A new balance patch has been released on Heroes of the Storm‘s public test realm, and this is a significant one due to the way it addresses a common complaint among players.
The patch, as a note from the developers explains, focuses on stunlocking. Put simply, stunlocking involves a team reeling off a series of moves that either stun enemies or otherwise impair their movement. It’s been a major part of the game for some time now, and it’s a key part of a high-level play, arguably to the detriment of the game.
This update reduces the duration of many characters’ stuns and roots, including those used by Gazlowe, Xul, Muradin, and Uther. Furthermore, this impacts not just standard abilities, but Heroics (like Diablo’s Apocalypse) as well.
“We’ve received a lot of feedback from players regarding the popular strategy of chaining movement impairing effects, like stuns and roots, on an enemy hero,” Blizzard explained. “While we want this to be a viable way to play, we feel it’s currently too prominent and powerful at higher levels of play. As a result, we are reducing the duration of many of these effects in the game.
“In scenarios where this change nerfs a character we don’t otherwise want to nerf, we’re coupling it with a buff to help offset the difference. While this change hasn’t reduced all the effects that might make you lose control of your hero, we feel these are some of the more egregious ones. As always, we will make further changes if necessary.”
Gazlowe is among those to get a buff alongside the stun length reduction; his Xplodium Charge now does slightly more damage. Other buffs include Uther’s Hammer of Justice receiving a shorter cooldown and costing less mana, and Brightwing’s Polymorph slowing more, costing less mana, and having a shorter cooldown.
There are a few other tweaks in this balance update not tied directly to stunlocking. Chen, Leoric, and Tyrael’s health and health regeneration have all been increased, while Kael’thas now deals less bonus damage with Living Bomb’s Sun King’s Fury talent.
You can check out the full patch notes on Blizzard’s website, or try out the changes for yourself by logging into the game’s public test servers. Provided all goes well with the testing process, the changes will go live in the regular game next week.
Also coming next week is a new character, Chromie, who we recently got a good look at. Following her will be another Warcraft character, Medivh, who can transport his team around using portals.