Big Heroes of the Storm Patch Adds a New Map and an Overwatch Character
Nazeebo, Chen, and others also receive some significant balance changes.
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Heroes of the Storm's latest update is now available, adding two major new pieces of content and making a large number of balance changes, some of which are very significant.
In terms of new content, today's patch continues the StarCraft-themed Machines of War event. The new map is one we've heard about previously: Warhead Junction tasks players with collecting nuclear bombs scattered around the map and using them to destroy the enemy's base.
Bombs spawn periodically and are collected by channeling on them. The player who collects one has to wait for it to arm and can then target a nearby location for a missile strike. However, until they actually fire it off, they can be killed, causing them to drop the bomb. It's then again up for grabs for anyone on either team to collect. You can see how this plays out in the video above.
Next up is a new character, Zarya, who comes from Overwatch, not StarCraft, but is a part of the Machines of War update nonetheless. As we covered when she was first announced, she plays a lot like she does in Overwatch, shielding herself and teammates for a limited time and gaining additional damage when a shielded character is attacked. One of her Heroic abilities is identical to her Ultimate in Overwatch, pulling nearby enemies into a targeted location. Her other Heroic choice does the opposite, knocking enemies away from an area and preventing them from entering for a few seconds.
Also new today are a trio of skins (two for Zarya and one for Rexxar, all seen in the trailer below), several new bundles, and two prices changes. Diablo now costs only 2,000 gold or $3.49, while Muradin's price has gone up, now costing 4,000 gold or $6.49. Blizzard also says it's improved the second tutorial mission, changing its gameplay, user interface, and flow. "This mission should now better serve to introduce players to some of Heroes of the Storm’s unique mechanics," it says.
Finally come the balance changes, of which there are many. The previous map added during Machines of War, Braxis Holdout, receives some changes to prevent matches from so frequently being one-sided. Zerg units' damage now scales less in the early- and mid-game, but scales more highly toward the end of matches. Blizzard says the map "plays faster by design," but wants the zerg to be less effective early on.
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The character side is where the bulk of the changes come. Nazeebo's talent tree has been reworked completely, with many being replaced or improved. His abilities are also tweaked; for instance, Corpse Spiders only spawns spiders when it hits an enemy, but those spiders now go after whatever the jar hits, preferring enemy players. The jar itself does less damage, but it moves more quickly, and the spiders themselves now do much more damage. Another significant change comes to the Gargantuan, which now stays near where it was spawned and attacks enemies that come near it.
Chen also receives a major talent rework, helping him to better deal with damage dealers and allowing him to more effectively serve as a solo tank. Unlike Nazeebo, little has changed about him on the ability side, with the exception of his Heroic. Spirits now have more health and each has a special ability, but if all three die, Chen dies.
Other changes of note include giving Malfurion the ability to reduce teammates' cooldowns; buffing Alarak, and in particular his Lightning Surge ability (and related talents); and providing Valla and ETC with more viable talent tree choices.
You can see more in the full patch notes on Blizzard's website, or check out the patch for yourself now in-game.