Kaeo Milker & Samwise Didier on Varian, Ragnaros, and D.VA

▲ Lead Game Producer Kaeo Milker(shown left) & Senior Art Director Samwise Didier(left)

 

How did you decide on Varian and Ragnaros as new Heroes to enter the Nexus?

Samwise Didier: Since Varian is the king of the Alliance, we felt that he’s worthy to be the first multi-class Hero. He was a good choice given he’s someone who is very noble and heroic. As for Ragnaros, he’s an iconic raid boss and was one of the most requested Heroes. We felt this BlizzCon was the perfect opportunity to showcase something unique. He can either be on the battlefield or take over a fort to become a big boss. We were happy to see that artists and designers were able to push the boundaries in Heroes.


When Ragnaros claims a fort, what happens to him?

Kaeo Milker: He gets a much longer range and a host of new abilities. For example, his Empower Sulfuras gets a stun when he’s in tower mode.

Didier: What we like about him is that his basic trait almost feels like a Heroic. As long as it’s not on cooldown, you can use it without having to wait for a certain level. I think it’s one of the coolest traits we have in the game.


How did you come up with the idea of an attack/defend style Brawl for Blackheart’s Revenge?

Didier: Attack/defend has been a classic scenario in other games. We thought it was a good time to put it as a Brawl because we’re able to try new ideas without committing to a giant map. It’s supposed to be played fast, maybe within five minutes. You can either escort the ship or attack it by collecting cannon balls. I like that you get to attack Blackheart for a change.


Do you have any plans to add giant bosses like the Overmind or Deathwing in the future?

Milker: There’s definitely a possibility. It’s our first foray into putting out something big on the battleground. Of course, we had many challenges and had to iterate a lot.

Didier: We liked the idea of him claiming a fort. However, it’ll be disruptive to have multiple big bosses at the same time. We’ll have to see what happens. The Overmind came up when we were discussing Ragnaros, though.


How will Varian be classified in matchmaking?

Milker: Although he can fill warrior and assassin roles, he’s technically classified as a warrior in matchmaking. I could be wrong, but I think he’ll be considered a warrior.


My understanding is that Chris Metzen has voiced Varian and Ragnaros in the past. Did Metzen voice these characters for Heroes before he retired?

Didier: It’s hard to tell with Ragnoros since his voice has gone through many filters. I think we did finish developing these characters before he retired. He also said he wanted to keep doing Thrall. More importantly, we know where he lives [laughs].


Why did you decide to make changes regarding eSports in Heroes for next year?

Milker: There are many things we’ve learned in 2016. For instance, we felt that we couldn’t properly reflect on feedback because tournaments ran sporadically worldwide. We wanted to improve on that, and we hope that these changes will provide stability for pro players.


Is there compensation for the Nexus Challenge rewards if you own all the Heroes?

Milker: No, there isn’t a special reward if you already have all the Heroes, but I think the exclusive Genji skin and mount will be an enough reason to participate in the event.


Why did you pick Genji for the skin?

Milker: We all love Genji.


Now that we have Diablo and StarCraft-themed battlegrounds, could we expect to see any Warcraft ones next year?

Didier: We have various franchises, and the Nexus is where they all come together. We also want all of them to be represented in the game.


We have more Warcraft Heroes than Heroes from other franchises. Was that intended?

Didier: We want to strike a balance between different universes, but Warcraft has diverse characters because of its lore. I can’t say when, but we’ll be releasing more Heroes from StarCraft and Overwatch.


What went on behind the scenes in developing Heroes Brawl?

Milker: Since we previewed Arena at the last BlizzCon, we’ve received lots of feedback. We’ve also learned from Brawl modes in Hearthstone and Overwatch and wanted to fully flesh out the concept. It’s the same reason we added Mutators—to introduce special rules and conditions.

Didier: From the first reveal at BlizzCon 2010, Heroes has gone through many changes, including its name. Player feedback has been the lifeblood of the game, and we’ll continue to make it better through community feedback.


Any plans to make a new character from the Heroes universe?

Didier: It’s one of the things I’d really like to get to one day, but Blizzard already has so many franchises. We have to consider previous lore and Heroes. It’ll be pretty awesome to have Blackheart as a playable character, but Heroes in Warcraft or StarCraft have priority.


Is D.Va in the works?

Didier: Eventually, we’ll have all the characters in Heroes. I personally love D.Va, and she’ll make an excellent addition to the game.


I noticed that Lil’ Ragnaros skin is very popular since the announcement. Could we see other Heroes with similar skins?

Didier: As an artist, I find skins to be one of the most interesting parts of my work because it involves a lot of imagination on my part. We made Lil’ Ragnaros because it was possible to do so. We tend to make these artistic choices when we have the chance. At the same time, we want to keep a balance.


Some players said that voting for MVP has lost its meaning because they can just click the leave button as soon as the match is over. Are there any plans to improve the current system?

Milker: It’s something we’re not totally happy with. We’re exploring ways to improve it.


Any last words for fans?

Didier: Thank you for playing our games. We’ll keep making them as long as you keep playing them.

 

 

Source article by Inven Abell

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