When it comes to creating a game like Heroes of the Storm, there are undoubtedly a number of difficult questions that have to be answered by the development team. How far do you stray from market conventions? How do you create an experience that’s satisfying for both veterans and new players alike? Given the vast number of characters in the Blizzard universe, how do you find a way to include as many as possible?
We saw 18 different heroes available for play at BlizzCon 2013, along with others hinted at in the Deep Dive panel. Most of the characters revealed were incredibly important fixtures in their respective titles. It’s impossible to imagine not having Diablo, Jim Raynor or Arthas in a title highlighting our favorite characters from Diablo, Starcraft and Warcraft. However, for a number of us, there are specific, more minor characters that we’d like to see, and they likely won’t come before characters such as Baal, Fenix or Thrall. There’s a solution, however.
Minor characters as unlockable skins.
There are a number of a well-known rogues in the World of Warcraft community, but, arguably, none have the sort of history with the player base that Edwin VanCleef does. The one time leader of the nefarious (or heroic, depending on your perspective!) Defias Brotherhood, VanCleef tormented low level adventurers from atop his ship within the Deadmines until players were finally a high enough level to leave him be. There’s a demographic that remembers the rogue fondly and would love to see Heroes of the Storm feature him.
That said, he’s not a major part of the Warcraft storyline, and there are easily fifty more important characters to create from the universe. The solution could be making him a skin for a character such as Zeratul, whose face has been plastered all over Heroes of the Storm posters. Both make use of acrobatics and close quarter combat, meaning that, because of their similar theoretical abilities, it would be fairly efficient to simply create a VanCleef skin to use on the Zeratul model.
We’ve already seen that Arthas will feature a ‘not quite as evil, still kind of human, but inarguably going crazy’ skin as a nod to his original appearance in Warcraft III, and that’s a better solution than creating another Arthas character in Heroes of the Storm, especially since Uther will probably fill a similar combat role to the original Prince Arthas Menethil. If the development team does go in this direction, it would be able to churn out comical new character skins, as well as ones that satisfy portions of the population that want to see more minor characters, or even characters who feature similar skillsets to pre-existing brawlers.
Tirion Fordring’s a big deal, no one can argue that. However, his toolbox is fairly similar to Uther’s, with both being Paladins of the highest caliber. It could just be that Blizzard decides to make Fordring an unlockable Uther skin, as opposed to a whole new character.
It’s speculation at this point as to what the team wants to do when it comes to minor characters and skins, but one thing is certain. The team has already shown off a number of skins, and potential skin ideas, so there’s no doubt in my mind that there will be a number of options, regardless of what other directions the devs go in. We’ll just have to hope that, as fans, our favorites make the cut at some point.