Heroes of the Storm AMA Transcript – April 30, 2020

Around 6 months ago I released something you can use to modify the map that is loaded when you are watching a replay that allows tracking of a bunch more stats

The way it works is really quite simple: the game looks at the replay.details file to find out what map to load, and I change it from the automatically generated file path to a custom one, and then custom triggers can be used that generally don’t cause the replay to desync(Unless you are Tomb, Warhead, or Haunted Mines, strangely enough, and those work when it’s only AI, also strangely enough). There’s quite a lot of stuff there, like the amount of healing from each ability, damage from each ability, damage modified by armor, healing to each ally, damage to each enemy, and more niche things, like the amount of damage DVA prevented with Defense Matrix.

Is this something that players could have their accounts actioned for using? Although I released the first version 6 months ago, I’ve been actively using it for the past 8 months or so.

PS: could EventUnitTotalDamageMitigated return a negative value when armor increases the damage, like all the absorbed stuff does pls — Spazzo965

It’s one of my dreams of being able to give you guys more numbers from the games. It’s still on our wishlist. I’ve spoken with our engineers about exposing damage mitigation in the past. My understanding is that it would require code support. — Kevin Gu

If Blizzard wanted to implement something like this, they totally could, and not being limited to triggers would make it so much easier to do compared to how I had to do it, although some things would still need triggers or an engineer to add new stuff, like an example of something I implemented is tracking Sonya’s Wrath of the Berserker bonus damage – this currently would require triggers for Blizzard to implement it, or add new features to data to track the bonus damage from DamageDealtFraction as part of a behavior.

Triggers are kind of unreliable to 100% implement tracking with accuracy – like handling overkill is kind of a pain, and multiple damage effects happening at once can cause things to go pretty wrong, as triggers really only know what the state of the game is at the end of a game loop, not in between. Means that if you’ve got something applying armor after damage in the same loop, that armor did nothing in relation to that damage, but the triggers don’t know that(but even that has it’s own little exception in which you can discern info from where there isn’t any) — Spazzo965

You are right, trigger timing is something we always have to keep in mind while working on this project. It does make this kind of stuff more complicated to implement telemetry for if the specific data is not already exposed to triggers in an easy to use way. In most cases exposing data like this would require changes to the code, which means it depends on us having a compelling reason to do so — a feature or piece of content that requires it. Like everything it is a matter of resource allocation and prioritization. — Jeff Beaudoin

I’m asking for a friend of course: Are there any new main tanks in development or at least conceptually planned? I feel like my this role could use some love in particular. Cheers! — fishypenguin

Yes. — Andrew Kinabrew

Tassadar’s was the most in-depth rework so far, with an entirely new talent tree, a new basic ability and a new heroic. In terms of his development, as well as where he fits in the release cycle, does the team consider him a “new hero”? Or was his workflow still closer to that of past reworks? — maguszeal

I would say he’s firmly into new hero territory. We had talked about shifting him from a support role to an assassin for years, but we didn’t have a solid plan as to what this transition would look like. I knew from the beginning that Plasma Shield would have to be cut in favor of another damage ability, so I started experimenting with various abilities and what became Shock Ray fell into placepretty quickly. We experimented with just that addition for a while, but we realized very early on that that there was no reasonable way we could keep Dimensional Shift *and* inject more numeric power into his kit without it becoming overpowered or making extreme concessions elsewhere. Removing that safety option really broadened the possibilities for what we could do with Tass and we spent a good amount of time (~4-5 months I want to say) trying different things until the base kit resembled what it is now. Figuring out talents took another few months, but came together fairly easily. Moving Force Wall from an ultimate to a Basic Ability was a little contentious at first, but as we got used to playing with it we realized it worked well. Black Hole came very late in the design cycle and went through multiple iterations before it became what it is today. We stopped making big design changes to him probably 2-3 months ago, so his total iteration time was probably a year’s worth of time, which is fairly close to how long we iterate on brand new heroes. — David P Warner

Patch 50.0 included a great quality of life feature: we can now favorite our talents and, more importantly, copy and share builds with other players. Can we expect more features like this in the near future?

A lack of these kinds of features, many of which are highly requested, is one of the things that has dampened HotS’ popularity for years. Are we finally going to be getting frequent feature updates? — Pscythic

We absolutely love bringing new features like this to the game and are always working on and prioritizing the next ones. As passionate developers, any individual features release is normally just the beginning, as we often have improvements or quality of life changes already planned (and adding more from player feedback). These, of course, get put into the chute against all the other features we are wanting to work on. It’s a never-ending cycle that is honestly one of the more difficult parts of actively developing a live game. — Brett Crawford

Why doesn’t Kaelthas Living Bomb (W) show a red circle where the damage radius will be?

Almost every other ability that does delayed aoe damage will show a red outline first, including ones attached to a hero (like Ragnaros E). — Senshado

We tried several iterations of this. Every solution that was noticeable was also super noisy and added a lot of clutter to the battlefield. We haven’t been able to find a good compromise so far, but we will keep trying. — Kevin Gu

When will Deathwing’s emoticons :deathwingembarrassed: and :deathwingsad: finally be swapped?! Literally unplayable. — fishyPenguin

Oh dang, we weren’t aware of that one! We’ve got a bug in now, thanks for the heads up! — Taylor Hankins

Will there be any more improvements to the newly implemented saved builds for talents?

I can think of a few examples that may improve quality of life to this new feature:

• A toggle option to have builds auto select your favourite talents upon level up, excluding blank tiers and Lv1 talents so you can still select you build choice 1-3.

• A new hotkey keybind to select your chosen build’s favourite talent. Simmilar to Ctrl + 1-4 for regular talents. Example Ctrl + F for favourite talent.

• Have the AI select your chosen build’s favourite talents if you disconnect during a match.

Also on an unrelated note, any plans to implement damage prevented from armour to Healing/Shielding on the score board? I feel this will help more accurately show the value of healers such and Uther and Morales. — __RedFive__

Those are all really good suggestions we are exploring. Stay tuned!

How many new heroes are you guys working on at the moment? — nemanjanemanja992

More than 1. Less than 42. — Adam Z. Jackson

Any chance you could create a vs. AI game ‘Nightmare’ level that increases enemy AI hero health, physical damage and spell power by 20%? For most people playing vs. AI mode, ‘Elite’ level is probably too easy and they’re probably looking for a harder challenge. I think the resources required to do this is low, relative to the big pay-off for vs. AI players. — DCaptainNuts

I like this idea a lot. I think there is a lot that can be done to make vs. AI more interesting and unique in a way that PvP doesn’t really allow. I will pass this idea along to the team! — Jeff Beaudoin

How do you feel about enemy forts attacking you for dealing damage to enemies that are nowhere near that fort? For example, Lunara’s poison draws building aggro even when the enemy player leaves the lane, and Azmodan’s global summon can hit someone in top lane and cause a bot lane fort to attack him. — Beg_For_Mercy

We anticipated that this kind of feedback could happen, and we had many debates internally about exactly how tower aggro should work. For the release, we landed on a design that emphasized clarity as the most important aspect to guide tower targeting decisions. It’s an extremely clear rule to say “if you hit an enemy Hero, towers don’t like you”, and we initially didn’t want to muddy up that with a ton of exceptions unless we felt it was completely necessary to. Now that we’ve gotten a ton of feedback from you guys since the anomaly has been released, we have some changes coming that should address a lot of these concerns. — Adam Z. Jackson

What are your thoughts on melee assassins? It has been talked about by players a lot but I think that devs have only admitted they’re in a weird spot. I know that many of them like Kerrigan and Illidan can be oppressive when they can fully sustain themselves because they function as bruisers with more damage. Do you accept that that’s their fantasy and their weakness? (They either outlive everyone and kill them or they die in seconds) Or is there room for improvement? Maybe they should be less reliant on autos so that they don’t get countered by blinds and auto-attack speed reduction as much? And maybe they have less active sustain in exchange for that? Have you figured out the equation? — -Duality

I think that Melee Assassins are in a weird spot due to where they fit into a team composition. Most teams compositions that players are comfortable running consist of a Tank, an offlane Bruiser, a Healer, and two Ranged Assassins. Generally to make a team composition “feel” right, the Melee Assassin has to fit into one of the Ranged Assassin slots or replace the offlane Bruiser slot. This means that other team members have to flex their roles or risk running 3-4 Melee heroes in their composition, which often feels uncomfortable (though statistically is still completely viable). As a whole, Melee Assassins are performing very well in regards to how often they win games, so I don’t think there’s a problem with how effective they are. In regards to their design, there are specific Melee Assassins who have the high octane style of gameplay where they can dominate an entire enemy team if things go right (ex. Illidan), but they don’t all function that way. I think this is acceptable, as it fits a specific fantasy that many players like to chase. There are definitely some heroes in this category that can use work to be less spikey less often, but this is no different to me than other Assassins, Tanks, or Healers who could also use help in various ways. — Adam Z. Jackson

There have been hints at a D.Va rework dating as far back as July 2019 (as far as I know):

“Yes! We’re currently iterating on a D.Va rework that I’m personally very excited about. We can’t spoil too much, but we would like to call out that we’ve heard a lot of feedback about D.Va’s nebulous identity. In the rework’s current state, I would say she can opt into a solo-laner bruiser build, a team-support front-liner build and a pretty ridiculous self-destruct/pilot build, with lots of interactions between these options. In addition to the typical talent shuffles/improvements, there’s a host of QOL changes across many parts of her kit including, but not limited to:

D.Va’s Mech mode only suffering a movement speed reduction while Basic Attacking or channeling an ability, rather than at all times.

Defense Matrix can be re-targeted (with a short cooldown) while it is active.

Big Shot (Heroic 2) is now baseline in Pilot mode with re-adjusted stats to compensate. Yes, this means there’s a new heroic! You’ll never guess what it is! It’s Micro Missiles.”

This was posted by David Warner in an AMA almost a year ago.

Has there been any progress on this front? I’m curious if/when D.Va will ever see a rework in HotS as she’s currently a very fun hero to play, but often not an ideal pick. — Exvaris

There has been progress on D.VA. We are still working on her. 🙂 — Adam Z. Jackson

Lots of Mounts are currently unavailable for purchase, and hasn’t been for years.

Any chance that these will be brought back, either permanently or as Limited-Time Items? — Gnueless

The answer for this is going to vary entirely based on what mount you’re looking for. Some mounts were promised for meeting specific goals (like season rewards) or for participating during a certain time or event (like the BlizzCon mounts) and we wouldn’t want to make those less special by making them more widely available now. However, some older mounts we might be able to bring back, and there are others that we may be able to do new variations of. If anyone has a specific mount they want us to look into, leave me a reply and I can discuss it with the team! — Taylor Hankins


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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) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet’s patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donatives will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round.

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