Blizzcon 2016 - Heroes of the Storm State of the Game Panel

Originally Posted by HeroesNexus (Source)

The Past Year

  • Big props to the community for pushing bans in ranked play. It's made the game better.
  • Fourteen new heroes have been added in the past year starting with Cho'gall after last year's BlizzCon.
  • The ARAM custom game map was made in a couple of weeks due to community inspiration.
  • 2015 saw balance updates every 4-6 weeks. Through feedback for 2016, they got this down to every week and then following more feedback, every 2-4 weeks.
  • 2016 saw nineteen hero / talent reworks.
  • Over 4 million USD in prizing for the past year's Heroes esports.
  • Over 1000 tournament matches were played globally in the past year.

Ranked & The 2016 Ranked Update

  • Before the ranked update:
    • 59% players in Quick Match; 22% VS AI; 19% Ranked
  • After the ranked update:
    • 46% players in Quick Match; 30% Ranked; 16% VS AI; 8% Unranked
  • The team didn't have tools to better keep everyone is their right skill area. There were too many people at "Rank 1".
  • They changed Grand Master to 200 players to keep it more exclusive.
  • They're going to redistribute some of the rankings
    • Majority of players should be in Silver and Gold, but Silver has too many players right now, more will go to Gold.
    • Diamond is too over-represented. They want it more exclusive.
  • Future Season Test: Hero League is going to become solo queue only. This is to showcase personal skill.
  • Future Season Test: Team League will be for 2s, 3s, 5s queues. This is to showcase coordinate team skill.
  • They're hoping to get higher team league engagement which will add significance to ratings in team league.

Matchmaking

  • The old matchmaking system was not good.
  • The matchmaker was rewritten earlier this year and it was positively received.
  • Matchmaking fixes can be made without client patches due to it being server-side.
  • When hero levels became considered by matchmaking, win-rates normalized. 
  • Queue times increased in Quickmatch by 50% and Hero League by 200% when they increased matchmaking quality.
  • The team still thinks match quality is the most important thing, but they do want you to also get into games quickly.
  • They will continue to try reducing the queue times while keeping match quality up.

In Development

  • Personalized Stats
    • Players want more insight into how well they're doing in a match.
    • This will compare your historical stats, and stats of other people in the region.
    • At the end of game, the system will let you know when you're doing better than your previous records and region averages.
  • Haunted Mines is returning!
    • Golems spawn in alternating lanes.
    • Golems will spawn fixed distances from the core rather than at their death spot.
    • The Mine layout is different. Four new entrances.
    • Skulls in the mines are more evenly distributed.
    • The mine boss is in the center.
    • Looking to release it back into the game this year.
  • Progression
    • No more progression caps on Hero Levels or Account Levels. There will still be a cap, but it should be very hard to reach. 
    • Hero Levels should take 3-4 hours to obtain instead of the current 10+ (at levels past 10).
    • Account Level is now going to be a sum of all your hero levels.
    • More frequent rewards! Each time you get a level, you get a reward.
    • More rewards than just gold - Skins, Mounts, More!
  • Hero Swaps in Draft
    • They agree, it needs to be done.
    • This will show up in Custom Games before the main game.
  • Battleground Rotations
    • Positive reactions to smaller pools during events.
    • Six or seven maps in the pool at any given moment.
    • Unranked will still have the full map pool.
  • Voice Chat
    • Blizzard Voice Chat is going to be integrated into the game.
  • Party Finder
    • More intelligent. Queue up to find people.
  • Clans
    • Login, be social.
    • Clan ranks, advancement, tournaments. Future possibilities!

Blackheart's Revenge Brawl

  • Attack / Defend Layout
  • The map is asymmetrical which is unusual.

Q&A

  • Adding PvE Content like Overwatch's Junkenstein Brawl is something they'd love to do and are exciting to do it. No ETA on when it will happen though.
  • Tournament draft will be in custom games first and then added to the main game.
  • They are exploring ways to remake games when people leave at the start.
  • More ways to spend gold are currently being investigated, but nothing is concrete yet.
  • They don't want to replace HotSLogs but they do want more stats in-game.
  • Loss Forgiveness when players leave is in the works.
  • Murky updates are being talked about. All the older heroes will be touched at some point.
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