Heroes Of The Storm BlizzCon 2016 Preview

Ragnaros and Varian join Heroes Of The Storm: BlizzCon 2016 Preview

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Okay, let’s not mess about here.

If you’re reading this I’m going to go ahead and assume you play Heroes Of The Storm. (If you don’t you have a tutorial and some grinding to get through). Since that’s the case you’re probably wondering how the hell Blizzard have managed to put Ragnaros in its MOBA.

Oh, Varian Wrynn’s there too. The recently deceased Alliance king (who met his comeuppance at the gnarled hands of Gul’dan) is in the pipeline for Hots, but let’s be honest, you have a pretty good idea of how he’ll handle. After all, he’s a battle-scarred warrior with a sword that splits in two. If I were to tell you he’s primarily a melee character (even though his talent progression offers a few more options on top), would that come as any great surprise?

No, no it would not. Nor would the information that he has a ranged attack, a parry, a charge and a massive smash attack. He was always a great warrior, after all. The really interesting aspect to the character is the fact that his progression can fork depending on how players want to use him. Wrynn can level as a Warrior or an Assassin or a combination of the two. Players, however, are advised to pick one so that they don’t end up being a Jack-Of-Some-Trades and a master of none; late in the battle, inconsistency can hurt both you and your team.

But the big news here is the Fire Lord. In World Of Warcraft, Ragnaros is a boss. He’s a massive, towering column of fire that’s equal parts hatred and badassery. One of his catchphrases is “Die, Insect!!” How on earth will Blizzard port him into the game and yet still gift players with the sense that they’re controlling an almighty force of nature?


As it turns out, pretty decently. The Fire Lord sits in the hero list as a Melee Assassin and is armed with a series of rather nasty attacks. With ‘Empower Sulfuras’ players can heat up the fire elemental’s club, dishing more damage per strike and healing him for 20% at the same time. The ‘Living Meteor’ attack drops a ball of molten rock onto the map, which then rolls over anything in its path causing massive damage at base level. Over time, this power can be leveled up to cause more hurt and have the meteor explode at the end of its passage. ‘Blast Wave’ targets either the player or one of their allies, granting them speedier movement and a splash damage attack.

Naturally, as the team’s XP bar builds, a lot of these attacks can be augmented and made even more damaging. Progression also opens up a rather tasty power called ‘Lava Wave’, which sends a column of fire burning down one of the map’s three pathways.

While the player switches between all of these base attacks, Ragnaros trundles around the map in a form that’s roughly the same size as all of the other characters. However, one of his powers allows players to assume the mantle of the towering inferno that is the Fire Lord in all his menacing glory: ‘Molten Core’.

This power allows players to essentially take over one of the towers on the map; they can take control of any friendly tower and if an enemy team’s tower has been destroyed, they can take over the shell. Once this is done, Ragnoras rises out of the structure in giant form boasting a whole new set of horribly destructive powers. This form is short-lived (well, it would have to be) but while it’s in effect, it’s devastating.

This means that Ragnaros may be severely tweaked ahead of his arrival in the game. As it stands right now, he just feels ridiculously overpowered. That having been said, it’s pretty gratifying to see the developers being willing to wildly mix up abilities for new additions to their MOBA. One wonders how long it’ll be before they add a couple of Old Gods…