The future of hero balance

General Discussion
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Highly Rated
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.
There is no hero balance. There was more hero balance upon release than there is now. Blizzard has thrown the entire game off balance by doing too many big nerfs. It's a mess now. The game is rapidly turning into a trainwreck. 'Hey, nerf this!' Nerf happens. 'Hey, gotta nerf this now!' And so on. They fell into the cycle. It'll just get worse from here on out.
Blizzard tries (i think) to have a game, even in the meta, where (nearly) every hero is viable and you change heroes during the fight to have an advantage against the enemy because of your picks.

A little bit before and the first time after release the "meta" has shown that like 12 heroes (of 22) are often picked and the rest here and there, some left in the dust only played by pro players who love the character (Internethulk and Symmetra <3). I think the standard line up was like McCree, Reinhardt, Zarya, Lucio, Zenyatta and Genji. Tracer, Reaper, Winston and Roadhog were picked in certain Maps/Situations. Even now this is one of the strongest line ups in the game, in my opinion.

But what can you do when one hero seems too strong, even against their (soft) counters.

You could A) Buff other Heroes/Counters or B) Nerf named Hero

B) Is not so complicated as a)

Just because it is a nerf it is not bad. Deal with it. You have to play maybe a bit different and don't have it that easy (like animation cancling fixed with genjis combo), but if a hero is really nerfed to the ground Blizzard will know and buff him again.
10/21/2016 07:39 AMPosted by NiteWriter
There is no hero balance. There was more hero balance upon release than there is now. Blizzard has thrown the entire game off balance by doing too many big nerfs. It's a mess now. The game is rapidly turning into a trainwreck. 'Hey, nerf this!' Nerf happens. 'Hey, gotta nerf this now!' And so on. They fell into the cycle. It'll just get worse from here on out.


Were you not here for pre-nerf Widow or something
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun.
Highly Rated
It's not possible to balance all heroes across all maps/game modes/levels of plays, but I would like to see the state when every hero has it's plays for some situations and is the best in some role. Same goes for must-picks - I don't want to see them at all.
10/21/2016 08:12 AMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun.


It would be awesome if we can test in the PTR the ability for Torb to move his Turret in some format. Perhaps you have tried it and found it not to be good.
10/21/2016 08:12 AMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun.


Thank you very much for taking the time to discuss this issue. I understand how hard designing and balincing can be hard sometime.
And why don't u keep buffing heroes instead of nerfing heroes that perform well ?
That would be a good idea.
U woudn't upset people who love these op heroes and make heroes that non viable good.

It's a win win situation.
Highly Rated
10/21/2016 08:22 AMPosted by PutàDelRey
And why don't u keep buffing heroes instead of nerfing heroes that perform well ?


power creep.
It gets even more fun when you consider that it's a chaotic system and stable points in the meta are strange attractors. Sometimes the whole system can shift to an entirely different state with no outside intervention and now everyone suddenly 'discovers' a new set of heroes that are in and out of favor. (Kind of like how Ana magically shifted from being a troll pick to being a must pick.)

There is always this question in my mind when a hero is changed if the change was really needed or if the current meta should have just been waited out.
@Mr. Kaplan

I think the game is in a great state right now. The changes that are needed are very minor, and I'm sure your development team is aware of it (you have shared much in that regard).

I think it's important for the playerbase to acknowledge that you guys have the statistics from millions and millions of players, and (I assume) hundreds of millions of hours played (I would love to know this statistic!).

Thanks for the transparency and commitment to improve the game without doing anything too drastic or game changing. When drastic changes occur, I tend to lose a lot of interest, and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

Cheers
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


It's a bit of a Catch-22...


When It'll be a Catch-23? :P
Carefull about the changes you make to suit the "fun" aspect of the game.
This is PvP, blood and tears for fame and glory.
10/21/2016 08:12 AMPosted by Jeff Kaplan
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


It's never our intention to have a hero be perceived as a "troll pick", but that will inevitably happen sometimes. Let's say that we all agreed that all of the heroes were perfectly balanced (just pretend with me), even if we touched nothing, eventually the balance would shift over time due to evolving playstyles, strategies and meta-trends. A lot of us like pro sports and tend to think of those games (soccer, football, hockey, basketball) as "timeless". But if you follow those games closely, the leagues have had to make minor tweaks to the games to keep them fun and balanced over time. It's a weird analogy, but it is very similar to hero balance in a game like Overwatch. In those pro sports, players and coaches evolved their ways of thinking about the game that required the game itself to change at times.

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable. With so many heroes, I do believe the playerbase will (at times) decide that certain heroes are out of fashion and therefore deem them as "troll picks". Sometimes this will be very valid. And sometimes it will be perception.

Both Torb and Symmetra are being looked at right now. We want to try to improve them in ways that makes them more fun to play, more enjoyable to have on your team and try to make sure they are not infuriating to play against.

We wrestle with the issue that players get very upset at us when they perceive "the meta is stale" and certain heroes are not viable. Yet it's also very disruptive to the playerbase for us to make changes. It's a bit of a Catch-22 but we do our best to responsibly look at all heroes all the time and make sure nothing is terribly unbalanced or worse, un-fun.


Whats with Hanzo and Bastion? Are there any plans for them in the near future? Cause both of them are seen as not viable or troll pick too.
10/21/2016 08:12 AMPosted by Jeff Kaplan

We will absolutely do our best to make sure all of our heroes our viable.


So when are you gonna make Widowmaker viable?
10/21/2016 08:40 AMPosted by Crythor

Whats with Hanzo and Bastion? Are there any plans for them in the near future? Cause both of them are seen as not viable or troll pick too.


Hanzo is not really a troll pick after his changes. I think it still that many people think that he has such a high skill cap that most people can't play him well, even though everyone is complaining that because of his hitboxes he nevermisses. So what now? On the on hand he doesn't get anything done on the other he can't miss?

There are videos on youtube were people are playing hanzo really good in Comp. and many people in voice or chat are "Please switch off Hanzo you ain't doin anything" Sometimes people should look more closely to upper right corner and they could often see that Hanzos can do something. Also a well placed Sonic can change so much.
Overwatch will change because players change too.
10/21/2016 07:32 AMPosted by Suns
Since the release of Overwatch in may 2016, we've seen a lot of changes concerning heroes balances.
Since Overwatch has become very popular, a lot of pro player find new meta each months.
Because of the evolving metagame, which pretty much dictate all heroe pick in the competitive format, not all heroes are regarded as equal.
Heck, some heroes pick are considered "troll", like Symmetra and Torbjorn.
Thoses heroes flagged as 'useless' are not healthy for anyone.

My question is: Will the current effort toward hero balance will completely erase or dissipate those "troll" pick?

I like all heroes. I understand some perform better than other. But no heroes deserve to be so underwhelming that no one wants to see them ever.


theres a top 500 player named torbjorn that only plays torbjorn. All character are viable, blizzard shouldn't solely focus balance based off of the pro scene. Imo a lot of the issues here are based off of perception.

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