#213 - Into the Nexus: “Play Awhile and Listen”

• Garrett • Kyle • Jeff or Dunk

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Intro:  Welcome to Into the Nexus! The Heroes of the Storm podcast!

Into the Nexus will now be recording live on Thursdays at 5pm Eastern.


News

Deckard is on the PTR

First impressions?

Blizzcooper on a change in hero design philosophy

In the past the design team went through a phase where we wanted to make sure every hero had a really sharp role. Internally we discussed this a lot, but we wanted to make sure that there was a unique gameplay reason to pick every hero at some point. As an example, we wanted there to be a unique decision point of why to pick Tychus over Valla, or vice versa, without players simply choosing whichever character has a higher win rate. This is ultimately what led to Tychus’ updated design that he deals bonus % damage on his base kit. We designed his role to be strong against lots of high health targets. We also did a lot of this on our Healers: Malfurion wasn’t supposed to have burst healing as he was designed as a sustained healer, Uther was intended to be a weak sustained healer but strong with burst, and so on. For the healers, we looked at not just their healing mechanics but everything on their kit.

Ultimately we ended up backing off from this. We found that it made the game feel like there was a lot more hard counters and you could win or lose in draft. We still want to have good design and gameplay reasons for drafting each hero in a game, but we’re letting those be a lot softer.


Developer AMA Tidbits

Short Version:

Timeline for features:

Engineers working on Matchmaking Improvements are the same that would be working on other aspects.

Specialists - Good win-rates, no plan for updates soon

BlizzTravis on visible MMR coming

Over the years, there’s been a lot of back and forth about whether showing MMR is more valuable than harmful. In the end, we’ve come to feel it’ll be more helpful.

The issue we run into is that Rank is currently the only visible indication of skill in the game, so it can’t diverge too much from MMR. When players are put together in a match with players of disparate rank, the assumption is that they are also disparate skill, and that feels bad.

This had led to the need for Rank and MMR to stay relatively close, which is why Personal Rank Adjustment exists. That blunts the ability for rank to be a true reward system. It also means that matchmaking must consider rank, in addition to MMR, when putting together teams. Visible MMR would allow us to get rid of both of those, which we feel is more beneficial than the downsides that are likely to come about with visible MMR.

The plan right now is to add it as part of the updates we’re doing for Performance-based Matchmaking.

Blizz_Joe on Teaching the Community

Beyond these things we’re looking for more opportunities to provide actionable feedback to players through the end of match sequence. Right now we’re considering an “XP Missed” stat that tracks missed team opportunities for experience generation. This should help reinforce the importance of laning. There are places here for improvement, and if you have suggestions we’re happy to consider them.

Blizz_Joe on Quick Match

The first improvement we’re going to make is to strictly enforce role compositions for the matchmaker. A team will not be constructed without a balanced team composition on its own. This means that assassins or specialists may potentially have longer queue times, while some tank-capable warriors and healers may have shorter ones.

 

In our current thinking we believe that it'd require 1 tank-warrior, 1 healer and 1 assassin, so 2 flex picks. Pending testing and the queues not erupting in molten lava, yes. I think it likely that initially this will be the new standard for the vast majority of QM compositions.

The plan then is to follow up on this change by adding more incentives for queuing as roles that are currently underrepresented in the matchmaking queue which will then make this a hard requirement for every team.

Links


Patreon Mention: Patreon.com/ITN

Thanks to our Patreon producers Declan H and CheezyBob.

Patron Thanks


PTR Balance Patch (Likely lands Tuesday the 24th)

Draft Mode

Hero portraits in Draft Lobbies will now use 2D Base Hero art rather than animated 3D Hero Skin models in order to help make Hero picks easier to differentiate from one another at a glance.

For example: It should now be easier to tell whether a teammate has selected Falstad or Muradin during a draft.

Big Genji changes

The devs are continuing down the “less frustrating” path they’ve been on recently.

“While we think resetting Swift Strike’s cooldown after killing enemy Heroes with Dragonblade made for cool, flashy plays, it shut down too many other Heroes too often. It also caused too many games to become about how much value Genji was able to get out of Dragonblade. We like the flashiness that Dragonblade resets can provide, so we’re keeping that functionality, but we’re now adding it to his Level 20 Storm Talent version of the Heroic.”

They’re also increasing his Health and Basic Attack damage [roughly +4.5%], reducing the range of Swift Strike [-14.2%], and increasing the cooldown of Cyber Agility [+20%] to reduce his mobility while boosting his base stats to compensate.

The nitty-gritty

MINOR CHANGES

Cassia

Fenix

Sylvanas

Zagara

Blaze

Links


Swag Watch

New items are getting added to the collection. We don’t talk about in-game swag very often, but there’s a Deckard announcer!

Gravelord and Ravenlord announcers as well.

And get your Piggy Bank mount before Tuesday

The Lucky Piggy Bank Mount, which can only be purchased using gold, will be removed from the Collection when this patch is released to the live version of Heroes next week.

Links


Offensive Language Bans

Community Manager Nate Valenta posted to the Heroes forums yesterday announcing new tech has been implemented that “enhances our ability to validate the accuracy of reports.”

This tech should allow the Heroes team to hand out more silences and ranked suspensions at a much faster pace.

Links


Hots Population by Super Data

6.5 million players lol

Very interesting article about Dota’s shrinking player base as Valve releases Dota Plus

Dota has also been making a big education push

Plus Assistant offers real-time item and ability suggestions—generated from data gathered across millions of recent games at each skill bracket—to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends. Whether you need advice on which hero best fits a draft, or aren't sure what to build after securing that coveted Blink Dagger, Plus Assistant is in your corner.

Links


Emails

Yelly

Hello friends…

My win rate for Hero League this season would be considerably higher if not for Dragon Shire. It’s been my understanding that a 1-4 split should be drafted, with the 4 man clearing and rotating mid and bot early. Is this accurate? It has been my experience that early game everyone wants to fight or send more top which ends in disaster. Please enlighten us, on the way of the Dragon… Shire.

Thanks in advance!


Tufteh

My first question relates to toxicity. I acknowledge that bad attitudes are going to in most games and regardless of whether it is targeted at my performance or an allies.. I find it very hard to keep my fingers from trying to stick up for myself/my allies. As you can expect.. this doesn't usually go very well and instead of playing the game I get distracted. I know I shouldn't get "baited" into it.. but it's hard not to stick up for your fellow nexus inhabitants. Do you think just immediately muting/reporting (depending on the severity) and moving on is the best cause.. or do you think there is any merit to sticking up for each other?

Secondly, I play regularly with 3 of my friends. I usually assume the role of shot caller and try to keep us all organised but sometimes I feel my own awareness or knowledge does let us down. We all really want to improve, I have encouraged them to pick 2-3 heroes in each roll to routinely play as and try to master.. however I feel like this leads to situations where depending on pick order.. we end up on different roles every time. Would you recommend we find a "class" that we prefer and stick with them regardless of draft pick orders? or would you suggest something else entirely?

Lastly, what would you suggest is the best way to pass on advice and correct our mistakes?


Outro

Patreon Shout Out

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Catch the live show Thursday nights at 8pm Eastern on Twitch.tv/Amovetv. Mobile live stream provided by Alpha Geek Radio. Go to mobile.alphageekradio.com.

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Thanks to Gorath for our intro music and briangriffithmusic.com (@briangriffith) for our outro..

Personal Stuff

Garrett

Follow Garrett @GarrettArt

NOMOONart.com for Garrett’s stream designs.

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Kyle

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