Ah, that weird feeling where the wall separating the Blizzardiverse and the Dotaverse-whose-inhabitants-originated-in-the-Blizzardiverse-and-then-diverged-for-legal-reasons thins a little and you can almost hear the phrase “assertion of IP rights”*. By which I mean, “Hey – there’s a Heroes of the Storm [official site] spotlight video for Leoric, The Skeleton King.”
Leoric, as you will remember from your Diablo history books, was the king of Khanduras. Corrupted by Diablo he went on an executions ‘n’ terrible decision-making spree until he was killed by a knight. Inconvenient, yes, but Diablo was able to raise Leoric from the dead which is what the whole Skeleton King business is all about. Lots of evil undead action ensued.
That keenness for resurrection and biffing things is the theme for his soon-to-arrive character in Heroes of the Storm.
Let’s talk specifics:
His trait is Undying. What that means is that when he’s killed on the battlefield, instead of tabbing out to check Twitter you need to stay in the game and control his wraith form which can be used to slow enemies or decrease the hero’s respawn timer. When you come back into the game you’ll spawn wherever the wraith happens to be. That means you’ll need to keep an eye on the timer so you don’t end up stuck somewhere stupid getting re-murdered.
His first ability is Skeletal Swing which sounds like a dance but is actually just a skeleton swinging his big old mace thing. It does heavy damage if you do it when you’re alive (double against enemy minions to bear that in mind for wave clearance) and when you’re dead this is the thing that slows enemy heroes so you can use it to facilitate kills or escapes.
His next ability is Drain Hope. More accurately it is “drain HP” because it drains hit points and not hope. Essentially you connect yourself with an enemy hero via a giant ghost fist and suck life out of them and into you like they’re the oilfield milkshake in There Will Be Blood. You can go about the rest of your mace-wielding business while this happens. Using it while dead is the thing that reduces your respawn timer, slurping your way towards resurrection.
Third is Wraith Walk. For that you shift into wraith form for a short time. It makes you invulnerable plus (at least it looks like this from the video) a bit faster. When it ends or is cancelled you snap to the position of the wraith. Useful for repositioning as you pursue a kill or try to escape, is what I’m trying to say.
Finally we come to the ultimate abilities. HotS heroes give you a couple to choose from – there are no items in the game so the skill builds are the only place where you can tweak what your character does in response to how the game is going.
First is Entomb. Entomb means you put down a tomb in the hopes of trapping enemies. If you’re a Dota 2 player, think of Tusk’s Ice Shards. If you aren’t, what it does is it throws down a three sided tomb. To escape the enemy must then run back towards you and you can do some more biffing. Obviously you can also throw it down in the wrong place and absolutely screw up fights, stopping a teammate mid-chase or trapping them in a box with an enemy who can rip them to pieces.
The other one is March Of The Black King where you go in a straight line and hit things. The hitting has a lifesteal effect.
It’s basically the Blizzard version of when Lisa and Bart get into a fight and Bart starts windmilling his arms.
“On my way I’m going to be doing THIS and if you get hit it’s your own fault.”
“Okay, then I’m going to start kicking air like this and if any part of you should fill that air it’s *your* own fault.”
So now you know.
Leoric will be hitting the Nexus “soon”.
*The whole thing is kinda interesting. There was King Leoric from Diablo who then popped up in DotA. In Dota 2 he became Ostarion, the Skeleton King, and the lore was all “No, he has a totally different backstory to this Leoric dude and his empire’s made of bone and there’s a Throne of Bone and WHY ARE YOU GIGGLING?” then Skeleton King disappears for “ceremonial reasons”. He comes back #rebranded as Wraith King (via a special event) with a new ghostly face and everyone starts calling him Andrew WK because of his new initials. He’s got the same skillset but he’s very definitely not called Skeleton King. Now Leoric shows up in HotS and is all I KNOW ABOUT WRAITH STUFF TOO ASK ME ANYTHING ABOUT WRAITHING. God, now I’ve typed the word wraith too many times and it looks all wrong.