A couple days ago, Heroes Community Manager Trikslyr sat down with developer Richard Khoo to discuss the insights he has for the Hero Li Li
Another Hero week is upon us, so it’s time for another Designer Insights in which we explore the nitty-gritty of Hero Design and their respective mechanics. Senior Game Designer Richard Khoo sits down with us to talk shop about Li Li: The World Wanderer.
Trikslyr: Welcome back! Li Li is a support hero with abilities that promote active play around teammates and enemies. Most of her abilities can only be activated when a teammate or enemy is nearby. When designing this concept, what type of play style was in mind from the design team?
Richard: Li Li was designed to be an active positional based support hero that could assist her allies in unique ways. Healing Brew strongly encourages Li Li to find a buddy and follow them around, but what is really unique about Healing Brew is that it restores mana. The sustain strength of this mana restoration is actually higher than Malfurion’s Innervation. We aimed to make the cooldown of Healing Brew very low, so it can be given to allies more often. This makes Li Li a very strong hero to partner up with very mana reliant heroes and allows them to pick less mana utility talents and more offensive ones.
Li Li’s Blinding Wind ability strikes multiple enemies if you’re within close proximity to them, which makes Li Li want to break away from her allies to poke. Blinding Wind causes the enemies to miss their next attack, which is a mechanic that is used sparingly in our game and pointed at the assassins who focus on using basic attacks, such as Demon Hunter.
When we first released Li Li, her Blinding Wind required her to stand still momentarily to cast. After playing with it for a bit, we realized that this goes against the vision we had for her which was to move around the battlefield as fluidly as possible. Blinding Wind also has Li Li moving towards danger to get the most out of the ability, so any delay felt wrong. In the next patch, Li Li will be able to move while casting Blinding Wind. Also, to improve the fluidity of her movement, the time it takes for her to cast Cloud Serpent will be reduced.
T: During the channel of Li Li’s two Heroic abilities, Li Li can’t use any of her basic abilities. Any reason for this decision?
R: During the channel, we wanted players to focus on the positioning gameplay of the abilities. Jug of 1000 Cups’ healing can be controlled so it can really top someone off quickly or offer general healing to the team. Water Dragon strikes the closest enemy, which causes Li Li to position herself near the enemy to hit her designated target. With the ability being positioning based, the enemy team has an opportunity to intercept the attack, which allows interesting counter-play. In locking out Li Li’s basic abilities, we are able to play up the strength of the Heroic Abilities and have relatively short cooldowns.
That, at least, was the theory. We are changing Jug of 1000 Cups to have the same target priority as Healing Brew, so if there is an ally that is really low, they will be filled up essentially twice as fast. Right now, the way the logic works is that it tries to heal multiple players, but that functions a bit too similar to Malfurion’s Tranquility. We felt that this went against one of the core design values, which is to keep our designs as unique from each other as possible.
We are also changing up Water Dragon to make the spell more usable. In its current state, the Heroic can be interrupted early and the enemy can get away, and there is a failure rate on the heroic that feels too high right now. We are doing internal playtests with a longer range Water Dragon that also allows Li Li to cast other abilities after she conjures the Water Dragon over her head. It feels pretty awesome to us, so we hope it feels awesome for our players.
T: One of our favorite attributes when playing Li Li is her Combat Trait: Fast Feet. After taking damage Li Li gains a slight movement speed buff for a short period of time. This Trait allows Li Li to be slippery in team fights and makes her positioning game much stronger. Did the design team have any other motives behind the trait?
R: The goal behind Li Li was to make her feel as fluid as possible, this trait expresses this in a way that enables her Blinding Wind and Water Dragon abilities. The secondary goal was to give her an escape option that was more subtle than say, Uther, who will Hammer of Justice you, then walk away.
T: Let’s do a little light-hearted theory crafting with a pure support composition. Li Li, Tassadar, Uther, Brightwing, and Tyrande are the Heroes chosen. Which Hero do you choose to talent as the damage dealer and which Heroic ability would you choose for Li Li?
R: I love theory crafting! So the biggest issue with that composition is that they lack initiation. If Tyrande can land a solid Lunar Flare, I would have her immediately follow-up with her Heroic ability Starfall. Li Li, with Water Serpent, can take advantage of their impaired mobility to dunk on someone. This should allow Uther to rush in with a movement speed buff from Brightwing’s Pixie Dust in an attempt land a strong Divine Storm. Tassadar would be in Archon form, blasting everyone to bits. Basically, in this setup, you have so much healing in the basic abilities that I think you can just shoot for the moon and go for the deep engage.
A huge thank you to Richard and the design team for taking time out of their day to chat with us once again. If you missed the last Designer Insights featuring Brightwing, feel free to check it out here. Keep checking HeroesoftheStorm.com for more content.
Make sure to check back soon as Blizzard likes to announce new Hero weeks on Tuesdays