Archive for May, 2014

5 characters from each Blizzard franchise I’d love to see in Heroes of the Storm

I got into the technical alpha test for Heroes of the Storm a couple of weeks ago, but I simply hadn’t had the time to jump into it and give it a good shot. I’ve never played a MOBA before (click this link to determine what that is if you aren’t sure) due primarily in part to the bad reputation that hardcore players of the genre have. League of Legends, far and away the most popular MOBA currently, is especially known for its absolutely toxic playerbase, most of which is likely due to an extremely vocal minority. Consequently, I wasn’t even sure I’d enjoy the genre at all. I’ve never been great at RTS games, would that translate over to MOBAs as well?

I’m happy to say that it did not. Heroes of the Storm is ridiculously fun, easy to get into but more challenging to master, like a good game should be.

Like most MOBAs, Heroes uses a model where the game itself is free to play, and players can choose from a small subset of the game’s total characters to play for free. That subset is a rotating roster that changes weekly. Any hero you wish to keep and use permanently, you must pay for, either with in-game currency or with actual cash. Additional items, such as different skins for your hero, must be paid for with actual cash as well.

The roster consists of well known characters from all of Blizzard’s franchises, and more will be added soon, but here, I’m going to list 5 characters from each series that I hope Blizzard includes.

We’ll start with Diablo.

Currently Diablo is well represented by the game’s eponymous villain, as well as the Archangel Tyrael and three of the game’s heroes from Diablo 3. Here’s who I’d like to see join that roster.

The Angel of Death

No one can stop Death.

1. Malthael

This one’s obvious. He’s the main villain of the 3rd game’s recent expansion, and an iconic character in the minds of recent fans. I see him as a deadly melee character, mixing his twin blades with soul-draining type abilities.

The skies shall rain fire, and the seas will become as blood. The righteous shall fall before the wicked, and all of Creation shall tremble before the burning standards of Hell!

The skies shall rain fire, and the seas will become as blood. The righteous shall fall before the wicked, and all of Creation shall tremble before the burning standards of Hell!

2. Mephisto

Or really, any of the other Prime Evils. I just picked Mephisto because his design in Diablo 2 was a terrifying look that I think would be even better with a modernized model that Heroes would offer. Rumors have Azmodan, one of the Prime Evils from Diablo 3, pegged as a future hero, but I’d like to see the villains from Diablo 2 get this treatment as well, especially since Azmodan was such a joke character in hindsight.

The Archangel of Valor

I feat nothing!

3. Imperius

The Archangel of Valour spent as much time fighting with the Nephalem heroes of Diablo 3 as he did battling the forces of hell. He’d make a great addition to Heroes, and it would give him a second chance (and many after) to face Diablo in battle again, given what happens to him during the course of the game!

The Master of the Undead

What a pity. I was beginning to enjoy the darkness

4. The Necromancer

We’ve seen three of Diablo 3’s playable characters get added to Heroes, but why stop there? Why not grab some of the ones from the iconic second game as well? I picked the Necromancer out of sheer love of the class concept, but it may overlap a bit with the Witch Doctor hero. Any of the second game’s characters would be a welcome sight

The Loremaster

Stay awhile, and listen!

5. Deckard Cain

Okay, now you just might think I’m being ridiculous, and you’re probably right, this is likely to never happen, but the game already has a pandaren child, a faerie dragon, and coming soon, a baby murloc! Why not an old man that just happens to be one of the Diablo franchises most iconic characters, perhaps second only to Diablo himself? He’d have to be a very unique support sole kind of character, using the Book of Cain to buff ally weapons, or the Horadric Cube in some fashion. It could easily work, just takes some creativity on Blizzard’s part and some dedication on the player’s part!

 

Let’s move on to the Starcraft franchise. This one was hard to do, because you already have so many of the game’s well known characters present in Heroes. Raynor, Tychus, Nova, and everyone’s favorite Terran unit, the Siege Tank, currently represent the Terrans. For the Protoss, you’ve got Tassadar and Zeratul. Over on the Zerg side, you’ve got Kerrigan, Abathur, and coming soon, Za’gara. That’s most of the best-known and fan-favorite characters from Starcraft, so who’s left to consider? Well, I had a few ideas, and the best ones are these.

Chief Engineer of the Hyperion

Hey, wanna arm wrestle?

1. Rory Swann

I’ll confess, I’m a Swann fan. I like everything about the character, and it’s a shame he didn’t get used more in Heart of the Swarm’s few human missions. As far as gameplay, it’s pretty obvious that Raynor and Tychus were heavily inspired by their appearance in the Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty mission “Belly of the Beast”, so there’s no reason we can’t do the same for Swann. He can wear the same Marauder combat suit and have an ability to deploy his “Flaming Betty” turret for control. He’d be awesome.

Ruler of the Skies and the Ground

Transform and Roll Out!

2. A Viking

We’ve got a character that drives a Siege Tank, why not a Viking one? The Viking would be a fantastic Hero if done right. A deadly ranged assassin on the ground, but also able to transform into flight mode to move speedily over terrain, but lose the ability to attack perhaps? I’m sure there’s balance that would need to be done there, but it could work and work well if done right.

Must feeeeed!

Must feeeeed!

3. An evolved Zergling of some sort

Zerglings are one of the iconic monsters of Blizzard, and if we can get one as a character, perhaps with the story that it represents the ultimate pinnacle of Zergling Evolution, it would be a fun character. I also picture it with an ultimate ability that somehow involves it evolving into a Baneling, either doing massive damage but instantly killing the Hero, or more moderate damage but surviving to continue to fight.

As I was your beginning - so shall I be... your end.

As I was your beginning – so shall I be… your end.

4. Amon

Amon is being set up as the ultimate big bad of the Starcraft universe, it’s only natural he should get a spot in Heroes as well. So much of Amon is shrouded in mystery at this point, we really don’t know what he’s capable of or his preferred methods for fighting yet.

I feat not death, for our strength is eternal!

I feat not death, for our strength is eternal!

5. Fenix

Praetor Fenix in his Dragoon body (or possibly even an Immortal) would be freaking awesome. You’ve got a badass protoss mind in a spider-robot shell, blasting away with phase disruptors. Yes please. Bring Fenix back!

 

Finally we come to the Warcraft franchise. I expect that the bulk of playable Heroes in the future will come from this franchise. It’s had 4 games, including an MMO which by nature introduces us to a ton of characters, and gives many more of them the spotlight. For this franchise, I had a very hard time just nailing down 5, and I expect my 5 will be wildly different than someone else’s! Here’s the ones I nailed down. Note that I deliberately left off Sylvanas and Kael’thas because they were recently shown as being in the works.

Storm, Earth, and Fire. Heed my call!

Storm, Earth, and Fire. Heed my call!

1. Thrall

This is where I have to complain a bit about the current selection of Warcraft Heroes. We’ve got three Night Elves, a human (two if you count one of Arthas’ alternate skins), and 2 Dwarves for the Alliance, over on the Horde side we have Gazlowe, who’s not really Horde at all, and ETC, who is technically a joke character (an awesome one who totally belongs in the game, though). The Horde could use some love in Heroes, and who better than our beloved former Warchief, Thrall?

Darkspear never die!

Darkspear never die!

2. Vol’jin

There have been rumors and possible images that Zul’jin, the leader of the Forest Trolls that were a part of the Horde in Warcraft 2, is planned to be added to Heroes, and while I definitely think he should be a part of it, the Horde’s current Warchief  should definitely merit consideration as well. Vol’jin has gone through a lot of development since being included in World of Warcraft, and he’s definitely a front running character in the minds of WoW players. His abilities as a Shadow Hunter have always been a bit…nebulously defined, so there’s potential to put him in any role Blizzard requires in Heroes.

Peace is not always the answer!

Peace is not always the answer!

3. Jaina Proudmoore

Sure this might seem a bit odd, given that I complained about too many Alliance characters earlier, but I would love to see Jaina in Heroes for a number of reasons. One, she’s probably the games most iconic mage charater, and you guys know me, I love me some Mages; Two, She’s at least as equally well known an Alliance leader as the others currently in the game, if not moreso; and Three, you can include the Diablo 2 Sorceress and the Diablo 3 female Wizard as alternate skins for her and get three characters in one!

I am darkness incarnate. I will not be denied!

I am darkness incarnate. I will not be denied!

4. Gul’dan

We’ve got a LOT of bad guys from Warcraft we can include in Heroes. The Lich King and Illidan are already present, Kael’thas is in the works, Cho’gall and Anub’arak are rumored, but I’ve got two others I’d like to submit for consideration, and the first one is the Old Horde’s grand warlock, and the Orc responsible for their corruption, Gul’dan. He’s a marvelous character who could have all sorts of demon-summoning abilities, and I think he’d be a great addition!

Stupid, pitiful creatures. I am the rage of your heart. I am the fury of your thoughts. I alone empowered you to bring chaos to this world, and by the endless void, you shall!

Stupid, pitiful creatures. I am the rage of your heart. I am the fury of your thoughts. I alone empowered you to bring chaos to this world, and by the endless void, you shall!

5. Mannoroth

Speaking of demons and the Old Horde’s corruption, how about we bring in the Pit Lord responsible for the actual blood that caused the corruption as well? Pit Lords already have one of my most favorite models in all the Blizzard games, and you could draw on their Warcraft 3 appearance where they were already neutral hero units for inspiration. Yes, a case can be made that other demon lords are more powerful (such as Archimonde or Kil’jaeden) or more fresh in the minds of players of WoW (YOU FACE JARAXXUS!), but if for nothing else than to see his visual model, I’d vote for Mannoroth as the first Burning Legion representative into the Nexus!
Did I get it wrong? Did I miss someone obvious? Leave me a comment and share your suggestions!!

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