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The Auriel patch went live on the PTR on Monday and the patch notes reveal some changes coming to heroes in the future.

Auriel has been long anticipated in the community and is finally playable on the PTR. Along with Auriel comes another wave of balances, entirely detailed in these patch notes. Some of the biggest balance changes are coming to Kael’thas and Tracer.

Less delete, more AOE

Kael’thas has been regarded as one of the top mages in Heroes for quite some time, and from time to time he receives some major changes. In Blizzard’s ongoing effort to balance the talents for heroes across the board, Kael’thas’ talents got a bit of a rework.

 

  • Level 7
    • Gravity Crush (E) – Removed
  • Level 16
    • Sun King’s Fury (W) – Moved to level 7
      • New Functionality: Now increases the damage of Living Bombs that spread to enemy Heroes by 30%
    • NEW TALENT: Arcane Dynamo (Passive)
      • Casting a Basic Ability causes you to gain 3% Ability Power for 5 seconds, stacking up to a total of 15% Ability Power
  • Level 20
  • Arcane Power (Active) – Removed
  • NEW TALENT: Flamethrower (Q)
    • Increases the range of Flamestrike by 40%. When you hit two or more enemy Heroes, reduce the cooldown of Flamestrike by 4 seconds

 

Wow. These are some major talent changes to Kael’thas, many of which the community is not optimistic about.

Removing Gravity Crush altogether limits the potential of Kael’thas’ single target burst potential. However, moving Sun King’s Fury to 7 along with it’s new functionality give options to increase the amount of AOE damage he can do, if a team is clumped together. Arcane Dynamo is an interesting talent because it rewards players for being smart about using abilities. His new level 20 talent, Flamethrower, again attempts to increase his abilities as an AOE mage while giving him a significant amount of range on Flamestrike. 

As we had mentioned in previous patches, we wanted to make a niche for Kael’thas as an area-of-effect mage who punishes teams that clump together. Our earlier changes to him succeeded in helping his talent diversity, but we failed in pointing him enough in the direction of an AoE mage. We’ve decided to cut Gravity Crush and change Sun King’s Fury to be a mechanic more fitting of our intended design for Kael’thas.

Not so fast, Tracer

The other major round of talent changes comes to Tracer.

 

  • Level 1
    • Slipstream (E) – No longer reduces the cooldown of Recall by 2 seconds
  • Level 7
    • Spatial Echo (Q) – New Functionality: Hero Takedowns now grant two charges of Blink
  • Level 10
    • Sticky Bomb (R) – Slow amount increased from 60 to 70%
  • Level 13
    • Bullet Spray (W) – Melee radius increase reduced from 50 to 40%
  • Level 20
    • Total Recall (E) – Now also increases the cooldown of Recall by 8 seconds

 

The intent of Spatial Echo was to give Tracer a moment of power in comparison to the other two talents on her tier, which are more generally useful and help her have more Blink casts throughout a game. While its win rate was in line with other talents, its pick rate was dominating the tier, and we weren’t happy with how much it let Tracer use her Recall as a “get out of jail free card” due to the guaranteed blinks that she would always have afterwards. Now she can still have the same moment of power, but she will have to get in and get the kill in order to Recall out to safety.

Blizzard’s intent on making Recall less of a “get out of jail free card” is apparent through most of the talent changes to Tracer. The aim was to have it be more of a skilled use, and by removing the cooldown reduction and completely changing the Spatial Echo functionality they’ve changed the way this skill will be used. Especially with the level 20 talent change to Total Recall, adding 8 seconds to the cooldown will really make players think about which level 20 talent to take.

These changes are currently live on the PTR and will be hitting the main servers on Tuesday, August 9.

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August 2, 2016 |

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