Heroes of the Storm Design AMA - May 9, 2019


Hey everyone!

I just wanted to let you guys know there’s gonna be an AmA session tonight (May 9th, 21:00 CEST). The session will be hosted here:

You are more than welcome to visit the Reddit thread where you can either post your question or upvote a question that you’d like to see answered. Brett Crawford, Kyle Dates, Kaeo Milker, Lana Bachnyski, Oscar Vega, Andrew Kinnabrew, Jeff Beaudoin, Ian McEwan, Joshua Kofalt and Thomas Horwath will all be there to answer the most upvoted questions. These are the developers responsible for taking Heroes from concept to release and then ultimately balance, so they have all the answers you want!

See you there!


I don’t know about you guys, I enjoyed this AmA and especially loved a specific comment. Brett Crawford (Lead Live Designer) while commentating about balancing, said at one point, ‘As designers, we are constantly evolving our philosophies on abilities, talents, and the game as a whole. I honestly think we could take any Hero, even recently reworked ones, and find ways to make them better.’ Iteration is crucial in software development and even more so in videogames where all different disciples blend harmoniously. Fine-tuning and perfecting is a continuously challenging journey and the acknowledgement of an ever-learning philosophy was really inspiring. Anyhoo, that’s just me. Here are some more answers you might find interesting:

Austinb225: What are the dev teams main focuses right now? Heroes? Reworks? Maps? Skins?
Andre Kinnabrew: We are focused on Heroes, Reworks, Skins, Skin packs and more.

DomoArigato723: With Anduin having been released over 3 months after the previous hero (Imperius), will this be the standard amount of time between new releases going forward, or will this gap increase as the backfill of heroes in the pipeline are all released?
Kaeo Milker: Part of our journey right now is figuring out the balance between what the team wants to do, and what the team can do. That said, I don’t want to commit to a standard timeline if such a thing ever existed. I will say that we love making new heroes and will continue to dedicate our time and passion to them. At the same time, we are also enjoying a world where significant balance changes and hero reworks are meaningfully helping close the gap between new heroes while letting each new hero have room to breathe and shine. Our next new hero is coming along great and is only a few releases away, so please bear with us and keep letting us know how things are feeling along the way.

Just-a-tush: Is there any hope to see unique kits like Abathur, Murky or Cho’gall in the future?
Thomas Horwath: I think the simple answer here is yes! We love making fun an interesting mechanics, whether it be for a hero with a less established gameplay presence like Abathur, or new unique heroics for Overwatch heroes like D.Va and Junkrat. We are always looking for ways to be creative and push the boundaries of what’s expected.

Senshado: Why don’t ability descriptions have a stat block at the top for range, duration, damage, casting time, and other pertinent numbers (besides mana and cooldown)?
Brett Crawford: We have discussed this idea quite a bit over the past couple of years. We have some old design documents for what ‘advanced tooltips’ would look like but with all the other cool stuff we have wanted to bring into the game, it never made it to the top of the priority list. While we think this would be awesome, the sheer amount of work involved to retrofit all of our Heroes is pretty massive and would be extremely time-consuming. That is not to say we don’t want or plan on ever doing it, just that we have to find the right time for it.

LighthammerX: Once upon a time in the long, long ago; Dustin Browder promised us the ability to save talents.When discussing this with the community, there still seems to be A LOT of desire for this feature.[…] Is this a feature that is still up for consideration? Once again, in the long, long time ago - Dustin Browder also promised that the team would look into some tools or method to retalent in game if you accidentally make a mistake in picking a talent (most likely only the last talent) or if the AI picks bad talents for you.
Brett Crawford: To be completely honest, I remember having talks about both of these suggestions a long time ago (years now?), but have not followed up on them recently. On the surface (without digging into the engineering that would be needed), being able to save talent load-outs seems like the easier ask (we actually had the capability to do so internally at one point!). I will follow-up and make sure that it is still on our backlog feature list. As for implementing a re-spec mechanic…that opens up a can of worms that I am not sure we can easily solve, especially due to quest talents/mechanics.

Pineconefire: We have all the races from SC and Diablo in the game, we are still missing a few from Warcraft (I.e. Nagas, Ethreals, and even gnomes if you consider Chromie a dragon). Should we expect these races to enter the nexus?
Andre Kinnabrew: Our intent is to eventually have those races represented in the Nexus. It will take time.

SotheBee: Are there any heroes that you see getting asked for reworks, that you feel are fine?
Brett Crawford: The quick answer to this is no. As designers, we are constantly evolving our philosophies on abilities, talents, and the game as a whole. I honestly think we could take any Hero, even recently reworked ones, and find ways to make them better. I was the main designer behind Lucio’s rework and there are already a handful of things that I would love to change or improve. This said, there are Heroes that we feel are both very well received by the community, and in a good spot meta/balance wise. These are much lower priority on the rework list, but can still very well see design changes during balance patches.

Sonoras: Are there any heroes currently being worked on that were not in development prior to December 14th 2018?
Everyone: Yes.

There are many more questions and replies (I just summarized some of them here). You should definitely have a look and maybe we can gather some comments and feedback here.