Deathwing is coming to Heroes of the Storm, this is not a drill
After a tumultuous year that’s seen Heroes of the Storm lose its official support as an esport, key personnel departures, and a noticeable slowdown in hero additions, the Heroes team has apparently decided to break the glass that says “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, UNLEASH HELL.”
Deathwing has long been requested — if not outright predicted — as a hero to add to the game, as he is one of World of Warcraft‘s key franchise villains. This was only heightened by the teaser campaign before the cinematic that revealed D.Va’s addition to Heroes, and was frustrated further when Alexstrasza, Deathwing’s in-game opposition, was revealed later. Blizzard clearly didn’t have an issue with dragons walking around as heroes in the game — aside from Alexstrasza, there’s also Chromie, technically Brightwing, Arthas calling in a frost wyrm, the whole Dragon Shire map mechanic — so many voices in the community felt like Deathwing wasn’t a matter of if, but when.
As an aside, nothing crystallizes the community’s hunger for this better than this machinima, which takes the sound of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War trailer and matches it to a hypothetical event where Deathwing arrives to wreck the Nexus and all the heroes in it.
Here are Deathwing’s abilities, as revealed during a panel held on Twitch a bit later.
- Passive Trait: Aspect of Death — Deathwing is a dragon all the time, on par with Alexstrasza’s dragon form, only a bit bigger. 100% bonus damage to heroes and he is PERMANENTLY UNSTOPPABLE. He will waddle where he wants to waddle. He is also completely unaffected by allied abilities: you can’t heal him, Abathur can’t hat him, nothing. He also starts with 40 Armor, and loses 10 armor per 25% health lost.
- Role: Bruiser/Mage Flex
- Custom Mount: Dragon Flight (45s CD) — Deathwing lifts off and can land everywhere he has vision. While in flight, he regains health (2% per second) and his Armor plates. Healing from Health Globes doesn’t restore his Armor plates. And when he lands, he can pick between two forms: Worldbreaker (ranged) and Destroyer (melee). He can also channel briefly on the ground to swap between forms as well. Landing starts a 3s cooldown on when he can start using abilities, but this is something that can be altered via talents.
- Q (Destroyer/Worldbreaker): Flamebreath — Big frontal breath attack. Talents can add survivability or sustain.
- W (Destroyer): Incinerate — Pulse of flame that does AoE damage to nearby enemies.
- E (Destroyer): Onslaught — Lunge forward and slow enemies. Does a bite at the end of the charge that deals additional damage.
- W (Worldbreaker) Lava Pool — Drop a lava pool so your enemies have to remember not to stand in the fire.
- E (Worldbreaker) Earthshatter — Stun enemies in a frontal cone.
- Heroic: Cataclysm — (Available at level 1) Deathwing flies into the sky, then scorches an area in front of him, like flying Ragnaros Lave Wave.
- At level 10, one option is to increase the damage, and when a Tower or Keep is destroyed, the cooldown is reset.
- At level 10, Bellowing Roar is a bonus ability that casts an AoE Fear on nearby enemies.
- At level 20, reduce the CD further — which is great when there are no more Towers/Keeps to destroy.
- At level 20, Arrival of a God is an option that causes him to stun nearby enemies and trigger his Level 7 talent options for Dragon Flight, which spawns various damage effects when he lands, like meteors.
More details about his talents were revealed with some gameplay. They also as demonstrated his ability to control spaces, ignore terrain that would slow him down, and really just control the attention of the enemy team because of his size. While it wasn’t as evident during the stream, the animations and sound effects for Deathwing got a lot of praise from the casters. There’s also a note about using his Unstoppable status against him: Falstad can use Hinterland Blast to knock the rest of Deathwing’s team away, allowing Falstad’s team to focus Deathwing down.
To the matter at hand, though, what’s remarkable about this reveal is it showing up 10 days before BlizzCon 2019. This would normally be something you’d see during the opening ceremonies, and yet we’re seeing it now. This only heightens anticipation for what’s certain to be a landmark moment for Blizzard, since they’ve had a pretty rough year overall.
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