Heroes of the Storm

Lead Hero Designer recalls his favorite moments playtesting Ana

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▲ Although Ana's release is new to us, Kent-Erik Hagman has been playing her for months.


Announced just days ago
, Ana promises to be one of the most skill testing healers in Heroes of the storm. All three of her basic abilities are some form of skill shot, meaning her healing numbers falls to zero if a player misses every shot. Mechanically confident players will thrive on Ana, while the less experienced ones might run into some problems.


We had the chance to ask Lead Hero Designer, Kent-Erik Hagman some questions about his newest creation, and he was happy to oblige.  After all, designing a hero and playing her for months without being able to tell the public leaves you with lots of stories to share:


What type of team compositions work best with Ana? What enemy compositions does Ana thrive against?


"She does well in a lot of situations actually. I was originally going to say she doesn’t do so great in multi-dive comps, but honestly, with her grenade build, it’s not the worst thing in the world. She
certainly wants someone that can stay back and peel with her.



She doesn’t work well against shields and her healing debuff has no interaction with Tassadar or Zarya shields. I don’t know if she thrives against something, but the more delayed the heals, the better. For example, one of her best opponents is Dehaka, as you can completely negate his self-healing if you time her grenade well. She is also not too bad against Sonya, she can negate vital whirlwind healing. It's the same with Butcher-- anything with very telegraphed healing.


In reality, trying to stop Ancestral Healing or Holy Light is a lot harder than you think! 
We have upgraded the healing debuff UI so players can see exactly when Ana's healing debuff ends."

 

▲ Ana's healing is deliberate and impactful, but only if the player wielding her knows when to fire an accurate shot.


Will Ana be capable of massive healing numbers?


"There is a lot of variability from game to game. If you don’t need to use the offensive grenade, you can get lots of healing. It makes me want to theorize which build is actually the most healing, as her builds each have strengths against different types of enemy team.


While her heroics don’t offer tons of big burst healing, through her talent tree she is able to have access to big burst moments that can dish out some mega healing. She has around three builds, healing dart build, poison build, and grenade build.


▲ If Ana needs it, she has the talents to give her big healing numbers.


For example, The 16 talent (pictured above), increases grenade healing by 30% for every target hit. It's possible to get huge healing numbers when Ana is talented correctly."



What were some things about Ana that has changed since her reveal?


"For Nano-Boost's graphics, we used to use the Love Doctor Stim Pack color because it was pink! The art team had some concerns because it might look similar to Stim Drone, but we made sure it looks different. Ana's is bluer and more lightning-like, whereas Stim Drone has the little drone that is filling you with Energy."

▲ Pictured above, Johanna is being nano-boosted. This is a strategy Hagman told us is surprisingly effective, as Warrior heroes perform well with with reduced cooldowns on their powerful CC abilities.


"Eye of Horus shots used to not get blocked by enemy structures, and we learned after a long time that Abathur really got punished. If you know where he was you could just blow him up every time. We also had to put a cooldown between shots, because sometimes it just did too much damage.

We had to nerf it because people were using it for offense too much."



Can you tell us some of your all-time favorite moments while playing as Ana?


"One of the coolest moments for me was on Towers of Doom during an objective fight. I'm Ana on the top side of the map, trying to support my team who is fighting for the bottom bell tower.  I activate Eye of Horus and I start globally healing my ally.


But, the enemy Diablo notices this, so he quickly repositions himself to block my healing shots so he is just taking the damage. He WANTED to get hit and he was able to deny me the ability to heal, which was a really cool counter play moment."

▲ Eye of Horus grants Ana global range on her shots. This should be a powerful tool on large battlegrounds like Warhead Junction.



"However, my favorite moment is different. We were up against an enemy Ana who was just terrorizing us. We were testing Tyrande's rework a few months ago and I was playing as Tyrande.


This Ana is destroying us, so I'm thinking: 'I made this hero, so I know what to do!' At least I think I do. *laughs* We were getting ready to fight for the objective on Infernal Shrines and, I want to add, our sound team killed it. There is this really cool sound that allows players to know when Ana is firing off Eye of Horus rounds.


So, I hear this and realize what I have to do. I quickly press Shadow Stalk, find the Ana, thanks to the visible lines the shots create, and I Hunter's Mark her. I start unloading auto attacks and I hold the Lunar Flare because, by the time she knew what was happening and realized I flanked her, THAT is when I wanted to stun. Her focus was on sniping, not me. It was a great moment being able to flank and make the play for my entire team."

Ana is currently live on the PTR, along with a slew of other hero changes documented in the official patch notes.


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