The immortal King Leoric enters Heroes of the Storm

King Leoric- Heroes

Diablo‘s undead skeleton king, Leoric, arrived auspiciously in Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm. Living up to his name, the iconic villain is really undead and is a playable warrior character. What I meant to say is that even when you kill him, he continues to fight in ghost form. This is insanely awesome, but also terrifying.

Normally in MOBA games such as Heroes of the Storm, its close kin Dota 2, and League of Legends, dying means you are taken out of the fray of fighting and objections (a forced cooldown period), as your team attempts to do their best to continue on before you respawn. These cooldown releases continually get longer as the game wears on. Some of these time releases can run over a minute long. ‘Tis better not to die, but at any rate, that’s one of the challenges in playing a MOBA, unless you like to sit through agonizingly long periods of suffering and raging.

However, death for Leoric is a little different, if you want to even label it as a death. When Leoric goes down, instead of immediately going MIA and into the cooldown period, Leoric instantly reappears in a ghost form at the exact location of his demise. This new ghost version can continue to use a portion of his special abilities to attack the opposition. While these attacks aren’t a damage dealer, they offer a hand to any nearby allies whenever he lands a move successfully; Leoric slows his targets and it reduces the skeleton king’s death timer cooldown. Once the death timer has run out, Leoric appears in full form once more, ready to carry on the fight.

Leoric’s ghost form does not make him “immortal,” but it does something crucial all the same: if Leoric is killed during a fight, he can just stay there bugging his enemies before returning in full skeleton king form to beat them back. It lets him stay in the fight indefinitely. Leoric’s power gives any team with him on it a vast tactical advantage, especially since the challenge of most Heroes of the Storm matches center around holding one or more map areas against your opponents.

You may think that Leoric’s character might sound like an unreasonably overpowered hero, but the immortality bestowed to the skeleton king does have its price; Leoric is omnipresent, meaning he is visible at all times on the map.

He does have a few abilities that lend to his badassery though. His “Q” attack makes him swing his mace in a great arch in front of him, damaging and slowing anyone it hits. His “W” summons a spirit hand that grabs onto an enemy hero, linking them with Leoric and sapping their life away to give it to the skeleton king. Clearly that’s always a cool power to have, sucking the essence of life from one being and using it as your own. Then there is his “E,” which makes a spectral ghost version of Leoric’s body, letting you control the ghost for a few seconds before teleporting Leroic to the enemy’s location. These three combos are powerful enough (and fun enough) to let Leoric aggressively chase down his opponents.

Out of the 39 playable heroes currently in Heroes, 11 of them are warriors. Prior to the introduction of Leoric, all of the warriors had to rely on a very similar core set of abilities. I’d like to think of it as a warrior starter pack. They each have a mass of base hit points, armor, and health regeneration, which make them well-suited to take up damage and body-block for their comparatively weaker allies. Moreover, they all have powerful “crowd control” moves that do things such as stun opponents, trap them, or temporarily immobilize them.

Of course, there is always an exception to over-generalizations, and that is Sonya, the HOTS version of the barbarian class from Diablo. But that’s a discussion for a different day.

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