‘Heroes of the Storm’s New Heroes Have High Skill Caps

Jeremy Ray
Blizzard Games
Blizzard Games

Heroes of the Storm announced two new heroes at Blizzcon 2017, along with its content plans for 2018. The big short-term news for HOTS fans is two new heroes: Alexstrasza from World of Warcraft, and Hanzo from Overwatch.

I got hands on with both characters, and after some play sessions it seems clear these heroes are intended for high level play.

Hanzo has no heals to speak of, and isn’t exactly tanky. A lot of his abilities involve terrain, and go through terrain, and in the right hands you can see them doing serious damage. Especially his scatter shot. Even with the indicator turned on to display how the arrows would split up and travel, I found it hard to get it just right.

On the flipside, it’s quite easy to read how a Hanzo will be using terrain when he wants to escape or set up a scatter shot. We’ll probably see some epic reads from heroes like Tyrande or Junkrat, who can place their skillshot exactly where Hanzo will land.

Alexstrasza similarly has the potential to do great things in the right hands, but she’ll need her teammates to cooperate. A lot of her heals are initiated by targeting a teammate, so she needs to be around friends to get full value.

On top of that, initiating a heal is only part of the equation. A few of her abilities require friendly heroes to be in the right spot, which could lead to frustration in Hero League. They’re strong heals, but everyone is going to need to be on the same page.

A New Kind of Creep

Check the video above for footage of the heroes in action, as well as an answer from game director Alan Dabiri on the steady creep of advanced mobility in Heroes of the Storm. More and more heroes are playing around with movement abilities and baseline movement increases.

Part of that is due to the recent lean on Overwatch characters. The team is good at making sure there are lots of balance tradeoffs — Lunara is as squishy as they come — but this is less of a balance issue and more of a question of what kind of game you want to play. In the beginning, one core constant was that all heroes had the same movement speed. That’s far from the case now.

Dabiri even hinted that we may see some kind of hero in the future who punishes movement. If your opposing team picks three movement-based heroes, it would be a perfect counter. Apparently they’ve been talking about it.

Jeremy Ray
Managing Editor at FANDOM. Decade-long games critic and esports aficionado. Started in competitive Counter-Strike, then moved into broadcast, online, print and interpretative pantomime. You merely adopted the lag. I was born in it.
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