Heroes of the Storm

Chromie Skin Sketches & Rework Notes On Fantasy and Design

HeroesoftheStorm 7 - Chromie Skin Sketches & Rework Notes On Fantasy and Design
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Here's some skin sketches! Had also done a full painting of a dinomancing 'Lost Explorer' Chromie.

I've been working on some ex-specialist ideas and used Chromie's recent rework to help the thread, but seeing this dev interview I thought making a Chromie-only thread in the meantime, specifically because of points like 'all-or-nothing'.

Hard to evaluate drastic design changes, but three reworks in, I find the new rework is genius in many ways.


General Design Aspects

  • Fantasy: It shapes gameplay, sometimes unseen if not overshadowed by it. Say, seeing Zagara as a siege & vision, but not an RTS conqueror. Chromie's 'time' theme translated into 'predicting' with burst, invisible W and E, and range to act in. But some only see this as her identity, which gradually faded. As I argue, the core fantasy itself improved this last patch.
  • All-or-Nothing: This fantasy's initial version meant you'd either get huge burst or no damage.
  • PvP vs PvE: Was too one-dimensional in this regard, but Chromie can now fit more scenarios.
  • Agency: Ideally heroes have depth and allow for many decisions. W on a path and triggered E with more uses helps.
  • Cheese: Not about winrates, you can be 'balanced' but cheesy. It's doing what's above wrong. Benefiting from luck. Being unfun to play with/against. Extreme strengths, especially in ways that discourage risks.


Pure Artilery No Mo

'Bout that Cheese point… See, old Chromie and Azmodan could accomplish much more by tossing stuff far away from danger, which encouraged passivity and even ignoring basic attacks and, for Azmo, All Shall Burn.

Being discouraged from using the full extent of your kit because the risk isn't worth it is bad design.

Again, the All-or-Nothing damage and huge range coexisted with her time-themed fantasy. In this regard, her current version retains if not improving this fantasy, with healthier gameplay for all parties, even if not to everyone's taste.


Dragon's Breath: All or Nothing Extravaganza

Fantasy-wise, works as intended when invisible. You guess where enemies will be, they guess where it lands. Weee!

But the gap between huge or no damage was an issue. How to fix that and keep the fantasy intact? Well, as many Gul'Dan/Jaina/Gall/Ragnaros bells as the triple blast rings, the 'visible' solution made the ability far more generic.

So what to do? Reducing damage and cd a lot is a terrible idea. Enemies already have to be aware of a Q barrage.

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Adding the invisible guesswork is too much. Plus these huge blasts would feel meh with too little damage.

Here's why I think the current iteration works well.

  • The invisible predicting returns, but more fair!
  • The pathing adds thematic complexity. Chromie and enemies have to think both of the initial and following blasts.
  • Spreading the damage reduces blow-up potential which relied too much on E, R, and allied cc, especially when visible. Dragon's Breath, notably with Dragon's Eye, was about as all-or-nothing as it gets.
  • Zoning spreads the power of the ability. Hitting ain't too strong, missing ain't too punishing. This may sound like a fancy way of saying 'less skill-dependent', but zoning also adds more decision-making for both parties.
  • With a long cd, this dual guessing won't be too much of a hassle for enemies.


Other Highlights

Q hitting non-heroes, Clones with basic attacks, all add PvE power which gives Chromie far more tasks she can handle and makes her easier to fit into teams and maps. Also feels smoother to use and face with its other changes.

The tiny Void Prisons new Time Traps are hard to evaluate, but I adore the added complexity and depth. You choose the ideal moment to trigger them with allies in mind, and can fail at that, all of which gives you agency.

Basic Attack elements are always great for Mages to encourage riskier positioning. Chromie has been increasingly reliant on those. The current form is a) less burst, more sustain b) she has to be more mindful of clone positioning, c) balancing 'full value' against getting pulverized is more demanding than ever especially with the sustained aspect.

With less blow-up potential, Temporal Loop got a buff that makes it more multi-dimensional.

Slowing Sands placement was maybe more crucial, but if well-placed you wouldn't have to re-think about it.

Regarding cheese, Bye Bye is self-explanatory. Also you can no longer use Here and There to travel a mile to safety, which could encourage not using Q while exploring. May need buffs atm, but they'd hone this far more interesting iteration.


#Too Blessed?

Blessing of the Bronze is fun but miiight imo have issues, you know, beyond the obvious ones.

Such talents are best left to healers, supports and tanks, who are more 'giving'. If your Johanna doesn't give allied shields but gets Indestructible on level 20, well, she's your tank, she'll use that to peel for you! But players playing with Chromie could feel entitled to BofB's bonuses which aren't just practical, but so much fun to have!

Sadly being entitled to what your allies do and not the best for them/winning can lead to all manner of toxicity.

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