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.
Dustin Browder and HuskyStarcraft present a new Heroes of the Storm alpha gameplay video as a December 24 Xmas gift to fans. This video shows the Cursed Hollow map where players need to collect three Raven Lord tributes to curse the enemy. The curse causes the enemy base to cancel out Tower damage, and units get lowered health.
In this match we have Naziba the witch doctor, Tyrael, Falstad, Stitches and Tyrande on the red team and Uther, Nova, Gazlowe the Tinker, Zeratul and Muradin on the blue team. Right at the beginning of the video you can see each unit has its own /dance animation.
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 …
Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler, starring your favorite Blizzard characters. Build and customize heroes from across every Blizzard universe to suit your play style. Team up with your friends and engage in fast-paced mayhem across varied battlegrounds that impact strategy and change the way you play the game.
In each match you can select from an array of Blizzard heroes and join a team to battle against enemy players, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base. You’ll have the opportunity to stage classic showdowns such as Raynor vs. Kerrigan, or mix and match heroes from different games to fight together and against each other.
Each hero starts the game with a set of powerful abilities and traits, and over the course of the battle you’ll have the ability to customize your hero with unique talents and heroic abilities. While each hero has certain core strengths, the talents you select can greatly change the way your hero fights. Support heroes like Uther for example, can be played as almost a pure healer, or can take on more of a damage dealing role.
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!