This past Friday, Heroes of the Storm Game Director Alan Dabiri and Lead Live Designer Matthew Cooper were featured in a video where they sat down to talk about the future of the game.
Mentioned in the video were upcoming hero re-works to Medivh and Sonya, the potential re-work of the map Blackheart’s Bay and an overall updated design philosophy as it pertains to how new content is released. Dabiri explained the following:
“Over the last couple of years we’ve had a ton of content that’s come to this game and, a lot of it, we find that we end up stacking it all on top of each other. So we’ll come out with a brand new hero, a few hero re-works, a new battleground, some cool skins and it all drops at one-time and often times players don’t actually have a chance to see those changes or don’t even recognize that they came into the game.
We mentioned at Blizzcon that we want to start to spread those out a little so that mainly hero re-works can kind of stand out on their own but you throw out ideas such as battlegrounds and skin drops as well. They really have the moment to shine and we actually did that once with the ‘mecha-storm’ drop along with the Tyrael re-work. That was a very successful re-work that kind of stood on its own, came independently of the Blaze release but also came with a cool themed drop that also had a Tyrael skin in it that went over really well. I think you’re going to see us do that more and more throughout the rest of the year.”
Three days after the video was posted, the next iteration of this design philosophy went into effect. On Monday, the newest patch went live on the PTR with the specifics regarding the new Sonya and Medivh, in addition to the typical bugs and tweaks that are common.
- The Barbarian from the north
In the blog post regarding the hero changes, the rationale behind both heroes being changed was explained further, starting with Sonya.
“For Sonya, we love her core gameplay but have noticed that there is very little wiggle room in what’s generally considered her default talent path. To combat this, we are opening up more survivability options so players don’t feel pressured into always taking Nerves of Steel and Ignore Pain. We are also adding a couple of fun new tools into her arsenal, including more disruption options for Ancient Spear and a number of new talents for Seismic Slam that place more focus on area-of-effect damage.”
The updated talent tree for Sonya can be found here but some of the new exciting talents she is receiving are:
- Level 4: Battle Rage (Active) - Passively increase damage dealt to Mercenaries by 25%. Activate to Heal for 10% of Sonya’s maximum health. 30 second charge cooldown. Stores up to three charges.
- Level 13: Ruthless - Whirlwind deals an additional 50 damage to Heroes below 33% Health. This damage does not generate additional Healing.
- Level 16: Giant Slammer- Seismic Slam deals an additional 2% of Heroes’ maximum Health as damage.
- Level 16: Rampage (Passive) - Increase Basic Attack damage by 25%. Basic Attacks decrease the Ancient Spear’s cooldown by 0.75 seconds.
- Level 20: Striding Giant [R]: Wrath of The Berserker increases maximum Health by 10% and grants the Striding Giant Ability while it is active. Striding Giant can be activated to become unstoppable for two seconds. 30 second cooldown.
- The last Guardian of Tristfal
Medivh received a similar treatment as the development team wanted to reduce the amount of frustration that occurred playing against him.
“To accomplish our goal of amping up the more fun and challenging aspects of the Hero, we are making a modified version of the Master’s Touch talent a baseline quest for Medivh, and adding a version of the Reabsorption talent into Force of Will. On the other hand, in order to combat some of the frustrations experienced when playing against Medivh, we are reducing the overall uptime on both Force of Will and Portal.”
The entirety of his changes can be found in the official PTR link above but the ability changes in addition to some interest new talents are:
Force of Will [W]
- Cooldown increased from five to eight seconds
- Mana cost increased from 50 to 60 seconds
- Upon expiration, allies are healed for 20% of the damage absorbed
Level 7: Mystic Assault [Q] - If Arcane Rift hits an enemy Hero, Medivh’s next Basic Attack within six seconds deals 40% more damage and Heals for 40% of the damage dealt.
Level 7: Force of Magic [W] - Preventing 268 or more damage with a single Force of Will grants Medivh 20% Spell Power for 12 seconds. This can stack up to two times.
Level 16: Temporal Flux - Basix Attacks reduce Medivh’s Heroic cooldown by one second. Hitting enemy Heroes with Arcane Rift reduces Medivh’s Heroic cooldown by three seconds.
Sonya’s re-work focused on brightening up her out-dated kit with quite a few talents removed altogether as they seemed outdated, such as Block at Level 1. Medivh’s adjustments focused on numerous talents being shifted around from different levels of his kit to balance out the changes to his abilities overall.
The changes on PTR will be available for playtesting until March 5 when they may go live on the official server or be tweaked further if something doesn’t play as intended.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.