Heroes of the Storm 2.0 Preview: Feature Highlights

Big changes are coming to the Nexus for Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard invited me to a Summit where they revealed that Heroes of the Storm 2.0 is the next evolution of the game. With these updates comes a massive change to the progression system, loot chests, social features, new announcers, a collection manager, and an updated currency system.

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 Preview: Cassia the Amazon

On March 28, Blizzard Entertainment held a press event to reveal the new hero coming to the Nexus. Blizzplanet was invited to this event to share with you the plethora of content that Heroes of the Storm 2.0 will introduce for players.

The new hero, Cassia, hails from the world of Sanctuary… the original Diablo II Amazon. After shattering the Worldstone, the young Amazon Cassia had changed. She had seen hatred, terror, and destruction firsthand. If the Askari were to survive the coming darkness, they needed an army. She would begin their training immediately.

 

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Diablo® franchise, Cassia is a “Javazon” war-matron who pays homage to the Diablo II Amazon. Wielding the power of lightning and a sturdy shield, Cassia asserts her will over any Battleground as a highly aggressive ranged Assassin whose Avoidance trait allows her to mitigate even the strongest physical attacks.

Continue reading to learn about her abilities and talents, and afterwards the full Heroes of the Storm 2.0 feature highlights.

 

Will Fenix join Heroes of the Storm?

Celebrating 20-years of StarCraft, Blizzard Entertainment announced the StarCraft: Remastered with support for 4K will be released this summer.

The BlizzHeroes Team has released new heroes at certain times coinciding with cross-game promotions in the past. Here are some notorious examples:

  • Artanis joined the Nexus on October 27, 2015. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void was released on November 10, 2015.
  • Tracer joined the Nexus on April 26, 2016. Overwatch was released on May 24, 2016.
  • The Warcraft film hit theaters in the United States on June 10, 2016. It was no coincidence that Medivh was released on June 14th, followed by Gul’dan (July 12, 2016).
  • World of Warcraft: Legion came out on August 30, 2016. King Varian perished at the Broken Shore, and 3 months later, Varian joined the Nexus (Nov 15, 2016).
  • Alarak joined the Nexus on September 13, 2016. The next day, StarCraft II Patch 3.6 introduced a new Co-op Commander: Alarak.

With the precedents listed above, referencing heroes coming to the Nexus with other Blizzard games’ promotionals, it is not hard to make predictions. With StarCraft: Remastered just around the corner, coming this Summer, the question has to cross your mind: Is Praetor Fenix coming to the Nexus? Only time will tell.

 

Praetor Fenix was a close friend of Tassadar, Jim Raynor and Artanis; and played an important role in the original StarCraft and the Brood War expansion. The video below captures his first death, his return as a dragoon, and a bit of spoilers from StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.

 

Probius enters the Nexus

The Curious Probe

Who is Probius: Probius is a special probe who was first featured in the Legacy of the Void opening cinematic. He was responsible for assisting in the retaking of the Protoss homeworld of Aiur. The pylon Probius summoned was instrumental to their efforts and resulted in a last minute warping in of reinforcements. As the old saying goes, big things come in small packages.

Why should I care: Probius is an interesting addition to the Nexus because he’s a mix of a few different heroes. He’s capable of delivering a large burst of damage akin to Chromie through the combination of Warp Rift and Disruption Pulse. He has considerable lane sustain as long as he is within range of a pylon. As long as he’s conscious of his health he can stay sustain a lane as long as Gul’dan. He can effectively zone the enemy team, much like Gazlowe, through the use of a Null Gate, Photon Cannon or by laying down Warp Rifts which could potentially give your team the edge on a map like Infernal Shrines.

“Beep boop, you’re dead.”

But is Probius for me: Well, I can certainly say he wasn’t for me. Part of the problem with Probius, as far as I can tell, is that he’s not necessarily rewarded for his set up which is the core mechanic to his kit. It’s easy for the enemy team to just avoid his tricks and if they’re smart or you’re careless with your pylon placement – and your pylon is destroyed – you’re effectively placed on time out as your abilities cost too much mana to be spammed and your cooldowns are very high. If you’re at a low level of play, Probius might be a solid pub stomper, as he’s reliant on the enemy team “standing in the bad”, which they will likely do. However, if this isn’t their first time seeing what you do, they will probably avoid it. Or worse, if they are a high mobility assassin they will likely just charge you and kill you. Your best bet, from what I have experienced, would be to push as far as the enemy team will let you get away with, and then simply retreat. If you lose too much health you will lose your lane. And unfortunately for Probius, he doesn’t have much to spare.

For now, I would say this hero is a pass. He will likely be tuned in the comings week, and if they knee jerk buff him enough he may become a hotly contested pick. But in the mean time his cannons are a dud, and his combo is too easily avoided. I would steer clear of Probius unless you simply want some Quick Match fun. At least he’s cute.

Until next time, the Nexus calls.

Probius coming to the Nexus

Probius warps into Heroes of the Storm! Blizzard Entertainment revealed the next specialist hero during the HGC 2017 Katowice Western Clash livestream. It is not phase-smith Karax as I predicted, nor any known StarCraft hero. Instead, it is a wildcard (like ETC, Brightwing, or Murky who didn’t exist in-game or in written media before).

Probius is a StarCraft protoss probe which builds pylons and warps cannons onto the battlefield. The hero should be in the PTR on Tuesday.

 

New StarCraft Hero to be Announced at 2017 HGC Katowice Western Clash

Blizzard Entertainment teased via Twitter to expect a new Hero announcement during the 2017 HGC Western Clash livestream on March 3 (3am EST/New York) (12am PST). The tweet offers two clues as to what the hero might be: the key animation of a protoss warp gate as it teleports units, and the expression “warp drive.”

Personally, I have a feeling it is Phase-smith Karax. Currently, there are three StarCraft II units represented in Heroes of the Storm:

  • Artanis (zealot)
  • Tassadar (high templar)
  • Zeratul (dark templar)

The only StarCraft II protoss hero that is not based in an actual unit coming from the warp gate is Alarak (Highlord of the Tal’darim). So there are three possibilities here: either the next hero is a unit that comes from the warp gate, a Hero Commander, or a wildcard (like Murky, ETC, & Brightwing who were originally not real Warcraft characters). So that only leaves us with phase-smith Karax, a stalker, immortal, probe, dragoon, archon, or a dark archon.

Wildcard heroes never seen in StarCraft could be a probe, stalker, or immortal. Known dragoon: Fenix. Now an archon or dark archon would be interesting. Either a standalone Archon hero, or Blizzard could play around with a two-player unit like Cho’gal. That would be very interesting. However, my money is on Karax.

UPDATE: On March 3, Blizzard Entertainment revealed Probius, a specialist hero. A wildcard, as it is a character created from scratch with no previous lore or appearance in-game.

 

Balance Update: Heroes of the Storm PTR 23.2.50424

A new PTR patch has been deployed in this balance update, nerfing several heroes: Tychus, Murky, Varian, Rexxar, Tassadar, Malfurion, and Lucio. By nerfs I mean, well, there is a lot of Reduced and Decreased keywords across the board.

Check out the patch notes below to find out how your favorite heroes were affected with this wave of nerfs. Ahem… balance updates.

Some more unconventional Hero League tips

• Do not waste Regeneration Globes!: This is a big one. I often see Globes wasted as a result of a player losing focus in a fight and allowing the Globe to expire. A Regeneration Globe helps your sustain through health and mana. If you’re able to bully your lane opponent you can prevent them from safely getting a Globe, or you get some free hits on them when they attempt to grab it. Additionally, many quests rely on Globes in order to be completed. This leads me to my second point:
• If someone on your team is rotating lanes for Globes, try your best to wait until they reach your lane to get the Globe. If they complete their quest sooner, this will help you as well as they will become stronger. If at all possible, prevent the enemy team from completing a rotation for Globes.
• Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to talent selection. Take Gul’dan for instance: Many players rely on Corruption when playing Gul’dan, but if the enemy team ends up drafting Jaina and Nazeebo, you will actually benefit more from the Spell Armor gained from a Fel Flame build. Small tweaks in playstyle can make all the difference.
• Rotating is easily one of the most misunderstood aspects of this game: Because of the fluidity of laning in Heroes, you’ll often see a hero, or a group of heroes rotating in lanes. This can be extremely dangerous for a lone hero. If this ally is on your team, attempt to warn them with a danger ping. If you’re rotating as part of a group try to single out an enemy who has overextended in lane. Preferably you should be unpredictable in your rotation pattern. If you go from top to mid, and then from mid to bot, chances are each lane will retreat. However, if you can predict the movements of the enemy team you can catch them unaware and get an easy kill. When at all possible, follow safe paths, on your side of the map if you’re alone. If the enemy team is also grouped, try to keep an eye on where they are and where they’re headed. It might save your life.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time, the Nexus calls.

Lúcio coming at you! Lúcio enters the Nexus

“Let’s drop the beat!”

Who is Lúcio: As a young man, Lúcio grew up in poverty in an area of Brazil hit particularly hard by the Omnic Crisis. In order to lift the spirits of the people of Rio de Janeiro, Lúcio began performing music on street corners and block parties. His life changed, however, when the Vishkar Corporation attempted to take control of his city, exploiting the populace and imposing curfews. Lúcio chose to fight back, stealing the Vishkar Corporation’s technology, and utilizing it to start an uprising that would drive the Vishkar out. As a result, Lúcio became a hero; a symbol for the oppressed and a force for good through his music.

Why should I care: Since Lúcio was announced he has often been compared to Brightwing because the source of his healing is an AoE which doesn’t require mana, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The most interesting aspect of Lúcio’s kit actually comes from his Speed Boost. The reason being Lúcio is passively able to provide a 15% movement speed buff to allies within range, and can boost the bonus to 45% through Amp It Up. This actually enables a fair number of heroes who previously suffered because they lacked mobility. Butcher doesn’t necessarily have to charge in to close the gap. Arthas doesn’t have to slowly walk towards enemies, and Kerrigan can save her leap for a more opportune moment. This is a huge aspect of his kit that differentiates him from other supports because it’s a persistent effect. Lúcio is actually able to solo heal pretty adequately but also benefits from an additional support who’s able to provide targeted heals. This allows him to either focus on speed boosting or he could choose to chase with a melee assassin friend and catch that pesky ranged assassin who’s going to escape. You thought Illidan was bad before? Try escaping a speed boosted one.

But is Lúcio for me: I believe Lúcio is a strong addition to the current support meta because he thrives in a sustained combat environment. He even has a powerful anti burst tool through his heroic Sound Barrier, which you’ll recognize if you’ve played Overwatch. I’ve seen many fights turn as a result of a well timed shield, especially once the enemy commits to the fight. Lúcio is able to heal right up there with the best of them, but does require his allies playing to his strengths, to a degree. He doesn’t necessarily have the versatility of Malfurion, but I recommend drafting Lúcio if you have a melee hero who lacks mobility, or supplemental to a healer like Uther who struggles to heal multiple allies when a skirmish drags out. Ultimately, if you’re a support player I believe you’ll enjoy Lúcio a great deal. And yes, despite some small similarities, there’s still room for Brightwing too.

Until next time, the Nexus calls.

NECA Heroes of the Storm Thrall Action Figure

NECA unveiled the next NECA Heroes of the Storm Thrall Action Figure, and it is awesome. The action figure is 7 inches tall scale, deluxe, with 25 points of articulation. Expect it to ship on June 2017.

NECA is proud to present the Thrall action figure from Heroes of the Storm™, the online team brawler filled with favorite characters from Blizzard Entertainment’s vast video game universes!

Created in collaboration with Blizzard, orc leader Thrall (World of Warcraft™) features a game-authentic sculpt with extra-detailed armor and 25+ points of articulation. The Warchief of the Horde is 6.5” tall and appropriately meaty, and comes with a hammer accessory.

Comes in clamshell packaging.

 

 

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