If you’ve been enjoying the Heroes of the Storm event, Nexomania then you’ll be thrilled to learn about Echoes of Alterac. There will finally be a Warcraft-themed map in Alterac Pass, Yrel will be joining the fray, and a new event will take place where players must pledge their allegiance to the Horde or Alliance. In order to help prepare you for the update, we had the opportunity to discuss it with production director Kaeo Milker, lead content designer Matthew Cooper, and lead hero designer Matt Villers.
Yrel: The Light of Hope
To start things off, let’s focus on the upcoming Hero: Yrel. She is a Draenei Paladin who was a major protagonist in the World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor expansion. Unlike Uther, however, Yrel is a tanky warrior that focuses on crowd control and sustain. Her kit is based around displacing, and sticking to, the enemy team while keeping herself alive.
She also has a new mechanic where she can charge any of her basic abilities for up to 1.5 seconds to make them gradually more powerful. This does come at the cost of lowered movement speed, which makes her an easy target for enemy crowd control if not properly timed. Yrel players will be able to see an icon that displays her charged status, and while the enemy team will not see the icon, there will be animation indications and the previously mentioned slowed movement speed.
Based on her abilities and passive talents, Yrel looks to be an all-in tank that can survive situations that most other heroes cannot. Avenging Wrath is her only real movement tool, so players will have to decide whether they want to use it to engage or disengage. However, with an option for momentary invulnerability or area based damage reduction, Yrel will have the option to begin fights that other tanks might not survive.
Below you can find a list of her abilities and traits:
- Divine Purpose: Activate to instantly charge Yrel’s next Basic Ability at no mana cost. Passive: Yrel’s Basic Abilities charge up over 1.5 seconds, increasing in effectiveness, but reducing Yrel’s Movement Speed by 25%. Cooldown: 10.
- Vindication (Q): Unleash holy energy around Yrel, dealing 38 damage to nearby enemies and healing her for 96. Charging up this Ability increases its damage up to 125, and healing up to 320. Cost: 50. Cooldown: 6
- Righteous Hammer (W): Swing Yrel’s hammer, dealing 38 damage to enemies in front of her and knocking them away. Charging up this Ability increases its knockback distance, and damage up to 125. Enemies hit at maximum charge are Stunned for 0.75 seconds. Cost: 50. Cooldown: 16
- Avenging Wrath (E): Leap to a location, dealing 150 damage to enemies in an area and Slowing them by 50% for 1 second. Charging up this Ability increases its range. Cost: 50. Cooldown: 6.
- Ardent Defender (R1): Surround Yrel in a barrier for 3 seconds, absorbing all damage taken and healing her for 50% of the damage received. Cost: 40. Cooldown: 100.
- Sacred Ground (R2): Yrel sanctifies the ground around her, gaining 40 Armor until she leaves the area. Cost: 40. Cooldown: 100.
Tier 1 Talents:
- [Q] Light of Karabor: Increase Vindication’s radius by 15%. Vindication’s healing is increased by 20% per enemy Hero hit.
- Dauntless: Casting a Basic Ability grants Yrel 35 Physical Armor for 2 seconds.
- Maraad’s Insight: After casting a Basic Ability, Yrel’s next Basic Attack heals her for 148.
- [E] Aegis of Light: Upon landing, Avenging Wrath grants other nearby allied Heroes 25 Armor for 5 seconds.
- Gift of the Naaru: Divine Purpose heals the lowest Health nearby allied Hero other than Yrel for 400.
- Hand of Freedom: Grant an allied Hero 35% Movement Speed for 3 seconds and remove all Slows and Roots from them. Cannot be used on Yrel.
- [W] Righteous Momentum: While Channeling Righteous Hammer at maximum charge, gain 45% Movement Speed.
- [E] Holy Avenger: Hitting an enemy Hero with Avenging Wrath at maximum charge reduces its cooldown to 1 second.
- Divine Steed: Mounting is instant and grants 80% Movement Speed that decays over 3 seconds.
- Samaara’s Light: While above 50% Health, gain 15% Movement Speed.
- [Q] Aldor Peacekeeper: Enemy Heroes hit by Vindication at maximum charge deal 30% less damage for 3 seconds.
- [E] Repentance: Increase Avenging Wrath’s Slow by 25% and duration by 0.5 seconds.
- Velen’s Chosen: Hitting an enemy Hero with a Basic Ability at maximum charge grants 10% Spell Power for 10 seconds, up to 30%.
- [W] Templar’s Verdict: Righteous Hammer reduces the Armor of enemy Heroes hit by 20 for 2 seconds.
- [Trait] Divine Favor: Casting a Basic Ability reduces the cooldown of Divine Purpose by 2 seconds.
- Holy Wrath: After casting a Basic Ability, Yrel’s next Basic Attack splashes for 30% increased damage around the target.
- [R1] Word of Glory: Ardent Defender heals nearby allied Heroes for 100% of the healing received by Yrel.
- [R2] Hallowed Ground: Casting Avenging Wrath while inside Sacred Ground moves Sacred Ground to Yrel’s location upon landing.
- Bubble Hearth: After 1 second, Yrel becomes Invulnerable and casts Hearthstone. Cannot be canceled.
- Seraphim: Activate to become Unstoppable for 2 seconds.
Somehow, Blizzard’s biggest franchise has yet to receive a proper map in Heroes of the Storm. That’s about to change with Alterac Pass, which is heavily inspired by Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft. Alterac Pass will be a three-lane map with two bosses and a handful of new mechanics. Here’s what we know so far:
- Each side of the map represents either the Horde or the Alliance.
- Cores have been replaced with generals (Drek’Thar and Vanndar) who will fight back with AoE attacks and will regenerate health while out of combat.
- Destroying keeps will reduce the generals’ armor by 20 and spawn a tanky, melee Reaver unit instead of a catapult.
- There will be a Mountain Giant boss at the top and bottom of the map. They have similar mechanics to the Grave Golems.
- For the main map mechanic, players will fight to free Cavalry units before the enemy team. Winning the objective will spawn a Cavalry unit in each lane, similar to Tomb of the Spider Queen. However, these will be support units that provide allied units with increased speed and damage.
- The average match is expected to last 30 minutes.
Echoes of Alterac Event
This will be a similar event to Nexomania. Players must choose between the Horde and Alliance in order to begin the event. Each side will have a different quest chain that rewards players with a special epic loot chest that includes a Warcraft hero, faction portrait, banner (Orgrimmar or Lordaeron), and mount (Wolf or Ram).
Of course, there are going to be premium, faction skins available for purchase. Auriel, Muradin, Valeera, Varian will represent the Alliance while Junkrat, Rehgar, Garrosh, Johanna will have Horde-theme skins. There will also be epic versions of the faction Ram and Wolf most as well.
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