BlizzCon 2017 Heroes of the Storm Deep Dive Panel Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the Heroes Of The Storm, Hero Deep Dive Panel

Andrew: What’s up BlizzCon. My name is Andrew Kinabrew. Around the office people call me Brew. I’m a senior 3D artist with the Heroes Team. Next to me we got Matt Villers (senior game designer). Next to him is Kent-Eric Hagman (lead hero designer), and at the end is Alex Neyman (Live game designer). We want to thank you for joining us for the Hero Deep Dive panel.


Today, Matt, Eric and I are going to be talking to you about the two new heroes that we announced yesterday at the opening ceremonies: Alexstrasza and Hanzo. Then, Alex will wrap up the panel by talking about some stealth changes that we’re bringing to the Nexus, followed by a Q&A.


Modeling: Alexstrasza

Andrew: Did you guys see the announcement trailer yesterday at the opening ceremony? Alexstrasza, the first Dragon aspect to come to the Nexus. She is an epic hero, and she heals by fire, and she turns into a dragon. But who is Alexstrasza from the Blizzard universe? Well, in Cataclysm, we saw how Alexstrasza assembled the dragon aspects to go up against Deathwing.


In Hearthstone, we saw Alexstrasza manipulate Health in a very impactful way. Today, we want to talk to you about how we bring this iconic hero with all her lore and fantasy to the Nexus. With such a beloved and epic hero, we wanted to do right by you guys, and bring Alexstrasza into Heroes in the right way.


Artistically, I want to talk to you about some of the challenges and goals that we had when we started when we developed Alexstrasza. So let’s start out with her elf form. This is her character concept. Now Alexstrasza is the queen of dragons. So we wanted her to be regal. We decked her out with ornamentation and jewelry. We like the idea of bringing her horn aesthetic into her armor.


Now that we have got the elf form figured out, we need to look at her other form: her dragon form. Now this is the character concept for the dragon form. This is where we cover all the broad strokes. But I need to address the elephant in the room– or rather the dragon in the room. See… dragons are massive.


Early on in the development, Art and Design wanted to make sure that this dragon was as large as we could possibly make her. So we didn’t want a drake. We wanted a dragon. So in order to do that, we needed to figure out her scale, and then we have to bring in some friends from the Nexus. One of our larger heroes is Azmodan. In the Diablo universe, he is the size of a three story building. In the Nexus, he’s a functional size.


Now stay with me on this one. We don’t use banana for scale on the Heroes team, but we do use Uther for scale. He’s our medium height hero. He is our baseline. So now that we have Uther, Azmodan, we can create a line up and we come up with the size that we can handle with Alexstrasza.


We tuck her wings back into her body, we created animation rules that allow her body to be compact — all while making sure that we don’t eclipse smaller heroes like Chromie. But now that we’ve got scale knocked out, we need to figure out what to do with her movement. You see… with large lumbering creatures we are asking a lot of you when we say that these guys can turn on a dime.


So our art animation team, technical artists, and engineering teams jumped into action. They created a system that allowed for characters to use additional animations when they turn. So you know this guy. This is Kel’Thuzad. I like to call him “KT” myself, and when he turns around you will notice that his tapestry move in a corresponding direction.

Now here is a similar tech applied to Alexstrasza, and if you notice on the right the turn tech is enabled, and her head and tail create kind of a C shape. This is so that she looks where she moves.


So now that we’ve got scale and movement nailed and locked down, we can mark done on this dragon; and before I hand it off to Matt who is going to talk to you about Alexstrasza’s kit…


I got one more thing to show you. Now the art team has been working really hard to create additional skins for Alexstrasza; and we’re going to be releasing these on her launch; but you don’t have to wait to play these. You can play these now on the showfloor. Check them out.



1. Modeling: Alexstrasza2. Design: Alexstrasza3. Modeling: Hanzo4. Design: Hanzo
5. Live Heroes Revamp6. Community 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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