BlizzCon 2015 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive Panel Transcript

Browse these pages:IntroLunaraGenn GreymaneHero Design: Genn Greymane
Cho'gallHero Design: Cho'gallPanel Q&A

 

Hero Design: Cho’gall

Kent-Erik: Oh my gosh. I am so glad we can unveil Cho’gall to you guys. it’s been really hard to not talk about this guy.

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So I’m so excited to bring the two-headed ogre to you guys. Where do I start? Last year, BlizzCon… we wrapped up the show, we were so excited with all we had done and we’re talking about the future: “What new heroes are we going to be bringing to you guys?”

We’re looking at a roster, and we are looking at all the whacky different heroes we had done, and kind of broke the genre in different ways; I’m talking heroes like Murky where to use the word hero is a strong word for Murky. I mean… he is a baby murlock, but we love him and we have Leoric who doesn’t really die — he sticks around as a ghost haunting the battleground.

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And last year we had unveiled a new guy as the Lost Vikings. Woooo! We have some Vikings players out there. Three distinct unique heroes all controlled by one player; and we’re looking at that huge list Hugh was referencing of two hundred plus heroes and we were like: “Man, what are we going to do for BlizzCon 2015? How are we going to break the rules again like Dustin was talking about during the opening ceremony?”

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… and we are looking at those heroes and someone was looking at Cho’gall, and we are looking at two heads and goes: “Hey guys, I have got an idea. We have shoot the Vikings, that’s one player controlling three heroes, what if we did the opposite? What if we did two players controlling one hero?”

We were like: “That’s funny. You’re a funny guy. That’s hilarious.” In fact let me tell you how funny it is. We did that as an April fool’s joke back in 2004. Anyone remember that? I’m not going to lie, I was in high school when this came out, this April fool’s joke. I got real excited about it. So I was like, “oh my gosh!”

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I told my friend about it at the time (Mike) and I’m like: “Mike, we got to play two-headed ogres together.” Then we realized it was the 1st of April; but we were looking at making Cho’gall, and we were like: “We can’t do that. Alright, that’s too crazy. Think of all the things that will be broken. What’s it going to be like to ride shotgun? You’re this other head just attached. Is that going to be fun, or wouldn’t you mean one team only has four heroes now because two people are stuck in one body? Will that work for gameplay gameplay-wise? That’s got to be broken or how do you even pick the hero, like in quick match or how do you draft them? Like… “Oh my head hurts, can I have a second head?”

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We looked at all these questions and these challenges and we realized no, they have solves, in fact we did an early prototype playtest, Hugh and I, and we realized it’s actually really fun to ride shotgun.

It’s a very unique experience in the Nexus; and we sat down and we talked to the balance designers about balancing a game around having four heroes instead of five; and they were like: “We can tune them up.”

We’ve done heroes like Murky and Leoric and the Vikings. We think there is a set of values we can hit numerically to make this hero work, and we were like” Okay. okay.” We sat down with our online designers and engineers, and we were like: “You know what? We have solves.”

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We can make it possible to pick this hero in a very sane way so nobody’s head explodes trying to play the hero; and we were like: “Alright, let’s do this”. We started on that 17 weeks — I don’t know, we started on that 3 months in that process of designing the hero, and we went through a ton of iteration; it’s been a crazy, crazy trip and I want to introduce you to Cho and Gall.

First up, let’s start with Cho. Cho has (Phil said) much more of that ogre bruise warrior playstyle. He is the melee warrior. He controls the movement for Cho’gall.

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He controls the basic attack, where he goes Gall is dragged along whether he wants to or not; and I’m going to show you a short little video showing him and his (Q) and (W) abilities in action.

First, you’ll see Cho here running around, he controls this and using his Surging Fist ability he winds up a punch and dashes forward. He controls the basic attack and he has another ability called Consuming Blaze where he ignites nearby enemies putting them on fire.

 

But Gall is completely different. Gall has an entirely different sort of personality, often at odds with Cho, but Gall is stuck going where Cho takes him. Gall is the ranged assassin.

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He is much more that spellcaster. That ogre mage, and as you’ll see in this video, he has a few abilities of his own, but on very low cooldowns allowing him to remain very active. First is Shadow Flame — where he burns opponents in a line, and finally Dread Orb – a bouncy ball of pain that bounces along its path dealing damage to enemies caught in its wake.

 

But what really ties the two heads together is their (E) button: Rune Bomb for Cho, and Runic Blast for Gall.

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When making Cho’gall, we didn’t want to just take hero ‘A’ and hero ‘B’ and just kind of put them on one body together and call it a day and be like: “Yeah, it’s great! We did two other heroes woooo!”

No, we really wanted each head to care and be integrated with the other head. We wanted the two players to learn to work together; to synergize their combos together, to do a lot, and we really encapsulated that with this (E) ability.

So what you are going to see here is, it’s a very straightforward video you are about to watch as Cho is going to hurl this bowling ball-filled spikes towards a direction, and it’s going to damage enemies in its path for a small amount of damage.

Most importantly is that Gall when this bomb is thrown out, Cho will yell at him “bombs away, the bomb’s out” and his (E) button will light up and allow him to activate it — called “Runic Blast,” and this detonates the bomb as you’ll see here.

runic-blast

 

Cho is going to throw it out along this line and Gall will detonate it. This is a two-player coordinated spell throughout the entire game. The two heads will be working together for this.

Now what’s really fun is the magic of Cho’gall. We went through a lot of iterations and lots and lots of playtests; and while we were play testing Cho’gall, there are two stories I would love to share with you; things that are really unique to Cho’gall.

The first is that raid boss feeling. This is something you really only get with Cho’gall, and I’m going to show you a super-staged video of a Muradin and a Falstad trying to get the gank on Cho’gall.

In this video everyone is level 20, so we put it as even-footing, but watch what is going to happen here. They are going to get the jump on our poor ogre buddy and Cho is going to stay focused on Muradin this whole time, but Gall is burning down Falstad continually with his Shadow Flame ability.

They dodge the Hinterland Blast from Falstad, and then they blow him up with that Rune Bomb while Muradin is continually getting more in the way, and then they pop out their heroic abilities, Shadow Bolt Volley and Upheaval there to finish them off; and let me tell you, when the two of you guys take down two or three opponents it’s a real high-five moment. You are like: “yeah we are the raid boss; come at us,” and when you’re that whether one guy on the other team and you kill Cho’gall, oh man that’s a moment.

 

That’s always a double kill first of all, every time, but you also realize you’ve taken out 2/5ths of the enemy team in one blow. He really shapes the fights around him, and is it something super unique to Cho’gall.

The other story for you is a little bit of a heartbreaker. There was one day I was assigned to play Cho’gall for three games in a row, and then a fourth game I was playing some other kind of boring one-headed hero, and the fourth game loads up, you know — I played 3 games with Cho’gall having too much fun, fourth game loads up, spawn into the Nexus, I run out to the gate; we have our headsets on our playtest, we have our voice check program, and I pressed my out key for push-to-talk, and I get ready to say something to my second head when I realized he’s not there.

He’s gone. I lost my buddy. He was in the top lane I was in bottom and I was like no my buddy, we were having so much fun and that’s when I realized we had something really special with Cho’gall.

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There is this unique emotional bond that forms when you’re conjoined at the neck like this. It’s something really special and we really wanted to make sure that you’ll be able to play Cho’gall with your friends especially if they are new to the Nexus without having to buy him; and that is why if you were here for opening ceremony you heard Dustin announced that your friends don’t need to own Cho’gall to play with you. Just you need to own Cho’gall, and if you’re here at BlizzCon or watching the virtual ticket you’re going to get in Cho’gall for free and as Dustin mentioned we are running that promotion “The Cho’gall buddy brawl” where if you help your friend win a few games as Cho’gall, they’ll unlock Cho’gall for free thus spreading the virus. They can then spread Cho’gall to their friends as well, and if you help Cho’gall spread to a few friends we’ll even throw some gold your way.

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All the details can be found at the HeroesOfTheStorm.com website. So be sure to go check that out if you have any more questions about it, but that’s Cho’gall. Again, he’s here on the showfloor. So if you came with somebody, go check them out.

 

Learn to coordinate your two heads together rather than fight against each other; but if you don’t have anybody to play Cho’gall with, go find someone to play with. You’ll really become friends fast. There is no better way to learn how somebody works than to be the second head for them. So I’m going to hand over to Phill who’s got a last little thing to show you.

 

Browse these pages:IntroLunaraGenn GreymaneHero Design: Genn Greymane
Cho'gallHero Design: Cho'gallPanel Q&A

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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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