Heroes of the Storm released its latest hero, Valeera Sanguinar from World of Warcraft, onto the PTR on the 17th. However, some fans of HotS and WoW alike are disappointed in the character choice.
Valeera is a new Assassin class character for HotS, and the first Rogue class character from WoW to be added to the game. But her release fell on the heels of three other HotS Assassin class characters, all from World of Warcraft. In the eyes of fans, four WoW Assassins is, ahem, overkill.
On top of that, some players think Valeera isn’t the best Rogue character to import from WoW. While Valeera’s first appearance in the lore was over a decade ago, her time in in-game events has been scant. WoW players aren’t necessarily disappointed, but they’d have preferred more recognizable characters like Garona, the Van Cleefs or Matthias Shaw.
When I reached out to fans, they theorized that Valeera’s status as the face of the Rogue class in Hearthstone might have had something to with the choice to include her.
“Valeera was essentially invented for the DC Comic and only made it into the game after the fact as someone connected to an already established character in the form of Varian Wrynn,” blogger and podcaster Belghast told me. “While I can think of better examples, Blizzard did choose her as the rogue deck for Hearthstone so it seemed pretty obvious she was likely going to be the first rogue.”
“Hearthstone definitely had everything to do with it,” said Twitter user @unimplied. “Just counted and nine of the characters are in heroes, and it double-dips into WoW since it’s based on that.”
Blizzard, for their part, addressed the the abundance of WoW Assassin’s in a post on their forums yesterday:
Something that’s important to consider is that our development process for each hero starts nine months to a full year ahead of their planned release dates. After a certain point in the pipeline it becomes very difficult to shuffle heroes around without slipping on our goal of putting a new hero into your hands every three to four weeks … By the time we took a step back and said ‘You know, we sure have released a lot of assassins lately…’ we were well past the point where we could change things up.
They also said:
About 3 months after we had started work on the next set of Heroes to follow Zul’jin, we had to shuffle up Valeera to follow Zul’jin first, due the needs of the team as a whole. At the time, we didn’t pause to consider the ramifications of what it would mean as a player experience, in terms of getting a diverse roster of Heroes in regards to our Archetype definitions and our Universes.
While this helps to explain the lack of hero diversity, and fans were glad to have this amount of transparency from Blizzard, but it’s understandable that WoW players would be frustrated nonetheless. Here’s hoping that Heroes of the Storm will see Garona, the Van Cleefs or Matthias Shaw—but not anytime soon. We’ve already got enough WoW Assassins.