Two new heroes will join the Heroes of the Storm roster: Alexstrasza from World of Warcraft and Hanzo from Overwatch. They’re coming to Heroes of the Storm in the coming weeks, and both characters made their debut on the show floor at Blizzcon 2017.
Scatter Arrow in action, after getting lined up and fired. (Image via Blizzard)
Hanzo didn’t feel hard to pick up and understand, so the jokes about Hanzo mains will continue for Heroes fans. His Scatter Arrow ability does feel more compelling in Heroes than in Overwatch. When Hanzo fires a scatter arrow at a structure or terrain, it splits up into five separate arrows, each of which can ricochet off and hit more enemies. Heroes’ top-down perspective means that players can do a bit of geometry to figure out the arrow’s path. It can feel overwhelming in the thick of a team fight to suddenly have to line up a ton of divergent arrows, but it’s very satisfying to set up a successful angle and take down a bunch of enemies at once.
Hanzo’s other abilities also hearken back to his Overwatch build. His Dragonstrike Heroic ability summons the same ghostly Spirit Dragons that appear as his Overwatch Ultimate. In Overwatch, Hanzo’s dragons are huge and hard to avoid. In Heroes of the Storm, they fly in a straight line, and they seem slower and easier to escape.
Alexstrasza deploys Flame Buffet, one of the fiery moves she can perform while still in humanoid form (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Alexstrasza from World of Warcraft feels more exciting and challenging. She has two very different modes: self-sacrificing healer and fire-breathing powerhouse.
Alexstrasza’s Dragonqueen trait, which lasts for 15 seconds, transforms her into a rampaging dragon and buffs her health, damage, and defences. Her Cleansing Flame Heroic ability also lets the player feel that dragon power by allowing her to fly overhead and rain fire down onto her enemies. It only lasts for six seconds, but it still feels incredible to unleash those dragon powers and turn around a team fight, especially since the rest of the time, Alexstrasza has to hang back and heal her comrades.
Alexstrasza’s Gift of Life ability allows her to give some of her own health to another character, which is why it’s helpful that moves like Dragonqueen give her a big health boost. The delayed gratification of the dragon-centric offensive moves help make them feel even more fun, especially in contrast with the caution required of her healing moves.
After playing the demo, I spoke to Heroes game director Alan Dabiri, who told me that they would have loved for Alexstrasza’s dragon form “take up half the map” with sheer size, but apparently that would’ve “broken the game.” Too bad. Her dragon transformation still feels enough like a powerful pay-off to make up, at least in part, for her small stature. While Alexstrasza is off-screen raining down fire during Cleansing Flame, you can just imagine she takes up half the map. As she should!
Alexstrasza will debut in Heroes of the Storm on 13 November, and Hanzo will make his debut on 4 December.