Haunted Mines returns to Heroes of the Storm with big changes

One of the most iconic Heroes of the Storm maps is returning to the game with a ton of changes. 

Haunted Mines returns to Blizzard’s MOBA today, and to get you prepared Lead battleground designer John DeShazer went in depth on seven of the biggest changes. You can see his detailed run down on the changes and why the team decided to implement them below. 

More Ways to Head Down to Your Doom!

Doubled the amount of mine entrances. Added an entrance closer to both sides base.

Design Insights:

Our main goal with this change is to help the team who is behind in the experience curve. Players will have an easier time getting in and getting to the skulls, since the enemy team will need to lock down far too many locations. A secondary effect is that this plays up the lower level of the map for more fun jukes/ambushes during non-event times.

New Home for the Boss

Put the boss golem in the center of the mines.

Design Insights:

With the original Haunted Mines, we created two pockets: one where most of the small camps were located, and the one with the big boss golem. However, most losing teams encountered a problem where the winning team cleared the small camps first and then usually ended up taking the boss uncontested. Once we noticed that players usually ended up taking the boss last, we decided we could use him as a tool to separate the other hostile creatures and therefore scatter a large portion of the 70 skulls earned from the small camps around the mines. 

New Strategies for Skull-Gathering

More than one optimal starting location in the mines.

Design Insights:

Having only one optimal starting location can only hurt the team who’s behind, as it either forces them to fight the enemy team or collect skulls from sub-optimal locations. We’ve made several new and equally viable starting locations in the new Haunted Mines.

Not So Fast, Golems!

Reset the distance golems travel between Mine events.

Design Insights:

Putting the golem closer and closer to the enemy Core gave the defending team little room to mount a recovery, so we wanted to offer some travel time to allow both teams an opportunity to damage the golem before it reaches the Core. This will greatly benefit a team who wins the team fight but loses the skull-gathering aspect of the mines event.

Golems Do a Switcheroo

Rotating the golem between lanes per event.

Design Insights:

This is a major change and we didn’t take it lightly. By adding rotating golems, we’ve removed the sense of each side having a “dead lane” in which you only defended. We hated to take out the gameplay flavor this brought, but in the end we knew it was necessary for the health of the Battleground.

Cue Cackling Explosions

Introducing Sapper mercenaries.

Design Insights:

So far, we’ve only put Sapper mercenaries on Towers of Doom. We really like how they’ve been playing on that battleground, and what they bring to the game, so why not add some more gleeful explosions into the mix? We love how vicious they can be, but also how easily counter-able they are by correct enemy responses. This just leveled up the battleground.

New Look into the Mines

Moving the window to the underground mines..

Design Insights:

While this change is relatively subtle; In the old Haunted Mines, we quickly learned players could game the visible window into the mines and avoid being seen by the enemy team. We loved the gameplay elements that the holes brought and wanted to reuse it in a way that players couldn’t avoid. Putting the hole over the boss gives the enemy team insight when you start the boss, so be careful! Also, constantly glancing down the hole while the boss is up could help you avoid a potential ambush.

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