From the Bullpen: Hero Lethality

Dustin Browder discusses more about decision making in Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm is a game that’s focused on strategy and team work. Our game is all about objectives, and working with and against the map and the enemy team in order win. Because each match features lots of tactical team fights, we’ve made some very specific choices about how quickly heroes can be killed. In general, our game is balanced around the team fight, and our tough heroes are designed to survive ferocious bursts from three to four enemy players. We are creating an experience where a team has a chance to do a few things before people start dying. Source


During the early part of the game, all heroes have all three of their main abilities unlocked and ready for use. We are also fairly generous with mana and energy costs so your abilities can be used fairly frequently. During this stage of the game, a surprise attack can kill low-health enemy heroes. If you take advantage of terrain, you can create ruthless two on one battles that can bring down an enemy. Warrior heroes (ETC and Muradin, for example) can be difficult to kill, even in two on one situations, since they have many abilities that allow them to control the battle. Once their mana gets low, warrior characters become much more vulnerable.


In the mid game, the objectives on the map start to become much more important. Players are probably levels 10 – 12, and heroic abilities are now a part of any serious engagement. Warrior heroes are even more difficult to kill, and support heroes are more powerful. Warriors in this part of the game need to be able to survive the focus fire from two or more enemies long enough that they can get a heal or use some of their abilities to break up an enemy formation. Support characters often have area-of-effect healing options, or other powerful support abilities that can help their entire team in a variety of ways.


In the end game (probably level 15+), the map objectives are now critical. Towns are now so weak compared to the power of the heroes that the only way to defend a town is with another hero. Bigger mercenaries or huge waves of the weaker mercenaries are common. Team fights are now the norm, with four to five heroes in every engagement on most maps. At this stage, Support heroes are very effective at keeping players alive. Warriors are tough, so they can survive burst attacks from an enemy team. Teamwork is required to overcome enemy formations that make good use of warrior and support characters.


In our alpha, these values have proven to be effective at creating the team-oriented Battleground game that we set out to make so many years ago. But we’re always willing to adjust our vision to make the best game we can. Further testing may show us a different way to go for game lethality, and we may change these values if we find through playtesting that this is not the most fun way to play Heroes of the Storm. Thanks again to everyone for helping us playtest the game.  =)

– Dustin Browder


Andy Go

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