BlizzCon 2015 has been good to Heroes Of The Storm [official site], it seems. Not only will it soon receive three brand new characters, an Arena mode and a new battleground, the Heroes Of The Storm Global Championship Circuit will run in 2016 playing host to three competitive events throughout the year. Oh, and Blizzard are also working to replace the game's matchmaking system in response to recent player criticism. Trailers and deets after the drop.
Let's start with the new heroes of Heroes: Lunara the "first daughter of Cenarius" is a ranged assassin and a dab hand with a spear; Grey Mane "Lord of the Worgen" is a shape-shifter who also prefers to pick off foes from afar; and Cho'Gall "Twilight's hammer chieftan" is a two-headed brute who's controlled by two players at once (one controls movement and basic attacks, the other more refined and more powerful hits) and commands brawn and brains in equal measure, apparently. The trio will be let loose in the new Towers of Doom battleground which sees a Lucky Number Slevin-type standoff between the Raven Lord and the Grave Keeper who're each vying for support. Arena mode will also see 5v5 bouts in best-of-three competitions which to me sound far less interesting, but you can check out the trailer below and decide for yourself. Double-whammy incoming:
As there's less to go on in the latter, here's the Towers of Doom blurb from the game's website:
This Battleground, however, is unlike any that denizens of the Nexus have experienced before. Each Core is protected by a barrier that cannot be destroyed by Heroes. Instead, teams must clash to activate the Altars that rise within the town. Once an Altar is claimed, each of the capturing team’s Bell Towers will fire on the opposing Core. Six Bell Towers in total guard this Battleground—but their allegiance is fickle. Upon destruction, a Bell Tower will turn against its former allies, each adding one more payload to the explosive volley that will fire when an Altar is captured.
Also announced at BlizzCon was The Global Championship Circuit which will run three events in spring, summer, and autumn next year. Just 12 teams will make up the finals stage of the tournament, thus you'll need to battle it out at regional level first to prove your worth. Qualifiers open in January and if you think you've a chance of netting the $500,000 prize pot then Blizzard suggest you follow updates in the coming weeks on the HotS website.
Last but not least, game director Dustin Browder addressed the failings of Heroes Of The Storm's current matchmaking system during a developers panel. Whereas the current system is similar to StarCraft, and appears to work well there, he admitted it becomes "too stressful" when applied to HotS. Currently, the game builds matches from a set group before trying to match good games within said set. The new system, however, will instead form a queue. What this means is that if the proposed match isn't perfect, players can be placed on hold until Blizzard starts the match. In theory, this should pair players with more suitable companions. Browder says this fix will be put in place before the end of the year, thus I guess we'll see if this works out as planned in practice.