Heroes of the Storm is a Smash Bros.-style mascot brawler for Blizzard's iconic PC games, meaning the rockstar PC developer borrowed tons of ideas from its other games when crafting HOTS characters. The latest patch for Diablo III shows that creative inspiration works in the opposite direction too.
Data-mining experts that they are, Blizzard fans (Diablo fans, specifically), recently cracked open Diablo III's highly anticipated 2.3 patch and began combing it over to see what sorts of game-changing adjustments they could expect. Gamers on the Diablo and Heroes of the Storm subreddits caught one interesting detail concerning the Witch Doctor, the Diablo III character who can summon lots of gross-looking monsters to fight by his or her side. It had to do with the Doc's zombie conjuring ability, which forms a wall of writhing undead corpses in Diablo:
Heroes of the Storm has a character modelled off Diablo's witch doctor named Nazeebo. He has a similar zombie-conjuring ability, only his zombies pop up in a circle instead of a straight line. See the top middle square of this Heroes Nexus image:
HOTS is a MOBA, and in MOBA terminology this zombie circle provides Nazeebo with a powerful crowd control-type ability — allowing him to trap his enemies for a few seconds so he and his teammates can wail on the immobilised opponent.
Apparently, Diablo III's developers thought the tweak to the original Witch Doctor ability was a good enough idea that it should be in their game too. DIII designer John Yang said as much on Twitter in response to a fan's suggestion:
— John Yang (@_JohnYang) June 26, 2015
It's cool to see this sort of cross-fertilisation of ideas taking place between different Blizzard games. I mean, it makes perfect sense that Heroes would give other Blizzard developers new ideas. "MOBA" is essentially a hybrid genre that exists somewhere between an action-RPG like Diablo III and a real time strategy game like StarCraft II.
Hopefully Heroes of the Storm will give the developer some more ideas for how to finally make another Warcraft RTS as well. Blizz please.