King Leoric, The Butcher, and a Monk walk into a bar
While the Butcher and the Monk, of Diablo fame, are still in the development process, King Leoric, a melee warrior, is closer than ever to release, and his abilities are somewhat finalized at this point.
Leoric’s trait is one of the most interesting of any hero yet, and makes him about as close to deathless as possible without making him really broken. When Leoric dies, he’ll turn into a wraith form of himself. This wraith can move about the battlefield, and even though he won’t do any damage, he can still use his abilities to slow or heal.
His first active ability, skeletal swing, unleashes damage across an arc of enemies in front of him, slowing them in the process. His second ability, drain hope, forms a spectral hand that shoots out from the hero, latching onto an enemy. As long as the enemy stays within range of Leoric, or until the timer runs out, he’ll leech life from them, healing himself in the process. His third ability is wraith walk, which will stop Leoric where he stands, firing out a wraith of himself that you can maneuver into position before Leoric blinks in to take its place.
Finally, his heroic abilities. The first is Entomb, a targeted spell that places a U-shaped wall around an opponent for a limited amount of time. This wall will prevent them from running away, and force them to turn and face you, and at level 20, spikes inside the walls will deal damage to any enemy players inside. The second is March of the Black King, a multi-striking attack that swings for huge damage at any enemy in the way, and also renders Leoric unstoppable. At level 20, March of the Black King also casts drain hope on any nearby enemy heroes.
While Leoric was the highlight of what Blizzard showed us at E3, we also learned a little bit about the Monk. He is a unique character, not just because he’s the first “support” character from Diablo, but also because of the way his trait works. Rather than starting with a predefined trait, your first level talent selection lets you choose which trait you want. You can built the monk to heal, mana sustain, or a number of other directions, and then choose later talents that boost and synergize with that trait. That will make the character extremely versatile, giving players the opportunity to change their build based on the heroes other team members choose.
New skins too!
Of course, Blizzard always tries to have fun with their game, so the new content update will also include a number of skins. Specifically, an angelic Diablo skin will be the reverse of the infernal Tyreal skin. With the angelic skin active, players will see Diablo as a masked warrior of the light, with white and golden armor.
There’s also a skin with effects and animations for Nova, called the Novazon skin. This cosmetic skin harkens back to the amazon class in Diablo 2, and is sure to make fans of the game happy to see her return, even if just as a skin.
Battlefield of Eternity
Details are still scarce regarding the Battlefield of Eternity as a battleground in Heroes of the Storm, but the essence is that it’s closer to a traditional MOBA map than some of the current offerings. The battle revolves around two immortals, who are constantly slinging shots back and forth in the middle of the battleground at each other. If this follows the vein of the other battlegrounds, it’s likely that killing the opposing team’s immortal at the right time, or at all, will result in a temporary advantage for your side.
Players also have the addition of the treasure goblin to look forward to. This cheeky little jerk is straight out of Diablo, and one will spawn in each team’s base when the match opens. He’ll run around the base as the players try to kill him, but he’ll disappear into his portal back to the treasure realm when the match starts and the doors open. If you have the daily quest to kill him, which won’t be terribly difficult, you’ll get an extra 100 gold for claiming your victory after the match.
Moving ahead, Blizzard is hoping to accelerate the release of new content in Heroes of the Storm to every three weeks or so. That’s an ambitious target, even if each release is only one new hero, or a couple of new skins. It’s great to see that the project has found success and support from the gaming, and eSports, communities.