(banner courtesy of /u/Somber99)
View the previous post on HeroesHearth here.
View all of my previous blog posts here.
Hello again! After each balance patch, I've taken it upon myself to track how the balance changes have affected the Nexus. It's become something of a habit for me, and I thought it might be fun to share my data with the community.
In case you've forgotten what changed in the last patch, here's a link.
Disclaimer (please read!):
All data provided in this post was collected from Hotslogs, which is a database of player-submitted games. Data was collected between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM EST each day, using the special filter "Last 7 Days (Current Build)" and focusing exclusively on Hero League data (with the exception of heroes like Cho'Gall, whose unique nature requires pulling data from Team League). As usual, keep in mind that my numbers may differ slightly from Hotslogs's "official" figures as the site regularly updates older information as more games are added. Therefore, our data may not match up perfectly, but it should give a generally accurate view of how the week progressed.
Here is a link to the spreadsheet with the data I've collected. The spreadsheet contains all of my original data, split into two categories: "Composite" (which represents all data across the entire week) and "Daily" (which represents data from each individual day). It also contains a number of graphs showing how each hero is performing in both win rate and popularity. If you'd prefer a summarized report, read on!
Here is a table showing the win rates, pick rates, ban rates, and overall popularity:
Remember, only the heroes whose win rates are highlighted blue/orange with white text have exceeded their margin of error. Heroes which do not exceed the margin of error are considered to have too little data to confirm that they have changed in any significant way. Note that the error column assumes a 95% confidence interval. To put it simply, a 95% confidence interval is a numerical way to measure whether the win rate has changed in any significant way. If the change to a win rate exceeds the error, then we can assume that there is approximately a 95% chance that the win rate has changed.
Here is a table showing the composite and daily win rates as charts, as well as a chart comparing the previous and current pick/ban rates:
Win rates are shown as a bar indicating their relative distance from 50%. Blue bars shown above the line are win rates that are above 50%, and orange bars below the line show win rates that are below 50%. This gives a visual representation of how the win rate has changed each day. The final column splits the pick rate and ban rate into blue and orange sections, respectively, to show their overall influence on the popularity. The bar above is the original popularity, and the bar below represents the popularity after the designated period.
The seven-day analysis is below. Please note that while I try to cover all heroes, not all heroes are in need of in-depth analysis of their changes, so some heroes may have short summaries or may even be omitted entirely. Also, be aware that the contents of this section are primarily my own opinion of the changes, albeit backed with data. If you disagree, feel free to explain why in the comments below.
1) Whitemane's win rate has climbed since her initial release as more people shuffle over to the fairly safe "Q build". Whitemane's win rate started at a very ordinary win rate that was fairly close to 50% (49.5%) due to a large percentage of players selecting the combination of Clemency and High Inquisitor, but has changed as more people adopt the early game "Q build" of Martyrdom and Unwavering Faith, which is considerably easier to use. Of interest here is the fact that, at least according to the data we have, the "W build" and "E build" at Lvls 1 and 4 are not underperforming, as both sit very close to a 50% win rate. Rather, it seems that the "Q build" is currently overperforming, very likely due to the fact that Unwavering Faith grants a shield and thus reduces the threat of dive. In a sense, it effectively removes the one major weakness that Whitemane has (vulnerability to dive), much like how Ice Block did for Malfurion at a later stage in the game. If I were to try and tinker with Whitemane's early-game builds, I would seek to reduce or even remove that shield and possibly replace it with something else. I'd also like to see them possibly play with giving Clemency a separate cooldown (akin to Garrosh's Into the Fray) to better enable playmaking opportunities.
Thankfully, this situation only seems to be true of her early-game builds. Her talents beyond that point look largely balanced, with most of them sitting pretty close to each other in win rate. The only other problem tier is at Lvl 16, where Radiance (59.0% WR, +1.2 p.p. vs next highest talent) is perhaps a bit strong and Lashing Out (56.5% WR, -1.3 p.p. vs next highest talent) seems a bit too weak. We may also see some tweaking of her heroics, as Divine Reckoning (55.5% WR, +3.7 p.p. vs Scarlet Aegis) is currently outperforming Scarlet Aegis, although the very large difference in popularity (28.9% PR, -42.2 p.p. vs Scarlet Aegis) might mean that these tweaks will be more minimal, if they happen at all.
As a final note, I'm pretty pleased with her design for the most part and have been enjoying playing both her Q and W builds. However, while the numbers don't seem to suggest that "E build" is problematically weak, I can't help but feel that it doesn't feel particularly inspired, either. Q talents directly alter the way Whitemane's healing works, allowing her to get more base healing from Q, granting self-heals, and playing cleverly with her Desperation stacks. W talents allow you to change the ability into a heal, enables some clever interaction with Desperation stacks to generate mana faster, can chain to other heroes, and can even be used to weaken a key hero on the enemy team. By comparison, most of the E talents feel somehow....bland, with the sole exception being Harsh Discipline....which requires W to even function properly, to the point where I practically consider it a W talent. E's talents are primarily just damage oriented, and don't add anything to Whitemane's dynamic. I hope that, in the future, some tinkering will be done with these talents to give them a bit more flavor and utility.
2) Chromie's nerfs have dropped her success in Hero League considerably, and are so bizarrely executed that it begs the question of how the devs feel that Chromie is supposed to function. Chromie's win rate has increased slowly since the first 24 hours, but only by about +2.1 p.p. overall, not nearly enough to overcome the -13.0 p.p. dip that she suffered to begin the week. While some may be praising the death of Chromie, I'm very much disappointed in the way these nerfs were executed. She saw reductions to her range and damage both, as well as making her W visible. Combined with changes from a previous patch that made her Time Traps easier to kill, it was all too obvious that Bronze Talons baseline would not be enough to keep up with this level of nerfing. My hope is that the dev team knew that Chromie would tank in win rate after these changes and did so intentionally, with the plan to tune accordingly afterwards. However, even if she's tuned back up, it still feels like there is a distinct lack of a strategy behind this. The changes made to Chromie in this patch suggest that there might be some debate on Chromie's identity, that is, what it is that Chromie is supposed to do as a hero.
Is she intended to be a high-damage mage who can pop targets quickly and catch them by surprise? Then she should have a more medium range on her spells (especially on Temporal Loop, whose range should probably be reduced a bit regardless of design intent) and Bronze Talons is a logical addition to her base kit. But then it doesn't make much sense to do other things, like having Dragon's Breath visible to enemies. Is she a long-range mage with consistent spell casting, i.e. something like a single-target Gul'dan designed to peck at targets that rely on distance to stay safe (i.e. Sgt Hammer)? Then she should have low damage, high range, and low spell costs so that she can continually shell out hits. But then Bronze Talons as a baseline effect makes absolutely no sense at all, as it risks puts you in a dangerous position for no reason. The point I'm making here is that the nerfs she was given reduced her effectiveness in every area, suggesting that there's no clear direction behind what her identity is meant to be. I strongly believe that the next round of changes to Chromie need to take into consideration what they think Chromie should do well, because right now, she doesn't do much of anything very well.
Looking for more of my work? Why not check out an HGC article focused on the European teams headed to the Western Clash? That article is located here. Feel free to let me know your thoughts to this article in the comments section below, or on Twitter at my handle @CriticKitten. I look forward to your replies!
Hope to see you again next time!