Introducing Experience Globes, the first seasonal Nexus Anomaly
Senior game designer Alex Neyman’s excitement about Experience Globes is obvious in the way he moves his hands. First they’re in the air, outlining shapes as he speaks; then they’re karate-chopping the table to emphasize a point. He’s talking about the massive armies of minions that often materialize in late-game Heroes of the Storm, and how Experience Globes make vaporizing those stacked-up waves more satisfying than ever.
“It used to be a little bit of a chore,” says Neyman. “But now, you’re like, oh! Honestly, psychologically, it feels so good to see all those minions die and all the globes go—”
(He makes a sound effect along the lines of “shwoop shwoop shwoop,” and mimes picking up Experience Globes with his fingers.)
Nine months ago, the Heroes of the Storm development team began experimenting with ways to make gathering experience more intuitive and fun. That exploration culminated in Experience Globes, the first in a series of seasonal gameplay updates called Nexus Anomalies. Experience Globes work similarly to the Regeneration Globes already found in-game: Instead of automatically granting experience, defeated minions will now leave behind globes that you can collect—with a generous pickup radius—to contribute to your team’s collective total.
Nexus Anomalies: Major gameplay updates to accompany every Ranked season
Experience Globes are a fundamental change to a core part of the game, and that’s no accident. Big changes like this are exactly what the team hopes to test out with Nexus Anomalies, which are currently planned for release alongside each new Ranked season.
“We’re always trying to improve or enhance the game,” Neyman says. “Nexus Anomalies give us the opportunity to try mechanics that might be a little risky.”
These experimental mechanics will typically only last for the season in which they’re introduced. But if a Nexus Anomaly works really well, and players like it, the team may make it a permanent part of the game. Neyman believes this will probably be the case with Experience Globes, which have felt highly rewarding in testing.
“Experience is really important,” Neyman says, “but its value isn’t always apparent for new or even experienced players.”
Like the rest of the Heroes development team, Neyman’s love for the game is evident when he discusses it. He’s been on the team for six years, since before Heroes of the Storm entered Alpha. He plays constantly, testing internally, but also on the live server. He likes solo queue because building a team out of five strangers, each of whom brings something unique to the table, reminds him of pickup basketball, another of his favorite pastimes.
“When it works—having great teamwork out of nowhere—it’s a really great feeling,” Neyman says.
One of the ways to make that cohesion happen more consistently in Heroes of the Storm is to ensure that players are on the same page about what’s important to win the game.
“We want to make sure that the optimal way to play is also the most fun way to play,” Neyman says.
That’s a driving force behind Experience Globes. Neyman cites internal statistics about split-push or side-lane Heroes tending to have a higher-than-average winrate because their mechanics encourage what he calls “macro gameplay.”
“If one or two players do this on your team, you have a huge advantage, because your team is getting more powerful,” Neyman says. “You’re getting more experience. You’re keeping your lanes pushed.”
It’s not always optimal to prioritize macro gameplay over everything else—it’s important to help your team conquer objectives and prevail in teamfights, for instance—but on average, Heroes players tend to underestimate the value of gathering experience.
That makes Experience Globes a two-for-one opportunity. Not only do they make a core part of the game—gathering experience—more satisfying and visceral; they also help players align on the importance of doing so, leading to better coordination and—hopefully—more games that feel like a good session of pickup basketball.
Another nice effect of Experience Globes is that leveling up finally makes sense from a narrative perspective.
“Why is it that I kill this random soldier and I suddenly get stronger?” Neyman says. “The idea now is that there’s this Nexus energy that you go and pick up, and that makes you more powerful.”
That’s right: by defeating enemy Heroes and clearing minion waves, you’re tapping into the boundless energies that roil and thunder within the Nexus, multidimensional currents that wrest realms in and out of existence like a deranged swarm of cosmic fireflies. As you extract the very life essence from the corpses of your foes, your powers grow, until they become so vast that none can stand against you. . . .
(Shwoop shwoop shwoop.)
Try Experience Globes, Live Now on PTR!
We’re really excited about this new mechanic, and about the Nexus Anomalies to come. Read the full patch notes here, and try out Experience Globes on the PTR today!