Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.
Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.
I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)
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Purchasing a new Hero is a big deal. You earn gold when you level up, and when you complete certain daily quests which reward gold in addition to XP (experience).
The shop allows you to purchase new heroes with this gold, or you also have the option to buy with real money. Whenever you buy a new Hero, that hero plays a short animation celebrating that you have unlocked him/her.
Below is a short video showing Brightwing, Li Li Stormstout, Naziba the Witch Doctor, Malfurion Stormrage and Muradin Bronzebeard.
The latest patch has introduced a different UI experience simplifying how players access features.
Previously, you could check out daily quests by clicking the yellow exclamation mark at the top-right when in the main lobby. Now these can be found by clicking your level icon located at that same spot. Clicking your level opens up your profile hub.
In this new Profile Hub you can now see four tabs: Profile Summary, Hero Quests, Daily Quests and Match History.
Profile Summary and Match History are not currently available in the Technical Alpha. The Match History sounds interesting. Makes you wonder what Blizzard is planning to do with that type of data.
Play Lobby: Heroes Menu Overhaul
The Heroes menu which allowed you to pick which hero to play as, used to be a horizontal row of tall Hero portraits. You used left or right arrows to browse through available heroes not displayed in the front. Only 17 Heroes fit onscreen.
After the patch, the hero selection UI has been simplified showing only the face of the Hero inside an hexagonal shape. Now 28 Heroes fit onscreen without having to scroll left or right.
Battlegrounds: Custom Games
Before the new patch, players would go to the Play-> Standard tab – where they could pick one of three gameplay modes: Practice, Coop, and Versus. In this new patch, Blizzard opened up the second tab: Custom Games.
Essentially, Custom Games allows a player to choose which Battleground in specific they wish to play in.
You can invite friends as allies still, but the curious thing about this new feature is that you can also choose who the enemy players can be. You can either invite friends to play as enemies, or you can fill all slots with enemy AI. Note: The 5 Enemy Slots (with the “+” sign) can be seen on the right-side of the screen by the edge.
If you choose to fill all enemy slots with AI, then you can hover over the enemy slots and right click to open a sub-menu which allows you to choose difficulty: Beginner, Recruit, Adept, Veteran, Elite. You can also kick an enemy from that slot within that submenu. You also have the option to choose the difficulty for each individual enemy slot and combine. For example:
Alternatively, after you fill all 5 enemy slots with AI, you can kick one or more AI to invite friends in the enemy slots. That means you could play against 2 enemy players and 3 enemy AI if you wished to.
Skins, Mounts, Abilities UI
Before the patch, to change your skin, and mounts didn’t look so user-friendly. You had to click a right or left arrow to navigate your options.
After the patch, now you get a visual representation of the choices available to change your skin and mount before you queue to a game.
Skins UI Change
There was a slight change in the Skins UI. Before the patch, the Skin navigation UI only showed the face area. Now you see the model from head to hip to visualize better your options. That comes handy when Blizzard keeps adding more skins.
One of the most welcomed changes to the Shop is the Talents page. Before the patch, the player had all the talents displayed as icons. You had to hover your mouse over each individual icon to read a pop up tooltip. After the patch, you have to click the level 1, level 4, level 7 icons to see all the talents available for that specific level. All talents are displayed without the need to hover. It is really appreciated to be able to read all the talents per level in one go in order to compare and choose.
I will post about the Shop Bundles in another article found here, which allows you to buy Heroes with real money by Franchise (Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft). One can save with these bundles which include skin variations and mounts.
Blizzard Entertainment deployed a new patch today which wiped all characters and any progress to start testing from scratch. Two new Heroes have been added: Brightwing and Lili Stormstout can be played now by Technical Alpha testers.
The Blizzplanet staff has been granted access, and hopefully more videos will be appearing on the front page by Ian Bates (@TheRedShirtGuy), Naka (dperschonok), Benjamin (@Lugia_Blizz) and other staff members.
This week’s invitations haven’t gone out yet. Blizzard will send a wave of invites for this week soon. I’ll update once it’s officially announced. Blizzard plans to send invites in a week to week basis.
Real-money purchases made prior to today’s account wipe have not been reset or refunded. However, please keep in mind that real-money purchases are still planned to be reset and refunded to your Battle.net balance in future scheduled account wipes.
All accounts will restart from Level 1, and all experience points, as well as leveling system and Quest progress have been reset.
All in-game Gold earned, as well as purchases made using Gold, have been wiped clean.
Several rewards will be given to players once today’s maintenance concludes:
All 25 heroes have been made free-to-play for all players until Thursday, April 17 at 3:00 p.m. PDT.
Based on leveling system progress prior to the wipe, players will also receive in-game Gold in order to try out a few new heroes!
Levels 1 – 19: 10,000 Gold
Levels 20 – 39: 30,000 Gold
Level 40: 30,000 Gold and an exclusive Heroes of the Storm lanyard.
More details on today’s Account Wipe can be found here.
Custom Games have been added to Heroes of the Storm!
Custom Games can be accessed from the Play Screen.
Up to 10 Custom Game Lobby slots can be filled by human or A.I. players.
As the Lobby Host, click the wrench icon below an allied player’s hero model, or right click an enemy player’s portrait on the right, to access various options for that player such as Swap Team, Kick from Lobby, Set A.I. difficulty, and Promote to Host.
Please note that Observers have been disabled during this portion of the Tech Alpha.
The vast majority of Daily and Hero Quest requirements have been reworked.
Several general performance improvements have been implemented.
Experience gains are now capped at 1.6 million combined XP per day for the Custom Games, Practice, and Coop game modes.
There is no daily XP cap for Versus mode.
Additionally, Quests can now only be completed in Versus mode.
The Quest Log button has been removed from the Home screen.
Daily and Hero Quests have been moved to the Profile Screen, which can be accessed by clicking the Profile button (next to the Menu button) in the top right corner of the Home screen.
The Hero Quest Log has been reworked to better display available Quests and rewards.
The Hero Select screen has received several UI updates.
The Profile button is now accessible in the top right corner of the Hero Select screen.
Buttons have been added to the lower left portion of the Hero Select screen which allow players to view hero information and abilities, as well as swap skin and mounts.
The Quit button has been removed and replaced with a Back button in the top left corner of the Hero Select screen.
Uther now guides new players through the UI and initial game mode unlocks following the Tutorial.
A new “Bundles” tab has been added to the Shop’s menu navigation bar.
Several hero and skin Bundles are now available for purchase in the Shop and can be accessed using the new “Bundles” tab in the Shop’s navigation bar at the top of the screen.
Several new hero skins have been added to the Shop:
Succubus Kerrigan has been reworked.
Hero skins can now be purchased directly from the Heroes tab in the Shop.
To do this, enter the shop and select the Heroes tab, click a Hero, select Skins from the navigation bar at the top, and then select a skin to view and purchase it.
Skins can still be purchased from the Shop’s primary Skins tab, as well.
Scaling Health for the underground Grave Golem increased from 625 to 750 per minute.
Brightwing and Lili have been added and are now available for play!
Hero movement speed increased from 4.0 to 4.4.
Several measures have been implemented to help prevent snowballing.
It is now easier to click on both friendly and enemy Heroes when they are near Structures (especially Gates) and Minions.
Calldown: M.U.L.E. duration reduced from 90 to 60 seconds.
Basic Attack damage increased from 55 (+5 per level) to 59 (+6 per level).
Frost Strike damage increased from 60 (+11 per level) to 80 (+15 per level).
Basic Attack damage bonus from 20% to 40%.
Duration increased from 4 to 6 seconds.
Rune Tap now requires 3 stacks for an 8% heal, rather than 5 stacks for a 10% heal.
Fury Combat Trait
Fury’s life steal component has been removed.
Now gains a temporary 10% movement speed bonus any time an ability is cast, and additional casts refresh its duration.
Ancient Spear cooldown reduced from 15 seconds to 13 seconds.
Hammer of the Ancients
Now deals baseline splash damage equal to 25% of the ability’s base damage.
The Seismic Slash Talent increases splash damage to 100% of base damage.
Duration reduced from 4 to 3 seconds.
Damage reduced from 320 (+16 per level) to 210 (+21 per level) dealt over the course of its duration.
Added 20% life steal while Whirlwind is active.
Fury cost increased from 20 to 25.
Cooldown increased from 40 to 50 seconds.
Arreat Crater duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds.
Arreat Crater can now be cancelled.
Wrath of the Berserker
Now generates 25 Fury on cast and costs 4 Fury per second to remain in this form.
Cooldown reduced from 100 to 20 seconds, and the timer starts once Wrath has completed.
Previous movement speed and life steal gains removed.
Now gains a 30% bonus to all damage dealt.
Many Talents were tweaked in order to account for the above changes.
Cooldown increased from 100 to 120 seconds.
Damage decreased from 160 (+12 per level) to 100 (+10 per level).
Soulstone has been reworked.
Soulstone stacks now cap at 100 and require 100 to resurrect from the dead.
Diablo no longer loses all Soulstone stacks on death, but instead loses 100 on resurrection.
Endless Death now increases Soulstone stack maximum to 200 (previously 250).
Hatred has been reworked.
Every Basic Attack grants Demon Hunter a stack of Hatred, capping at 10.
Each stack of Hatred gives 3% Attack Speed and 1% Movement Speed.
Hatred stacks fade at a rate of 1 per second, rather than all at once.
The Rancor talent now increases auto-attack damage when at maximum stacks.
Damage per level increased from 4.5 to 5.
Search area increased from 7.5 to 10.
Cooldown increased from 45 to 50 seconds.
Rain of Vengeance
Cooldown decreased from 100 to 90 seconds.
Siphoning Arrow life leech increased from 25% to 50%.
Mosh Pit cooldown increased from 100 to 120 seconds.
Rock God! damage bonus increased from 40% to 50%.
Aerial Blitzkrieg cooldown increased from 90 to110 seconds.
Flight cast time increased from 1.5 to 2 seconds.
Grav-O-Bomb 3000 cooldown increased from 90 to 110 seconds.
Ultralisk Movement Speed increased from 4.5 to 5.
Haymaker cooldown reduced from 70 to 50 seconds.
Holo Decoy sight radius increased from 3 to 6.
Wounding Shot damage amplification reduced from 30% to 25%.
Base Attack damage decreased from 63 (+12 per level) to 63 (+11 per level).
Basic Attack starting damage increased from 50 to 55.
Tank Mode cast time decreased from 1 to 0.5 seconds.
Putrid Bile slow duration increased from 1.125 to 1.5 seconds.
Putrid Bile search radius increased from 2.5 to 3.
Protective Shield cooldown increased from 6 to 8 seconds.
Health reduced from 850(+160 per level) to 800 (+145 per level).
Annihilate starting damage increased from 20 to 70.
Ragnarok Missiles starting damage increased from 20 to 70.
Shield amount decreased from 250 (+25 per level) to 200 (+25 per level).
Explosion damage increased from 75 (+9 per level) to 90 (+12 per level).
Righteousness explosion radius increased from 2 to 3.
Judgment cooldown reduced from 100 to 80 seconds.
Sentinel reveal duration reduced from 8 to 5 seconds.
Lunar Flare stun duration reduced from 1.25 to 1 second.
Shadowstalk cooldown reduced from 80 to 60 seconds.
Basic Attack damage scaling reduced from 15 per level to 12 per level.
Singularity Bomb damage increased from 50 (+12 per level) to 100 (+20 per level).
Corrected a number of typos across several aspects of the game.
Fixed a number of issues in which Daily and Hero Quests were not properly granting credit.
Halo effects on the Hero Select screen now properly outline the Ronin Zeratul and Witch Doctor character models.
In-game target portraits for Muradin, Tyrande, and Zeratul now appropriately match their portraits on the post-game Score Screen.
The camera now correctly follows the Dragon Knight in Windowed Mode after enabling Camera Follow in while the Dragon Knight is being summoned.
The level indicator on the Home Screen now more accurately reflects progress toward the next level.
Heroes and Talents
Ancient Spear now properly pulls the Barbarian when cast on Grave Golems.
Calldown: MULE can now be cast when the casting hero is underground on the Haunted Mines.
Nova’s Fast Reload Talent now correctly resets her Triple Tap cooldown when an enemy with a post-death state is killed shortly after being struck by Triple Tap.
Nova’s Triple Tap can no longer be absorbed by Abathur’s Toxic Nests.
Raynor’s Lead from the Front Combat Trait now properly reduces his cooldowns when enemies with post-death states are killed.
The Blood for Blood Talent can no longer target summoned Grave Golems on the Haunted Mines.
The Grave Golem within the Haunted Mines no longer becomes distracted by Abathur’s Toxic Nests while they are burrowing.
Blizzard Entertainment revealed four new Heroes at PAX East 2014. The new heroes are: Brightwing (a faerie dragon), Lili Stormstout, Zagara and Murky. Two of these Heroes will be available on Tuesday, April 16th.
This is some of the info provided to the PAX East press. At the bottom of this page, you can find some screenshots of the four new Heroes, and the Haunted Mines match seen at PAX East without shoutcast audio.
WHAT IS HEROES OF THE STORM?
Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler starring your favorite Blizzard characters. In Heroes, the epic battles between the champions and villains of Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo aren’t settled with last hits and kill-stealing—players are distinguished through the accomplishments of their team.
Whether you’re a hardcore WoW raider, a demon-slaying Barbarian, or a Bronze league Terran, you’ll find a customizable hero from across the Blizzard multiverse to suit your play style. Grab your buddies and engage in fast-paced mayhem across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play every match. When the mightiest characters in gaming history clash, only you can decide who’ll come out on top!
WHO ARE THE HEROES?
Characters like Thrall, Kerrigan, Diablo, Arthas, Zeratul, Tyrael—powerful warriors from Azeroth, Sanctuary, the Koprulu sector, and beyond—have been sucked into the Nexus, a transdimensional storm. Stranded in a strange limbo of clashing universes, these combatants are joined by the same fate—to engage in pulse-pounding combat, to team up in a deadly struggle for survival . . . and to answer the age-old question…
WHO WOULD WIN?
Heroes represents more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history, settings, and iconic characters, all mashed up into an epic, action-packed team-based strategy game. Fight out classic showdowns such as Tyrael vs. Diablo, or settle those late-night debates you’ve had about who’s the stronger leader—Raynor or Thrall? Could Kerrigan and Zeratul take down the Barbarian and Demon Hunter from Diablo III? Could Uther in his prime give Arthas the punishment he deserves?
Each customizable hero offers a wealth of tactical options and unique strengths that reflect their abilities in their respective games. Bringing these considerable powers to bear in the same setting opens limitless possibilities for previously impossible matchups and mind-blowing team combinations.
WHAT IS THE NEXUS?
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill transdimensional vortex! The Nexus plunges the greatest warriors and strategists of the Blizzard multiverse into one of several unique battlegrounds for a no-holds-barred melee. Conquer mercenary camps to recruit powerful allies to your side, such as siege giants. Unlock the mysteries of each battleground, including ghostly pirate ships, the fickle Raven Lord, and massive grave golems to achieve a glorious victory.
SMASH YOUR ENEMIES IN STYLE!
Distinguish yourself and your team in battle with dozens of unique heroes, skins, and mounts. Then choose from among multiple heroic abilities, enabling you to dish out ruin in the form of orbital bombardments, strafing frost wyrms, or all-consuming hellfire—to name just a few of the many ways you’ll be able to visit destruction upon your enemies. Good players win. The great ones make it look good, too.
Something I had put in the backburner the past few weeks. I managed to record all the Heroes’ voice over quotes for your delight. Some of the Heroes say pretty funny quotes in reference to movies or previous Blizzard games.
These voice overs are triggered by clicking on a Hero multiple times nonstop. Here is an example:
“I grow impatient.”
“Who dares address me?”
“I’m blind. Not deaf.”
“(Text message/cell vibration sounds) Hold on. Darkness just texted me.”
“Does anyone else miss chaos damage?”
“No, I did not just see that. Or anything else for that matter.”
“Remember when wings, hooves and horns were strange for Warcraft? Ahh, the good old days.”
“Alas, poor Gul’dan … I never knew him at all, actually.”
“What did you mean Blizzard added monks before demon hunters?”
“Monks aren’t even a real hero class!”
“You know, for ten thousand years old Tyrande still looks pretty good. — At least that’s what they tell me.”
“Ahh, my brother is such a tree hugger.”
“Is Maiev behind me? She is totally behind me, isn’t she?”
Check out all 23 Heroes’ voice over quotes by visiting each Hero page at heroes.blizzplanet.com
Note: They are located toward the bottom of each page (above the Hero Quests)
The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is going to get a High-Resolution pass in an upcoming build. Senior Artist Phill Gonzales showed off amazingly breath-taking high resolution images featuring the before and after 3D models of some of the Heroes.
This High Resolution pass is making these models really close to the World of Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft II models. Even Tassadar looks like in the StarCraft portrait. Falstad looks a lot like the Dwarf from the original World of Warcraft cinematic.
The exciting thing here is that these High-Res models we will see in-game in the battlegrounds, and in the Shop are the same model. That detailed.
Blizzard Entertainment is planning to perform a character wipe for the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha on April 15th.
It hasn’t been specified in the e-mail sent to alpha testers, but hopefully this new build introduces the high-resolution 3D skins shown today at PAX East 2014. Check an upcoming newspost on Blizzplanet Heroes to see some screenshots. They are breath-taking!
Read up all the details concerning this:
On Tuesday, April 15, we’ll be performing our first Tech Alpha Account Wipe. Here’s what you need to know:
For this initial account wipe, we will not be resetting or refunding any real-money purchases you’ve made thus far during Tech Alpha testing. Please note that we do plan to reset real-money purchases with future scheduled account wipes, just not this time.
Aside from purchases you’ve made with real-money thus far, your account will essentially be starting from scratch following the wipe. Here’s exactly what we’re doing:
Your account will start at Level 1, and all experience points, as well as leveling system and quest progress will be reset.
All in-game Gold you’ve earned, as well as purchases made using Gold, will be wiped clean.
We understand it can be tough to start over, so we’ve got a few rewards to show our appreciation for your dedication during Tech Alpha testing thus far. Here’s what you’ll receive following next week’s account wipe:
Starting after the wipe on Tuesday, April 15, all players will gain access to every single hero until Thursday, April 17 at 3:00 p.m. PDT.
Based on your progress with the leveling system prior to the wipe, you’ll receive a nice chunk of in-game Gold that we’re hoping you’ll use to try out a few new heroes!
Levels 1 – 19: 10,000 Gold
Levels 20 – 39: 30,000 Gold
Level 40: 30,000 Gold and an exclusive Heroes of the Storm lanyard
We’ve received a ton of great feedback, playtest data, and bug reports over the past few weeks, and we hope you’re having a blast with Heroes. As always, thank you very much for participating in our Tech Alpha and sharing your thoughts with us.
Turtle Beach and Blizzard Entertainment signed an agreement to license Heroes of the Storm gaming headsets based on three of their latest models: the surround sound Z SEVEN wired ($249.95), the Z300 wireless headsets ($199.95), and the stereo Z22 wired headset ($89.95).
TURTLE BEACH ANNOUNCES NEW HEROES OF THE STORM™ LICENSING AGREEMENT WITH BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT
New multi-year global agreement to create Heroes of the Storm™ gaming headsets
VALHALLA, N.Y. – April 7, 2013 – Turtle Beach, the leading audio brand in the games industry, today announced a new multi-year licensing agreement with Blizzard Entertainment around the highly anticipated Heroes of the Storm™ multiplayer game. As part of the agreement, Turtle Beach will develop PC gaming headsets for both elite and recreational players. Turtle Beach is the gaming audio brand of Parametric Sound Corporation (NASDAQ: PAMT)
Heroes of the Storm is a new raucous online team brawler that draws iconic characters from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history, including the award-winning Warcraft®, Diablo®, and StarCraft® franchises. Heroes of the Storm is uniquely positioned to deliver exciting competitive play, thanks to its team-oriented gameplay mechanics and its fast-paced skirmishes.
The Heroes of the Storm gaming headsets will join Turtle Beach’s growing PC gaming portfolio, which includes three models introduced in 2013 — the surround sound Z SEVEN wired and Z300 wireless headsets, and the stereo Z22 wired headset. The agreement with Blizzard Entertainment will contribute to Turtle Beach’s efforts to increase the company’s share of the PC gaming market.
“Turtle Beach shares our passion for gaming and can deliver world class gaming audio,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “Heroes of the Storm had a terrific reception at BlizzCon 2013, and we’re looking forward to working with Turtle Beach to deliver the best possible audio experience for the game.”
Turtle Beach designs and markets wireless and wired headsets for video game, personal computer and mobile platforms. The company’s wide range of headsets, which combine quality with audio innovations, are popular with consumers because they make gaming more immersive and provide a competitive advantage. Turtle Beach manufactured 7 of the top 10 best-selling gaming headsets in 2013 when ranked in dollar sales, according to The NPD Group, Inc.
“Turtle Beach is very excited to announce this agreement with Blizzard around Heroes of the Storm,” said Bob Picunko Chief Marketing Officer at Turtle Beach. “We are looking forward to launching state-of-the-art headsets for one of PC gaming’s most anticipated titles, and working with Blizzard to introduce them to both elite and casual players.”
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (http://www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes sixteen #1-selling games* and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
*Based on internal company records and reports from key distribution partners.
About Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach (http://www.turtlebeach.com) designs and markets premium audio peripherals for video game consoles, personal computers and mobile devices under the brand Turtle Beach (TurtleBeach.com), including officially-licensed headsets for the next-generation Xbox® One and PlayStation® 4 consoles. Turtle Beach is the leading brand in video game audio and the official audio provider for Major League Gaming, the world’s largest eSports league, and Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers.
Turtle Beach is part of Parametric Sound Corporation, an audio technology company that markets innovative products under both the Turtle Beach and HyperSound brands.
Under the brand HyperSound (HyperSound.com), the company markets pioneering directed audio solutions that beam sound to a specific listening area without the ambient noise of traditional speakers. HyperSound has applications in digital signage and kiosks, consumer electronics and health care.
Blizzard Entertainment revealed today four new Heroes to join the roster in Heroes of the Storm: Brightwing (faerie dragon), Lili Stormstout, Zagara and Murky. In addition, Chen Stormstout, Kael’thas and Sylvanas are in development.
Lyndsi Achucarro (Associate PR Manager) shared via Twitter a sneak peek of Sylvanas (As seen to the right).
Ultimate Skins will make its way into the game for free. Something that totally caught me off-guard is that the April’s Fools Pajamathur is going to be a real skin in Heroes of the Storm. You can see that in the first video below.
There are no plans yet for closed beta, but Blizzard revealed they have been inviting more people to the Technical Alpha on a weekly basis, which sounds cool.
Don’t miss the new Hero video trailers. Especially, the creepy Brightwing faerie dragon, shivers.
The first action-packed day of PAX East has just kicked off, and we’ll be bringing you updates throughout the weekend on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and within this very blog! If you’re attending: make sure to stop by Blizzard booth #848 so you can battle it out on a brand-new playable demo, and make sure to check out our Heroes of the Storm PAX East Preview blog to find out about everything awaiting you at the convention from April 11 – 13.
First up is an exciting new Hero Trailer for none other than Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades!
“It’s not easy being queen.”
Next up, take a break from real life and warp into the Nexus with our live discussion panel, Heroes of the Storm: The Ultimate Blizzard Mashup, today in the Albatross Theatre at PAX East! Whether you’re at PAX in-person or not, you’ll be able to catch our panel by tuning in to the live broadcast on Twitch.tv/PAX2 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (7:30 a.m. PDT) on Friday, April 11.
During the panel, Game Director Dustin Browder, Senior Producer Kaeo Milker, and Senior Artist Phill Gonzales will be sharing a sneak peek at several exciting new heroes and skins, as well as answering questions from the audience. Once the panel wraps up, Kevin Knocke will join forces with Dustin Browder to get your heart racing with a fresh Heroes of the Storm showmatch commentary where you’ll be able to see the new heroes in action!
The panel has just concluded! Stay tuned for a full recap!
On Friday morning, Game Director Dustin Browder, Senior Producer Kaeo Milker, and Senior Artist Phill Gonzales, gathered on stage at PAX East in the Albatross Theatre to talk all about Heroes of the Storm. Dustin kicked off the panel with an exciting new video, followed by a brief look at the ongoing Technical Alpha.
Heroes of the Storm PAX Feature Trailer
A Note About the Alpha
We do not have a date for the Heroes Beta yet. We’re still working hard to test and level up our technology to be sure we can continue to expand the playerbase without encountering major issues. On that note, we’ve been adding players to the Tech Alpha on a weekly basis, and if you’d like to sign up to be invited, make sure you’ve opted in to Heroes testing on your Battle.net account’s Beta Profile Settings.
That said, there are no keys! Be wary of phishing attempts and anyone offering to give you Heroes of the Storm access. The only way to be sure you’ve received a legitimate invitation is to check your Battle.net account for a Heroes of the Storm game license.
What’s Cool About Heroes of the Storm?
Dustin went on to give the audience an introduction to Heroes of the Storm by describing a few of the game’s aspects that we think make it very fun to play.
We have many incredible heroes we can draw from that you’ve come to know and love in our other game universes. There’s rich lore and history behind our characters, and we think it’s awesome to see them all interacting and doing battle with each other. Because this game represents a collision of all our universes, we can introduce heroes from any of our other games, past, present, and future.
Original Hero Design
We’re trying to be creative with the types of heroes we bring into the game. We want them to be able to interact with the battlegrounds in very unique ways, and play like nothing you’ve seen before in our other titles. Abathur was among the first of these very different heroes. He can’t really get into the fight himself, but instead sits behind the lines of battle and infests his allies to help them out from the sidelines.
Battlegrounds are more than just maps. Each is designed to be different from the others, with unique objectives and focal points that can change your strategies and swing the tide of the game in your favor.
As an example, let’s take a look at Blackheart’s Bay:
On Blackheart’s Bay, you and your allies are tasked with collecting Doubloons and turning them in to the evil ghost pirate, Blackheart, in order to buy his favor.
Players accumulate Doubloons by destroying Treasure Chests or defeating Mercenary Camps, which are scattered around the Battleground.
If your team manages to turn in enough coins, Blackheart will set Blackheart’s Revenge, his ghostly pirate ship, on enemy forts and bombard them with cannon fire!
Be careful, though, because if you die while carrying coins, they’ll spill out onto the ground and your enemies can reclaim them. On Blackheart’s Bay, players become Treasure Goblins.
We currently have four Battlegrounds in the Tech Alpha, and have plans to add many more in the future so that you can change up how you play, as well as use different strategies to succeed from one game to the next.
Following Dustin’s overview, Phill picked up the mic for a peek into what the Heroes of the Storm Art Team has been up to lately.
When we started to really ramp up Heroes development we were initially focused on standing up art and models for as many of our heroes as we could. While we managed to get a lot of heroes into the game, we wanted to continue iterating on them until each one really lived up to the fantasy behind their character.
We’ve put a lot of work into improving the appearances of our heroes and skins since we first revealed Heroes of the Storm at BlizzCon last year, and have put a lot of time into adding more details to their faces and character models over the last few months.
Kaeo Milker then took the stage to show off some of the new skins that we’ll be releasing in the future.
Skins are an exciting way for us to really dig into the lore and flavor of each hero, and we always have a lot of fun coming up with our next great idea. Through skins, we can show off looks we’ve come to love. We can also explore a variety of different appearances for each hero, including looks that cross into our other game universes.
Heroes of the Storm has a rather lighthearted nature, which allows us to add in humorous skins as well, such as Stitches in a bikini, or Abathur in pajamas. That’s right — Pajamathur is no longer just an April Fool’s joke, and will be added to the game!
In addition to all of the skins we have available in the shop, we’ve also got a ton of skin variations that you can unlock for free, simply by playing with a particular hero frequently. Skin variations not only work for your base hero skin, but once unlocked, they’ll work for all future skins you buy for that hero, as well.
We didn’t want to stop with variations, though, so we decided to create what we’re calling “Ultimate Skins.” Ultimate skins are the complete realization of the fantasy for each hero in the Nexus, and are free to unlock, just like skin variations. We want you have a lot of freedom in how you can show off your favorite heroes in-game, and feel that all the skins we have to offer help accomplish this for players who want to really dig deep into a specific hero.
New Heroes –: We’ve just announced that Brightwing, Zagara, Murky, and LiLi are our newest Heroes!
As we mentioned previously, we’re working hard to create heroes that feel and play very differently than anything we’ve done in the past, and we have a few examples for you today:
Lili is a new support hero with an ability set that helps her to very effectively aid her teammates throughout the game.
She has lots of ways to protect herself and allies, and she doesn’t need to be babysat.
You’ll see a lot more from her in the showmatch commentary at the end of the panel.
Brightwing has the ability to passively heal any allies nearby.
She can also transform enemies into animals.
Brightwing is a versatile support hero capable of teleporting from ally to ally, healing them and providing them with the help they need to succeed in battle.
Zagara has map-wide components to her design.
She can drop Creep Tumors to spread Zerg Creep, which helps speed up her movement speed, as well as the speed of her summons.
What’s more, Zagara can use her Nydus Worms to hop back and forth around the map, giving her plenty of opportunity to Creep up and siege multiple lanes at once.
When we talked about putting Murky in the game, we initially struggled with what to do with him. Making him a really powerful hero just didn’t seem to fit quite right (he is a Murloc, you know.) Instead, we chose to make him very, very weak, but incredibly persistent.
Murky can lay an egg which he can use to respawn near instantly upon being killed. If his egg is destroyed, Murky will face the same respawn timers as other heroes do, so be sure to hide it well!
Murky is going to die A LOT, but he’s a hero who eventually overwhelms enemies across multiple battles. He doesn’t need to win every fight; he just needs to win once.
Once the presentation wrapped up, Dustin fielded questions from the live audience. Read on to get the full Q&A Session breakdown.
Q: Is there any opportunity to see Heroes on other platforms, such as mobile or console?
A: We haven’t really worked on that and it could be a lot of work considering we’d have to take controls into account. At one point Kaeo did manage to hook up an Xbox controller to his home computer and play using that.
Q: Balance aside, which hero would you like to see in the game?
A: The hardest heroes for us to do are the really huge ones. We’ve talked about Deathwing as a hero we’d really like to put in, but he’d have to be very big. We’ve found heroes like this to be really challenging to make so far.
Q: Do you think you’ll eventually run out of existing Blizzard characters to use as heroes?
A: Our library of Blizzard characters is pretty massive. We’ve got a very long list of potential heroes that we’d like to implement, and we do want to add many more heroes to the game than are present right now. We’re ready to do more. There may be a few heroes who you might not entirely familiar with if you haven’t played the game they’re from (Stitches from World of Warcraft, for example,) but we can dip into all of our universes to continually create new heroes.
Q: Will there be more high-risk, high-reward Talents added to the game?
A: We’re constantly talking about Talents — what to add, and what to change. For example, Zagara’s talents are kind of insane right now. One idea, which Matt Cooper proposed, was to double the range of her Baneling ability, and I really hope that one will stick around. We’re continuing to evolve the Talent system to add more customization, more options, and more ways for you to play your favorite heroes how you’d like.
Q: Originally Heroes was going to be part of the StarCraft II Arcade. Is Heroes still based off the StarCraft II Editor, or has it changed?
A: Yes, it’s still based on the StarCraft II Editor, but it has changed a bit. We want to get to a place where we can make the map editor available for Heroes, as well.
Q: With regard to new characters, are there any hopes for seeing heroes from older blizzard games?
A: You mean like Rock N’ Roll Racing, or the Lost Vikings? Yes, we’d definitely love to look into creating Heroes from our older titles. I can’t make any promises right now, but we will certainly work on it.
Q: With so many unique characters and ways to play, how do you balance the game?
A: We get this question a lot. It’s going to be a lot of work for us, but we have a team of balance guys working on this night and day, and we’re pretty confident at the moment. We’re not afraid to admit when we’re wrong, see what the community has to say, and make changes. The editor also lets us make changes on a hero by hero basis. For example, the way Sgt. Hammer roots herself basically attracts skillshots from her enemies. If we need to fix something about that, we can adjust her talents to give her more survivability while she’s sieged up.
There’s more to come as Blizzard storms Pax East 2014, so stay tuned for updates today, and all weekend long!