On Thursday afternoon, members of the Heroes of the Storm development team took to the game's official subReddit (/r/heroesofthestorm) to answer questions players had and talk about the future of the title itself.
For those who want to read the full thread, the "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) can be found here.
With over 1,000 questions and comments in the thread, it can be difficult to keep track of everything that was said. Luckily, InvenGlobal has highlighted a few of the most noteworthy responses below to save readers from having to scroll through the replies for the juicy ones.
D.Va rework incoming
Ever since she went live in Heroes of the Storm back in May of 2017, D.Va's relevance in the nexus has been scarce at best and non-existent at worst.
Her movement speed is slow, her damage output is papercut-esque and her power in Overwatch has never translated particularly well to the hero brawler title.
It appears that is about to change, according to members of the HotS development team. When asked if the mech pilot would see some love in an upcoming balance patch, not only was that a resounding "Yes!" but a full-blown rework was revealed.
According to developer David Warner:
"Yes! We're currently iterating on a D.Va rework that I'm personally very excited about. We can't spoil too much, but we would like to call out that we've heard a lot of feedback about D.Va's nebulous identity. In the rework's current state, I would say she can opt into a solo-laner bruiser build, a team-support front-liner build and a pretty ridiculous self-destruct/pilot build, with lots of interactions between these options. In addition to the typical talent shuffles/improvements, there's a host of QOL changes across many parts of her kit including, but not limited to:
D.Va's Mech mode only suffering a movement speed reduction while Basic Attacking or channeling an ability, rather than at all times.
Defense Matrix can be re-targeted (with a short cooldown) while it is active.
Big Shot (Heroic 2) is now baseline in Pilot mode with re-adjusted stats to compensate. Yes, this means there's a new heroic! You'll never guess what it is! It's Micro Missiles."
When asked to expand on her new role in the meta after the rework goes live, Warner provided a bit of insight into that as well.
"In the upcoming rework she will still be classified under the 'Bruiser' category, but her talents should allow her to fill a more traditional solo-lane role or a team-support role.
Personally, I love playing her as a 2nd front-line in a support role. She's got a lot of new tools to shutdown picks or engages, which can really swing the momentum of games. We've had quite a few internal games where D.Va has paired up with squishy melee assassins and functioned as an almost-tank, with very good results."
D.Va players and Overwatch die-hards rejoice as an iconic member of the franchise is getting some new tools that will, hopefully, return her to relevance in the nexus.
Insight into movement speed changes
On July 10th, the Heroes of the Storm team made a change to every single hero in the game that caught many in the community by surprise. The buff was a simple sentence that has been years in the making: Increase the base Movement Speed of Heroes from 4.4 to 4.84 (+10%).
The developer comment alongside the changes was short and sweet:
"We were evaluating this change last year for the gameplay updates but wanted some more time to soak it. While this is a modest increase, we feel like it makes the game feel a bit snappier, especially while in combat. We will be carefully watching how this affects Heroes with lots of skillshots and will balance as needed."
During the AMA, a user stated that while he did not mind the movement speed changes, the lack of reasoning behind such a drastic change wasn't made clear in the brief developer comment.
Lead Live Designer, Brett Crawford, tackled the task of clearing things up.
"Ever since we pulled the camera out, the game has felt a little bit slower. We had actually begun testing it right after making that change and have been playing with it internally ever since.
All of our design and balance playtests were being played at this speed and every time we would swap back to live, the game just felt a bit...well, slow. Since we were actively balancing Heroes and Reworks with the new speed, we needed to make a call to either slow back down the testing branch or bring the speed increase to live. The team felt like the increased speed made the game more fun overall, so we pulled the trigger and shipped it.
All this said, we are also very aware that there will be some balance fallout from it. We are keeping a close eye on any significant changes in all the Heroes performances, and will definitely make changes as needed!"
When he felt that his original post raised more questions than answers after comments began flying in that the development team was making balance changes while playing on an entirely different version of the game (with the movement speed changes turned on), he decided to clear things up.
"To clarify my initial statement - the Movement Speed increase has been turned on and off in our Development Branches since we moved the Camera out (hence why I said when we would swap back to live's speed). We are constantly simultaneously testing many different things, and just like any of them it was done in cycles. My comment was meant to show the community that we have had a lot of testing with the change over the past 18 months and were extremely confident in shipping it, not that we were balancing and/or designing the game around it. Large system changes like this require a lot of time and data analysis by the team in order to instill confidence. My apologies for any confusion my original comment may have caused - have a great day!"
Another Blizzard Classic hero?
Prior to Blizzard Entertainment creating iconic franchises such as StarCraft, Warcraft and World of Warcraft, their portfolio consisted of smaller titles now referred to as "Blizzard Classics."
One of them was a platformer created back in 1994 for the SNES called "Blackthorne." The main character, Kyle Vlaros, is a shotgun-wielding, jeans-wearing, mercenary badass whose goal is to save the people on his home planet from a corrupt ruler.
During the AMA, a couple of users asked if Kyle would be coming into the nexus as the game is celebrating its' 25-year anniversary in 2019.
Not only did the development team reply once but twice:
"Biggest answer of all time... We have previously discussed Blackthorne coming into the Nexus and many on the team want to see him get in the game... Anything is possible in the Nexus!" said Steven Jaquith.
Crawford chimed in as well.
"We have talked a lot about potentially bringing Kyle to the Nexus and a lot of the team is excited about the opportunity to get more classic style Heroes into the game."
While it could all mean nothing, having two different developers respond to two different questions about the same topic in a sea of questions does raise a few eyebrows that Kyle may make an appearance in HotS before the year is over.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.