#194 - Into the Nexus: “Supportocalypse!”
• Garrett • Kyle
Our Patrons support Into the Nexus at Patreon.com/ITN. If you enjoy the show consider supporting it with 25 cents, a dollar, or however you would like! We thank all our Patrons for their support!
Intro: Welcome to Into the Nexus! The Heroes of the Storm podcast!
Reminder, you can go to ITNcast.reddit.com to submit stories or upvote submissions for the next episode.
Dev Comments on trying to reign in Double Support:
- They’re okay with Tassadar, Tyrande, and Medivh needing to be paired with another Support.
- Double healer is okay in moderation. What they don’t want is for it to be a common strategy that doesn’t care about map, enemy team composition, etc.
- Most team compositions right now are setup as the following:
- A tank for your primary front line
- A bruiser or second Warrior as a secondary front line
- A healer to keep your team alive
- This leaves 2 spots on a team, and with one of those commonly being occupied by another healer or Support, it means we only see one Assassin (and forcing Hyper Carries).
- Hyper Carries are cool but they want to create space for Mages and other Assassins.
- The introduction of Armor (almost a year ago) made Warriors more efficient heal targets. When Armor was introduced they said they were going to remove some healing from Supports but they never ended up moving forward with that. Well, until this week.
- In a vacuum, our Supports are pound-for-pound more powerful than our other Heroes. They are designed to provide enough healing for a team of five, while still bringing things like wave clear, crowd control effects, or decent damage. It’s possible that double Support has always been the ‘best way’ to play, and the community has been trending in this direction for a while.
The 5% Nerf
Weaken wave clear
- Cutting a handful of talents such as Lightning Bond on Rehgar
- In general, making it so wave clear on Supports is worse. This should be an understood handicap for running multiple healers.
- Your team will have slower lane rotations and less ability to quickly take jungle camps while efficiently soak lanes
Decrease Damage by 5%
- This will also help reduce wave clear slightly.
- Bringing two healers will mean your team is giving up more damage, hence having less kill potential.
Decrease Healing by 5%
- This will help address the addition of Armor and will simply pull a little bit of healing out of the game.
Decrease Health by 5%
- Certain Supports are unusually tanky for being ranged backline characters. Also factor in that they can heal themselves, and they end up being very difficult for the enemy teams to focus fire down.
- With slightly reduced health pools, we want to put some emphasis back on focusing these healers.
Non 5% Changes
Every support was hit with the 5%. These are only the non-5% changes.
Melee Supports did not have their health changed.
- Stukov (also didn’t loose auto attack damage)
- Notably didn’t have her healing, health or damage numbers adjusted
- Abundance (W)
- Cast range increased by 11%
- Heal amount increased from 177 to 190
- Heal amount increased from 13.5 to 15
- Damage reduced from 27 to 26
BlizzNeyman: Li Li's win rate was far lower than we thought it should be, even after a rework. While Alexstrasza was a little low, it was more in line with what we expected from a new Hero release (they always trend up aggressively).
There's probably more tuning to be done to Alexstrasza (just like all our supports now that we've made so many changes), so I wouldn't be surprised if we received some changes in the future.
- (New Talent) Celestial Alignment (W)
- Increase Moonfire’s reveal duration from 2 to 5 seconds. Malfurion’s Basic Attacks deal 100% additional damage to targets revealed by Moonfire
Level 1- Lightning Bond (W)
- For now, we don't have balance changes planned for Aba/Zarya/Medivh as part of the support changes at this point. With these changes, we're mostly trying to shift away from double healer.
- Tin Foil Hat - Tyrael and Zarya?
Q: What plans does Blizzard have to make Support a more desirable choice, particularly at lower ranks? It was definitely a problem that Supports were overpowered, but a far bigger problem is that it takes Supports being overpowered for the role to be desirable.
Good question. I think you can really apply this answer to all levels of play though:
We’ve found that characters benefit from having a fun and skillful minigame to play, it makes them more engaging and allows for more mastery growth. For someone like Ana, this is clearly present in the fact that her heal is a skillshot. It’s very obvious when you played well, or when you messed up, and she is a Support who can have a huge impact on most situations.
We are planning to rework some of our Support characters in the future, and are looking for ways to make their healing mechanics more interactive. This doesn’t necessarily mean more skillshot healing – but ideally your heals are not always a simple point and click for maximum value. Providing more avenues for mastery growth will help players have a larger impact on a match!
Wave clear is something that we have undervalued on most heroes for a long time, but over the last year or so have thought about this as part of a character's total strength much more. As part of this, we wanted to make this one of the obvious weaknesses to running a double healer composition. It’s possible we can reintroduce better wave clear to Supports in the future, but we want to go down this path first and see where this leads.
Q: Why design supports with low self healing?
It was partially a gradual change due to exploring new mechanics we thought would be fun (Alexstrasza/Ana), and partially a conscientious decision to add more weaknesses to healers because they were overall incredibly powerful.
When we can, we've made sure that this weakness isn't so big that you feel like you have to draft a second support to keep you alive (like Morales new healing mechanic). We probably still have room to improve here.
Day one sightings
- Double support is out! Nobody wants it.
- Early pick medic / mal’furion. I kept solo supporting Uther.
- Regen tanks and Bruisers are in. Sonya, Stitches, Dehaka (hadn't seen one for weeks) tons of Muradin.
- But they aren't tanking a thing.
- Nobody adapted their playstyle, it’s the support players problem.
This will takes weeks to iron out. It took all season to happy climb a whole league +1.
- Map picks are back
- Double tank is back
- Regen Bruisers and Tanks
- (Garrosh Still Ban)
- Diablo (Light)
- Leoric (light)
- Even in fun land of QM and Unranked I’m seeing a lot of Medic/Malf too.
- I’ve played quite a bit of those two. They feel good. I’ve ended up supporting as Medic against a few Alexstrasza's this week and I’m doubling their output in most cases.
- Li Li feels good too. Not really noticing her nerfed health/regen.
- I would really like my Tanks to calm down.
- Hammer is in every game.
Iron Skin (Trait)
- Damage reduced from 350 to 330
Level 1 - Recklessness (Trait)
- When below 75% Health, gain 10% Spell Power
- When below 50% Health, gain 20% Attack Damage
Level 4 - Amani Rage (Active)
- Duration of heal increased from 6 to 10 seconds
- Armor value reduced from 10 to 5
Level 7 - Arcanite Axes (W)
- No longer lowers the cooldown of Twin Cleave
Level 7 - Vicious Assault (Q)
- Also increases the duration of Zul’jin’s Grievous Throw effect by 3 seconds
Level 13 - Lacerate (W)
- Slow amount reduced from 15 to 10%
Level 16 - Wrong Place Wrong Time (W)
- Apex damage from 150 to 100
- Sgt. Hammer’s Basic Attack is now more responsive.
- Removed (including the +1 Basic Attack range)
Siege Mode (D)
- Moved to D (Trait)
- Mana cost removed
- Basic Attack range bonus increased from 5 to 6
- Sgt. Hammer now deals 20% bonus damage to all enemies while in Siege Mode, instead of 30% bonus to Minions and Structures.
- Sgt. Hammer can no longer cast abilities while entering Siege Mode.
Spider Mines (Q)
- While in Siege Mode, the cast range is increased by 100%
- Mana cost reduced from 50 to 45
Concussive Blast (W)
- Cone narrowed from 60 degrees to 45 degrees
- While in Siege Mode, the cast range is increased by 50%
- Mana cost reduced from 75 to 60
(New Ability) Neosteel Plating (E)
- Activate to gain 25 Armor for 2 seconds.
- While in Siege mode, increase this to 50 Armor.
- 12 second cooldown, 30 Mana
Notable Talents or Learn to Fight Hammer
- Level 1 - (New Talent) Maelstrom Rounds
- Activate to increase Sgt. Hammer’s Basic Attack damage by 40% for 5 seconds. Maximum 3 charges. 90 second charge cooldown. Basic Attacks in Siege Mode against enemy Structures reduce this cooldown by 5 seconds.
- Level 4 - (New Talent) Siege Tactics (E)
- Sgt. Hammer becomes Unstoppable for 2 seconds when she uses Neosteel Plating in Siege Mode.
- Level 4 - (New Talent) Regenerative Bio-Steel (D)
- Sgt. Hammer heals for 15% of her damage dealt with Basic Attacks in Siege Mode.
- Level 7 - First Aid (Active) Removed
- Level 13 - (New Talent) Entrenched (W)
- Increases Concussive Blast’s damage and knockback distance by 75% while in Siege Mode.
- Level 16 - (New Talent) Mechanical Know-How (E)
- Neosteel Plating grants a Shield equal to 5% of Sgt. Hammer’s maximum Health for 2 seconds. If this Shield is destroyed, she deals 50% more Basic Attack damage for 5 seconds.
- Level 20 - (New Talent) Ultra Capacitors (D)
- Every enemy Hero hit with a Basic Attack while in Siege Mode increases Sgt. Hammer’s Attack Speed by 5% for 5 seconds, up to 40%.
Level 7- Poisoned Spear (Q)
- Damage reduced from 150 to 125%
In the Dev Q&A they acknowledged that all solo lanes right now are either weak to sonya or picked to counter sonya.
Developer Q&A Tidbits
On Changing Walls - Blizz J DeShazer
- We feel that the removal of footprints is better for the game as evidenced by the removal of standalone towers, they eat up space and in an isometric environment with indirect controls they often eat attack clicks.
- It’s unintuitive to have structures with footprints that minions will never clean up.
- Walls provide vision and we have no way of communicating this. I understand this is easily solved by other solutions.
- It promotes degenerative gameplay for Heroes like Illidan, Kel’Thuzad, Chen, etc. who are able to abuse walls when the opposing team has no recourse.
- On top of this there are situations where these Heroes “need” these structures to be up in order to perform escapes, combos, etc. and if an ally of these Heroes does the right thing and kills them it becomes a point of contention amongst team members. I don’t believe it should ever be a wrong decision to kill enemy structures.
- The design intent behind walls is to provide an initial “safe area” for the base region—once the base is no longer safe there’s no reason for them to exist.
Removing the Side Towers - Blizz_JDeShazer
- The number of footprints (models with collision) in your base impact gameplay considerably. Too many footprints and your movements are more predictable, you have a higher chance of allies body blocking you, and they result in an overall reduction in strategic placement. We didn't believe it was appropriate to pull power out of the defensive structures directly, so we incorporated the towers’ health and damage into the gate towers and fort/keeps. We also give the forts and keeps Truesight. As a side note, this is the longest-tested of all our upcoming gameplay changes.
On One Tricking for More Points - Blizz Travis
- The most important thing from a rating standpoint is still winning the game.
- From there, it’s important to note that Heroes is a very different game and the criteria that get you those wins aren’t necessary the same as in other games. We have 75 Heroes at this point with more coming every month and you can’t swap Heroes mid-game.
- In ranked modes, drafting is important and being able to play multiple Heroes well so you can adapt to the draft is important to success. A “one-trick pony” player is likely to score higher from a performance standpoint when playing that particular Hero, but they’re also more likely to lose if they don’t adapt to the situation. They’ll reach an equilibrium point with the players around them where they’re gaining more rank points on a win due to their higher performance on that one Hero, but losing more games overall.
Volskaya and Hanamura
- The team feels that the release of Volskaya Foundry was a successful one. We’re definitely looking at the power of the mech, and we’re currently testing a small adjustment to the mech internally. Once we’re happy with it, we’ll ship it. As for Hanamura, I’m really excited about the rework. We aren't announcing details today, but I do want to mention that we aren't planning a mild change to the map’s mechanic—it will be a major one. Hanamura plays very differently than it did before.
- Varian - yes
- Kerrigan - “reasonably high” on the list
- Raynor - maybe trait rework someday
- The Lost Vikings - Likely big rework
- Chen - Some paper designs being tested
Patreon Mention: Patreon.com/ITN
Thanks to our Patreon producers Declan H, CheezyBob, and Mythdol.
- Sean Ring
- Jason Kolodzyk
- Julius Daquilanea
- Arvid Nordensk
Markus from Germany
My question is how to improve my team for ranking up in Team League, since it can be tricky to get 5 individual players to play on the same level.
I found my team in the forums looking for groups to enjoy the game again, after taking a break for a while because the game (especially Hero League) tilted me too much. Now I found new enjoyment in playing regularly with the same group, but now that we want to start to rank up, I was wondering if you'd have any tips for training and improving our play.
Conversations to have
- How serious are we?
- Do we chase the meta?
- Who is best at what role?
Roles to fill
- Call Mercs Pressure or Control
- Call lane minions XP
- The Happy Couple Concept
- The Core Comp Concept
- Minister of Lane Clear and Mercs
- 2 Solo Laners (one of these is likely your Minister of Comps
- A solo support main (Does not have to be your double support option)
- Secondary Shot Caller : If you are fighting a combo that someone knows well, let them count it out.
- I saw a huge increase in my teams performance when I counted out Li Ming Orbs
- Cho’Gall / Auriel comps that require heavy coordination to beat.
Patreon Shout Out
ITN is supported by our badass Patrons. You can become a ITN Patron by going to Patreon.com/itn.
Thanks to our Patreon producers Declan H, CheezyBob, and Mythdol. ITN coffee mugs and glasses are over at bit.ly/amovestore.
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.
Follow the show on Twitter @ITNcast, Facebook.com/Amovetv, And ITNpodcast.reddit.com.
Thanks to Brian Griffith, the musician responsible for our intro music. He can be found at briangriffithmusic.com or @briangriffith on twitter..
Follow Garrett @GarrettArt
NOMOONart.com for Garrett’s stream designs.
The Angry Chicken: A Hearthstone Podcast
The Angry Nerd