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Hello again! After each balance patch, I've taken it upon myself to track how the balance changes have affected the Nexus. It's become something of a habit for me, and I thought it might be fun to share my data with the community.
In case you've forgotten what changed in the last patch, here's a link.
Disclaimer (please read!):
All data provided in this post was collected from Hotslogs, which is a database of player-submitted games. Data was collected between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM EST each day, using the special filter "Last 7 Days (Current Build)". As usual, keep in mind that my numbers may differ slightly from Hotslogs's "official" figures as the site regularly updates older information as more games are added. Therefore, our data may not match up perfectly, but it should give a generally accurate view of how the week progressed.
Here is a link to the spreadsheet with the data I've collected. The spreadsheet contains all of my original data, split into two categories: "Composite" (which represents all data across the entire week) and "Daily" (which represents data from each individual day). If you'd prefer a summarized report, read on!
Here is a table showing the win rates, pick rates, ban rates, and overall popularity of each hero in Ranked and Unranked play:
Remember, only the heroes whose win rates are highlighted blue/orange with white text have exceeded their margin of error. Heroes which do not exceed the margin of error are considered to have too little data to confirm that they have changed in any significant way. Note that the error column assumes a 95% confidence interval. To put it simply, a 95% confidence interval is a numerical way to measure whether the win rate has changed in any significant way. If the change to a win rate exceeds the error, then we can assume that there is approximately a 95% chance that repeated tests would confirm the true value lies within the bounds of the confidence interval.
The seven-day analysis is below. Please note that while I try to cover all heroes, not all heroes are in need of in-depth analysis of their changes, so some heroes may have short summaries or may even be omitted entirely. Also, be aware that the contents of this section are primarily my own opinion of the changes, albeit backed with data. If you disagree, feel free to explain why in the comments below.
1) The movement speed change actually leaves relatively few ripples in the overall hero pool. This is to be expected, of course, as not everybody is going to see massive win rate shifts even when a change is applied to every single character. However, almost all of the heroes who have seen changes in their win rates owe it to other changes in their kits, and not so much the movement speed changes themselves. For example, Ana's win rate has dipped, but this is likely more due to the significant change to Anti-Healer, a talent that had nearly a 90% pick rate before this point. Another example is Valeera, who might've had a good case for arguing that her increase in win rate is because of the increased movement speed allowing her to engage more easily. However, basically every change she received was a buff (and some were quite significant) so it's hard to say how much of this is truly due to the changes to movement. In addition, while hunting through the list of heroes who didn't get directly changed (but also are more dependent on skillshots), I couldn't find very many statistically significant changes. Heroes like Li-Ming and Chromie, who rely heavily on skillshots and AoE, saw statistically insignificant changes.
That said, however, there were still a few standouts. Genji saw a statistically significant decrease in win rate despite no real changes, as did Sgt Hammer. These are units that could have been affected by the movement speed increase, as Genji relies pretty heavily on landing good Swift Strikes to maintain high damage and mana, and Hammer's siege mode likely can't keep up with other heroes quite as well any more with the higher base movement speed. There's also Illidan, who got multiple talent buffs and yet slid down in win rate, and it's very possible that the movement speed increase is making it a tiny bit harder for him to stick onto targets.
2) Anub'arak's win rate takes a dive from having less armor uptime. While seeming to be a fairly small change, the cooldown increase on Anub'arak's Carapace makes it a bit harder for Anub'arak to deal with sustained spell damage. When combined with the movement speed increase (which makes his skillshots harder to land), poor Anub didn't have much of a chance in this patch.
3) Greymane creeps back up (and possibly back into the meta). He received a 5.7% increase in base attack damage from this patch, as well as modest increases on Incendiary Elixir and Cursed Bullet. These changes may help push him back into prominence as a top damage/carry unit, a role which he previously dominated for a very long time. I'm not certain this was a terribly necessary move, but it is very likely to do what it sets out to do.
4) Sonya and Valla benefit greatly from base health increases. Valla's health has always been one of her greatest overall weaknesses as a ranged damage dealer, so a 5.2% increase to her base health is certain to be a powerful improvement. Sonya also gains about 4.6% more base health from this patch, allowing her to be more aggressive in general and likely giving her a better chance at returning to meta play.
5) Valeera receives some minor talent buffs, and it seems like that's all she's ever going to get. There's been pressure from a number of folks in the past (myself included) to at least tweak her talent design to encourage more variety in her openers, but those have largely gone unheeded for some time. With the newest batch of tweaks, her win rate has increased, but her core "issue" of having very little reason to mix up your opener usage remains unaddressed. Given the new "cadence" and the reduced attention on Valeera changes in general, I'm not certain this will ever change.
6) Imperius receives several significant changes, leading to an overall decrease in this week's win rate. However, I would argue this is likely an improvement overall. Tying healing into his trait with the consumption of a mark is a good move as I often found that talent to be pretty hard to pass up in general, given how much harder he can pressure opponents with that extra healing. Blaze of Glory benefiting from this baseline trait is also a great change overall. While the overall strength of Imperius may have dropped, I think many of these smaller synergy changes are good ones that may lead to a better hero overall. Remember, numbers can always be tweaked.
Looking for more of my work? View all of my previous blog posts here. Feel free to let me know your thoughts to this article in the comments section below, or on Twitter at my handle @CriticKitten. I look forward to your replies!
Hope to see you again next time!