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BlizzCon 2015 Battlegrounds Panel Liveblog!

Posted by Michael Bitton on Nov 07, 2015  | Comments

BlizzCon 2015 Battlegrounds Panel Liveblog! -

The Heroes of the Storm team is now on stage at this year's BlizzCon to dive deep on the new Towers of Doom battleground and Arena mode. Join us right now for our liveblog of all the highlights.

Keep an eye on this space for updates throughout the hour long panel!

Core goals of HOTS battlegrounds: clean design, conflicts, finality.

Battleground gameplay focused on completing objectives, getting rewards.

Battleground map layouts are designed to support the map and not focus on general map rules.

Mercenaries are a secondary objective in Battlegrounds. Clean design, push towards objectives, cause conflict.

Towers of Doom

Blizzard wanted to create something different with Towers of Doom. 

Towers of Doom features unique mercenaries, a new boss (Headless Horseman from WoW), and a core that can't be attacked through conventional means. Altars are found throughout neutral territory on the map. The goal of Towers of Doom is territory control. Capture towns, fire weapons at the core, and secure altars for your team.

Senior 3D artist David Harrington takes the stage to talk about the art of Towers of Doom. Towers of Doom has a dark, gothic theme. Bit of Halloween.

Artists use color to set the mood of a map.  Cool tones are used (purples, blues) on the outside of structures, to make it appear cold and damp. Inside structures feature warm tones. Architecture was designed to be menacing and unsettling.

Ancient stones and weathered wood used as texture to make the environment feel old.

Blizzard wanted to make Towers of Doom dark, but not depressing.  The team added a bit of charm and whimsical style to make the map a bit more fun. Trees have stylized shapes, whimsical structures, buildings are tapered, and the colors pop.


Lead battleground designer Meng Song is on stage to discuss Arena mode. Blizzard has ideas for maps that don't fit into the typical batleground structure, so it created Arena to be a home for those ideas.

Arena focuses on random hero selection and focuses on fast paced action around a single objective.  Goals include more action, shorter match times, and to challenge players to come up with creative strategies.

Blizzard originally tried the familiar all random, but discovered that players need at least some control in order to make meaningful choices.

Arena selects archetypes (warrior, assassin, support, and specialist) and players can then select from three different heroes in that archetype to play.

The system will pick a random team composition team consisting of combinations of existing archetypes that don't necessarily fit the meta, though both teams will feature mirrored compositions of roles. There is also a small chance that everyone will be assigned the same hero (e.g. 10 Sonyas).

There are no levels or talents in Arena mode. Players start at level 10 and don't level up. The only thing players select is their heroic ability. This also helps lower the learning curve for players to learn new heroes. Not needing to pick talents (especially in combat) allowing players to focus on the moment to moment action. Smaller map sizes also encourage frequent team fighting. Respawn times also make dying fairly inconsequential. Almost like playing a first person shooter.

There are currently two Arena battlegrounds types, but Blizzard is working on more, including maps with new mechanics such as capture the flag or payload. Blizzard isn't afraid to break MOBA genre rules.

Q&A Begins:

WoW PvP map as a battleground?


Lost Vikings, Abathur, Cho'gall in Arena?

Lost Vikings allowed. Cho'gall is currently disabled.

Latin American theme for Arena?

Team loves the suggestion. Will discuss it.

Destructible maps?

Love the idea.

More supports?

Will discuss with hero designers.

And that's it!

Michael Bitton / Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB
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