Heroes of the Storm at PAX East 2018: Deckard Cain and the Newbie Experience

Full disclosure: I am not a MOBA guy and have not played a whole lot of Heroes of the Storm, so I was feeling a bit out of my depth heading for the HotS booth at PAX East this year. That said, after having a couple of matches with the newest Support character Deckard Cain, I finally felt like, at long last, this was an addition to the roster meant for the newly arrived.

I kind of already fancied myself as a Support player in Heroes of the Storm anyway; when 2.0 launched, I opted for the Support Hero bundle unlock but never really dug into the game enough to know if my instincts were correct. Sure enough, a character who played like Deckard Cain spoke precisely to the way I approach MOBAs. A character who operates best when he’s hiding behind others and is helping them stay alive.

Deckard Cain

Deckard’s kit is primarily about tossing Potions to the team to heal them up while offering a few area denial tricks or traps that help set people up to lay down real hurting. Cain’s Horadric Cube slowing down foes enough for his Scroll of Sealing to lock targets down was a combination that just clicked, and his potion-tossing heals and his passive granting him boons for staying close to teammates all spoke to me in a way no hero in the Nexus had previously.

According to the developers I spoke with, the noob-friendliness of Deckard certainly is a bit by design. While they do their best to make every hero as approachable as possible while being deep enough to learn more about, Deckard’s kit working for the less aggressive player has always been an intrinsic part of his design. Even aspects of play that perhaps seem odd or less valuable to new arrivals, such as Deckard’s area denial abilities, are meant to feel powerful first. Even if the term “area denial” doesn’t ring a bell to someone fresh to MOBAs.

From that point on, my questions veered towards the experience of someone like me: someone who is still fresh to HotS and wanted to pick the brains of the devs about how they want to entice new players. One of the first questions was regarding the almost breakneck pace Heroes seem to arrive to the game and whether that might overwhelm newbies. The devs are conscious of this and are doing more to break up content releases and to also make sure existing heroes are improved. The devs also brought up the fact that HotS has a vibrant Versus AI community.

Deckard Cain

 

I also brought up the 2.0 bundle and whether the devs have considered having more bundles like that on offer or customizing the game to ask questions of a new arrival and tailor their experience to their answers. While bundles like those offered in 2.0 aren’t something that’s coming anytime soon, the lessons learned from offering that do seem to be taken to heart. And while the current tutorial does adjust a bit based on whether a player admits to their level of skill, the starting experience is still something the team is looking to iterate on. After all, the tutorial is one of the most important parts of the game, overlooked as it can often be.

Ultimately, the team does want to offer as many heroes who cater to as many playstyles as possible and nodded to their ranged DPS characters as being a good entry point for those who want to be aggressive without considering the best way to engage enemies at close range. If you’re a greenhorn to Heroes of the Storm, you’re invited to play around in Try Mode and check out the 70+ roster additions to see who clicks.

In my personal experience, Deckard absolutely is that clicking character for me, so I have to believe that there are at least one or two characters in that absolutely sprawling hero roster to speak to the newly initiated. While I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be playing HotS very often, I have got to admit that Deckard, and my time with the devs, has changed my mind a fair bit about how approachable Heroes of the Storm can be. Perhaps it’s time to dive back in.

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Stay Awhile and Listen; Deckard Cain Joins Heroes of the Storm

The next character to join Heroes of the Storm has been announced, and he is a fan favorite: Deckard Cain.

 

The idea of Deckard Cain entering the Nexus has been a meme for quite some time, but most players didn’t actually expect Blizzard to create him. However, it’s clear that the Heroes of the Storm team had fun while designing Cain as he sports ‘unique’ heroic abilities like ‘Stay awhile and listen’ and ‘Lorenado.’

Deckard Cain is expected to enter the Public Test Realm soon.

Heroes of the storm Deckard

Trait:

  • Fortitude of the Faithful: When at least 1 other allied Hero is nearby, Deckard gains 10 Armor and his Basic Abilities recharge 50% faster.

Abilities:

  • Healing Potion (Q): Throw a Healing Potion on the ground that heals the first allied Hero that comes in contact with it for 230. Limit 5 active Potions.
  • Horadric Cube (W): Throw the Horadric Cube, dealing 80 damage to all enemies in the area and slowing them by 40% for 1.75 seconds.
  • Scroll of Sealing (E): Unfurl an enchanted scroll, forming a triangle that deals 150 damage to enemies inside and Roots them for 1.5 seconds.
  • Stay Awhile and Listen (R1): After 1 second, Channel for 3 seconds, putting enemy Heroes in front of Deckard to sleep while channeling, and for 2 seconds after. Enemies can only be put to sleep once per cast, and sleep’s effects end instantly if they take damage.
  • Lorenado (R2): Create a swirling Lorenado that travels in the targeted direction, continually knocking away enemies that come into contact with it.

Tier 1 Talents:

  • [E] Scroll of Identify: Quest: Hitting an enemy Hero with Scroll of Sealing reveals them for 8 seconds. Reward: After hitting 20 Heroes, Scroll of Sealing also reduces Armor by 20 for 4 seconds and the reveal duration is doubled.
  • [E] Field Study: Each enemy Hero hit by Scroll of Sealing grants 15% Spell Power for 14 seconds, up to 30%.
  • [W] Sapphire: Activate to increase the Slow of the next Horadric Cube by 30%. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.

Tier 4:

  • [Q] Potion of Shielding: Whenever an ally is healed by a Healing Potion, they gain a 135 Shield for 6 seconds.
  • [Q] Rejuvenation Potion: Healing Potions restore 10 Mana and heal for an additional 108 over 4 seconds.
  • [W] Ruby: Activate to make the next Horadric Cube spawn 3 Lesser Healing Potions from each enemy Hero hit, healing allied Heroes for 190 when picked up. Lesser Healing Potions last for 10 seconds. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.

Tier 7:

  • [W] Cube Mastery: Each enemy Hero hit by Horadric Cube reduces the cooldown of Scroll of Sealing by 3 seconds.
  • [W] Kanai’s Cube: Horadric Cube reduces damage dealt by 30% for 4 seconds.
  • [W] Emerald: Activate to make the next Horadric Cube reduce healing received by 75% for 4 seconds. Only 1 Gem may be active at a time.

Tier 13:

  • [D] Ancient Blessings: Activate Fortitude of the Faithful to empower nearby allied Hero Basic Attacks for 8 seconds, causing them to deal an additional 80 damage in an area and heal for 120 for each Hero hit.
  • [Q] Super Healing Potion: If a Healing Potion isn’t picked up for at least 2 seconds, it heals for 75% more.
  • [Q] Potion of Revival: When a Healing Potion is picked up, it also heals all nearby allied Heroes for 40% of the healing amount.

Tier 16:

  • [Passive] Horadric Staff: Every 5 seconds, Deckard’s next Basic Attack Stuns Heroes for 0.75 seconds.
  • [D] Safety in Numbers: If at least 3 allied Heroes are nearby, Fortitude of the Faithful grants an additional 10 Armor and causes Deckard’s Basic Abilities to recharge an additional 50% faster.
  • [E] Scroll of Stone Curse: Scroll of Sealing deals 200% more damage when hitting at least 2 Heroes.

Tier 20:

  • [R1] Respect the Elderly: Stay Awhile and Listen Silences and Blinds enemies for 2 seconds upon waking up from Sleep.
  • [R2] Morenados!: Lorenado’s cooldown is reduced by 5 seconds every time an enemy Hero is knocked back.
  • [W] Perfect Gems: Reduce the cooldown of all Gems by 25 seconds and the cooldown of Horadric Cube by 5 seconds.
  • [Q] Bottomless Flask: After use, Healing Potions recharge after 5 seconds.

 

Our Thoughts

Creative support characters are something you can never have too much of, and Deckard Cain further demonstrates that Blizzard still wants to have fun with its players.

Source: Press Release

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