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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. Yes, I'm aware that the patch took place on the 9th, but I pushed my post back a day in order to gather more reliable data starting from the hotfix on the 10th instead.
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 (click here for a color-adjusted version):
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, and lies somewhere within the range given in the right-most column. This formula also takes into account the uncertainty from last week's values. For a more detailed explanation as to how this process works, try this link.
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 (click here for a color-adjusted version):
Win rates are shown as a bar indicating their relative distance from 50%. Green bars shown above the line are win rates that are above 50%, and red 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 green and red 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) Auriel has soared in win rate due to an increase in baseline energy storage against non-heroic targets. This has given her a bit more flexibility outside of the hyper-carry niche that she was previously bound to, and while she is still clearly ideal for those sorts of comps, this has expanded her horizons a little bit for Hero League play. Perhaps even a little bit too much, as the devs have reported in their recent AMA that her win rate is now the highest among all supports. Repeated Offense (43.0% PR, 50.1% WR) now competes better with the other Lvl 4 talents (-8.3 p.p. and -0.2 p.p. vs Majestic Span, respectively), but Diamond Resolve (18.1% PR, 62.3% WR) still lags behind Shield of Hope (67.4% PR, 63.7% WR) for all intents and purposes. I suspect that the only way this tier will ever become more diverse is if Shield of Hope is nerfed. Also, if a nerf is impending for Auriel, I hope that it focuses on aspects other than her non-heroic energy gain, as I feel that this change was a fairly positive one that has helped make her more practical outside of the hyper-carry niche.
2) Fenix's ban rate seems to have dropped off considerably, perhaps indicating the end of his "reign of terror" atop the charts. Fenix is now 2nd in overall popularity behind Diablo thanks to a massive decline of -20.2 p.p. in ban rate. While his win rate hasn't changed enough to break the margin of error, this decline in bans is worth noting in that it suggests that people are less afraid of his kit with this new round of nerfs. This could also be a trickling-down effect from the pros' decreased emphasis on Fenix. It remains to be seen if this will continue, but it is an encouraging sign nonetheless.
3) Hanzo and Medivh now sit at extremely low win rates on average. The goal of "normalization" for the various heroes (Genji, Tracer, etc) was to reduce frustrations and keep the hero strong in professional play while bringing up their strength for the average player. These were needed nerfs to Hanzo and Medivh, nerfs that many folks (including myself) have advocated for....but the end result has placed both heroes in a poor state for average play. And while some people might think that's a good thing, I don't entirely agree. I strongly believe that the devs need to strike a good balance between pro play and Hero League play, and that no hero should feel useless for 99%+ of players. To that end, I think that both heroes need some minor adjustments to push them back towards that goal. For Hanzo, I believe the devs should consider a slight increase in his AA damage. This would improve him in an area he is currently a bit lacking in, as well as encouraging more use of his AA-oriented builds. If worst comes to worst, there's always room to reduce his mercenary clear strength as a compensatory nerf to help reduce his generalist capabilities. In the case of Medivh, I'd like to see some tinkering with his Lvl 7 talents, which are still primarily dominated by Arcane Explosion (69.8% PR, 44.8% WR), to buff them up as alternatives. Right now, they simply can't compete with Arcane Explosion for power, even with its reduced damage.
4) Kael'thas's changes have led to a popularity surge that likely dropped his overall win rate. With gains of +11.9 p.p. in popularity overall, it's very likely that this is the primary reason behind his slight decline in win rate. Most of the new talents are performing well, with the exception of Energy Roil (17.3% PR, 46.6% WR), which is understandable since its usefulness is much more dependent on individual performance than some of the others. Also, Twin Spheres (4.0% PR, 53.7% WR) now has the struggle of competing with two strong damage options at Lvl 16, which is likely a contributing factor to its low pick rate. A small buff might not go amiss there, if only to give it a bit more flair to compete with two very flashy choices.
5) Maiev is down overall, but it's hard to gauge how much she actually needed it until we see if her priority has shifted in the pros. Her win rate was previous above 50% but within reason for Hero League play, but still within reason. However, her rate of HGC play was still fairly high, so it seemed logical to further reduce her power. However, it's possible that this might end up being too much of a change. The use of her in the pro scene has been mostly restricted to a handful of really good Maiev players essentially "propping up" the hero, and her performance has otherwise been dropping off. We'll have to see how well the hero performs after these nerfs become part of the HGC, but I suspect they may have been a bit too heavy-handed. We may see a reversal of one of these nerfs to help bump her back the other direction.
6) The top two HGC healers both received nerfs which dropped their win rates in Hero League play, but will it be enough to encourage more widespread support usage in the pros? Well....that's hard to say. Stukov lost about 8% of his burst healing through Bio-Kill Switch, got a 25% longer CD on his Lurking Arm, and lost a significant chunk of his mana restoration through One Good Spread, all of which are pretty decent reductions in strength. Malfurion lost about 5% of his HP and about 13% of his damage on Twilight Dream, which impacts his ability to resist the pressure of dive heroes. However, worth noting is that neither hero has lost their ability to make big plays or even saw any changes in that field, which suggests that Blizzard was aiming to reduce their healing in order to compensate for their ability to make larger, flashier plays that can turn a team fight. This could potentially encourage other healers with less flashy playmaking but stronger healing to step up and fill the niche, such as Uther. Of course, that's merely hypothetical. Until we see how the pros adapt to these changes, it's hard to judge the true weight of what's happened here, though I suspect that Stukov was hit a bit harder than they might have planned. I think it's safe to say, however, that there is no indication as of yet that Abathur will become the primo support for Hero League play, as many have feared. Regenerative Microbes (47.9% PR, 46.6% WR) is indeed the most popular choice, but is not actually the most successful (-3.1 p.p. vs Pressured Glands). The hat build remains the most successful for Hero League for the time being, so don't be so quick to dumpster the support role just yet. Keep an eye on the Mid-Season Brawl this year if you want a first glimpse of how these changes will alter the support meta!
Looking for more of my work? I'm currently working on a future article for Valeera. In the meantime, check out my work on covering Fenix's results in the HGC. 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!