Developer Insights: Get Ready for a Blizzard
It’s time for another Developer Insights, where we bring you the inside scoop on heroes and their transition to the Nexus. This time, Game Designer Kent-Erik Hagman sits down to chat about Jaina Proudmoore.
Trikslyr: Jaina has been a part of Warcraft history for some time now. Bringing her into the Nexus had to be a fun and exciting task. What goals did the design hope to accomplish in doing so?
Kent-Erik: First off, we were super excited to bring the first pure Mage into Heroes of the Storm. As players ourselves, we've been hungry to create a hero who was made to do nothing but massive amounts of damage on their Basic Abilities!
In designing Jaina, we looked to capture the key fantasy of a Frost Mage. We wanted Jaina to represent the epitome of Frost Mages in World of Warcraft.
One of the coolest things about Frost Mages is their ability to freeze opponents, and then get free Critical Hits against frozen targets. With that moment in mind, we created her Trait: Frostbite. Jaina’s spells Chill enemies, and using extra abilities on Chilled enemies do bonus damage! While being a straightforward trait, it has implications on your spell rotation, as you’ll want to try to get the most out of your extra damage. However, in certain situations, it may be better to lead off with a different spell than the one you originally intended to.
Trikslyr: What are some of the talents designed specifically for Jaina that players should be ready to try? How about her Heroics?
Kent-Erik: We had a lot of fun working on Jaina's talents. We actually went through a couple of iterations, trying to make sure she had multiple fun builds. In looking at the generic talent Rewind, we thought there was something fun there in resetting your abilities, but realized it would simply be too strong on Jaina, given her spell and damage potential. Instead, we came up with Icy Veins, which causes her cooldowns to tick down 3 times as fast for 5 seconds. This ended up really strengthening her Frostbolt build, especially if you go Ice Lance, which causes your Frostbolt to have a 2 second cooldown after hitting a chilled target. You can have Jaina throwing out Frostbolts every second if you play your cards right!
Jaina can also have some pretty good upgrades to her Blizzard and Cone of Cold abilities. All of these talent upgrades can be replicated by her Water Elemental if you take the Wintermute talent at level 20. This talent causes your Water Elemental to mimic your casted spells. So, when you toss out a Frostbolt or Cone of Cold, your Water Elemental will toss one out as well! This really lets you have fun positioning your Elemental and trying to figure out the exact right place to cast your spells to get the summon to do the same!
Question from @Cyasteve: Is there any concern that players could potentially permanently slow a target?
Kent-Erik: This was definitely a concern brought up by many designers early on in Jaina's development. However, we've found that with all the movement powers in our game, slowing enemies by 25% doesn't have quite as strong of an impact in-game as it reads on paper, especially given how fragile Jaina is. There are certainly some situations where, if she can get the upper hand, Jaina can keep her target slowed for a long duration. However, in most cases, if Jaina is indeed chaining all of her spells, the target is either already dead, or will make their escape. It's definitely something we'll be keeping an eye on, and we have tuning hooks in place to make adjustments, if necessary.
Question from @Arthelon: Could there be a way to cancel Jaina's Ice Block, it would create a way to make amazing plays!
Kent-Erik: That is something we've been discussing in the bullpen; not just for Jaina, but also for the generic Ice Block talent that is on a handful of Heroes. There are some pros and cons to doing this, and it's in discussion :-).
Let’s continue the Developer Insights tradition! Can you tell us an anecdote from working on Jaina?
Kent-Erik: When developing Jaina, one of the things we had a lot of fun with was really geeking out on the names for her Talents. Being a bunch of cyberpunk aficionados, we saw some golden opportunities there, and hope that we have some players out there who'll appreciate them ;-).
A huge thank you to Kent-Erik and the design team for taking time out of their day to chat with us about Jaina. Keep an eye on HeroesoftheStorm.com for more news from the Nexus.