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



Phill: Hi guys! I’m Phill Gonzáles. I’m a lead character artist on Heroes of the Storm, and we are going to talk about the vision sync.



The vision sync occurs after the 17 weeks of design preliminary work that goes into deciding what hero we are going to develop, what those mechanics are, the play testing and when we get this email this is when we know we are putting a ring on it. This is when we know we are committing to a character and we are going to build it.



This is my most boring slide, I’m going to talk to you about all of the artistic process, but when we get this email it includes the designer who pitches the design, they explain the abilities, the special features, it includes the character artist who will be ultimately drawing research together, showing the different visions we have of the character, deciding on that final look, we have the animators who decide how it’s going to animate move, the effects artist who plan out the way the abilities look, the technical artist who have to implement everything; we have writers who give us character feedback, we have the sound team in the loop so they understand what’s coming, we have the engineers so we can talk about the AI and all the other special features. It’s a very, very good time for everyone to just discuss what it’s going to take to actually create this character. So let’s start with Lunara.



As Hugh mentioned, she has a very, very unique silhouette being a night elf dryad. They are a very, very diverse race with mountain giants, druids, dryads and in Lunara’s case (being a dryad) she has the upper body of a night elf, and the lower body of a deer.

This is extremely important, because based on the vision sync we came to understand that her movement was very, very particular; and there are other details such as the fact that she wasn’t a very hardy character. She was very lightly armored and what we did was we started pulling out these concepts. The ones you see right now are from Warcraft III.

These Warcraft III concepts had a lot of detail that we weren’t able to accomplish in our immediate executions of the dryad and in 3D. You’ll notice a lot of the foliage and the hair, the armor. Things like that.



When we did develop Warcraft III we couldn’t use that level of resolution. It was a very low-poly game. Thankfully, dryads are such an iconic character that they were a natural addition to the World of Warcraft, and the resolution somewhat improved.



Diving into Lunara we gravitated back toward some of those classic designs; the light armor, a lot more integration of her nature-related aesthetics — like the vines crawling down her arms, the foliage in her hair.



It was really cool to integrate that because night elves are one with nature. It’s a very important detail, and details make a huge difference with these characters. This is something we crank up to ten, eleven, with the master skins.



We had bigger horns, more foliage, the armor gets more intricate. It’s a lot of fun to express these characters to a greater degree of the master skins. I’m going to give you a look at the 3D models that we ended up going with, and then I’m going to turn it back over to Hugh to talk about the hero design.

Here’s the base model. You can see a lot of those details I was referring to, and when we switch the master skin you’re going to see her pop, and just amp up. She is even better. It’s really fun to bring these to the table and it’s something we are going to do with all the heroes in this panel.



Hugh: Thank you, Phill. So… Lunara. Who among you are familiar with one of my favorite games: Warcraft III? If you are not familiar, the dryad was a night elf unit. They were fast-moving, they had slowing poison and they had anti-magic capabilities; and we thought that some of these elements would translate well into Heroes.



So let’s talk about how we re-envision them for Lunara. First off, let’s talk about her (Z). Her (Z) is where normally heroes mount up, but for Lunara we did something a little different; and we gave her the first passive always on movement ability; and as you can see in this video she doesn’t move like our normal heroes.

She bounces forward, and this does a couple different things for gameplay. It means she’s able to get out of AOEs a little bit easier than some other characters, and she’s also able to avoid skill shots easier than other characters.

Since this movement speed bonus is about 20% faster, she’s able kite melee enemies, but it does put her at a little bit of a disadvantage on larger maps when she is moving to a map objective because she can’t mount up like everybody else.

Lunara’s trait is Nature’s Toxin, and the way that this works is that whenever Lunara lands a basic attack or one of her abilities she applies a damage-over-time effect; and this ability can stack multiple times.



As you see in this video, Lunara is really encouraged to spread her damage around to get the most out of that trait, and one of the ways that she can get the most of that trait pretty effectively is with her (Q). The (Q) is a ground target AOE, and it deals damage on impact while also applying the trait. This is what Lunara is going to want to use if you’re trying to poke at enemies that are just a little bit out of range of your basic attacks.



Lunara’s (W) is Crippling Spores, and this ability is only usable when Lunara has her trait active on some enemies. When she does activate it, it will slow down all those enemies so this gives Lunara another reason to really spread that trait damage around.



Before we talk about her (E), let’s talk about her heroics. The reason I want to touch on this first is because both of these heroics are fairly short cooldowns and they have multiple charges — so we know that she’s going be using them pretty frequently in combat.



The first of these two heroics is Thornwood Vine (R); this is a long-range fast-moving skillshot and it’s on a 15-second cooldown with three charges. This is the heroic that you are going to want to take if you are building a team around long-ranged poke, or if you’re facing enemies that might lock you down if you get too close.



Lunara’s other heroic is Leaping Strike (R). This is intended to be an ability where Lunara targets an enemy, she leaps over them, sort of winks at the camera, and throws a spear as she passes.



On paper this ability is pretty unconventional because as a ranged assassin you don’t want to put yourself into the middle of the enemy team. So what we did is: we gave it two charges.

So even in situations where you’re facing off against the other teams’ frontline you can jump over and jump back. I’m just going to run through a few videos where you can use this ability in different ways.

This first video shows that use of jumping over, jumping over and jumping back over.



In the second video you can see the types of mobility in the jungle that this ability allows you to have if you are jumping over a merc camp, or if you are jumping over another enemy hero.



And… this final video shows how much mobility you can really get out of this if you jump over the first enemy and then jump over the second enemy, you can reposition yourself really effectively in the middle of a chaotic team fight and it really allows for some pretty exciting moments.



We talked about most of Lunara’s basic abilities and we talked about her heroics and we skipped her (E), and that’s because once again we, did something a little bit different.

We’ve done this a little bit before, but we’ve added an ability that is purely about utility: the Wisp. The Wisp was another unit that was found in Warcraft III, and what we keyed in on was its ability to grant vision in an area.

As you can see here Lunara is able to send a Wisp out from her current location and then redirect it multiple times once it’s out there. This ability is really good in the early game if you are going to give yourself vision in a lane to prevent a gank or it’s also pretty useful later on in a match when you want to scout out the enemies doing a map objective such as a boss.



One last thing I want to touch on for Lunara is her anti-magic capabilities. We gave her two talents: one at level 13 and one at level 20. The first one is greater spell shield which reduces all incoming magic damage by 75%. We didnt want to go in all the way to the 100%, but we did hit the 75% which is still pretty strong; but we also went with at level 20 talent – Abolish Magic which you can cast it on an ally and it will remove CC from them as well as remove CC from you; and it will move damage over time effects.

That is Lunara. She’s a fragile range assassin who wears down her enemies with her trait and she keeps her distance with mobility. We had a lot of fun making her and we hope you enjoyed playing her on the show floor, and I’m going to hand things over back to Phill so he can introduce you to Greymane.



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

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts


Tomas Hernandez is owner of 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.

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