On March 12, David Kim held an open Q&A on Reddit for a few hours. He answered various questions regarding tournaments and balance, and it's definitely worth checking out.
Q: Are any "large scale" or "mechanic" redesigns being considering for Legacy of the Void? For example considering changing mechanics around high ground advantage, the soft 3 base income cap, warpgate, etc?
David Kim: We're currently working on all parts of the next expansion, but everything is a work in progress. If something is problematic, we would discuss it and try possible changes. But one of our core philosophies on SC2 design is if the change isn't completely amazing, we prefer not to do it.
So in this specific case, things like high ground advantage working the way it does currently vs. how it worked in BW vs. other advantages we can think of that are different, it's really hard to clearly say that one mechanic is better in all the cases. Overall, we are trying various changes in various areas, but it's really difficult to say for certain what will go through at the end of the day.
When you guys have good suggestions on specific problematic areas as well as possible solutions, we definitely discuss and/or try those things internally as we work on the next game to be able to know exactly why or why not we're deciding on a certain area. Eg. We've tried and still retry things like different suggestions for the Swarm Host, more harsh counters to Force Fields, or old units like Lurkers, and so on.
As Tychus Week continues for Heroes of the Storm, the developers of the game have released a Q&A discussing the design of Tychus as a playable hero. There's only a few questions in the Q&A, but there's a lot of info to be learned.
Trikslyr: Let’s talk about the design of Tychus; how was it decided to make him an assassin, and what makes him different from other heroes?
Richard: When we’re deciding what role a hero falls into and what makes them unique, we first think about the fantasy of the character and what they did in their universes. In Wings of Liberty, Tychus was a take-no-prisoners badass who rode around in a stolen Odin, used a chain gun and grenades to mow down the Zerg, and started a bar fight with Jimmy on the Hyperion. He’s clearly a rebel that let his fists do the talking. In this case, a hard hitting assassin just made sense.
The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is live! You can watch streams of the game over here!
Also, Blizzard has posted an article helping players install and access the game.
We’ve invited a limited amount of US-based players, including testers opted-in via Battle.net, friends and family members of Blizzard employees, as well as a number of international press sites and community contributors, to participate in this very early Technical Alpha testing phase. If you haven’t received an invitation to the Tech Alpha yet, make sure you’ve elected to participate in Heroes of the Storm testing by opting in on your Battle.net account’s Beta Profile Settings page. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance at gaining testing access as our needs evolve and we expand the pool of invited players in the weeks and months to come.
Blizzard has just posted a lot of info regarding Heroes of the Storm on Battle.net. Their article explains various parts of the game, such as how to purchase heroes, how to purchase skins, the experience and level progression, and more.
To summarize the information on this article, there are several ways to choose a hero to play. There's a weekly rotation of free heroes, all of which are available to play, without cost, for that particular week. However, if you wish to purchase a hero so that they are available permanently, you can do so with gold. Gold is a currency which can be earned by completing in-game goals, daily quests, and gaining player levels. In addition, you may test drive any of the heroes in the game by going to the shop and trying them out. This allows players to buy heroes after knowing what they do, instead of being forced to make a blind purchase.
Skins and mounts are purchased with real money, although there are some interesting exceptions. There may be quests in the future which allow you to unlock skins or mounts, and there are also several tints for each skin (including the default skin for each hero) that allows you to look different, no matter your monetary investment into the game. There are also going to be mounts that are exclusive to players who have made a real-money purchase during the alpha and beta phases for the game.
By playing more and more matches, you will gain experience for player levels. Getting higher levels means unlocking different features for the game, such as an extra hero in the free weekly rotation, or Hero Quests, or hero skins. Hero Quests are quests for each hero that can be played once reaching level 10. There are three Hero Quests for each hero at level 10, and three more at level 20 that can be completed for experience and unspecified customization options for that hero.
To check out the full article, you can click here. Hopefully, the technical alpha will be on its way very soon!
There are a few posts on the Battle.net forums related to upcoming balance updates, most notable of which is a modified release schedule. Due to current ongoing tournaments, Blizzard has decided to push back the balance update's release for Europe only:
As David Kim mentioned in his recent forum post, we’ll be moving forward with a new balance update this week. However, we realized that our original release schedule for Friday, February 28 would offer WCS Europe Premier League Group F competitors just a few short hours to practice with the new changes. Instead, we’re going to slightly alter our release schedule by holding off on the balance update for the European Battle.net region until after the Group F broadcast concludes on Saturday, March 1.
With tournaments on-going across the globe, there’s never a perfect time to roll out a balance update, but we want to make sure our target dates will have the least amount of impact possible on upcoming events. Once again, this schedule change will only affect Europe and we are still planning to release the update for all other Battle.net regions on Friday, February 28.
David Kim also posted about the upcoming balance update, explaining some of the changes that will be coming :
Widow Mine splash damage increased from 40 to 40 +40 shields We’ve seen a little confusion surrounding this change and we’d like to clarify that it does not change the Widow Mine’s single target damage. As for the splash damage, this is how it’ll work:
• Up to 1.25 radius, splash damage will increase from 40 to 40 +40 vs. shields. • From 1.25 to 1.5 radius, splash damage will increase from 20 to 20 +20 vs. shields. • From 1.5 to 1.75 radius, splash damage will increase from 10 to 10 +10 vs. shields.
Hydralisk attack delay decreased from .83 to .75 We believe this change is good for all three match ups after testing. In ZvP, it seems to make a significant difference even though it’s turning out to be not as big as we initially thought before we started testing.
Mothership Core vision decreased from 14 to 9 After testing, this change is turning out to be quite a bit of a nerf for Protoss in terms of early scouting. It also makes the army vs. army case a bit weaker for Protoss in terms of the vision the Mothership Core provides, especially when vision is critically needed, such as during Feedback vs. EMP battles.
The winners for the 2013 Blizzard Stream Awards have been announced! With a ton of award categories and thus a ton of winners, the list is simply too large to put here. So, to see all of the winners and runners-up of the 2013 Blizzard Stream Awards, click here.
Blizzard has announced that another Heroes of the Storm Q&A panel will be streamed at Twitch.tv/BlizzHeroes on January 22, 11:00am PST. The panel will feature Dustin Browder, Game Director; Kaeo Milker, Senior Game Producer; and Kevin Johnson, Senior Manager, Community Development. After the Q&A, there will be a live Heroes of the Storm showmatch with Dustin Browder and Sean "Day" Plott as the commentators.
To send in your questions, just tweet to @BlizzHeroes with the hashtag #HeroesQA for a chance to receive your answers on the stream!