During Blizzcon the heroes team not only announced a brand-new hero who is the first hero to come directly from the Nexus, but they also had more about character Role Updates, Boosts changes, Armor changes, and the updates they’ve been working on for both Sylvanas and Stitches. I also had the opportunity to talk to the Lead Hero Designer Matt Villers and Lead Animator Careena Kingdom to get a more in depth look at some of these changes.
One of the first things we talked about was the upcoming Role changes for all heroes. Changes to the names for different types of heroes in game have been coming for awhile because many of the heroes didn’t seem to fit their category very well. For example, the specialist category didn’t make it very clear from the name what specialists were good at and could be confusing for new players. The current plan in to go with six new categories which are much more descriptive: Tank, Bruiser, Healer, Support, Melee Assassins, and Ranged Assassins.
One thing I was curious about was the classification of some of the heroes seemed to still be a little surprising. For example, one acquaintance of mine happens to be a fan of Murky and was surprised to see him listed as a melee assassin. I asked Villers about this and he said there were a few characters which were particularly hard to place, but these classifications aren’t set in stone. They realize there are fans of many different characters out there and they don’t want to change those characters to force them into some arbitrary classification which doesn’t fit how players are using them. We also talked a bit about Tyrande because she was another hero who was difficult to really place in a category. Their approach for her was to boost her healing capability a bit, to make her more viable as a healer, but to also preserve her current playstyle which adds some variety.
There’s also several QoL updates and tweaks to the gameplay planned which should overall go a long way to helping everything feel better. One thing I didn’t hear mentioned at the Heroes Panel while I was there was boosts is not only will they work like stimpacks but they will also stack to 45%. They are also reducing the amount of XP given by Towers and removing XP from Forts and Keeps. To make destroying forts still feel worthwhile they will now spawn catapults every third minion wave. At the same time, they are increasing the XP from Mercenaries and increasing the passive trickle. This is all in an effort help make a match where one team gets out a huge XP advantage early on less likely and enable the opportunities for a comeback.
Of course, the big excitement at Blizzcon was the reveal of Orphea the rebellious daughter of the Raven King. She doesn’t like what he’s been up to in the Nexus and has decided to fight back against him. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready to talk more about her story just yet but there will be a comic coming soon which will give more insight to her as a character. The Heroes team is particularly excited about her because this is the first time, they have been able to design a Hero from the ground up. They’ve been working on her since the past January.
Orphea is classed as a Ranged Assassin who really excels at mid-range. They like to think of her and as deadly ballerina who can lay out the pain and then pirouette away and avoid receiving retribution. Her main method of attack utilizes the demon which lives inside her and gives her a lot of variability in her playstyle. In addition, she also has a self-heal which gives her a good amount of self-sustain. It often seems like heroes start off a bit on the strong side and the team then needs to dial them back a bit and it seems likely this pattern with hold with Orphea.
Overall, the future looks quite bright for Heroes of the Storm and with everything they have planned it looks like the game is only getting better.