Qhira, the grappling-hook-throwing, chainsaw-blade-having, Nexus-original badass is coming to Heroes of the Storm in an upcoming patch, according to the game's development team.
Scheduled to hit the game's Public Test Realm Monday afternoon, Qhira's ability to start and end fights will make melee assassin players jump for joy. This mobile death machine aims to bring her own style of chaos to the battlefield.
The second-ever Nexus original hero, Qhira's backstory tells a tale of destruction, turmoil and where she is headed next:
Qhira hails from an original Nexus universe. The realm of Iresia was the most advanced universe in the Nexus technologically, but it fell to infighting and division. During the course of a massive war between the fractured forces of Iresia, they destroyed themselves and shattered their universe's singularity. Qhira is one of the few who survived and in all her searching, she has been unable to find any other survivors. She currently works as a bounty hunter in the Nexus, using her immense skill and combat prowess to fight and kill for her patrons, all in the effort to find any other survivors of her homeland.
Recently, members of the game's development team sat down with InvenGlobal to discuss what makes Qhira unique, design decisions along the way, what counters her aggressive style and much more.
Her full list of talents and abilities can be found here.
Flashy and deadly
At the end of 2018 at Blizzard Entertainment's annual BlizzCon event, the Heroes of the Storm team revealed a project they had been working on for quite some time. A first in the game's multi-year history. They created their own Nexus-original hero, Orphea. On Monday, they revealed their second.
Lead Live Designer, Brett Crawford, talked about how Qhira came to be and why she was revealed now.
We had this really cool idea for a hero with a chainblade who swings around the battlefield, a really flashy hero. We wanted to just bring her in alongside Orphea, but they are not necessarily related, so [her design] was really more focused on the kit and just being a really cool hero rather than having any ties to Orphea.
As for how she flows on the battlefield, she is a unique hero not only in her design but how she plays.
Qhira is an acrobatic melee assassin. Her iconic abilities are her trait which is Grappling Hook which allows her to basically pull herself to an enemy hero or terrain. And her very unique and iconic ability is Revolving Sweep which is her E ability that really defines her overall kit. So with Revolving Sweep she throws her sword out and attaches to an enemy hero. Whenever she latches, she begins to swing around them in a big circle and she starts to damage anyone in between her and the target as she swings. You can reactivate this ability to pull yourself to that hero to stun them and do extra damage and this creates really flashing moments. Qhira really shines in initiation situations so it creates this really big moment that your whole team can play around and the enemy team sees it happening. it is just a really cool feature that she has.
The design team didn't mince words when it came to how Qhira was created. It all starts and ends with the chainblade. As there were no existing characters in the Blizzard universe that rocked the deadly weapon of choice, they decided to create a kit and hero around that. Orphea, on the other hand, was designed first then had a kit built around the concept.
Easy to play, hard to master
Bounding and flying around the battlefield with ease, Qhira's playstyle fits under the Blizzard mantra of "Easy to play, hard to master." While she may appear intimidating to pilot, Senior Game Designer, Kyle Dates, assures players that, regardless if you're the most or least mechanically skilled player out there, you can make Qhira work for you.
You definitely need to think about what you are doing because there's a lot of potential in what she does. I would say that if you do not have a lot of mechanical skill you can just attach your Revolving Sweep ability to someone then immediately go in for the stun and do your combo with your other abilities. But, for higher skill players, when she is going around she can decide when she goes in or she could not go in at all. There are a lot of mind games there because the person she's attached to actually has movement and the ability to control where she goes so you can have some hilarious moments.
There are a lot of dynamics of what can happen when she attaches in the situation and you have to react to how things change very quickly. Another neat feature is that she can actually use her Grappling Hook while she is revolving around somebody. So if the situation looks dire you can actually while she is still spinning around attached yourself to terrain somewhere else to get away if things suddenly go poorly
Long-time Heroes of the Storm players may roll their eyes at the prospect of another mobile hero joining the roster as their power level historically is quite high. But, as the development team acknowledges, their philosophy toward's mobile heroes in 2019 is not the same as it was in years past.
As we have gotten more experience with our design we have kind of realized that attaching certain conditions or requirements for you to go where you want actually creates a more interesting experience overall, said Dates.
With her mobility being tied to skill, Qhira's lack of true point-and-click mobility such as Zeratul's should provide a less frustrating gameplay experience for both sides.
A few heroes who countered her well in internal testing were those who could kite and move around Qhira, such as Lunara and Tracer. Additionally, Garrosh proved to be a worthy foe as his ability to toss teammates and enemies around like ragdolls can put Qhira into stick situations on occasion.
Builds and playstyles
Once players grasp how Qhira's base kit works, they then have to decide how to build her and how she plays as a whole.
Not to worry though because her talent tree can take her in a few different directions, said Dates.
Looking at her talent tree there are probably three different overarching ways that I think you could play her. We have quite a few talents that are based on basic attacks. She also has kind of a flavor throughout her tree that you will notice where she does more damage to enemy heroes that are below 50% health. So you have one play style to where you are building to basic attack a lot and really whittle down people once they are below 50% health to kill them very quickly.
She also has a build based on her Q-ability [Carnage]. There are quite a few talents that reward you for hitting enemy heroes with multiple hits of it because it hits a bunch of times as she extends her sword and brings it back. So getting chunky hits on a lot of heroes and putting a lot of bleeds on them will reduce its cooldown at [level 13] so she can be a little more poke-y with her Q.
The other style is using her bleed stacks. Everything she does that hits an enemy hero applies a bleed stack that can stack up to five times. She wants to keep those bleeds up on a lot of heroes because when she has that big moment where she is able to pop her W to heal, it is increased a lot depending on how many enemy Heroes have stacks on them.
As for how she plays at different stages of the game, Dates has you covered there as well.
Early game she is very powerful as a ganker or someone that surprises the enemy team because she has [Crowd-control] baked into her base kit which is obviously very good for entering a lane and helping out the other heroes on your team. As the game goes on and teamfights become more five-v-five-centric she becomes a little more vulnerable because, as it is with many melee assassins. But her Revolving Sweep and her Grappling Hook allow her to kind of outplay them in a couple of different ways.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.