Meet the first 18 heroes from Blizzard's 'Heroes of the Storm'
One of the big focuses of BlizzCon, Blizzard's annual party in Anaheim, has been the new title Heroes of the Storm. The game boasts four different objective-based game modes and an interesting new take on the multiplayer online battle arena genre.
No one has yet taken an extensive look at one of the most important facets of the game: The roster. With that in mind, let's look at all 18 heroes included in the BlizzCon-alpha version of Heroes.
1) Stitches is a medium difficulty melee hero designed to be a front line warrior. With a massive model and plenty of hit points, this undead abomination is the epitome of a tank. He boasts a hook, slam, devour and vile gas abilities to start, all of which are really fun.
"Psycho Stitches," the character's second skin, comes complete with a psycho mask and a chainsaw that goes through enemies like, well, a chainsaw through enemies. For a perfectly strange experience, fire up Psycho Stiches and put him on the My Little Pony-inspired "Pink Pwny" mount.
The lore: Stitches, found in World of Warcraft, is a level 35 elite abomination in Duskwood. He's created by Abercrombie the Embalmer to terrorize the town of Darkshire.
2) Arthas is a medium difficulty melee warrior meant to directly engage the enemy. In addition to a good mix of power and stamina, he can slow and freeze enemies and summon undead spirits.
The lore: Arthas is kind of a big deal in Warcraft 3 and beyond. Once upon a time, he was the prince of Lordaeron, the seat of Human power in Azeroth. Arthas would eventually destroy Lordaeron when he merged with the Lich King and became one of the most powerful beings on Azeroth. He was eventually defeated and killed but since when did that stop anyone from joining a war?
3) Diablo is a medium difficulty melee warrior designed for aggressive, ability-driven play. He charges enemies using flame to burn them down. He also reveals critically damaged heroes nearby.
The lore: Diablo, Lord of Terror and most powerful of all prime evils, is the beast after whom the Diablo franchise is named.
4) Tyrael is a medium difficulty melee warrior. He's able to protect allies by transferring damage from them. Most interestingly, he violently explodes when he dies, damaging enemies nearby.
The lore: Tyrael is the Archangel of Justice and Wisdom from Diablo II and on. Although he's renounced his angelic power in that franchise, he seems to be delivering divine retribution all over the place in Heroes.
5) Elite Tauren Chieftain is a medium difficulty melee warrior. Aside from the amazing ability to wield five guitars and a keytar at once, ETC's greatest talent is to leap anywhere on the battlefield, making him extremely mobile despite being a hulking mass of hairy muscle. He's able to knock around and stun enemies with guitar solos (really) and, if he plays a particularly sweet tune, he can buff his friends.
The lore: ETC is a metal band made up of high-level Blizzard employees like CEO Mike Morhaime and senior art director Samwise Didier. The band has made its way into World of Warcraft. Eventually, the model we'll see in Heroes was included in StarCraft II.
6) Sonya (pictured center) is a medium difficulty "direct fighter." Instead of using mana like most other heroes, Sonya uses fury that is built up by attacking enemies. She leeches life from enemies with attacks and abilities.
The lore: Sonya is a warrior from Diablo.
7) Kerrigan is a medium difficulty melee assassin. She's fast and designed to be played aggressively. Kerrigan gains shields by attacking and can stun enemies by pulling enemies toward her with those big, horrible wings she has these days.
The lore: Once an elite Terran Ghost, Kerrigan has long been the Queen of Blades and the leader of the Zerg Swarm. As far as StarCraft goes, she's the alpha.
8) Illidan is a very hard difficulty melee assassin. When players tested him out at BlizzCon, it was common to hear them mention how challenging he was. Illidan's abilities have to be used in the correct order to maximize damage. His low health makes his vulnerable to his enemies.
The lore: First appearing in Warcraft III, Illidan is ambitious to the point of comitting atrocities in the pursuit of power. He's a Night Elf-Demon hybrid hated by everyone.
9) Nova is a medium difficulty ranged assassin. She moves quickly and is automatically cloaked when outside of combat. She's meant to snipe enemies from afar with abilities and her powerful rifle shot. She can also create decoys of herself that can damage enemies with gunfire and explosions on death.
The lore: Originally the star of the cancelled game StarCraft: Ghost, Nova finally appeared in StarCraft II as an elite Terran Ghost from the Confederacy. Her life story is extraordinarily rough including murdered parents and fending off a vicious attempted rape. She's worked for the Terran Dominion for the past several years.
Falstad as depicted in World of Warcraft
10) Falstad is a hard difficulty ranged assassin. He can fly over terrain and strike enemies from a ways away. Most interestingly, he can use his abilities to avoid damage or destroy enemies.
The lore: Falstad is a Warcraft Dwarf and the High Thane of the Wildhammer clan. Like his father before him, Falstad can ride a mean gryphon with no trouble at all.
Valla (center right) being stunned by Elite Tauren Chieftain's Mosh Pit ultimate ability
11) Valla is an easy difficulty ranged assassin. She's designed to strike enemies from a distance. Attacking gains her hatred which increases her attack speed. If enemies get too close, Valla can vault away to safety.
The lore: In Diablo, Valla originated in the short story "Hatred and Discipline" as a dedicated hunter of demons. Business is good.
12) Raynor is an easy difficulty ranged assassin. He's one of the simplest heroes in the game and the designers have cited him as an excellent place for newbies to start. In addition to numerous area of effect buffs and a great push shot, Raynor has interesting ultras such as calling down a Battlecruiser or Banshee to rain hell on nearby enemy units and structures.
The lore: One of the great StarCraft protagonists, Raynor has a distinct anti-authoritarian streak as the leader of a rebellion against the Confederacy and then Dominion, the two Terran powers that be in StarCraft. He's got a drinking problem but, worse, he's got an incurable love for Kerrigan problem.
13) Uther is an easy difficulty melee support warrior. His chief function is to heal allies. After death, Uther returns as a spirit to continue healing.
The lore: A paladin, knight, and all around good guy, Uther was betrayed and killed by his pupil Arthas during Warcraft III.
Malfurion (bottom right) in a team fight
14) Malfurion is an easy difficulty ranged support hero. He is designed to heal allies and restore their mana. He can reveal and root groups of enemies from a considerable distance away.
The lore: Malfurion is a 10,000-year-old druid and the brother of Illidan. As a lover of nature and teaching, he's respected as among the wisest beings in Azeroth.
Tassadar sporting his mecha skin
15) Tassadar is a very hard ranged support hero. He can grant temporary shields to allies which has great potential in support. He's also able to detect nearby enemies and manipulate the battlefield to his team's advantage.
The lore: Tassadar is a Protoss hero from StarCraft who defeated the chief villain of the first games, the Overmind, with a devastating suicide attack. He's always had a weakness for the truth despite what political problems it leads him to.
Naziba (bottom middle) in a team fight
16) Naziba is a medium difficulty ranged specialist. She's extremely effective against groups of enemies. If you're an arachnophobe, the genre's tradition of creeping you out continues here as this character summons spiders and frogs. She can also siphon health and mana from dying enemies.
The lore: Naziba is a witch doctor hailing from the Diablo franchise.
Glazlowe (center, right) in a team fight for a tribute
17) Gazlowe is a medium difficulty melee specialist. With his crooked eyes, it's no surprise that he utilizes a bunch of self-made gadgets like turrets and Xplodium charges to take over strategic areas of the map. He can also supercharge his Deth Lazor to increase area of effect damage.
The lore: In World of Warcraft, Gazlowe is an engineer with a resume that includes working for the likes of Thrall, one of the franchise's great heroes.
18) Abathur is a very hard ranged specialist. He's one of the most unique units in the game in that he doesn't directly engage in combat. Instead, he sits in the back of the map and acts through others, adding abilities to them. He can also place toxic nests to defend strategic locations on the map.
The lore: In StarCraft II, Abathur engineers the evolution of the Zerg swarm to aid Kerrigan's efforts to take over the universe.
All images via Blizzard