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Blizzard Talks Support Heroes

by - 2 years ago

There was a time when the official forums were one of  the few places where you could hear from and interact directly with Blizzard team members. That has changed with the rise of tools such as Twitter, Reddit, and VODs, but the term Blue Post is still synonymous with official information. While that term often gets used now to encompass any post a Blizzard representative makes regardless of the site, the original Blue Post is still alive and well on the official forums.

One of the more recent Blue Posts is from Developer Matt Cooper on the subject of Support Heroes. What makes the post interesting is that it details common player concerns, the design philosophy behind Supports, as well as possible changes that the team is considering go forward.

Originally Posted by BlizzCooper (Official Post)
Hello all,

In case you missed our previous discussion, feel free to check out the thread here. In this thread I introduced myself and we had an in-depth discussion about health sustain in Heroes of the Storm.

Thanks to all your feedback, it was clear many players wished to have a discussion about Support characters. So, lets dive right into this next discussion topic: Supports.

We’ve heard feedback from the community that our Supports feel like heal-bots. Let’s briefly explore this:

  • Healing is a big part of what makes Support characters feel powerful and fun to play in Heroes of the Storm. These are some of our favorite characters, and we are not looking to drastically change the way they play.
  • Not all characters are going to fit your playstyle. It’s okay that Li Li is more straight forward to play, whereas Rehgar has an aggressive playstyle.
  • Additional depth and complexity can come in the form of talents. Uther’s base kit is quite simple. However, at a highly competitive level, ‘Piano-Uther’ is seen as the optimal way to play, adding another layer of depth.

All of this being said, we agree that there is room for improvement. If most of your power comes from standing in the backline and not paying attention to enemy heroes, then this is an area we definitely want to improve. We think we can tackle this through some base kit changes, and future talent redesigns. We will also keep this in mind when designing future support heroes.

We’ve also heard from the community that our Supports are not play-makers, so let’s discuss:

We agree that Support players should have the ability to make big plays, and this is likely an area we can improve. However, lets define what this means:

  • Supports are not Assassins. We do not plan to push Supports in a direction that allows them to quickly mop up an enemy team or secure a bunch of kills.
  • Supports bring a ton of value in ‘supporting’ their allies. This often occurs through healing, but could be through a movespeed buff, a well-timed CC, vision, etc.
  • Many Heroic abilities including a well-timed Ancestral Heal, a perfectly placed Force Wall, or a clutch Divine Shield can all change the outcome of a team fight.

We think we can address this feedback with some simple base kit changes. With Lt. Morales, we’re currently exploring changing the way her Displacement Grenade functions; Instead of automatically detonating on the first enemy hero, we’ve changed it so the player chooses when the detonation occurs along its path, exploding automatically at maximum range. Simple changes like this could allow a skilled Lt. Morales player to choose if knocking away the enemy or pushing them toward your team is the correct call.

Other thoughts:

  • We want a flexible ‘meta’. We want the meta to vary over time and change based off the map. We like that the current meta allows for 1-2 Support characters per team – we feel this offers a lot of variety in team composition and play experience. We would occasionally like to see some 0 support team compositions, but very rarely.
  • It is not off the table for us to retune the total healing output of Support characters. For example, we could decrease healing by 30% and increase health pools by 30%. A change like this likely means that a healer is more about mitigating immediate loss in a team fight, and less capable of constantly topping off their team. While this is a perfectly viable direction for us to explore, I don’t think it addresses either of the core concerns we’ve been hearing regarding making big plays or being considered heal bots.

The floor is now open, please add any thoughts you have below. I’d be really curious to hear where you think we’re currently succeeding with Supports, and where we should be looking to improve and focus our efforts. As always, thanks for your time and help.

If you have thoughts on this subject, log on to the official forum and join the discussion. Blizzard really does value player feedback and the official forums are a great place to make your voice heard.

Lee Vaughn

Lee has been playing Blizzard games since the 90's and Heroes of the Storm since the Tech Alpha. If he isn't playing a Blizzard game he is probably tweeting about one.