Heroes of the Storm

These are the (talent) changes I want for my girl Li-Ming ♥

HeroesoftheStorm 9 - These are the (talent) changes I want for my girl Li-Ming ♥
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Ah, Li-Ming, the smug, sassy wizard who has a habit of not wearing all that many clothes. She is my most played hero, and the best 15K gold I've ever spent in this game. I love this character so much ♥! Her kit is unique, rewarding, and Critical Mass is arguably one of the strongest base abilities in the entire game. Though she's not perfect, and there are a couple of things that about her that could use touching up. I consider myself a bit of an expert on Li-Ming, so I'd like to share the things I would most like to see changed about her, specifically to her talent tree.

Now, I know a lot of people feel Li-Ming is a bit too weak right now and she could use some buffs. But I don't want to talk about things like that for a few reasons. Firstly, I don't actually think she needs buffs, and her perceived weakness is mostly from people having the wrong mentality while playing her, but either way it's very debatable. Secondly, stat changes are boring and do not fix the more fundamental issues that her talent tree has at the moment (which means I'm also not mentioning her odd scaling curves even though they do bug me). I want to fix those issues and make her talent tree more interesting and diverse. With that out of the way, let's get to it!

There are 2 and a half major issues I see within Li-Ming's talent tree. The 2 major issues are Orb Build and Seeker, and the half is Calamity. While Calamity feels like a must-pick talent in many cases, I think this is mostly because it doesn't have enough competition at its tier and not because the talent is too strong per-se. After making my other changes, all I would do to Calamity is move a bit of its damage to Li-Ming's other abilities. For example, reduce its damage from 300 to 250, increase each Magic Missle's damage by 10, and Arcane Orb's damage by 20. This keeps Li-Ming's total burst damage the same if she takes Calamity, but reduces the opportunity cost of not taking it.

Now onto the big stuff, starting with Orb Build. This is certainly an interesting puzzle. On paper, the Arcane Orb build (Triumverate, Zei's Vengeance, Glass Cannon (usually), Arcane Orbit) looks completely overpowered. At level 16 and above, your Arcane Orbs start dealing somewhere between 1000 and 1200 damage near max range, they can splash on multiple targets, and have a 2 second cooldown if you keep hitting heroes! That's so short that if you hit a max range Orb, you have to wait less than half a second before you can cast another one. The numbers this build theoretically puts out are insane…yet in practice, it has been severely underpowered since release. The reason the cooldown and damage are so ridiculous is that they were buffed that high in an attempt to make the build good, yet its win rate is still well below 50%. Why? How? Clearly, more number buffs are not the answer here, something more fundamental is broken about the build. As a self-proclaimed Li-Ming expert, I believe the problem is that <>, the talent that is supposed to complete the Orb build, has severe anti-synergy with the rest of Li-Ming's kit. Specifically, this talent causes Arcane Orb to completely outrange Magic Missiles. Because of this, it encourages players to completely focus on hitting max-range Arcane Orbs and oftentimes stop using Magic Missiles at all in any meaningful way. How many times have you seen an Orb Build Li-Ming cast Q and W in the same direction, but while the W hits, the Magic Missiles fall completely short due to the W's range increase? This is a big problem, and it is both counter-intuitive and counter-productive. Without these ranges being aligned anymore, it significantly hurts Li-Ming's ability to secure kills by sniping off squishy targets and her ability to follow up with high burst damage on a CC'd target. Both of those things are critical features that Li-Ming contributes to a team. But if ALL she does is poke damage with Arcane Orbs (which is often the case after taking Arcane Orbit) of course she's going to underperform, even if those orbs ore overtuned.

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So how do we fix this? I want to keep the extra range on Arcane Orb because it's really cool and a natural power spike for the ability, but somehow the anti-synergy needs to go away. I think the best fix for this is simply make Arcane Orbit also increase the range of Magic Missiles by the same amount. This preserves the poke-centric nature of the build but also allows Li-Ming to continue doing the things she loves besides raw poke damage: sniping low health heroes at long range, and dealing huge burst damage to CC'd targets. Obviously this would be a massive buff to the build, so I would couple this change with nerfs across all the talents. For example, reduce Triumverate's cooldown reduction from 5 seconds to 4 seconds, reduce Zei's Vengeance's bonus damage from 25% to 20%, and reduce the extra range of Arcane Orbit given to both Arcane Orb and Magic Missiles from 25% to 20% (and reduce the bonus damage accordingly). Obviously, specific numbers would have to be well tested, so take the above with a grain of salt. What's important is making Arcane Orbit also increase the range of Magic Missiles to remove the anti-synergy that this talent causes with Li-Ming's kit. That is what I would like to see changed about the Arcane Orb build.

Now let's move on to the second major problem within Li-Ming's talent tree: <>. While it's a cool talent, what is it for, exactly? Why should I ever pick this over its competitors? If you're looking for poke damage, Zei's Vengeance and the rest of the orb build are far superior. If you're looking for burst damage, Calamity does double the burst damage of Seeker and has better synergy with Critical Mass. Seeker also has a severe lack of synergy with any of Li-Ming's other talent choices. Once again, simple number changes are not the answer here. Seeker doesn't need to deal enough raw damage to compete with its neighbors because that would require its damage to be pushed to unhealthy levels. Instead, it needs to fill some niche that the other talents do not. Well, I've already mentioned what that niche could be. If Zei's Vengeance is for poke damage and Calamity is for burst damage, then Seeker can assist with the third thing Li-Ming loves doing (besides getting resets): sniping low HP targets at long range. To be fair, it already does this to an extent, but it's too weak to be attractive over the other choices. To fix this, I want to add something to the ability rather than buffing its raw damage. Currently, Seeker reads: "If 3 Magic missiles hit a single target, the third one deals 125 extra damage." I propose adding the following text afterward: "If that target was a hero, increase the range of Li-Ming's next basic attack by 1.5" Why increase her basic attack range? By itself that doesn't let you snipe targets much better than before, but it does when comboed Charged Blast and Cannoneer, talents that Seeker looks like it should synergize with, but doesn't. Imagine a build of Charged Blast, Seeker, Cannoneer, and Fireflies (or Mirrorball) that is heavily focused on landing long-range skillshots and sniping off targets. That would be so cool! If you want burst damage, you're still better off with Calamity over Seeker, but now Seeker allows you to throw in extra damage on that Falstad or Tassadar you just hit with your Arcane Orb and Magic Missiles at max range. And it does so in a way that synergizes with other talents on her tree. I don't think anything would need to be nerfed to allow for this change, but that would have to be tested of course.

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And, that's it! Those are the changes I want to see made to my girl Li-Ming's talent tree: Make Arcane Orbit also increase the range of Magic Missiles by the same amount, make Seeker procs also increase the range of your next basic attack, (then nerf the talents on her tree accordingly,) and maybe move a little bit of Calamity's damage to Li-Ming's other abilities to make it less of a must-have (testing required of course). What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my assessment of the problems and do you like my solutions? What would you keep or do differently? I hope you enjoyed reading my take on it ♥

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