As part of the ongoing Heroes 2.0 hype machine, several members of the Heroes development team took to Reddit today to host a Hanamura and Genji themed Q&A session. Here is a TLDR summary of the ongoing Reddit thread, which can be found here.
- Work on Genji started around mid to late August.
- When they started work on Genji they initially approached the idea of allowing Deflect to function how it does in Overwatch, where it reflects most abilities/projectiles. The first issue they found was that there are a lot of weird scenarios – how does deflecting a Flamestrike or a Blizzard work? They tried to address that by allowing Genji to constantly aim the deflection, but that felt pretty bad given the short duration and the fact that you had to constantly mash W.
- On the technical side, Genji’s Deflect was very difficult and time-consuming to develop and required a large amount of special case setups. In the end, they settled on an ability that they felt fit the game a little better, and added a talent that brings some of that flavor back in and rewards you for deflecting high damage abilities.
- They never viewed killing enemies with Deflect as a key mechanic for Genji. They more highly prioritized his kill potential as being tied to Swift Strike and Dragonblade, which is why they gave him the Swift Strike reset on kills. They see Deflect more as a survival tool for reversing those sticky situations that Genji often finds himself in.
- Genji is a very ability driven Hero and due to this, they felt it would be more interesting to create talents that played up that aspect. They tried a couple of auto attack talents, but in the end, they just didn’t feel as exciting, and during internal testing, players opted for the more interesting ability altering talents instead.
- The lack of tools like crowd control, healing, and scouting for Genji is intentional and it is in keeping with the idea of him being a high mobility, high damage Assassin. They didn’t want to add talents that ventured outside of that well-defined role. Instead, they tried to focus on creating interesting synergies and playstyles. For example, taking Agile Dismount, Shuriken Mastery, and Double Jump allows you to initiate a fight from far away and unleash a massive amount of Shuriken in a short span of time. Combining Flow Like Water and Steady Blade allows Genji to cut down a clumped enemy team very rapidly. Hopefully, synergies like these will allow for varied playstyles from game to game.
- Swift Strike is the longest movement ability in the game. From the outset, they knew that they wanted Swift Strike to cross any terrain/collision in the game in order to push Genji’s role as a high mobility hero. They initially tested it internally with an even longer distance (about 25% longer) but players were constantly going too far and ending up in a bad situation and dying (which they thought was hilarious!). They dialed it back a little bit each day until they felt like it was in a good place. Part of the skill of using the ability is knowing exactly how far it is going to take you and using it appropriately.
- Animations are done from scratch, but with a lot of reference from the originals, and they work closely with the Overwatch team to make sure the Heroes’ visuals translate as smoothly as possible.
- Genji originally had a more Melee-centric Q for Genji that involved him pulling out his Dragonblade. However, when reviewing his kit with the Overwatch team, they learned that pulling out the sword is actually a pretty big deal and something that is very deliberate for Genji. This is why they decided to go a different direction with his Q.
- They felt that creating a second sword-based attack as an Ultimate was more interesting than simply altering how Dragonblade worked.
- They are closely monitoring Core health and game length and will adjust accordingly. Internal testing showed that an 8 hp Core pushing the game into the 24-minute range, which is somewhat longer than ideal.
- The Art team made the decision to build Hanamura because they loved the aesthetic of Hanamura that the Overwatch artists had created. They also felt that Hanamura was one of the more instantly recognizable maps from Overwatch, and they felt it was easily distinguished from any of the other maps they have previously built.
- The Design team knew that they wanted their first Overwatch Battleground to have a Payload mechanic, to introduce something they’ve never done before – a mobile Objective. They thought Hanamura supported their goals, as the open layout played well with the Payload mechanic.
- They were concerned about Hanamura’s complexity, but also excited about all of the new gameplay potential that the map brings to Heroes. There is a constant struggle between developing new ideas versus becoming the game with too many ideas. This is why the focus on making sure the Objectives and their importance are clearly conveyed to the players.
- Dehaka was initially a concern since there was a lack of bushes and shrubs, but they added a few to key locations to help promote his travel mechanic.
- The first version of the Healing Pulse Token had Cleanse built into it.
- They are considering a rework for Lt. Morales.
- They feel that Alarak‘s Counter-Strike Heroic is different enough from Genji‘s Deflect ability. A couple examples of their differences are that CC doesn’t work on Alarak while he is getting ready for his counter while it will interrupt Genji, and Alarak’s damage is tied to only getting hit once whereas Genji cares about how many attacks are hitting him while using Deflect. As far as their power levels, they think that both the heroes and the abilities are different enough that they never considered comparing the two.
- They are always concerned about Heroes that are highly mobile. Not only are they often a pain to balance, but they also have to take into consideration how fun and fair they are to play against. They cite Tracer as a challenge as she had an unprecedented amount of mobility, but they also couldn’t cut into that mobility much either without ruining her fantasy from Overwatch.
- They generally tax Heroes with high mobility in other areas to ensure that they are balanced and fun to play against. They try to add places in their kits where counter-play is available to the opponent.
- The requirement for Ranked Play will remain the same, 14 Heroes of at least Level 5, but since it takes longer to reach Level 5 in 2.0 players will have a bit more experience under their belts before being able to play Ranked.
- They are considered themed drops for Loot Chests.
- They have been looking into the idea of “out-of-Heroes” loot items like voice packs for HGC casters, streamers, and other Blizzard characters not yet in Heroes (like the Adjutant on Braxis Holdout).
- A number of extras a skin receives are tied to its rarity. A Common rarity skin might just be a new color tint, but a Legendary rarity skin will include new voiceover, special effects, and new animations.
- They will no longer be making brawl-themed portraits after 2.0 and the existing brawl portraits will be considered achievements.
- They would consider making the different music tracks that have been in game “lootable”, so players can pick and choose their favorites.
- They are not planning to add a map veto system.
- They are likely to add a map rotation system relatively soon.
- They are looking to get more aggressive with updating Battlegrounds, similar to what they already do for Heroes.
- They love interesting design possibilities for Battlegrounds with unique win conditions. Towers of Doom and Hanamura are just their first attempts at this goal and they intend to keep exploring.
- Matchmaking takes Hero level into account as part of the calculations since they have found, up to a point, that increasing Hero level affects win rate.
- The number of games played is less of a consideration and not a great indicator of overall skill.
- For Unranked modes, new players are already mostly in the own pools, mostly to protect their experience while learning the game.
- Making the information on the HGC website available thru the game client is on the to-do list but there is no time frame to share.
- Combating toxic behavior is a balancing act between actioning players who are obviously doing something wrong and avoiding accidentally taking action against players who are just playing poorly. Toxic chat can be pretty obvious, but something like intentional feeding can be more difficult to pick out relative to someone having a bad game.
- They have developed tools, which the Customer Service department has been putting to use and taking action against toxic players.
- They encourage players to report toxic behavior as it helps zero in on the issue.
- They are also working on some form of loss forgiveness to help the players that were affected by toxic behavior.
- They are considering adding some macros to the end game screens that allow you to congratulate your enemies in a controlled fashion.
Associate Live Designer Adam Jackson on “anti-auto-attack” Heroes
Thanks for the question Colloff!
We don’t view many of the characters that you listed as anti-auto-attack. A few examples are:
Valeera deletes squishy heroes, but she’s an equal opportunist between being a nightmare to auto-attackers like Valla and casters like Kael’thas.
We see Tracer as in many ways being beaten by ranged auto-attackers. Their attacks can’t miss, and they will for the most part out-trade her if she stays near them for any length of time.
Varian’s Parry ability was intended to be more about damage mitigation and survivability than just countering auto-attackers. This is why we didn’t mind giving him the Shield Wall talent, which lets him gain the Protected status for its duration.
We don’t see Genji as being especially strong against auto-attackers either. He has a lot of mobility, which helps him more against casters than auto-attackers, as he can dodge skillshots but not auto-attacks. He can capitalize on low-Health auto-attackers, but similarly to Valeera, he doesn’t care whether or not their damage is done via auto-attacks or abilities as much as whether or not their health is low enough that he can finish them quickly.
In regards to general anti- auto-attack mechanics in our game, I agree that we have a lot more of them compared to casters, which is something we are working on. We originally viewed Silence effects as filling this niche, but found over time that they are generally just as strong against auto-attacks as casters, as every Hero in the game wants to use their abilities. Anub’arak’s changes have filled some design space in this direction, but we feel that there’s definitely more room to go here.
Thanks to the members of Team 1 for taking time out of their busy day to provide this valuable information and to all of the community members who submitted such great questions.