Finally, a priest!
I’ve been waiting for a priest, specifically of the shadow variety, since Heroes of the Storm was first announced. While Anduin, poised to reclaim the glory of the alliance in the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, seemed like the most obvious choice — along comes Sally Whitemane, High Inquisitor of the zealous Scarlet Crusade.
No one expected this particular inquisition, but once again the Heroes team mostly nailed it.
Sally Whitemane is a healer that errs on the side of damage. Her active healing with her Q, Desperate Plea, is the most interesting aspect of her character. Not only can you specialize in it with pretty much every talent tree, it also impacts healing based on damage because of her passive, Zeal. The gist is that anyone you heal with it, including yourself, gains a Zeal passive for four seconds — if you do damage in that time, folks with the passive will get a latent heal on top of the initial burst.
I found myself using it to stay alive in instances where I was being chased (Whitemane doesn’t have a traditional escape), and a quick alt-Q for a self-cast is commonplace in teamfights where everyone else is already good to go with a passive. Her W, Inquisiton, brings back plenty of fond Mind Flay beam memories from World of Warcraft‘s Shadow Priest class. It has some utility as it not only doles out consistent damage, but slows the target as well. Searing Lash (E) on the other hand is one of the more dull abilities in recent memory, calling down a basic fire blast in a line pattern, with another crossed-up line if it hits a hero.
Whitemane also has a ton of personality, which helps prop up her sometimes uneventful kit. All of her lines are done to aplomb by Erica Lindbeck, the current voice of Barbie, among many other bodies of work spanning anime and video games — including the main role in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night as Miriam. Whiteman’s laugh in particular is a highlight and I’d like to see more of Lindbeck in the Heroes of the Storm universe (for now a Whitemane announcer will have to do).
I think her heroics (ultimates) are going to need to some tuning because everyone is going to pick Scarlet Aegis, which heals all heroes in an area-of-effect (AoE), and grants 40 armor, and provides the Zeal passive for everyone, including Whitemane herself. Divine Reckoning, an easy-to-dodge four second area-of-effect damage-over-time tick (DoT) is small potatoes by comparison. At level 20 Scarlet Aegis can make people unstoppable for one second: this is on top of her own take on an individual Cleanse (Intercession) at talent level seven.
Even though I don’t like passing definitive judgments until the live version of a character has had time to settle, right now Whitemane seems like a force to be reckoned with. She can put out a lot of healing with her Q, and its downside of taking more mana to cast as she rapidly uses it is downplayed by her mana regeneration. She can also dole out a decent amount of damage, which again plays into her trait, Zeal.
Blizzard is making all sorts of weird tweaks to supports right now and many of them have fallen from grace. If Whitemane is heading into the Nexus with her kit as-is, she’ll probably make at least a short term impact on the meta at a high level of play.