“We knew we wanted to bring Warcraft into the Nexus with a Battleground,” Matthew Cooper, Lead Content Designer on the Heroes of the Storm team, tells me. “Around the time the team was wrapping up our two Overwatch Battlegrounds we were already starting to talk about it - we had to do Warcraft. The question then became which Battleground? What look and feel do we want. Alterac Valley was an obvious one because it's such an iconic Warcraft moment where you have the Horde and Alliance fighting against this visual backdrop of snow, mountains, and everything else. Stuff we don't have in Heroes of the Storm, so that became the starting point last year.”
New Map – Alterac Pass: A snow-covered, three-lane Battleground that is the first to bring a piece of the World of Warcraft’s Alterac Valley to the Nexus. Raze keeps, gather forces, and defeat your opponent’s legendary General: Drek’Thar for the Horde, and Vanndar Stormpike for the Alliance.
New Map Mechanic – Cavalry: Your Cavalry units have been captured by the enemy! Your goal is to break them out of Cages on the map while preventing the enemy team from doing so. Channel on the enemy Cage to gain control of it, then maintain control until your prisoner is freed. After a short delay, the winning team will spawn a Cavalry unit in each lane, boosting the movement speed and
damage of nearby allies.
Lay Siege to your Opponents: Standard cores have been replaced by Generals who will fight back when attacked! Generals can be attacked after one keep is destroyed, but they gain 20 armour from each keep that’s still intact—destroy all three enemy keeps to diminish their defenses.
Destroy Keeps to Spawn Reavers: When a keep is destroyed, the enemy team will begin to spawn melee Reaver minions instead of catapults. Reavers lead your other minions into combat, and serve to tank the brunt of the enemy General’s attacks.
New Hero – Yrel: This Draenei paladin is a deliberate melee warrior with heavyweight abilities and a unique gameplay style that rewards premeditation and commitment.
New Event – Echoes of Alterac: It’s time to pick a side! Declare your allegiance to the Horde or the Alliance, then complete the following questline and unlock your faction’s Warcraft themed rewards, including a portrait, banner, and mount.
Raid the Nexus for Epic Loot: Get your hands on new Warcraft-themed skins, mounts, sprays, and more via Echoes of Alterac loot chests and three event-exclusive bundles, or craft them with Shards!
On the decision to delve deeper into the lore of the Nexus.
“While we continue to look forward to bringing Blizzard heroes into the Nexus, we also wanted to explain a little more about what the Nexus is all about. Until now, we’ve mostly waved our hands as we brought in existing Blizzard characters and didn’t do much to address the Nexus. We feel now is a great time to dive deeper into the lore of Heroes of the Storm to provide better connections between everything coming into the game, and to allow us to explore entirely new ideas.”
Transforming a character like Tyrael, the angelic force of power from the Diablo franchise was not as simple turning his wings into shiny pieces of metal. “[Tyrael] was actually more challenging and his look was one of the things that wasn’t a one-to-one transition,” Michael tells me. “The wings on Tyrael are programmatically animated in the engine (via ribbon FX) and there are only two organic wings on Seraphim which behaved completely different. On top of that, there’s a total of six wings on Mecha Tyrael that had to be considered. Iterations ranged from “did absolutely nothing” to “always in the way”. In the end I think we found a good balance.”
Throughout the history of Azeroth, there are few mortals of greater notoriety than Garrosh Hellscream. A powerful warrior and tactician of the Horde, Garrosh was heralded as a hero of his people after having successfully countered the armies of the Lich King during the Warsong Offensive in Northrend.
Now, this proud and fearsome warrior has crossed over into the Nexus, seeking to champion his cause by challenging all who would stand in his way. For Garrosh Hellscream, there can be no peace. There is only victory… or death.
The fourth and final week of the Nexus Challenge 2.0 event is now available! Players who completed last week’s quest earned an Overwatch Nexagon mount, a D.Va spray, portrait and banner in Heroes of the Storm, and a D.Va spray and player portrait in Overwatch. This week, players who complete five games with friends will be rewarded with 10 Loot Chests in Heroes of the Storm, and 10 Loot Boxes in Overwatch! This is the last chance to complete the Nexus Challenge 2.0 quests, so jump in with a friend and earn exclusive loot before it’s gone! As a reminder, all previous quests will remain active, and can be completed, until the event end on 23 May.
D.Va has two modes: Mech Mode and Pilot Mode. When her Mech is destroyed, she is ejected after 0.75 seconds and can continue to fight out of her Mech. In Pilot Mode, each Basic Attack she deals reduces the cooldown of Call Mech by 0.5 seconds. While on foot she can use a mount to get around the map quickly. In Mech Mode, D.Va can shoot while moving, but her movement speed is reduced by 15%. Her Mech Mode Basic Abilities include: Defence Matrix, which channels a defensive field for 3 seconds, reducing the damage dealt by enemy heroes inside it by 75%. Damage dealt to the Mech by enemies within the Defence Matrix still grants Self-Destruct charge. D.Va also has Booster, which increases her movement speed by 125% for 2 seconds; enemies that are hit while boosting take damage and are knocked away. When D.Va is in Mech Mode and her Self-Destruct has charged, she can eject from her Mech which will explode after a 4 second delay, dealing medium to massive damage in a large area, radiating from the centre of the blast.
Support and Specialist:
Playmakers in Heroes of the Storm come in many forms. The Support & Specialist bundle is all about keeping your team in fighting shape, turning the tide of battle, and providing the flexibility and strategic tools to conquer any obstacle. Heroes include: Overwatch’s Lucio, Diablo’s Auriel, World of Warcraft’s Medivh, StarCraft’s Abathur, and more.
The Assassin Mega Bundle is hyper-focused on Heroes who dish out destruction wherever they go. Get in your opponents' faces as a sustained auto-attacker, nuke enemies from the back line, or roam the battlefield to gank unsuspecting targets. Heroes include: StarCraft’s Raynor, World of Warcraft’s Gul’dan, Diablo’s Nazeebo, Overwatch’s Tracer, and more.
Tanks and Bruisers:
This bundle is brimming with Heroes who have no problem getting up close and personal. Create opportunities to pick off an enemy, peel threats away from your teammates, and lead from the front with the Tanks & Bruisers bundle. Heroes include: StarCraft’s Alarak, World of Warcraft’s Arthas, Diablo’s Leoric, Overwatch’s Zayra, and more.
If you’re eager to fill different spots in your team composition, or are brand new to the MOBA genre, consider picking up this bundle to gain experience with a wide variety of roles and playstyles, including Warriors, Specialists, Support, and Assassin Heroes. Characters include: StarCraft’s Lt. Morales, Diablo’s Li-Ming and Johanna, World of Warcraft’s Greymane, and more.
At the Heroes of the Storm Spring Summit in California last week, we were lucky enough to witness the debut of what’s been called Heroes of the Storm 2.0. Currently available to play on the Heroes PTR, the most obvious and notable addition may be the introduction of Loot Boxes, but it’s the new progression system and what’s found inside said boxes of loot that points towards a new and more inviting direction for the game. The update, which doesn’t really change how the game is played, instead offering a complete re-write of the progression and reward system, more than earns the 2.0 subtitle. It features the same game that we’ve watched evolve over the past year or two, but this time wrapped up in a new and exciting coat of paint.
Overwatch support hero, Lúcio, is now available to play in Heroes of the Storm! He brings with him his Wall Ride ability, making it possible to traverse impassable terrain and walk through the enemy team. His basic abilities include Soundwave, which allows him to deal damage to an area, and knock enemies back. He also has crossfade, an ability that can passively heal or speed boost himself and surrounding allies. Lúcio’s first Heroic Ability lets him shield all nearby allies for six seconds with Sound Barrier, just as he does in Overwatch. He also has a secondary Heroic Ability, Reverse Amp. This new skill allows him to hurt enemy heroes for 4 seconds with his Crossfade track, causing Healing Boost to inflict damage, and Speed Boost to slow their movement speed by 45%.
Naturally, wrangling all the different heroes from properties like Diablo, Warcraft, Overwatch, and making them play nice together is no easy feat. And heading up the task of making sure that each hero looks like they belong in the same game is Blizzard’s Senior Art Director, Samwise Didier. A name that is no doubt familiar to many Blizzard fans, Samwise joined the company in 1991, responding to an ad in a local paper looking for artists to create art for videogames. At the time, he was working as the head usher at a local movie theatre, and without any professional experience or a portfolio he simply took art that was hanging on his wall at home, and made the trek to the small development studio that was then known as Silicon & Synapse – later renamed, Blizzard Entertainment.
The first game that he would work on for the still relatively small developer was a game called Lost Vikings for the Super Nintendo. “Back when we first started it was twenty little Lost Vikings as it was based on Lemmings, an old PC game from the time,” Samwise tells me. “And over the course of the development, which was probably a few months, it went from 20 to 10 to 5 to 3 Vikings.” Fast forward over twenty years, and Blizzard announce the latest hero added to the Heroes of the Storm line-up, the very same Lost Vikings from the Super Nintendo. “I can’t tell you how cool it was when we introduced Lost Vikings as our newest Hero. Here was Heroes of the Storm, our newest game, featuring the oldest characters that I worked on.” Samwise recalls, “It was cool to see that these little Viking guys could manage to make their way from 1991 all the way to today. The oldest art that I worked on was now becoming the newest art that I was working on.”