BlizzCon 2015: Playing Cho’Gall with Heroes devs
When I walked in to my BlizzCon interview with two Heroes of the Storm designers on Saturday afternoon I was quite frankly terrified. The Heroes team had thoroughly explained the reasons behind the new map, the new Arena mode and the three new heroes, Cho’Gall, Lunara and Greymane, at the earlier panels. I had no questions left to ask them. What was I to do?
But it turned out to be the most fun dev interviews I ever had as I got to spend my 30 minutes teaming up first with Lead Hero Designer Hugh Shelton and then with Lead Character Artist Phillip Gonzales on Cho’Gall on the new Towers of Doom map. And, lo and behold, the questions and answers came fast and furious between team fights, map objectives and qq’ing over clueless teammates.
A brief overview of Cho’Gall. He is a two-headed ogre played by two players. One controls Cho who is a Warrior and has a complete set of abilities and talents and the other player controls Gall, the head that is a ranged Assassin with a separate set of abilities and talents. They also both have two distinct Heroic Abilities each to choose from at level 10. The player who chooses Cho controls the movement of the hero. Gall is along for the ride, but can use his Z key to give them a short run speed boost. Gall has no mana pool and his abilities are on cooldown.
First I played Gall while Hugh drove on Cho. You may think this would be frustrating for the Gall player, but I found it liberating. Not having to worry about movement allowed me to focus on killing, disrupting and generally being a terror. Gall’s Q is a skill shot called Shadowflame that hit everything in its path. With no mana pool and a quick cool down, Q is very spammable which is good as Gall has no autoattack. His W is a bomb called Dread Orb that bounces three times. It’s slow with big pauses between the bounces giving your opponents time to get out of its path. I found it useful as a zoning tool to make my opponents scatter.
Gall’s E is tied to Cho’s E. Cho uses his E to throw out a rolling bomb and only Gall can detonate it. This is one thing that requires the most coordination between the two players. If you are not on voice with your Cho player, you can at least rely on an in-game sound that tells you he threw out the bomb. Sitting next to a dev, I still missed it half the time as I was focusing on something else when he suddenly told me a bomb was in play. Out of Gall’s two Heroic Abilities I went with Twisting Nether which creates a field around him he can channel for 6 seconds slowing enemies by 40%. He can detonate the field at any time for big damage. His other R channels massive missile damage in the direction of your mouse.
The possibilities with the hero are staggering. For example, while Cho was clicking on a map objective that required him to channel it for 10 seconds, I held off the enemy with my Q and W long enough for him to complete the channel. Also, as shown in the demo video when the hero was announced, Cho can attack one hero while I attack another, wearing them both down even if they are coming at us from different angles. Or when fleeing I can fire behind us to keep the pursuing enemy at bay.
When we switched toons and I drove Cho, we continued the game we were playing so I didn’t quite get the same experience playing the Warrior side. His Q is a charge with a short wind up giving Gall warning to avoid a skill shot. It also knock enemies aside so it’s good for disrupting the enemy composition. His W puts a fire damage over time effect on nearby enemies and returns the damage as twice the health to Cho’Gall. Hie E throws out a bomb that does damage to everything in its path and requires Gall to detonate it for bigger AE damage.
One of his Rs increases his basic attack damage and can be activated for a stun and push back attack. His other R option pulls enemies towards him and slows their run speed. This could be deadly with Gall’s Heroic Ability that can detonate for AE damage.
A well coordinated pair can be an absolute terror with this hero, but Cho’Gall isn’t indestructible. He can be focused down like any other hero though you have a much bigger health pool to eat through. Zagara’s Maw or Zeratul’s Void Prison can lock him down taking two players out of the fight simultaneously.
Things I learned while playing
- Cho’Gall has about 50% more health than any other hero currently in the game
- Cho’Gall carrying his mount instead of the other way around started as a joke that became a reality. Also, he can carry different mounts, not just the default brown horse.
- Cho’Gall can also ride mounts normally.
- Gall can use his abilities while mounted and it won’t dismount him.
- Abathur can clone Cho’Gall but will only get access to Cho’s abilities and he won’t be able to detonate the E bomb as that is a Gall ability.
- If Cho is stunned, Gall is not and continue to cast.
- If one of the players playing Cho’Gall is disconnected the AI will take over that head. This happened to me during our play session while I was driving Cho. The AI, it turns out, is much better at its skill shot with Gall than I am…
Other new heroes:
- Lunara is considered a high skill hero, meaning she’s not for beginners. She’s fragile, but very mobile. She fulfills the role of a pokey assassin.
- Greymane is considered a ranged Assassin but is also a melee Assassin and both roles need to be played to get the most out of him.
Arena mode play:
- When you play Arena games, both sides will have the same roles to choose from, but not necessarily the same heroes.
- Also with Arena, not every team composition will be one Warrior, one Support and three Assassins/Specialists. The devs came up with a number of compositions they think will work well.
- When you get an Arena game where everyone is playing the same hero, not all heroes are fun/useful and will not be included. Warriors and Supports make for long, drawn-out boring games and for technical reasons, heroes like Abathur and The Lost Vikings aren’t allowed.
Cho’Gall is going live on Tuesday, November 17th. From then to January 1 if you play Cho’Gall with another player who owns him and you win 2 games, he will unlock for you. After the event ends, he can be bought from the in-game store.
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