Heroes of the Storm’s new patch will add party frames, on fire system and armour for tanks

Heroes of the Storm patch

Along with the introduction of Probius, the probe, Heroes of the Storm’s next patch also brings with it quite a set of reworks. Much-asked-for UI features, hero reworks and more are on the way. All the details below.

Have a look at HOTS’ new hero, Probius.

Top of the pile are the UI updates. Sadly Blizzard hasn’t provided screenshots of these yet, but expect them on the official site soon. Here’s what they’re adding:

  • Party frames
    • Set at the top of the screen and looking very similar to the spectator UI, these will show various for your allies:
      • Health
      • Resources (Mana, Energy, etc)
      • Cooldowns on Heroic abilities
      • Whether they’re alive
      • The new on fire status. Speaking of which…
  • On Fire
    • Returning from an earlier version of the game, this will indicate if you’re doing rather well.
    • It now applies to a maximum of three people in any game. They can all be on the same team, split, or be just two, one or none.
    • Various stats are taken into account, including everything shown on the scoreboard.
    • Will be shown to team-mates and enemies via party frames and on your hero portrait. Will also highlight which items are contributing to your own fire status on the scoreboard.
  • Kill log
    • This is an update to the left hand side of the screen where deaths are shown.
    • It more nicely indicates kill streaks and is prettier in general.
    • Part of the update is prepping it for showing more information in a future patch – quest completion by allies, for example.

You can see little gifs of all of this over on Blizzard’s website.

Heroes of the Storm tank armour

Meanwhile, it’ll have the usual set of hero changes. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Tank heroes will be receiving more armour.
    • Arthas, Joanna and other auto-attack tanks will receive physical armour.
    • Anub’arak, Tyrael and other magic tanks will receive spell armour.
    • Cho, Varian and other generic tanks will receive normal armour.
  • Cho’gallwill be getting minor reworks, buffs and the return of Cho’gall Outbreak, letting him spread through the community.
    • More interesting choices for talents.
    • Eye of Kilrogg and Shove, previously level one talents for Gall, will be made baseline.
    • Interaction between each half will be increased, exploiting new trait.

Game producer Claudio Gentilini gave some more insight as to exactly how the Cho’gall changes will work:

“The biggest [change] is his trait, we want to create more interaction between Cho and Gall. When Cho has his version of the trait active, they gain 25 armour so they can engage more, takes much less damage – one of their weaknesses is getting focused and killed, meaning it’s two heroes that are gone. Then Gall, he can switch over and gain 25% spellpower. When he does that they’re lighting people up. There’s a right and wrong time to have [each one] active if you want to be the most efficient possible.”

It will also have a five second cooldown to switch between the two, so picking the wrong one isn’t an easily fixable mistake.

Cho'gall buff patch

On the development side, this kind of buff to so strange a character is dangerous – there’s no point of reference in other MOBAs, or within Heroes of the Storm, for two-heroes-in-one being a viable, competitive pick.

“It’s really hard because you get players that specialise in learning these heroes, or even heroes like Lost Vikings. They know the exact right time to pick them and when they do they just dominate games,” explains Gentilini. “If you can’t deal with it it’s very frustrating. But those heroes, they’re very niche heroes, you probably won’t see them in every game.

“[It’s an] insane challenge for our live designers to balance a hero like that, it is two heroes in one – how much power can you give them – but they do have very strong counters. Anub’arak’s web wrap, percentage based damage effects, any stun is hitting two heroes. Their lane presence – they’re better on two-lane maps than three-lane maps generally because of less XP-loss potential.”

  • Arthas
    • Kit is being focused around armouring against basic attacks.
    • There will be more diversity in viable talents.
  • Anub’arak
    • Will become more focused on his anti-mage role.
    • Again, further diversity in viable talents.
  • Gazlowe
    • A range of fixes focused on making him better in the hands of pros without turning him into a pubstomper.
    • Robo-Goblin will receive a mini-rework.
  • Doubtlessly, other heroes will receive balance fixes of various sizes.

That’s everything that’s been revealed so far – look out for more soon as the changes hit PTR early next week, and likely release the week after.