Ahhhhh. Fresh meat! Exciting news for the Diablo fans out there who've been sinking their teeth into Blizzard's excellent new MOBA Heroes of the Storm.
During a live-streamed launch event for Heroes today, the developer revealed a months-long campaign it's kicking off later this month called "Eternal Conflict" that will add a new battleground to the game and several new hero characters, all drawn from its legendary demon-killing franchise.
The new map is called "Battlefield of Eternity" (they really like their eternity, huh?), and it's modelled off the High Heavens setting from the fourth act of Diablo 3.
The map has two lanes, and a new kind of NPC interaction than the ones that exist in the game's other seven levels. Two creatures known as "Immortals" — one good and one evil — will periodically duke it out in the centre of the map. Whichever Immortal emerges triumphant will then help its team push the enemy's defences. Neat.
As for the new hero characters... well, Blizzard already added Johanna to HOTS, she being modelled off the Crusader character class from Diablo 3. Next up is The Butcher. That's right, this guy:
...though they have spiffed him up a little bit so he looks more in line with the boss character from Diablo 3:
Speaking to Polygon, the Heroes developers identified The Butcher as a melee assassin who can slow and trap his enemies in a number of characteristically grotesque ways:
Blizzard describes The Butcher as a medium level difficulty character, and Dabiri said he was developed to "capture the fear" that player's felt when they first encountered him in the original Diablo.
Browder detailed The Butcher's traits, attacks and heroic abilities during our presentation, starting with Fresh Meat, the character's most memorable catchphrase. The Fresh Meat trait allows The Butcher to pick up blood droplets left behind by dead players and minions. Those blood drops boost the character's damage, one per cent at a time. He loses any Fresh Meat bonus damage upon death.
The Butcher can also use his Hamstring attack to damage and slow enemies along a line, and Butcher's Brand to mark an enemy and then draw hit points from them with each successive attack. With Ruthless Onslaught, The Butcher charges at an enemy and, if he connects, stuns them.
His two heroic abilities are Lamb to the Slaughter, which chains an opponent to a tether, restricting their movement for a few seconds, and Furnace Blast, an area of effect blast of heat that surrounds The Butcher and evokes an attack from Diablo 3.
I love that they gave him a passive ability called "fresh meat". But more than anything else, I'm just glad to see that The Butcher's coming into the game in the first place. Given the fact that Heroes already has Stitches, a melee warrior who dual-wields a big cleaver and hook, I was worried they were just gonna make the iconic Diablo villain an alternate skin for that character. Phew.
The Eternal Conflict campaign starts on 30 June. Blizzard said that it will add more Diablo-centric characters, skins, and mounts throughout the campaign. The developer has also suggested it will do similar campaigns based on its other franchises like Warcraft and StarCraft in the future.