BlizzCon 2015: Heroes of the Storm Live Blog
- 5:15 p.m. EST
- 4:15 p.m. CST
- 3:15 p.m. MST
- 2:15 p.m. PST
- 10:15 p.m. London
- 11:15 p.m. Paris
- 9:15 a.m. Sydney
The live blog begins after the break!
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4:17 p.m. The panel is getting started a few minutes late, but the developers have just taken the stage. As with most BlizzCon panels, they’re starting with a retrospective, looking back at heroes added this year before getting into the new stuff.
4:19 p.m. They’re talking hero design in broad strokes. How do they decide what new heroes to add? They look at role variety, silhouette — there are over 200 characters on the list of heroes they want to add to the game. After they choose which hero they want to do next, they enter a “paper design” phase that lasts roughly two weeks. They lay out their concepts for what they want — what their abilities are, what the ideals of the hero are, etc.
4:21 p.m. After the paper design, they spend 2 weeks in tech design creating a playable character. Afterwards, a week is spent playing vs. AI to find bugs. Then, there are 8 weeks in real playtests, followed by a 4 week period of dev playtests. 17 weeks go into designing each hero.
4:23 p.m. Time to talk Lunara, the new dryad hero. Her silhouette had to be taken into consideration for gameplay design. She needs to move in a certain way. She has a fragile appearance. Natural elements (foliage etc) are part of the dryad/night elf aesthetic. A piece of concept art calls her “First Daughter of Cenarius.”
4:26 p.m. Lunara is hearkening back to the Warcraft 3 iteration of dryads — pulling more from how they played in the RTS vs. how we see them in World of Warcraft. Lunara doesn’t use mounts, because she’s a deer, obviously. Her Z gives her a speed boost. She’ll be slower than mounts over long distances, but better off for dodging skillshots.
4:27 p.m. Her trait applies a poison. Her Q is a ground target AOE that both deals damage and applies her trait. Her W is Crippling Spores — Crippling Spores can only be used when her trait is on enemies. It deals damage and slows them.
4:28 p.m. Her first ultimate is Thornwood Vine. It has a short cooldown with charges, deals moderate damage. Her other option is Leaping Strike. “Leaps over her opponent, winks at the camera, and throws her spear at them.” Since a ranged assassin doesn’t typically want to do that sort of thing, Leaping Strike has two charges. You can leap over and leap back, or leap over two opponents to go even farther. Very high mobility ultimate. Can use merc camps to leap over barriers for escapes.
4:30 p.m. Lunara’s E ability controls a wisp. It’s a pure utility power. Using E relocates the wisp and it provides vision around its location. Lunara will always have a vision advantage. The Warcraft 3 dryad’s anti-magic abilities are integrated into Lunara via certain talents. Greymane up next!
4:32 p.m. Genn Greymane’s design challenge was shapeshifting; he needs two distinct forms with visual elements that make it clear it’s the same person. While Druids of the Claw and other druids incorporate animal bits into their humanoid forms, Genn Greymane is the other way around. His noble clothing appears on his worgen form. They pulled aesthetic inspiration from the Warcraft comics and Genn’s new character model in Legion.
4:35 p.m. Lunara and Greymane are both part of an effort to introduce more ranged attackers to Heroes. Genn Greymane began as a concept for a character who started combat by poking at you from afar, then closes to melee range to finish you off. After having that thought, they thought shapeshifter. Shapeshifter went worgen, worgen went Greymane.
4:39 p.m. Greymane’s E is Darkflight while in human form, Disengage while in worgen form. Darkflight leaps forward into worgen form. Disengage leaps backwards into human form. They’re showing gameplay footage, it looks quite smooth. Worgen has stronger basic attacks than human form.
4:40 p.m. Greymane’s Q is Gilnean Cocktail. It’s a thrown projectile. The initial target hit by the cocktail takes a small amount of damage. The targets behind that one take 3x damage. In worgen form, Cocktail is replaced with Razor Swipes. It’s a short range dash forward followed by cleaving basic attacks.
4:43 p.m. Greymane’s first ultimate option is Marked for the Kill. He fires a silver bullet and whoever gets hit by it take 25% increased damage from all sources. In worgen form, the ultimate is Go for the Throat. Greymane leaps forward, does three powerful melee strikes, and if it kills Greymane’s target, he gets to use Go For the Throat again for free. If Greymane comes upon a group of low health enemies, he can chain Go for the Throat until they’re all dead.
4:44 p.m. Cho’gall now. Cho’gall was first being developed for Heroes of the Storm in late 2012. He got shelved when the game saw significant development changes. He’s only now making a comeback. “Cho” fancies himself a bruiser while “Gall” is a spellcaster.
4:46 p.m. All artwork of Cho’gall, from the early Warcraft RTS games to the comics to World of Warcraft were taken into consideration. Which design do they use? The simple two-headed ogre, or the more recent mutant ogre that’s been slurping up old god juice and growing new eyeballs?
4:48 p.m. The Cho’gall master skin integrates the dual-personalities of Cho and Gall. He’s wearing two sets of armor at the same time. Also, a nipple spike. What?
4:50 p.m. Cho’gall is partially the result of specifically looking for more characters who can “break the rules” in the vein of The Lost Vikings. They haven’t forgotten playable ogres was a World of Warcraft April Fools joke.
4:51 p.m. Development about Cho’gall was uncertain. What would it be like to ride shotgun? One team has only 4 Heroes. How do you pick him to begin with? They decided all of these problems can be solved.
4:52 p.m. The Cho player controls movement. He controls the basic attack, has a windup punch, and an AOE fire attack. Gall is stuck going where Cho takes him. Gall’s gameplay is a ranged assassin. Gall has Shadowflame and Dread orb, abilities on short cooldown. Their E abilities are Rune Bomb and Runic Blast. Cho rolls a Rune Bomb, which deals minimal damage. However, if Gall activates Runic Blast, the bomb detonates and deals significantly more damage. The two heads have to work together.
4:55 p.m. Gameplay shootage shown of Cho’gall. Cho’gall going toe to toe with both Muradin and Falstad. Cho is fighting Muradin, Gall is fighting Falstad, and Cho’gall is tuned high enough to pull it off. He takes them both out. By the way, killing Cho’gall is always considered a double kill.
5:00 p.m. They just showed Cho’gall mounted up. He’s running at mount speed, carrying a horse. That’s definitely how that works.
5:01 p.m. Tracer is being added to Heroes of the Storm, but she’s very early in development. Unfortunately, they don’t have much more to say about her today. Time for some Q&A.
Q: Death animations. Some of the characters don’t die like they would in their own games. The protoss erupt in blue fire in StarCraft, not ragdoll.
A: Their technical artist recently got smashed with a log (???) but they’ll investigate doing this.
Q: Next legendary skin?
A: “I wish we could say. I don’t think we can.” Changed their mind. “Arthas turns into a bat.” Okay.
Q: Blackthorne for Heroes of the Storm?
A: He’s on their radar. He’s a maybe!
Q: Any chance for Justice League skins for Heroes? Blizz co-created a Justice League game.
A: Will look into it. (I take this as no.)
Q: How do bans/picks work for Cho’gall? What happens if Cho is banned but not Gall?
A: They work together. If Cho is banned, Gall is banned. You can’t pick Cho last when there’s no room for Gall.
Q: In Carbot’s animations, Raynor rides a pony on a stick. Can we get that?
A: “I’ll put the task in Monday.”
Q: Where is the line drawn in roles? How do you decide this guy is a warrior, this guy is a specialist, etc. What determines that?
A: The roles are pretty broad. Sometimes characters like Rexxar straddle the line. How you play them is up to you. The roles are suggestions and help with things like daily quests.
Q: New arena mode. Is it possible to get 5 Abathurs vs 5 Abathurs? 5 Lost Vikings vs. 5 Lost Vikings?
A: They’ve playtested this. There’s a list of heroes where that works, and some where it doesn’t. Even 5 Warriors vs 5 Warriors can make for a long, slow game, and the game mode will try to avoid those bad ones.
Q: Who picks the talents and heroics for Cho’gall?
A: Cho and Gall each have their own talents and their own heroics.
Q: Why no new specialists since Sylvanas?
A: “Good question.” There will be more.
Q: “Genderbender” skins? Male Jaina, etc?
A: Something they’ve wanted to do and still want to make it happen. Could still happen.
Q: Gnomes. Any plans to introduce gnome heroes?
A: “We all like gnomes. Who here wants gnomes?” People erupt.
Q: “Where da trolls at?”
A: There’s a couple at the top of their list.
Q: When you choose Cho and Gall, who chooses their skin?
A: Both Cho and Gall select which skin or mount they want. The game will randomly choose which head wins the skin argument. Whoever loses the skin argument, their mount is used.
Q: Any way to queue as a leader?
A: They really want to implement a “shot caller” role to act as a raid leader. Looking for feedback.
Q: Why do some abilities got Unstoppable and some don’t? Why were some removed?
A: Sometimes Unstoppable gets used for technical reasons instead of gameplay. If the technical problem gets fixed, Unstoppable isn’t needed anymore. It only stays when it’s desired as a gameplay element.
Q: If you’re playing Gall and Cho disconnects, what happens?
A: The AI takes over. They’ve tried hard to make sure Cho will always follow Gall’s map pings. If Gall disconnects, it isn’t as big of a deal, the AI is good at aiming skillshots.
A: Metzen was talking about warlocks earlier. The Heroes devs are working on “him” right now. Gul’dan?
And that’s it!
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