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Reddit 2018 Gameplay Update Q&A Summary

Below is a summary of the notes I used for our 11/29 episode of Lords of the Storm (so apologizes for any formatting or grammar issues, I may clean it up as I go but it's late and I wanted to get this up quick just as a summary).
  • Varian will be getting a rework at some point

  • May do another active ability in a base kit at some point (like Xul)

  • They have a brand new pipeline for reworks, hammer being the first, that allows them to be more flexible with the releases, aka balance patch this time around

  • Would like to add indicators in the future for performance based match making of what you did well to earn your extra points

  • Niche and general heroes are good, but they may have made too many heroes niche and are working on more generalists too to widen the meta

  • On PTR population, “This does come up every now and then because the more folks we can get on to PTR, the more feedback we can collect before going live! At the end of the day though, this falls under the eternal question of "what do we deprioritize?" and we feel like right now our attention is better spent developing features for the live game rather than the PTR. Having said that, we would like to do more for special PTR events such as this one in the future.  I'm sure we'll keep discussing on our end and if we can find a good solve, it will end up on the PTR eventually.”

  • There were a couple major reasons why we decided to push the Support changes this week: We knew that this was potentially going to have large balance ramifications and we needed a window of time to collect data and react to those Support changes in isolation of the gameplay changes that are coming in shortly. We did not want to throw a large scale rebalance like this into the game while HGC was going on. When evaluating our release options for these changes, this week was our last golden opportunity that addressed the considerations above.

  • The target info panel shown at blizzcon is still in development and should be in game within the next few months

  • Our plan is to communicate things like Diablo's soul count (or baseline quests in general) on the tab screen. I'm not sure where these are at currently but are hopefully coming soon(TM!)

  • We discussed picking and choosing which Supports to change, how much to change them, etc. We decided to do a bit more of a blanket update, and then from there, we will likely make some individual buffs or nerfs to characters who need further changes. Obviously a character like Kharazim is going to feel the 5% damage reduction more than someone like Lt. Morales.

  • No current updates to the clan system other than it hasn’t been scrapped and it’s a sizeable update they want to get right

  • Not currently planning any major changes to Sylvanas until they’ve had a good look at the new data and everything settles from the changes

  • I think we're okay having some passive abilities. We will be looking to do a Raynor update at some point, which will likely give him an active or a passive/active or something with that update.

  • Looking to tweak the power of the Volskaya mech, in testing now

  • Hanamura change will be major, expect it to play very differently than it did before

  • In regard to some healers not being able to solo heal at a high level in the first place, Some healers were pushed to become overly specialized, and while they "could" solo heal, it's true they weren't as optimal as some of the other well rounded healers. This is something that we'll be keeping in mind as we continue to make changes to these characters, and make sure they each feels unique and special, but isn't crippled when facing certain compositions.

  • They’d like to do a pass on most Specialists to see if we can make them both: -Feel less frustrating to play against -Be viable for more team compositions and more competitive modes

  • As of right now, we are a bit in the middle of tiering talent abilities. While it's much harder to design and balance, we agree with the community that whenever we can, mixing talent themes should happen since it makes for more interesting heroes. If you look at Muradin's rework as an example, we purposefully kept Perfect Storm at Level 1 and Healing Static at Level 13 for this reason, even though the other talents on those tiers are themed differently. While we'd like to create more talent builds, we are now more wary of having too many talents that directly synergize with one another. We also still see a lot of value in consolidating tiers when we think it should happen, as there are some heroes where we feel it's necessary to do so.

  • Taking a wait and see approach for the globe changes and globe talents

  • Specifically for the 2018 Gameplay update, we already have a reactionary patch scheduled to address things that come up just to be on the safe side.

  • Why the wall changes? We feel that the removal of footprints is better for the game as evidenced by the removal of standalone towers, they eat up space and in an isometric environment with indirect controls they often eat attack clicks. It’s unintuitive to have structures with footprints that minions will never clean up. Walls provide vision and we have no way of communicating this. I understand this is easily solved by other solutions. It promotes degenerative gameplay for Heroes like Illidan, Kel’Thuzad, Chen, etc. who are able to abuse walls when the opposing team has no recourse. On top of this there are situations where these Heroes “need” these structures to be up in order to perform escapes, combos, etc. and if an ally of these Heroes does the right thing and kills them it becomes a point of contention amongst team members. I don’t believe it should ever be a wrong decision to kill enemy structures. The design intent behind walls is to provide an initial “safe area” for the base region—once the base is no longer safe there’s no reason for them to exist.

  • Kerrigan is reasonably high on our list of characters we want to do a talent update for. I'd love to give a timeline but its not something we're currently working on, so it will be a little ways off.

  • Paper rework for Chen is on the table and currently being discussed

  • Removing lightning bond vs making it only castable on heroes: This would have accomplished a lot of our goals too. We ultimately decided to go with removing the Talent because we were trying to reduce the damage dealt by Supports, and felt that the increase of damage available in a team fight is still more than we're comfortable with him having with this new goal in mind. We'll continue to evaluate the Talent's place though. We know that it was a fan favorite for a lot of players.

  • We have considered releasing maps in different modes to start but decided against it the long run. The best way for us to get the most balanced map possible is to get it into the hands of our players. Players find very different strategies and styles of play in all modes of play.

  • Rarely, if ever, make balance changes to open up design space for future heroes.

  • They do want to take a look at Medivh's talents in the future

  • Why buff lili but nerf the rest, specifically Alex? Li Li's win rate was far lower than we thought it should be, even after a rework. While Alexstrasza was a little low, it was more in line with what we expected from a new Hero release (they always trend up aggressively). There's probably more tuning to be done to Alexstrasza (just like all our supports now that we've made so many changes), so I wouldn't be surprised if we received some changes in the future.

  • We are planning to rework some of our Support characters in the future, and are looking for ways to make their healing mechanics more interactive. This doesn’t necessarily mean more skillshot healing – but ideally your heals are not always a simple point and click for maximum value. Providing more avenues for mastery growth will help players have a larger impact on a match!

  • We don't feel like every Hero has to be seen at a competitive level. We're really happy when unique strategies show up every once in a while, but the needs of Esports and Quick Match can be vastly different. Beyond just balance, for Esports we also want to be sure that watching the Hero is fun and that they showcase player skill.

  • Medivh, Diablo and The Lost Vikings “One of the Heroes listed above is currently in the process of getting a rework!”

  • Goal is for the 2018 Gameplay update not to affect match duration

  • We don’t have plans for full MMR decay as we’ve found that players quickly bounce back to a 50% win rate after returning from even extended absences. But, the new matchmaking system that’s rolling out soon factors in how long it’s been since you last played as part of its rating. The effect is similar, but it’s not a permanent reduction in MMR like decay would be.

  • Expect to see more cleanse like abilities on supports that reward timing and precision

Tags: heroes, q&a, reddit
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At least the dev's answered some peoples question mine got ignored

It feels like the wrong thing was addressed with these blanket nerfs to get at having less double support games. To me the problem is and always has been armor, especially on a character like a strong bruiser sonya who already has a high health pool increasing her EHP (effect health pool) by more than what could have been for example a tassodar shield (which can also give armor as well.)

A big reason this is problematic as well is because armor also then increase the amount your healing for as well creating a very strong synergy and acting almost like uther/ana %+ healing talents, which also drive deeper into double support. These mechanics are the real culprits of double support in my opinion along with wave clear and always needing 1 support to have cleanse while a lot of supports now don't.

Also its confusing to simultaneously nerf double support and think of tyrande/tassodar as double support. Tass/Tyrande were never drives of double support and only operate within their niche which already has very little room to operate in double support meta if at all.

Again the health nerf and leaving armor along also feels like a buff to back line assassins like tracer/genji/zeratul and will just bring back dive meta. Feels more like a buff to those characters than a nerf to double support.
Appreciate the summery btw
I missed the whole thing, so I REALLY appreciate having this! Thank you!
Great summary, thanks! Predicting a Lost Vikings rework btw since Diablo was recently reworked and they already stated that Medivh is a future rework.