Dominator Binary Options Trading System - readingye

MAME 0.217

MAME 0.217

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new MAME release? That’s right – MAME 0.217 is scheduled for release today. Just a reminder, this will be the last MAME release that we distribute a pre-built 32-bit Windows binary package for. Compiling for 32-bit targets will still be supported, but you’ll have to build MAME releases yourself starting from next month. This will also be the last release with source code distributed in the “zip in zip” archive format. We recommend getting source code by cloning a tagged revision from one of our version control mirrors (GitHub, GitLab or SourceForge), or you can use the P7ZIP tools to extract the self-extracting 7-Zip source archive. For MAME 0.217, we’ve switched the Windows tool chain to GCC 9.2.0, and uploaded an updated tools package (the minimum supported GCC version has not changed).
With all the housekeeping announcements out of the way, we can get to those juicy updates. The most exciting thing this month is the recovery of the Sega Model 1 coprocessor TGP programs for Star Wars Arcade and Wing War, making these games fully playable. We’ve been working on Virtua Fighter as well, and while the graphics are greatly improved, there are still some gameplay issues as of this release. In other arcade emulation news, sasuke has been busy fixing long-standing graphical issues in Nichibutsu games, and AJR has made some nice improvements to the early SNK 6502-based games.
On the home system side, there are some nice Sam Coupé improvements from TwistedTom, support for Apple II paddle controllers, a better Apple II colour palette, and significant improvements to Acorn RiscPC emulation. TV game emulation is progressing steadily, with two Lexibook systems, the Jungle Soft Zone 40, and the MiWi 16-in-1 now working.
For front-end developers, we’ve added data to the XML list format allowing you to handle software lists enabled by slot card devices (there are a few of these for Acorn and Sinclair home computers). The minimaws sample script has been updated to demonstrate a number of tasks related to handling software lists. For MAME contributors, we’ve made save state registration a bit simpler, and more manageable in the debugger.
You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to emulation [link] [comments]

MAME 0.217

MAME 0.217

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new MAME release? That’s right – MAME 0.217 is scheduled for release today. Just a reminder, this will be the last MAME release that we distribute a pre-built 32-bit Windows binary package for. Compiling for 32-bit targets will still be supported, but you’ll have to build MAME releases yourself starting from next month. This will also be the last release with source code distributed in the “zip in zip” archive format. We recommend getting source code by cloning a tagged revision from one of our version control mirrors (GitHub, GitLab or SourceForge), or you can use the P7ZIP tools to extract the self-extracting 7-Zip source archive. For MAME 0.217, we’ve switched the Windows tool chain to GCC 9.2.0, and uploaded an updated tools package (the minimum supported GCC version has not changed).
With all the housekeeping announcements out of the way, we can get to those juicy updates. The most exciting thing this month is the recovery of the Sega Model 1 coprocessor TGP programs for Star Wars Arcade and Wing War, making these games fully playable. We’ve been working on Virtua Fighter as well, and while the graphics are greatly improved, there are still some gameplay issues as of this release. In other arcade emulation news, sasuke has been busy fixing long-standing graphical issues in Nichibutsu games, and AJR has made some nice improvements to the early SNK 6502-based games.
On the home system side, there are some nice Sam Coupé improvements from TwistedTom, support for Apple II paddle controllers, a better Apple II colour palette, and significant improvements to Acorn RiscPC emulation. TV game emulation is progressing steadily, with two Lexibook systems, the Jungle Soft Zone 40, and the MiWi 16-in-1 now working.
For front-end developers, we’ve added data to the XML list format allowing you to handle software lists enabled by slot card devices (there are a few of these for Acorn and Sinclair home computers). The minimaws sample script has been updated to demonstrate a number of tasks related to handling software lists. For MAME contributors, we’ve made save state registration a bit simpler, and more manageable in the debugger.
You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to MAME [link] [comments]

MAME 0.217

MAME 0.217

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with a new MAME release? That’s right – MAME 0.217 is scheduled for release today. Just a reminder, this will be the last MAME release that we distribute a pre-built 32-bit Windows binary package for. Compiling for 32-bit targets will still be supported, but you’ll have to build MAME releases yourself starting from next month. This will also be the last release with source code distributed in the “zip in zip” archive format. We recommend getting source code by cloning a tagged revision from one of our version control mirrors (GitHub, GitLab or SourceForge), or you can use the P7ZIP tools to extract the self-extracting 7-Zip source archive. For MAME 0.217, we’ve switched the Windows tool chain to GCC 9.2.0, and uploaded an updated tools package (the minimum supported GCC version has not changed).
With all the housekeeping announcements out of the way, we can get to those juicy updates. The most exciting thing this month is the recovery of the Sega Model 1 coprocessor TGP programs for Star Wars Arcade and Wing War, making these games fully playable. We’ve been working on Virtua Fighter as well, and while the graphics are greatly improved, there are still some gameplay issues as of this release. In other arcade emulation news, sasuke has been busy fixing long-standing graphical issues in Nichibutsu games, and AJR has made some nice improvements to the early SNK 6502-based games.
On the home system side, there are some nice Sam Coupé improvements from TwistedTom, support for Apple II paddle controllers, a better Apple II colour palette, and significant improvements to Acorn RiscPC emulation. TV game emulation is progressing steadily, with two Lexibook systems, the Jungle Soft Zone 40, and the MiWi 16-in-1 now working.
For front-end developers, we’ve added data to the XML list format allowing you to handle software lists enabled by slot card devices (there are a few of these for Acorn and Sinclair home computers). The minimaws sample script has been updated to demonstrate a number of tasks related to handling software lists. For MAME contributors, we’ve made save state registration a bit simpler, and more manageable in the debugger.
You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.

MAMETesters Bugs Fixed

New working machines

New working clones

Machines promoted to working

Clones promoted to working

New machines marked as NOT_WORKING

New clones marked as NOT_WORKING

New working software list additions

Software list items promoted to working

New NOT_WORKING software list additions

Source Changes

submitted by cuavas to cade [link] [comments]

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submitted by IQstockbroker to u/IQstockbroker [link] [comments]

Theory of Siege toxicity.

Just a theory. (WARNING: Incoming wall of death...text*)
The game requires people to accept and behave in a way that is at odds with the average FPS gaming experience. Let me explain.
First of all let's point out it's an FPS. First person shooters are notorious for being competitive and cut throat. Not saying FPS is generally the most toxic (MOBA games I'm looking at you) but they definately are not the least toxic by any means. At a basic level people arent going to be as nice or cooperative as other genres. You're basically playing a "who's a better killer" simulator without the parts that make conflict suck in reality. There is a whole different discussion we could have about how this kind of gameplay influences and reinforces aggressive behavior that neurology has proven, but, I AM STEERING, THE FUCK CLEAR, OF THAT. In most games the player just respawns and has another go until the time or points reach an end, which is mindless and fun. Even hyper competitive games like CSGO allow servers to create custom conditions that are great for blowing off steam and playing casually (modding/orange rooms/etc). Siege doesnt have a place for players to go in this regard, its either competitive game modes or unsupported 3 year old game modes. But it's important to remember Siege has Casual and Ranked game modes, and they are nearly identical and played almost identically. The only alternative is Terrorist hunt and situations which are lackluster to say the least. That leads to another couple of points and the rest of this death by text document rant.
Most games you play are solo experiences that dont punish you for making mistakes or hold you accountable to your teammates. In a game that doesnt offer alternatives to this situation you already have fertile ground for toxic behavior.
Most online shooters are made to make players feel like 80s action heroes that can badass their way through most challenges. Your character has the ability to adapt to all of the games situations without the help of anyone. You fill any role and can absorb damage without slowing down (even recharging health or living through headshots in some cases). Everything is intuitive from the start (similar to other FPS games), and doesnt distract from the core gameplay loop of: out frag/kill your opponet. Games like COD, Battlefield, Halo, even (arguably) CSGO do this by prioritizing the individual experience and making team play a secondary/less crucial priority. Even at their highest levels of play, the dominate teams are the ones with the best individual fraggers. Siege is designed with opposite principles, and doesnt let you have a alternative familar game mode to enjoy.
Just a quick note. Fraggers are generally players who play for kills exclusively. Their gameplay style relies and is predacated on being a consistant better shot, having better reflexes for ADS, and normally are the goto clutch player in most games. They also tend to use their k/d as a metric for judging their overall proficiency when comparing themselves to their peers. This encourages k/d focused players to build a superiority complex that inevitably leads to toxic encounters
So Siege emphasizes the opposite. While fragging still has its place, 1v1 gunfights dont dictate who will win nearly as much. In rainbow the victory is decided to the side that takes more care to prepare. This is expressed in factors such as positioning, improvisation, map knowledge, cooperation, communication, and many other abstract aspects that need to be developed over time... often through trial and error. None of which are recorded or accounted for by the game, and unfortunately arent factored in to who you play with or against when queuing. Instead of this, you are solely ranked by points you accumulate through a binary system of wins and loses. There are plenty of well written posts on this subreddit that detail the misunderstood MMR system and its negative influence on the game and community. That being said, this perpetuates the misperception that K/D is the most important factor. Many people still believe that the team with more fraggers decides the outcome of the match, and ones own ability to solely frag is the measure of an overall good player. Although accuracy and reflexes play a part in ones ability to execute plays, they dont superseed a players ability to thoughtfully prepare, understand, and make mindful tactical decisions that set up these opportunities. This is why not all diamond players dominate teams single handly. A group of 5 average players that consistently play together can achieve a higher rank because as a unit their win/loss reflects their unit's effectiveness. Of course there are exceptions, people have solo'd to diamond. It's important to point out though that diamond is 1% of that regions playerbase, and these players ability to spend more time on the game than others makes all the difference. This leads to the next point.
Rainbow also revolves around no respawning, and leaves everyone with only one opportunity to impact a round. Its important to note that this isnt common practice in the FPS genre. So the average player will have been playing respawn centered games for most of their gaming lifetime, and now are forced to take a time out whenever they make a unsuccessful choice and die. This is punishing all the more since they no longer effect the match directly. Instead they are forced to watch their teammates, and most folks cant help but watch with a critical eye. In some ways the game is designed to make them critical, this is a learning from the mistakes of others approach. The issue with learning from the mistakes of others has two points in Siege:
  1. The game's skill ceiling is always getting higher, and there is an overwhelming amount of information and variables to learn and consider on a individual let alone team level. Many people have more important responsibilities outside a video game to devote this kind of time and energy to learning. Expecting them to learn is too much to ask of people, most are just casually playing to blow off steam after a day of school or work. So random players of random commitment are placed together. With only two games modes that dont adequately do the job of dividing the casually committed and the competitive playerbases, this leads to the second point.
  2. The match making algorithm that places players against one another is terrible. Outside of the issue of smurf accounts, players often get pitted against players/teams that are drastically higher or lower rank than their own. Diamonds and silver players can and often do meet in ranked play, this usually results in blowouts that arent fun for anyone, breeding even more resentment and toxicity. Add to that they are playing with strangers whom they do not owe anything to and you get the even more griefing and toxic messaging. Some of this is understandable, at least during the first years of Siege's life span. A person with hundreds of hours of playtime being forced to watch someone with even half the time would grow impatient and intolerant. Siege's long learning curve is almost exclusively counterintuitive and a matter of trial and error. Having to sit through a game situation that you've already seen before isnt useful. But after 3 years of letting the culture of the community cement into toxicity more people are so embedded that toxicity is the accepted ediqqute.
It's important to point out that most players have the Fragger mindset as well. They hold other players to this standard of thinking and evaluate them in accordance to it. In other games this would be warrented, but in Siege this is an invalid approach to growth and ignores all the finer details that make the game good and unique. But that doesnt mean people realize it, or own up to it, and if they did, they dont care enough to act differently. Instead of learning from player mistakes, or doing the alternative by assisting teammates while dead with information they default to cynical, pessimistic, and above all toxic behavior. This does a wonderful job of exasperating the toxic community problem. As stated before the community culture has had to accept the toxicity since Ubisoft has failed to handle the issue as a priority early on. Why does Ubisoft put the toxicity issue on the back burner and only implament band-aid solutions? Hopefully my next point can shed some light on this.
Siege is going into year 4, and is clearly developing with the intention of a game that wants to compete with CSGO for the #1 FPS esport. The unfortunate problem is that Ubisoft doesnt have the money, experience, and ability to support the game the same as Valve has shown with CSGO. Everyone aware of this also has the standards and expectations CSGO has set after decades of being the example of esports, but fail in thecomparison to see that Siege and Ubisoft are still struggling to get there.
Ubisoft admitted at the before the Grand finals in Rio yesterday, that they are still understanding their own game. They made something entirely new with this game and are ignorantly feeling it out. That means how they balance it, introduce new content, and how to balance their goals and consumer demands. This is tricky because Siege is unique in terms of video game design and there isnt a clear model to copy the success of. They are basically learning how to support their game by trial and error just like we as players are learning how to play it, by trial and error.
Note that Ubisoft as a company doesnt generally make competitive multiplayer games, they are known for Assassins Creed primarily. Ubisoft does have more money than most competitors from its franchises, but they dont have anything like STEAM (ironically where are we buying rainbow on PC?). Valve is a private company as well, and Ubisoft is publically traded...this is why you get company priorities that have consquences like the Chinese censorship situation for example. Maybe (wishful thinking) when their global market goals are achieved then maybe...maybe we will see the quality of life improvements and other bugs ironed out as they will have reached their goal of dethroning CSGO. I dont believe Counter strike will be dethroned of course, but the "fps esport" market share may be more divided in the future between the games. This also is assuming Overwarch or another game doesnt change anything going forward.
The reason I wrote those last three paragraphs was to point out an underlying factor that perpetuates the toxicity. You have a situation where this game, that is striving to be a global esport like CSGO, is making decisions and putting resources solely to realizing that goal over building a casual player base. This comes at the expense of terrorist hunt, casual mode, and new game modes so they can instead devote all their resources to the global esport goal. Meanwhile the majority of the 35 million person player base is casually playing the game, with their own short term interest in mind. Ubisoft on one hand is playing for the long game, with the aim of a strong competitive scene. This dynamic creates tension with players as they perceive this as a game that refuses to address issues like hit registration, glitches and bugs, and releasing/ fixing imbalanced content. Players respond by having a bad attitude before even logging on since they view the game with a stigma. Sort of like if they had a car that is a lemon, the dealership keeps fixing it just enough to keep it on the road, at the same time not enough to keep it out of the garage. Since the alternative FPS games to choose from are battle royal, annual titles like CoD and Battlefield, and older games they stick around since there isnt much choice. This "got nothing better to play/ what's the point" attitude is a toxic casual mindset in of itself.
You can add the China situation, or the vow of silence the developers have taken recently towards reddit. But hopefully you see now that toxicity isnt a year 3 problem exclusively. There are many variables and these ones I've pointed out just get added to the pile.
This all is pointing to some obvious solutions Ubisoft has as options. Why they haven't taken them as we near the eve of the Siege's fourth year? We only can assume. But nonetheless these are steps that would act as a antidote and being people back in.
  1. Elaborate and expand the casual game mode/s to give players a way to divide themselves from players with more competitive values.
-First and foremost, allow spawn and site selection in casual. This feature being ignored has single handedly trivialized how ranked is played. What I mean is, folks look at ranked as a joke. Since the MMR system is jacked up and you cant pick sites casually...so you might as well play ranked casually. This misstep is so obvious, that having to write it out and explain this for the 100th time is killing my own and everyone else's brain cells...leading to more stupidity and more toxicity.
-Halo 3 is a great example of how a casual playlist can satisfy these players who wanted a place to blow off steam and not take the game seriously. YouTube channels like PriesT showcase custom games like shotgun roulette, strategy roulette, knife only, and border patrol that could be made official by Ubisoft to just name a few. Counter Strike has just as many examples as well (gun game). This would be just like what Bungie did with grifball, mongoose racing, and other fan made games that use assets that already exist in the game to create casual playlists and content. There are people out there that want to be Diamond shotgun roulette players.
-As much of a disaster as the outbreak event was, I stand by my belief that it should have stayed in the game as an alternative game mode. I realize a different Ubisoft studio made the mode, and it wasnt/isn't going to get more support, but keeping it would of added more value to the game (in a year that didnt add much). The potential options of how to tweak this formula to work is pretty versatile and I think Ubisoft gave up an opportunity here. A opportunity that would have lessened the criticism they are facing right now at the end of year 3. Besides, not keeping it in the build just wasted all the man hours and work of those developers. To what end that project was useful to Ubisfot besides selling outbreak alpha packs is beyond me.
-I know that Ubisoft has claimed that data file size or something or another was a limiting factor to adding content to the game. This is confusing though as they add a new map and operators every 3 to 4 months to the existing model. If this really is the case then I'm just curious how they intend to achieve their 100 operator goal and the maps that will come along with them. I'm not an expert on coding or working in gaming, but this seems fishy and hard to believe. Please reply if you can shed light on this topic as ignorance about it causes more community backlash and toxicity.
  1. Take Ranked out of Beta/ changes to draw a line between Ranked from Casual
-Just as casual playlists ought to be developed to give its players a place for what they want, so should Ranked playlists. I'm not going to make a case that ranked needs a significant overhaul, just things the community has already been calling for (for years). Taking the pick and ban system to ranked for one. If players that "play ranked causally" take issue with this the solution is simple, add choosing spawn/site locations to a casual playlist to facilitate this demand. You've got to keep em separated, those competitive and casual people are oil and water. Not doing so is striking a match and fanning that toxic flame.
-Increase the MMR values of ranks or add a multiple diamond level (1,2,3) and a master level. The thinking behind this is that the MMR system wont be altered anytime soon and more ranks will separate the players better than right now. But in a perfect world they would just scrap this model and make a better MMR system from the ground up. The issue of matching with players all over the board and not consistently with those of your own rank causes toxicity.
-Change Gold to Silver as the default rank upon completing 10 placement matches.
-At the very least if any of these points are unreasonable or unrealistic then at least settle for this. Take a season to dedicate development toward getting Ranked out of beta. Pause the map rework/buff, maybe even pause the operators. Just operation health the Ranked playlist into something that isn't a consistent negative talking point about the game.
  1. Griefing toxic behavior system.
-As mentioned before Ubisoft hasnt prioritized a solution to the toxicity in the game in a significant way. They've had report suspicious behavior, report toxic behavior, voice and chat mute buttons, and various ban policies. Lets not even get into the most recent text chat ban situation. Over the last 3 years none of these have reversed the growing toxicity trend. Meanwhile the the game they idolize to become, counter strike, has provided ample examples of how they counteract their team killing and communication problems.
-Counter strike server owners have had the ability to literally set damage observing code to detect consistant team damage to counteract griefers for example. They also handle team killing with forgive/punish systems that are developed to such a excessive degree that you can punish the perpetrator in multiple creative ways (bleed out, head explode, light on fire, insta death, to name a few.) To think that Ubisoft cannot implament a simple forgive feature with a yes/no prompt is unforgivable.
-I realize the server situation is anything but ideal or near to what counter strike has. My point is that clear and effective examples have existed since 1996, and its 2019 nearly. This ridiculous state of mishandling a simple problem in favor or pursuing their Esport agenda has grown the stigma attitude I mentioned and allowed the cancer of toxicity to spread to the vital organs of the community, like here on reddit. Reddit has become so fed up pointing out the obvious that they have basically given up, and when attempts to talk about these problems are brought up, the community ignores them or downvotes them.
If you read this whole wall of words then all I have to say is thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to. Hopefully this explains my point of view that Siege is a unique game that exist and is supported in a way that hasnt been done before. The growing pains are tough, but I believe this game will improve. I wouldn't have given it 3 years if it didnt, believe that, and I assume you wouldn't read all this if you didnt relate to that sentiment. But a case has to be made about the neglecting nature of Ubisoft's behavior toward these persistent problems. Problems that arent taken care of only becoming bigger ones, and eventually people will move on..they already are. This neglect also is the reason the community is so toxic, you cant blame them for becoming jaded. If these changes were made sooner the fact is that there would be less immersion breaking moments, and more time enjoying the game, from there that positivity only snowballs. Ubisoft shouldn't be waiting until player populations drop to an unacceptable point to be spurred into action (operation health). Also thanks for tolerating typos and whatever weak points I've made. This was originally a response to a different post that ended up becoming a full blown essay that I just needed to get out apparently.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this can begin a discussion towards a constructive direction since lately it's been anything other than that.
submitted by Saucery89 to Rainbow6 [link] [comments]

Balance and Design AMA with Heroes Developers - May 16, 2018 - Part 2

Continued...

A long, long time ago it was mentioned that the team would like to get the Heroes branch of the SC2 editor out to the public.
Is a publicly available editor something we still might see down the line? I personally wouldn't care how rough around the edges it is - I'd just love to actually fiddle around with all of, and would be more than willing to pay an entry fee if that's necessary, as I'm sure the fact it'd give players full access to any hero of their choice is a concern.
It's something that we've definitely discussed in the past. Of course we've seen a lot of awesome content created by the communities in War3 and SC2 (I personally worked on parts of the custom map support for both games), but it's not something we are actively working on for Heroes right now. Maybe we can revisit in the future. :)

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Blizzard) (Game Director) (link to comment)

That deflection is sooo smooth. Must be a requirement to work a blizzard.
:)

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Blizzard) (Game Director) (link to comment)

What alternatives for self-sustain were examined for Ana? Were grenade-centric ideas considered, and if so, why were they rejected?
Thanks for the question ChaosOS!
We explored a few alternatives for self-sustain for Ana. We thought about grenade-centric ideas, however we shied away from it for a couple reasons:
  1. Ana's Grenade already does a whole lot of stuff, and we really didn't want to add more mechanics to it. It already Deals damage, heals, negates enemy healing, and gives allies an Ana-specific healing buff. We didn't want to tack on even more functionality to this.
  2. We didn't want to add more use cases for her Grenade if we can help it. She already wants to use it to secure kills on enemies when they are put under pressure, as well as to save allies with her healing buff. If we added the third use case of using it on herself as her primary method of self-healing, then there's a high chance that players wouldn't have it for the other use cases when they needed it. There's an argument that this adds mastery to the hero, to know how and when to use the ability, but I think there's also a high chance that, since it's a high-cooldown ability, that players will often just end up frustrated when they use it for one of the above use cases and then the situation of the fight changes drastically and they have large missed opportunities to use it for its other cases.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

When can we expect a Vikings update? Would it be possible to give back their basic abilities and rework their trait.
Having globe collection be a focus of their play style is key because it forces them to micro out of bushes and from behind gates to get value. Something like increasing damage or health pool from globes would be much more interesting than health regen which is meaningless on low hp heroes
We love The Lost Vikings, and think they're important to the game as a whole as they exemplify how Heroes of the Storm is unique among MOBAs. I can't give you any specifics on a date or scope of a rework since we haven't decided on anything yet, but here's what I can share:
  • We don't like that the Vikings' primary function is to be in all lanes to soak experience.
  • We love when the Vikings work together, and think that the coolest part of the Hero is having 3 units that combined are stronger than their individual pieces.
  • We would like to see the Vikings be more accessible. There's a small section of the player base that loves the Vikings, but by and large they are not a very popular Hero due to their power feeling hidden and their high micro demands.
  • We would love to see more interactivity and plays made with their kit. We have to balance that out with making them approachable.
Again, keep in mind that these are just our thoughts, and it might be that we may drastically change their kit... or just make small tweaks over time. We honestly don't have any concrete plans yet, but I wanted to be very transparent and share what we think about the Hero at the moment. We would love to get them into a more prominent role in the Nexus at some point, though.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

I've put some thought into what I wanted to ask, and I think at the end of the day, one question stood out despite its less statistical nature. So, here goes:
The community has increasingly called for more balance patches that give small "tweaks" to heroes that are falling out of favor, and in that light, larger balance patches like last week's have been mostly well-received. Has the team given any serious thought to making these larger balance patches more of a regularly scheduled thing, so as to help provide continual smaller "tweaks" to heroes that don't need reworks, but are still dipping somewhat in popularity or success?
I know that that the dev team said in the previous AMA that you don't want to shake up the meta too much with each new patch. That's an understandable and respectable goal. But I think that providing small numerical tweaks to heroes that are slightly under-performing could be rather beneficial for the many heroes who are not really in need of full ... (Full text here)
Hey CriticKitten!
First off, thanks for the work that you do. Your insightful posts on our balance patches are a great help to our community, and we all read your posts when you put them out.
Secondly, great question! This is something that I'm personally very passionate about.
The short answer is "yes," we like putting out smaller balance tweaks, and want to do it more often. However, there are many levels of balance changes, and each come with their own risks and rewards.
Some examples of these, and their associated risks and rewards are:
Small, numeric balance changes.
These are changes like those made to Maiev in our last balance update, where we lowered her Health and increased the cooldown on Vault of the Wardens.
These are usually used to influence pick and/or win rates. Simply put, in making these changes we want to move a hero or talent in a direction of being picked more or less often, so we buff or nerf them.
PROS
  • These are simple changes. The risk of unintentionally changing other parts of the game is relatively low. • As you mentioned, we can push out many of these changes in a short period of time, which can make the meta feel fresh and new.
  • There is little Development and QA validation. We can make these changes in a relatively short amount of time, and the risk of bugs is much lower than other changes. This is a bigger deal than I think most people give credit for. More complicated changes just take longer to do to make sure that they come out in a polished state, and even then, the more complicated the changes, the more inherent risk that things will be missed.
CONS
  • They can't fix design-related problems.
  1. To give an example, for Kael'thas's recent changes, I had a strong desire to help his Level 16 Talent tier, which has been dominated by Fury of the Sunwell for a long time. From a pure win-rate perspective, his other talents on the tier were close. I could buff them, but I was pretty confident that the numeric buffs would have to be so high to offset the "cool" factor of Fury of the Sunwell, that they would have to be absurd to get people to pick them. This is partly why we eventually settled on Ignite as a competing talent on the tier.
  • Pick rate and Win rate are two very different things, and it's hard to make small, numeric balance changes without directly changing the win-rate of a hero.
  1. A common problem we run into is that community perception simply doesn't match what's actually winning in the game right now, and if we tune up heroes who are "not performing well," they would start to have unreasonably high win rates pretty quickly.
  2. As an example, over the last year Probius, The Lost Vikings, Rexxar, Sgt. Hammer, and Samuro have pretty much been dominating in regards to win rate at high rank Hero League. I think it's pretty fair to say that these heroes haven't been considered overpowered over the last year. If we wanted to give them the Thrall small number buff treatment, as in your example, then these heroes would be pushing 60% and beyond pretty quickly.
    Reworks These are the large, dramatic changes to heroes, where we change a large part of their talent tree, and sometimes their base abilities as well. Our upcoming changes to Diablo and Lunara are examples of this.
    PROS
  • We can fix complicated design-related problems.
  • We can take lessons that we've learned from playing with/against these heroes over time and apply current design philosophies to them.
  • We can remove or mitigate frustrating aspects of these heroes and give them more healthy gameplay.
    CONS
  • We can alienate existing lovers of the hero. If we change them too much, inevitably some people are going to be upset that they play differently.
  • These are a lot of work, and take a lot of time to validate and for QA to test. We can't just push them out quickly to solve immediate cries for change.
  • There's a higher chance that reworks will result in unintended consequences for the meta due to the hero changing drastically—or because the hero is not being picked anymore due to the changes pushing them out of the current meta during their release, which results in a negative reception.
    Smaller Talent Updates These are changes where we change, remove, or add a small number of new talents to a hero. We do these less often, but we want to do more of them in the future. A recent example of this are changes to Kael'thas, where we changed a few talents but didn't fundamentally change how he plays. I'm a huge fan of these, as we can have the flexibility of fixing smaller design problems without having to wait to do a full rework of a hero (say 1-2 talent tiers on a hero that we really want to fix).
    PROS
  • We have more flexibility. We can fix design-related problems that have plagued a hero for a long time without having to do a full rework.
  • We can make a hero feel fresh and new without the risk of drastically changing them. We get a lot of the benefits of reworks with less of the downsides.
    CONS
  • They're in that sweet spot where we can push these changes out much quicker than a normal rework, but that also means there are design changes that have less time for QA to validate. As an example, I'll totally take the blame for Kael'thas's Level 20 Pyroblast talent coming online at Level 10 when he came out. I made a simple mistake when implementing the new talent that we didn't have enough time to properly test.
  • It's easy to go down the rabbit hole and turn a small talent update into a full rework. I also worry a bit that if we go in and fix some talents but not others, that there could be a negative reception around "well why didn't you fix everything?"
When all is said and done, I think that we can do more small balance number tweaks and smaller talent updates. The key is using the right tool for the right job, which can be hard to properly discern when looking at the entire game. As a small nugget, we're currently working on a similar update for Stukov, which should be similar in scope to Kael'thas! =)

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

What is your plan for newer players in this game? As in, how will you relieve the pressure of nearly half the roster being 10k gold. I can understand having to pay to unlock heroes, but I do believe that their cost should make it possible for a person to unlock the entire roster within a reasonable timeframe. In the past this was mitigated with regular events that give out free heroes or bundles that just straight up give you 20 of them for free. There has been no such thing since the bundles disappeared last year and the price reductions are disproportionate to the hero releases.
It's definitely a goal of ours to continue to reduce the gold and gem prices of older heroes. Right after Heroes 2.0 launched, we slowed this down because of all the other changes that happened during that time. We've since picked this back up and plan to continue to be vigilant in reducing gold and gem prices for existing heroes.
I should also call out that we don't do this simply based on time in the game. There are other factors that go into the decisions about which heroes to lower gold prices on, like we might be more aggressive on gold price drops for newbie friendly heroes, while being a bit slower on complex or high skill floor heroes.
We'll definitely keep looking for compelling ways to offer extremely low cost hero bundles, or in some cases just outright giving away a hero or two.

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

How does the balance team feel about Varian's level 4 diversity? Both Colossus Smash and Twin Blades still seem to struggle post-rework, even if the rework as a whole made the hero better designed and more viable.
Varian's a tricky one! First, some stats for context.
In Hero League, Hero Level 10+, Diamond League+, Deckard Release:
  • Taunt - 75% pickrate, 50.3% winrate
  • Colossus Smash - 17% pick rate, 48% winrate
  • Twin Blades - 8% pick rate, 47.8% winrate
Ideally, we'd probably want to get Taunt to about 50% pickrate, and maybe 30/20 amongst the two DPS specs. The damage Heroics could use a small buff, though the winrate isn't quite as bad as the memes would lead you believe.
We have some plans to give both Colossus Smash and Twin Blades some more Health in a coming patch (just went into internal playtesting yesterday, so I can't give a date yet).

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

In most balance patches, we've seen focus on heroes that are currently in the meta - heroes like Hanzo, Fenix, Tracer, Genji, etc. are often changed and I think those changes are usually good. We also see reworks and half-reworks (like the recent Kael'thas and Gul'dan changes), which I also really appreciate.
However, we are almost 6 months into 2018, and 36 heroes have still not received any balance changes this year. Only 11 of them are in the top half of popularity in both HL and HGC, and 18 are in the bottom half in both HL and HGC (data). Also, many of the heroes missing from that list received changes that were only small talent tree rebalances, not making them effectively more powerful.
My question is: what's your philosophy regarding giving small buffs to weak heroes more frequently, and why is it not happening too often? Just a b... (Full text here)
Good morning lerhond, and thank you for your question!
This has been a very hot topic lately, and I want everyone to know that we are actively discussing and taking it to heart. You saw a bit of our reaction with the last balance patch, as we touched ~18 Heroes (a couple of them bringing very significant talent changes). There are a multitude of reasons that the amount of changes fluctuates each patch. A couple of these are:
Stability
  • With the exception of a couple outliers, the current state of the game is actually pretty evenly balanced. All but a handful of Heroes are sitting between 45%-55% win rate (70% of the roster is actually between 48%-52%). If we inject too many changes at once, we’ll have a hard time narrowing down the cause/effect of any particular change. This can become problematic as every change has a ripple effect and we don't want to upset the equilibrium too much at any given time.
Perception vs Reality
  • This one is what keeps us live/balance designers up at night. Let’s say that I come read reddit and see 10 threads on the front page about the frustrations surrounding Hanzo and how over-powered he is. I immediately run to our data dashboard and see that his win-rate is sitting at 46% (this is what it was before the last round of nerfs). What is the correct course of action - technically he needs buffs right? This is where balancing on win-rate alone becomes impossible. The frustration of playing against Hanzo has surpassed the reality that he is winning a lot less than he should. To 'fix' the issue we would need to make design changes alongside number tweaks, which take a lot more consideration and testing. In this example we opted to send out more nerfs in order to relieve frustrations and are internally looking at design changes to fix the core problem. Once we are happy with that, we can release it alongside some buffs in order to stabilize the Hero. In a perfect world we want each Hero in the Nexus to feel powerful and rewarding to play, but just as importantly to feel fair to play against.
Razor Edges
  • We have a handful of Heroes that walk on a razor's edge of balance. Each member of the live/balance team has been working on the game since before it was launched. We have seen a lot of situations where a very small number buff can turn a borderline Hero into a nightmare. As the perfect example, let’s look at the crowd favorite—Chen. There was a time where Chen was completely un-bear-able (tee-hee) to play against. In certain compositions, he still is! His design is very binary in that you can either deal with him and his trait, or you can't. This is something we can't really fix through tuning and need to go into much deeper design changes to fix. We have a handful of these types of Heroes and they are very much on our radar.
All this said, we are definitely listening and we will be trying our best to keep bringing balance changes and design updates as frequently as possible. We love bringing patches like our last one and will do our best to keep that bar going forward!

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Hey CriticKitten!
First off, thanks for the work that you do. Your insightful posts on our balance patches are a great help to our community, and we all read your posts when you put them out.
Secondly, great question! This is something that I'm personally very passionate about.
The short answer is "yes," we like putting out smaller balance tweaks, and want to do it more often. However, there are many levels of balance changes, and each come with their own risks and rewards.
Some examples of these, and their associated risks and rewards are:
Small, numeric balance changes.
These are changes like those made to Maiev in our last balance update, where we lowered her Health and increased the cooldown on Vault of the Wardens.
These are usually used to influence pick and/or win rates. Simply put, in making these changes we want to move a hero or talent in a direction of being picked more or less often, so we buff or nerf them.
PROS
Now that's an answer.

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

Can you add a feature to allow us to save our settings in Try Mode so that when we exit it and go back in, it remembers our previous settings? (for instance, minions off, ally and enemy None, level 20, etc.)
Good suggestion. Let me pass it on to the team and see what they think. Thanks!

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

From Zeratul in Germany
Melee assassins are rarely viable at the moment. Either ranged heroes just out poke them and are too mobile to be caught, or you’re getting CC’d and you can’t engage. Are there any plans to help melee assassins out, maybe even by giving more Supports Cleanse again, to enable these heroes?
Thanks for the question Zeratul!
I think this is more of an issue with the current meta and the range of some ranged heroes and less a problem about melee assassins. We've recently nerfed the auto-attack range of Hanzo and Fenix, which should help with this feeling of being poked out all the time.
As a counter-point, there are quite a few melee assassins that are performing very well at high level play, including Kerrigan (56%), Samuro (55.4%), Thrall (54.3%), Maiev (53.8%), Valeera (52.1%), and Malthael (52%). Not all of these heroes are seen a ton in the current meta, but they are performing very well, so I'm personally concerned that this is largely a perception issue about it feeling bad to be poked to death by ranged assassins, and less an issue of melee assassins actually being weak.
Also to answer the second part of your question, we don't currently have plans to give other supports Cleanse.
It's tricky to simply buff these melee assassins to get them to see more play, as they can easily become overpowering in their games, especially if the meta shifts more in their favor and they become more popular.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Kilma in Spain:
How do you prioritise what heroes to balance first? It gives the impression that heroes are not balanced/reworked based on their real power and role but mostly on their popularity.
Hey Kilma!
Great question! Here is a rough order in which we tend to follow when choosing who to balance:
1) Newly Released Heroes: This is normally done in the two-week balance patch following the release (occasionally this comes quicker if we need to react sooner).
1) Hot Heroes: We are scanning the forums constantly. If we see a trend of threads that have supporting data behind it, we will very likely make changes quickly.
3) Heroes Outside Of Our Bands: Unless we have a very good reason, Heroes that are sitting outside of our 45%-55% band will most likely see number changes to bring them back within bounds.
4) Dusty Heroes: Sometimes a Hero hasn't seen any meaningful changes in a very long time. We try to go in and see if there are any number changes that can help freshen up the Hero.
5) Passion: Lastly, all of us have Heroes that we are currently spamming in Hero League and are very passionate about. If we feel that there are some fun and easy changes to help these Heroes, being intimate with that Heroes kit helps expedite these types of changes.

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Is it true you're moving away from specialized heroes and releasing more rounded ones for the foreseeable future?
I understand that you think draft has too much weight in the winning of a game, but generic, "good at everything" heroes are going to be samey and boring. Schtick doesn't carry them forever. They also tend to overshadow older heroes.
Whenever we work on a new Hero (or rework), one of the questions we stop to ask ourselves is "What is this Hero's role on a team and who are they competing for a spot with? Why would I pick them over other Heroes?".
Different Heroes having different capabilities is important if we want to provide a meaningful answer to that question. However when we put too much emphasis on counter-picking, it can create a situation where match outcomes depend too much on how you played the draft lobby, and not enough on how well you played the actual game.
To offer a concrete example, Deckard and Stukov are Heroes who reflect the shift in philosophy we've been talking about. Both of them bring reasonable levels of burst and sustained healing to the table, as well as powerful CC and utility, but beyond those similarities they also bring very different things to a team. This is the goal we're aiming for when we talk about making Heroes less sharply specialized.
We're not going to stop giving Heroes unique playstyles with distinct strengths and weaknesses. We still think it's important that you can make meaningful choices in draft based on your composition and the Battleground you're playing on. The important thing is not to put so much emphasis on that aspect of the game that it feels like Rock-Paper-Scissors.

BlizzMattVi (:blizz: Lead Hero Designer) (Lead Hero Designer) (link to comment)

From Truphoss in Germany:
Some support heroes like Tyrande and Tassadar are not able to heal solo. But we saw changes to prevent double support lineups. What is the plan for these off-support heroes?
Great question Truphoss. We have a few plans regarding Tyrande and Tassadar:
• In the new role system that we’re aiming to release later this year, we have a distinction between “Healers” and “Supports.” The current thinking is that characters like Tyrande and Tassadar would be flagged as Support, and would be treated differently for QM matchmaking purposes then someone like Stukov or Malfurion.
• We’re okay with compositions that utilize a support Hero like Tassadar, Zarya, or Medivh in addition to a dedicated Healer. We understand that most (if not all) team comps will likely require a dedicated Healer regardless of whether or not you take a Support character like the three I just mentioned. We think that teams with some kind of Support-Healer combination could lead to some fun and interesting strategic and tactical gameplay situations, much like team comps where you take both a dedicated Tank and an off-Tank or Bruiser Hero as well. We very much prefer these kinds of team comps to double-healer comps, which we already nerfed last year because they were creating unpleasant gameplay experiences for many people.
• Tyrande’s current play style and talent builds can be really unique and compelling for certain players, but she doesn’t really have a role in the current meta. Internally, we are currently exploring some design changes to Tyrande that would make her viable as a solo healer. Overall the changes have been received very positively by our team, but there is a tradeoff: She is losing a lot of damage and her ability to chunk people from long distances with her owl build. This is something that we recognize can be fun for Tyrande players, so we’re carefully debating if this is the right direction for her. I’m curious to hear any thoughts you all have on this. Obviously, we could go the opposite route for her and remove/reduce her healing mechanic and point her more towards a ranged assassin.
• As I’m sure I will be asked in response to what I wrote above: Why make Tyrande a Healer, why not Assassin? We’re exploring the healing side of things as the rest of Tyrande’s kit can really encourage a Support-y playstyle—she can provide strong scouting for her team using Owls (using them to deal tons of damage works, but it’s a bit odd), her trait debuffs an enemy and helps the rest of your team to set up kills. We could make the trait more selfish, but we like its current iteration that sets up your team and essentially calls out a focus target. For her stun, were cautious to put a hard CC (stun) on the base kit of most ranged assassins. We do break this rule from time to time so it’s kind of soft for either way, but we feel more comfortable putting strong CC on Supports and Healers. This allows them to set up your team do meaningful things outside of purely healing.
• Tassadar is someone we would like to look at more in the future but he’s not someone we’re currently working on. In the past, he could be viewed as a really frustrating character to play against and he was often paired with characters like Genji or Illidan who could essentially “hyper-carry” with his shields. We think the role of ‘enabler’ for Tassadar is pretty unique and fun, especially with someone like a Valla who is a little easier to deal with. Not sure what changes we will make to Tassadar in the future.

BlizzCooper (:blizz: Lead Content Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Valeera was reworked in December then received two balance updates in January before being left alone. Is the development team happy with where Valeera is now? It seems like there were conflicting design goals between "Create builds people can follow based around openers" and "Valeera should be choosing which opener to use based on the situation".
We think that Valeera is in a better state now than when she was released, but there's definite room for improvement. You've correctly identified one of our issues: players like to focus fully on a few openers and therefore as the game progresses and you pick Talents, you have fewer gameplay choices. That runs contrary to one of the design goals for Talents in our game, we want them to increase the options and abilities available to your character over the course of the game.
Anecdotally: When we designed Valeera, we decided to make her different from Heroes like Zeratul by really capturing one of the World of Warcraft Rogue fantasies of locking down an enemy Hero. When Valeera was in development, the Valla/Greymane hyper carry meta was in full force, so we thought that this would also be a welcome addition to the game that would shake up the meta. If Valeera is good at locking down only one enemy, and a team's composition relied on having one major damage dealer, she'd be great at it.
That's why the balance changes we've made to Valeera over time have tried to reduce her damage, and kept her focus on disabling one enemy. We're still trying to adjust the Talent tree to fit into that philosophy, and trying to balance making her good at reducing a carry without also making her too strong in setting up kills.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Zeratul in Germany:
Talents: There are many talents that clearly underperform compared to others in their tier, e.g. Maiev’s Tier 4 talent Pin Down is clearly worse than any of her other talents. Can we expect to see buffs to these underperforming talents with bad win rates?
Yes, we're always looking at making these tiers healthier. Sometimes that means we can make tuning changes, sometimes it means we need to make design changes so that two Talents aren't competing with each other to accomplish the same goal. We periodically do sweeps of Talent trees and try to make a series of small incremental adjustments. Typically you'll see a lot of these changes in our balance patches two weeks after the release of a Hero or Rework.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Abathur has already been played as a solo support hero in HGC multiple times and as other supports receive nerfs, he continues to become more competitive in this role. Does the potential viability of support Abathur concern the balance team? Will Abathur be balanced around this role in the future?
Thanks for the question LuckyLightning!
Personally I think it's really cool that solo-support Abathur has emerged as a fringe strategy. One of the exciting things about playing and watching games in this genre is when these very unique types of strategies have some success, so we're hesitant to immediately remove it until it becomes a larger problem.
As far as longer term, Abathur isn't considered a primary Healer for his team, so if this became "the" way to play him, then that would be a concern, additionally because his healing is tied to his Level 1 talent.
I won't say never, but there's a very low chance that Abathur would be balanced around being a primary healer in the future, and we have no plans for it.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Valeera in Germany:
Are you considering adding maps that have weather effects which influence the gameplay? E.g. a fog that would reduce vision for everybody or a blizzard that slows everybody’s movement?
Hey Valeera, I didn’t see you there!
We have talked about this a little bit. Early on in development for Garden of Terror, the night cycle actually reduced player vision range significantly – this is a mechanic that we felt was interesting in Warcraft 3 and wanted to explore it. Ultimately, we didn’t end up doing this for a couple of reasons. First off, it tended to result in more passive play, players were scared to move around the map without their team. It also set a more dreary and dark tone for the match. As a development team we felt that this could psychologically take a toll on the player.
That being said, there is more room for us to explore here, whether that’s a Day/Night cycle, weather effects, or other layered events on top of our Battleground mechanics. One thing we always consider is making sure that our Battlegrounds provide a unique area for our epic heroes to do battle in. We like player driven events that require team action. Events that happen automatically that put the hero or the player in a backseat are things that we would explore cautiously. Ultimately, the Battlegrounds should enhance the heroes and make the players feel more awesome, not overshadow them.

BlizzCooper (:blizz: Lead Content Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Some players wanted other supports to be brought up to the level of Stukov and Malfurion, but you guys went the other route to restore support diversity. Why did the balance team determine that nerfing the top two healers was the correct way to restore diversity rather than buffing the healing output of less popular options?
This is a very popular question on the forums.
Each of us on the balance team has slightly differing views on the subject, and we all work together to come to the best consensus we can. The reasoning behind the last round of changes came down to two major reasons:
  • They were both over-performing and out-classing the other Healers in the game. Stukov and Malfurion were dominating drafts and winning more than their counterparts by 3%-4%.
  • We are being very careful not to power-creep the Healers as we do not want to step back into a mandatory double-support meta. When it comes down to it, ending a game in a timely manner relies on players actually dying.
Here is some (hopefully) fun win-rate data since our last patch:
Auriel: 54.8% Deckard: 52.7% Alexstrasza: 52.7% LiLi: 52.2% Ana: 52.1% Brightwing: 51.8% Morales: 51.1% Lucio: 50.7% Malfurion: 50.4% Rehgar: 50.2% Kharazim: 49.9% Uther: 49.7% Stukov: 47.8%
As you can see, the Healers are all pretty close in terms of viability (this is data from Hero League @ Diamond+, Hero Level 10+). It would seem that we may have hit Stukov a bit too hard and under-estimated the 5% PvE buff we gave Auriel.

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Any plans for Tyrande?
She is neither a good support nor a good assasin actually. Do you have plans to pushing her in one role or make her a bit like varian, that she can choose her role?
We have a meeting later today to discuss her. We have ideas.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Is there any chance, even slim, of a hero being reworked into a whole different role?
So in general when doing a rework, we try to keep the vibe (and role) of the hero the same while making improvements to their feel, power, and utility.
Having said that, we've talked internally for a while now that we don't think this is a hard rule. We would be open to making significant (and drastically different) changes to a hero if it made sense to do so. Maybe to the point of even changing their role. Obviously, this would probably only ever be considered on a hero which has very low pick rates, or simply doesn't fit in the current game anymore (and lesser changes wouldn't be effective).
Do you guys have any thoughts on what current Heroes in the game you think we should consider taking this approach?

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

Stitches tree is one of the older ones left in the game with lots of boring talents like "+50% slam damage". Are there any plans to freshen him (Stitches)** up?**
Hey ChaosOS - thank you for all of your amazing posts and support!
Yes - I am currently slated to take point on looking at him in the near future. This may change, but I hope it doesn't as I am hooked on some fun new ideas!

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

submitted by blizztracker to blizztracker_heroes [link] [comments]

Balance and Design AMA with Heroes Developers - May 16, 2018 - Part 2

Continued...

A long, long time ago it was mentioned that the team would like to get the Heroes branch of the SC2 editor out to the public.
Is a publicly available editor something we still might see down the line? I personally wouldn't care how rough around the edges it is - I'd just love to actually fiddle around with all of, and would be more than willing to pay an entry fee if that's necessary, as I'm sure the fact it'd give players full access to any hero of their choice is a concern.
It's something that we've definitely discussed in the past. Of course we've seen a lot of awesome content created by the communities in War3 and SC2 (I personally worked on parts of the custom map support for both games), but it's not something we are actively working on for Heroes right now. Maybe we can revisit in the future. :)

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Blizzard) (Game Director) (link to comment)

That deflection is sooo smooth. Must be a requirement to work a blizzard.
:)

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Blizzard) (Game Director) (link to comment)

What alternatives for self-sustain were examined for Ana? Were grenade-centric ideas considered, and if so, why were they rejected?
Thanks for the question ChaosOS!
We explored a few alternatives for self-sustain for Ana. We thought about grenade-centric ideas, however we shied away from it for a couple reasons:
  1. Ana's Grenade already does a whole lot of stuff, and we really didn't want to add more mechanics to it. It already Deals damage, heals, negates enemy healing, and gives allies an Ana-specific healing buff. We didn't want to tack on even more functionality to this.
  2. We didn't want to add more use cases for her Grenade if we can help it. She already wants to use it to secure kills on enemies when they are put under pressure, as well as to save allies with her healing buff. If we added the third use case of using it on herself as her primary method of self-healing, then there's a high chance that players wouldn't have it for the other use cases when they needed it. There's an argument that this adds mastery to the hero, to know how and when to use the ability, but I think there's also a high chance that, since it's a high-cooldown ability, that players will often just end up frustrated when they use it for one of the above use cases and then the situation of the fight changes drastically and they have large missed opportunities to use it for its other cases.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

When can we expect a Vikings update? Would it be possible to give back their basic abilities and rework their trait.
Having globe collection be a focus of their play style is key because it forces them to micro out of bushes and from behind gates to get value. Something like increasing damage or health pool from globes would be much more interesting than health regen which is meaningless on low hp heroes
We love The Lost Vikings, and think they're important to the game as a whole as they exemplify how Heroes of the Storm is unique among MOBAs. I can't give you any specifics on a date or scope of a rework since we haven't decided on anything yet, but here's what I can share:
  • We don't like that the Vikings' primary function is to be in all lanes to soak experience.
  • We love when the Vikings work together, and think that the coolest part of the Hero is having 3 units that combined are stronger than their individual pieces.
  • We would like to see the Vikings be more accessible. There's a small section of the player base that loves the Vikings, but by and large they are not a very popular Hero due to their power feeling hidden and their high micro demands.
  • We would love to see more interactivity and plays made with their kit. We have to balance that out with making them approachable.
Again, keep in mind that these are just our thoughts, and it might be that we may drastically change their kit... or just make small tweaks over time. We honestly don't have any concrete plans yet, but I wanted to be very transparent and share what we think about the Hero at the moment. We would love to get them into a more prominent role in the Nexus at some point, though.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

I've put some thought into what I wanted to ask, and I think at the end of the day, one question stood out despite its less statistical nature. So, here goes:
The community has increasingly called for more balance patches that give small "tweaks" to heroes that are falling out of favor, and in that light, larger balance patches like last week's have been mostly well-received. Has the team given any serious thought to making these larger balance patches more of a regularly scheduled thing, so as to help provide continual smaller "tweaks" to heroes that don't need reworks, but are still dipping somewhat in popularity or success?
I know that that the dev team said in the previous AMA that you don't want to shake up the meta too much with each new patch. That's an understandable and respectable goal. But I think that providing small numerical tweaks to heroes that are slightly under-performing could be rather beneficial for the many heroes who are not really in need of full ... (Full text here)
Hey CriticKitten!
First off, thanks for the work that you do. Your insightful posts on our balance patches are a great help to our community, and we all read your posts when you put them out.
Secondly, great question! This is something that I'm personally very passionate about.
The short answer is "yes," we like putting out smaller balance tweaks, and want to do it more often. However, there are many levels of balance changes, and each come with their own risks and rewards.
Some examples of these, and their associated risks and rewards are:
Small, numeric balance changes.
These are changes like those made to Maiev in our last balance update, where we lowered her Health and increased the cooldown on Vault of the Wardens.
These are usually used to influence pick and/or win rates. Simply put, in making these changes we want to move a hero or talent in a direction of being picked more or less often, so we buff or nerf them.
PROS
  • These are simple changes. The risk of unintentionally changing other parts of the game is relatively low. • As you mentioned, we can push out many of these changes in a short period of time, which can make the meta feel fresh and new.
  • There is little Development and QA validation. We can make these changes in a relatively short amount of time, and the risk of bugs is much lower than other changes. This is a bigger deal than I think most people give credit for. More complicated changes just take longer to do to make sure that they come out in a polished state, and even then, the more complicated the changes, the more inherent risk that things will be missed.
CONS
  • They can't fix design-related problems.
  1. To give an example, for Kael'thas's recent changes, I had a strong desire to help his Level 16 Talent tier, which has been dominated by Fury of the Sunwell for a long time. From a pure win-rate perspective, his other talents on the tier were close. I could buff them, but I was pretty confident that the numeric buffs would have to be so high to offset the "cool" factor of Fury of the Sunwell, that they would have to be absurd to get people to pick them. This is partly why we eventually settled on Ignite as a competing talent on the tier.
  • Pick rate and Win rate are two very different things, and it's hard to make small, numeric balance changes without directly changing the win-rate of a hero.
  1. A common problem we run into is that community perception simply doesn't match what's actually winning in the game right now, and if we tune up heroes who are "not performing well," they would start to have unreasonably high win rates pretty quickly.
  2. As an example, over the last year Probius, The Lost Vikings, Rexxar, Sgt. Hammer, and Samuro have pretty much been dominating in regards to win rate at high rank Hero League. I think it's pretty fair to say that these heroes haven't been considered overpowered over the last year. If we wanted to give them the Thrall small number buff treatment, as in your example, then these heroes would be pushing 60% and beyond pretty quickly.
    Reworks These are the large, dramatic changes to heroes, where we change a large part of their talent tree, and sometimes their base abilities as well. Our upcoming changes to Diablo and Lunara are examples of this.
    PROS
  • We can fix complicated design-related problems.
  • We can take lessons that we've learned from playing with/against these heroes over time and apply current design philosophies to them.
  • We can remove or mitigate frustrating aspects of these heroes and give them more healthy gameplay.
    CONS
  • We can alienate existing lovers of the hero. If we change them too much, inevitably some people are going to be upset that they play differently.
  • These are a lot of work, and take a lot of time to validate and for QA to test. We can't just push them out quickly to solve immediate cries for change.
  • There's a higher chance that reworks will result in unintended consequences for the meta due to the hero changing drastically—or because the hero is not being picked anymore due to the changes pushing them out of the current meta during their release, which results in a negative reception.
    Smaller Talent Updates These are changes where we change, remove, or add a small number of new talents to a hero. We do these less often, but we want to do more of them in the future. A recent example of this are changes to Kael'thas, where we changed a few talents but didn't fundamentally change how he plays. I'm a huge fan of these, as we can have the flexibility of fixing smaller design problems without having to wait to do a full rework of a hero (say 1-2 talent tiers on a hero that we really want to fix).
    PROS
  • We have more flexibility. We can fix design-related problems that have plagued a hero for a long time without having to do a full rework.
  • We can make a hero feel fresh and new without the risk of drastically changing them. We get a lot of the benefits of reworks with less of the downsides.
    CONS
  • They're in that sweet spot where we can push these changes out much quicker than a normal rework, but that also means there are design changes that have less time for QA to validate. As an example, I'll totally take the blame for Kael'thas's Level 20 Pyroblast talent coming online at Level 10 when he came out. I made a simple mistake when implementing the new talent that we didn't have enough time to properly test.
  • It's easy to go down the rabbit hole and turn a small talent update into a full rework. I also worry a bit that if we go in and fix some talents but not others, that there could be a negative reception around "well why didn't you fix everything?"
When all is said and done, I think that we can do more small balance number tweaks and smaller talent updates. The key is using the right tool for the right job, which can be hard to properly discern when looking at the entire game. As a small nugget, we're currently working on a similar update for Stukov, which should be similar in scope to Kael'thas! =)

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

What is your plan for newer players in this game? As in, how will you relieve the pressure of nearly half the roster being 10k gold. I can understand having to pay to unlock heroes, but I do believe that their cost should make it possible for a person to unlock the entire roster within a reasonable timeframe. In the past this was mitigated with regular events that give out free heroes or bundles that just straight up give you 20 of them for free. There has been no such thing since the bundles disappeared last year and the price reductions are disproportionate to the hero releases.
It's definitely a goal of ours to continue to reduce the gold and gem prices of older heroes. Right after Heroes 2.0 launched, we slowed this down because of all the other changes that happened during that time. We've since picked this back up and plan to continue to be vigilant in reducing gold and gem prices for existing heroes.
I should also call out that we don't do this simply based on time in the game. There are other factors that go into the decisions about which heroes to lower gold prices on, like we might be more aggressive on gold price drops for newbie friendly heroes, while being a bit slower on complex or high skill floor heroes.
We'll definitely keep looking for compelling ways to offer extremely low cost hero bundles, or in some cases just outright giving away a hero or two.

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

How does the balance team feel about Varian's level 4 diversity? Both Colossus Smash and Twin Blades still seem to struggle post-rework, even if the rework as a whole made the hero better designed and more viable.
Varian's a tricky one! First, some stats for context.
In Hero League, Hero Level 10+, Diamond League+, Deckard Release:
  • Taunt - 75% pickrate, 50.3% winrate
  • Colossus Smash - 17% pick rate, 48% winrate
  • Twin Blades - 8% pick rate, 47.8% winrate
Ideally, we'd probably want to get Taunt to about 50% pickrate, and maybe 30/20 amongst the two DPS specs. The damage Heroics could use a small buff, though the winrate isn't quite as bad as the memes would lead you believe.
We have some plans to give both Colossus Smash and Twin Blades some more Health in a coming patch (just went into internal playtesting yesterday, so I can't give a date yet).

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

In most balance patches, we've seen focus on heroes that are currently in the meta - heroes like Hanzo, Fenix, Tracer, Genji, etc. are often changed and I think those changes are usually good. We also see reworks and half-reworks (like the recent Kael'thas and Gul'dan changes), which I also really appreciate.
However, we are almost 6 months into 2018, and 36 heroes have still not received any balance changes this year. Only 11 of them are in the top half of popularity in both HL and HGC, and 18 are in the bottom half in both HL and HGC (data). Also, many of the heroes missing from that list received changes that were only small talent tree rebalances, not making them effectively more powerful.
My question is: what's your philosophy regarding giving small buffs to weak heroes more frequently, and why is it not happening too often? Just a b... (Full text here)
Good morning lerhond, and thank you for your question!
This has been a very hot topic lately, and I want everyone to know that we are actively discussing and taking it to heart. You saw a bit of our reaction with the last balance patch, as we touched ~18 Heroes (a couple of them bringing very significant talent changes). There are a multitude of reasons that the amount of changes fluctuates each patch. A couple of these are:
Stability
  • With the exception of a couple outliers, the current state of the game is actually pretty evenly balanced. All but a handful of Heroes are sitting between 45%-55% win rate (70% of the roster is actually between 48%-52%). If we inject too many changes at once, we’ll have a hard time narrowing down the cause/effect of any particular change. This can become problematic as every change has a ripple effect and we don't want to upset the equilibrium too much at any given time.
Perception vs Reality
  • This one is what keeps us live/balance designers up at night. Let’s say that I come read reddit and see 10 threads on the front page about the frustrations surrounding Hanzo and how over-powered he is. I immediately run to our data dashboard and see that his win-rate is sitting at 46% (this is what it was before the last round of nerfs). What is the correct course of action - technically he needs buffs right? This is where balancing on win-rate alone becomes impossible. The frustration of playing against Hanzo has surpassed the reality that he is winning a lot less than he should. To 'fix' the issue we would need to make design changes alongside number tweaks, which take a lot more consideration and testing. In this example we opted to send out more nerfs in order to relieve frustrations and are internally looking at design changes to fix the core problem. Once we are happy with that, we can release it alongside some buffs in order to stabilize the Hero. In a perfect world we want each Hero in the Nexus to feel powerful and rewarding to play, but just as importantly to feel fair to play against.
Razor Edges
  • We have a handful of Heroes that walk on a razor's edge of balance. Each member of the live/balance team has been working on the game since before it was launched. We have seen a lot of situations where a very small number buff can turn a borderline Hero into a nightmare. As the perfect example, let’s look at the crowd favorite—Chen. There was a time where Chen was completely un-bear-able (tee-hee) to play against. In certain compositions, he still is! His design is very binary in that you can either deal with him and his trait, or you can't. This is something we can't really fix through tuning and need to go into much deeper design changes to fix. We have a handful of these types of Heroes and they are very much on our radar.
All this said, we are definitely listening and we will be trying our best to keep bringing balance changes and design updates as frequently as possible. We love bringing patches like our last one and will do our best to keep that bar going forward!

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Hey CriticKitten!
First off, thanks for the work that you do. Your insightful posts on our balance patches are a great help to our community, and we all read your posts when you put them out.
Secondly, great question! This is something that I'm personally very passionate about.
The short answer is "yes," we like putting out smaller balance tweaks, and want to do it more often. However, there are many levels of balance changes, and each come with their own risks and rewards.
Some examples of these, and their associated risks and rewards are:
Small, numeric balance changes.
These are changes like those made to Maiev in our last balance update, where we lowered her Health and increased the cooldown on Vault of the Wardens.
These are usually used to influence pick and/or win rates. Simply put, in making these changes we want to move a hero or talent in a direction of being picked more or less often, so we buff or nerf them.
PROS
Now that's an answer.

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

Can you add a feature to allow us to save our settings in Try Mode so that when we exit it and go back in, it remembers our previous settings? (for instance, minions off, ally and enemy None, level 20, etc.)
Good suggestion. Let me pass it on to the team and see what they think. Thanks!

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

From Zeratul in Germany
Melee assassins are rarely viable at the moment. Either ranged heroes just out poke them and are too mobile to be caught, or you’re getting CC’d and you can’t engage. Are there any plans to help melee assassins out, maybe even by giving more Supports Cleanse again, to enable these heroes?
Thanks for the question Zeratul!
I think this is more of an issue with the current meta and the range of some ranged heroes and less a problem about melee assassins. We've recently nerfed the auto-attack range of Hanzo and Fenix, which should help with this feeling of being poked out all the time.
As a counter-point, there are quite a few melee assassins that are performing very well at high level play, including Kerrigan (56%), Samuro (55.4%), Thrall (54.3%), Maiev (53.8%), Valeera (52.1%), and Malthael (52%). Not all of these heroes are seen a ton in the current meta, but they are performing very well, so I'm personally concerned that this is largely a perception issue about it feeling bad to be poked to death by ranged assassins, and less an issue of melee assassins actually being weak.
Also to answer the second part of your question, we don't currently have plans to give other supports Cleanse.
It's tricky to simply buff these melee assassins to get them to see more play, as they can easily become overpowering in their games, especially if the meta shifts more in their favor and they become more popular.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Kilma in Spain:
How do you prioritise what heroes to balance first? It gives the impression that heroes are not balanced/reworked based on their real power and role but mostly on their popularity.
Hey Kilma!
Great question! Here is a rough order in which we tend to follow when choosing who to balance:
1) Newly Released Heroes: This is normally done in the two-week balance patch following the release (occasionally this comes quicker if we need to react sooner).
1) Hot Heroes: We are scanning the forums constantly. If we see a trend of threads that have supporting data behind it, we will very likely make changes quickly.
3) Heroes Outside Of Our Bands: Unless we have a very good reason, Heroes that are sitting outside of our 45%-55% band will most likely see number changes to bring them back within bounds.
4) Dusty Heroes: Sometimes a Hero hasn't seen any meaningful changes in a very long time. We try to go in and see if there are any number changes that can help freshen up the Hero.
5) Passion: Lastly, all of us have Heroes that we are currently spamming in Hero League and are very passionate about. If we feel that there are some fun and easy changes to help these Heroes, being intimate with that Heroes kit helps expedite these types of changes.

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Is it true you're moving away from specialized heroes and releasing more rounded ones for the foreseeable future?
I understand that you think draft has too much weight in the winning of a game, but generic, "good at everything" heroes are going to be samey and boring. Schtick doesn't carry them forever. They also tend to overshadow older heroes.
Whenever we work on a new Hero (or rework), one of the questions we stop to ask ourselves is "What is this Hero's role on a team and who are they competing for a spot with? Why would I pick them over other Heroes?".
Different Heroes having different capabilities is important if we want to provide a meaningful answer to that question. However when we put too much emphasis on counter-picking, it can create a situation where match outcomes depend too much on how you played the draft lobby, and not enough on how well you played the actual game.
To offer a concrete example, Deckard and Stukov are Heroes who reflect the shift in philosophy we've been talking about. Both of them bring reasonable levels of burst and sustained healing to the table, as well as powerful CC and utility, but beyond those similarities they also bring very different things to a team. This is the goal we're aiming for when we talk about making Heroes less sharply specialized.
We're not going to stop giving Heroes unique playstyles with distinct strengths and weaknesses. We still think it's important that you can make meaningful choices in draft based on your composition and the Battleground you're playing on. The important thing is not to put so much emphasis on that aspect of the game that it feels like Rock-Paper-Scissors.

BlizzMattVi (:blizz: Lead Hero Designer) (Lead Hero Designer) (link to comment)

From Truphoss in Germany:
Some support heroes like Tyrande and Tassadar are not able to heal solo. But we saw changes to prevent double support lineups. What is the plan for these off-support heroes?
Great question Truphoss. We have a few plans regarding Tyrande and Tassadar:
• In the new role system that we’re aiming to release later this year, we have a distinction between “Healers” and “Supports.” The current thinking is that characters like Tyrande and Tassadar would be flagged as Support, and would be treated differently for QM matchmaking purposes then someone like Stukov or Malfurion.
• We’re okay with compositions that utilize a support Hero like Tassadar, Zarya, or Medivh in addition to a dedicated Healer. We understand that most (if not all) team comps will likely require a dedicated Healer regardless of whether or not you take a Support character like the three I just mentioned. We think that teams with some kind of Support-Healer combination could lead to some fun and interesting strategic and tactical gameplay situations, much like team comps where you take both a dedicated Tank and an off-Tank or Bruiser Hero as well. We very much prefer these kinds of team comps to double-healer comps, which we already nerfed last year because they were creating unpleasant gameplay experiences for many people.
• Tyrande’s current play style and talent builds can be really unique and compelling for certain players, but she doesn’t really have a role in the current meta. Internally, we are currently exploring some design changes to Tyrande that would make her viable as a solo healer. Overall the changes have been received very positively by our team, but there is a tradeoff: She is losing a lot of damage and her ability to chunk people from long distances with her owl build. This is something that we recognize can be fun for Tyrande players, so we’re carefully debating if this is the right direction for her. I’m curious to hear any thoughts you all have on this. Obviously, we could go the opposite route for her and remove/reduce her healing mechanic and point her more towards a ranged assassin.
• As I’m sure I will be asked in response to what I wrote above: Why make Tyrande a Healer, why not Assassin? We’re exploring the healing side of things as the rest of Tyrande’s kit can really encourage a Support-y playstyle—she can provide strong scouting for her team using Owls (using them to deal tons of damage works, but it’s a bit odd), her trait debuffs an enemy and helps the rest of your team to set up kills. We could make the trait more selfish, but we like its current iteration that sets up your team and essentially calls out a focus target. For her stun, were cautious to put a hard CC (stun) on the base kit of most ranged assassins. We do break this rule from time to time so it’s kind of soft for either way, but we feel more comfortable putting strong CC on Supports and Healers. This allows them to set up your team do meaningful things outside of purely healing.
• Tassadar is someone we would like to look at more in the future but he’s not someone we’re currently working on. In the past, he could be viewed as a really frustrating character to play against and he was often paired with characters like Genji or Illidan who could essentially “hyper-carry” with his shields. We think the role of ‘enabler’ for Tassadar is pretty unique and fun, especially with someone like a Valla who is a little easier to deal with. Not sure what changes we will make to Tassadar in the future.

BlizzCooper (:blizz: Lead Content Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Valeera was reworked in December then received two balance updates in January before being left alone. Is the development team happy with where Valeera is now? It seems like there were conflicting design goals between "Create builds people can follow based around openers" and "Valeera should be choosing which opener to use based on the situation".
We think that Valeera is in a better state now than when she was released, but there's definite room for improvement. You've correctly identified one of our issues: players like to focus fully on a few openers and therefore as the game progresses and you pick Talents, you have fewer gameplay choices. That runs contrary to one of the design goals for Talents in our game, we want them to increase the options and abilities available to your character over the course of the game.
Anecdotally: When we designed Valeera, we decided to make her different from Heroes like Zeratul by really capturing one of the World of Warcraft Rogue fantasies of locking down an enemy Hero. When Valeera was in development, the Valla/Greymane hyper carry meta was in full force, so we thought that this would also be a welcome addition to the game that would shake up the meta. If Valeera is good at locking down only one enemy, and a team's composition relied on having one major damage dealer, she'd be great at it.
That's why the balance changes we've made to Valeera over time have tried to reduce her damage, and kept her focus on disabling one enemy. We're still trying to adjust the Talent tree to fit into that philosophy, and trying to balance making her good at reducing a carry without also making her too strong in setting up kills.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Zeratul in Germany:
Talents: There are many talents that clearly underperform compared to others in their tier, e.g. Maiev’s Tier 4 talent Pin Down is clearly worse than any of her other talents. Can we expect to see buffs to these underperforming talents with bad win rates?
Yes, we're always looking at making these tiers healthier. Sometimes that means we can make tuning changes, sometimes it means we need to make design changes so that two Talents aren't competing with each other to accomplish the same goal. We periodically do sweeps of Talent trees and try to make a series of small incremental adjustments. Typically you'll see a lot of these changes in our balance patches two weeks after the release of a Hero or Rework.

BlizzNeyman (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Abathur has already been played as a solo support hero in HGC multiple times and as other supports receive nerfs, he continues to become more competitive in this role. Does the potential viability of support Abathur concern the balance team? Will Abathur be balanced around this role in the future?
Thanks for the question LuckyLightning!
Personally I think it's really cool that solo-support Abathur has emerged as a fringe strategy. One of the exciting things about playing and watching games in this genre is when these very unique types of strategies have some success, so we're hesitant to immediately remove it until it becomes a larger problem.
As far as longer term, Abathur isn't considered a primary Healer for his team, so if this became "the" way to play him, then that would be a concern, additionally because his healing is tied to his Level 1 talent.
I won't say never, but there's a very low chance that Abathur would be balanced around being a primary healer in the future, and we have no plans for it.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

From Valeera in Germany:
Are you considering adding maps that have weather effects which influence the gameplay? E.g. a fog that would reduce vision for everybody or a blizzard that slows everybody’s movement?
Hey Valeera, I didn’t see you there!
We have talked about this a little bit. Early on in development for Garden of Terror, the night cycle actually reduced player vision range significantly – this is a mechanic that we felt was interesting in Warcraft 3 and wanted to explore it. Ultimately, we didn’t end up doing this for a couple of reasons. First off, it tended to result in more passive play, players were scared to move around the map without their team. It also set a more dreary and dark tone for the match. As a development team we felt that this could psychologically take a toll on the player.
That being said, there is more room for us to explore here, whether that’s a Day/Night cycle, weather effects, or other layered events on top of our Battleground mechanics. One thing we always consider is making sure that our Battlegrounds provide a unique area for our epic heroes to do battle in. We like player driven events that require team action. Events that happen automatically that put the hero or the player in a backseat are things that we would explore cautiously. Ultimately, the Battlegrounds should enhance the heroes and make the players feel more awesome, not overshadow them.

BlizzCooper (:blizz: Lead Content Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Some players wanted other supports to be brought up to the level of Stukov and Malfurion, but you guys went the other route to restore support diversity. Why did the balance team determine that nerfing the top two healers was the correct way to restore diversity rather than buffing the healing output of less popular options?
This is a very popular question on the forums.
Each of us on the balance team has slightly differing views on the subject, and we all work together to come to the best consensus we can. The reasoning behind the last round of changes came down to two major reasons:
  • They were both over-performing and out-classing the other Healers in the game. Stukov and Malfurion were dominating drafts and winning more than their counterparts by 3%-4%.
  • We are being very careful not to power-creep the Healers as we do not want to step back into a mandatory double-support meta. When it comes down to it, ending a game in a timely manner relies on players actually dying.
Here is some (hopefully) fun win-rate data since our last patch:
Auriel: 54.8% Deckard: 52.7% Alexstrasza: 52.7% LiLi: 52.2% Ana: 52.1% Brightwing: 51.8% Morales: 51.1% Lucio: 50.7% Malfurion: 50.4% Rehgar: 50.2% Kharazim: 49.9% Uther: 49.7% Stukov: 47.8%
As you can see, the Healers are all pretty close in terms of viability (this is data from Hero League @ Diamond+, Hero Level 10+). It would seem that we may have hit Stukov a bit too hard and under-estimated the 5% PvE buff we gave Auriel.

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Any plans for Tyrande?
She is neither a good support nor a good assasin actually. Do you have plans to pushing her in one role or make her a bit like varian, that she can choose her role?
We have a meeting later today to discuss her. We have ideas.

BlizzAZJackson (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

Is there any chance, even slim, of a hero being reworked into a whole different role?
So in general when doing a rework, we try to keep the vibe (and role) of the hero the same while making improvements to their feel, power, and utility.
Having said that, we've talked internally for a while now that we don't think this is a hard rule. We would be open to making significant (and drastically different) changes to a hero if it made sense to do so. Maybe to the point of even changing their role. Obviously, this would probably only ever be considered on a hero which has very low pick rates, or simply doesn't fit in the current game anymore (and lesser changes wouldn't be effective).
Do you guys have any thoughts on what current Heroes in the game you think we should consider taking this approach?

BlizzAlan (:blizz: Game Director) (Game Director) (link to comment)

Stitches tree is one of the older ones left in the game with lots of boring talents like "+50% slam damage". Are there any plans to freshen him (Stitches)** up?**
Hey ChaosOS - thank you for all of your amazing posts and support!
Yes - I am currently slated to take point on looking at him in the near future. This may change, but I hope it doesn't as I am hooked on some fun new ideas!

Blizz_Daybringer (:blizz: Live Game Designer) (Game Designer) (link to comment)

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