What about that tower? The potential impact of structures post patch.
A defenseless existence
Since the scaling changes, Heroes has turned into a much more aggressive style of game. Teams group up earlier in the match to look for lane ganks or to pressure structures. Safely soaking your lane means hugging your own gate and being ready to bail back behind your fort at a moments notice. Whether it was quick match, hero league, or team league this seemed to be the new norm.
I play in the new Chair League and in our last match I watched our Raynor and Jaina both taken out by an aggressive Valla and Kerrigan. They would hide in the bushes right next to our gate and if either Raynor or Jaina tried to come out beyond two hero lengths they would jump them. Watching the replay, I learned that Kerrigan followed our Raynor until she bumped right into the gate taking damage from the towers but not enough to dissuade her and sending Raynor back to the Hall of Storms.
Feeling no love from his towers ,Raynor meets his end.
What is changing and why
- Towers, Forts, and Keeps now deal 50% bonus damage to Heroes.
- Structures can no longer be made Vulnerable.
- Cores will now display an “Invulnerable” message if attacked by an enemy when no allied Keeps have been destroyed.
Developer Comments: The scaling changes we released in December made it so heroes could dive into structures with impunity during the early game. Increasing the damage that structures deal to heroes allows defending players to feel a bit safer. We are exploring other fixes to help structures feel more meaningful throughout the game and will release them when they are ready.
Testing the changes
I decided to put the new structure changes to the test. I wanted to get a feel for the raw impact to a given hero. For our test, I took Raynor into try mode set to level 1. I used the Americas server to get the post-patch data and Asia to get the pre-patch data.
Test # 1 - Single shot damage:
Pre-patch a single tower shot deals 125 (+/- 1) damage. Post-patch a single tower shot does 187 (+/- 1) damage. Just like the developers promised, a 50% jump in damage. That means a tower shot went from remove 8.76% of Raynor’s health to now removing 13.11% of his health with each hit and ultimately Raynor dies in 4 fewer tower shots.
Test # 2 - Total survivability time:
I did some more testing to see what this new damage increase meant in terms of the total survivability time of a hero. For this test I would walk Raynor directly into the tower gate. Using the stop watch on my phone I would time from the first tower hit until he died. Pre-patch I recording total survivability times of 7.49, 8.03, and 8.12 seconds. Post-patch the times were 3.42, 3.67, and 3.87 seconds. Giving us a decrease between 3.62 to 4.70 seconds of total survivability time.
Experiencing the new reality
Over the last two days I have taken the new patch for a spin for a few team league and quick match games. Though a small sample size it feels to me that the level of early game aggressiveness has dialed back some. There was a moment where I ran for safety to my towers, being currently on the wrong side of a 3 v 1, and the other team actually backed off. It has been a while since I can remember that happening.
On Blackheart’s Bay, just after the first chests spawned, our team fought off the opponents for top chest. I was Muradin and, supported by Lt.Morales heals, I chased the retreating team aggressively hoping to force them to retreat inside their gate while my team started to do work top and mid. The opponents ran as I wanted but forgetting about the new towers I found myself quickly down to 25% health.The retreating Diablo saw this turned back, got me with his Overpower, and I was history.
Run for your lives or taste my hammer!
Oh &#@ it's patch day!
It's not just increased damage that the structures have going for them post patch. They are also now no longer affected by talents that caused vulnerability. So long Cold Embrace, Northern exposure and Crippling Shot. Our team got to experience this first hand after taking the top shrine on Infernal Shrines. Our comp boasted both Sylvanas and Tyrande pushing forward with a freshly acquired Punisher, as can be seen below, yet we were actually having to expend some effort to knock down the top fort. With 2 to 3 of the opposing heroes down after our team fight this time matters.
Hey Tyrande, what happened to those twirly icons that used to show up above structures when I use my "W"?
Will we see this impact the competitive scene? Will teams choose to take on less aggressive early strategies? Will other teams choose to use this to their advantage? With her ability to stun towers, will Sylvanas rise in popularity? I look forward to watching for myself and finding out at this weekend's Enter The Storm NA 2 Qualifier #4.
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