From the Bullpen: Team XP and Leveling

Dustin Browder Shares Thoughts on Team Leveling and XP in Heroes of the Storm

When we first set out to make Heroes of the Storm, we had an idea of how the game should play. We imagined Support characters as pure healers moving to help their allies. We imagined Siege characters (now called Specialists) charging into battle, and clearing away enemy armies and fortifications with ease to make way for friendly forces. We imagined heroes claiming objectives like the Dragon Knight, or collecting Doubloons to gain the power of characters like the undead pirate, Blackheart.

 

When we first started, we had individual hero leveling like many games in the genre. We liked how it forced players to split up into different locations, and coming together was a cost and a risk. We also liked how individual experience rewarded players for doing well, and really encouraged players to do their best; knowing that they were falling behind if they started to give away too many victories.

 

We made a large number of tweaks to this system to make Support and Siege heroes work with individual leveling, and everything worked. –but then we ran into Abathur. Here was a hero who never went into battle at all. He hid back in base, and attacked the enemy from afar. This helped inspire us to consider the possibility of more extreme heroes in the future. What if we had more heroes who supported the team in strange ways?

 

We were also running into trouble where players didn’t want to leave a battle in order to engage with a map objective or help an ally. Moving to capture a Dragon Shrine was a very risky move if it cost you experience and you fell behind in levels. Players were too fearful to move away from enemy minions to actually engage with the various locations and characters on our Battlegrounds. When we played, we noticed that the players that were actually doing the most to help their team by fighting over Battleground objectives were often several levels behind.

 

Moving from one part of the Battleground to another to heal an ally or kill an enemy was also risky.  If you did it too often you would find yourself behind in levels. With individual leveling, all players had to stay in a lane next to a battle most of the time.

 

This was not the freeform strategic experience we were hoping for.

 

We started to experiment with team leveling. In this new system, many elements (like killing towns) give map-wide experience to the whole team, even if there is nobody near the town when it is destroyed. Enemy minions give experience so long as someone is nearby to collect the experience. If you have two heroes near an enemy minion when it dies you do not collect double experience. As long as you have a single hero next to a battle you are collecting the maximum experience from that battle for your team.

 

Team leveling solved a lot of problems for our game. Characters like Abathur just worked. All of our Battlegrounds were suddenly alive with possibility. Players had the freedom to go where they wanted to go, when they wanted to go there, with the knowledge that their allies were helping them by collecting the experience that minions created. At any given time one to three players on each team could be anywhere they wanted to be. They were free to roam to help their team, kill enemies, or complete map objectives with full knowledge that their allies were still getting maximum experience from the Battleground.

 

Teams that try to send all five players to one location can continue to do so, but at a severe cost.  If the other team is split up, the team that is all-in at one location will find itself falling behind in levels.

 

In the end, this was what it was all about. Creating an environment where it was easy to cross lanes to help one another, or kill an enemy. We want an environment where you can all run to a Cursed Hollow tribute, or everyone can do a mad-dash for a Dragon Shrine, secure in the knowledge that your allies have your back.

 

I hope that helps people understand what we are doing, and why. As always, your feedback for our Alpha is greatly appreciated, and has already helped us make Heroes of the Storm a better game.

 

Heroes of the Storm – Tyrael Week Spotlight Trailer

If you thought that last week’s #TychusWeek was a one-time thing, you were wrong. It seems Blizzard Entertainment is planning to release a weekly spotlight video of each hero, and that’s kinda awesome upon itself considering there are 23 heroes in Tech Alpha, and many more yet to be revealed.

This week the spotlight falls upon Tyrael, in celebration of the release date of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.

Heroes of the Storm Tech Alpha Balance Update #1 – Mar. 25, 2014

Blizzard Entertainment has released a new Weekly Hero Rotation along with balance fixes across several Heroes.

heroes-of-the-storm-logo-685x200

We’ve brought the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha down today in order to refresh the weekly free hero rotation and make the balance changes listed below. Thank you for all the great feedback you’ve provided during alpha testing thus far. We hope you’ll try out these changes in-game and share your input with us soon!

General

Mercenaries

Knights

  • Knight Health reduced by 20%
  • Time between Knight and Sorcerer attacks increased from 1.0 to 1.25

Heroes

General

  • Focused Attack talent bonus to Basic Attack damage increased from +30% to +50%

Abathur

  • Symbiote no longer persists during a killed Hero’s post-death state (Uther/Tyrael)
  • Fixed a bug which granted Hero clones created by Ultimate Evolution more Health and damage than intended.

Gazlowe

  • Fixed a bug which unintentionally granted increased damage for all abilities while in Robo-Goblin form.

Raynor

  • Hyperion duration reduced from 15 to 12 seconds
  • Hyperion volley damage gain per level decreased from 24 to 20

Sgt. Hammer

  • Base vision radius increased by 2

Uther

  • Divine Storm cooldown increased from 45 to 70 seconds
  • Hurricane talent
    • Bonus stun duration removed
    • Now decreases Divine Storm cooldown from 70 to 50 seconds
  • Eternal Devotion
    • Base duration increased from 7 to 10 seconds
    • Holy Devotion talent no longer increases Eternal Devotion duration
  • Hammer of Justice damage gain per level decreased from 14 to 10
  • The Regeneration Master talent has been replaced with Path of the Wizard
    • Witch Doctor

      • Voodoo Ritual changed from 20 +1 Health per level and 5 Mana restored to 1% Health and Mana restored.
      • Gargantuan Health increased from 1000 + 100 per level to 1400 +140 per level

 

Malfurion build

Malfurion build used in HGC and other Heroes of the Storm eSports events by the top pro gamers in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Malfurion build – eSports

iakona - SuperStars HGC NA - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 1 – Even in Death v Superstars -- Sept 2

Scouting Drone

Elune's Grace

Hindering Moonfire

Twilight Dream

Ice Block

Tenacious Roots

Rewind
jun - Tempo Storm HGC NA - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 2 - Gale Force eSports v Tempo Storm -- Sept 1

Moonburn

Full Moonfire

Lunar Shower

Twilight Dream

Ice Block

Tenacious Roots

Astral Communion
jun - Tempo Storm HGC 2017 Europe Open Division Cup 13 Finals - Leftovers vs Bushido e-Sports -- Aug 29

Moonburn

Full Moonfire

Lunar Shower

Twilight Dream

Ice Block

Tenacious Roots

Astral Communion

Tychus build

Tychus build used in HGC and other Heroes of the Storm eSports events by the top pro gamers in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Tychus build – eSports

Prismaticism - Roll20 HGC NA - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 3 – Superstars v Roll20 eSports -- Sept 3

Press the Advantage

In the Rhythm

Quarterback

Commandeer Odin

Neosteel Coating

Armor Piercing Rounds

Big Red Button
mora - BlossoM HGC KR - Phase 2 Part 1 - Game 4 - BlossoM v MVP Miracle -- Jul 22

Press the Advantage

The bigger they are...

Relentless Soldier

Commandeer Odin

Spray 'n' Pray

Armor Piercing Rounds

Big Red Button

Valla build

Valla build used in HGC and other Heroes of the Storm eSports events by the top pro gamers in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Valla build – eSports

sCsC - L5 HGC KR - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 2 – Tempest v L5 -- Sept 9

Hot Pursuit

Punishment

Arsenal

Strafe

Tempered by Discipline

Frost Shot

Farflight Quiver
Equinox - Spacestation HGC NA - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 3 - Spacestation Gaming v Gale Force eSports -- Sept 8

Monster Hunter

Puncturing Arrow

Repeating Arrow

Strafe

Siphoning Arrow

Frost Shot

Farflight Quiver
Cris - Playing Ducks HGC EU - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 1 - Playing Ducks v Team expert -- Sept 8

Monster Hunter

Puncturing Arrow

Repeating Arrow

Rain of Vengeance

Siphoning Arrow

Manticore

Farflight Quiver
snitch - Dignitas HGC EU - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 5 - Team expert v Team Dignitas -- Sept 3

Hot Pursuit

Punishment

Arsenal

Strafe

Gloom

Frost Shot

Farflight Quiver

 

Falstad Build

Falstad build used in HGC winning matches in USA, Europe, and Asia. Falstad hails from the World of Warcraft universe. He is a ranged assassin in Heroes of the Storm. The terror of the skies.

Falstad Build – eSports

Quackniix - Fnatic HGC EU - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 3 - Tricked esport v Fnatic -- Sept 3

Seasoned Marksman

Hammer Gains

BOOMerang

Mighty Gust

Giant Killer

Afterburner

Epic Mount
k1pro - Gale Force HGC NA - Phase 2 Part 2 - Game 3 - Gale Force Esports v Even in Death -- Aug 26

Seasoned Marksman

Hammer Gains

BOOMerang

Mighty Gust

Giant Killer

Afterburner

Epic Mount
Sake - MVP Black HGC Eastern Clash - Day 3 Game 1 - CE v MVP Black -- Aug 13

Seasoned Marksman

Hammer Gains

Secret Weapon

Mighty Gust

Giant Killer

Afterburner

Epic Mount
Xuyu - CE HGC Eastern Clash - Day 2 Game 1 - Team Face Check v CE -- Aug 12

Seasoned Marksman

Hammer Gains

BOOMerang

Mighty Gust

Giant Killer

Afterburner

Epic Mount

Falstad Features

ABILITIES

Hammerang

Throw out a Hammer that returns to Falstad, dealing 126 damage and slowing enemies by 25% for 2 sec.

Mana: 70
Cooldown: 10 sec

Lightning Rod

Deal 111 damage to an enemy, and an additional 78 damage per sec for 4 sec while close to the target.

Mana: 70
Cooldown: 15 sec

Barrel Roll

Dashes forward and grants a 178 point Shield for 3 sec..

Mana: 75
Cooldown: 14 sec

Tailwind (Trait)

Gain 15% increased Movement Speed after not taking damage for 6 sec.

Cooldown: 6 sec
falstad-portrait

Backstory

Falstad Wildhammer is the High Thane of the Wildhammer Clan and a founding member of the Council of Three Hammers that now presides over Ironforge. Despite wild speculation, Falstad has never been dead and anyone who claims such is a liar.



Description

Able to strike enemies from afar and fly over any terrain. Uses abilities to avoid damage or destroys his enemies.

Store Cost: 312 | heroes-of-the-storm-gold-icon 7000

Role: Ranged Assassin

Difficulty: Hard



Origin

falstad-store-thumbnailFalstad was originally introduced in the novel Warcraft: Day of the Dragon (reprinted in the WarCraft Archive).

During the Second War, the old Horde captured Alexstrasza (the Queen of the Red Dragonflight) and enslaved her brethren to use them as aerial siege weapons against the Alliance. Rhonin was sent by Krasus and the Council of Six to infiltrate Grim Batol in order to rescue the dragon. Falstad Wildhammer assisted Rhonin the mage and Vereesa Windrunner in that mission, and earned the respect of the Red Dragonflight.

Throughout World of Warcraft until the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Falstad was an NPC located at the Aerie Peak in The Hinterlands. In the Cataclysm expansion, the NPC was moved to the throne room of Ironforge as one of the members of the Council of Three Hammers.

Cameos:

"Agh? I'm yer' dwarf!"

"The wind at ma' back, and a monster 'tween my legs! Errrr..."

"Do a barrel role, eh?"

"(fart noises) Ewww! Man alive, Swiftwing! Did you eat a ghoul again?"

"(Upset stomach rumbling) Look out below, we've got a sick gryphon here!"

"It's nice ta' get out of Ironforge. I dunna' how those Bronzebeards can stand that cave."

"Rumors of me' death have been greatly exaggerated."

"Um, you didn't happen to see a little guy in a red shirt around here, did 'ya? He's always watchin' me..."

"In my day, it took serious dedication to ride a gryphon. Nowadays, even gnomes are doing it!"

"Thank you for flying Wildhammer Aerie-lines. Your in-flight entertainment today will be The Perfect Storm-Hammer"

"Flight attendant, me' mug is empty!"


Falstad Talents

Gathering StormQuest: Every time Hammerang hits a Hero increase its damage by 1.5.
Seasoned MarksmanQuest: Every Minion killed near you grants 0.2 Attack Damage, and Takedowns grant 0.5 Attack Damage.

Reward: Upon gaining 40 bonus Attack Damage, you can also activate Seasoned Marksman to increase your Attack Speed by 40% for 3 sec. 60 sec cooldown.
WingmanEnemy Minions killed near Falstad grant a stack of Bribe. Falstad can use 20 stacks to bribe a Mercenary, instantly defeating them and permanently increasing the damage of Lightning Rod by 5%. Does not work on Bosses. Max of 80 stacks.
Static ShieldGain a Shield equal to 4% of Falstad's max Health after every Lightning Rod strike. Lasts 4 sec and stacks.
UpdraftIncreases Barrel Roll's range, Shield amount and Shield duration by 40%.
Hammer GainsBasic Attacks heal for 20% of the damage dealt to the primary target.
Secret WeaponIncreases Hammerang's range by 30% and Basic Attacks deal 60% bonus damage while Hammerang is in flight.
BOOMerangReactivate Hammerang mid-flight to deal 217 damage around the hammer.
Charged UpIncreases the number of Lightning Rod strikes by 2 and its range by 25%.
Hinterland BlastAfter 1 sec, deal 756 damage to enemies within a long line. The cooldown is reduced by 25 sec for every enemy Hero hit.

Mana: 100
Cooldown: 120
Mighty GustPush enemies away, and slow their Movement Speed by 40% decaying over 4 sec.

Mana: 70
Cooldown: 60
ThunderstrikesLightning Rod deals 20% more damage each subsequent strike.
Flow RiderWhile Tailwind is active, Falstad's Basic Abilities recharge 100% faster.
Giant KillerBasic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of the Hero's max Health.
Crippling HammerIncreases Hammerang's slow from 25% to 50%.
Aerie GustsReduces the activation time for Tailwind from 6 to 3 sec, and increases the Movement Speed bonus from 15% to 25%.
AfterburnerBarrel Roll increases Movement Speed by 60%, decaying over 3 sec.
Call of the WildhammerHinterland Blast has double the range and deals 25% more damage.
Wind TunnelMighty Gust creates a wind tunnel for 4 sec. Enemies caught in the tunnel will periodically be pushed back.
Nexus FrenzyIncreases Attack Speed by 20% and Attack Range by 1.1.
Epic MountReduce the cooldown of Flight to 30 sec, reduce the cast time before flying to 0.5 sec, and increase the speed by 50%.


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Nova build

Nova build used in HGC and other Heroes of the Storm eSports events by the top pro gamers in the United States and Europe. Nova is a ranged assassin with permanent stealth when not in combat.

Nova build – eSports

przybli - Puszke Puszke vs Two Bees Determined - ZOTAC Monthly Final -- Nov 18

Longshot

Covert Mission

One in the Chamber

Precision Strike

Double Tap

Crippling Shot

Rewind

 

Nova Features

Snipe

Deals 322 damage to the first enemy hit.

Mana: 50
Cooldown: 6 sec

Pinning Shot

Deal 114 damage to an enemy and slow it by 40% for 2.25 sec.

Mana: 65
Cooldown: 12 sec

Holo Decoy

Create a Decoy for 5 sec that appears to attack enemies.

Using this Ability does not break Cloak.

Mana: 50
Cooldown: 15 sec

Permanent Cloak, Sniper

Nova gains Stealth when out of combat for 3 sec. Taking damage, attacking, using Abilities, or channeling reveals her.

Passive: Nova's Basic Attack range is 1 further than most other ranged Heroes.

nova-portraitNovember "Nova" Terra is a ghost of the Terran Dominion and one of the most powerful psionic soldiers ever known. Nova is highly focused, determined, and extremely deadly. Even Jim Raynor wouldn't want to be caught within her crosshairs.

Description

Automatically cloaks while out of combat. Snipes enemies from afar, and creates Decoys of herself to fool enemies.



Role: Ranged Assassin

Difficulty: Medium

History

nova-store-thumbnailNovember "Nova" Terra spent the best parts of her youth as the golden child of one of Tarsonis' wealthy Old Families. Though she exhibited signs of burgeoning psionic potential, Nova's parents insisted that she was merely sensitive or "empathetic," hoping to keep her abilities a secret (as much from the Ghost Academy that would conscript their child as from Nova herself).

When her family was violently betrayed and her telekinetic powers became destructively apparent, Nova was forced into hiding in the crime-ridden slums of Tarsonis' Gutter. The story of Nova's emergence from the Gutter is apocryphal, but the burden of psionic abilities and the pain of her family's ruin led her to seek refuge among the very Ghosts her parents hoped to keep her from.

Supremely dedicated, Nova excelled as a trainee in the Ghost Academy on Ursa, eventually earning the questionable reward of a mind-wipe that erased all recollection of her tragic youth – and the majority of her long-term memory with it.

As a full-fledged Ghost operative, Nova's duties have included battling zerg, investigating the psionic killers known as Spectres, and even dealing with noted enemy of the people Jim Raynor. Her service record has seen her assigned tasks of increasing importance to the leadership of the Dominion, and she stands ready to be dispatched on missions that will make her past pale in comparison.



Origin

Nova was first introduced in StarCraft: Ghost, an FPS video game developed originally by Nihilistic & Blizzard Entertainment. The video game was first announced at the Tokyo Game Show 2002. The game was later transferred to Swingin' Ape Studios. Blizzard Entertainment acquired the studios time later, and in 2006 the game was deemed postponed (not cancelled).

The novel was meant to ship the same day as the game, but the game was postponed. Nevertheless, Blizzard and Pocket Star Books decided to launch the novel months later, on November 28, 2006 ... Starcraft: Ghost--Nova by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

Nova was also featured in the Tokyopop manga StarCraft: Ghost--Academy Vol. 1-3. Nova was introduced as an NPC in a cutscene shown in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and the player controls her as a unit during an optional mission. Nova also appears briefly in the initial missions of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

Sample Description

These are the voice over quotes repeated by Nova when the player clicks on her multiple times. Transcript courtesy of Egrem. (Thank you)

"Nova here."

"Don't have all day."

"No, I am not Kerrigan... and if I had my own game, you'd know that."

"A Ghost's first and best weapon is her mind. Everything else is supplemental."

"If they're not dead, it's just because I haven't killed them yet."

"What can I say? I do have the best equipment."

"Watch where you're clicking! I'm not just some piece of assassin."

"You ever hear the one about the... is that a nuclear launch I detect, or are you just glad to see me?"

"Well all day long at Ghost Academy, all I hear is how great Sarah is at this, or how wonderful Kerrigan did at that. Kerrigan, Kerrigan, Kerrigan!"

"One shot, center mass. Pew."

"Boo."

"You think you have issues with your parents? Clearly you haven't heard my story."

"I can't believe I made out with Tosh. Wait, was I mind-wiped in that manga? I always forget."

"Blondes have more fun! See? So fun!"


Nova Talents

Advanced CloakingWhile Stealthed, Nova gains 2 Mana per sec and 25% increased movement speed.
LongshotIncreases the cast range of Pinning Shot by 30%. Pinning Shot also increases the range of Nova's next Basic Attack by 2.
Covert OpsAfter being Stealthed for 5 sec, Pinning Shot's slow is increased to 55% and costs no Mana. Bonus is lost after losing Stealth for 1 sec.
Remote DeliveryIncreases Holo Decoy cast range by 100% and its sight range by 50%.
Rapid ProjectionReduces Holo Decoy's cooldown and Mana cost by 40%.
Holo StabilityIncreases the duration of Holo Decoy by 120%.
Covert MissionEnemy Minions killed near Nova grant a stack of Bribe. Hero Takedowns grant 10 stacks of Bribe. Use 25 stacks to bribe a Mercenary, instantly defeating them. Does not work on Bosses. Max of 100 stacks. If a camp is defeated entirely with Bribe, the camp respawns 50% faster.
One in the ChamberAfter using an Ability, Nova's next Basic Attack within 3 sec deals 80% additional damage.
Anti-Armor ShellsNova's Basic Attacks deal 250% damage, but her Attack Speed is proportionally slower.
Snipe MasterHitting an enemy Hero with Snipe permanently increases the damage of Snipe by 15%. Stacks up to 5 times. All stacks are lost if Snipe fails to hit an enemy.
Triple TapLocks in on the target Hero, then fires 3 shots that hit the first Hero or Structure they come in contact with for 501 damage each.

Mana: 100
Cooldown: 100 sec
Precision SstrikeAfter 1.5 sec delay, deals 675 damage to enemies within an area. Unlimited Range.

Mana: 100
Cooldown: 60 sec
Double TapPinning Shot now has 2 charges.
Psionic EfficiencyRemoves Snipe's Mana cost and increases its range by 10%.
Explosive RoundSnipe also deals 50% damage to enemies near the impact.
Perfect ShotHitting enemy Hero with Snipe reduces the cooldown by 3 sec.
Crippling ShotPinning Shot lowers a Hero's Armor by 25 for the duration of the slow, causing them to take 25% increased damage.
Lethal DecoyHolo Decoy deals 40% of Nova's damage.
Fast ReloadTriple Tap's cooldown is reset if it kills an enemy Hero.
Precision BarragePrecision Strike holds 2 charges with a 3 sec cooldown between using each charge.
RewindActivate to reset the cooldown of your Basic Abilities.

Cooldown: 60 sec
Ghost ProtocolActivate to gain Stealth and become Unrevealable for 2 sec. Nova's attacks and Abilities will also not break Stealth during this time.

Cooldown: 60 sec

 

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Kerrigan build

Kerrigan build used in HGC and other Heroes of the Storm eSports events by the top pro gamers in the United States, Europe and Asia. Kerrigan is a melee assassin that dives into enemies, stuns with ground spikes, and pulls them with her wings.

Kerrigan build – eSports

Rich - MVP Black HGC KR - Phase 2 Part 1 - Game 2 - MVP Black v Mighty -- July 8

Siphoning Impact

Clean Kill

Bladed Momentum

Maelstrom

Eviscerate

Aggressive Defense

Psionic Shift
dami - MVP Miracle HGC KR – Phase 2 Part 1 - Game 4 - Mighty v MVP Miracle -- June 25

Siphoning Impact

Clean Kill

Bladed Momentum

Maelstrom

Eviscerate

Essence for Essence

Psionic Shift
Tumi - eStar HGC China - Phase 1 - Game 3 - eStar Gaming vs RPG -- Apr 17

Sharpened Blades

Fury of the Swarm

Bladed Momentum

Maelstrom

Eviscerate

Essence for Essence

Psionic Shift

 

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