Heroes of the Storm Dev Q&A Part 5 – Murky (Transcript)

Kevin Johnson and the Heroes of the Storm developers got together to discuss details of Murky, the new Hero to be introduced in a few days. There will be some drastic changes to the User Experience UI. We get to see a sneak peek on those changes. (transcript will be up in a few days) — follow us on Twitter and Facebook for an update.

Check out the full transcript below.

This Heroes of the Storm Q&A Part 5 took place on May 20, 2014. Among the developers in this show were:

  • Nicholas Slough, Lead User Interface Artist
  • Kent-Erik Hagman, Game Designer
  • Matt Cooper, Game Designer
  • Kevin Johnson, Senior Manager, Community Development

Transcript

Kevin: What is up? Welcome back to another live developer Q&A here at Blizzard Entertainment. My name is Kevin Johnson. We are excited that you are back with us again. For those of you in the Twitch chat watching us live… a quick note for you: We are not actually broadcasting this live to you today. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make that happen this week; but we will most likely return to our live behavior sometime in the near future or the next episodes. In fact, you might even be able to see some of us in chat interacting with you. So maybe that is a plus.

Also a quick note about today’s show: We will not be doing a live show match for you, as well; however we have a ton of content to talk to you about, about our upcoming patch for Heroes of the Storm. Let’s dive right into it.

Let me introduce our guests. With us, first, to my right: Mr. Matt Cooper, game designer from Team 1. Welcome back!

Matt: Yup, it’s great to be back.

Kevin: It’s rad to have you, and your shorts here with us today. It’s awesome. (laughs)

Matt: It’s actually very chilly in here today, so. Warm outside.

Kevin: Ok. Cool. As many of you know from the previous show, Matt is heavily involved with balance and talent build out for our heroes in the game. So thanks again for coming back with us.

To Matt’s right: Mr. Kent-Erik Hagman. Welcome, Kent. Your first time on the show with us.

Kent: I know. Somebody has got to break the ice, you know?

Kevin: That’s right, dude. Kent has been heavily involved in map design for heroes, as well as hero work itself — building and designing heroes. So Kent has a lot of really cool information to share with us today. So welcome aboard; and to Kent’s right this is Nick Slough, lead UI artist for Team 1. Our first UI individual on the show.

Nick: Potentially the last.

(Everyone laughs)

Kevin: Potentially?

Nick: Depending if you all like it or not.

Kevin: Nick has got an incredible beard. I just want to be honest.

Nick: Thank you.

Kevin: It is just amazing.

Nick: I got a little flushed.

Kevin: How long have you been working on that one?

Nick: Ah… uh… Three weeks.

(Everyone laughs)

Nick: Yea.

Kevin: That is rad. Awesome. Well, we have an awesome show for you today, guys. All hinging around our upcoming patch for Heroes of the Storm. As many of you know, we have been in tech alpha for (gosh, I don’t even know how long) it’s been a month plus. Two months. Something like that; but we have a big patch coming up with a lot of content for you.

So we are going to be talking about some of the features and the changes that are coming with that patch. So we are just going to dive right in.

First and foremost, new hero addition: Murky. I am pretty psyched about this, and I know the community is as well. We talked a little bit about Murky at Pax East. I guess that was probably a month ago; but let’s talk a little bit more about it. Kent, kick us off, man. Tell us a little bit more about this hero. Where he came from and what you guys are thinking about doing with him.

Kent: We knew we wanted to do Murky for a very long time. I mean, he is such a beloved character. We started out initially with some crazier ideas where, you know, we were like: “Wow! He is a murloc.” He is beneath contempt. Maybe towers and minions. Don’t even target him; because he is just a little murloc and towers is — Ah … please. Not worth my bullets.

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Kent: And we played around with that for a while, and actually it didn’t work. We tried lots of different variations and we just kept hitting our head into a wall. Then Dustin finally came up with this crazy idea: the Wile E. Coyote Murky. The Murky who is just a cartoon character … a little cockroach-y. You step on him, and he just keeps coming back over and over. He wears you down through multiple deaths. Every 3 or 4 deaths (times you kill Murky), Murky will probably kill you once; and through play testing we introduced our final iteration, and we finally got him to a pretty good spot. So I am really excited to see what he is going to do when he gets out there.

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Kevin: That is pretty awesome. I know the community is as well — Here we are. We have some footage of–

Kent: Oh, there he is. Look how adorable he is (just: “Blaagh!”).

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Nick: I like the way he rides his mount the best.

Kevin: One-handed?

Kent: Yeah, he is just hanging on for dear life!

Kevin: Let’s talk a little bit about these abilities. What are we seeing on the screen?

Kent: See right there… that is his pufferfish ability, that is his “W”. He spits out this little pufferfish, and after a long delay, that pufferfish expands and expands and expands, and it will blow up and do massive damage in the area. The damage is pretty insignificant, but it does quadruple damage against structures.

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Kent: Any of the Heroes can counterplay it by simply attacking and killing the pufferfish. It has only a few hit points. Very similar to the dock treasure chests (for those who have played Blackheart’s Bay), it will fall pretty quickly. It is just kinda his way to deal with structures. So, if you are Murky– one of the playstyles for Murky is this is kind of backdoor-Murky. This is his signature ability that really plays well with that playstyle; and heroes can counter it by simply taking a few seconds to attack the pufferfish and kill it.

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Kent: It is just one more annoyance that Murky is doing, even though you are killing him over and over again, he is going to leave these pufferfishes everywhere. What we are looking at right there is a safety bubble (where he will: “Bloob!”) and kinda goes up in a little bubble, and during that time he is actually invulnerable and intargetable. It gives him a lot more survivability, especially, it is a very powerful ability for him. He can just keep moving and if he thinks he is about to die, he can just pop it. Especially if you eat up your enemies cooldowns — like if they waste them on you right as you bubble, that’s a great boon for your team.

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Kent: You’ve just eaten some strong spells and they did nothing to you; and it absolutely plays up the other style of Murky, which is kinda the team fighting. The hero killing Murky. He is not really good at it, but (you know) it gives a lot of lengths in those team fights. His other core ability is to slime, where he just (“skrrtz!”) squirts out this slime all round him and it puts a stinky dot on his enemies; and it slows them about 25% over 8 seconds, so it lasts quite a lot.

In fact, any time you kill Murky, and you think “oh god, I killed him;” but now I have got this slime on me, and Murky– he is actually going to be revived in 5 seconds. He might actually come back to you and you still have this slime from his previous life (there you see the ability in action); and it has a dark component to it which will wear you down.

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Kent: It keys into this really obnoxious murloc, and then his two heroic abilities are March of the Murlocs and Octo-Grab.

Now March of the murlocs he calls forth the aid of his little murloc village and they all come streaming in one-by-one; and they pounce on the first enemy they encounter and start gnawing at them, slowing them down and causing damage.

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Kent: If a bunch of murlocs jump on you, every murloc slows you down increasingly, and it adds more damage; and it is just a great massive area control spell for Murky.

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Kent: His second heroic ability is Octo-Grab, and that one– he summons forth this octopus and he straps you in place for 3 seconds; and Murky has finally got you where he wants to; and here comes the wrath.

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Kent: He is going to hit you with this tiny little fish that does one damage, and at level 20 you get to upgrade it and he pulls a shark out too.

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Kent: He actually does so real significant damage and one of the better talents I think Cooper here has had the pleasure of designing; and this really kinda plays up more of a team-fight-Murky, who is going to hold the Hero in place; often times (you know) hold it up for enough time for your slime to continue take him out, or allow a friendly hero to come in and really finish the job.

Kevin: That is awesome. He sounds like a really interesting, fun, funny hero. Have you guys played a little bit of Murky? How do you play him, what is your style?

Matt: I kinda lean a little bit more to the backdoor-Murky, (you know) the guy who is behind your towns. He is throwing the pufferfish in, you have to deal with him. I have his talents around that.

Kevin: That is pretty cool. How about you Nick?

Nick: Same way, I like playing Murky that way.

Kevin: That’s cool.

Kent: I am more of the team-player-Murky. I don’t know if it is in my blood or what not; but I just love to watch people die for my little tiny murloc buck teeth; and then they kill me, but they don’t get much satisfaction from my death.

Kevin: Gotcha. Well, great. I can’t wait to see what the community thinks of this hero. Obviously, send us your feedback guys, as we are looking forward to it. Really excited to get the hero in your hands and hear what you think.

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Kevin: Alright, let’s talk a little bit about your stuff here Matt, talk to us a little bit about the talent changes that are coming in this upcoming patch. I know there are massive changes across the board; but maybe we can focus in on just a few a couple of heroes, here are some of the broader changes you are making on some of them specifically.

Matt: Yea, with the talent system, we are going to continue updating, adding more talents on and of course we have a lot of great stats now from our business intelligence team; so we can look at talents which are underpicked, or maybe they have a low-end percentage of the high MRs, and whatever; and we can tune those up, so that has been really great.

So a couple of heroes I want to focus on here are– we will start off with Muradin. He doesn’t have a lot of major talent changes; but across his whole kit we did quite a bit.

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Matt: We lowered the mana cost of his Stormbolt, and his Thunderclap abilities. We know this is Muradin. We are going to add a little bit. It was a little bit below 50% win percentage, so we wanted to tune him up a little bit.

Stormbolt

Matt: We noticed he is constantly out of mana, so we wanted to make a couple of changes there; and he has got quite a few new thunderclap talents. There is one on level 1 that on top of lowering your enemies’ movement speed. You are also lowering their attack speed (which is great to out-win people). Later on, you can make a choice between a thunderclap talent that heals you for every target you hit. I think it is 1% heal per target; so if you hit the whole screen, and maybe a hero, you get a pretty significant chunk of your life back.

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Matt: Then the opposite one to that is if you hit one target you are going to do triple damage. It is not normally how you use thunderclap like on a one-on-one situation; but if you can get people into that situation where you are killing a hero and stuff, it is actually pretty significant.

We have, of course, made quite a few changes. We have removed a couple of amplified healing. We slot in some of the talents a little bit earlier, a little bit later. Prep some of those builds.

Stitches is another hero. We really want to play up his ability, his slam ability. Originally, when we designed his talents, we wanted to make that one kinda of his core playstyles– like he could use Slam a lot; and we kind of felt there were a couple of radius increases and stuff; but it just doesn’t do a lot of damage.

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Matt: So he has got– it’s called pulverize, related to this talent that stuns anyone hit by this Slam. We had to kind of tune that down, so I think it is only a half second stun, which is not honestly that great; but we can’t really tune that up further, because it would be so disruptive in team fights. I think that talent now does 50% more damage (as well as the stun); so you can see where that is going to be more useful.

There is a new slam talent that applies your trait to anyone hit by it, so you can really poke people and stuff like that; and then we have a couple of new fun talents for Stitches. So we have Helping Hand, you can upgrade your hooks, and now you can start grabbing Allies with your hook — if you are trying to save your healer or whatever.

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There is Shish Kabob, which lets you hit 2 targets with your hook so you can do 2 enemies. If you have the previous talent: could be two allies, one of each; and another fun talent we added was a talent for his Devour. So every time he devours an enemy Hero, he actually gains permanent health renewal for the rest of the game. So it is kind of like one of those– we really love those talent sides; and you think: “WoW, if I could do this 20-30 times, whatever it is, I am going to be so powerful.” I am going to get 50 health a second, or whatever that is. We have tuned it around that, and they are really awesome.

Kevin: Wow, sounds like a lot of potential for the community to really dig in to and find some unique strategies with these changes. Pretty awesome.

Matt: And Sergeant Hammer is the last one. We actually swapped her Siege-Mode and her Mine ability. Her Siege-Mode found on “Q”, and we had some problems with a lot of our new players; and even a lot of our more experienced players thinking: “Oh, this is my “Q” button, and I should hit this all the time,” and you hit this on a lane or on a bad spot and this put a big target over your head; and well moving it up to “E”, we found really helped them.

So now your mine is kinda your core ability. The balance didn’t really change; but it is just more I guess a playstyle how you want to play that hero. We have a ton of new talents for her. Quite a few focused around the Siege-Mode. The early talent while you are in Siege-Mode, CCs go away a little bit quicker, so if you get stunned or slowed, it is not going to last as long on you while you are in Siege-Mode.

So that is really useful as long as you set yourself up to be hit by these abilities. Graduating Range is more related to your talent and basically the longer you are sieged-up, the bigger your range grows; and it grows to something insane like +5 range, when normally she has got maybe 10-11 range in siege mode.

So she really lets range the enemy; and maybe you have something like hover-siege-mode combo with that. Well now you are moving around with this gigantic range. Quite a few other talents; but a little fun one I like is– we added a talent that your mine is now doing a knock back. So you maybe make a massive mine field, someone runs into the bushes and all of a sudden 8 mines go at them and they get knocked back off half the screen; and of course it helps her keep away peasants and things like that. There are a lot of other talents but we don’t really have time to go into all of that.

Kevin: Yea, I’m sure. Almost all of the heroes are getting touched to some degree right?

Matt: Yea, I would say at least half the heroes have some changes. Our plan is the heroes we couldn’t hit with this release maybe next release we can do the rest of the heroes and keep tuning up talents for them all.

Kevin: Pretty awesome. Very cool. Well, definitely check out the full patch notes when you see them, guys, for all the details around these talent changes. Let’s talk about another area of the game that is going to be changing significantly with this upcoming patch; and that is the User Interface itself.

Nick. Talk to us a little bit about this interface. Actually, it is cool to have you on, like I said before, I don’t think we have had a chance to really hear from the UI design side of this game yet, at least in the course of this show.

We would love to hear about what you guys– how you guys think, and how you have been approaching the game in general. I know your team is also heavily responsible for the work that we did in StarCraft II. How did you guys go from that game to where you currently stand on Heroes and even more specifically the new changes you are making from the current version of the technical alpha to the one that is coming in this patch? I would love to hear your guys’ thought process.

Nick: So with StarCraft II, we came in and we basically did right by StarCraft II. There is a strong legacy with that game. We came in, we polished it up and made it a little bit more advanced from StarCraft I; and we put in the features that were added for StarCraft II.

With Heroes of the Storm, it was a real opportunity for us to start from the ground up. So one of our philosophies, just like a car company would rebuild a car every piece from the ground up, we wanted to come into this patch specifically– look at everything, and go: “Is this right by this game?”

We are making this very particular game that is specific to Blizzard, and “Is the UI really kinda echoing that?,” and we looked at it and said: “Actually, there are a lot of areas that are not,” so as you guys have been seeing throughout the cast already, we have done major overhaul to every aspect of the UI. Pretty much every spot of it was touched.

Kevin: Yeah. It’s pretty impressive. In fact, let’s talk about some of the more specific areas and some of your thoughts around that, one in particular that you are playing the game, you have experienced this and that is how you choose and select your talents while in a game, I have noticed that has taken a big shift in direction in terms of this new patch.

Talk to us a little bit about your thought process around talent selection and the choices you guys made.

Nick: Yeah, the talent selector before, obviously your talents would come out of a draw and you would select them and the talent system used to be much more stat driven. A little easier to understand. As we added the complexity and made the talent system more robust and individual for each hero, those tooltips and those descriptions actually became a little longer and we actually added more talents, as well. Even the ones you are going to unlock.

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Nick: So we had to come up with a different solution that wasn’t a draw that came out because we had people misclicking the talents and we couldn’t fit them. So we decided to– actually, the first thing was– we had to warn the people when a talent is coming and now you actually select your portrait, pop open your talent window. You have a nice big window to select your talents. You can choose them and you can go.

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Nick: Also, for people who have already learned their hero, a little bit more, we have a quick talent menu, basically it is a control modifier. A control button. A little menu will pop up, if you are right in the heat of a battle and you know exactly what you want to pick for your hero. Click it, and go.

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Kevin: Awesome, another area that is pretty stand out when you are looking at it when, for instance, you are looking at the UI here, you can notice that the mini-map is changed significantly on the right from what it had been before. Talk to us a little bit more about the mini-map changes, and what we are dealing with here.

Nick: We are trying something a little different here. We want to maximize the space you have for your mini-map. One way we actually found to do that was to remove the outside bordering around the mini-map; and actually the only way that we could get transparency around it too was actually to remove the outside of the mini-map, as well.

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Nick: So, now we have a couple of advantages. One: we have the mini-map bigger, easier to see kinda what is going on in the battle; and another thing that is nice about that is that you can actually see action that is coming from the bottom right hand of the screen, which is something that when you have a big square taking up the bottom 8th of your screen it is really difficult to do. So far we have been playing it and liking it so far.

Kevin: Like you said the whole UI has been totally overhauled, looked at and touched; and I noticed a lot of quality of live changes we have seen; and one in particular that stands up for me is the sort of like hero rings beneath the feet or the location of your heroes. Talk to us a little bit about that feature. Where it came from, and what you guys are looking to accomplish with it.

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Nick: So, mush like Diablo III console, you have got the rings underneath the feet which we thought this is a real easy way to take advantage of being able to see where people are coming from. The top of the screen in battle you can see what team they were on, either your teammate or enemy team.

Another way– it helps us is, it helps differentiate you from your allies and from your enemies. So anyone who has played console games where they have got these rings underneath their feet should be pretty familiar with it.

Kevin: Sure. A little more awareness of your location and contacts to other players is pretty great. Very cool. So how about you guys, what are you guys liking the most about the UI changes so far? I know you have been play testing on the internal builds. What are you enjoying?

Kent: Yea, for me, well mostly the rings. Being able to find my hero immediately in combat is really cool.

Matt: I am actually really loving the mini-map. We played test while they were trying out. They put it in for us. We go play it at work. It’s cool. We give them feedback and then I would go home and oh, that’s right … yeah I didn’t realize how bad that mini-map was and I didn’t realize how good it could be. I got to say I love it.

Kevin: I am pretty much looking forward to the community getting their hands on it and getting feedback as well.

Alright. Very cool. Well, we have a few more things we can talk about. I know another hero that has been getting massive changes and that is Illidan. In fact, we talked a little bit about this in our promo leading up to this particular show that some of these heroes are getting big overhauls; and Illidan is one of them. Can you talk to us about the changes you made to his abilities and how he plays in general?

Kent: Yeah, so. Well, we looked at Illidan a few months ago, just a while ago, and we realized that he didn’t quite hit the mark that we thought we should be hitting with him; and we wanted to take a stab at redesigning him.

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Kent: We were looking at future, mainly assassins, that were coming down the pipe and we looked at Illidan and we looked at Zeartul and we wanted to see how we could push them all apart from each other. We really want to keep Zeartul as plain up– that really burst-y assassin from the shadows playstyle. Whereas Illidan, I will be straight up honest… after watching the Hobbit, the most recent one, where they jump about on that river scene, I saw that and I was like– that was where I want to take Illidan.

I want to really push him there. I want him in the thick of combat jumping from enemy to enemy; and from there, we started to work on a couple of different designs until we leaned on the one we have going out there.

It is much more of a straight forward design than we had before. Previously, he was a little complicated. I see some footage of him. We really wanted to play up him jumping around enemy to enemy, so we gave him a very low cooldown target unit and dive ability. He dives on an enemy unit and he– One of the things we really wanted to keep was the flavour of that, of the old Illidan who could chase you down, and especially flip over enemies.

So we put the flip baseline on the “Q” ability. In fact, we are even going weapons free here. You can use the dive ability on (the abilities you could see right here)– he uses it on a building, on a gate, and he can flip right over it.

If he gets into a little bit of trouble he can flip to get out. His trait is that his auto attacks are going to reduce his cooldowns by a second, and also lifesteals a lot. So he sustains himself in combat very well, lowering his cooldowns rapidly by getting attacks off, allows him to be very flippy all over the battlefield.

I am really looking forward to see when he gets out there. What players are going to do with him. Kudos for those who managed to figure out: “Why haven’t they done any talents for him?” Cooper and I talked about doing talents for him, and we kept saying: “Wait until the redesign is done. Wait until the redesign is done.”

So we kind of put in some placeholders that we knew we would take straight away, so Illidan is coming with a fresh new batch of talents that Cooper has orchestrated.

Kevin: Way cool. I know there are more heroes, as well. You have made some significant changes too.

Kent: Yeah. Arthas and Tyrael were 2 heroes we felt like we were kinda failing on the fantasy of so we really wanted to play up and one of the other designers John Hobson — he took Tyrael and we looked at his shield and how he could be effect his allies better; so we tweaked that up a lot and now his “E” ability– we completely overhauled, and gave it a new ability. So make sure you check out the patch notes for that.

Arthas, we also felt like we were failing on the fantasy of, not really the Lich King– there was something; but we really wanted to embrace the death knight. So we put death coil in there. We moved around his frost strike to his new trait. So give that a whirl. We think he feels pretty mighty now in our opinion; but those were the 2 other heroes who received pretty significant updates, as well.

Kevin: Awesome. Great, and like we were saying there are tons of more changes, including map changes, all this stuff. Right? I think Nick–

Kent: Oh yea. I think there has been a huge overhaul of the top level of Haunted Mines. We thought of some bad gameplay. As far as we were concerned, there was lack of strategy, but we really wanted to spice it up some more. We really wanted to change the way top play to the bottom. How they were playing with each other. So we did some changes to the layout there; so check that out.

We were also looking at Cursed Hollow, which definitely got too snowball-y. So we started play testing it. What if we do the 50% health reduction on buildings and that seemed to be pretty good. So we pushed that out and as always we are going to be keeping an eye on all of these things and making tweaks as necessary.

Kevin: Great. So much stuff guys. Definitely keep an eye on the patch notes. Take a look at all the changes. We really hope you enjoy this update.

We’re just going to take some questions. We put out a request for questions on social media last week and over the weekend. We did receive some of your questions so we are just going to turn to those now and answer a few of those. Let’s take our first one. Let’s see.

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Kevin: This one here from @Dibface “How have you felt the talent system has been working out so far? What about talents that are just plain better or worse than others?”

Matt: We are looking at stats, we are looking at talents (believe it or not) super-highly picked at that. We are making changes. We want all the talents to be viable. I think some talents are always going to be a little bit more situational than others. Especially, ones based on heal. We want those to all be possible picks at some point. So we are working on it.

Kevin: Pretty cool. Awesome. This next one here is from @BrendenBeckett “Any concerns about lack of individual achievement? For example, no KDA score takes fun away, especially from solo Q experience.”

We have definitely received a load of feedback along these lines, who wants to take a shot at this one, Nick?

Nick: I can probably take this one. So something we are working on right now currently is showing individual kills and individual kill streaks much better than we currently are. Right now I would say we are doing very minimal amount of that and we know it. This is something we are addressing. Some of the things we have that we are working on, we are working on an individual kill streak meter that levels up as you get more kill streaks; and we are also working on this one system we are calling the bounty system.

Someone gets 3 kills on someone, a bounty goes out on their head and the rest of the team has to hunt that person down. I think this is something that is really going to promote top level play.

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Kevin: That is really cool. I love the idea of the bounty system. It is very interesting. OK, let’s grab a few more here. This one from Kevin Pearson (@SchAmToo) “Serious question: Will balance patches help continually provide more-than-one playstyle for Heroes?”

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. We have a couple of guys who work on balance. It’s what they do. So we are looking at heroes who are under-represented across talents. We are making a lot of tweaks. I think you will see a lot of tweaks in this patch; and of course, going forward this is something we are going to continue to do.

Kevin: Very cool. @Targaryen_Gamer “What will be the maximum amount of talents for each tier that you are targeting for? We have some heroes with 5. Will there be more?

Matt: From the creative design perspective, we think that 4-5 is a good sweet spot right now for alpha heroes. Internally, we are testing 5 and even 6. We are still in technical alpha. Who knows where we will be a year from now or whatever. From the UI side, not too many talents.

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(Everyone laugh, looking at poor Nick)

Kevin: Not too many.

Kent: He wants seven.

Kevin: Alright. Well, cool. We look forward to being on that journey seeing how those talents evolve. Let’s grab some more. This one here from @Prepare4Combat “Will there be support for clans in the game?”

Talk to us a little bit about social systems. Nick, I know that is something your team has been thinking about, working on and got plans around.

Nick: Will there be clan support? Yes. Absolutely. We are working on clans and absolutely and not only clans but really well integrated party and social systems; and actually in this current patch we have this party feature that is going in where you can easily party with people and get the party and friend bonus. So just like that, many more social systems going in. Clans… yes, is one of them.

Kevin: Ok, very cool. Definitely looking forward to that as well. Ok, let’s see what else. This one here from @jpmarcotte “Queueing feels like it pits lots of randoms vs pre-mades and is bad about team comp (no support, etc.) Any fixes coming?”

Matt: Yes, all my guys, they have made some changes in the way we put PUGs together into a group. We have got some kinda filters going in where we won’t put 5 melee people in the same team; because we feel like that is not the best experience. We won’t put 5 supports on the same team. Then the other part of that question is the 5 pre-mades against the 5 solo, that is kinda more of a population issue. We don’t have a ton of players in the technical alpha right now so where– whenever we can, we try to match up 5-man pre-made with another 5-man pre-made; but that doesn’t always happen. That will get better as we get more people.

Nick: Also, we will have full social systems coming in, which will help people party up and get together in groups and play with other people. It is actually a really great way to play this game with friends and other people.

Kevin: Great! Let’s take a few more here. This one from Ben Andrews (@apandaknight) “Is Abathur receiving love in the next patch? You know Abby needs a lil’ love.”

You know it, Abathur needs a little love!

Matt: I always get the patches mixed up. What is going in this patch, what is going in that one. I think for Abathur, I think there is some minor stuff going in. His spike and his shield– I think are a little worse for levels 1-3 then they get better after that. So some small buffs there. I don’t think he has a lot of talent changes going into this patch; but that is something we are going to work on also.

Kevin: Are you guys looking at that stuff across the board all the way along?

Matt: Yea.

Nick: He got pijamas. What else you want?

(Everyone laugh)

Kevin: Fair enough. Ok, let’s grab another one. Jacob Turner (@Toxic633) “Future plans on adding an ally Ulti/Health indicator in screen corner? Hard to coordinate soloQ fights without some sort of it”

What do you guys think?

Nick: Is that more you, Kent?

Kent: I think that is more a UI question.

(Everyone laugh)

Kent: We first want to make sure we get healing working as well as we can. That really also falls on UI like how much screen are we going to take up with all this stuff.

Nick: Party frames are known. Party frame works to a certain extent. Everything that we are doing for the UI in the game, we are trying to figure out a solution that works better without being clever. So that falls definitely into one of these– If there is a need for party frames, we will put party frames in. We aren’t going to take it out, or keep it out of the game; but if we need it, or if we come up with a better solution for it, which we haven’t even tried to experiment with yet — probably we’ll have something like that in the future.

Kevin: Cool. Awesome. This one here from Evan (@sitting_ducky) “Are there plans to add a view talents option to the Queue screen while you wait to find a game?”

I know we have talked a little bit about being able to choose talents. Of course, we can chose them in-game. Who wants to talk a little bit about this one?

Nick: We have talked about it. We definitely want to make sure that the choices you are selecting in the selection screen are important choices you are making going into the match. I think this is something that if we feel like we need to put something to see talents, this is an integral part of being able to queue up with friends– we’ll add it.

I think we are still looking at that kinda stuff, and analyzing it. Seeing if it is appropriate for the game.

Kevin: Right, sure. Ok. Let’s do this one from Dolraan (@SirDolraan) “Will there be StarCraft themed maps, or just fantasy themed maps?”

Do you want this one Kent?

Kent: Sure. No, Dolraan. Never. No. We just don’t like– you know, we are Team 1. StarCraft themed, you know —

(Kevin laughs)

Kent: No. Totally, we will be addressing this eventually in the future. We are working on new maps right now; and Getting some good guys working on this stuff right now; and we are going to explore future battlegrounds where we can go in the different areas we can support. I can definitely assure you at some point in the future we will be visiting Korhal, or Char, or wherever else the Nexus takes us.

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Kevin: Awesome. This next one from Kattii (@Kattikinz), “Any chance a detailed end-game summary will be implemented with things like damage done and healing done?”

I guess we are talking about stats here from games.

Kent: Yea. Actually, I know that in an upcoming patch we are looking at exposing more of these stats even in-game. So I’m pretty sure we’ll also– at some point we are going to revamp the whole end-game flow. I know your team–

Nick: End-game stuff is actually coming next patch.

Kent: Oh, there we go. You heard it here first.

Nick: End of game stuff that we have in there right now is very little… I wouldn’t even call it a slice of what we have. We have plans for what we want. End of the game stuff.

Kevin: Cool. Awesome. Tech Alpha, yo! Making improvements.

(Kent laughs)

Kevin: Alright. This one here from Mr. Richard Khoo (@Missing_Tooltip) “What happened to that handsome dev in glasses? I found him absolutely dreamy.”

Matt: I think I can take this. I don’t ever recall a guy in glasses being absolutely dreamy. You know, like Nick…. very good looking guy sporting glasses. I mean, I think I am–

Kent: Maybe, my sunglasses. I must be. Well, here I am.

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Matt: So here is the good looking guy in glasses!

Kevin: It is an inner-joke. Mr. Richard Khoo is actually on the game design team. He has been on the show in the past. He is obviously just having a laugh to himself.

Ok, guys. I think that is just about it from us today. Thank you for the questions. Thank you for being part of this with us every week. Especially those of you in the Twitch chat watching us live. We really look forward to bringing this to you on a regular basis and as always stay tuned, and be on the lookout for information about this upcoming patch. It is coming very soon. I know I say that a lot, but it is definitely in your doorstep very, very soon. You can follow all of our updates, all of our news over at HeroesoftheStorm.com our website or on our social channels everything is /blizzheroes

Pretty much all over the place: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. /BlizzHeroes

You can find us there. I think that is all I got for you today. So, on behalf of Nick Slough, Kent-Erik Hagman, Matt Cooper, and Kevin Johnson … We all here at Blizzard Entertainment … We thank you for joining us. We will see you next time.

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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.

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 Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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