Blizzcon 2015: Butting heads in Heroes of the Storm with Cho'gall, Greymane, and Lunara

Heroes of the Storm is preparing to introduce three new characters, including its most unusual new character to date. Shacknews recently attended Blizzcon and had a chance to try out Greymane, Lunara, and the two-player controlled Cho'gall.

5

Update: Cho and Gall have been mixed up, which is easy to do, considering he's a two-headed ogre. His section has been fixed.

Heroes of the Storm revealed three new characters making their debut in the Nexus during Friday morning's Blizzcon opening keynote. They're a formidable bunch, arguably led by Blizzard's most unusual idea for a Heroes of the Storm character to date. Greymane, Lunara, and Cho'gall were all playable on the BlizzCon floor and Shacknews got some hands-on time with all three (four?) characters, while trying out the game's newest battleground: the Towers of Doom.

Greymane is a first for Heroes, introducing the game's first transforming character. His abilities all reflect the fact that he can change between human and worgen with the strike of the 'E' key. Here's what Greymane brings to the table:

  • (Q) Gilnean Cocktail - As a human, this ability is good for some quick splash damage to a batch of foes. It'll hit the first enemy for 72 damage and spread to a cone behind them, dealing another 216 damage.
  • (W) Inner Beast - Unleashing this while human, Greymane's attack speed is increased by 50 percent for a brief three seconds. However, basic attacks will reset that timer. This is good against minions, which should keep the effect going until you encounter Heroes.
  • (E) Darkflight - This transforms Greymane into his Worgen form and leaps at an enemy for 92 damage. Do not use this ability carelessly, because if you dive into a crowd, it's almost certain doom.
  • (Q) Razor Swipe - When in worgen form, this delivers a quick swipe at enemies.
  • (W) Wolfheart - Recue the Inner Beast ability's cooldown by one second for each Basic Attack.
  • (E) Disengage - Transforms Greymane back into human form. This is a harmless roll, so find a safe spot for this.
  • (R1) Go For the Throat - This is Greymane's big finisher, in which he'll dive and transform, slashing at an enemy 3 times for a whopping 446 damage. If this scores a kill, it can be used again within 10 seconds. But again, be careful with this move! Don't go diving into mosh pits of enemy Heroes.
  • (R2) Marked for the Kill - This takes advantage of Greymane's human form. Transforming back into a human from a worgen, Greymane fires a shot at an enemy for 93 damage. The enemy hit will take 25 percent more damage for five seconds. During this time, this ability can be used again to re-transform Greymane as he goes in for the kill.

There's a lot to Greymane, but from trying him out for myself, the key seems to be knowing how to manage his transformations. His basic attacks get decent range and the Gilnean Cocktail does a good job of keeping enemies at bay. Inner Beast allows him to strike quickly and efficiently and with enough minions on the field, players should have no problem keeping this ability active.

Knowing when to transforms will separate the good Greymane players from the rest of the pack. While it's possible to be perfectly competent as a human, managing your transformations will either make you a powerful teammate or a clumsy ox. It's easy to mistime your transformations and jump into a pile of Heroes, at which point they'll simply bludgeon you to death. But if you wait for your own teammates to soften up any targets, coming in with a Darkflight or Go For the Throat will make Greymane a force to be feared.

While I had some luck with Greymane, I didn't fare quite so well with Lunara. Here's what Heroes' first Dryad character brings to the battle:

  • (Q) Noxious Blossom - After 0.5 seconds, an area explodes with pollen, dealing 166 damage.
  • (W) Crippling Spores - Combined with Lunara's Nature's Toxin trait, this ability will extend its poison effect by three seconds. Enemies are also slowed by 40 percent decaying over three seconds, opening the door for teammates to bring the pain.
  • (E) Wisp - A Wisp is spawned to move ahead and scout out an area. Once it's active, it can be redirected, making it ideal for finding any danger looming ahead.
  • (R1) Thornwood Vine - A powerful spear delivers 243 damage to a line of enemies.
  • (R2) Leaping Strike - This move delivers a double whammy, leaping over a target for 379 damage and also slowing the target by 80 percent. The enemy should be in prime position for teammates to finish them off.

Lunara's Nature's Toxin trait sounds enticing, with basic attacks and damaging abilities poisoning targets for up to three seconds. The fact that the effect can stack makes it all the better, making Crippling Spores a particularly powerful attack.

For me, personally, I didn't find Lunara's basic attacks to be all that effective. She's heavily reliant on that trait of hers, so the idea is definitely to keep her away from direct conflict. Making a strategic retreat can also be a bit tricky, because of her awkward bounding movement. She's basically her own mount, but it doesn't quite feel like she has the speed to match.

And of course, now comes the main event. It's the awesome ogre, the two-headed titan, the bi-cranium bruiser. It's Cho'gall, who has two different parts to him. A player can either be the legs (Cho) or they can be in charge of the magic-wielding (Gall). Both parts of this character have distinct abilities, so let's first look at Cho, who is responsible for the character's movement. In addition to controlling the legs,:

  • (Q) Surging Fist - Cho'Gall is temporarily slowed before moving forward with a charging punch. Just be sure to warn your teammate that you're about to charge, because they may not be expecting the sudden move.
  • (W) Consuming Blaze - This is a powerful attack that ignites nearby foes. Not only will it deliver heavy damage for four seconds, it'll also restore some of Cho'Gall's health.
  • (E) Rune Bomb - This is a tandem attack. Cho rolls a large bomb towards an enemy, but only Gall can detonate the explosive with his Runic Blast ability. Teamwork is essential to make this attack work!
  • (R1) Hammer of Twilight - This ability in itself ups Cho'Gall's basic attack damage by 25 percent, but the actual attack will swing this character's massive hammer. Any unfortunate enemies caught in its range will get whacked for huge damage, get pushed away, and get stunned for 0.75 seconds.
  • (R2) Upheaval - The other side of the coin is this ability, which pulls enemies in. Enemies caught will be dealt damage and also slowed by 25 percent for three seconds. The Greymanes, Butchers, and Johannas on your team will most definitely appreciate this assist.

Next up is Gall, who brings these attacks:

  • (Q) Shadow Flame - This is a straightforward attack that deals heavy damage to enemies.
  • (W) Dread Orb - Gall will chuck a bouncing bomb at foes. It'll bounce three times before it goes boom.
  • (E) Runic Blast - Remember Cho's Rune Bomb? This detonates it, so keep an eye for the on-screen prompt. When it comes up, be ready to use this!
  • (R1) Twisting Nether - This ability will suck enemies into a vortex and slow them down by 40 percent. At this point, Gall can hold a charge for up to five seconds, allowing him to deliver extreme pain to anyone inside the Nether. Make sure Cho can cover you during this phase.
  • (R2) Shadow Bolt Volley - Using your mouse pointer for direction, this ability fires off 20 Shadow Bolts over four seconds.

So now comes the big question: How does Cho'Gall feel? It's ultimately going to depend on your play style. If you'd rather focus on attacks, the inclination will be to go with Gall. For those that like harder-hitting moves, but can also handle the responsibility of movement, Cho is the way to go. The problem with Cho is that Surging Fist can take the whole character in a direction fast, so it's easy to move into a crowd of hostiles. This move is best used for strategic escapes.

Regardless, this cannot be stressed enough, teamwork is of the utmost importance, which... is somewhat contradicted by the method in which players can earn Cho'Gall, since they're basically asked to win with this character by teaming with strangers. But it's absolutely true! Rune Bomb can be a powerful attack, but it's no good if the two players aren't in agreement on where to throw it and when to detonate it. Then there's Surging Fist. Gall players need to be given the heads-up on when the Cho player plans to use this attack, otherwise it throws their mojo off. On that note, it is very easy to get in each other's way with Cho'Gall. And in a clever kind of way, isn't that how most of Blizzard's ogres are recognized? Aren't ogres basically known for the two heads arguing amongst themselves?

Cho'Gall is a lot of work, but there's going to be a lot of reward for the players that manage to nail him down. His damage potential is tremendous, perhaps higher than any other character in the game. If teammates are working as a unit, Cho'Gall is going to be an absolute nightmare. If they aren't, then Cho'Gall is going to be a nightmare for them!

Greymane, Lunara, Cho'Gall, and the Towers of Doom are coming soon to Heroes of the Storm. For more, be sure to catch up with our interview with the developers from Blizzcon.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
    • reply
      November 8, 2015 3:07 PM

      I thought chogall was pre made only so you wouldn't be pairing with strangers to play him

      • reply
        November 8, 2015 3:21 PM

        In my case, I played with one of the devs, with each of us taking turns on Cho and Gall.

      • reply
        November 8, 2015 3:24 PM

        For the initial event, if you don't own Cho'Gall, you have to play with a buddy to earn him. But once you have him, I'm pretty sure you can play with random people in QM and Hero League as him. In QM, you just queue as either Cho or Gall and it'll match you with someone who picked the other head. In Hero League, it sounds like your team has to draft him in a 2-pick slot, which is weird, but eliminates the issue of someone picking a head and nobody else picking the other.

    • reply
      November 8, 2015 3:14 PM

      Greymane was super confusing to me. I went 1-10 when I tried him. Part of it is that Blizzcon is a bad place to try to actually learn how to play anything moderately difficult. It didn't even tell me up-front that he had different abilities in worgen form, and when I discovered that, I still didn't have time to read what they were during the duration I was in worgen form. Also, he's surprisingly squishy. You really have to pick off guys carefully because his disengage isn't much of an escape.

      • reply
        November 8, 2015 3:33 PM

        I mostly kept my distance with Greymane, exactly because I heard he's so squishy. So I didn't squished so much. Lunara actually proved the more frustrating for me, just because of her awkward movement and the fact that I got her crushed quite often.

    • reply
      November 8, 2015 3:20 PM

      A player can either be the legs (Gall) or they can be in charge of the magic-wielding (Cho).... Next up is Gall, who is responsible for the character's movement. In addition to controlling the legs, Gall brings these attacks:

      This is backwards. Cho is the warrior who controls movement, Gall is the magic using assassin. See the How to Play section: http://us.battle.net/heroes/en/heroes/chogall/

      • reply
        November 8, 2015 3:32 PM

        It's so easy to get ogres mixed up. This has been updated.

    • reply
      November 8, 2015 3:57 PM

      Does Lunara say "Ahh, the great outdoors!" when she spawns? I demand this.