The Nexus is Shifting! — Battleground Rotations

The variety of Battlegrounds available in Heroes of the Storm, and their respective objectives, allow different Heroes and team compositions to shine. By presenting players with a range of map mechanics and interesting strategic situations, we create opportunities for exciting teamfights and thrilling come-from-behind victories. We believe the different Battlegrounds make Heroes of the Storm more fun to play and more entertaining to watch.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing, though. And as we’re now in the era of Heroes of the Storm 2.0, we’ve heard some players express concern with feeling overwhelmed by the growing number of Battlegrounds. Asking players to manage 13 unique event timings, strategies to defeat large monsters with varied abilities, or memorizing the optimal path to collect doubloons can feel like quite a lot.

When Heroes first launched, it only had a handful of Battlegrounds. We began to debate the possibility of a rotation in earnest about the time the map pool reached double its original size. Longtime players may have noticed that whenever we’ve introduced a new Battleground, we’ve reduced the size of the map pool to funnel more players into the Nexus’s latest challenge. With the launch of D.Va, we decided it was time to formalize our approach to keeping the game fresh without overloading players by introducing regular Battleground rotations.

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Battleground Rotation Details

Here are the major details for our current approach to the Battleground rotation:

  • Reduce the number of Battlegrounds available in matchmaking game modes from 13 to 9.
    • We agree with community feedback that six Battlegrounds felt like too few, and will be running nine, instead.
  • Create moments in our ranked seasons for the meta to shift due to Battleground rotation.
    • We’re starting with three rotations per season and nine Battlegrounds per rotation.
    • These should be considered living numbers that we are constantly monitoring, and can adjust according to what feels best for the game while still feeling impactful. If we raise the number of maps in the pool, for example, rotations won’t feel meaningful.
  • We’ve updated our multi-tiered map introduction system to help alleviate information overload for newer players.
    • New players will always play their first game on Cursed Hollow.
    • They’ll then move into a sub-pool of Battlegrounds drawn from the current rotation.
    • This sub-pool will open up to all nine Battlegrounds in the current rotation, gradually acclimating newer players to the game’s full range of strategies and experiences.
  • We’ve also heard lots of feedback about the map selection process. We’ve spent time reviewing and have come up with some ways to improve this process moving forward, which should result in a healthy and fun map pool with each rotation.
    • Our first consideration is the reward aspect of the Battleground mechanic and its layout. Examples of this are the Curse or Punisher. We want to offer strong variety here. Layout often ties into the Battleground’s mechanic and helps decide how many lanes it has.
    • Next, we consider the gameplay aspect of the Battleground mechanic. Examples are Tribute collection and killing skeletons. Variety is the key here, just like the reward aspect.
    • Our final consideration is visual. We have lots of beautiful Battlegrounds, and we’d like to have a healthy representation across different themes, so from game to game players shouldn’t see the same tile sets.
  • Lastly, there are improvements we’d like to make to some Battlegrounds, and we can make those improvements while they are out of rotation. The rotation creates a nice moment for us to reintroduce reworked Battlegrounds. You’ll never know where our Battlegrounds will grow.

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Our next Battleground Rotation will kick off with this week's patch, and will include the following:

  • Cursed Hollow
  • Sky Temple
  • Braxis Holdout
  • Hanamura
  • Battlefield of Eternity
  • Warhead Junction
  • Haunted Mines
  • Tomb of the Spider Queen
  • Infernal Shrines

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I want to thank our players for all the feedback we received during the Heroes 2.0 Open Beta, and following the release of Hanamura. We believe our approach to Battleground rotations will result in a better learning experience for newer players while keeping a diverse pool of Battlegrounds for everyone to enjoy. As with everything we do on Heroes, we will continue to learn and improve upon this system. We love the enthusiasm and passion in the Heroes community and with your help, we’ll continue to make Heroes of the Storm the best game we possibly can!

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