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Heroes of the Storm: Senior Designer talks Tyrael


Tyrael, Archangel of Justice, is under the spotlight for Heroes of the Storm this week. Senior Game Designer Richard Khoo sat down with Community Manager Trikslyr to discuss this Hero's not-so-angelic leanings. It's a great interview, touching on the importance of using the Heroes game world and mechanics to create a hero that fits with the traits and feel of well-known lore figures.

Tyrael, as the Archangel, is a hybrid between a warrior and a support class, meaning he can charge in and flatten his foes, but also assist his allies with powerful shields, even sacrificing his own health to help them. The designers felt this was fitting with his righteous, angelic qualities in the Diablo universe. He also caters to the angelic "speed of light" idea with his teleportation abilities that base themselves off his sword. They also comment on the post-mortem gameplay that Tyrael, along with a couple of other heroes, features.

Hit the break for the full interview!

Designer Insights: Giving Tyrael Justice

Our quest to explore the fascinating subject of designing a hero continues today. Senior Game designer Richard Khoo sat down to chat with us once again to shed some light on Tyrael.

Trikslyr: Generally, the word "Warrior" gives images of a hero that likes to charge in and disrupt battle, while also being durable. However, Tyrael boasts traits and skills that allow him to support his fellow allies, shying away from the status quo of the typical warrior. Hand of Sacrifice comes to mind when playing him. What was the goal when designing Tyrael for Heroes of the Storm?

Richard: When we designed Tyrael, the goal was to craft a hybrid between warrior and support. Blending the roles like this was done in the interest of crafting a diverse set of heroes where the play style would match their fantasy. It's easy to imagine Tyrael fighting alongside his allies and directly assisting them when they have fallen, while also being sturdy enough to initiate fights and lead the charge.

T: Tyrael is known as a righteous hero. Does the design team feel like his current skillset translates his noble qualities over to Heroes of the Storm?

Richard: We certainly hope so! If you were to imagine all the heroes currently available in our roster and the potential for future heroes, we would still deem Tyrael as our most support-like warrior. The best representation of this is his Sanctification heroic ability, where Tyrael sacrifices his ability to perform any other action in order to make his nearby allies invulnerable.

T: El'Druin, the Sword of Justice, is Tyrael's weapon of choice. How does the design team feel like they have made the weapon feel like an important part to Tyrael's playstyle? Are there any cool talents that'll make El'Druin even more awesome?

Richard: Tyrael's Q ability is Punishing Blade, which allows him to throw his sword at a location to deal damage and slow nearby enemies. If Tyrael activates the ability again, he instantly teleports to the sword's location and repeats the same damage and slow effect. This allows Tyrael to move in and out of combat almost instantly, giving him a lot of versatility in his positioning, while also depicting the "speed of light" fantasy for angels in the Diablo universe. There is a cool late game talent called "Angelic Barricade"-when Tyrael ports to El'druin, the triggered ability creates an impassable area that can be used to trap enemies and provide space for his allies.

T: Currently, Tyrael's combat trait is death based. Before death, he becomes invulnerable for 4 seconds, and when the four seconds expire, he explodes and damages enemies in an area of effect radius. What was the design team trying to convey with this combat trait?

Richard: The feel was "Don't kill archangels! And definitely not THE Archangel of Justice! You will regret it!" Jokes aside, Tyrael is going to be in the middle of team fights, and the idea of giving Tyrael some gameplay upon death felt appropriate for him. We have a couple of talents that make Might of El'druin really important. For example, we have a talent called "Atonement" that increases the movement speed while dead and makes it so that every enemy the blast radius hits reduces Tyrael's death timer by 10 seconds. If you get lucky, you can cheat a majority of the death penalty.

T: This last question is becoming a tradition of being fun, so let's keep with it. Are there any awesome/goofy stories of playing Tyrael during the testing phase that stand out?

Richard: Speaking of Archangel's Wrath...when the combat trait was first implemented, the tech designer put too many 0's in the damage effect, causing Tyrael to deal 10x the intended damage and one-shot enemy heroes as a result. It was ABSOLUTELY amazing. *cough* It also didn't hurt that I was playtesting Tyrael at the time. *cough*

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 last week's Designer Insights featuring Tychus, feel free to check it out here!

As always, we look forward to sharing more information about the design process for Heroes of the Storm. If you have any questions for our design team, please feel free to ask in the comments below and we might pick yours to ask next time. Keep checking The Heroes of the Storm website for more content!

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