Blizzplanet members Lugia and Handclaw interviewed Heroes of the Storm senior producer Kaeo Milker to ask questions about the brand-new heroes: Azmodan, Anub’arak and Chen Stormstout. He offered some nice details about them. Transcript coming soon.
Lugia: So, thank you very much for joining us today. So let’s talk about the new heroes that are coming with the oncoming patch.
Kaeo: So, there’s three new heroes we’re showing here at GamesCom. They won’t all be in the next patch but they will be coming soon to the game. We basically just have them here as a first playable for the first time anywhere. We showed Chen at ChinaJoy in the Taipei application show just a week or two ago, but they weren’t actually playable there. Actually, all three of them are playable so Chen, Anub’arak and Azmodan are all here.
Lugia: Let’s talk about Azmodan. What are his aptitudes?
Kaeo: Sure. Azmodan’s a specialist. He’s a very adept kind of siege hero. He’s kind of easier to play compared to some of the other specialists. Like, we have specialists like Abathur, Murky – some really crazy specialists out there that do totally unique things. Azmodan is a little easier for new players to play. He’s got a lot of AoE slowing abilities. His heroic abilities are either a giant black pool that slows things in a very large area. He’s got a lot of summon abilities where he summons demons in. One of them actually is kind of this commander that when he’s summoned in, he’ll actually empower the other minions and other demons that are around him. So he kind of helps Azmodan be a real good pusher or a good siege lane hero. He has a range ability that he can fire a projectile a really far distance and it does AoE damage and sets his targets on fire. Kind of a cool finishing move for heroes that are running away, or a good way to deal with far off heroes.
Lugia: By far off, you mean something that is off the screen or just in visual range?
Kaeo: The range is actually really far in. I’m not sure where it is in the build that’s here because these are things that we change all the time in development. But the last time I played it just a little while ago, it was actually really far, like multiscreen away you could shoot this thing. So it’ll be interesting how it turns out here. So he’s just kind of a really big guy obviously too, you know Azmodan. He’s this big multi-legged beast and he’s a pretty big presence on the battlefield. He also has a channeled ability that he can basically target a single target and do a massive damage over time the longer he stays targeted on them. So he’s just a fun guy to play and a different kind of specialist. So like I said he’s a little easier to play than our other specialists but still a lot of fun and very challenging and an awesome siege hero.
Lugia: Okay so about Anub’arak, what do you think is his main aptitude?
Kaeo: So Anub’arak’s a melee warrior and he’s got a lot of fun abilities. He has a burrow-charge ability which is a really awesome way to both kind of close in and initiate attacks but it’s also a really good escape mechanism for him. He actually burrows underground and charges away. Similar to the Ultralisk in Starcraft II.
Lugia: Again, like Anub’arak in the (### 3:12). When you fight him, he’s gone underground…
Kaeo: Absolutely, and when he comes out of that, he actually pushes people away as well. It’s a really good way to initiate an attack but I love using it as an escape too. He’s melee so he gets in there, he’s dealing damage. You gotta get outta town and the burrow-charge is a great way to get out of there. He also has an impaling blades ability which does a line damage where spikes come out of the ground and also stuns everyone in that line. It’s very good at taking out lines of minions and also initiating things in hero battles and team battles that are going on.
Lugia: Finally – Chen. So, you told me before, he’s a tank?
Kaeo: Yeah, he is a warrior. He has a unique mechanic where he uses brew instead of mana. Most of his kit is cycling around the brew kit for him. So he basically drinks brew and it takes him out of combat and he gets a shield that regens mana really quickly when he’s drinking brew. He basically regens very quickly. He could basically be in the middle of a fight and be pretty damaged, running low on his mana equivalent – his brew, go out of combat, drink real quick, gets buffed up, comes back out and keeps going. So he’s pretty hard to take down. He’s tough already but that kind of ability really makes him have a lot more sustain in the game. He’s got some fun ultimates. He has a storm, earth and fire ultimate where like three versions of himself spawn out. They look amazing. Straight out of Warcraft III. So, that’s really fun. He also has an ability where he rolls into his keg and he just basically rolls around and pushes enemies around and does a lot of damage so that’s another fun ability of his. He also combos his abilities really well where he does a keg smash where he kind of sprays brew all over everybody and then he can ignite that and it does damage to them. So everything is just kind of combo on top of combo with Chen, but a really fun melee warrior.
Lugia: So maybe my final question would be about unity. Even though the game is still in alpha, would you have the possibility to let the player choose which new hero can be put in-game? For instance, let’s say there is a vote where in the first part, the players are choosing specific heroes and then there’s the choice in reducing. Finally, let’s say some weeks after, there is a final choice and then Tirion – Tirion is a new hero. Could that be a possibility for future content?
Kaeo: Yeah I would love to see us do that. Right now we’re in technical alpha which is really about – very early stages of the game. It’s really earlier than we’ve ever shown anyone a game in Blizzard development before. But most of our focus right now is on setting up our server infrastructure and kind of testing the scalability of that. We’re also adding as much content as we can as quickly as we can. About every four to six weeks we’ve been patching the game, adding new heroes in, we’ve added a new battleground now: Garden of Terror. So we’re up to five battlegrounds so our focus is really on trying to stand up the core game components right now but we’ve talked about things like that and I can see a time in the future that as we have more content on the horizon that we could open things up to the community and give them options like that. Our biggest goal right now is to get as much cool stuff in and test it as early as we can. So that’s really where our energies are focused now. But we’re really building this game for the community and again in tech house we’re building it with them right there along side us, watching us develop it in real time. So, it’s kind of a cool opportunity for us as a development team to have much more direct communication and see the wants and wishes of the players much more directly than we have. With our traditional games we were off making them for many years and then we release a box. So I’m excited about opportunities like that, so I could see us doing that for things like skins and mounts and heroes as well and basically trying to figure out how the players would like us to prioritize the work that we have ahead of us.
Heroes of the Storm Job Openings
Kaeo: Team One is the team that make Starcraft II and Heroes of the Storm. We are looking for people across all different disciplines so artists, designers, producers, engineers. So we’re looking for everybody basically. This team is growing pretty rapidly and we’re trying to get as many talented, passionate people as we can. Across Blizzard, we hire gamers pretty much for every position in the company and it’s something that I think people who come in who are very passionate about games and have opinions on them, they play a big role in how we design our games and how we build them. I think if we have someone who’s passionate about Blizzard and excited about the kind of games that we’re making, they should go to Blizzard.com/jobs and they should look at – there’s probably 100+ jobs available across the company. And I would imagine on Heroes of the Storm, we probably have at least fifteen or twenty open right now. So I would encourage people to go check that out and apply and we’re always looking for talented, passionate people at Blizzard.
Blizzard Entertainment provided Blizzplanet the Heroes of the Storm gameplay video showing the three new Heroes: Chen Stormstout, Azmodan and Anub’arak. We will upload soon the video interview with developer Kaeo Milker.