Heroes of the Storm

Climate Phenomena Nexus Anomaly Deep Dive

HeroesoftheStorm 3 - Climate Phenomena Nexus Anomaly Deep Dive
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With the 2.51.0 Patch, Blizzard has released another Nexus Anomaly that has introduced three weather effects to the game, Rain Storms, which provide movement speed and damage, Snow Flurries, which provide shields, and Foggy Mists, which provide stealth to heroes in shrubs.

Rain Storms are present on Garden of Terror, Sky Temple, Warhead Junction, Braxis Holdout, Dragon Shire, and Blackheart's Bay

Snow Flurries are present on Cursed Hollow(Including Sandbox), Infernal Shrines, Volskaya Foundry, and Alterac Pass

Foggy Mists are present on Tomb of the Spider Queen, Battlefield of Eternity, Hanamura Temple, Towers of Doom, and Haunted Mines

If the Battleground is not one of those, then the weather effect is randomly chosen beween Rain Storms, Snow Flurries and Foggy Mists

The way the weather system works visually is that when the game first starts, it creates a Weather unit every 12×16 radius on the battleground, and when the weather changes, these units are sent signals to create actors(which are essentially what drives any visuals players see) for Rain, Snow, Sand(does not feature any effect to units), Fog, or Sun(does not feature any effect to units), and then it also starts a 6 second timer for the first weather event.

Once that 6 second timer has elapsed, the weather system activates properly, and depending on the weather type, the following happens:

If the weather is Rain Storms, then the game sets a 55 second timer till the first lightning strike. If the weather is Snow Flurries, then it instantly starts snowing, if the weather is Foggy Mists, then fog settles in.

Each of these weather events are then active for 2 minutes, and if the weather is Rain Storms, then after the first strike, 25 to 35 seconds later(not 20 to 40, as the patch notes say), another strike will occur, and this will repeat as long as Rain Storms are active(If Lightning is due to strike when Rain Storms have expired, it will not strike)

Once a weather event has ended, the game then starts a 4 minute timer, and this process repeats throughout the game. The only difference between the first and any subsequent events is for Rain Storms, where for all events other than the first, lightning strikes will strike every 25-35 seconds.

Now that we've got the timing out of the way, here is how each of the buffs work:

Rain Storms: When this strikes, every unit in a players "hero unit group" gains 15% movespeed for 8 seconds, and they also search within a 2.5 radius for enemies to damage for 23 damage(scaling at 4% per level) when it first strikes, and every 0.5 seconds thereafter for the aforementioned 8 seconds. Note that this buff does not get applied if the target is in a special death state(such as Leoric's Undying or Uther's Ghost Form), and if they enter such a state, it will be removed.

Snow Flurries: When this first activates, every unit in a players "hero unit group" gains the shield controller behavior, and what this does is every 0.5 seconds, applies 28 shield(scaling at 4% per level), and this can stack up to 8 times(totalling to 224). Note that this will not apply the shield if the target has been damaged any time in the past 5 seconds(excluding most DoTs, as they do not reset the damage timer), or if they are considered "benign", which generally means in a state of non-interactivity, like stasis, ghost form, and similar effects.

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Foggy Mists: When this first activates, it applies an upgrade to all players to enable night time(as best as I can tell, this doesn't actually do anything meaningful, it's just a second method that causes things to get removed), and applies a controller behavior to all of a players heroic units that aren't summoned or hidden(I think this only excludes Abathur's Ultimate Evolution). What this controller does is every 0.0625 seconds, it applies a 1.5 second countdown behavior(as long as the behavior is not already present), and when that behavior expires, it applies the 40 second cloak. Note that units that lack the ShrubStatusController behavior can not gain the cloak, which is why Nova's Decoys and Samuro's Mirrors do not gain the cloak, even if they were active when the fog rolled in.

And here's how they get removed:

Rain Storms: This simply last for 2 minutes, and lightning can't strike when it's not raining. This means there can be a maximum of 4(25s, 50s, 75s, 105s) lightning strikes in that 2 minute period, and a minimum of 3(35s, 70s, 105s)

Snow Flurries: Once the 2 minutes expires, all units in the hero unit group have 1 stack of the controller removed(this effectively removes the controller), and 1 stack of the shield is removed(so if you had 3 stacks of the shield, you now have 2)

Foggy Mists: Once the 2 minute expires, all heroic non-summoned non-hidden units in the map belonging to a player have the controller, the countdown timer, the cloak, and all other associated other behaviors removed, and the upgrade level is set back down to 0

Now that we've done with the "what's implemented", no doubt people are curious about what isn't – I mentioned two other weather forms – Sand and Sun. Those both have completely implemented visuals that function identically as the three functional weather variants, but they lack any sort of function, and there are no hints in place to what they may or may not have planned.

Here is what the "Sandstorm" effect looks like:
7uc5vw - Climate Phenomena Nexus Anomaly Deep Dive

https://streamable.com/7uc5vw

Here is what the "Sunny" effect looks like: https://streamable.com/4pyhnq

The description Blizzard has for these effects is "Sunny Weather-No effects implemented yet! Looks cool though :)" and "Sandstorm-No effects implemented yet! Looks cool though :)", and that's that for those.

Then there's also some unimplemented or scrapped designs for some of the other weather effects:

At some point through its development, the fog had a few different variants hinted at either by data or strings. One form had it reduce your vision as well as the featured effect, and the other form also had it prevent minions from giving vision to their team, alongside reduced vision and stealth, and there are also references to Minion & Mercenaries just granting less vision. The reduced vision set your maximum vision to 6(meaning some Heroes would actually not be able to see as far as they can fire their basic attacks), and that's about all I can tell there.

The Rain Storms at some point also had an 8 second 256 strength shield associated with it, and the lightning at one point also only struck near team fights(if none were active, it struck randomly around the battleground), and heroes near the area hit would gain the benefits as they do now. There was also some point it they granted 35% movespeed, rather than the 15% seen on live, and 25% seen on PTR, and another point where it granted 20%

Lastly, there are triggers in place to change the lighting to a more traditional day-night form, which you can see here:
https://i.imgur.com/R30nALP.jpg. Strangely, this was only set to potentially occur on Infernal Shrines.

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