Regarding Mana, Skillshots, and "Spam"

General Discussion
I feel mana is a very meta dependant topic, which makes it super hard to be for or against the current design.

For example, currently a hero like Varian has basically no mana problems most of the time.

On the other hand, during the very brief double support meta, where even all-out teamfights could last several minutes, mana suddenly mattered. The Varian being at 100% mana at the start of the fight could mean the difference between winning or eating that fully stacked sandblast because he didn't have enough mana left for one last protected btw...
In such a double support meta I love that some heroes have mana, or even mana issues, while others have infinite ammo. It's a drafting argument for or against a certain hero, outside of team comp or map.

As for individual mana talents, Alex was already mentioned as a positive example. I also like:
- Kharazim's Insight talent (infinite mana, but you are forced to put yourself in danger to utilize it),
- Gul'dan. Sure the life-mana conversion is his entire theme, but I think it's still worth noting how smooth he feels. Especially the choice between more mana on tap OR killing a minion to gain health (and thus mana) is good design.
- Jaina has the option to talent for mana regen on two seperate tiers, which is unique as far as I can tell. While her globe quest is more viable most of the time, I like that I have some choice on which tier I go for the regen talent, if I take one at all.
- I like regen talents with an added benefit, like Chromie's level 1. I don't know, going for a mana-only talent often feels bad, because you tell yourself that you just need to play better if mana is a problem.
Ah, mana management...

The laning phase is where it really feels ok.
You be careful to use your spells at just the right time to chase your opponent away and grab both globes.

There are two problems with that.
One, objectives do not have globes unless completed (or something like the big terrors that spawn them when being beaten up)
Two, most of this player base erroneously thinks laning comes to an end at level 10.

You could solve the first one by maybe adding globe spawners to old maps near objective points. They'd be far enough out of the way that you wouldn't want to ditch lane to grab a globe, yet would add just a little more sustain to team fights and increase the impact of gaining ground and caring about positioning.

The second I really wish I knew how to fix. A tutorial might help, a little... Show people that dying going after an objective you can't win is more detrimental than letting your opponent get the objective while you push.
Mana. Blink and it's gone. Go back come back to fight... Oops, I blinked again. That's how some heroes feel. Yet there's others that Mana isn't an issue. The new ones that people call OP.

Let's look at Diablo, a hero I love. Diablo has a talent at level 1 called Devil's Due. That talent is absolutely necessary because it gives him infinite sustain off of Regen globes. (hi Alex mains who don't realize the synergy of devil's due with your talent that makes a Regen globe. I'm looking at you!) Without devil's due Diablo gets blasted. he spends more time in the fountain than not. Dies and loses all his stacks? Might as well stay in the fountain. But, with devil's due, he never goes back. Some talents like that should either A) be incorporated baseline with at asmaller amount or B) taken away and replaced some how. I love devil's due, but one thing I could be comfortable with is Diablo getting some kind of life steal/Mana return when he knocks someone into terrain and stuns them. That could be fun.

Now let's look at someone with a different kind of resource. Auriel con constantly spam her whip and her clap abilities without a care. I love this healer. She's fun (very team reliant, but fun). However, she feels very spammy. Some Auriel players spam the whip which knocks people out of important skill shots. Some kind of resource management would help this. There are others like this. Morales and her granade for instance. Spam spam spam.

My point is, resource management needs to be looked at across the board
What a great idea, gj!
It is a great topic and I disagree with OP and with Blizzard dev on some level. I think that having limited mana pool is a great thing. I love Gul'Dan for example and how always power hungry he feels. It is so lore friendly in that respect.

I also do not think that having mana refund is a great idea in general. Certain heroes should struggle with mana and thus be only good for teamfights or short skirmishing. What Blizzard need to do is to introduce more supports or heroes who syngerize well with mana hungry, hungry heroes like our dear old Malfurion here.

As regarding talent options, I do think that mana refund vs other talents are viable option as long as those options are worthwhile. Often, a very strong extra mana refund should be balanced around simply more damage which is always popular and so on. It creates a choice between more burst type of character or one which can fight for longer and spam his abilities longer.

Personally, I dislike heroes whom are very mana hungry and does not feel more powerful. Reghar is a prime example. It is always short of mana, but it does not feel more powerful than heroes who are not mana starved. So why I should pay for expensive Chain heal if it fails to deliver more healing than other heroes? Whatever the case with him, when I have to deal with mana starvation, it is more than fine if to compensate I get powerful abilities or something better than your run of the mill hero.
04/16/2018 04:05 AMPosted by Ernestas
It is a great topic and I disagree with OP and with Blizzard dev on some level. I think that having limited mana pool is a great thing. I love Gul'Dan for example and how always power hungry he feels. It is so lore friendly in that respect.


Well we are talking about resource expenditure here. For Gul'dan, mana is not his resource since he has an infinite amount of it with his trait. Gul'dan's resource is actually his HP. If Gul'dan didn't have to manage his health he could just spam D forever so I don't really think Gul'dan is a good example of why I'm wrong, I think it's more of an example of why I'm right.

I want more heroes to be like him in that their resource management is more engaging and interactive instead of just "Oops. One missed combo. Now I'm oom."

04/16/2018 04:05 AMPosted by Ernestas
I also do not think that having mana refund is a great idea in general. Certain heroes should struggle with mana and thus be only good for teamfights or short skirmishing. What Blizzard need to do is to introduce more supports or heroes who syngerize well with mana hungry, hungry heroes like our dear old Malfurion here.

As regarding talent options, I do think that mana refund vs other talents are viable option as long as those options are worthwhile. Often, a very strong extra mana refund should be balanced around simply more damage which is always popular and so on. It creates a choice between more burst type of character or one which can fight for longer and spam his abilities longer.

Personally, I dislike heroes whom are very mana hungry and does not feel more powerful. Reghar is a prime example. It is always short of mana, but it does not feel more powerful than heroes who are not mana starved. So why I should pay for expensive Chain heal if it fails to deliver more healing than other heroes? Whatever the case with him, when I have to deal with mana starvation, it is more than fine if to compensate I get powerful abilities or something better than your run of the mill hero.


Mana refunds already exist in the form of talents, as Matt already said. It can feel beyond frustrating when you are a mana hungry hero and you are essentially forced to take mana talent even if you enjoy taking the other talents on the same tier.

My plan is to just take these mandatory mana talents and sort of bake them into the hero so the player doesn't feel obligated to HAVE to take the mana talent. Having to choose between a mana talent or sitting in the fountain 24/7 sounds like a lose/lose for the player, atleast from my perspective.

I just don't want people to be confused and think that I am advocating for infinite mana mages. I still want mages to have mana I just don't want them to be as intensely mana hungry as they are now. That's all.
Found it kinda of hilarious that you used that as an example when literally, stuff like that is what i'm trying to stop.

In Dodge Brawl, all your spells cost no mana and can be spammed at will with no regard for accuracy and the only objective being to spam until you inevitable hit someone. Regular gameplay is no different for certain heroes (like Hanzo).


good hanzo who hits you every time its anoying... not hanzo who cant hit nothing
why u want buff anoying hanzo and make bad hanzo even more useless? hes punished for missing already.. why u want also steal his mana?
this can make games even more 1sided
The heroes which you do not like are not designed to be played by people like you. That is, people who get frustrated by tight resource management Most heroes and casters do not have mana management issues as long as they cast their spells sensibly. Even Li-Ming never faces such issues. There are just handful of exceptions who do face said issue to any considerable degree and while some of them need to be tweaked like Diablo, others are in essence good. Though, they do need to get something for their troubles, like Gul'Dan, for his lack of mana regen and having to kill himself constantly, his base abilities are far stronger than they should be. This is a form of good design, but more often than not, you do not feel like trading sustainability for power which should be the case. Mana hungry heroes fail to feel like more powerful inherently than your competitor and this is that annoys me
As far as resource talents (mana or other) on usually resource hungry heroes go, I'd almost always lean towards them over other talents unless the other talents are major efficiency spikes themselves. And if a resource talent comes with additional benefits I'm even more likely to ignore non-resource talents from that tier even if they'd offer a counter to one or more of my opponents.

I like HotS because it's not the usual "only auto-attack until the big team fight"-fare that other games in this genre can often feel like. You're usually not penalized that harshly for pressing the "fun" buttons just to clear waves faster, due to the often reasonable cost and recharge timers.
Keep in mind when asking the Devs to review mana, that you also have Malfurion, Ana, and Alexstrazsa as supports who provide mana. For those abilities to have value, you can't have everyone go mana-less or switching to unique resources like energy.
I feel there just are to many heroes right now that lack a reasource to limit them, or have to high a mana pool for what they do. Some heroes i think are fine without mana or with their unique secondary resource, lie Illidan, Abathur, Chen. Murky, Zarya, and Sonya, as they have other resources they need to manage fairly tightly (Murky has his abysmal health, Illidan has to constantly be attacking to lower his abilities cooldowns, Zarya has Energy, Chen has brew and Sonya has Rage), or in Abathurs case, that he cant contribute at all if he goes OoM. Its Heroes that lack a legitimate resource like Tracer, and Junkrat who i feel need mana, or Fenix who really needs mana, Tracers Bullets and Junkrats Grenades recharge all at once, and fail to properly interact with the rest of the kit. It becomes less about managing a resource and more about how much will i get done before the really short timer resets to allow me to do it again.
Ok got a bit more time, and wanted to jump back in for a bit since this is a good discussion. I won't go into the balance tuning of any individual Hero because that falls into the realm of our Live Design team, but I would like to share some of my own thoughts about how different types of Heroes should interact with Mana.

Here are some of the roles that Mana can fill in our game as I see it. Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and doesn't necessarily cover every Hero, but hopefully offers some insight into our thinking and helps inform further discussion.

1. Mana is a limiting factor for self-sustain

Any hero who can use abilities to recover their own Health quickly, without taking risks, should generally be limited by Mana. This helps ensure that damage enemies deal to them actually matters and isn't just magically erased at no cost. Requiring Mana for HP sustain makes it possible to win wars of attrition and is one way to keep game length from spiraling out of control.

Heroes who don't require Mana for sustain generally "pay" for their sustain in other ways (such as Auriel who relies on aggression to generate Energy), or have more modestly-paced sustain with adequate counterplay (such as Muradin, Illidan, Sonya).

2. Mana is a limiting factor for harassment

I love playing ranged Mages with powerful harassment abilities, like Li-Ming, Jaina, Kael'thas, etc. Something they all have in common is that they each have at least one long-range, high damage ability that can be used to wear down enemies before committing to a fight. At the same time, those abilities are packaged with significant Mana costs and/or Cooldowns that really give them weight - the cost of missing is not trivial, so it feels really good when you hit.

On the flipside, playing against those abilities is a challenge. It can be tiring to avoid a never-ending barrage of fire, ice, and explodey purple things. With that in mind, it's important that something limits the frequency with which those abilities are used, and that enemies feel like dodging those abilities is meaningful.

However, if you have to hold every ability and wait for just the right moment, the game can end up feeling really passive. This is something we've tried to avoid in part by how we tune Mana regeneration, and in part by also offering ranged Mages (and "poke" oriented Heroes in general) a low-CD, Mana-efficient ability that they can use more freely but isn't as impactful as their "big" damage button. In the Li-Ming/Jaina/Kael example, these are Magic Missiles, Frostbolt, and Living Bomb respectively.

One place where this gets more complicated is for Heroes like Hanzo and Chromie whose "use more freely" ability (Storm Bow, Sand Blast) ends up being a relatively large part of their power pie compared to their "big damage" ability (Scatter Arrow, Dragon's Breath). This is of course something we take into account when tuning these Heroes, but we're conscious of player feedback here and it's something we'll continue to evaluate going forward.

Another thing worth calling out is that we tend to be less cautious about this limitation for melee Heroes or even ranged who have to get pretty close to deal damage, because their damage inherently comes with greater risk (and we can't forget that Health is also a resource which must be managed). Some Heroes (like Illidan, Samuro) don't have a resource bar at all and it still works out well because managing Health is so important to them.

3. Mana can be a very flexible resource

One cool thing about Mana is that you have a pretty deep pool and you can make a lot of decisions about how you spend or save it beyond just "is this button available? If yes then press". Used properly, it forces you to think about your ability use in more of a long-term perspective beyond just "spam on CD".

It can also serve as a limiter in cases where Cooldowns don't really factor in, such as Li-Ming's trait reset rampages. Interestingly, the degree to which Li-Ming burns her Mana before resets kick in ends up affecting how crazy she can go with those resets, so how you choose to spend your resources in that case has a big impact.

I think we have a lot of design space to explore this type of thing further, and I'd like us to release more Heroes in the future that actively engage with and make decisions around how they use their Mana.

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I'll leave it at that for now because this is already getting super long. I may try to write up something more exhaustive when time allows, but in the meantime I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and feedback on the subject! =)

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