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

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Kevin: Very interesting. Alright! Here is another one from LemuresXL @kcjonesxl What do you say to the comments that HotS is too casual or “dumbed down”?

Browder: I think this is a comment we have heard many many times and it is a real concern. We don’t hear it as much from players that have had a chance to really play; but we do hear it and we look to — I could do a whole Q&A on this topic — we certainly look at games like Hearthstone.

When I first played Hearthstone, personally, I looked at that game and I thought I’ve played magic, I have played some of these older card games; and this is clearly removed rules … and so what? How is this supposed to work?

I went to Eric, the game director and I raged at him and told him what a terrible job he was doing (I am sorry! I apologize to all these, all of the Hearthstone team.
I think we all apologize. We are all onboard.)

But Once you get into it, you start to see the depth. Once you get into it, you start to understand the nuisance. I am literally looking at an enemy player and this is an obvious one for Hearthstone players; but if I am playing against a warlock and he puts down a murlock, it’s like: “Oh, god. Here we go!” Right?

Like I know what is coming next, and I start playing my hand very differently just based on that one card play; or if I am going against a mage where it is like 6 mana I am like: “Oh boy, here comes the flamestrike next turn.”

I can almost set my watch by it; and so I am starting to play around it in a very different way. There is a ton of strategy in that game; but you have to be able to play a little bit to see the depth; because the rules look simple and they are easy to learn — which means basically simple rules; but difficult to master — which means lots of strategy.

Always of value at Blizzard. So when you look at our games (if we are doing them correctly) if you look at our games they should look simple. They should look like: “Well, what? there is nothing!”

That is the way it should look; and when you get into it you should be like: “Woah? Woah? This is nuts!” — and so whether we have hit that or not, I can’t say for sure. This is what we are doing the technical alpha to find out. This is what we are testing.

Obviously, we believe that we have; but we are open to being wrong. If we find that we have not hit a game that has a ton of depth, we will fight tooth and nail to get more depth.

Khoo: It is easier to add more depth. We say this a lot. Less is more; but if you look at one of the most hardcore games out there, StarCraft 2, really simple rules: The marine has x amount of HP, x amount of damage, moves this fast, has this rate of fire. That’s it. That’s him. Like how you use those marines. The decisions to deploy them. That is really what matters.

The less you have in the game, the more you focus on the stuff you have, and that are available to you, what battleground are you playing. What decisions is my team making? What decisions is the enemy team making? What is the state of the battleground? What is the state of the match? Stuff like that.

Browder: It is all the secondary stuff that go with it as well. When I am thinking about the other players in the game, whether I know them or not. If I know them, it is easier. I can go: “I know that so and so is weak.” Or … “That I know so and so is very strong.”

So if I am playing with Matt, I know Matt is a very strong player. So if I have a triage moment decision, I am playing Tassadar; and someone’s going to get a shield in the next half a second — chances are it is going to Matt. Right? Because I know Matt will get something done with that extra health.

If I am playing with someone who I know is not as good, maybe I am letting him die. There are little decisions I am making and even if I don’t know them, over the course of a game, I get a sense for how they are playing.

I start making those same decisions again because this is a strong Arthas I am playing with; because this guy is struggling and I will make decisions on how to support him based on that scenario. I want to be clear, the goal is deep gameplay. That is the goal. Always, always, always. That is always the Blizzard value. Right? Everybody should be able to get in this. Everybody should play for years, and still think there is more that I could master in this game; and that is always the goal; but we do try to make it look easy to start with. That is also a value as well. That would be my answer to that; but our hope is that we are hitting it; but you know, we are still early. Let’s wait and see.

Kevin: Ok, next question. Here from @HotsCast — “Will we see any more talent options come into the game, perhaps unlockable through the meta leveling system?” You kind of hinted at this earlier.

Cooper: Yea, absolutely. We have more talents and we are working on them right now. We are looking at talents that are currently in the game that, maybe originally when we paper designed them they seemed like they could be good; but maybe they are a little undertuned right now; or a little too situational.

So we are looking at those. Making those better. Bringing in more talents, upgrading some of the talents that are a little, well you don’t pick those. That is going to give players a lot to choose from and possibly 3 heroic abilities. Those are technically talents. I don’t want to promise anything; but that is something we can look at in the future so there is a lot we can do there.

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