Heroes of the Storm

List of AMA answers Hero Design and Balance.

HeroesoftheStorm 5 - List of AMA answers Hero Design and Balance.
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Q: I made a post about how statistics and machine learning techniques are showing that while XP changes did in fact make stomps less likely, they aren't turning out as well as the game was back before the "2018 Gameplay Changes": https://heroeshearth.com/b/ghostdunk/read/what-statistcs-and-machine-learning-can-teach-us-about-the-gameplay-changes-in-heroes-of-the-storm/ My question: are you looking at altering the XP changes at all? Would you ever consider reverting the XP changes, or even reverting the game back to 2017?

A: Firstly, thank you so much for the analysis! We greatly appreciate the work that went into it. We've got some additional thoughts on it that we'd like to share with everyone shortly!

Q: How do you feel about the state of weirdest heroes Chogall, Murky, Lost Vikings, and Abathur? It looks to me like one of them is too popular and the others are too unfavored.

A: This is somewhat of a difficult question to answer, as I believe it is a complicated issue.I really enjoy the weird, unique heroes that our game has to offer. I play the heroes that you listed a lot and enjoy them immensely (just ask any of the other Balance guys who are in this AMA). That being said, in my experience it’s extremely rare that these kinds of fringe characters exist in a space where they enjoy a lot of popularity while also being enjoyable to play with and against. I’ve found this to be true not only in our game, but in just about any game. While I’d love to live in a world where these characters are fun, balanced, feel good to play with and against, while also retaining their full flavor and unique space in the game, I think that it would require an unreasonable amount of work and would have a very high chance of failure. I also believe that, inevitably, most attempts to make these characters more mainstream would result in stripping away more and more of what makes them unique, as their special traits are directly at odds with what makes them unfun to play with or against in the first place.

My perspective now with these kinds of heroes is that am not eager to overhaul them, but I would instead massage and tweak them to be better versions of themselves over time. The recent changes to Cho’gall are an example of this, where I was looking to just make the hero more fun to play and have more interesting and competitive choices in their talents. I think we can make these heroes a little more mainstream and fun to use, but it’s important to me to keep their uniqueness as much as possible while doing so, unless they are a large problem at some level of play. If they are creating a huge amount of disruption for many players, then I think it’s more warranted to remove some of their uniqueness in the name of a better play experience for everyone.

I hope this adequately answers your question!

Q: But how can you massage Abathur? where are its shoulders?

A: Crap.

Q: In most redesigns and recent heroes, you've gone for the "apples to apples" philosophy which basically means that we no longer get to pick the direction of our heroes. Will that be changed?

To give an example with Zagara, before her remake she had a viable creep build but that was killed off entirely and now there's basically no build at all for her. You can pretty much random the talents now as they end up doing basically the same thing in slightly different ways.

Level 1: You now do a bit more damage in PvE, regardless of what you actually need or want.

Level 4: Your auto attacks now do a bit more damage, regardless of what you actually need or want.

Level 7: You now have slightly better poke, regardless of what you actually need or want.

Level 13: You now gain a slight bit of survivability, regardless of what you actually need or want.

Level 16: Your Hydras are a bit more effective, regardless of what you actually need or want.

Level 20: Don't even get me started, she has no level 20 unless you picked Nydus.

There's basically no point in even having a talent selection system with a tree design like Zagaras, there's no choice of direction at all apart from her lvl 10. The same theme can be seen in hero after hero, especially after being remake. Like Rexxar for example.

Will you revert the "apples to apples" philosophy as it basically means no choice of direction at all for the player?

A: Short answer: One of the core tenets of design is that by creating limitations, you gain greater freedom in all the areas where you don't limit yourself, and can focus on making these areas awesome. We think the "apples to apples" actually allows us to make more interesting Talents and push the limits of what Talents provide as a whole.

Now the long answer:

Let's start with the major goals of the Talent system, just so we have a common language.

To give a sense of growth to your Hero over the course of the game To add replayability to a Hero by giving you multiple interesting choices that changes the way you play them from game to game To add customization and ownership to your Hero that fits your preferred playstyle Now, over time, we've played with a lot different styles of Talent trees all trying to fulfill these goals, and we've learned a few things.

95% of the time, if a large majority of the Talent tiers offer vastly different choices (aka apples to oranges), one of them becomes dominant. Healers want healing. Damage dealers want damage. While in a perfect world these would all be really compelling and awesome choices, it rarely works out that way even after considerable efforts at tuning post ship. In order for tanky Talents on Valla to be attractive one-off choices, we need to make them really powerful. And if those choices are on almost every tier, then there's the option of Valla building almost exclusively tanky options, which would deviate from how we think the Hero should play. Offering this much variance typically means we need to dilute the effective power of the Talents or remove synergies within them, because if Jaina could choose 6 Talent tiers that all augmented her damage in a synergistic way, there is a huge jump in the power that a Jaina can deal by the end game. So instead we try to concentrate the coolness of the Talents into less choices that can be really synergistic and awesome and BIG COOL WOW MOMENTS. There are a few cases where "apples to oranges" does work, though we usually only do it on a few tiers. Continuing the Jaina example, at level 13 she can choose to take Ice Barrier (survivability), Icy Veins (damage), or Storm Front (something in-between). Now, we can make Ice Barrier a really powerful defensive Talent for Jaina that you can splash into your regular build, and have it feel like a meaningful change to the way you play your character. The most common place you'll see these hybrid tiers are on our Bruisers, as they are hybrid characters to begin with, and often survivabilty = damage for melee characters (staying in the fight means more damage). But we try to only do these 1 or 2 times on a Hero, for the reasons stated prior. Now, if you haven't noticed, we're always working on Talent trees. We can basically tinker with them forever to try and get them right, and we've learned so much over time from iterating on them. Some of the examples you bring up of Zagara and Rexxar have traditionally been difficult trees to get right, and I wouldn't be surprised if you don't see some more work done on them as we continue (you could say that about any Talent tree to be honest).

We are trying to add interesting ways to play that are different. We just don't want to take the easy way out and say that simply because Valla can get tanky, it's a fun way to be different. We instead try to focus on more nuanced gameplay, like Hungering Arrow or Hatred Builds, and making sure that there are reasons to take each of these.

Q: Very good design philosophy.

Has there been any consideration for talents designed to 'soften' a hard counter?

Example: a talent for Butcher that gives him move speed or other small buff when blinded. (You could even call it Blind Rage!) Talents that depolarize the matchup without removing the counter entirely. These can be placed in 'important' talent tiers so you must give something up to avoid the hard counter. Depolarizing these matchups seems a very desirable goal and I feel the talent system is uniquely suited to it.

A: We've talked about it in the past, but it's an area we tread lightly. We like the cleanliness of having Physical Armor or Blind be the counter to Basic Attackers. Then saying you could take Talents that say "oh but wait it's not", creates a sort of arms race that isn't something we're excited to pursue.

Q: Now that there's no competitive scene to worry about, does the balance team have more creative freedom than they used to?

Are we going to see reworks or even new heroes that push the meta boundaries again like Abathur and Cho'Gall?

A: It’s still a bit early to say, as there are people out there who are playing Heroes of the Storm competitively.

What I can say that right now we have been exploring being more liberal and less scared to make bolder changes in our balance patches, which you’ve seen over the last couple of months. I personally feel that these changes make the game feel more fresh and fun, and would love to continue doing more of these kinds of changes going forward.

I would like to pose the question you all since you own the game just as much as us. Do you like the direction that we have been going recently with larger balance patches that include more functionality changes and influence more heroes compared to what we have in the past?

Q: In the last balance update it was joked that "we're going to make you want to pick Aether Walker". Why not make it so that the mana reduction part of it is always active and only the CD reduction is based on when you last took damage?

A: I like the way you think.

Q: Will Chen ever get to see a rework of some sort or balance?

A: Yes.

Q: Can we have some spoilers?

A: I don't want to give away any specifics, but so far the results have been… Staggering.

Q: Heya! Level 140+ Ming here!

What do you think about the Li Ming threads that are asking for the Calamity damage to become baseline and to give her waveclear back?

Are you still ok with her 3% scaling for basic abilities and 5% scaling for heroics? (Personally I'm not a huge fan of this)

Since Ming is such a mana hungry hero, should all her lvl 1 talents provide more mana efficiency? Maybe Astral Presence increased to 35% (50% was indeed too strong, but 25% feels too late), Aether Walker could remove the mana cost for Teleport unconditionally and only keep the condition for the cd reduction. And also Force Armor could return some mana per Missile that hits an enemy Hero.

A: I would say that as a whole we are fairly happy with where Li Ming stands. She is still an incredibly popular hero who is performing adequately for how often she is picked. Her talents could use some improvement, but honestly for how long they have existed compared to how often we have changed them, they have also been doing fairly well. Regarding her talent diversity, I’ve made some strides in this regard recently, and I think you can expect a similar style of changes going forward.

In regards to Calamity, I don’t think we’ll see a world where we make it baseline. From her inception, Li-Ming was intended to not have the greatest wave clear in exchange for her powerful poke and ability to dramatically turn a team fight when she scores takedowns. Giving her great wave clear would be a gigantic buff which would inevitably cause us to nerf other parts of her kit that better relate to her core identity.

In regards to her scaling, it is something we could look at but it hasn’t caused any issues, so I’m hesitant to change it when she is performing so well already.

Her Mana costs are intended to be significant, particularly in moments where she’s getting resets on the enemy team. I can see a world where we make her Level 1 talents a little more potent in this regard, but we definitely still want to see her run out of Mana in long fights or when she gets resets.

Q: I would love to know what's still coming. The role rework is nearly complete, right? What's next after that?

Any plans to expose player MMR? Any plans to add all of the ARAM maps to the custom games map list? Is in-game clan support still a possibility? Any hope for an in-game tournament mode? Will I ever be able to spectate a friend's match? Is the public API still in the works? Will we ever be able to read 'official' stats instead of relying on incomplete data collected by fan sites like Hotslogs? I just want to know what to look forward to next 🙂

A: We are discussing the pros and cons of exposing MMR and have asked for the communities thoughts about it 🙂

There are no current plans to add the ARAM maps to custom games, but we do have some plans for ARAM in general that are under development.

Clans are still a very real possibility. It's all a matter of passion and prioritizing, and I know this is very high for both the community and us as developers.

Tournament Mode is something we have always wanted and we have discussed finding a way to make it a reality. The infrastructure for creating teams (what Team League originally was) is still around, and could be the starting point to automating tournaments. That said, there are so many questions to answer and development time costs to examine.

The ability to spectate has been explored and is not impossible, although there are some significant technical hurdles that would have to be solved. Pat talks about that a bit more in depth in another post.

A public API is something I would love to get to the players but I don't have any current information on it to share.

Q: What are the highest priorities for the game right now?

A: We have some immediate things that we want to do to get the game stabilized, including fixing the AI that we broke recently and delivering the Ranked Play improvements being outlined by the team here today. From there, our ongoing focus will continue to be around making improvements, changes, and additions to the game (design/balance/content/technology) that keep it feeling fresh and fun, as often as we can. As the team settles and we get through some of these urgent endeavors, everyone on the team is empowered to be asking themselves what the most impactful thing they can do for the game and for our players is each day. And we'll do as many of those things as we can, as quickly as we can. Your input continues to be critical in our plans, so thank you for being a part of this.

Q: It looks horrible that you have left the AI broken for so long. It makes it seem like HOTS is just not a priority for Blizzard – since clearly a bug that hurts gameplay so much would be fixed immediately in Overwatch.

Actions speak a lot louder than words. Or, lack of action in fixing this bug tell us more than carefully-written words in an AMA.

Please fix this soon, as it ruins so many games.

A: We agree that the way the AI broke is unacceptable and have been working very hard on a series of fixes that are in test. It's really important to us to fix this without introducing new issues or exacerbating the current issues, so the testing process is more involved than other changes that we make to the game. As you've probably seen from our past missteps, rollbacks and fixes are usually much faster and easier to turn around than this one, and we're really disappointed that things got to this state and are taking this long to rectify. We're eager to get this fixed – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Q: Balance: How do you feel about Deckard Cain right now?

It looks like he's under-performing a lot.

A: Deckard Cain is an interesting hero. He was a monster at the higher levels of play not too long ago, and then we nerfed him fairly significantly and have slowly been bringing him back up since. He is still a bit weak, so you can expect him to get some more buffs in the future. We are taking an incremental approach to bringing him back up in his win rate as he can quickly dominate the Healers in the game when he is too strong.

Q: ( Balance ) Why is block based on the number of times attacked instead of a timed amount such as a magic defense buff. I feel the talents that utilize block are easily negated by rapid attacking heroes such as lucio, Dva, and Genji. Am I missing something here, or would this not be a better way to go to make block a more useful talent?

On a side note, I would personally like to see more cross universe skins, like the butcherlisk, goblin junk rat, and death wing dva. Just my opinion.

Thanks for your continued dedication and support for this amazing game!

A: We've traditionally made Block and similar Talents use charge based effects so that they were especially useful when trading. The idea behind them originally was that you could feel free to go in when your Block charges were available, and then back away when they were gone. There's also something visceral about getting a high block value on a few attacks, as opposed to spreading it out over a duration. And if we were to try and create a really short duration high value Physical Armor, it would be noodley since it's much more difficult to anticipate exactly when your opponent is going to Basic Attack you.

It's true that it's less powerful against fast Basic Attacks like Tracer or Tychus, but in general we think there are already plenty of counters to Basic Attacks so having Block only be effective sometimes is a positive.

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Q: The most recent balance patch has buffed lots of weak talents, rather than nerfing the strong ones like before. Is this related to the cancellation of professional matches? Or just to try a new approach? In addition, almost every hero’s modification has a developer's comment now. Why? Will it continue in the future?

A: Since the new year we have been trying a new approach where we make more changes to more heroes. This is something that I have been passionate about for some time, and we feel like it’s a good time to try to be more experimental with our balance patches. We also have been wanting to increase developer communication, and our last balance patch was an experiment with having every change come with a developer comment.

This is still something new for us, so please let us know if you want to have larger balance patches like we have had, and if you want to have every change come with a developer comment. This is not something that we have to do and we can change this, but right now we feel like it has been good for the game.

Q: Will it be possible to have fixed teams per seasons (with a Team MMR instead of a personal MMR and special rewards) in the future?

A: It is definitely possible! In fact, the original launch of Team League was designed to do this exact thing. While we ultimately changed that design direction, we have very recently started early talks about potentially bringing it back in some form. We all know how incredible and rewarding the game is when played with a static group of friends and we are looking to prioritize the features that would most dramatically help players find and play with their buddies!

Q: The current version has too many ranged mage heroes. A large proportion of the total damage output is of ability damage. Now the DPS contest is more like an exchange of abilities. Valla, Tracer, Greymane and other heroes become less playable, and they require much resources from the supports. Is there any plan to adjust this in the future?

A: This is a fantastic question. Honestly we haven’t discussed the parity between Basic Attack heroes vs. ability based heroes at length recently, and I think it is a discussion worth having. I cannot promise any changes right now, but I will bring this up to the team and see where we stand in this regard.

Q: Are there any balance changes coming for valeera? As a long time valeera main I love her to pieces but I feel forced to pick a similar build every game (sinister strike + ambush build), and she feels like she could use some tweaking.

Blade Flurry especially feels like a waste of energy in fights, and using it almost always reduces my effectiveness. 40 energy is very steep for an ability that doesn't deal all that much damage, and doesn't help you stick to your target like sinister strike does.

I would also like her scope of usefulness to be expanded a little. I very rarely get to pick her in draft as she's so niche, and even in those situations where she can work, i feel a nagging feeling that I could be having a higher impact on other heroes (Like varian in the anti dive role, or most other melee assassins if you're drafting her in a stitches comp or something to blow someone up). In my experience the most uniquely powerful thing she can really do is shut a hero like butcher or artanis down almost permanently with the insane blind uptime from level 13 onward.

Ambush build is her best right now, because it allows her to actually secure kills, and because the CDR on vanish is so important. She basically just has to spend her time waiting for imperius to land a Q or kerrigan to land a combo or something like that, then jump on the target and delete them with the team. Easily the most effective way to play her. But not really something exclusive to valeera. Death from above's CDR means you can swap targets more effectively, run away sooner if you need to, and even ambush a second time for even more damage. Unfortunately, this doesn't work with CC so you feel kind of forced into ambushing. Not because it is most effective, but because it gives you CDR on vanish which is just that important. Valeera really misses nightslayer. I'll say that much.

The seal fate + sinister strike build basically relies on hunting down people who are wandering around alone late game which won't happen if your opponents have brains, so it really falls off. The teamfight power of this isn't strong enough. She is very bad at diving the enemy team as her damage isn't hard to heal off, she has mediocre escape tools, and she isn't good at switching targets mid fight. She's more like "jump on someone, dump everything on them, and hope they die" which she again isn't really good enough at to play her in that role. Her stun is not long enough to set up kills like other heroes can unfortunately. Being teleported BEHIND the target is often more of a curse than a blessing, as it means you'll be in the middle of the enemy team and easy to punish (another reason why death from above's cooldown reduction is so important, without it you can't even attempt to make a play like this safely, but with it you can do it once in a while). Because of this, she really cannot be the one to initiate on the target, and when your tank is isolating someone you'll get the most out of ambush build to maximize your damage.

Her anti-dive power is really limited to shutting down a single diver. Illidan, butcher, genji, and so on can be shut down, but you can only shut down one at a time. She can peel reasonably well against one hero, and that's really it. A coordinated dive with anub, etc, genji, kara, and so on will leave you unable to really do much. She's more of "anti one diver" than anti dive.

A: I think we've mentioned this in past AMAs, which unfortunately reminds me that we haven't been able to get changes for Valeera out to you all in a timely manor. I'll try to give you what our current opinion of Valeera is (at least right now):

Having a bunch of Talents that focus on only 1 opener isn't ideal, since it discourages you from ever using the other openers She's always towed the line between viable and frustrating, mainly due to having burst and CC on the same kit. One of our original goals for the Hero was to be the "anti-carry", being able to really shut down the throughput of 1 particular character. Obviously there are challenges to make this dream come true without being frustrating if you're the chosen prey of Valeera, so we'll have to see how that goes as we refine her place in the Nexus.

Q: One of the primary criticisms of HotS that's existed since the game's inception (and the primary reason I now believe HotS never took off against primary competitors) is reduced player agency vs other Mobas, i.e. reduced individual impact (or the perception thereof).

My question is: Are there any plans to make core adjustments to increase player agency?

A: This exact concern is probably the largest and longest running in our bullpen. We love the team-experience that Heroes has brought the genre, but have always been looking for ways to also allow individuals to show off their skill. If you look at the history of the game, a lot of design decisions and changes have been pointed towards this direction. Quest talents were directly evolved from trying to find ways to create skill-based asymmetrical power spikes throughout the game. You will also notice that a lot of our reworks and newer Heroes have dramatically higher skill-ceilings, allowing talented players to really showcase the power potential behind the Hero.

As for the future, I don't think we will ever stop trying to find new and creative ways to allow individuals a chance to show-off how good they are and make huge plays. All this said, the heart of the game is based on winning or losing together as a team.

For some fun insight – we have done quite a bit of experimenting around ripping out team levels completely but every time we do it, the game starts to unravel and loses a lot of the magic that makes it so incredible. However, I doubt that we will ever stop trying these things because even when they ultimately fail, it helps us understand and reinforce the largest core pillar of our game!

Q: Has the suspension of HGC influenced the development team on the hero/map balancing?

A: The short answer is that the change is still relatively new, though we are currently experimenting with being more liberal with our balance changes, and have been making more changes that in the past we would have seen as being too risky with a constant competitive league running. Our focus with our changes is still to make the most fun game possible, and while we will always look at high level play, we are looking to be more bold with our balance changes in the near future.

Please feel encouraged to give us feedback on whether or not you like this shift in our balance patches, as this is not something that we always have to do, even if it is what we want to experiment with for now.

Q: Thrall: Recently, development has deliberately walked back the “Quests everywhere!” philosophy they first rolled out on Thrall. The hero is in a good spot, but his tree suffers from over-emphasis on quests (and some that are just too punishing/inferior). Do you intend to go back and brush up his tree to match the departure from over-saturation of quests, or is he in a good enough spot that you’d rather leave him alone?

(Thrall is still my favorite hero, BTW, and I really like his rework. Not knocking him or the job you’ve done with him, just curious!)

A: One of the cool things about Talent trees is that they can have their own unique flavor on each Hero. In Thrall's case, he has quite a few quests, but we think that's something that makes his Talents different and for the most part work on the character. I wouldn't expect us to do this type of thing very often however.

And let's be honest, Thunderstorm isn't exactly a quest Talent, we just use the quest pings for it. In fact (keep this between you and me), we're planning on removing the quest classification of the Talent, which will reduce Thrall from 3 to 2 Tiers of Talents that are quests.

Q: Is there any plan to rework Kharazim's Transcendence and Insight builds? I can't but help feel that the requirement to land free punches in order to function as a strong healer is less about the player's skill and more about whether the opposition chooses to let you do it, either through negligence or lack of coordination or whatever.

A: We don't have any plans to drastically rework Transcendence or Insight. While we think there's some small changes we can make to his Talents to allow him to be a little more consistent with his ability to Basic Attack in general, statistically Insight and Transcendence have comparable winrates, and while Iron Fists is the most picked at high level, the other two are still close.

We try to walk the line with Kharazim between making Transcendence and Insight a meaningful portion of his power pie, without making the healer feel like he can't heal unless he can manage to punch people an entire fight.

Q: Is there any plan to rework malthael tormented souls and/or buffing "passive" build? Or maybe even reworking him again?

A: We don’t have any plans to rework Malthael. However, while Tormented Souls is performing appropriately compared to Last Rites, I agree that it is a little simple and could use some love functionally to make it more interesting. I’ve made a note to see what we can do to spruce it up sometime soon ™.

Q: Are there any situations where you would consider large nerfs in a single patch instead of several small nerfs across several patches? I've noticed that many high-performing heroes like Hanzo and Maiev would receive several, small nerfs over many patches that, at least from my point of view, would do very little to reduce the massive impact they have in my drafts and games. I've also seen this with buffs for heroes like Lunara, who has received a single buff to a single talent across multiple patches as opposed to getting several buffs at once. While I'm sure small buffs and nerfs are preferred to prevent over-buffing or over-nerfing a hero, are there any situations you would consider more dramatic changes to push a hero up or down in power much faster than they currently move?

A: The scale of the changes we do to a hero are almost always to scale with the challenges that they are posing at any particular time. I am however fairly comfortable in saying that in most cases small incremental changes are the preferred way to do things. The biggest reason is that, like you pointed out, there is much less risk of overshooting and creating a new problem. There have been some times in the past that we have done larger changes when we felt they were warranted, with some examples being changing Garrosh’s Q or Zarya’s trait tuning when she released. However, generally we feel it’s much healthier for the game to do small changes over time and saving the large, dramatic changes only for times when they are absolutely necessary.

Q: Balance: How do you choose which underperforming Talents to buff and/or to buff first? I noticed you buffed some only, with probably more to come in the future. I love how you balanced the game during the last Season!

A: There are quite a few factors we consider when doing minor talent tweaks like the ones you’ve seen over the past few balance patches. This isn't a complete list, but I’ll try and touch on a few with some personal examples:

Is the talent fun?

I would be hard pressed to precisely define what makes a talent ‘fun’, but, generally, it’s creating interesting choices that have meaningful impacts on the way the hero interacts with other heroes and their overall environment. Sometimes talents are overly focused to the point where they become binary (and thus unfun) choices. For example Lt. Morales’ Vanadium Plating talent (Level 7 Safeguard) used to only provide its bonus against Stun effects. While the bonus it provided was great (55 armor!), it was so situational that you hardly ever saw its effects and that made it not very fun. Now, with Root effects granting the bonus as well, you can reasonably expect to see a fat 55 next to your allies’ nameplate several times during a game and feel good about the choice you made.

​Is the talent under-performing numerically, or does it have a structural problem keeping it from being valued?

Talents that provide very linear bonuses to the things the hero should be doing already are very easy to analyze and change while talents that have more intangible or circumstantial benefits are harder to address. A great example would be the recent changes to Li-Ming’s Aether Walker (Level 1 Teleport). While the fantasy and mechanics of zippin’ and zoopin’ around the battlefield is really cool and satisfying, it’s hard to pin down exactly how much value you’re getting from it over the course of the game. Compare that to Power Hungry which very obviously makes your blue bar fill up faster and your purple pew pews make bigger numbers. Adding Magic Missile damage to the talent was a good way of injecting guaranteed value to an otherwise circumstantial pick.

​Does the talent work against the prevailing ‘meta’ of the hero?

I won’t speak for all our designers, but from my experience, once your designs are in the hands of countless players of all skill levels all over the world, your understanding of individual pieces of the design will change. It’s exciting to see how heroes are played when they’re out in the wild because players have a wide variety of playstyles, aptitudes, and opinions as to how a hero should be used. When this sort of case arises, we go back to the drawing board and try to retool the talent to align more with player expectations. A personal example for me is the Azmodan rework and his level 1 Q talents. While he was intentionally being pointed more towards PvP teamfighting, I wanted to keep a PvE option available in the form of the Greed talent. Unfortunately for me, the efficacy of his PvP potential was seized upon by players and Azmodan’s meta role as a lane controlling soak machine fell to the wayside in favor of pure artillery poke. No matter how much PvE power we could pump into this talent, it was not going to be picked against the other talents that helped Azmodan get big beefy dunks.

Q: Is there any chance for a Tassadar rework? I hate being flamed for playing my favorite hero on QM.

A: Absolutely! While we're not ready to share specific details yet, I can say that we're steering him towards the spell caster fantasy and play-style you would expect of a High Templar.

Q: Man this is the most exciting thing I’ve read in here. I love tassadar but I wish you’d just remove the shield ability, it doesn’t fit his fantasy whatsoever. Also his trait is just weird and isn’t a high Templar ability. Put power into his damage and make him the mage he should have been for years now.

A: I will say that we've drawn a lot of inspiration from the Legacy of the Void opening cinematic and hope to capture the fantasy it invokes.

Q: Actually a Design question: Will you rework your wording to allow less confusion of sub-roles?

Having a "Mage" is extremely confusing for new players since they think "Nova can't be a mage because she has a sniper rifle".

Also, you have a word (Mage) for Spell Damage Dealers (which doesn't discriminate between Melee Spell Damage or Ranged) but you don't have a word for Ranged Basic Attack Damage Dealers which is a gigantic mouthful. Why hasn't this been properly researched and implemented?

A: Thanks for the feedback! I'll bring this up to the designers before we rollout the UI for expanded roles role in an upcoming patch.

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Video Games of 2020

2020 will have something to satisfy classic and modern gamers alike. To be eligible for the list, the game must be confirmed for 2020, or there should be good reason to expect its release in that year. Therefore, upcoming games with a mere announcement and no discernible release date will not be included.

Top 15 NEW Games of 2020 [FIRST HALF]

2020 has a ton to look forward to...in the video gaming world. Here are fifteen games we're looking forward to in the first half of 2020.

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