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HotS Feedback

By Yun-Kun

== Feedback provided after the "Lost Vikings" Patch ==

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Intro

2

My Story

2

Hero Charisma

3

Hero Design Issues

3

Underpowered Heroes

4

Overpowered Heroes

4

Talents, Tiers and Choices

6

Viking Patch

10

Features / Changes I'd Like

12

Maps and Competitive Play

15

What's great

19

Gate-Locking Talents

22

Shifting Meta

22

Hots and ESport

23

Final words

24

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HotS Feedback

By Yun-Kun

INTRO
Hello everyone 
First off, I'm not an English native. Please excuse all the mistakes you might (will) notice.
I'm a Game Designer, a very "hardcore" MOBA player and a strategy guide writer. I had the pleasure
to get invited to HotS Alpha so here I am, dropping my feedback.
This thread is not about LoL vs Dota2 vs HotS. I don’t want to create any debate around what's the
best game. It depends on what you like, these are different games. I'm currently fond of HotS and I'll
play it at least until Overwatch comes out.
Before jumping in, I need to clarify something. We all have a different game experience. My
feedback is really personal and you might not agree with me, which will be fine. I only want to drop
my 2 (or more ;)) cents.
To add more depth to my analysis, I watched almost every game posted on Khaldor TV (youtube)
and I closely watch the evolution of the C9's Tier List. I also read many of the feedbacks posted on
the forums and analyzed a bit of the HotS Logs information. That gives me at least an overview of
the American and European meta and a base to work on. Time to start the feedback now, have a
good read 
I will use several typos in this document: Heroes, Abilities, Talents and MAPS. Sometimes I'll also
emphasis a term or a notion.
You might want to skip the next part "My Story". It's only relevant if you want to know what my
game experience is before going into the details of my feedback.

MY STORY
I'm Elliot, a 24 years old male player. First game played at the age of 5 being Warcraft 2 (I wasn't
reading yet).
I played Warcraft 3 for 6 years, competitively playing a mod called Risk Next Generation (top #3
worldwide) and creating maps on the world editor (and a huge project called Lords of Europe). I
started writing strategy guides about my favorite game at the time: Risk.
I switched to League of Legends and played for 4 years. I reached Diamond V three seasons in a row
as a solo player and Platinum III as a team player. I started writing a lot of in-depth strategy guides
to help lower tier players.
I also played a bit of Hearthstone. I reached rank 5 and wrote a huge deckbuilding guide.
Then my friends and I got our Heroes of the Storm access. I quitted every other game and started
farming it. I leveled two different accounts up to level 40. I'm currently standing at rank 9 and I'm

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HotS Feedback

By Yun-Kun

top 700 EU according to HOTS Logs. This represents a bit less than 1000 games I believe, most of
them played with friends (full party or not).
In the meantime, I studied at a Game Design school for 3 years and got my degree. I currently work
in an Indie Studio as a Game Designer and Prototyper.
Here it is for my story, I hope I haven’t been too long. Let's jump right in 

HERO CHARISMA
Some heroes lack of charisma in Hero Selection (Normal Game), Kerrigan / ETC for instance. I think
it directly comes from the choice of displaying (what it appears to be) in-game 3D models. To
compare it to Hero League, I feel like the 2D Art gives more "presence" / "charisma" to the Heroes
(even if the Arts could be better). Sometimes we miss the feeling of power of our favorite hero.

HERO DESIGN ISSUES
I feel like some Heroes have a design issue that can create one of the two next problems:
- the hero is really hard to balance on a competitive stage
- the hero is somehow newbie-hostile / counter-intuitive

AZMODAN
His second ultimate (Black Pool) feels counter-intuitive. It is hard to understand at first sight how
good it will be. It's hard to see the benefits of the ability even when you're using it. When you pick it
you want to empower your army of demon, except you don't have one anymore because you chose
this ultimate. I think it can be confusing.
Another frustration point comes from his Globe Annihilation. It looks like one of the most difficult
skillshot to land with the weakest reward feeling. The damages are too low to make it up for the cast
and travel time of the ability. Talents are not helping: Taste for Blood is impossible to stack in a
casual way (any disturbance will drag you away from your farming) and Sieging Wrath could be
good if the base damages of the ability weren’t so low.
I'm not saying Azmodan is weak, I'm saying his kite is really counter-intuitive.

DIABLO
Diablo looks newbie-hostile also. His kit relies on a combo which implies to have a deep
understanding of a complex moba mechanism: positioning. Most of new Moba players (I mean less
than 900 games) will poorly use these abilities (will save an enemy Hero). I believe that's one of the
reasons for old Diablo's horrible winrate.

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By Yun-Kun

LILI
Lili's spells are automatically targeted. This can be good for newer player, but it's a problem from a
competitive perspective. If you can't target with your spells, the efficiency of your spells have to
make it up for the lack of control on the spell. So in order to have a competitive Lili, you need
strong values on her ability tooltips. You suddenly have a "none or all" problem: either Lili has too
low numbers and her efficiency is not reliable in competitive play or she has big numbers and she
becomes a must-pick support. I feel like it's currently not a competitive hero and that it will be hard
to balance her without reworking her.

TYRANDE
Tyrande's problem is that she's a toolbox hero and a meta counter-pick (Mark of the Hunter
counters Support / Tanky setups). She's decent to strong in most in-game situations. There's no
reason not to pick her in most of the setups because she has no downsides apart from the fact that
she is situational.
Let's take an example in Hearthstone: Big Game Hunter. If he was 2/4 for 3 manas he would be
picked in every single deck. He would counter big minions as much as aggro decks, no reason not to
auto-include him.
I'm not sure how to deal with this problem. A simple nerf would make her really weak I think, that's
why I put her on the "design issue" section rather than the "overpowered" one. I think she needs a
rework of the Light of Elune's talents (they are overall weak) or an overall rework.

UNDERPOWERED HEROES
MURKY
I wrote something about how to buff him. Then I heard you were going to rework him. I think it's
such a better idea than a simple buff that could simply make him annoying to play against.

OVERPOWERED HEROES
STITCHES
Stitches is arguably the best hero in the game. The reason is pretty simple, he has a kit that
provides a kind of utility unique in the game: position breaking from afar. There are multiple
champions with a position breaking ability, let's say Thrall's Sundering or Sgt. Hammer's
Concussive Blasts for instance. These abilities doesn’t force move you by 1000 yards, neither do
they pull you into the enemy team. The Hook is unique in that case and it's already a really good
reason for the Stitches dominance.

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HotS Feedback

By Yun-Kun

But now the Gorge / Bolt of the Storm combo gives him a second similar position breaking ability. I
think it's too much. The utility provided by these two "combos" are too unique in the game to make
Stitches something else than a must ban / pick.
I think making him unable to BotS (Bolt of the Storm) while Gorging would be a well deserved
nerf. Erasing the Fishing Hook talent is another step that should help balancing Stitches (no need
to increase the range of the most broken ability in the game).
You can compare it to "Thresh" in League of Legends: most of his damage output has been set to
zero and he's still one of the strongest supports.

UTHER
Uther's best strength is Crowd Control. Problem is he's also really good at healing (he's a Paladin
after all!). We can say there are two main categories of supports right now: Utility and Heal. And
Uther is just too good in both. No matter what type of support I need, I can just pick Uther and he
will do fine.

VALLA
Valla's problem is simply the low risk-reward calculation implied by her talent choices. She offers
low risks with guaranteed reward if she goes for the regular Multiple Shots build. In competitive
play you're always trying to diminish the risk and increase the reward.
So why is the Multiple Shots build so positive in term of risk/reward ratio? Because Valla has been
designed for the close combat. Her kit gives her high damages and high kiting capabilities. If you
add the long range component it becomes a turret that can Vault and kite you to death. The risk
implied by playing Valla as a close combat ranged assassin is suddenly gone and you gain her close
and long combat damages in your team setup.
Composite Arrow needs to be either deleted or moved to an upper tier.

SGT. HAMMER
Sgt. Hammer's problem look similar to Valla's but it is not. Her problem is that she fits the meta
too much. To be more accurate, she fits most of the in-game situations a team will encounter.
A lot of the map objective situations imply to be able to hold a ground for long enough to capture /
secure the objective. Hammer is obviously really good at locking areas with her great range. If your
strategy involves area control (most team strategies do), Hammer is definitely your strongest pick,
no matter what.
Hammer looks situational because she's not so mobile, but in the end you don't need mobility in a
lot of situations. She's not situational anymore. That's why she fits in every competitive maps (SKY
TEMPLE, CURSED HOLLOW and DRAGON SHIRE). So is she must-pick.
I think emphasizing Hammer's weaknesses would make her a more risky pick and consequently
maybe not a must-pick hero.

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HotS Feedback

By Yun-Kun

ZERATUL
The main problem of Zeratul is his Void Prison.
Void Prison in itself is already a really strong ability. It allows Zeratul to maneuver around a fight
and erase some hero's presence. But the most important thing is that it allows a team to force a
fight or engage the enemy team. Apart from Void Prison it's really hard to trigger a teamfight if the
enemy team does not want to. The Void Prison allows a team to choose when and if they want to
pick up a fight. It's a decisive factor in a game's success and that's why competitive teams tend to
often ban or pick Zeratul.
Another problem is that securing a Zeratul on your setup enables too much AoE wombo combos. If
you use Void Prison, what is supposed to be a highly difficult ability to land (Falstad's Hinterland
Blast or Gazlowe's Grave-O-Bomb 3000 for instance) becomes an easy wombo combo that can
one shot the enemy team.

TALENTS, TIERS AND CHOICES
I must say Talents are really interesting. But there are a lot of low interest choices and most of the
heroes often only have one, hardly two competitive builds. That's what this section is about.
I'll try to determine how to create healthy competition between Talents. In order to do so, I'll have to
explain the reasoning behind competitive talent choices and how to categorize the different types of
talents.

TERMINOLOGY
Let me explain a few terms that I'm going to use a lot in the ongoing section:
- Specific, refers to a Talent which is only available for a Hero.
- Generic refers to a Talent available for several Heroes.
- Active refers to a Talent which gives you a new shortcut to use
- Passive refers to a Talent which doesn’t
- A Gameplay Talent is a Talent which gives a gameplay option. It allows you to do something you
couldn’t before. Nazeebo's Sprint is a Gameplay Talent for instance. Most of the time Active Talents
= Gameplay Talents. A typical example of when an active talent wouldn’t also be a gameplay one
would be if Sgt. Hammer had Sprint. Since her Siege Thrusters is already giving her the same
thing.
- A Synergy Talent is a Talent which emphasizes a Hero's strength, it often synergizes with the
natural strength of the hero or the build itself. Composite Arrows for instance.
- A Safe Talent is a Talent which makes it up for one of the Hero's weakness. It offers what the Hero
is lacking. Health and Mana with Death Ritual for Nazeebo for instance.

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By Yun-Kun

- A Strong Talent is a Talent which is strong in itself. It can be picked no matter what other choices
you've made in the game. Double Bombs on Zeratul or Ambush Snipe on Nova. You cannot
always anticipate what the pros will consider as a Strong Talent.
- A Counter Talent is a Talent which counters a strength of the enemy team. Like Spell Shield
against Nova.
- A Buff Talent is a Talent which simply increases the damages, healing, cooldown or duration of an
ability. In itself it's often weak but when it's part of a greater build it can be a Core or a Secondary
Talent. Lili's Gale Force for instance.
- A Utility Talent is a Talent which provides anything else than increasing the values mentioned
above but that cannot be put in any other category. Good example would be Uther's Fist of
Justice.
- A Core Talent is a Talent which is the main part of a Hero's build (Composite Arrow for Valla,
Furious Blow for Sonya). Without it, it cannot work. It's often an Active, a Synergy or a Strong
Talent.
- A Secondary Talent is a Talent which is a part of a Hero's build but which's not a must-pick to
have the build running, it's often a Buff, a Strong or a Counter Passive Talent.
- A Trash Talent is a Talent which is simply bad in itself or out of the build you are currently
running.
- A Tech Talent is a Talent which can be picked sometimes if the situation really favors it

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TALENT MAIN CATEGORIES
To make things clearer, I'm going to draw an overview on how Talents can be organized as
categories.

SPECIFIC

OR

GENERIC

AND
ACTIVE

OR

PASSIVE

IS
LIKE

NOT

OR

GAMEPLAY
TALENT

AND
SYNERGY
TALENT

/

SAFE
TALENT

/

UTILITY
TALENT

/

STRONG
TALENT

/

BUFF
TALENT

/

COUNTER
TALENT

So here is how I can describe a Talent (ignore step 3): a Generic Active Strong Talent (Rewind). Or:
a Generic Passive Buff Talent (Block).
Once you stated what the type of each Talent is, you can once again put them in 4 different boxes:
Core, Secondary, Tech and Trash Talents.
What you can call your Core, Secondary and Trash Talents will vary from a game to another. If you
play Valla with the intention to run the Multiple Shots build, Composite Arrow becomes a Core
Synergy Talent. But if you plan to play Basic Attack Valla, suddenly it becomes a Trash Talent.
From what I've seen and played, there's currently one or two main builds for each hero with their
own Core Talents and some tech talents. Some Heroes' builds are also only made of Strong talents. I
will try to explain how these builds have been chosen through the next sections.

ACTIVE / PASSIVE COMPETITION
You must have noticed that Active Talents tend to be picked over any other Talent in the same tier
(sometimes not). Let's study why.
It's really hard to create competition between Active and Passive Talent because an Active Talent
gives you a new gameplay option. As long as the Active Talent does not give something redundant
with the hero's ability kit or unneeded for the ongoing game, it will likely be better than any other

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Passive Talent in the same tier. Sometimes some Passives are Strong or Synergy Talents and they
are picked as Core Talents over Active Talents (but it's rare).
Let's analyze why an Active Talent is stronger than a Passive one.
Consider a situation where you can A) Greatly Heal (100) and another situation where you can A)
Heal (50) and B) Shield (50). In the first situation you can heal one hero but not two, in the second
you can do both, what's better. That's a pretty simple example but most of the time you can simplify
the choice between active and passive talent like this.
To take a more complex example, let's analyze the Uther's Fourth Talent Tier. You have two Trash
Talents: Hammer of the Lightbringer (too situational and weak) and Protect the Weak (I'm not
going to heal the minions yo). Remain Fist of Justice and Protective Shield. How can we compare
both? Let's say I pick Fist of Justice and always hit my targets twice with my basic attacks. My stun
is available every 6 seconds instead of 8. In a minute, I pulled off 10 stuns instead of 7.5. What
can I do with a stun? I can disrupt, protect and peel damages. Peeling damages and protecting is
alike healing. Let's say 1 second stun makes an Illidan miss two basic attacks, it's like 150 health. I
pulled off 2 more stuns, it's like a 300 health heal. So Fist of Justice gives me 300 health and a
potential chance to disrupt an enemy when using Hammer of Justice within 1 minute (under
certain circumstances) and Protective Shield gives me 200 health whenever I want every 1 minute.
Protective Shield is far better 

COMPETITIVE TALENT CHOICE
Now, let's analyze the different steps of the reasoning behind the talent choices.
As a competitive player, how do I increase my chances to win with a particular hero? I want to
increase my efficiency at a specific work (let's say supporting or assassinating). How do I do that in a
MobA? By enhancing my strengths and reducing my weaknesses. How do I do that in Heroes of the
Storm? With masterization, teamplay and talents choices.
What's interesting to notice is that two types of weaknesses exist: inherent and relative. Relative
weaknesses are the ones that you can play around with. Your masterization of a hero or your
teamplay completely erases these weaknesses. For instance Sgt. Hammer lacks of mobility in a
teamfight is not a problem if your team is zoning around her (it even becomes a strength). Inherent
weaknesses are the ones that skill or teamplay cannot erase. For instance Jaina's lack of escape in
gank situations. In this case, the only thing that can erase this weakness is Sprint or Bolt of the
Storm.
Talents that erase Inherent Weaknesses are almost always picked as Active Safe Talents over
Passive Synergy Talents.
Now that I have stated how a competitive hero is meant to be build, let's have an overview of the
different steps beyond the reasoning of Talent choices:

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