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HOTS DEVELOPMENT UPDATE

By Tasho Tashev Heroes of the Storm 17 Apr 2018 276 views

With so much community feedback, Blizzard felt that a response is in order and boy they didn’t disappoint. It feels like the devs went on the forum, took a good look at all the complaints and said ‘You know what, let’s give them everything they want.’

Starting with the much-discussed matchmaking and queue times vs match quality. The initial algorithm gave advantage to finding an opponent as quickly as possible which in turn made games more disbalanced in terms of skill, future changes will be focused on doing the exact opposite. This will probably cause increased queue times for players in the highest ranks.

Next up, soon to be introduced MMR and Rank decay. Up until now if you haven’t played in some time and you queue for a game, you might be feeling a little rusty. But the game didn’t consider that fact so you’d end up playing with regulars and the skill difference (even though temporary) is usually noticeable. Coming up soon, your MMR will decay along with your rank if you don’t log in for prolonged periods of time, this should make for fairer matches overall. The specifics of this system will be tweaked over time so it’s not too punishing.

We can expect a return of the Performance-based Matchmaking which was released in late 2017. It was a nice feature, but the timing wasn’t the best plus some tweaks were necessary. Exactly the latter will be addressed with its resurgence, even though the system was officially turned off, it still gathered player data in the background. Once back it’s shouldn’t affect Master and Grandmaster leagues, as barely any difference will be made there.

The controversial topic of Ranked matchmaking is also being taken care of. For instance, placement matches were a way to gather info when any previous was missing, but now if you have enough games played throughout the season, you’ll need to participate in the bare minimum of 1. After that the highest you can place in was Diamond 3, this is also subject to change with the biggest rank achievable being Platinum 5.

Hero bans are generally in proportion to the total number of heroes. This is why devs were waiting until the roster was big enough to justify a third ban on each team. It seems the time for it has finally come and the extra ban will most likely be added to the mid-phase, rather than making an entirely new one. Another new feature to go along with that would be the hero swap option.

Regarding the release of new heroes and keeping the overall balance in the Nexus, Blizzard agreed with the community’s outcry that Maiev and Fenix were a bit over the top at launch. The ideal scenario is а patch every two weeks or so, which will be able to tweak what’s necessary. As for the ban of new heroes from ranked play, it’s still not happening.

And the final topic – toxic players. Blizzard have made it clear numerous times, that such behaviour will not be tolerated not only in Heroes of the Storm, but in all their games. A new system is in the making, it’ll use machine learning to validate player reports. Additionally, repeated offense will be punished harder than ever, with potential suspensions and bans.

All of the sweet changes above are subject to change, but these are the general ideas so far. We can only hope that the majority of them will come to life.

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