If MOBA players had meetings similar to the AA, I could imagine people introducing themselves by saying, "Hi, I'm PufferMan388, I'm a toxic mid main, and I hate the cancer fish known as Fizz." Or perhaps, "I'm DrunkmasterDave, I live in top lane, and I am on a crusade to take down the satanic menace known as Teemo."
The following is my opening statement as a MOBA player. I don't harbour a deep-seated resentment towards any particular MOBA character. In fact, I've found a character that I truly identify with and enjoy playing as while I binge on Heroes of the Storm at two in the morning.
His name is Murky, one of the best things to happen to me as a MOBA player.
For those of you unfamiliar with Murky, here's a bit of Murky's context and background. Murky is a "Murloc", an amphibious frog-like creature that carries a fish and slaps people in the face with it until they pass out. Think of Monty Python's "Fish Dance" or a Three Stooges stunt in which Moe hits Curly with a giant tuna fish, but in a cartoon form.
Murlocs are a species in the Warcraft universe, though nobody in World of Warcraft really knows where they came from exactly. It doesn't help that they can only communicate in unintelligible spitting and squawking sounds.
In Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm, Murky is a melee specialist fighter. He has very little health, but a ton of power. His abilities involve squirting a splash of green goo on the ground, throwing a puffer fish that inflates over time, exploding and dealing immense amounts of damage to enemies and buildings, and encasing himself in an invincible bubble for a few seconds like so:
His two heroic abilities (abilities that can turn an unfavorable battle in a game-winning scenario) involve him summoning a miniature army of Murlocs that jump on enemies and buildings, slowing them and dealing damage over time:
or trapping a single enemy with an octopus tentacle and slapping them repeatedly with his giant fish:
If you get the Easter themed skin for Murky, he slaps the enemy with a giant yellow bunny Peep on a stick. I digress.
Most importantly, Murky doesn't typically respawn at the base after he dies. He respawns at his egg, which can be moved and placed anywhere on the map.
If his egg is active on the map, Murky respawns at the egg's location within five seconds regardless of how long the game has progressed. Death timers in MOBAs are usually much longer than that, lasting longer than a minute by the endgame of a HOTS match. So as long as Murky's egg is hidden and moved around the map in a consistent manner according to the flow of battle, he can have an omnipresent effect during the laning phase and when objectives are to be captured.
His kit, by nature, doesn't require him to be present in team fights on a consistent basis. Since he has such low health and relatively low mobility, he can't deal a consistent amount of damage or provide crowd control similar to E.T.C., Diablo, or Chen. Instead, his kit allows for him to split push early on, soaking up immense amounts of experience and dealing astronomical damage to structures. If you move his egg close to a location of a major objective (like the mines in the Haunted Mines), you can sacrifice yourself to a tower, respawn in the mines, collect as many skulls as possible, and then escape to base before the enemies are able to enter the mines. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
My first time playing as Murky was a shock to me. I wasn't keeping track of my egg, I wasn't splitpushing, and I was attempting to play him as though I was a warrior character, like ETC. My teammates kept saying, "Murky, move your egg!" or "Dude, your bubble makes you invincible -- collect skulls!"
After getting demolished, I jumped back into another game. This time, I took a lane all to myself. The Illidan across from me attempted to kill me multiple times, but I kept narrowly escaping his attacks and floating to safety using my bubble. After the tenth or so time failing trying to kill me, the Illidan left me alone in lane and joined his companions at mid lane. I had a lane all to myself.
By instinct, I thought I was to follow the Illidan and prevent him from killing my fellow teammates. But then it clicked -- I wasn't supposed to follow the Illidan. I was to push the lane. And push I did. I forced myself all the way to a keep as the enemy team focused on mid lane. "Great work, Murky" my teammates said, "move up top! They're coming down bot!"
I scuttled up to top lane, and put my egg in a safe location -- rinse and repeat. By the end of the match, I had dealt over 100k damage to structures (that's a lot by HOTS standards) and had double the amount of experience contributed towards the team experience compared to the next highest teammate. I had split-pushed so well, the enemy core was exposed in two lanes, and the enemy had no choice but to give up on taking objectives to protect their core.
Murky's "Grunty" skin puts him in a space marine suit and turns his egg into a Terran bunker.
The more I played as the little amphibian, the more I loved him, and the more I loved the maps I previously hated. The Haunted Mines were once my worst enemy, but as Murky, they were my best friends. I would place my egg in the mines after the first wave of skulls were collected and pushed lanes as normal. When it came time to collect skulls again, I would simply run into an enemy tower, die, and respawn just as the undead were spawning. I could take three or four camps (between 20-40 skulls) before the enemy could even teleport to the mines!
If I had known about this mischievous little Murloc, I would most definitely had bought him sooner.
He's truly the epitome of a troll character, and I just can't get enough of it. The closest thing to him I've found in another MOBA is Fizz, from League of Legends. Fizz is powerful, sure. He might have a spurt of invincibility when he jumps around the map, but he doesn't truly have the omnipresence of Murky. A good Murky player can play mind games with his opponents, throwing himself into a teamfight where he is sure to lose, only to appear on the other side of the map (where his egg has been all along). It's so nice to win as him and imagine my enemies bubbling with rage as I float away in my bubble with a couple hit points left.
Small touches like this make HOTS a bit more fun to play than League. A character like Murky can't exactly survive in an environment like League. Murky, like all characters from Heroes of the Storm, can go in any lane and just wreak havoc. In League, half of the game takes place in the laning phase -- and each lane typically has a specific type of champion present. In Heroes, your champions can go anywhere yet still contribute a meaningful amount to the course of the match. You can play some mind games in League with someone like Teemo, but you can't have the consistent map presence as Murky. You can protect yourself as Vladimir in League, but you can't respawn in a matter of seconds. Characters like Murky and Abathur separate Heroes from League because of the fact that you can break the typical mould of specific role fulfillment that is required for mastery of League. You can hide a Murky egg behind a pillar in the Sky Temple, but you can't really hide a Murky egg in a bush on the Rift -- especially when vision wards exist.
He might not be a "meta" character in Heroes at the moment like The Butcher or Johanna, but he's still a ton of fun to play, and rewarding if you know how to play him to your team's advantage.
If you play Heroes, here are some tips to playing as, with, and against Murky:
Playing as Murky:
- Move your egg with objectives and with the battle. If you're focusing on split pushing lanes, be sure to take your egg with you to the lane you're planning on pushing, and plant it in a safe place -- in bushes or behind terrain that's usually not visible. Be creative!
- Bribing siege minions can be a smart thing to do early game. Your first ability upgrade opens up the option for bribing, so long as you've cleared enough minions. If you clear enough minions, you can bribe two siege giants to proxy push for you, so you can move up to another lane and push all alone.
Playing with a Murky:
- Leave him alone, if you can. This especially applies on maps with three lanes. If you join him in a lane, be prepared for more enemies to come down and try and kill both you AND him. He can't protect you, anyway. Just leave him and his egg be.
- If he bribes a siege camp, join the siege giants and push with them. Chances are, one or two more enemies will come down to prevent the giants from pushing too far and leave a lane completely empty for Murky to move up to and push on his own.
Playing against a Murky:
- Attack the pufferfish, not the frog! Murky's pufferfish has an immense push potential, especially in late game. If you destroy the pufferfish, it won't be able to hurt you as much as it could if it exploded.
- Find the egg, not the frog! If Murky draws you out into the jungle, don't follow him. If you're chasing him, you're wasting time and not soaking enough experience for your team. Let him miss out on soaking experience.
Will Reilley is an avid coffee drinker, an Android enthusiast and a data analyst by trade. He's currently a graduate student and a graduate teaching assistant at San Diego State University, teaching Advanced Public Speaking and Argumentation. If you have any inquiries regarding coffee brewing, video gaming, you can follow him and follow him on Twitter: @WillDrinksCofee.