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Alexstrasza goes live and Li Li gets an overhaul on Heroes of the Storm PTR

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A new Heroes of the Storm patch that brings World of Warcraft dragon queen Alexstrasza to the fight is now live on the PTR. Alongside the new hero, the update also brings in numerous improvements to AI, a large number of bug fixes, and what appears to be a fairly major overhaul to Li Li. 

Alexstrasza's basic abilities include Gift of Life, which enables her to sacrifice 15 percent of her current health to heal an ally for 150 percent of that amount; Abundance, which will heal nearby allies for 20 percent of their maximum health; and Flame Buffet, a fireball that flambés enemies for 75 damage over 5.5 seconds, or 125 bonus damage if they're already on fire. Her Lifebinder heroic ability chains her life force to an ally, giving the lower of the two a health percentage boost, while Cleansing Flame drops fireballs from the sky that restores 300 health to nearby allies, and does 150 damage to enemies. 

Finally, her Dragonqueen trait enables her to transform into a dragon, granting her 500 extra health, empowered Basic Abilities, a 143 damage Basic Attack, and the ability to heal friendly Heroes in a forward-facing arc for 43 health. The effect lasts for 15 seconds.   

Blizzard didn't say why Li Li is being so dramatically changed, but it likely has to do with her relative lack of utility at top skill levels—this Reddit thread is several months old but nonetheless has some interesting comments on the state of the character. Some of the changes appear to be relatively minor—her Healing Brew cooldown has been increased from three to four seconds, for instance, while its range has been cut from seven to six—but a lot of it is quite major: Jug of 1000 Cups cooldown has been cut from 70 seconds to just 20, multiple talents have been removed or replaced, and a number of powerful new functionalities have been introduced—her Basic Ability cooldowns recharge 50 percent faster when Fast Feet is active, for instance. 

This PTR update will be playable until November 13, the day before the launch of the Dragons of the Nexus event quest, which will serve up new Alexstrasza and Hanzo portraits as rewards. (Hanzo was confirmed at the same time as Alexstrasza as an incoming HotS Hero, but isn't here yet.) Blizzard warned that "elements of this event may be visible on the Public Test Realm, [but] any progress or rewards earned during PTR testing will not transfer to the live version of the game when this patch is officially released next week."   

The full Heroes of the Storm PTR patch notes are up at battle.net.

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.