I’ve been excited for the Battlefield of Eternity, the first Diablo III themed map for Heroes of the Storm, ever since Blizzard unveiled concept art for the map at last year’s BlizzCon. Diablo’s Butcher, on the other hand, hasn’t really been on my radar. Despite my newfound love for ARPGs, I just never got into Diablo II back in the day, so the Butcher doesn’t really do a whole lot for me. Well, I should say the Butcher didn’t do a whole lot for me, but more on that shortly.
Blizzard recently deployed the “Eternal Conflict” update for Heroes of the Storm, which adds both the aforementioned hero and map to the game. I’ve spent some time playing the update over the last couple of days, so let’s take a dive in and see how it has panned out so far.
I’m just going to come out and say it: the Butcher is OP. Sorry! Blizzard’s gone on record to say that at higher levels of play, the Butcher’s win rate is much more reasonable, hovering around 50%, but we’re looking at 60-70% winrates if you put any stock into Hotslogs. Basically, it sounds like the character is what’s known as a pub stomper. There are answers for him in more coordinated games, but if you pick Butcher into a random soloqueue game against average (the majority) of players, you’re probably going to have an easier time than you should.
This is all thanks to careful selection of talents to take advantage of the Butcher’s “Fresh Meat” passive. Fresh Meat drops from enemies when they die and picking this meat up will heal your character for 3% of your max health (with the right talent) and also adds your attack damage and (again, with the right talent) later, your attack speed. A healthy stack of Fresh Meat, the aforementioned talents, and the use of Butcher’s “Butcher’s Brand” ability will let you do a crap ton of damage to enemies with your auto attacks while also healing yourself for massive amounts.
This guy’s kit is also extremely sticky. While the Butcher doesn’t have any hard CC, he has a strong 50% slow on a very short cooldown, a talent that boosts his speed when “Butcher’s Brand” is active, and access to the trait “Nexus Blades,” which makes your auto attacks slow enemies when hit. Once the Butcher is on you, it’s very hard to get away, short of using a teleport ability. To make matters worse, one of the Butcher’s ultimate abilities allows him to confine a target to a small area for four seconds.
TL;DR? Let’s tone down this guy’s damage and life steal a bit. He’s a little out of control at the moment. And yes, I realize the Butcher is somewhat easy to kite, despite the aforementioned stickiness, but I still feel he needs a closer look. I’m sure Blizzard’s keeping an eye on him.
Battlefield of Eternity
How nice is it to not have a generic map to play on? This is a Blizzard game, damn it. I love all the characters, but I didn’t know how much I really wanted a map based on one of Blizzard’s many IPs until I finally set foot on the Battlefield of Eternity. The map has an awesome heaven and hell Diablo aesthetic that immediately jumped out at me when I first saw the concept art and the end result actually beat my expectations. The nexus core even explodes into a Diablo-style loot pile at the end of the game. On the audio side, the map features a track reminiscent of what you’d hear in Tristram mixed in with the typical Heroes of the Storm theme. It’s a pretty delightful pairing. Oh, and friggin’ Deckard Cain himself is the map’s announcer.
Thankfully, Battlefield of Eternity is also a blast to play on, most of the time. All of Heroes of the Storm’s maps are objective based, but you really live or die by your teamfight on this one. There’s no avoiding it. This is a two lane map with only four camps (two small, two large) and a massive central location where the objective spawns.
The center area spawns two Immortals (one for each team) that fight one another. These Immortals don’t do a whole lot of damage to each other on their own, so your goal is to crush the opposing team’s Immortal before it takes yours out. The Immortal that survives the objective phase will then join its respective team’s side and push down the more defended enemy lane. Immortals in lane arrive with a shield proportional to the amount of health they had left in the previous fight in addition to their own HP.
It’s a great mechanic, but if the map has one flaw, it’s that it can be very prone to snowballing. A good Immortal push can practically end the game outright. Matches on Battlefield of Eternity are typically even shorter than the game’s already brief average match length. I’ve had more matches end at 10 or 12 minutes on this map than anywhere else. I’m not usually a huge fan of kneejerk early reactions, but perhaps the Immortals could use some tuning to reduce their impact somewhat, even if it’s just in the early game.
I have to say that despite the obvious tuning issues here, Eternal Conflict is shaping up to be an excellent update for Heroes of the Storm. I’m also a really big fan of these themed updates and I hope Blizzard continues down this path going forward. I know King Leoric is waiting in the wings as the next hero to be added, but that will be three Diablo heroes in a row, so hopefully Blizzard’s got plans for a big StarCraft or WarCraft themed push next.
What do you think of the Eternal Conflict patch? Are you a fan of these themed updates? What would you like to see next? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!