From their conception, the zerg have been driven to pursue the perfection of their race through merciless, predatory evolution. If the Overmind has been the force behind this directive, the being known as Abathur was born as the instrument of its will.
Abathur is an old organism, long serving as an “evolution master” – a guiding hand spinning the strands of zerg DNA into mutations of existing zerg and entirely new strains. Left to its own devices, Abathur’s approach to evolving the Swarm is unorthodox: consuming living tissue, and dissolving it into genetic components able to be quickly reassembled (often painfully).
Abathur’s methods are far from the only means of evolving the Swarm, but the creature has refined them over years of wanderlust following the death of the original zerg Overmind. During its time on Char, the detached, meticulous Abathur modified any zerg it stumbled across, and grew fixated on diversifying the Swarm.
As much as a hive creature can, Abathur sees itself as personally responsible for the continuation of the zerg. It undertakes each experiment as though the survival of the species depended on it alone, and tolerates no evolutionary backstep. Abathur will push the swarm forward…and change it utterly in the attempt.
Abathur is one of the heroes introduced in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. His main function in the Swarm is to dissect, gene-splice and genegineer advanced upgrades for the different Zerg units. He was formerly created by the Zerg Overmind in planet Zerus to evolve the zerg DNA strains and those of the races assimilated into the zerg.
In Heroes of the Storm, Abathur plays a very intriguing and innovative role. Abathur is a support character where the player doesn’t fight directly one-on-one against other players. Abathur can teleport to various explored locations throughout the map to assist other friendly team players with special buffs and abilities.
Assists the target allied Unit or Structure, allowing you to shield them, and use new Abilities. Lasts for 45 seconds. Cooldown: 4 seconds.
Cannot be used on self, Grave Golems, or Summoned Units.
Spawns a mine that becomes active after a short time. Deals 50 damage and reveals the enemy for 4 seconds. Lasts 90 seconds. Charge Cooldown: 12 seconds.
Spawns a Locust to attack down the nearest lane every 20 seconds.
Deep Tunnel (Z)
Abathur quickly tunnels to the target visible location.
Eradicate Minions (Q)
Increase Spike Burst damage to non-heroic.
Combat Adaptation (Trait)
Locusts gain Attack Speed.
Survival Instincts (Trait)
Locusts gain more Health.
Envenomed Nest (W)
Toxic Nests deal more damage.
Barbed Spines (Q)
Increases the damage of your Symbiote's Stab by 20%.
Pressurized Glands (Q)
Increase the range of Symbiote's Spike Burst by 100%.
Toxic Nests can be placed from unlimited range.
Activate to give target allied lane Minion +300% Health and +100 damage for 15 seconds. Has 2 charges. Cooldown: 30 seconds.
Increases the range of your Symbiote's Stab by 33%.
Toxic Nests slow enemies by 40% Movement Speed for 4 seconds.
Symbiote's Carapace heals the target for 9 Health per second.
Activate to calldown a Mule that repairs Structures, one at a time, near target point for 60 seconds, healing for 100 Health every 1 second. Grants 1 ammo every 5 seconds. Cooldown: 60 seconds.
Clone target allied Hero and control it for 45 seconds.
Assault Strain (Trait)
Locust Basic Attacks cleave, and explode on death for 72 damage.
Bombard Strain (Trait)
Locust Basic Attacks become a long-range siege attack.
Spatial Efficiency (Q)
Symbiote's Stab gains 1 additional charge.
Prolific Dispersal (W)
Toxic Nest gains 2 additional charges.
Envenomed Spikes (Q)
Your Symbiote's Spike Burst also slows enemies by 40% for 2 seconds.
Adrenaline Boost (Q)
Symbiote's Carapace increases the Movement Speed of the target by 40% for 3 seconds.
Gain the ability to spawn a Nest near Abathur that hatches 3 Locusts.
Bolt of the Storm
Activate to teleport to a nearby location. Cooldown: 40 seconds.
Lower the cooldown of Ultimate Evolution to 90 seconds, and increase the duration to 60 seconds.
Voice Over Quotes
These are the voice over quotes repeated by Abathur when the player clicks on him multiple times. Transcript courtesy of Egrem. (Thank you)
”Must evolve. Swarm not good enough. Not.”
“Perfection. Deep in the core. In strands.”
“Teammates. Much to improve. Reanimated tissue. Humanoid-beast hybrids. Inefficient. Unacceptable.”
“Work harder. Better. Make faster. Stronger. Evolution never over.”
“Perfection. Goal that always changes. Can pursue, cannot obtain. Similar to Ashbringer.”
“Anger. Product of stress. Adrenaline. Clicking. No clicking, no anger.”
“Design must be simple. Elegant. Implementation, less so. Sequences must change. Intent static, product fluid. Always can improve. Stressers reveal flaws. Flaws reveal potential. Always improving. Good.”
“If evolution product of design, is evolution… evolution? Hmm. Line of thought not productive. Hmm.”
“Abilities of organism Abathur well-designed for Alpha. Likely to change. Entity Blizzard notorious for iteration.”
Tassadar is a protoss of the Templar caste who oversaw and protected the lesser races, or executed them when required or commanded to do so.
His fascination for the Terran race was absolute, even leading him to disobey extreme orders from Aldaris and the protoss conclave.
Tassadar set flame to planet Mar Sara in order to purify it from the zerg infestation.
After desobeying a direct order from the conclave, Tassadar went rogue and befriended ex-Marshal Jim Raynor and the dark templar Zeratul.
Although, the dark templar were perceived as heretics by the templars, Tassadar listened to Zeratul’s side of the story, and even learned the way of the dark templar.
Using his new found hybrid philosophies of both sides of the templar, Tassadar sacrificed by concentrating all of his psionic might against the zerg Overmind.
Tassadar claimed he hasn’t tasted death nor will he, meaning he has trascended the mortal realm into a mysterious psionic or ethereal state — communicating from the beyond.
Tassadar communicated with Zeratul at the site of the Overmind’s demise in planet Aiur to reveal the Overmind’s master plan and warned him of impending doom with the rise of the hybrids. That Kerrigan was the Overmind’s way to prevent the coming oblivion to be caused by the dark voice: Amon. (as seen in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty).
Tassadar is one of the playable characters is Heroes of the Storm. He plays a Support / Ranged role.
Shields target ally, absorbing 240 damage before breaking. Lasts for 8 seconds.
Deals 34 damage per second to enemies in target area and slows attack and movement speeds by 35%. Lasts 4 seconds.
Tassadar becomes invulnerable and invisible to enemies. Lasts for 2 seconds.
Greatly increases Tassadar's vision radius and allows him to detect enemy Heroes. Lasts for 7 seconds.
Illidan Stormrage, the first Demon Hunter, betrayed his people by creating a new well of eternity after the demonic invasion of Azeroth. Now Illidan lords over the realm of Outland slaughtering unsuitably prepared Heroes who venture in to his domain.
Marks his targets by using his abilities. Attacks against marked targets to reduce his cooldowns. Moves quickly to pursue his foes.
Store Cost: 5,500 | $7.49
Role: Melee Assassin
Difficulty: Very Hard
Illidan Stormrage is the twin brother of Malfurion Stormrage. While his brother learned the ways of the Druid with the demi-god Cenarius, Illidan delved into the arcane magics taught by Queen Azshara’s Highborne.
During the Aftermath of the War of the Ancients, ten-thousand-years-ago, Illidan took samples of the Well of Eternity before it imploded. Two of the seven vials were dropped into the lake at the top of Mount Hyjal. Malfurion and his people caught Illidan in the act, and punished him severely by imprisoning him in the depths of Mount Hyjal guarded by Warden Maiev.
His hatred, ambition and addiction for arcane magic was not quenched in ten milennia. Tyrande freed Illidan from his prison in order to save what remained of the Night Elf civilization and all of Azeroth. Illidan defeated Tichondrius the Dreadlord and consumed the Skull of Guldan to empower himself with Fel Magic, transforming into a demon-hybrid. Runes, Horns, hoofs and bat-winged limbs marked his body.
Illidan nearly toppled the Lich King with the earthquake assault upon Northrend with the use of the Eye of Sargeras, and ultimately lost before Arthas the Death Knight. Leaking his wounds, Illidan rallied his new allies: Lady Vashj and her naga forces, and Kael’Thas Sunstrider and his blood elves. They traveled to Outland where they decimated the Burning Legion agents with the help of the Draenei; and sealed the seven portals throughout Outland.
As lord of Outland, Illidan ruled with an iron fist, but ultimately got defeated by heroes from Azeroth with the assistance of their allies: the Naaru, the Aldor, the Scryers, Akama and Maiev.
In Heroes of the Storm, Illidan is a force to be reckoned with. His skills in battle make him one of the most feared contenders to fight against with.
Illidan's next Basic Attack does 97 damage and applies Mark of Azzinoth to the target.
Deals 66 damage to enemies in target area.
Enemies with the Mark of Azzinoth take an extra 25% damage and are silenced for 1.5 seconds.
Lunges towards the target location, dealing 59 damage to the first enemy Hero in his path.
Lunging into an enemy with the Mark of Azzinoth reduces its cooldown by 50% and roots them as Illidan flips behind them.
Mark of Azzinoth
Basic Attacks against targets with Mark of Azzinoth reduce Illidan's ability cooldown by 0.5 seconds, using Betrayer's Strike and Heroic Abilities will apply Mark of Azzinoth to the target for 8 seconds.
Gather 3 Regeneration Globes to permanently grant you +3 health per second. Stacks.
Path of the Assassin
Your Hero gains an extra 2 attack damage for every level gained.
Betrayer's Mark (Trait)
Increases the cooldown reduction per attack to 1 second.
Lethal Thrust (E)
Lunge deals 30% more damage.
Every 5 seconds, your next Basic Attack deals 50% additional damage.
Basic Attacks heal you for 15% of the damage done.
Thrill of the Chase (Trait)
Each nearby enemy with Mark of Azzinoth gives Illidan 10% Movement Speed. This effect stacks up to 3 times.
Both Blades (Q)
Lowers the cooldown of Betrayer's Strike to 6 seconds.
Betrayer's Fury (Q)
Betrayer's Strike also increases Illidan's Attack Speed by 30% for 4 seconds.
After lunging, dodge up to 2 Basic Attacks in the next 3 seconds.
Activate to heal 20% of your max health over 4 seconds.
The Hunt (R)
Become unstoppable and after 1 second, launch yourself at the enemy. Deals 85 damage, stuns target for 1 second and applies Mark of Azzinoth.
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Transforms into demon form and leaps to target location upon impact, deals 210 damage in a small area and applies Mark of Azzinoth to targets in a larger area. For each Hero struck, gain 228 temporary max health. Also grants 30% increased attack speed.
Cooldown: 100 seconds
Duration: 18 seconds
Periodically reduces the damage received from Hero Abilities by 50%. Stores up to 2 charges.
Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes deal an additional 1.5% of the target's max Health in damage.
Cursed Strike (W)
Increases the damage bonus from hitting a marked target to 50%, increases the silence to 2 seconds.
Crescent Sweep spouts flames, dealing damage all around Illidan. Its cooldown is also reduced by 2 seconds.
Blood for Blood
Activate to steal 15% of target enemy's max Health and slow its Movement Speed by 30% for 3 seconds.
Activate to gain 30% of your max health in Shields for 5 seconds.
Activate to increase your Attack Speed by 50% and Movement Speed by 10% for 4 seconds.
Fury of the Storm
Basic Attacks bounce twice to nearby enemies for 50% damage.
Resurgence of the Storm
Upon dying, revive back at your altar after 5 seconds. This can occur once every 120 seconds.
Bolt of the Storm
Activate to teleport to the target location.
Voice Over Quotes
These are the voice over quotes repeated by Illidan when the player clicks on him multiple times:
“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?”
Today, community manager Kevin “Cloaken” Johnson interviewed Dustin Browder and Kaeo Milker to talk more about Heroes of the Storm.
The team is happy with the current four maps shown at BlizzCon. Dragonshire is back in the pipe for some polishing. The next few weeks will be focused on working intensely on the Heroes and their user experience. Afterwards, the team will explore about making more maps.
However, they won’t go too crazy with the number of maps, and prefer to have some of the core battlegrounds and maps they have shown so far ready for an upcoming alpha and beta testing.
Dustin Browder, Kaeo Milker and Kevin Johnson will be live on Wednesday, January 22 at 11am PST answering questions from the community. Folow the links below, and submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #HeroesQA
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It’s been a few weeks since our first Live Q&A session and the Heroes of the Storm development team is eager to get back on stream to share more information about the game with you. Whether you’ve had the chance to check out last month’s episode or not, we’re sure you’ve still got a ton of questions about Heroes — and we’ve got a ton of answers.
Join us at Twitch.tv/BlizzHeroes for our second live Heroes of the Storm Q&A panel on Wednesday, January 22 to get your questions answered. The show will kick off at 11:00 a.m. PST and features the following members of the Heroes development team:
Dustin Browder, Game Director
Kaeo Milker, Senior Game Producer
Kevin Johnson, Senior Manager, Community Development
But wait, there’s more! Immediately following the conclusion of the Q&A session, Dustin Browder will be joined by none other than Sean ‘Day’ Plott in order to commentate a Heroes of the Storm showmatch played live on-stream.
We’d love to hear all of your most burning questions about Heroes, so be sure to tweet them to @BlizzHeroes now using #HeroesQA and we’ll get to as many as possible during the broadcast. We hope you’ll tune in, because this week’s show is going to be an absolute blast.
Welcome to the Heroes of the Storm Overview panel. Your panelists are: Dustin Browder (game director), Alan Dabiri (lead software engineer), Sam Didier (art director), and Chris Sigaty (production director).
Browder: Hello BlizzCon. This is kind of a dream panel for me here. These are all the guys that I hang out in the office with all the time. We play board games together, we play “Dungeons and Dragons” together, so I get a chance to come up on the stage and talk about the game we have been working on for the last couple of the years is an absolute blast. We got Alan Dabiri, lead software engineer, we have got, Samwise Didier here art director, and we got Chris Sigaty, production director.
Alright, we are gonna talk to a little bit about what we are working on for “Heroes of the Storm”. So Heroes of the Storm is a lot of different things. It is a big game, we have been working on for a long time, but I am gonna try to boil it down to some sort of key points for you guys.
It’s about getting these Blizzard heroes into the game. It’s about trying to create an environment, where we can bring all of the heroes from all of our worlds, into one single amazing game.
It’s about fun with friends, and this seems kind of obvious, I guess; but it’s about playing with your buddies. This is a team game. We want to focus it on team work, and working together as a group and it’s about these battlegrounds, these new ways to play games of this genre. New challenges, new strategies and new tactics. And of course, for us it’s about paying homage to the amazing Blizzard community.
They really helped to create and to invent this entire genre of games. So I don’t know what you guys think, like for me it really seemed like everything really exploded when Warcraft III, came on the scene.
We had some really great stuff of course in Brood Wars, and even before, but Warcraft III is, it seemed like everything just really took off.
Dota 2 is complicated. It doesn’t have a learning curve so much as a learning wall. The volume of information to memorize and master is immense and intimidating: the multitude of hero builds, items, crafting, ward locations, creep respawn timers, rune types and timers, the hundreds of hero powers and status effects that can change them. Factor in team fight tactics, lane strategies, and meta game organization and the game has moved from complex to daunting, even unwieldy. That’s just the knowledge required to play, not the mechanical skill required from the player like last hitting, hero ability timing, and map awareness. I’ve put more 500 hours into Dota 2, and about as many in the original, and I’m passable with a few heroes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Heroes of the Storm so in my first game at BlizzCon I dropped my expectations. Whatever I played was whatever I was going to judge the game on. I’ve read the briefs from Blizzard, watched the videos, but I wanted to go in as open as possible. I did, I think. Over the course of the two day Blizzard celebration I spent about 4 hours with Heroes of the Storm and played 6 games with different heroes each time. My time certainly wasn’t wasted. Heroes is fun, but that’s almost unnecessary to say as a fan of MOBAs. It’s got the standard trappings – lanes, heroes, pushing, and frantic team fighting – but Heroes does a few things differently.
First, there are no items (and no gold!). None. At all. No health potions, no tangos, no town portal scrolls. Your hero has a town portal ability that recharges. I don’t miss the items. They serve a purpose in other MOBAs but items usually come with the baggage of being boring most of the time. They improve stats or damage, rarely adding powers or altering the ones a hero has. It’s easy to be crippled by missing an item or two because you’re not attacking as fast as you should be. The lack of items means the hero powers improve significantly on their own or via talents. It’s a simple system that leaves more cognitive power for fighting and less for GPM and shopping.
No last hitting. This isn’t unique to Heroes, *cough*League of Legends*cough*, but it’s not common either. Last hitting is usually the sign of a precise, skilled player in Dota. It’s how you earn most of your gold. With no gold to gather, last hitting has gone out the window. I don’t mind it in Dota but I didn’t miss it here.
Shared XP. Not reduced XP when another hero is close by, but even, shared XP for all heroes. Everyone levels at the same time. Your carries won’t be 22 while your support are struggling at 10. The even power curve makes everyone solid in a team fight – no Crystal Maiden syndrome.
Mounts! What’s a Blizzard game without animals you can sit on? Mounts do exactly what you’d expect – they help the heroes move faster. Easier grouping, more team fights. Everyone wins, except those that die.
The differences Heroes has from the other MOBAs reflect the game’s thesis: it’s about the hero punching, plain and simple. There are creep waves and towers and forts but Heroes wants you and your friends to square off against 5 opponents and beat each other silly. It succeeds on that goal – no one I spoke with didn’t enjoy their time with Heroes and want more.
So who were the heroes I played?
Falstad and Nova from the Assassins, Sonya from the Warriors, Malfurion and Uther from Support, and Abathur from the Specialists type. The highlights:
I enjoyed Malfurion the most but that’s because I’m biased – I love playing support and looking like a weirdo. He heals well, roots, and silences.
Uther heals well, gives his buddies invulnerability through Divine Shield, and can stun. Like any paladin, he’s sort of a frustration to counter but rewarding to play.
Nova is a sniper. Chances are that if she shot you, you’re not going to live very long. She hits hard, summons an annoying clone, and can call a nuclear strike. It’s as great as it sounds.
Abathur is…different. He’s interesting. He’s a mix of Lifestealer and Wisp which makes him absolutely terrible to fight against. He’s rated “Very Hard” to play and it shows.
It’s not that Falstad isn’t fun, it’s that the others were much more fun. I really liked flying over the jungle and descending on enemies as a hammer throwing alcoholic.
Sonya didn’t feel particularly special. Her abilities are simple and straight forward, as one would expect a barbarian would be. Maybe for the carries out there that like fighting and fighting and fighting (any Alchemist fans?) but she was the lull in my hero selection.
Heroes is a fun game so far. I want to play more. Boy do I want to play more. Hint hint, community reps. It’s got some room to grow and I look forward to watching (and hopefully playing) as it does so.
Dustin Browder (game director), Sam Didier (senior art director), and Kaeo Milker (senior game producer) discuss the development of Heroes of the Storm over the years and several iterations through past BlizzCons and fan feedback.
Many heroes can be seen in action including: Jim Raynor, Kerrigan, Nova, Thrall, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Diablo, Uther Lightbringer (healer), Zerg Queen, Abathur, Illidan, Arthas, Lili Stormstout, Chen Stormstout, Elite Tauren Chieftain, Anub’arak, Tyrael, Stitches, Tyrande Whisperwind (healer), and more for a total of 18 heroes. Watch the videos after the break.
Heroes of the Storm has some wicked cool character customizations and these model screenshots are testament to that. For the most part, the game is Free-to-Play, but some of these customizations give us a glimpse into one of the possible venues for Blizzard Entertainment to add a virtual store to Heroes of the Storm. More after the break …