Game of Slows

General Discussion
So I just realized something: HotS has become a Game of Slows, and that, in turn, has led to the mobility-ability "meta" and the hate for highly-mobile characters, like Tracer, Genji, D.Va, Zeratul, and others that are less-affected by Slows.

Roots, Suppresses (Taunt, Mind Control, Fear, Lamb to the Slaughter), and Knock-Ups are relatively unused as compared to other CC's (especially Slows), the lists being short on characters with access to these types of CC. And these types of CC are also some of the best counters to mobility-ability Heroes.

Only 4 characters have Root in their base kit: Arthas, Thrall, Xul, and Malfurion, despite it being one of the best lock-downs for squishy mobile heroes. More Heroes can get Root through optional Talents or Heroic picks, like Ring of Frost on Jaina. But that isn't much.

Suppresses are limited to the Heroics of 4 characters, with one of those Heroics (Mind Control, Sylvanas) being considered a dud ability by many in the community (though I personally love it). We lack smaller-scale Taunts, Charms, Fears, things of that nature, that would be just as impactful on that D.Va that keeps swooping in and out as on the immobile Lt. Morales.

And Knock-Up's like Kael'Thas's and Anub'Arak's are even more scarce, with Anub'Arak's being incredibly low duration as-is.
And no, Knock-Backs and Knock-Ups are not the same thing as they achieve a different result. Knock-Back displaces an enemy, while Knock-Up is a specialized Stun where an enemy is stuck in place, and by knocking them skyward their model size increases slightly, telling allies to attack the suspended target.

Stuns are fairly common, but often require very precise timing through predicting the enemy's movements. They are also often very short duration compared to things like Slow. And after the Stun-meta, I don't see Stuns making a huge comeback (please never return to the Stun-stacking meta...)

Slow is incredibly common (arguably the MOST common CC), and it really only hinders the already-(comparatively )immobile characters. Slows on Nova are a death sentence for her, while Zeratul can often Blink to cover. A Slow on Uther means he's never getting in range of that pesky Tracer to target-Stun her for his allies. Yet, Slows are everywhere. Characters like Probius are built on Slows. Most characters have a Slow in their main kit, if not a couple Talents that add Slow effects to their kit. Meanwhile, Suppresses, Knock-Ups, and Roots, which have a broader CC range in terms of affecting and debilitating more targets, are limited to a select few characters.

Maybe some Stuns could be converted into Suppresses/Roots/Knock-Ups? Maybe some new characters could refrain from adding more Slows and focus on these broader CCs?
Mobility creep sooner or later going to come to this game don't worry.
Very off-topic, but the title of this thread gave me a Game of Thrones' vibe.
A stunned nova is likely dead as slowed one. Heroes with less mobility has to be way careful with they position.
07/05/2017 12:53 PMPosted by SnarkyGoblin
Mobility creep sooner or later going to come to this game don't worry.


Hi my name is Genji
A root does two things, it makes a targets move speed zero, and prevents the use of mobility skills. I had suggested adding the second part to stiches slam (and possibly also prevent speed buffs). https://us.battle.net/forums/en/heroes/topic/20755706786#post-9.

You also some of the other moreesoteric CC's in the terrain creation (zombie wall, areat crater, barricade, force wall, entomb)

also a "knock up" is a stun, the only thing different is the animation.

Another thing to consider is slows cover a wide range of degrees, a week but ubiquitous slow such engine gunk rock-it turrets or nexus blades is significantly different from the fairly extreme slow of for example phase gate
This is a really interesting topic, thanks for posting it!

To give a bit of insight from a Hero Design perspective, one thing we have to be careful about when using Root effects is that they clear the target's Move orders. This can feel super awkward as an enemy if you don't realize you were hit by a CC (why did my Hero stop moving?), and is the reason that our existing Root effects tend to be on very visually distinct, noticeable abilities. We've sometimes opted to do a very large Slow instead of a Root in places where this felt problematic.

To some extent the reduced effectiveness of Slows on high-mobility heroes is important because they're dependent on their mobility, but you raise a good point that their relative value is affected by the prevalence of Slows. This is something we're keeping an eye on, and it's likely you'll see some more CC effects that work on high-mobility heroes in the future (like Stukov's Lurking Arm).
hi, matt!
07/05/2017 01:49 PMPosted by MattVi

To some extent the reduced effectiveness of Slows on high-mobility heroes is important because they're dependent on their mobility, but you raise a good point that their relative value is affected by the prevalence of Slows. This is something we're keeping an eye on, and it's likely you'll see some more CC effects that work on high-mobility heroes in the future (like Stukov's Lurking Arm).
An option to deal with is to create the "Grounding" mechanic that doesn't allow the use of mobility skills while keeping unaltered the others, sort of selective silence but even then it would be not so intuitive (yet it proved as a good one in another game where mobility creep is a big issue).

Edit:
To give an example, Tyrael first Q cast is doable while "Grounded" but he cannot use the second one (the teleport to El'druin location).
Yes pls give this priority. It's way more important than matchmaking which receives 10000 complaints every hour.

Every time I start a game, i dont care about the 3 noobs who feed and have no idea what they're doing. No.

I am thinking... "hmmmmm, i think the slow mechanic is somehow too harsh for mobility heroes, and maybe Blizzard should definitely keep an eye on it...".

This is exactly what I wrote to that russian dude who was afk the whole game and who couldn't even speak english when he came back at the last minute!
07/05/2017 01:49 PMPosted by MattVi
This is a really interesting topic, thanks for posting it!

Is it okay that I'm sitting here star-struck? I've never had a Blizzard employee stop into one of my topics before haha

Thank you for the insight into the design process. I can see why Roots are often very flashy abilities. And Stukov was one of the reasons this came to mind, actually. He's very CC heavy, beyond just a Slow, which was refreshing to see. Thank you for taking the time and taking an interest in this topic!
This is a great thread.

I had never thought about that way. The way you describe the "Game of Slows" and how the super mobile characters can ignore it while the ones who suffer the most just suffer more is very accurate.

And I know I'm going to get hate for this, but I wonder if Icefrog realized the same thing over the years of balancing DotA. There's only 3 hyper-mobile characters in DotA (Anti-Mage, Queen of Pain and Storm Spirit) out of a character of a roster of over 110 heroes. HotS already has more hyper-mobile heroes than that games does. Then again, anyone can buy a blink dagger in DotA as well, if they save up enough money.
More Overwatch heroes please.
07/05/2017 02:42 PMPosted by Alastor
07/05/2017 01:49 PMPosted by MattVi

To some extent the reduced effectiveness of Slows on high-mobility heroes is important because they're dependent on their mobility, but you raise a good point that their relative value is affected by the prevalence of Slows. This is something we're keeping an eye on, and it's likely you'll see some more CC effects that work on high-mobility heroes in the future (like Stukov's Lurking Arm).
An option to deal with is to create the "Grounding" mechanic that doesn't allow the use of mobility skills while keeping unaltered the others, sort of selective silence but even then it would be not so intuitive (yet it proved as a good one in another game where mobility creep is a big issue).

Edit:
To give an example, Tyrael first Q cast is doable while "Grounded" but he cannot use the second one (the teleport to El'druin location).
It could be called Shackled, which is already a common theme in some abilities. Some Slows intended on reducing mobility or even some Silences or Stuns could be reinvented to disable abilities like Li Ming's Teleport, Tracer's Blink, or Falstad's Z for several seconds at a time. It means mobility Heroes have to start thinking like their less-mobile allies or enemies
There are two ways you could counter this ( If it's decided it needs to be adressed. I'm a bit on the fence)

1. Make more stuns targetted, rather than skillshot based. However, this opens another can of worms, in that stuns would generelly become much more reliable. Which is why they 're skill shots to begin with. We probably don't want to go this way.

2. You give all characters a speed rating, and make some slows % based. Like health % based damage. But based on speed value. Or you could make it static. Like a 20% slow, that becomes 35% or 40% if the char is classified "fast".

This however couldn't be standardized, because it's a hardcounter.

The big problem, is that all very mobile characters have small healthpools as a natural trade off. So any improvement in mobility debuffs become a near death sentence. If I'm Xul or Muradin or Thrall, a slow or stun means I'll take a lot of damage, but I have a good chance of just backing off at low health. If I'm Tracer or Genji or GM. There's a very high chance I simply die. Like having "kill target hero" on a 10 sec cooldown. (When Varian still had stun on his "E". People just stopped playing Tracer, since it was a garanteed kill after picking C. Smash. If you reverted that nerf, Genji would become unplayable)

So the only way to balance an improvement to mobility debuffs would mean being forced to raise the mobile char's health. But then if they have higher health, they become OP whenever their counterpick isn't around...

Tough call.
07/05/2017 03:14 PMPosted by KyuubiJRR
07/05/2017 02:42 PMPosted by Alastor
...An option to deal with is to create the "Grounding" mechanic that doesn't allow the use of mobility skills while keeping unaltered the others, sort of selective silence but even then it would be not so intuitive (yet it proved as a good one in another game where mobility creep is a big issue).

Edit:
To give an example, Tyrael first Q cast is doable while "Grounded" but he cannot use the second one (the teleport to El'druin location).
It could be called Shackled, which is already a common theme in some abilities. Some Slows intended on reducing mobility or even some Silences or Stuns could be reinvented to disable abilities like Li Ming's Teleport, Tracer's Blink, or Falstad's Z for several seconds at a time. It means mobility Heroes have to start thinking like their less-mobile allies or enemies


It would be too narrow though. A hero with that ability becomes a two ability hero whenever these guys aren't around. Since it has no effect on anything else. If you pick it early in draft, the enemy team just doesn't take mobility guys and forces you into weak, low impact hero. If you don't, they can just take mobility right after banning the char.

It's like Cassia's W, but with even less Value than just not having an AA hero to fight. Everyone attacks, but not everyone blinks.
07/05/2017 01:53 PMPosted by QuietOnset
hi, matt!


Hi! I appreciate the welcome =)

07/05/2017 02:58 PMPosted by KyuubiJRR

Is it okay that I'm sitting here star-struck? I've never had a Blizzard employee stop into one of my topics before haha

We're trying to get more of the team on the forums so hopefully you'll see this happen more often!
07/05/2017 02:42 PMPosted by Alastor
An option to deal with is to create the "Grounding" mechanic that doesn't allow the use of mobility skills while keeping unaltered the others

We could do something like this if it felt necessary. However there are downsides to adding new CC types (more rules & interactions to learn, longer tooltips, etc) so the benefit in terms of gameplay has to be pretty big to make it worth the added complexity.
I'd like to support the "Shackled" debuff. Disables movement and teleport from movement abilities, doesn't reduce speed buffs.

For example if a Valla that is "shackled" vaults, she doesn't move but she gets the extra damage etc.
This may be overpowered in the hands of a CC heavy tank (hook applies shackled=you dead) but maybe Tassadar's and Zarya's AA (if they go for the UP ultimate), or Azmo's and Leoric's E (instead of range talents?). None of these can keep this debuff on you because Tassadar and Zarya cannot walk and AA , while Azmo and Leoric are slowed during the channel without any need to even CC them to get away.

Maybe it is even OP on these heroes but it will be ok on some others.
The problem I see is that Li Ming > Jaina (except VP combo comps), Valla > Raynor in all cases and no one can protect their back line from Genji so poking has become a distant memory. If Valla's vault can be shut down, Raynor me be a valid alternative without the need to buff his damage to stupid levels. Maybe if Leoric can disable Dehaka's global he might not be auto pick.

They way I see it, if it is a rare thing and given to the right heroes, it only promotes counterplay and team work.
Another thing to consider is how slows/roots interact with Relentless-like effects. Arguably, a 90% slow is better than a root because it won't trigger a knockback, heal, or get a duration cut. The only difference is it won't cancel a move order.

While stuns/roots are obnoxious, they do serve a necessary role. Auto attacks self-root you whenever you use one, which gives a defender's advantage when running away. It's why playing Kerrigan can be so gosh dern frustrating - once the Combo's done, your enemies can casually walk away. You need at least something to keep them in range. It also gives purpose to characters who have various CC effects, but no damage of their own, as they can be the setup for their allies, which is why supports like Rehgar and Uther have been so highly prioritized at different times. I mean heck, Uther's healing numbers are often marginal, but mess around with the cooldown/duration of his stuns, and he can be a sharp support even with very little raw healing.
We have maybe 5 high mobility heroes right now. Tracer, Genji, D.Va , Zera and Lucio.

It's unlikely the game would ever end up with 10 or more similar heroes. So if you introduce something like shackles. How do you make it not useless if these heroes aren't in the game?

(And keep in mind that it would be pre-emptive, a bit like Divine Palm, since you have to use it before they peace out)

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum