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Heroes of the Storm

is an upcoming multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and OS X. The basis of the game is the combination of... read more

8.5

Heroes of the Storm - Greymane impressions

Author: Dmytro Voloshyn
19-Jan-2016

Category: Preview

Initially, this was supposed to be patch overview. However, there is nothing to discuss in the patch, except Greymane. Read an article to know why the werewolf is better than the dryad, and what this all has to do with an evil "Heroes of the Storm" game designer.

Greymane and his Dark Sideimage source:
http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/gallery/48533937/Heroes-of-the-Storm


Introduction
Human form
Werewolf form
Heroics
Gameplay description
Conclusions



Introduction

Somewhere in Blizzard headquarters lives an evil game designer. He laughs all day thinking:
"Ha, ha, ha! They have been having Tyrande Meta for 3 months now. Ha, ha, ha! What did we do to change that? We released a new patch. The main feature of the patch is that Leoric can walk through enemy gates. Ha, ha, ha! Destructible damage... terrible, terrible rocks. Ha, ha, ha".

I understand that developers are people too. I understand that people can make mistakes, and I understand that there were holidays. I understand that Blizzard is doing what they can to fix the situation. What I can't understand is how the hell there weren't any changes to Meta game for three months? Not even small ones! The stun Meta problem has existed for far too long. The game became repetitive and boring. Hero League is like a roulette: if you get first pick, you pick Tyrande! Surprise, surprise! And if you pick Tyrande, well, we all know how the game will develop, and how it will end.

The situation is like this: there is a soup that you eat every day. You are really tired of it, because it consists of Tyrande, Kael'thas, Zagara, Thrall, Raynor, Diablo, and so on. These are standard ingredients for Hero League soup. You all know them. You all are tired of them. You all see them every day. Today, a guy that cooks the soup tells you: "Hey, bro. I just made some changes to Leoric. Now he can walk through enemy gates while in Undying form". And you are like: "WTF, man? He isn't even in the soup. Why should I care? Why don't you make any changes to the soup? What is happening? I have been eating the same soup for 3 months now. It tastes awful! Do something already!”

I understand it was a major concern of many Leorky players, and developers decided to roll out the change in this patch. For me, the situation seems absurd and unbelievable at the same time. I'm just tired of Tyrande soup! I want other meals and ingredients!


Human form

Greymane's human form

Okay, enough of my rant. It is time to talk about Greymane. Like all werewolves, he starts in human form. The human form gameplay is similar to Raynor gameplay. You right-click on people when you can, throw cocktails to poke, and make sure you are in a safe spot. This is very important: Greymane is not Raynor. He doesn't have a means of escape or sustain. There is no to push enemies back. There is no additional hit points form E, or a movement speed buff from W. So what is there to make you viable? Gilnean Cocktail, Greymane's Q, is a great poking tool. The spell has a long reach and deals moderate damage. Also, it is a nice form of wave-clear. Personally, I found build to be the best, but I'll talk about it later.

Next Greymane ability is Inner Beast, and it is designed for continuous onslaught. The spell is the 3 seconds buff. It gives you a 50% attack speed increase. It is continuously refreshed with each landed auto-attack, allowing you to keep it up as long as you are able to land auto-attacks. The ability retains its mechanics in werewolf form. Inner Beast is strong at stationary parts of the game: in lanes (when you are clearing minions with auto-attacks) and during objective kills (when you are securing objectives with auto-attacks). In fights, W is less effective, unless you are able to auto-attack constantly and not be punished for that. The hero starts with the 5.5 auto-attack range. That is the reach of almost any spell in the game. The buff will definitely help you deal more right-click damage, but in the current stun Meta you won't be able to auto-attack as much as you want to. 

The last basic ability is named Darkflight in human form and Disengage in Worgen form. Basically, Darkflight is Illidan's Q. You leap at an enemy and shape shift into a Worgen. This ability will be a part of your finishing combo. Graymane's gameplay is designed in a such way that most of your time is spent in human form, poking around and waiting for a target to drop to low hit points. Usually, 1/3 of health pool is enough to start finishing moves. So, Darkflight is your mean of engage, and is a way to start finishing off the target in Worgen form.


Werewolf form

Greymane's werewolf form

Werewolf form, or, as it is in the game, Worgen form, is all about finishing people off and fighting in melee range with the help of mobile skill shots that deal damage, allowing to avoid enemy spells, and perform body-blocks. Reminds you of Illidan gameplay, right? However, you don't have as much survivability as Illidan does. That is why you don't want to spend too much time in this form; it is designed as a finisher and is not effective in a prolonged fight.

Worgen's skill set also consists of 3 abilities. The first one, Razor Swipe, is the ability with a low cooldown and Mana cost. It deals AoE damage and, well, you just slide forward like Illidan does with his W. Sorry if I'm doing too much reference but it is there. Your Q works similar to Illidan's W, only the cooldown is lower and the damage is higher. It is also used in the same way: you damage a hero with right-clicks, use Q to deal damage and slide in the enemy's direction to do body-blocks, and have the ability to land additional auto-attacks.   

The second ability, Inner Beast, works the same way as it does in human form, but it is more effective since your basic damage is higher in Worgen form.

The third ability is named Disengage. Its design is opposite to the Darkflight ability. While Darkflight is featuring an engage and a transformation into a werewolf, Disengage is featuring roll away and a transformation into human form. Usually, it is used as a means of escape once you've killed your target. You don't want to stay in Worgen form for too long. The form has no self-sustain and is easily focused down. Worgen's gameplay has glass cannon survivability.


Heroics

"Marked for the Kill" Heroic in action

I found both heroics to be fun. They both can be used in any form. You may not agree with my opinion, but I'm leaning more towards bullet Heroic. Its name is Marked for the Kill. Here is a reference. The Heroic is combination of Tyrande's Trait and Owl. It fires a projectile in the form of a bullet. The projectile flies until it reaches maximum distance or collides with a target. Upon colliding with a target the projectile will damage it and apply Vulnerability effect for 5 seconds. The reach of Marked for the Kill is long, but that is not everything. While Vulnerable effect is up you can activate the ultimate again to jump on a marked target and slash it as a Worgen. The effect works just like Illidan's The Haunt ultimate! This effect has an unlimited range and lasts for the duration of the mark. If you cast the first part of the Heroic (the projectile with Vulnerable effect) in Worgen form, you will be shape shifted back in human form. The ultimate is most suited towards team play and team focus. Also, its second part can feature crazy twists and plays.

Go for the Throat is the name of the second Heroic. It is a finishing ultimate with a huge burst damage output. Its mechanics are also similar to The Haunt in the way that you jump on a target from a range and deal damage. There is no stun effect, the range is smaller, the damage is higher, and there is one additional interaction. If you kill a hero by using this Heroic or within the 10 seconds limit after, its cooldown will be refreshed, and you will be able to cast it again. This additional option can create insane snowballing when you fight a bunch of low hit point heroes. Go for the Throat is definitely a much better ultimate as a finisher. Also, it suits more for a solo style of play and "teamless" environment. It has a nice visual design: once an enemy can be killed by the Heroic, you will see a mark above his head.


Gameplay description

What can I tell you about the gameplay? It is definitely a mix of heroes you have played before. In both forms, Genn, that is Greymane's name by the way, is very susceptible to stuns and disables. In no form, you have means of self-sustain. You are glass cannon. In human form, you are right-clicking and poking glass cannon. In Worgen form, you are very mobile and deal tons of damage, but still are glass cannon.

Greymane's standard gameplay looks like this: you poke and right-click heroes from a safe distance while minding your positioning. You don't want to overextend or be in range of enemy stuns or abilities. You will go down as quickly as Lunara. When you see a possibility, go in as Worgen to finish the target off. It can be done differently. Sometimes you jump on a target when it has 1/3 of its health pool. In another situation, you just wait for them to be marked by Go for the Throat. Also, you can be very mobile and poke with Worgen form if situation allows doing so.

There seem to be two general conceptions of playing him, for now. The first one is based around enhancing your human form, mostly cocktail damage. The other one is based around increasing an effectiveness of Worgen form by using additional damage and survivability options. For example, there is a talent that gives you 75% reduction of disable time. This talent can be used against heavy crowd control setups.


Conclusions

Greymane in the space

Greymane does feel much more refreshing and rewarding compared to Lunara. He doesn't die from a gaze of any hero and his kit doesn't feel underpowered. It is a fun experience to play him. He is very rewarding to cunning and smart players. Out of all builds, I ended up playing the build based around poking heroes to death with cocktails. In the lategame, dealing one thousand points of damage with your Q does feel very rewarding. The cocktail build, I use this one, is about proper flanking and battle momentum. Mostly, I played in a party of 2-4 people, so I made the most out of the build. If you are more of a solo type player, you would like to try the build based around Go for the Throat and Worgen buffs, as it is more suitable for solo environment.

The absence of any changes towards Tyrande Meta is sad news. But hey, at least Genn is fun to play and the gameplay feels unique and challenging. We can spend some time in Quick Matches playing Greymane and wait for the balance patch. It is much better than playing the dryad that dies during one stun and has weird movement.    



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