Since Blizzard announced it was scaling back development on its crossover MOBA Heroes of the Storm, the game has received two new heroes and tweaks for the existing roster. Today, Blizzard announced a new sweeping set of changes for Heroes of the Storm in both a new hero, who hails from an original setting within the Nexus, and a new ranked queue system.
Qhira is a melee Assassin. She’s a Nexusborn hero, which means she doesn’t come from an existing Blizzard property. She’s unique to Heroes of the Storm, and her development was anchored around her signature grappling hook and chainblade. Her abilities required some extra work and tech to work well, but the end result is a hero who rewards patience and has the potential to make big plays.
Trait: Grappling Hook (D)
Qhira fires a Grappling Hook that pulls her to any terrain it contacts. If an enemy Hero is hit, they take 36 damage and Qhira launches at them, dealing an additional 112 damage on impact. Can be used while Revolving Sweep is active.
Carnage (Q): Unleash your sword in a targeted direction, continuously dealing 31 damage to enemies caught in its path.
Blood Rage (W):
Passive: Basic Attack and Ability damage cause enemies to bleed for 46 damage over 4 seconds. Stacks 5 times.
Active: Qhira deals 33 damage and heals for 88 health per enemy Hero affected. Damage and healing is increased by 50% per each additional stack on that Hero.
Revolving Sweep (E): Attach your sword to the first enemy Hero hit, Stunning them for .25 seconds. Once attached, Qhira avoids Basic Attacks and becomes immune to all effects, rotating around the target for 2.75 seconds, and dealing 109 damage to any enemies between you and the target. Reactivate to send you to the target’s location, knocking them back, dealing 112 damage and Stunning them for .75 seconds.
Unrelenting Strikes (R1)
Deal 46 damage to all nearby enemies every .5 seconds for 2.5 seconds as your sword grows outward. Upon expiring, deal 86 damage to all nearby enemy Heroes and Stun them for .75 seconds.
Final Strike (R2)
After 1 second, strike your sword in a line to deal 432 damage to all enemies in its path. This damage is increased by 25% to any enemy below 50% Health.
Qhira’s ability to grab onto both terrain and heroes means she’s mobile, but at a cost. She doesn’t have the unfettered freedom of a Tracer or Lunara, who can jump around anywhere they like. Qhira needs to set up the right situations and execute on them — a deliberate restriction from the design team, who feel that attaching conditions or requirements to high mobility makes an interesting dynamic for both players in a duel.
Qhira is also high risk, high reward. When she attaches to someone, she has the ability to not go in. If she does go in, she can be at her opponent’s mercy. A clever opponent can drag her into the enemy base by her own grappling hook, or a mobile tank like Garrosh can turn an initiation around on Qhira. That being said, she can use her grappling hook to get out as well. While revolving around a target with Qhira’s E, Revolving Sweep, players can use her grappling hook mid-spin and set up a classy exit.
New ranked seasons: the Storm League
Ranked queue is meant to be an arena for dedicated players to enter matches that make for a satisfying challenge. Blizzard is introducing a new style of ranked called the Storm League which should be a little more inclusive and have a less intimidating barrier to entry. The Storm League has a bunch of under-the-hood changes to make ranked easier to enter, and less anxious to maintain.
For instance, promotion and demotion matches are now gone, as they ended up being inconsequential to players who put in dozens or hundreds of games, but a major barrier to those who would just queue for a few games a week.
The season now has a ranked “questline,” which is designed to be accessible and easy to complete without grinding. The first season will have a simple objective: win games. Heroes of the Storm has been experimenting with rewards during past events, including quests with cosmetic rewards and branching quest paths. We’ll likely see more variety come to Storm League seasons as the new system progresses.
Here are all of the patch notes regarding the new Heroes of the Storm ranked system.
- Ranked Points are now directly mapped to a player’s Storm League MMR.
- Rank is no longer considered by the matchmaker.
- Leaving a Ranked Match Lobby or Game results in a 500 Rank Point penalty which can be slowly regained in future matches.
- Placement Matches have been reduced from 10 to 3.
- Promotion and Demotion games have been removed and players will seamlessly transition through Leagues and Divisions.
- The MMR range has been rebuilt and remapped to handle this.
- A Team Leader (banning player in Ranked Draft) is selected on the highest Rank for placed players, or MMR for unplaced ones. In mixed teams, placed players have priority.
- Rank Decay has been adjusted
- Only players that are Diamond 5 or higher and that have finished their Placement Matches are eligible for decay
- If a player’s decay timer is less than 3 days, it resets to 3 days upon playing a Storm League game. If the timer is at or above 3 days, players will gain an additional grace day for each game played (up to a maximum of 30).
- A Ranked Seasonal Questline is now available to players
- This Questline will be available each Season and must be completed in order to be eligible for both the Ranked Seasonal Rewards and the Grand Master Leaderboards.