Heroes Of The Storm BlizzCon Preview

Heroes Of The Storm: BlizzCon 2015 Preview

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Heroes Of The Storm (HotS) players aren’t the most patient of souls.

Jump into a game as a noob and you’d best be prepared to look, listen and take some guidance from the four other players your teamed with. If you don’t back them up, help out as a team player and resist the urge to go off on your own, they will all hate you – and they won’t be shy about telling you this in no uncertain terms.

So it’s interesting that at this year’s BlizzCom, the HotS announced that the new hero it’s adding to the mix requires two players to control yet. Yes, you read that correctly. One hero. Two players. Imagine how loud the cacophony of abuse in your headphones is going to get when this hero finally goes live.

The hero in question, Cho’Gall is a two-headed ogre who will be familiar to World Of Warcraft players. In WOW, Cho’Gall is essentially two brothers trapped in the same body with rather distinct personalities, so in a way, it makes sense to put two players in charge of controlling him. His inclusion in any posse, however, means that one side is a hero short, due to the fact that Cho’Gall is one tough cookie.

Heroes Of The Storm Preview
Cho’Gall: Two heads are better than one – if both players can actually work together

In terms of how he plays, one player controls Cho and the other controls Gall. The Cho player is in the driver’s seat and also has a collection of melee-based attacks. The Gall player is along for the ride, and is in charge of the brute’s ranged attacks. The levelling system works the same as any other hero; once the team levels up significantly, both Cho and Gall unlock new powers and attacks.

Essentially Cho’Gall plays like a Warrior/Assassin hybrid and players occasionally need to work in tandem – one of Cho’s attacks needs the player controlling Gall to activate it, for example. The character is buffed by the fact that it has more health than any other Hero, but this is balanced out by the fact that if it’s killed it counts as two heroes being ganked and the opposing team is awarded double XP.

To add to Cho’Gall’s general weirdness, he’s not available for purchase until after the end of the year. The attendees at BlizzCon and anyone who bought a virtual ticket to the event will receive him for free. Those players can then team up with a mate who don’t have the character and if they win two games, he becomes unlocked for the player who didn’t own him.

The other two new heroes are also from WOW – Greymane, the Worgen king of Gilneas and Lunara Bluetear, a Dryad centaur – both of whom are in the assassin class.

Heroes Of The Storm Preview
Half-man/half-wolf, all hero: Greymane offers players two forms and two different playing styles

The former is able to switch between human and Worgen form and this gifts the player ranged and melee attacks respectively. Greymane takes a bit of finesse to play, and a lot of his powers and special abilities work best if players note that switching between his two forms maximises his effectiveness.

Many of Lunara’s attacks are toxin-based and while they don’t dish out vast amounts of damage initially, they slowly poison opponents over time. She can also slow down fleeing enemies with Crippling Spores, making them easier for teammates to run down. Perhaps her biggest value to a team is as a scout; Lunara can send out a wisp to a certain location and it can let her and her teammates peak through the fog of war.

On top of the three new heroes, Heroes Of The Storm is also in line for a new Battle Arena and a new mode – funnily enough, called The Arena.

The Arena takes HotS already pared down MOBA structure and then strips it down even further. Five heroes square off against five more in a very small, enclosed space, which lends itself to hot-box hack’n slash play. The catch here is that all of the heroes in the battle are randomly selected; naturally some heroes that don’t fit the mould are barred from entry, but players can end up with a team where everyone is playing the same hero.

Heroes Of The Storm Peview
Happy Halloween: Jack O’ Lanterns and Headless Horsemen replace mercenaries in the new battle arena

The new arena, Towers Of Doom, is another curveball; in it players are dropped into a map where they can’t attack their enemies’ Nexus. Instead, they have to take over forts within the map and then, when the time comes, activate a tribute in order to open fire on it. The more towers they have control of, the more damage they’ll do when the the tribute is activated. The map is largely themed around Halloween, with pumpkin headed scarecrows and a headless horseman replacing the usual mercenaries and brutes in the map.

How the new content will shape up is anyone’s guess; the trailer for it got a great reaction at BlizzCon and it’s likely the new mode, arena an heroes will be a hit with players. Cho’Gall, though, remains the wildcard in the pack; as was mentioned earlier, HotS players have enough trouble getting on as it is and two of them controlling the same hero may lead to even more online spats.

Still, it’s likely most of them will check out Cho’Gall for the sheer uniqueness of the character. He’s certainly novel, you have to give Blizzard that…






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