Build a Hero: WoW Warlock for HotS
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen!
Heroes of the Storm has been releasing new characters at quite the rapid rate since going live (as in not in beta). I haven’t played it as much since it went live, but I have kept up with the updates primarily through videos on YouTube (see MFPallyTime). For this post, I thought it would be fun to do something creative. I want to create a concept for a new Hero based on a class I enjoyed when I played World of Warcraft. Today, let’s imagine what it would be like to play a Warlock in Heroes of the Storm.
For my concept, I am going to focus on a couple of core ideas. First, this hero will be based on the Warlock from World of Warcraft, but it will primarily possess properties of the Affliction and Demonology specializations. I believe the defining aspects of the Warlock class are dropping DoTs (damage over time effects) and commanding demons, and the Destruction specialization doesn’t embody either of those things. Next, I want the talents to have a significant effect on the hero, both visually and functionally. My plan for this concept is to create a hero with the capacity to have a wildly different ability composition than it had at the start of the match.
The role I am going to build this Hero concept around is Mage/Assassin. While I can imagine the Warlock being a serious threat in a lane as a notorious specialist, I believe it makes more sense for it to be a damage dealer first. The rate at which the Warlock will be able to take out other Heroes will likely depend on whether a player builds for DoTs, or builds for demons. Both builds will likely have wildly different gameplay principles, but we shall see if that is truly the case as the post progresses.
One final thing before the real show begins, this character is based on one other idea. The first character that I created when The Burning Crusade expansion launched was a Blood Elf Warlock. I had never played a Warlock before, but I was always interested in the concept. I had a lot fun playing that character, and it had a profound impact on how I play spellcasters (with lots and lots of DoTs). So much so that I was initially disappointed with the design of the Witch Doctor hero, because he had abilities that I never ever use in Diablo III. For the Warlock concept, I attempted to mix concepts from Affliction and Demonology in order capture what players enjoyed from both of those specializations (sorry Destruction players).
The following are the abilities employed by the Warlock hero. The basic abilities resemble spells earned by a low level Warlock from World of Warcraft. While they have similar functionality, the general purpose of the abilities is tuned to work for Heroes of the Storm (as much as possible, anyway). Most of the Warlock’s abilities, including its trait, can be swapped out for an entirely different ability through talents. More will be explained below.
- Warlock Trait
A demonic imp follows you around, attacking nearby enemies for X damage. The Imp attacks from long range, periodically fires a stronger Firebolt, and remains in stealth until required to attack. This ability can be activated to change the Imp’s target. If the Imp is killed, it will revive after 20 seconds.
The Warlock’s trait allows him to have a demon minion fighting by his side. Initially, the demon minion is a little imp that follows you around and throws firebolts at enemies, but you can replace this minion with either a Succubus or Felguard. The advantage that having a demon minion affords the Warlock is being able to attack two targets at once. The demon minion can easily be commanded to attack an enemy attempting to summon the Dragon Knight or turn in coins at Blackheart’s Bay. There are talents that can make the demon minion an even more valuable tool during a match.
- Warlock Basic Ability
X Mana, 4 second cooldown
Unleash a dark projectile, dealing X damage to enemies in its path. If damaged enemies are afflicted with Corruption or Doom, Shadow Bolt will trigger an additional application of the effect.
Shadow Bolt is the Warlock’s first basic ability. By itself, this ability is just a piercing projectile that damages enemies along its path. Combined with the next ability, however, Shadow Bolt becomes a potent tool for building Corruption, or Doom, damage. Through talents this ability can be replaced by Hand of Gul’dan, which allows the Warlock to periodically summon additional temporary demon minions. This adds to the potential of a demon minion heavy build.
- Warlock Basic Ability
X Mana, 10 sec cooldown
Applies a corruption to foes in an area, dealing X damage over 4 seconds. Additional applications extend the duration by 2 seconds, up to an additional 8 seconds.
Corruption is the Warlock’s second basic ability. The ability coats all enemies in a targeted area with an effect that deals damage over time. The player can choose to let the Corruption deal its damage, or strengthen it for higher total damage. However, the player may select the talent that grants access to Doom, which is an effect that deals damage after 4 seconds rather than over that duration. Doom benefits from a similar strengthening mechanic. Players can also acquire talents that promote additional applications of Corruption or Doom.
- Warlock Basic Ability
X Mana, 15 sec cooldown
Enemies are afflicted with fear, running in a direction away from the caster for 2 sec.
Fear is a skill-shot-ish crowd control ability that forces enemies caught in the directed cone to run away from the caster. I imagine the direction of the ability could be controlled in such a way that requires decent positioning. For instance, aiming the ability upward when cast will force affected enemies to run upward. So, if you wanted to force an enemy player into your towers, or back into your team, the ability would have to be aimed in that general direction when it lands on the enemy. Fear has the potential to be an entertaining ability that offers plenty of trolling opportunities, or even offer a unique lane pushing mechanic.
- Warlock Heroic Ability
80 second cooldown
Calls down a meteor to strike an area, dealing X damage and stunning enemies for 1.5 seconds. An Infernal demon minion will rise from the crater to attack nearby enemies for 20 seconds. The Infernal can be retargeted using your trait.
Inferno is the Warlock’s first heroic ability, and it is based on an iconic spell belonging to the class in World of Warcraft. It is also functionally similar to the spell from WoW. However, if a Warlock hero were to be built around demon minion damage, then the damage of the Infernal that spawns from this ability would be amplified as well. You shouldn’t shy away from this spell if you prefer Corruption or Doom builds, because the small bit of crowd control at the start can come in handy (if this were a real hero that is – lawls).
- Warlock Heroic Ability
50 second cooldown
Send a spirit to haunt an enemy, periodically striking the enemy for X damage. The spirit will strike 8 times before returning to the Warlock, restoring X health per landed strike. If the enemy dies before all strikes are landed, the spirit will move to another nearby enemy, if one is available, preferring Heroes.
Haunt is the Warlock’s second heroic ability, and it isn’t based on an iconic spell. This heroic is based on a spell introduced in The Burning Crusade expansion, but it has never been this awesome (in fact, it’s pretty lame in the Legion alpha). The player causes an enemy to be haunted, suffering damage while they are likely already being damaged by the rest of the team. I believe this is an interesting concept for a heroic ability. Haunt will continue to deal damage to the enemy team so long as there are enemies for it to attack, and then it will return to the Warlock when it has satisfied its thirst for blood.
The following are the talents available to the Warlock hero. For the most part, my intent was to borrow effects from WoW’s Warlock class and apply them to the Heroes of the Storm talent system, and it worked for a while. However, not all of the ideas worked for my concept. I didn’t like every idea I came up with. There may be one or two talents that I’m not fond of that exist here, but I wanted to give readers something to play with in their imaginations. So, think of this as an “alpha” version of the Warlock talents (lawls).
Level 1 Talents
- Mana Tap
Demon Minion Basic Attacks restore X Mana.
The damage of Corruption increases every second over its duration.
X Mana, 10 second cooldown
Replaces your Corruption spell with Doom. Doom applies an effect to enemies that deals X damage after 4 sec. Additional applications bolster the damage of the effect, instead of extending the duration.
- Hand of Gul’dan
X Mana, 6 second cooldown
Replaces your Shadow Bolt with Hand of Gul’dan. This ability deals X damage to enemies in a targeted area, and summons two Imp Demon Minions that attack nearby enemies for 6 seconds. These imps can be retargeted with your trait.
Level 4 Talents
- Absolute Corruption
Each application of Corruption or Doom reduces the cooldown of the Corruption or Doom ability by 0.5 seconds.
- All Consuming Darkness
Increases the width of Shadow Bolt’s path, and the radius of Hand of Gul’dan by 30%.
- Succubus Minion
Replaces your Imp Demon Minion with a Succubus. The Succubus has reduced range (compared to the Imp), attacks 30% faster, and remains in stealth until required to attack.
- Felguard Minion
Replaces your Imp Demon Minion with a Felguard. The Felguard fights in melee, deals 40% more damage, and has increased movement speed.
Level 7 Talents
- Siphon Life
You and your demon minions regain health equal to a portion of the damage done by Corruption and Doom.
- Flee in Fear
Enemies afflicted with Fear move 30% faster for the duration.
- Potent Afflictions
Shadow Bolt and Hand of Gul’dan deal 20% more damage to enemies afflicted with Corruption or Doom.
- Master Demonologist
Shadow Bolt makes enemies vulnerable to Demon Minion damage for 6 seconds. Hand of Gul’dan summons one additional Imp Demon Minion.
Level 10 Talents
Grants the Warlock access to the Inferno heroic ability, which is explained above.
Grants the Warlock access to the Haunt heroic ability, which is explained above.
Level 13 Talents
- Grimoire of Supremacy
Demon Minion Basic Attacks against Heroes deal bonus damage equal to 1.5% of the Hero’s maximum health, and also trigger additional applications of Corruption or Doom.
- Demonologist’s Fortitude
Your health regeneration is increased for each active demon minion.
- Terror Affliction
The damage of Corruption and Doom occurs 100% faster against enemies afflicted with Fear.
- Shadowy Inspiration
Shadow Bolt now has 2 charges. Hand of Gul’dan calls down an additional meteor after 1 second, but this second meteor doesn’t summon Imps.
Level 16 Talents
- Unstable Affliction
If enemies die while affected by Corruption or Doom, they will explode, dealings X damage, and applying the effect to enemies damaged by the explosion.
- Grimoire of Service
60 second cooldown
Summon a second Demon Minion that lasts for 20 seconds. While active, this demon functions just like your original Demon Minion, it benefits from all talents and effects, and can be retargeted using your trait.
- Command Demon
Gain access to a new ability based on your primary demon minion.
- Firebolt Barrage
60 second cooldown
Command the Imp to unleash a barrage of Firebolts at a targeted location. Each firebolt deals Demon Minion Basic Attack damage to enemies in the area.
60 second cooldown
Command the Succubus to lash a targeted location. The Succubus deals Demon Minion Basic Attack damage to all enemies in the area, and roots the enemies for 2 seconds.
60 second cooldown
Command the Felguard to leap to a targeted location, and unleash a Felstorm for 4 seconds. Every second during the Felstorm, the Felguard deals Demon Minion Basic Attack damage to all enemies within the area and slows their movement by 50% for 1 second.
- Firebolt Barrage
Level 20 Talents
- Demonic Servitude
The Infernal now lasts until it has been killed, and burns nearby enemies for X damage every second. If Inferno is used while the Infernal remains active, the Infernal will charge to the targeted location, deal X damage to enemies in the area, and stun them for 2 seconds.
- Terrorizing Spirit
The Haunt spirit will strike an additional 4 times before returning to the caster, and each strike triggers additional applications of Corruption or Doom.
- Demonic Empowerment
Increases Attack Speed of Demon Minion Basic Attacks by 20%, and the Attack Range of Imp and Succubus demon minions by 20%.
- Bolt of the Storm
70 second cooldown
Activate to teleport to a nearby location.
Now that you have seen the whole of my concept for the World of Warcraft Warlock in Heroes of the Storm, I want to point out a few things. There is a lot of variety here in just the first few talents tiers alone. I went for a mixture of corruption focused talents and demon minion focused talents, and ended up with a mixture of the two, plus some shadow bolt focused talents. It was a fun experience to create a concept for a character as if it were actually going to be played. If I could put this character into the actual game I would certainly change some things, but I doubt my base concept is entirely balanced anyway.
While I was creating the concept for this character, another “Build a Hero” idea came to me. If I decide to pursue creating the concept for this hero, I think it will be much more difficult than the Warlock was. I don’t want to spoil any details for anyone who may be genuinely interested in something like this. However, I will let you know what role this new concept is intended to be. The next “Build a Hero” will be a specialist.
What do you think of my concept for the Warlock? Is there something you would change? Do you see any talent combinations you imagine would be fun to use? Do you wish the blueberry made the cut for demon minions? Join the discussion below.
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Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll be back for the next one.
War Fist out.
Posted on February 3, 2016, in Game Design and tagged Blizzard, Build A Hero, Diablo 3, Game Design, Gaming, Heroes of the Storm, MMO, MMORPG, MOBA, RPG, Video Games, War Fist, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.