Stan

Senior Game Designer on Hero Fantasy

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Garrosh is hitting PTR later today and players have started to discuss how his kit doesn't fit into his fantasy. Senior Designer Matt Cooper has made a post on the official forums about Hero fantasy and kits and how the team doesn't consider Garrosh's fantasy as flawed.

The main issue discussed about Garrosh's fantasy is that in Heroes of the Storm he's a tank, whereas in World of Warcraft he was portrayed as an aggressive Arms / Fury Warrior, but it's too early for assumptions. We haven't tried out the Hero yet! The male Barbarian was considered as a skin option for Sonya at some point, but Blizzard later decided that wasn't the direction they wanted to pursue, but that doesn't mean that we will never see a male D3 barbarian in Heroes of the Storm.

Other discussed subjects are the Malthael & Probius fantasy, where Matt goes into detail regarding the decision-making process of their kits.

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I'd like to think this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway just in case: when designing heroes we care very much about hitting their fantasy.

One reason a hero might deviate from what you expect them to do is the translation process into our game. We have to make the gameplay good first and foremost, and for one reason or another there will inevitably be something we can't include. 

As an example, during Malthael's development several people on the team expressed a desire to see moves from his D3 boss fight that didn't make it in. We see this a lot with boss fights, and the issue is usually that Boss abilities are specifically designed to be avoidable, so they tend not to fit into a PvP game. In Heroes I want my moves to be fairly reliable, at least enough that I can predict how my target will move and have a good chance of hitting them. And yes sometimes we can adapt these abilities to feel good in our game, but not always (ex: because they'd lose too much of what makes them cool, or would be identical to another ability in the game).

There are also issues like visual clarity to consider. When you have 10 heroes on the screen all using Heroic abilities, it's problematic to have one ability that floods the battlefield and requires all of your focus to deal with (as you would in a boss fight). We're also trying to be more careful about how many units a hero can summon, because while it's cool from a fantasy-perspective a swarm of HP bars on the screen can quickly destroy battlefield readability.

Finally and perhaps the biggest challenge we face (at least in terms of the passionate opinions about fantasy we see here) is that everyone has their own idea of what a hero's fantasy actually is. If I asked 100 of you to send me a design for Garrosh, I'd get 100 different responses, all with good reasons for why you feel he should be that way. We have our own vision that we come to after a lot of discussion within the team, and it's almost guaranteed that there will be people who disagree with it. The more iconic and memorable the hero, and the more different forms they can appear in throughout our games, the greater the chance this will happen.

One of the first things we have to figure out when we decide to make a hero is "which version are we doing?". Is Kael'thas the Warcraft 3 version? The Tempest Keep version? The Magister's Terrace version? Does he draw inspiration from all of them? Likewise with Garrosh, who appeared across 5 different WoW expansions, we talked about which version to draw primary inspiration from and which elements of others we might want to include. The result you see is what we felt like was the best version of Garrosh for our game.

You may not always agree with us when it comes to hero fantasy, and that's totally fair, but know that it's very important to us to do a hero's fantasy justice to the greatest extent that we're able within the framework of our game.

The D3 male barbarian was even in a lot of the early promotional stuff for HotS, including the main website for a really long time.

As far as I can recall Sonya has always been female, even in early development around the time Heart of the Swarm launched. We talked about the possibility of doing a gender-swap skin (affectionately referred to as "Bronya"), but at the time decided it wasn't the direction we wanted to pursue.

I totally get why you'd want a male Barbarian, and I don't think that's off the table. We may well explore this option in the future (either through a skin or a new hero entirely).

Matt, if the fantasy of the character is as important to you as you say it is, why did you guys choose to have Garrosh be a Tank, when he has never been a Protection Warrior in WoW or shown any desire to protect the weak?

He really doesn't play like a Prot Warrior, though. It's hard to get this across until you actually get to try him, but when you play him you feel like a big mean bully who's just exceptionally difficult to kill. It's less that you're protecting your team from the enemy, and more that you're so disruptive to the enemy that it's hard for them to kill anyone.

Basically, for anyone who's really concerned about this, I'd encourage you to give him a try first and then give us feedback based on that experience.

When I heard that they are bring a SC probe to the Nexus, I was so excited by the potential of doing a cannon rush or having pylons occasionally warp in some zealot minions.

Believe it or not we actually tried this sort of kit first, and it didn't work out very well. It was kind of like playing Abathur without his Q ability. It was cool for a couple of games, but the novelty wore off very quickly =(

I think what we ended up with gives him a much more active playstyle and lots of room for mastery, while still being very builder/setup focused. My one regret is that I think we were overly worried about similarity to Gazlowe and went too restrictive on his ability to build Cannons. I think this is something we could do more with once we have some time to update him.

I mean the fact that You were aware of him being flawed fantasy wise but pushed him anyway. There surely must be a way of designing builder hero to be satisfying but also not passive in playstyle. And even if not, aren't You allowed discard a hero if translation into moba doesn't work out?

We don't see his fantasy as flawed. When we realized the pure builder angle wasn't working out, we took a step back and approached him from a different perspective, and we're very satisfied with the result.

You may not feel the same way. Maybe the fantasy you expected for him was very different, or there's something you feel is very important that's missing, and that's totally fair! But that difference of opinion shouldn't lead to speculation that we must have been forced to release a hero we weren't happy with against our will. We stand by our work and are proud of every hero we release.

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

He really doesn't play like a Prot Warrior

I think this is the key argument. People are complaining he is a Tank in HotS, but just because he is a tank, it doesn't mean he is a Protection Warrior; this is explicitly evident by the fact he doesn't wield a shield. Likewise, you don't see people complaining about Muradin; he is a tank, with some Protection Warrior skills, and yet he doesn't wield a shield.

From my point of view, judging by his spotlight, Garrosh is more of a sturdy semi-bruiser (even though he deals low damage) than a full tank, especially given the fact he has low health for a Warrior. I hardly think he is solo tanking material, but I guess we'll have to see it today.

Edited by Valhalen
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It's true that, from watching the champion reveal video, he seemed somewhat flacid. His overall feel made me think of some passive tank who just moves key targets from point A to B without much weight to the actions.

Just so that I'm not misunderstood: Take, for example, Diablo. All his actions have weight to them, in that it feels like he's really aggressive with plenty of substance, throwing his weight around. Charging enemies, ploughing them in to the ground. Now if Garrosh did something similar (As in, animation not mechanically) to add some real meaty weight to his actions, it'd be perceived better. For now it looks like he gently lifts the target and then throws them like a Strongman in a circus, clearly intending to throw the person but keeping their landing in mind.

To me, Garrosh is a rage filled bundle of muscle, with little to no concern for anyone's well-being. For me, his current animations don't reflect that.

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If I asked 100 of you to send me a design for Garrosh, I'd get 100 different responses, all with good reasons for why you feel he should be that way. We have our own vision that we come to after a lot of discussion within the team, and it's almost guaranteed that there will be people who disagree with it.

"We do it our way and the fans don't matter."

I can't help but interpret this in this way. Expect the firebat, goliath, thor, carrier, peon, peasant, and butterfly witch before getting requested important lore characters from all franchises.

Image result for maghda

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8 hours ago, ScottHK said:

It's true that, from watching the champion reveal video, he seemed somewhat flacid. His overall feel made me think of some passive tank who just moves key targets from point A to B without much weight to the actions.

Just so that I'm not misunderstood: Take, for example, Diablo. All his actions have weight to them, in that it feels like he's really aggressive with plenty of substance, throwing his weight around. Charging enemies, ploughing them in to the ground. Now if Garrosh did something similar (As in, animation not mechanically) to add some real meaty weight to his actions, it'd be perceived better. For now it looks like he gently lifts the target and then throws them like a Strongman in a circus, clearly intending to throw the person but keeping their landing in mind.

To me, Garrosh is a rage filled bundle of muscle, with little to no concern for anyone's well-being. For me, his current animations don't reflect that.

I agree.  He does not look or act like Garrosh.  The mechanics don't fit with what he is in WoW.  He doesn't look rage filled.  I was expecting a melee assassin with mechanics simular to maybe a fury warrior, having rage as a resource.  Even as a tank he still doesn't feel rage filled.  His kit seems thoughtful and considerate.  He helps his team members out?  Not the Garrosh I fought. 

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1 hour ago, toyjazzer said:

"We do it our way and the fans don't matter."

I can't help but interpret this in this way.

That's not what he was saying and you know it.  People have different expectations and vision when it comes to translating a fictional character between mediums.  It's inevitable and (unless the character has been static for the majority of its existence) impossible.  Ask 100 people what they want out of a translation and you will indeed get 100 different answers.  Sure there will be common elements but the details will differ.  Now consider a HotS hero has only 4/5/6 skills (depending on trait and heroic abilities) and those are going to be the focus details and suddenly you need to crystallize a half dozen important details about the hero that speaks to those 100 different people (oh and make the character playable/fun within the framework of the game/class).  Just because he isn't rolling over and admitting defeat to a bunch of commenters (who haven't even played the character before making assumptions) doesn't mean he doesn't care about how people feel.

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Today I gave it a try at the PTR, and actually felt really happy with the character, it's true that we can expect a brutal charge from him or a bursty damage like sonya, but with his kit he is able to really get into the fight and make a huge mess,  throwing enemies around, attracting them to be burst down and becoming really tanky with his trait..
He is a bully, taunting enemies to fight him without any means to scape.. which I think is really accurate looking at him as a character.

I don't really like are his animations, but specially from the receptor side, of course, you can´t change the animation of every other character to look pretty when they are thrown away

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14 hours ago, Darkjester79 said:

His kit seems thoughtful and considerate.  He helps his team members out? 

I don't wish to be rude and I'm not going to get into details of whether they got Garrosh's fantasy exactly right... But I have to ask where you get this from. Have you actually played him yet? There's very little about Garrosh that is "considerate." No, his kit is all about chaos and aggressive disruption. Even his crowd control is aggressive: you're throwing enemies around, isolating them for your teammates to explode or you're chasing after opponents, applying slows and making sure your teammates can kill them. Perhaps that is "considerate" in so far as it's enabling your team's aggression.....

Also, his Decimate ult seems to be the more impactful of the two. At the very least it feels like it synergises with his playstyle and kit better than the AoE taunt -- because it's //aggressive//. Ponder that. 

I have to agree with Blizz: give him a try before dismissing him. Try him for a while, too, because what feels, to me at least, like his best playstlye wasn't obvious. It took a few games to discover Garrosh's unique "rhythm." And it's not what you think. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by WanYao
because reasons

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I know little to none about World of Warcraft characters and storyline. I had to look up Garrosh to see who he even is when they first announced him. One of the first image that came up of him for WoW was the one of him sitting in a orcish throne in the same outfit that he has on in HOTS. So that's good I think. Also he looks like a big beefy tanky badass Orc to me when I look at him. He looks like someone who can be hit over and over and just shout at you 'Come on! Is that all you got!?' and pound your head in some. So his kit and such fits that from what I can see as well.

And in terms of the game if he was an assassin instead... do I even have to say this guys... I mean seriously? Do you REALLY want ANOTHER f*cking assassin in the game THAT bad. We already complain about the fact that there's too many of them in the game as it is. And people are complaining because this new beefy orc isn't another damn assassin? Get a grip people.

I'm happy we finally got another warrior tank in the game that we can run into team fights with and are NOT likely to die before we can even do anything with them. I'm so sick of it always being my teammates going 'You're the tank! Get in there and do something!' Ok but I know how this is gonna go... *runs in to fight as asked* ...and I'm dead in 2 seconds... yep that's what I figured would happen... this is why I can't run in with most tanks and do their job other then Johanna. F*cking twin blades Varian feels like more of a tank then the actual tank heros most of the time when he's killing most of your team, tanks included, and not dieing for sh*t despite getting attacked by like 3 people at once. So 'yes, please' to a new hero built to be a solo tank for the team.

Edited by CyberDVonaven

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18 hours ago, CyberDVonaven said:

And in terms of the game if he was an assassin instead... do I even have to say this guys... I mean seriously? Do you REALLY want ANOTHER f*cking assassin in the game THAT bad. We already complain about the fact that there's too many of them in the game as it is. And people are complaining because this new beefy orc isn't another damn assassin? Get a grip people.

I think they are less complaining about him not being an assassin, and more looking at the reasoning behind why is he a true tank rather than a brawler, I guess. People probably were looking more towards a similarity with Sonya rather than Diablo/Muradin.

Personally, I'm OK with how he is. Maybe a slight change in animation, but otherwise I'm happy with him.

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On ‎8‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 10:27 AM, WanYao said:

 

I don't wish to be rude and I'm not going to get into details of whether they got Garrosh's fantasy exactly right... But I have to ask where you get this from. Have you actually played him yet? There's very little about Garrosh that is "considerate." No, his kit is all about chaos and aggressive disruption. Even his crowd control is aggressive: you're throwing enemies around, isolating them for your teammates to explode or you're chasing after opponents, applying slows and making sure your teammates can kill them. Perhaps that is "considerate" in so far as it's enabling your team's aggression.....

Also, his Decimate ult seems to be the more impactful of the two. At the very least it feels like it synergises with his playstyle and kit better than the AoE taunt -- because it's //aggressive//. Ponder that. 

I have to agree with Blizz: give him a try before dismissing him. Try him for a while, too, because what feels, to me at least, like his best playstlye wasn't obvious. It took a few games to discover Garrosh's unique "rhythm." And it's not what you think. 

 

 

 

 

His ability to throw people can be used to throw team mates in or out of fights.  He is played as a disruptor but ultimately a team player.  That is not Garrosh.  Garrosh was always brutal.  he rose to where he was by grabbing power from the weak.  His kit is all about re arranging his enemy across the field and letting his teammates finish them off because he does not have the attack power to do it himself.  Yes, I have played him on the PTR and I like the kit but not the character they gave it to.  I don't want him to be an assassin but more of a brawler that befits his canon in the Warcraft universe.  My issue with him is that unlike the vast majority of the other heroes, his moves do not fit him.  Tracer, Varian, Diablo, Murky etc...all look, and feel like those characters.  To me Garrosh does not.

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17 hours ago, Darkjester79 said:

To me Garrosh does not.

Were you expecting him to have a similar character style to that of Darius from LoL? The "I am the best, nobody can touch me" kinda thing?

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On ‎8‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 0:43 PM, Blainie said:

Were you expecting him to have a similar character style to that of Darius from LoL? The "I am the best, nobody can touch me" kinda thing?

No.  Darius is showy and a audience pleaser.  Garrosh is no nonsense brutality. He should be like Darius is or was (Been awhile since I have played LoL) tough but able to dish out damage.  Garrosh was leader of the Horde.  He has a massive Axe Gorehowl.  He is strong fierce and prideful. yet when I played him on the PTR, he did not feel anything like that.  His kit, to me, does not feel like it fits him.  The closest character that I can compare him to would be Dbo.  Dbo feels like a brute, his fire his pushing and grabbing.  Garrosh should feel just as brutal and again to me, he doesn't. 

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On 8/7/2017 at 7:39 PM, Darkjester79 said:

Garrosh should feel just as brutal and again to me, he doesn't. 

I see what you mean - you want to see Garrosh as the orcs were portrayed in WoW lore. That ruthless fighting style, where they can almost carve through an army of humans while laughing. It does seem like he is too "passive"

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14 minutes ago, Blainie said:

I see what you mean - you want to see Garrosh as the orcs were portrayed in WoW lore. That ruthless fighting style, where they can almost carve through an army of humans while laughing. It does seem like he is too "passive"

I think Garrosh's gameplay does capture his fighting style as something disruptive, as he can throw his enemies around like they were nothing. The "carve through an army" is pretty much how he works in HotS due his trait. You can't kill the dude! I don't think his trait makes him passive. If anything, it makes him more active, as he can simply shrug damage and stay in battle for longer than most tanks.

If we were to analyze, Stitches wouldn't fit in the fantasy because as a Stitches player you have to be patient and land those perfect hooks. Why would the "Terror of Darkshire" act like that?

I think people overanalyze (and complain) way too much, sorry.

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On 8/17/2017 at 0:25 PM, Valhalen said:

I think people overanalyze (and complain) way too much, sorry.

I think that's completely fair, as well. It's not meant to be lore-specific, the idea of the nexus itself is pretty ridiculous in regards to lore. There are skins that make no sense, but they look amazing, so who cares? I'm just trying to empathise with people, since I imagine I'd probably be peeved if I found out my favourite lore hero was introduced and wasn't what I was hoping for! :p

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5 hours ago, Blainie said:

I think that's completely fair, as well. It's not meant to be lore-specific, the idea of the nexus itself is pretty ridiculous in regards to lore. There are skins that make no sense, but they look amazing, so who cares? I'm just trying to empathise with people, since I imagine I'd probably be peeved if I found out my favourite lore hero was introduced and wasn't what I was hoping for! :p

Indeed, I try to empathise as well, but I don't think I know a single WoW player, even a Horde one, that says "Garrosh is my favorite character", lol.

Regardless, I think the fantasy aspect of his gameplay was well incorporated with interesing mechanics.

Sorry if I sounded rude there.

Edited by Valhalen
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On 8/18/2017 at 2:12 PM, Valhalen said:

Indeed, I try to empathise as well, but I don't think I know a single WoW player, even a Horde one, that says "Garrosh is my favorite character", lol.

You'd be surprised! A fair few people like Garrosh pre-corruption, since he was a perfect representation of that harsh, brutal Orcish way of life. Broxigar was probably fairly similar before his personality changed by meeting Tyrande etc. in the WoTA.

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    • By Stan
      Alan Dabiri announced that he's leaving his current position as Game Director for Heroes of the Storm and he's moving on to another project at Blizzard.
      Alan Dabiri has been Game Director ever since Dustin Browder stepped down in December 2016. He thinks the game is in the right hands right now, as developers continue to deliver interesting new Heroes and events. He's transitioning to a new team within the company. We wish him success in all his future endeavors.
      Here's the message he left on the official forums:
      Blizzard (Source)
      In my 20-plus years at Blizzard, I’ve had the privilege of working on many awesome Blizzard games in roles ranging from software engineer to technical director to game director. Across my many roles and games, my experience working on Heroes of the Storm ranks among the best of my development career. I’ve witnessed Heroes’ evolution from a StarCraft II mod to the amazing game you see today. Heroes’ development has been fueled by the shared excitement of our team and all of you in the community, and the game we’ve built together is the game I play almost every night.
      One of the best things about developing Heroes is the fact that this team is not afraid to try new things while always striving to learn and grow. It’s been part of our DNA from the very beginning, and it’s through years of experimentation that we’ve hit our stride both as a development team, and as a game. This is possible because Heroes has an exceptional development team of both Blizzard veterans and fresh faces who are all highly engaged with the game we’re making, and the players we’re making it for.
      It’s in this spirit of trying new things that I want to let everyone know that a few months ago, I accepted an opportunity to transition off my role as Heroes’ game director to heed Blizzard’s call and begin a new adventure elsewhere within the company. The game director has always been one part of the overall leadership team that drives Heroes forward and it’s been a privilege to work among some of the best game developers at every level on the team all the way up to our production director, Kaéo Milker. Leaving a team and game that I love is incredibly difficult, but seeing the steady strength, creativity, and commitment that Kaéo and the design, engineering, and art leadership teams consistently bring to Heroes has given me more than enough confidence to make this decision. I trust that the game is in the very best hands and their work these past few months has only reinforced my belief.
      They’ve released awesome new heroes like Yrel, Whitemane, Mephisto, and now Mal’Ganis, while building on the themed content drops that let the team do fun things that only Heroes can do. They brought the smackdown (plus my favorite mount, the Luchihuahua!) with Nexomania, finally brought an epic slice of Azeroth into the Nexus with the Alterac Pass Battleground, and joined the Raven Lord’s forces with the Fall of King’s Crest. On top of that, the team has also released awesome reworks like Raynor and Brightwing while adding exciting updates like third ban and Team League improvements. With so many awesome content and feature updates, you can see why I believe that the team has brought us the best year of Heroes of the Storm so far.
      And they’re not done yet. Heroes has one of the most passionate and dedicated development teams I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and they have a ton of exciting new content in development. I can’t wait for you all to see what they have in store for the rest of this year and beyond. You can bet that I’ll be right there enjoying it with you as it’s released, too. I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that Heroes is in a great place and I promise that it’s in the hands of the best possible people to continue driving it forward. Kaéo and the Heroes team are people who play almost every night who also happen to get to work on making the game what it is today. With our continued input and support, they’ll keep doing what they do best by making Heroes of the Storm the most awesome game it can possibly be.
      I just want to sign off by saying thank you to all of you. I’ve had an incredible time working on this game and seeing you bring the battlegrounds to life every day. I’m so grateful for the enthusiasm you’ve brought to Heroes and all the changes you’ve encouraged us to make. I know the team deeply appreciates the feedback you share, so please keep it coming—and as always, I’ll see you in the Nexus!