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Why Heroes of the Storm Is Making It Take Longer to Get Around

News Bot Aug 25, 2016

  1. News Bot

    News Bot Chaos Immortal

    Mounts are a significant component of Heroes of the Storm, serving as a key differentiating factor from other MOBAs. After a version of HotS shown at Gamescom first revealed it, Blizzard has now confirmed that the effectiveness of mounts--which is to say, their movement speed--is being lowered. It may sound like a small change, but this could affect numerous aspects of the game.
    An official post on the HotS forums confirms that mount movement speed is being reduced from 40 percent to 30 percent, and "equivalent powers" are also being adjusted. You'll be able to try this out for yourself on the game's public test servers next week, but in the meantime, Blizzard is trying to help players understand why the change is being made.
    "Heroes of the Storm is a team brawler, and we aren't trying to change that," said game designer Alex Neyman. "From all of our internal testing, this change had a minor (healthy) impact on the number of viable strategic options and interesting choices that players can make during a game."
    Neyman identifies three of the areas that are impacted by this change: slowing groups that move around large maps, ganking enemies; increasing the importance of decisions about team positioning; and making it more important to be aware of enemies' location.
    Here's how he explains each of these:

    • Hopefully this will allow prolonged 1v1 and 2v2 matchups when there are no battleground events up more often. You can still gank, it just won't always be as effective, and therefore you'll need to make harder decisions on whether it's worth it or not.
    • If you commit resources to a Mercenary camp at the top of the map, you might be later to a Tribute spawn on the bottom. This will encourage more interesting strategic choices, forcing you to choose which of the minor objectives (like Mercenaries or Minion waves) are important, or potentially split up your team to get multiple done at once and still reach a map event on time.
    • With slightly slower mounts, when an opponent disappears from view his radius of places he could potentially be is smaller, allowing more informed decisions. Which, ultimately, rewards better play and mastery of the game.
    Neyman said that Blizzard is aware of the "downsides if we take it too far" and argued all it wants to do is slow players' movement somewhat, not completely remove the ability to get around quickly.
    "Theoretically, saying, 'We're reducing damage because we think burst is too high,' doesn't mean that we want to completely remove Assassin's capability to kill someone," he stated. "The same way, slowing down mounted movement speed slightly doesn't mean that we don't want you to quickly traverse the map. Just slightly slower! And we think that we're getting closer to the perfect balance of the two."
    [​IMG]One of the goals of this change is to encourage teams to not move in packs of four or five players quite as often. Neyman said doing so once a team reaches level 10 (when players earn their Heroic abilities) is the right decision 90 percent of the time currently. Blizzard wants to bring this down "to maybe around 80 percent."
    He later explained explain how Blizzard tests extreme versions of ideas to see if they're worthwhile to begin with.
    "One such example was increasing the mounting cooldown from 4 seconds to 80 seconds, but the movement speed was increased from 40 percent to 80 percent," he said. "Ultimately we didn't like the extreme change this made to Heroes of the Storm, but it make us think about where we were on the map more often. We really enjoyed that, so we wanted to bring a slightly tamer version of it to live."
    "We think that we'll all still be enjoying those epic 5v5 brawls we've all come to love. We just might split up one or two more times between the big fights so that we can get all the minor objectives we'd like before the next big team event will start."
    Aside from showing off the new mount speed at Gamescom, Blizzard also announced a new StarCraft-themed event that's on the way. This will see new characters and maps added from the StarCraft universe, although a new Overwatch hero is coming, too.


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