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Day 1 of the Western Clash has given us plenty to talk about and the day isn’t even over yet. Nomia shocked everyone by nearly defeating Misfits, Team 8 proved that NA can challenge EU by taking a game off of Dignitas, and Lucio made his HGC debut. If thrilling matches were enough to be excited about, Day 1 also included a surprising announcement. While many had been speculating that Fenix or Karax would be announced as the next Hero, Team 1 shocked everyone by instead announcing Probius, a new ranged Specialist. Start gathering those resources because Probius will hit the PTR next week and will be released on the live server the week after. That isn’t all the news out of Katowice. There will also be a Deep Dive panel on Sunday that will include a new and improved version of the On Fire mechanic, party frames, and a

We are less than 24 hours away from the start of the Western Clash and there is a lot to look forward to. Not only will we get our first look at cross region play in the HGC as teams from EU, NA, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand square off, but the opening day coverage will also include an exclusive announcement. Spin up your warp drives, Heroes, and tune in tomorrow for an exciting announcement during the #HGC Western Clash! >https://t.co/BrzJfp4LWq pic.twitter.com/BTyizv0x9Y — Heroes of the Storm (@BlizzHeroes) March 2, 2017 Many fans had been speculating that Stukov would be the next Hero released, but this most recent tweet clearly points to a Protoss Hero. Karax and Fenix are two of the more popular guesses in light of this new information. According to some sources, which I am still trying to confirm, there is an exclusive announcement scheduled for 9:20 AM

 

Quick Match Queue Times Improved

by Alebeard on

Have you felt like you are waiting less time to get into Quick Match games recently? A post on the official forums from Community Manager Rathmyr confirms that queue times are indeed faster for most players and explains how this improvement was made. The TLDR version is that there was a matchmaking rule in place that gave priority to those players who had been waiting longest for a game and would “hold” other players from getting a match until these players found a game. This rule was being applied to players in normal skill ranges even though the players who were waiting for games were not in this same skill range. As a result, they decided to remove this rule for players within normal skill ranges and the result was faster queue times. From all of us normals out there, thank you Team 1! You will find a copy of the

The stage is set and the brackets have been filled for the first international competition for Heroes of the Storm in 2017. Of the competing teams, Nomia, have proved themselves worthy in the ANZ circuit yet again and secured themselves a dominant seat at the HGC Western Clash this coming weekend. I took some time this week to sit down with team captain, Robadobah, to pick his brain on the competition and see how he and his team feel coming into this challenging competition. First and foremost congratulations on your win in the ANZ Grand Final. How did you and the team feel coming into the competition? Very confident honestly, the other teams kind of imploded this time… It was a little disappointing. How do you think the ANZ meta compares to the other regions? This is tricky because, we don’t really have a meta in that people usually revolve their

 

Balance Update For February 27, 2017

by Alebeard on

A new Balance Update has just been released. As expected, Murky has received several nerfs, which in the words of the developers are aimed at some of the more irritating aspects of the Hero. This is good news for everyone who has been pulling their hair out playing against this tenacious little guy. Varian is also taking a big hit, mainly with the removal of the stun component of the Warbringer Talent. Instead of a stun it will now increase the slow duration. Varian’s point and click stuns have also become a source of frustration to many players, so this should be a welcome change when it comes to the enjoyment of the game. Malfurion is another popular Hero who is receiving nerfs. In his case it is the lockdown potential of his Entangling Roots (E) and associated Talents which is being tuned down. Others Heroes receiving changes include Tychus,

 

Lessons From The HGC Week 5

by Alebeard on

It is that time of the week again, where we look at how the professionals play and think to ourselves, “That looks easy, I think I’ll do it too!” It is important to keep in mind that while the rest of us have moved on to a new patch and a new Hero, the players in the HGC are still on the Valeera patch. This means no one is breaking it down and no one is impossibly hard to kill and only counts as a quarter of a Hero even if you do manage to kill him. Those are topics for another day. Today it is all about fetishes, the kids who never get picked for dodge ball, and knowing when to move on. Shaking With Excitement I think we can all agree that there is something wrong with Nazeebo. No, I don’t mean he is OP or bad for

The ANZ HGC Competition came to an explosive conclusion this weekend with the Grand Final Series. Over the past few weeks the Qualifiers have seen the best of the best duke it out for the honour of competing in this event. The four teams that managed to achieve this were Nomia, Sweet Dreams, Plantronics NV and Sassu. The production value of these online matches were impeccable, aside from the odd connection issue, and the talented Disconcur and Skimmy cast the event live from ESL studios in Sydney. One of the most enjoyable facets of the production was the minimal downtime between games having few breaks last longer than 5 minutes. More entertaining portions of the day came from the banter between teams in the Drafting Phase showing the larrikin nature of the ANZ players. Going into the competition the favourites for sure were Nomia. However, eagle eye punters believed Plantronics

 

If you have been watching any of the games from HGC Korea you may have noticed something different. No, I am not talking about the crisp rotations or remarkable mechanical skills. I am talking about the appearance of the game itself. This is because the stream is being broadcast in Color Blind Mode. As you can see, the blues are a little bit lighter and the reds are more towards the yellow end of the spectrum.* This change is not only reflected in things like Hero name plates, Structures, and the Mini-Map, but it is also affects how various Abilities are displayed. There are also other subtle differences, like how the neutral Mercenary Camps are displayed on the Mini-Map. Rather than the familiar yellow color, they show up as white in Color Blind Mode. While broadcasting competitive Heroes in this mode is something new, there has long been a subset of players

 

Patch Notes For February 14, 2017

by Alebeard on

The Lucio patch has been released on the live server, which means it is time to rock out to the soothing sounds of futuristic Overwatch EDM. Check out this guide for tips on how to play this latest Support Hero. The other big Heroes related news in this patch is the rework to Murky. Based on early PTR feedback, the general consensus seems to be that this new iteration of Murky is crazy OP. One of the more interesting Talent additions is Egg Hunt, which allows Murky to place several fake Eggs which cast slime when destroyed. To help make it harder to tell which is the real Egg. Murky has 5 seconds of Stealth after emerging from his Egg. Murky may even be able to function as a tank now thanks to Talents like the reworked Fish Tank, Egg Shell, and Big Tuna Kahuna. Even if you don’t play

 

EU And NA Field Set For Western Clash

by Alebeard on

There is still one more week of league play before the HGC officially takes a break for the Western Clash, but we already know which teams will be representing Europe and North America. As expected, Europe will be sending Misfits, Fnatics, and Team Dignitas to Katowice. The North American representatives are much more surprising. Most people expected to see Tempo Storm and Gale Force eSports qualify, but no one would have predicted that Team 8 would advance, let alone how convincingly they would do so. Left on the outside looking in are well known teams like B-Step (Formerly Denial) and Team Naventic. Still to be determined are which teams will advance from the Latin America and Australia/New Zealand regions. Image courtesy of ESL The Western Clash will take place at the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, Poland. Games will get under way on March 3rd, with eight teams battling it