nova never sees that talent, it’s not part of her kit.

Then we have heroes like Abathur as well, where most of the talents don’t even apply to this guy, right? When we had that in the game I know Richard, you had actually made a custom talent.

Khoo: One of the things I actually had to do for Abathur was, a lot of these talents. You can do more attack damage. You can have more health. Abathur is behind the lines casting Symbiote, so it made sense to actually create a custom talent content for him. He was actually a great inspiration for us and for the system as it exists right now.

Browder: If you remember at the time, I think we had the talent tree for all that was in the game, and then we had Abathur and he was like living in his own little world, in this little weird space.

Khoo: What was awkward about the talent tree was that we had all these little bits of hero specific content, where do they even live in the talent tree like what level do you get them?

Browder: That was a big inspiration of ours, to try to create something that really lets the choices be extremely meaningful. The other thing you are going to see and these guys are going to go through and show you some of the talents they have got in the game now. We have got stuff that is specifically to somebody’s cue ability. Like it is a bigger AOE; or I get Demon Hunter with her Vault.

She will leave Caltrops behind her when she vaults. How does that work in a generic system? Does that mean that Stitches … I’m like … Vault, why is Vault here? You know what I mean? It would just be very confusing and clunky, but if we can point it directly at the hero we can get much crazier choices. Much more sort of insane powers.

So if we look at the Powerpoint again, I will take you to the next slide and we can let Matt talk through some of this.

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Browder: He has done a lot of the work of the content on the latest version of the system that Richard sort of set up for us. This is an older version of the Talent system that we had just even a couple of weeks ago. This was in the game, and you can see it’s kind of predictable.

There are some stats in there. There is a utility body at the bottom and it is a very stat focused experience and we really went away from that; and if we go to the next slide you will see where we are at for the choices of Muradin today. Do you want to talk about some of the choices you made here for Muradin Matt and why you felt those worked?

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Cooper: With the previous slide there was a lot of Muradin could spec into Health, or he could spec into damage; but we thought that forced your hand into a certain build. If I go health in the beginning I have to go health all the way down. If I want to play tankee and I get damage, then I am not that tankee at the end of the game. I start blowing up.

Or if I go a lot of health, then I am not doing damage to minions and stuff. So there is a lot of problems with this kind of system and we also wanted to get more customization. More cool hero specific stuff. So we go to the next slide.

With this, this is Muradin’s level 1 choices. So you can see he can, Skullcracker is a talent he can pick up which is going to augment his basic attacks so that he is starting to do little stunts every time he auto attacks a few times.

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com 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.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

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