Heroes of the Storm

The Dawn of Gazlowe Part 1 – Out with the Old!

HeroesoftheStorm 5 - The Dawn of Gazlowe Part 1 – Out with the Old!
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My fav hero got an awesome rework! But why was it so drastic? Let's have a look at older Gaz issues.


The Salvager Curse

Spooky! Had a whole thread on how cd reduction plagued Gaz, got a sneaky rework hint when pointing out in an AmA. It's the one truly removed aspect. But what’s so wrong with the old trait?

A way to help Turret repositioning ended up a core aspect which persisted through the years. It's great to have a reason to go deeper and be savvy about your territory. Otherwise, several problems with it.

  • Chiefly, it prevented your abilities from being too responsive, else spamming them would be OP.
  • It wasn’t that interactive. You pick up scrap, enemies might guard them a bit, that's it.
  • You could spend turrets to use W and E more, especially W for Lazor pokes. Sounds strategic on paper, but in some occasions it incentivized wasting your basic-est ability for fuel instead of using it to its fullest.
  • Also incentivized spamming Turrets in place to recharge your Heroic.
  • It didn't make much sense when basic abilities don’t combine in meaningful ways.
  • It wasn’t thematic.

Compare all this to Betrayer’s Thirst. Cd reduction fueled by Illidan’s basic attacks. His abilities work together and enable said attacks. The resulting gameplay is dynamic, him zipping around, slicing, evading. It paints a vicious picture of a hunter who lives to attack, to take vengeance.

One of the most crucial aspects of old Gazlowe was the least unique and flavorful.


Slowly Cookin’ My Lazorz

While charging for the perfect meaty Lazor… you aren’t doing anything else. Heck, a rework allowed you to cancel it exactly because it needed to be forgiving. Looks wrong now. Also you'd evaporate someone at half health from a mile, sometimes, 'balanced' but unfair nonetheless.

Then, Hyperfocus Coils halving charge time. If abilities feel lacking and get huge buffs to their usability via talents, they’re likely broken. Speaking of broken, talent-dependent abilities…


Xplodin’? It Depends…

…on everything. Talents. Heroic. Allies with heavy cc.

  • Xtra-Large Bombs on 13 actually made it a formidable zoning and anti-dive tool.
  • Grav-O-Bomb 3000 would make it 3000% more likely to hit ha. An ability and heroic dependent on each other kept these outdated as well. Tweaking either’s timing by even .25 sec could break a balance there from inception. Could also lead to Xplodium being used less to save for a combo.
  • Allies like Garrosh could make Xplodium far more reliable… a plan that’s in itself super unreliable (sigh). Ironically, should work well in the coordinated environments that shunned Gaz the most.

Great Power – Great Reliability = Clunk & Zoning

All abilities captured the essence of huge power vs heavy unreliability, in a very oddball mix. It also highlighted how zoning-oriented they all were. Stationary, large, delayed.

  • Rock-It Turrets!: Summons with great duration and damage!… that don't move. And shouldn't!
  • Deth Lazor: ENORMOUS AREA!… but roots you and has a major charge time.
  • Xplodium Charge: Incredible stun duration, good damage!… took a liiittle while to go boom.
  • Robo-Goblin: Huuuge basic attack bonus!… on the melee hero least suited for autos, lacking sustain, mobility and fast c. Activate to become one for 3 sec with speed and armor!
  • Grav-O-Bomb 3000: Makes Xplodium work! Uninterruptible Mosh Pits!… maybe.

Now, folks like me love the clunk, the antithesis, the rush of things… working. Which brings us to:

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Feel & Toxicity

We Gazlords might’ve loved our kit, but to most it just seemed broken. I mean I just said it was, but it was balanced broken! Seeing Gaz walking around playing with Turrets, standing for Lazor and dropping bombs whose zoning is unappreciated (sniff), doesn’t help with the prejudice that’s build up.

The pro scene helped with that. As most players, pros don’t like defensive, unresponsive stuff that lack agency. They want decisive, responsive damage and crowd control. Many scoff at poison damage (Lunara) or slow summons (Anub Beetles, try them while they’re hot!)… or Nazeebo, who combines both! I recall Fan wanted to increase his Gaz rating (a bit) after trying the Lazor build of a Korean player, I think this one neglecting sustained damage/zoning in favor of immediacy and cc.


Nitpickin’

  • Level 1 was likely weak. Its best talent was a worse Regen Master.
  • Goblin Repairs was a bit of a chore. You skip waveclear/mana refunds and go in for globes, at the cost of health, or mana to dominate the lane. Ironically, best with Robo so you got bruisery later.
  • Early Salvager talents were really self-absorbed and dull, lacking interactivity.
  • Steam Fists was laborious and benefited from misplays, like skipping aoes to punch minions.
  • Again, Hyperfocus Coils and Xtra Large Bombs 'fixed' abilities that feel wrong baseline.
  • Dull talents that do a single thing, especially the Turret ones on 16. Conditional range? Yay.

Rest in Pieces

  • Anti-structure theme. Despite getting ‘One Man Wrecking Crew’, you’re less of one. I don’t mind no structure Scrap, was a weird bonus. But why can snowballs disable structures and not bombs? You also push less, with PvP talents and Big Game Hunter not working vs minions and structures… but nerfing your power vs an AI that can’t move in favor of other aspects is great!
  • Turret cities, at least early on… but highlight of a talent being a niche, memey dream, eh.
  • BIG basic attacks with a Heroic+upgrade… but being actually able to use them can’t have that.
  • Basic ability extremities. Longest lasting summon, grandest aoe, biggest stun… but, well, they’re far more reliable now. A bit of homogenization is fine if it doesn’t destroy the point of abilities.

Still Clunky, Babeh!

Bombs still take a while to explode, Lazors root you for a moment. And your engage and escapes are actually worse?! You can't press R to get speed, but must hit your Es/autos with respective talents, and can't have an enormous, quick, long-ranged Lazor with 50% slow. We'll have to see how this plays out.

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