After the Heroes of the Storm development team announced broad changes coming to the game in 2019 during the Opening Ceremony, a panel held later in the afternoon at BlizzCon provided some specifics.
Led by Joe Piepiora (Lead Systems Designer) and Matt Cooper (Senior Game Designer), the development team began the "What's Next" panel by first discussing the impactful changes they have made in 2018 thus far.
New maps, heroes and events were the topics of conversation before the tone shifted over to what the player base can expect later this year and in 2019.
Starting in December, the roles in which heroes are defined are going to experience a massive overhaul to provide a better playing experience in the popular game mode, Quick Match, as well as for new players.
"There's a lot of difference between Johanna and Sonya so when we call them both Warriors, new players have a hard time determining the difference and we want to change that," said Piepiora.
After discussing changes taking place to the most popular game mode, the development team shifted the conversation over to the Ranked Play experience.
Recently, the team allowed players to queue into Team League as a solo player opposed to being limited to strictly playing Hero League which is exclusively a solo experience. As a result, the development team stated that the number of players who have been playing Ranked mode since the change is up between 400% and 1200%, a staggering number.
In order to continue improving the Ranked experience, the team stated they were going to remove the two separate game modes and merge them into one, allowing players to queue solo or with a squad.
Additionally, Ranked players will no longer lose Ranked points if a player on their team loses connection to their match for an extended period of time and demotion/promotion games between ranks have been removed. Both changes have been hot topics in the Heroes' community for quite some time and the crowd was thrilled to hear their cries have been heard.
Finally, in what may have been the most well-received news going forward, Ranked Points are going to be replaced with an individual's Match-Making Rating (MMR) to better visualize their skill level.
The panel ended by Cooper mentioning the upcoming hero re-works of Stitches and Sylvannas coming in December to make heroes more interactive and impactful on the battlefield.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.