Jeff Cannata, guest host on Into the Nexus, took the stage at PAX East along with Kaei Milker (Production Director), Matt Villers (Lead Hero Designer), and Kevin Johnson (Creative Content Lead) to talk about what’s next for Heroes of the Storm.
The conversation started with each member of the panel talking about how they got started at Blizzard and what their role is now.
From there talk shifted to what everyone had been waiting for: a new Hero announcement. Cut to Jeff Cannata doing his best Deckard Cain impersonation, “Stay a while and listen” and the crowd erupted.
— Kyle Fergusson (@KyleFergusson) April 5, 2018
The devs described Deckard as a narrator and not a fighter in the traditional sense. They talked a bit about different design ideas they considered before finally settling on the final design, which they referred to as a set-up healer. Planning ahead is the key getting the most from his kit.
His Q ability, Healing Potion, tosses Diablo style potions on the ground for teammates to pick up. Deckard can have up to five potions out at any one time. His W ability is Horadric Cube, which deals damage to enemies in it’s range and briefly slows them. Different talents allow players to use gems to augment this ability. His E ability is Scroll of Sealing, which creates an arcane triangle on the ground that damages and roots enemies caught inside. And of course, he has a Heroic called “Stay a while and listen” which briefly puts enemy Heroes to sleep. His other Heroic is Lorenado, a tornado of books and papers that travels in a straight line, pushing away enemies who come in contact with it.
Check out this spotlight video for your first look at Deckard Cain in the Nexus:
They then talked a bit about Deckard’s kit.
Kevin Johnson, the narrator of most Heroes videos, then talked a bit about how the different videos come together. He shared some inside stories, including the fact that there is almost always an Abathur lurking somewhere in each video.
Matt Villers then spent some more time discussing Deckard’s kit. They knew pretty much from the beginning that they wanted him to be a healer. Then he talked a bit about ideas that didn’t work, which is always interesting.
The conversation then shifted to the tone of Heroes of the Storm and humor of the game. The Blizzard team loves video games, Blizzard games in particular and that love really came through in this segment.
To complete the Deckard Cain hype, a cosplayer came out dressed as the Heroes version of Deckard Cain and answered a few questions.
Next up was Lore of the Nexus.
Apparently, the game isn’t just about chaotic mid-fights as soon as the Gates open. There is actually lore behind the Nexus. It is a place that physically exists, as was hinted by the portals in the Alexstrazsa/Hanzo spotlight video. The Nexus is the center of a cosmic storm that can rips realms apart. There are still realms that are holding on and each of them has their own story. There are Realm Lords ruling over these realms, like the Raven Lord we know from Cursed Hollow and Haunted Mines.
From there they talked a bit about how things like Battlegrounds and themed skin packs relate to this overall story. The plan for the year is to tell a linear narrative based on released content. This story will begin in April with the Rise of the Raven Lord comic.
Jeff tried to press the devs on what maps might be coming in the future but they stuck to the “anything is possible” answer.
Deckard Cain should be coming to the PTR in the next few weeks, which based on recent history probably means next week.
The panel wrapped up with a Q&A segment from the crowd. These lead to interesting conversations but nothing that would constitute breaking news.
If you missed the panel you should be able to find it in the archives of the PAX East 2 Twitch channel.