Players who pre-ordered Legacy of the Void, the third and final expansion of StarCraft II, were rewarded with early access to the newest Hero in the Nexus yesterday: Artanis. The main character of LotV, it's a fitting an exciting choice to have him added to Heroes of the Storm right now, and as a sister site to SCLegacy, we couldn't be happier with his arrival. From the official Artanis hero page:
Hierarch Artanis is an indomitable warrior who seeks to unify his beleaguered people. As a renowned Templar with centuries of experience, Artanis combines martial prowess and tactical acumen—striking swiftly with his psi-blades, taking the brunt of enemy assaults with his shields, or calling upon his flagship, the Spear of Adun, to turn his foes into dust. He’ll let nothing stand in his way to restore the glory of the protoss.
Artanis has come a long way since his days as a young Protoss upstart, cruising around in his Scout during the Brood War. Now the leader of a shattered peoples, he has taken on the accoutrements of leadership, and seems burdened by everything that his situation entails.
At BlizzCon 2014, Blizzard described their three core values when designing a hero:
- The Fantasy: What role does the hero play in their respective universe?
- The Look: What does the hero look and sound like?
- The Design: How does the hero function in their respective universe?
DISCLAIMER: It's with these design values in mind that we will discuss our first impressions of Artanis. If you were seeking a discourse on his power level, his viability in Hero League, or his best builds, there are plenty of resources for that even after only a day. For us, those things are a temporary and rapidly fluctuating element, a matter of numbers that will inevitably be changed both by Blizzard and by the creative players playing the game, as well as the ever-in-flux meta. These three core design elements are what really makes a hero a favorite in the long run, and Blizzard is just getting better and better at them. We will also be taking a look at the hero's available skins and giving a quick impression of them. So let's get to it!
The Fantasy: Artanis is the Hierarch of the Protoss people in Legacy of the Void. As I mentioned above, he comes from much humbler roots, as a beloved but minor character from the original StarCraft games. A Templar, he became an Executor at the tender age of only 262, and after the Second Great War, Artanis has taken command of the Golden Armada and seeks to reclaim his people's ancestral homeworld: Aiur. So what should his character convey in Heroes of the Storm? Gifted Leadership. Pride. Zealous (pardon the pun) loyalty to his people. He should emanate power, nobility, and an almost untouchable aura of void-fused majesty. His abilities, movements, and sound effects should convey the rapid, clean, crackling speed and power that only a great Protoss warrior can provide.
His abilities lend to conveying his role in the StarCraft universe, as his Blade Dash moves him with an elegant speed, he almost appears to dance his way through the enemy lines, leaving carnage in his wake. His Heroic Abilities both call upon the Spear of Adun to aid him in battle, and much like Raynor's Hyperion, knowing that this hero has the support of an enormous flagship in orbit really drives home the fantasy of a great and powerful military leader.
Artanis stands tall and proud, with his new armor set from Legacy of the Void gleaming and ornate. His floaty-ring-backpack (Which I'm sure warps in Pop Tarts or something, someone fill me in on what this sweet accessory is called?) gives him a distinct look from the game's other Protoss, and he won't be mistaken for anyone else on the battlefield. His fists clenched, his legs astride and poised for action, he exudes controlled reservoirs of power, which is exactly how he should look. His sound effects may be Blizzard's best work to date for a Hero in the Nexus. Every ability he casts is accompanied by the kind of sci-fi sound that we dream of in our heads, the slashing energy blades screaming while sounds of psi shields crackling echo over the thuds and sword clanks of more normally equipped Heroes.
A Leader of his people, Artanis should always appear to be firmly in control, every movement and action calculated and contrived. He is not a berserk warrior, losing himself in bloodlust on the battlefield, but a meticulous and finely-honed warrior striving for perfection in all things. He is a Lamborghini in a Warrior class that is mostly occupied by monster trucks with bulldozer blades. His model is large, the largest of all the Protoss, but not quite so huge as warriors like E.T.C. and Stitches.
Continuing the grand master skin tradition of "Give that dude a crazy hat", the Artanis master skin adds some ornate details to his armor and beefs up his backpack with a large, pointed shape and scalloped flair. Some excellent color swaps here, and all three are very pleasing to the eye. It would be fun to get some really out there master skins, but being able to still identify the hero in game should always take priority, and this skin still looks like Artanis while still giving him a major visual upgrade.
Eldar. Blizzard has been adapting the aesthetics of Games Workshop (which of course is adapting Tolkien) for near on 30 years now, and this skin is another example of just that. It looks very much like an Eldar Aspect Warrior, which just so we're clear: is freaking awesome. The third color is a nod to Neon Genesis Evangelion and the EVA-01, which, again: oh my god, awesome.
So, How can we rate Artanis overall from the perspective of Blizzard's stated hero design philosophy? Very highly. He feels like the leader of the Protoss, he looks like a warrior with centuries of experience in battle behind him, and his abilities and playstyle are befitting of that. If Blizzard can continue to produce heroes that feel and look like Artanis, every hero release will be a treat for us.
Thanks for reading StormLegacy's first Hero Review! You can expect continued coverage articles like this one, and much more, as we continue on in the very near future. Say, why don't you follow @StormLegacyTeam and @SaharaDrac on Twitter, while you're here? Then you'll know whenever we update. :)