Heroes of the Storm

After trying a lot of free heroes, I’ve found 1 that is amazingly fun to play but suffers from poor design

HeroesoftheStorm 8 - After trying a lot of free heroes, I've found 1 that is amazingly fun to play but suffers from poor design

That hero is Malthael. I completely understand how the hero is meant to be played. I understand how strongly he counters heroes like Deathwing and other high HP/armor heroes. I understand how amazingly well he can push a lane and clear a camp or two. That said, his strengths alone don't make him a well designed hero.

Straight from the gate he can perform everything he was meant to do; he can clear a wave in no time and do camps as soon as min 1 with no talents at all. And that's probably where the fault of his design lies, his fantastically lackluster talents. It doesn't feel like any of his talents DO anything. Let's take a look at his talent tiers (feel free to skip):

  1. Choice of talents are 2 different movement speed increases or an ever so slight cast range increase on one of his spells.
  2. A situational 50% increase on a low damage spell. I heard that this talent was the KEY to winning solo lane. I don't think so. Its realistic impact is minimal. If Malth wins his lane, its because of his base kit, not because of this talent. Then theres another ability range increase (why?) and an impossible to complete quest without cheesing it on illusions/LV. You would probably even have trouble completing this quest in Brawl.

  3. A 20% slow, a small AoE on Wraith Strike, and Healing reduction. So far we've gone through 3 tiers of talents and touched on 9 talents that make make no difference on how the hero is played. Next are the ultimates.

  4. There is only 1 choice for ultimates and you know it. Last Rites is actually kinda ridiculously overtuned and 99% the reason why Malth is played at all. The other ultimate, Tormented Souls, is legit horrendous. Its the equivalent of an 8 second Mark in a relatively small AoE with all the downsides of actually having to stay near the heroes to get its full effect. Oh, and it refreshes the cooldown on a 5 second CD ability. (legit what were the devs thinking when they made this ULTMATE ability?)

  5. At level 13 he has four talent choices. The first is a very modest increase in healing from Q (changes the 4% to 4.75%). Then there are two absolute jokes of armor choices; 10 PHYSICAL armor for every mark up (WITH A CAP OF 30!) or 50% spell armor with a TWO SECOND delay in activation. The last talent choice is a 2 second unstoppable on a short CD… that removes all of your marks (lol).

  6. Level 16 is traditionally when every hero gets another huge spike in power. Malth gets: a modest CD reduction and range buff on Q, Wraith Strike deals 8% of a heroes HP each hit, Mark deals 80% additional damage every second after 4 seconds (one of these talents is not like the other!). This tier is practically the only tier outside of his ultimate that makes any impact at all.

  7. Level 20. Reaper of Souls is irrelevant as Tormented Souls is not picked in any bracket or game mode, even brawl. Angel of Death makes Last Rites heal (0 impact), Final Curtain makes for some interesting area denial and No One Can Stop Death provides an instant res on a 180 second timer.

Judging by the lack of playstyle diversity or power spike Malth gets through talents it's safe to say that the devs were very much afraid of making this hero too strong which is a shame. I haven't been playing HoTS for the entirety of its run but a quick search shows me that Malth was reworked a few years ago and it was generally ill received.

I'm not suggesting that Malth receive yet another rework, he's solid at what he does. It's just that it feels like the devs kinda just gave up on balancing a hero who works off of % health and by making his talent choices so low impact he's poorly designed.

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