Developer Insights: A Look Into the Next Patch
We’re taking a different approach with this episode of Developer Insights, and sitting down with Game Designer Matthew Cooper to chat about a few of the changes you’ll be seeing in the near-future in regards to balance and hero functionality. Dive in to learn more about what’s coming to the Nexus.
Trikslyr: Thanks for joining us! Let’s focus on some of the topics we’ve seen discussed by the Community in the past few weeks. We’ve seen a few strategies and heroes discussed at length, namely Abathur, Murky, Stitches, and the strength of healers.
Matt: Our January 13 patch introduced a significant talent update to Abathur. As a result, we’ve seen his win percentage drop more than intended. With our next update, we plan to buff Abathur’s Heroic abilities as follows:
- Ultimate Evolution is a Heroic ability that we’d like to tweak, in order to provide an epic and powerful experience for the Abathur player. While we have no plans to bring back the ability to copy your teammate’s Heroic, as that causes balance concerns for us with duplicated heroics, we do believe we’ve found a happy medium by increasing the power level of the Ultimate Evolution and decreasing the overall time you’ll control the clone.
- For Monstrosity, we’ve made the duration permanent. We feel like this offers Abathur more opportunities to build up stacks and possibly even bring it to team fights. The cooldown of the ability will not start until after the Monstrosity is killed, so the opposing team can create a window in which they won’t need to deal with the split pushing capabilities of the Heroic.
- Aside from his Heroics, we’re also altering a few of his Toxic Nest talents. We think they are much more appealing now and hope you'll agree.
The double healer meta is something we’ve been aware of for a while, as we’ve seen the meta-game shift to and from this type of playstyle a few times already. We believe playing double Support should be a strategic option for players, but we want to make sure the composition does have appropriate downsides. For now, know that we have a number of new heroes incoming that could help shake up the playstyle.
We’ll continue to adjust Supports on a case by case basis. For example, we’ve been keeping an eye on Uther and his trait: Eternal Devotion. Right now, we feel like a portion of Uther’s kit doesn’t offer much counterplay. In Eternal Devotion’s current state, Uther cannot be CC’d and the opposing team is forced to consider your positioning, especially with tools like Sprint. This leads to situations where the ghost can be more effective than a live Uther, such as landing a strong Divine Storm or denying objectives.
In the next patch we’re introducing a talent rework to Uther which includes functionality changes to his trait. Uther’s ghost will lose all of his base abilities, and now showcase a different heal on a lower cooldown. The role of that ghost will be to continue supporting your team with heals, after dying, rather than being the powerhouse it currently is.
We’re aware of the community’s thoughts on Murky and are actively working on him. In the next release, we have made some quality of life changes to the little murloc that should help him out, but we don’t expect this to raise his win rate drastically. We are cautious about making major buffs to Murky, as too much could put him a stronger state than we intend. We will monitor how our changes affect Murky’s play and will likely make further buffs, if warranted, in an upcoming patch.
With our changes in the latest patch, we targeted the Hook-and-Gorge combo that felt too powerful in Hero League. The changes seemed to achieve the goals we had hoped for, as we are starting to see Putrid Bile and other builds chosen more often. The changes also seem to have helped target the reoccurring first pick of Stiches we saw in the past.
As we continue to evaluate Stitches and his role in Heroes of the Storm, we find that it’s incredibly important for us to identify what makes picking Stitches a different experience from choosing other Warriors. We feel the answer lies in his Hook. When thinking about additional changes, we’ll aim to make sure his Hook remains a strong and useful tool. Currently, we’re looking to reduce Stitches’ overall damage and tankiness.
As a quick note, we will monitor Warriors on a case by case basis. Stitches was an outlier for us, and we’ll continue to adjust underpowered and overpowered heroes. For example, we’re still looking for feedback on The Lord of Terror himself, Diablo. We recently made changes to his control and made his abilities feel much more responsive. In internal playtest, we’re currently trying various Diablo talent changes and hope to have them out in a patch farther in the future. We will continue to look at low pick rates on various talents and Heroic Abilities and adjust accordingly as Heroes of the Storm progresses.
Trikslyr: Any thoughts on the latest addition to the Nexus: The Lost Vikings?
The Lost Vikings
Matt: We have no major changes planned for the trio. We’re still evaluating the Lost Vikings and are curious to see how players will continue to use their strengths. On the flip side, we’re interested to see how opponents will try to counter their many playstyles.
With that said, the Viking Heroic: Longboat Raid! has an extremely high pick-rate over Play Again!, and seems to do too much damage, so we will be introducing a minor nerf to the damage output of the Longboat.
We will continue to monitor the Vikings and make further changes to Play Again and some of the more popular talents, if necessary. Overall we’re pretty happy with how the Lost Vikings are playing and can’t wait to watch more players push them to the limit.
Thanks to Matt Cooper and the design team for taking time out of their day to chat with us about some of the content coming in the next update. Let us know what change you’re most looking forward to in the comments below.