On the tenth day of gaming, Blizzard gave to me, ten heroes brawling!
If there is one developer that has defined my gaming experience best over the last 20 years it's Blizzard Entertainment. Not only have I been a fan of the Warcraft franchise since the original RTS title was released in 1994, but they have also delivered two additional franchises that have captivated my attention on and off again across multiple titles, expansions, genres and platforms.
In fact the only game or game-world that has even come close to holding my interest to the same extend is League of Legends, if not in sheer number of years than at least in time spent in game. Unlike the unbridled affection I have for the immense depth of character of the three expertly crafted Blizzard franchises, League of Legends holds my attention primarily because of the engrossing MOBA game-play it offers.
So at the very first mention of Blizzard developing its own MOBA (or online team brawler as they prefer to call it), as well as the rebranding and continued development of the project, I am not ashamed to admit that I am more than a little excited.
In honor of the glorious intermixing of one of my favorite genres with not just one, but rather three fantastic franchises, day ten of ZAM's 12 Days of Gaming is dedicated to 10 Heroes Brawling in Blizzard's upcoming Heroes of the Storm.
Some might wonder what on earth I'm so excited about. Yes it's a Blizzard title, but as we all know they are not infallible, so that in and of itself doesn't guarantee a great game. Diving a little deeper, Blizzard does have plans to push the genre forward with multiple game modes and not simply make another MOBA clone, but even that's not it.
The real reason I'm so excited about Heroes of the Storm is that I love the thought of putting together a variety of 5-man dream teams of all my favorite Blizzard characters. The possibilities and combinations are practically endless but what follows is my first take on a climactic good versus evil hero brawl.
Please be aware that this is not based on any inside knowledge of the roster Blizzard envisions for release. Some of these heroes were already playable at Blizzcon this year and some may never be playable. But the simple fact that this line up of heroes and villains is theoretically possible sums up exactly why Heroes of the Storm is such a captivating project.
So, in this corner we have, the Good Team:
Alexstrazsa, the Life-Binder
As one of the most benevolent and powerful beings found in Azeroth, the Dragon Queen and Aspect of the Red Dragon flight has always been a favorite of mine. And with the ability to battle in two forms, her skill set in game is sure to be a fantastic mix of face melting firepower and potent team buffs or heals.
Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice
From his very first appearance in a Diablo cinematic, to the immense amount of lore and screen time Tyrael has received in recent years, it's hard not to love this guy. Seeing Tyrael take to the field on those eerie angelic blue wings and cutting down bad guys with El'druin, the Sword of Justice, basically makes him the embodiment of awesome. He is certainly always welcome on my team.
Blackthorne, bad-ass with a shot gun
Okay, so Blackthorne isn't from any of the big three Blizzard franchises, but after dispatching Sarlac and all his cronies on Blizzard's lesser known SuperNES title with nothing but a shotgun and a cut-off denim vest, I think he's earned a spot on the team.
Anduin Lothar, the Lion of Azeroth
If you asked any of the big name Alliance heroes on Azeroth who their hero was growing up, it was probably Sir Anduin Lothar. As one of the earliest big name heroes developed by Blizzard, this hero stood up against the horde and led his people to safety when all the odds seemed against him. In the end he even gave his life to defend his people. Every team needs a tank, and for my team Lothar is the obvious choice!
Zeratul, the Dark Templar
Can you be a shady assassin style hero and still play for the good team? Zeratul can. It only takes a few of those premium grade Starcraft2 cinematics to realize this Dark Templar is a force to be reckoned with. Bringing stealth, Psionic abilities and deadly melee attacks to the table, Zeratul rounds out my 'good team' quite nicely.
And in this corner we have, the Evil Team:
Arcturus Mensk, Emperor of the Terran Dominion
Of StarCraft fame, the self-proclaimed Emperor of the Terran Dominion is just so easy to hate. He is manipulative, deceptive, strategic and clearly brilliant. It’s these traits, rather than his ability to bring the pain on the battlefield, that would make him an excellent de facto leader of my band of baddies; leading from the back lines of course.
Malthael, the Angel of Death
In the latest Diablo cinematic, this former Archangel of the Angiris council makes Diablo and the other Prime Evils look like rainbow-pissing unicorns. While we don't know much about Malthael (at least until the Reaper of Souls expansion is released), I'm going to go out on a limb and say, he would be a great addition to the team.
Bartuc, the Warlord of Blood
He may not be the most prominent foe from the Diablo franchise, but there is plenty of material to be found on Bartuc. To sum it up he’s a powerful mage who dabbled heavily in demonic magic, becoming so powerful that at times he was said to hold power over the burning hells themselves, waging war on all of Sanctuary with his demonic army. He also wore a suit of armor that was so powerful that it acted to carry out his will even after the mage himself was killed by his brother Horazon. The potential skill sets that could be developed around that are downright tantalizing.
Garrosh, son of Hellscream
My one regret about hanging up my World of Warcraft spurs earlier this year was that I never got the chance to give Garrosh the beat down. The list of reasons why I despise Garrosh is too long to publish here, but regardless, I can’t deny the fact that he is an absolute brute on the battlefield. This meat head of an orc is the perfect candidate to be first into the fray for ‘team evil’.
Ragnaros, the Firelord
While he may not have been the hardest or most technical raid boss in the history of World of Warcraft, he still remains the most memorable for me. After hours on end in the depths of Molten Core with 40 other guild mates, I’ll never forget the sense of epicness I experienced the first time I engaged Ragnaros. Out of respect for that moment there is no way I’m taking to the field without the Firelord.
There you have it, a climactic showdown between some of the mightiest heroes and toughest villains that Blizzard has ever dreamed up. The best part about it is that you could repeat this list a hundred times over and still come up with awesome new combinations. Heck you could even put together an all Zerg versus all Orc lineup, or an all Dragon versus all Nephalem, or a… well you get the idea.
With Heroes of the Storm, the possibilities are endless and since we have no idea when it will come out, I guess I’ll start working on another list. Maybe it’ll tide me over until then, either way; hopefully we’ll see you in beta.
Robert "Caergan" Gray
Follow me on Twitter @Caergan