How Does Blizzard Decide Who Gets New Skins?

General Discussion
I'm genuinely curious.

The question occurred to me today after seeing the new Halloween event and that Whitemane is getting some new skins. That's all fine and good but, considering she came out less than 2 months ago and just how many other, much older heroes have yet to receive additional skins (aside from maybe their day 1, gem-only bundle), I'd be interested to know the production process there.

Is it based on hero popularity? Or is it just a matter of an artist having an idea for a skin that fits one hero perfectly so they just happen to be the one to get it? Does the lore of the game have any effect on who/when certain skins are released (e.g. the way the new skins for this event are based on the Raven Lord's top generals or whatever the Hell that video said, I wasn't really paying attention lol).

Does anyone know?
trow crap at the wall and see what sticks
It is definitely what is going to sell. Some meeting of concept and popularity.

I've been waiting for a decent Cassia skin since release but it will never happen because nobody plays Cassia.
09/17/2018 12:04 PMPosted by Bukkit
trow crap at the wall and see what sticks


It's probably true too.

Though it's about time Alex, Maiev, Zarya and... okay maybe not Whitemane - but come on, she's the perfect character for a witch skin - get skins.

Maybe one day Chen will receive a complete rework and new skins.
A skin takes an average of 6 months from start to finish.

So basically, they had Whitemane planned to get this skin super early before she was even released. Either they couldn't decide between two skins for launch and made both, or she REALLY fits some part of the event. I dearly hope it's not just because 'thighs' because that means 70% of the heroes are stuck.

As for the actual decision-making process... well, not blue but I'll hazard a guess-

You want at least one skin to act as a 'Cash Magnet'. This is perfectly reasonable from a marketing standpoint, you want your event to succeed and making a quality item but putting it in lootboxes is a reliable way to do it.

Aside from that, you want to then allocate skins based on need, thematic appropriateness (hence Maiev being a good choice), and resource investment/payout.

The last one is the problem. Some heroes require a very high investment to get payout, and thus will be shafted for skins unless they get selected as the Cash Magnet. And since heroes with sex appeal are innately good choices for the cash magnet, we reach the current problem:

From a business point of view, why should Blizzard make 10K off a skin for hero X if a skin for hero Y will make 50K?

I guess my answer would be promoting role diversity and player retention, but there are entire departments trying to answer this question perfectly, to judge when exactly would be most profitable to release a certain skin.
Every moba game release new skin based on hero popularity and people buying skin on this hero. Whitemane on release so many people buy bundle skin, so blizz release more skin for her.
Character popularity has a LOT to do with it.
roulette or darts.
09/17/2018 12:14 PMPosted by BlueFalcon
Though it's about time Alex, Maiev, Zarya and... okay maybe not Whitemane - but come on, she's the perfect character for a witch skin - get skins.
That kind of goes into my point of speculation that some heroes might get skins just because they'd be perfect for whatever the artist had in mind. However, it leaves open the question of "why a witch in the first place?", you know what I mean?

Like, sure, Whitemane makes a good witch and all but could that 4th general have been something else to begin with allowing a different hero to receive a face lift? Was that particular general established in the Raven Lord's lore from the very beginning? (I don't pay attention to the lore of this game so I honestly don't know.) Or was the dev team just in love with the idea of having a witch and thought no other hero could fill that role as well as Whitemane?

Again, I'm not suggesting heroes shouldn't be allowed to receive new skins until X amount of time has passed, I'm just trying to understand why Blizzard makes decision the way they do.

And, yeah, Maeiv and Alex needed some non-gem skins but I believe Hanzo came out at the same time as Alex and hasn't gotten any yet either. He'd make a pretty sexy witch. Just sayin'. :P

09/17/2018 12:18 PMPosted by Consort
A skin takes an average of 6 months from start to finish.
I'm an artist/game designer myself (I work in 2D, though, in all fairness) and I admit that I work VERY slowly but even to me that seems like a LONG time especially given Blizzard's resources and workforce. I'm not saying it isn't true but I'd be interested to see a source for that figure.
probely depends on who the artist/animators feel making skins for. i'm sure they have who is the most popular hero, alot must come down sweet i have a great idea for this hero.
why 4 female skins? zero male skins.
Is the character popular? Is the character female?

Then give her skins. Both Alexstrasza and WHITEMANE got one, but multiple others have gotten nothing for years.
Here's how it's decided:
As long as said hero is NOT Ragnaros, they get a new skin.
Magic 8-Ball
09/17/2018 02:02 PMPosted by NickNite1
Here's how it's decided:
As long as said hero is NOT Ragnaros, they get a new skin.


I'm gonna not include differnet tints here

Kel'thuzad(Dark Nexus please), Butcher, Chen, Dehaka, Gazlow, Leoric, TLV, Lucio, Medivh, nearly all of the Gem Bundle skins (Thank you Hallow's End) also.
09/17/2018 01:54 PMPosted by Ephemiel
Is the character popular? Is the character female?

Then give her skins. Both Alexstrasza and WHITEMANE got one, but multiple others have gotten nothing for years.


From past AMAs, its been discussed that the art team really tends to do what they are inspired to do.

I'm of course very sure that someone looks at the sales numbers and says "Hey, this character sells really well, lets do something for him/her".

I honestly wish they would line up new skins with character updates/reworks better. It happens sometimes, but TBH, I feel like every time an update/rework is coming out, it should come out with a cool skin to highlight it.

I'm honestly disappointed Kerrigan and Brightwing didn't get some love for this event; though, perhaps I am getting ahead of myself because they might be planning a counter event where the Lady of Thorns introduces her champions.

Also, why does Zarya get so many skins? Her popularity is barely middle of the pack. I always think of her as a n00bstomper tank.
Despite how great new event skins are i miss old skins ideas - like "alternative fate" series, or those 2.0 launch skins, with little details added - Like Terramore Jaina or Valla in her D3 set, really reminds me of old masterskins.
09/17/2018 07:20 PMPosted by Lighthammer
Also, why does Zarya get so many skins? Her popularity is barely middle of the pack.
Question asked...

09/17/2018 07:20 PMPosted by Lighthammer
From past AMAs, its been discussed that the art team really tends to do what they are inspired to do.
...question answered, I guess. This is good info, though, and is probably the best answer I'm going to get unless a Blue comes by to shed more light on the process (assuming there's any additional light to be shed).

I'm an artist myself so I definitely understand the spontaneous, organic nature of design but, that being said, I've seen some great ideas from players regarding new skins for heroes that could definitely use them (like a Ragnaros made of hot fudge and ice cream or a multi-layered cake) and it makes me wonder why that isn't enough to inspire Blizzard's art team. Different strokes, I suppose...
It also has to do with how easily they can make those skins.

TLV and Ragnaros apparently also get few skins because their models make it hard.
09/18/2018 12:30 AMPosted by GeorgeV
It also has to do with how easily they can make those skins.

TLV and Ragnaros apparently also get few skins because their models make it hard.
Ooooh, that's a good point! I hadn't thought of that!

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