Finally, a real resurrection ability
I had a chance to sit with Blizzard and chat about Heroes of the Storm‘s upcoming Auriel, and she seems to be in really good hands.
Although Medivh is a specialist that has undertones of a support, a true healer hasn’t been added since October (Morales) — so you could say it’s been a while. It remains to be seen if she can solo heal competitively, but for now, her kit looks really fun to play.
But first, let’s touch a bit on her design — it’s beautiful, right? Tamara Bakhlycheva, Senior 3D Artist for Blizzard explains that although she isn’t as well known as some other Diablo characters, she immediately associates Auriel with ribbons and a hood, the former of which tie into her entire style. Bakhlycheva says that “it not only looks elegant, but it’s also deadly,” and that it was an “interesting artistic challenge” to keep all of those things in mind.
Careena Kingdom, Senior Animator, had similar thoughts. To her, “there was no doubt” that Auriel should be a support character — and that she actually had that distinction before she was even created. Originally Kingdom pitched her as an “aggressive Valkyrie tpe support,” who dove into front lines to basically act as a Warrior who also healed — which seemed to be a bit much. The team thinks that she is still aggressive though, she just doesn’t need to constantly be in “too much danger.”
Nathan LaMusga, designer for Heroes, thinks that it’s “both flattering and terrifying” that I’d compare her to Medivh (on paper). He thinks that the Warcraft wizard has a higher skill ceiling overall, but he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Auriel is the most complex support to date (something Kingdom also agrees with). She can both make plays and bring characters back from the brink.
Check out the gallery for the latest screens, and tidbits about each of her abilities from Pedro Seminario, Senior Sound Designer below. Auriel will be available in the near future.
Trait [D] Bestow Hope
- Bestow an allied Hero with Hope. While they remain near you, damage they deal causes you to gain energy. You can only have Bestow Hope on 1 ally at a time. 40% of damage dealt to Heroes and 8% dealt to non-Heroes is stored as energy.
Seminario: “This sound came together really quickly. It was in the game in less than 30 minutes! The visual for this came online after the sound and it just worked really well. Sometimes it just happens!!”
[Q] Sacred Sweep
- Sweep the area with sacred power, dealing 80 damage to enemies and an additional 160 damage to enemies caught in the center.
Seminario: “We heard the term angelic whip getting thrown around a lot on this one, and focused on the magical elements at about an equal ratio to the physical whips of this one.”
[W] Ray of Heaven
- Consume your stored energy and heal allied Heroes in the area for the amount of energy consumed.
Seminario: “For this ability we cranked up the angelic magical tonal portion of the sounds to really sell the contrast between the rest of her base kit.”
[E] Detainment Strike
- Deal 100 damage to the first enemy Hero hit and knock them back. If they collide with terrain, they are also stunned for 1.25 seconds and take an additional 100 damage.
Seminario: “We really wanted to make the impact of this ability satisfying, especially when you chain somebody. We pushed the physical whippiness/rockiness on the front, and the magical elements on the tail of this ability.”
- Channel on the spirit of a dead ally for 3 seconds, bringing them back to life with 50% of their maximum health at the location where they died.
Seminario: “The cowbell of this ability really focuses on a female choir-like sound selling the resurrection. Funny story about this one. Major Mummert, the tech designer for this ability, was considering using Sonya’s Leap Vocalization (ahhhhAHHHH!!!) slowed down then pitched up over time as a placeholder. I said ‘please, no,’ as that would’ve broken the internet.”
[R] Crystal Aegis
- Place an allied Hero into Stasis for 2 seconds. Upon expiration, Crystal Aegis deals 270 damage to all nearby enemies.
Seminario: “This ability was focused on the crackling of the stone visual to really stand out from her the rest of her kit as a gameplay tell.”