Blizzard designed The Butcher to be a very scary addition to Heroes of the Storm. Since he arrived in the developer’s newly-minted MOBA last week, he’s been a little too scary for some players thanks to a loophole in his ability kit.
The specific move in question here is “Ruthless Onslaught,” an ability that Butcher players can cast by pressing “E.” Here’s how I described it in my impressions of The Butcher last week:
When cast, The Butcher charges at an enemy target, stunning them on impact. That might not sound like much. But the beauty is in the production values. Whenever you cast it, the game announces the move with a short, punctuating sound of crashing metal as The Butcher roars “Fresh meat!” Or, sometimes, just, “Meat!” The target, meanwhile, has a small gray icon of The Butcher’s face appear above their head.
The important thing to understand about Ruthless Onslaught is that it’s a very difficult move to escape from. If you try to jump out of the way or run in a different direction, he’ll just change his trajectory and keep barreling towards you. Even teleporting the way some Heroes characters can doesn’t make you safe. I discovered this in the second or third game I played as The Butcher, when an enemy Sylvanas tried to use a dash move right after I got her in my sights.
As I noted last week, one of the special quirks that makes Ruthless Onslaught such a menacing (and frustrating) move to go against is the fact that it automatically tracks a target once you’ve put them in your sights. For comparison’s sake, here’s what a normal E charge looks like—The Butcher is the big red guy lunging across the map, and in this case I’m targeting Malfurion, a feathery fellow whom I finally catch right by the grass on the right side of the screen:
Then when Sylvanas tried to use her short-range teleport ability to juke out of my charge later in that game, my Butcher just automatically re-rerouted his charge to keep heading for her. See how I start out charging towards to the top-right corner of the screen, then veer left as that little purple blob darts to the right. The purple blob is Sylvanas’s teleporting move:
I know, I know: REKT. I think this is a cool aspect of his character on one level—one that reinforces the sense that he’s a villain who’s truly inescapable. Problem is, some HOTS players have been reporting it’s been a tad too inescapable thus far. A few days ago, a post on the Heroes of the Storm subreddit presented a GIF of The Butcher using Ruthless Onslaught on an enemy he didn’t even have vision on as evidence that players had figured out how to hack the game—i.e., cheating.
Others weren’t convinced that it was evidence of anything more malicious than an unintended hiccup in the charcter’s code, however. Another HOTS subreddit goer showed a video of The Butcher using a similar trick to target StarCraft hero Zeratul—a character who spends most of the match invisible, and therefore unable to be targeted by enemy abilities (the specific segment I’m talking about starts roughly a minute into the clip):
Last night, a third enterprising HOTS player opened up the game’s files on The Butcher’s Ruthless Onslaught ability. This player concluded that the character’s seemingly unstoppable charge was a result of the game triggering the move and not knowing when exactly to stop it if, say, the target suddenly went out of range:
So the chain of events happen like such:
Butcher sees a target, at a distance.
Butcher casts Ruthless Onslaught at a distance beyond the range of the ability
Butcher starts moving automatically into range to start casting ability (Normal hero behavior for all targeted abilities)
Butcher loses sight of Target, but queued command continues to track enemy movement as long as no other commands are issued
Butcher enters range of queued ability, places ‘mark’ above enemies head, revealing them, and begins charge.
Butcher makes fresh meat.
Call it what you will, but I believe the chain of events was unintentional, is not working as intended, and will be cleared up in future patches.
Blizzard has yet to weigh in on the matter. For the time being, I see the loophole as one of those funny in-game technical stutters that manages to remain in-character. I mean, he’s The Butcher! Nothing’s gonna stand between the dude and his fresh meat. Not the fog of war, not an enemy’s invisibility. Nothing.
UPDATE (7/8/15): Blizzard confirmed in a comment on that subreddit thread that The Butcher’s superhuman Zeratul-hunting abilities are indeed a bug:
So, the interaction discussed here is indeed a bug and will be fixed with an upcoming patch. The Butcher should not be tracking stealth heroes if they weren’t originally within his cast range.
Do note: The Butcher is supposed to continue charging after heroes that have actionable escape mechanics. Examples: Sylvanas’ Haunting Wave or Zeratul’s Blink.
That means when The Butcher’s charge re-routes after an enemy tries to juke their way out of it (like in the Sylvanas GIF I showed), it’s working as intended. When he’s charging across the entire map and hitting enemies he couldn’t even see in the first place, it’s not working as intended. “It isn’t supposed to be that relentless,” a Blizzard representative told me in an email.