Heroes of the Storm

Hero lvl 86 Chen player: Rework gives me a chance to retire

HeroesoftheStorm 7 - Hero lvl 86 Chen player: Rework gives me a chance to retire
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I wanted to also give my thoughts on the Chen rework. Chen was my most played hero with 633 or so games at level 86. He also was my highest win rate hero at around 58%. (ref
Profile?PlayerID=2681127 - Hero lvl 86 Chen player: Rework gives me a chance to retireHotsLogs,
HeroesProfile) I primarily played QM to learn him and then draft modes (mostly unranked) in the gold-platinum range. Not a pro, but I feel I mastered him within my 'league'.

The rework is disappointing, but its a great opportunity for me to finally uninstall and spend more time on other things. It is a sad way to go, and I’d like to keep playing, but I’m tired of investing time mastering a hero and having it completely overhauled to the point where my mastery was wasted. With a new hero it is fun to learn something new, but with a hero you’ve mastered it is so frustrating and feels so bad I just can’t do it anymore. Here is some feedback that the developers should consider:

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  1. Fundamentally I disagree with the developer assertion that he was not ‘interactive’. (ref: Article, dev reply) Unlike the super long-range frustration of Hammer and Chromie, Chen is in your face and highly interactive. His drinking trait is the key to both playing well and playing poorly. And not just that, Chen is a tempo hero. If his combo+drinking flow is disrupted by the opponent he is going to have a bad time, but if he can adjust to their disruptions and get into a rhythm then he can do great. I feel this is a ‘meta’ game that is actually highly interactive, but likely different than what the developer understands. The article with the developer indicates that he was thinking in binary terms, hard cc = dead, no cc = Chen wins. The reality, however, is that against cc you can bait out cc and win, and likewise, without hard cc I could still lose (badly) if I was just getting my flow disrupted.
  2. Chen is a control hero and is about patience. This is likely why he is very hard to master and hard for players to get into him since its not a typical play style. It can seem like he is doing ‘nothing’ when standing around drinking. But, in fact, this part of the flow. Opponents that understand this can neutralize Chen without having to kill him, just by disrupting the rhythm of his combos+drinking having him out of position at the wrong times etc he will lose, no hard cc needed. The developer was fixated on this because he was thinking of it as a binary around cc but since this wasn’t the problem, the rework is completely off the mark. I think the original Chen was for the most part a slam-dunk in terms of capturing a certain unique mindset, playstyle, and theme, and it didn’t need to be ‘fixed’ just tweaked.
  3. Regarding the rhythm to his play style: ALL of his cooldowns were originally 5 seconds. Thus, I have found (without ever thinking about it before) that what I enjoyed was this zen-like musical flow to his gameplay, ie rhythm. Because all of the cooldowns are on 5 seconds, it literally gives you a beat to follow: keg-flame-3-4-5-keg-flame-drink-2-3-4-5-kick! And so on. Thus, the decision to stack flame breath behind keg smash and change the drink cooldown has the consequences of disrupting this flow. Additionally, the 1.5 delay imposes additional issues (below). This also disrupts his ability to put out his combo burst quickly which was already offset by his need to have to stop periodically to drink. Thus, someone doing it ‘wrong’ would be hampered by this penalty, but someone that has the flow down will know when to do the combo and burst and when to drink seamlessly. In the article, the developer seems to have understood there was a flow, but it does not explain the reasoning behind ruining the flow to get more 'interaction' time. Overall Chen has fewer options and doesn't have anything that 'feels' right, and I'm just so much less effective.
  4. Brewmaster’s Balance (BMB) adds another level where you have to manage your brew level to play optimally. You wanted to sit at the 50 brew as much as possible to get both bonuses. Hiding flame breath behind keg and changing the brew amounts disrupts the flow of being able to easily control my flow. One reviewer said they would want an ability that took off brew that did literally nothing so that he could control his brew level. I agree. I need to be able to get to 50 brew so that I can use the move speed to reposition to a safe place to drink. Likewise, an opponent has plenty of opportunities to ‘interact’ to deny. Chen does not necessarily need to be killed to be neutralized in a fight.
  5. The loss of the instant brew at the beginning of drinking makes it much easier to disrupt Chen. Now, not only are his combo options limited, BMB more complicated, and drinking cooldown increased, but he will also have zero brew if his drinking is disrupted. I am not seeing what offsets all of those highly flow breaking changes. Apparently, they added damage, but if you cant get into the flow to use it, then it doesn’t matter.
  6. Stagger – This ability has a very long cooldown (compared to his other abilities) and should have been on the extra key bar. The mechanic essentially gives you some extra time to do your stuff before drinking. The thing is, it doesn’t really help with all of the problems introduced above. Its kinda just his regen in reverse, but active, and I think it has a similar utility to elusive brawler, but why did it have to be on the main ability bar? The problem is I still am drinking on a slower cycle, can get disrupted more easily out of it, and have more difficulty getting the runspeed BMB to reposition to be able to drink or get back into the fight after drinking, and I have to take an additional 1.5 seconds to do my combo. The developer seems to basically suggest that they're just trying to slow down interactions with Chen, which I thought was fine before, but this just puts Chen at a disadvantage all the time.
  7. It is interesting that the article doesn’t indicate the developer talked at all with people that play Chen a lot to get their input. Because Chen is so niche this is extra important. As I said at the beginning, I am very effective with him and enjoy him because his gameplay is so different, and it suits me, and so the developers should not be getting rid of heroes like this. They give the game flavor.
  8. I don’t like reworks that fundamentally change how a hero feels to play. If I invest hours and hours into mastering something, and then it is arbitrarily changed, its really frustrating and its going to drive me away. Here was a problem that didn’t need fixing. Chen wasn’t dominating anything, but he was very fun to play in niche cases, but he could still both deal with and be dealt with in ways that are more nuanced than the binary decision the developer implied. I'm sure I could explore new builds, but the cooldown and fundamental drinking/flow changes just feel too bad to start all over with. Why cant they do major changes on new heroes and just keep tweaking old ones? I want to be able to come back to an old hero with his strengths and weaknesses and just feel comfortable with my mastery.

TLDR:

Developer could have preserved the feel of the hero and still accomplished goals. Right now it feels very clunky. Developers should avoid reworks that completely change the hero feel because it will drive away people who wasted the investment of mastering the hero. Developers should get input from players who have mastered the hero, not from popular opinion.

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