Some Darkmoon skin sketches! I guess Aba's makes the most sense. Add a Rexxar with a dancing Misha there too.
Anyway. As a specialist fan, I wanted to share some ideas, and I reckon Chromie's creative rework will help with that!
Specialists are still seen by many as one-trick siegin' ponies, their gameplay and synergies overshadowed. But now's the chance to improve! Let's use the dunkin' Chromie and Azmodan to be inspired. More on Chromie in this thread.
These two are interesting as they've gotten much healthier to play as/with/against. Notably, they could do just fine by throwing spells from way back, ignoring Basic Attacks and All Shall Burn. Changes encourage risks and interaction.
Chromie: More Timely AND Dimensional!
All-or-Nothing: The time-themed, prediction-based gameplay had this bursty approach that may now be reasonable.
Fantasy: Predicting more crucial than ever, especially with W once more invisible and on a path.
PvP vs PvE: Stronger pushing, camping and de-Immortal-izing. More map variety, easier to fit in a team.
Agency: Time Traps became far more engaging thanks to being active and having more utility.
Cheese: See above. Bye Bye is gone! Here and There can't be misused by not Q-ing to travel a mile to safety.
Azmodan: Good to Go!
All-or-Nothing: All Shall Burn could be a waste of mana or insanely oppressive. Globe stacking was PvE or PvP-reliant.
PvP vs PvE: Long-ranged Globe siege is nerfed, Generals are weaker, making room for PvP power.
Agency: Timing matters more for D now, as does the use of more a meaningful W and E.
Cheese & Fantasy: See above. Not neglecting/solely relying on a part of your kit helps.
Specialists: Gone and Here Again!
All-or-Nothing: Reliance on PvE, perhaps on specific abilities or lategame, casts a shadow over gameplay and fantasy.
Fantasy: When I say 'Nydus Zagara', you think of 'RTS conqueror' or 'pushing'? When I say 'Murky' you think of 'endless one-fish army' or 'mostly waveclear until lategame'? Doing too much in one aspect can hurt fantasy.
Agency: More interactive PvP. This is NOT just a balance matter. Well-designed abilities and talents are key.
Cheese: Specialties are great, but the more multi-dimensional, the better the gameplay and easier to fit/accept in teams.
PvP vs PvE – A Category On its Own
There's a fine balance in how much you should accomplish playing alone with AI toys until a player comes. Too much siege power promotes passivity and is balanced with less PvP power. Less a team member, more a goon.
I adore pushing, Nydus even pre-OP rework, but never saw my as specs antisocial one-trick ponies like some fans/haters. Soloing keeps is rewarding, but most adrenaline comes from expecting PvP, someone to shoo you. Rest you can do vs AI.
This is a team game. Many reminisce of how much better specialists were, and it's unfortunate.
Do the actual abilities, themes and fantasies mean anything next to spam for numbers? Complexity, interaction and decision-making pale in comparison to PvAI? We should bring back the terribly designed and non-diverse talents of old?
Heck, even with unarguable increases in skill dependency, some claim heroes get dumbed down just to sound negative, ironically asking for the re-dumbing of heroes so they don't have to play then in more complex and deep ways.
These heroes should excel in sieging, just less so. Aspects taken for granted must be nerfed if it helps the hero. The Chromie example helps as her PvP-PvE balance and interactivity greatly changed since release, for the better.
Most importantly, PvE nerfs do NOT affect gameplay. With less of a benefit, you push less often. Barely affects what you do. If you miss that pushing power, you're entitled to your preference, but not in being objectively right as well.
Feedback and ideas are welcome!
Abathur, Azmodan, Sylvanas, Medivh: Fine really! Talent diversity can always improve, especially for Medivh (really tho), and Aba can use more engaging options. I've shared thoughts on Nests and Locusts.
Gazlowe: Can use a couple more melee tools. A drastic idea I'm really unsure on, have Salvager only affect Turrets. Cd reduction is crucial for them, but W & E must be extra clunky with it. Debatable, but being able to 'spend' Turrets instead of seeking optimal use ain't ideal either. Scrap could also grant non-stacking shields upon collection, via talent perhaps.
Murky: A waveclear machine when alone, aka sans counterplay, aided by Fishy Deal which has the Egg talents rarely picked (rly tho try mastering those). PvP-wise he's meh early on, potentially a monster 16+. Balancing his early vs lategame with the sustain tier earlier will make him far healthier, maybe reduce Pufferfish delay and damage a tad.
Nazeebo: Voodoo Ritual lacks a cap, stacks rely on rotation but not skill, hurts map diversity. Take notes from Azmo!
Probius: THE most unpopular hero. Too reliant on the blow-up and waveclear of Warp Rifts. Nerf Rift damage but… cause heroes hit to take more damage from him/reduce his cds/something else? Mages can always use a good aa talent, too.
Sgt. Hammer: Very unique, that's great. But lacks agency and interaction, especially with babysitters and/or pushing. Could make Siege Mode an active with a cd, but that'd be super drastic. Take notes from… Ana's D? No good ideas.
The Lost Vikings: I'd cap and move the trait to a talent, or remove it. It limits gameplay freedom. It encourages tricky three-split action, lovely, but mostly in PvE terms, and punishes the lack of it. Need more PvP & shenanigan tools.
Xul: Spawning Skeletons in fights should be baseline, especially for fantasy. Bone Prison, maybe even Bone Armor somehow? Nerf PvE by spawning skeletons only with Cursed Strikes? Could spawn skeletons from takedowns too.
Zagara: Shared thoughts here. In short, have Nydus only reduce cd vs heroes, add a slow to Infested Drop, and spruce up her old talent tree. Cd reduction vs heroes could be baseline, with nerfed overall cds of course, and buffed by Nydus.
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