Heroes: Deep Dive Panel Overview

The BlizzCon Heroes Deep Dive Panel concludes with a glimpse at upcoming content.

The BlizzCon Heroes of the Storm "Deep Dive" panel concluded and we received a glimpse at what the team is currently developing for the game, as well as a first look at some exciting plans for the future.

The first topic of the panel revolved around the hero development process and the approach the team takes in order to bring a hero from their "origin game" into Heroes of the Storm. Holding onto the "fantasy" of the hero (the "role" they play in the world they came from), keeping the look of the hero, and mirroring the core design of the hero are all very important aspects of the development process. The upcoming hero Sylvanas, for example, was always seen as a mysterious "Dark Ranger" type character in the Warcraft universe. When bringing her over to Heroes of the Storm the team wanted to keep that Dark Ranger aesthetic and reflect that in her skills and abilities in game.

In Heroes of the Storm, Sylvanas will be classified as a "Specialist" type hero that focuses on controlling the dark powers to debilitate enemy heroes, minions and even towers, preventing them from firing for a time. She can mind-control enemy units and mercenary groups, summon undead and deal heavy damage when in combat. You can definitely expect her to be an ideal lane bully and a dark commanding presence to be reckoned with–a reflection of her current role in World of Warcraft as the leader of the Forsaken.

The team also talked about the previously revealed Hero, Jaina Proudmoore.

Jaina has always fulfilled the powerful "Mage" archetype, something that had to be kept in Heroes of the Storm. Instead of giving Jaina a pool of fire or arcane abilities, the team focused more on her frost type spells, allowing her to freeze opponents in place and then burst them down with powerful ice magic or her summoned water elemental.

While Jaina is currently classified as an "Assassin" type hero, the team said that the Assassin label is more of a reflection of her ability to deal out heavy burst damage, rather than her being an actual sneaky rogue-type hero. In regards to this however, it was mentioned during the Q&A segment that they would be looking into expanding on the current hero classifications of Fighter, Assassin, Specialist and Support as the game's development progresses.

Next up we have the Hero, Thrall, who was also revealed Friday along with Jaina.

Throughout the Warcraft history, Thrall has taken on many forms and presumed roles. Despite his current traditional Shaman appearance in World of Warcraft, the team wanted to make him more of a front-line, aggressive hero, as he was in Warcraft III. As revealed yesterday, Thrall has abilities such as chain lightning and the ability to dish out devastating melee attacks to his enemies with his Doomhammer. His passive also allows him to do sudden burst damage to his enemies upon reaching five stacks, making him an aggresive fighter in Heroes of the Storm.

The Last hero talked about–or heroes in this case–are the Lost Vikings.

The Lost Vikings are definitely one of the more unique heroes in the game, as all three vikings can be controlled separately or simultaneously if needed. Originally the team came up with this uniquely controlled hero concept when developing Chen's ultimate ability Storm, Earth and Fire. However, because Chen is normally a single entity, the team decided to keep this unique mechanic for the three Vikings that make up the Lost Viking trio.

Each Viking brings a unique blend of speed, defense and strength, and though they are at their strongest while together, splitting them up to help take objectives, soak exp, or assist teammates is another key role they play in Heroes of the Storm. Mastering this shift in gameplay will be the key to mastering them.

On a final note regarding new heroes, we got a sneak peak at a few upcoming Diablo III heroes coming to the game.

The Crusader


The Butcher


King Leoric

Battlegrounds and designing fun objective gameplay mechanics were also a major topic discussed at the panel. The team wants the individual Battlegrounds to burst with as much story and flavor as each of the game's heroes, while also incorporating mechanics that reflect that aesthetic. A good example of this is the newly revealed Battleground, Sky Temple. It emits a strong ancient Egyptian vibe and in response all of the mercenary camps, minions, bosses and structures have been re-imagined to better fit this brand new Heroes of the Storm environment.

The Temple of the Spider Queen is the second new Battleground that was revealed, and is said to be the first full-interior environment coming to the game. The team wanted to go for a greater dungeon-like feel, filled with ancient crypts, horrors and of course–the Spider Queen herself. While not much was shown during the panel regarding this second Battleground, the team wants players to approach each new Battleground almost like a raid. Players should expect mechanics to learn, "adds" to be aware of, and bosses to encounter with each new map released. The team wants to continue improving on these mechanics and incorporate new ideas into future areas, including possible weather effects.

Speaking of new ideas, we also got a sneak peak at the concept of an upcoming Diablo-themed Heaven vs Hell Battleground, filled with all of the aesthetics and animations you'd expect.

As the panel approached its end, the team did take time to address a few final questions. A question on a lot of players' minds had to deal with gold gains and pricing. While nothing specific was stated, the team is definitely looking at making adjustments to the system. As far as different heroes are concerned, more hero types (eg Warlocks, Rogues, etc) will be added to the game including a hinted at Vancleef. Whether that's the Defias mastermind himself, or his arguably more dangerous daughter, is yet to be determined. Last, but definitely not least, the team will continue looking at balancing for Azmodan, for those tired of facing a Torment-level hero in lane.

As always, for more Heroes of the Storm news, information and updates, keep it locked to ZAM and Heroking.


Corey "Cyglaive" Jenkins

Follow Corey on Twitter @Cyglaive


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