By Jason Parker (Ragachak) – Covering for Abubakr for December’s column!
When you think about Blizzard, and their over two decades of making quality video games, what franchise would you say is their biggest? The title that makes you stand up and shout “YEAH, BLIZZARD! I LOVE YOU GUYS!”? Why, Rock and Roll Racing, of course! I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Of course it’s the Warcraft universe. That’s the big money-maker, and today we take another trip to the World of Warcraft. Hey, I thought it was funny. Perhaps it was… Too Soon? Where my Vanilla WoW players at? At any rate, Heroes of the Storm unveiled their newest character, the Old God, the Fire Lord, Ragnaros! He once held sway over the entire world, commanding legions of fire elementals, him and his Majordomo spread fire and destruction across the continents. So what’s he doing now? After the failure in Molten Core, and again in the Firelands, he takes his anger out on the other characters in Heroes of the Storm! BEHOLD. RAGARNOS!
However, I’m a little confused. When I think “Assassin,” I think stealth, sneakiness, and sudden bursts of destruction that leave people dead. Now, he definitely has that last part, because he brings the fire. When I think Ragnaros though, I think perhaps Specialist, Tank, or even Warrior. I disagree on him being an Assassin, but there’s nothing I can do about that! He’s pretty easy to use, has no maps that he really fails hard on, and synergizes very well with a few characters. I cannot think of too many characters that counter him hands down, but Chen and Lunara definitely give him issues. I did notice some little things that really made me happy, like his ability to negate certain effects maps have, like the Nukes on Warhead Junction. I activated my trait at the right time, as the Nuke was falling and I took the hit instead of the base. So, you wasted your nuke, I lived, and then swatted you away with angry, Raid Boss powers. Yes, Ragnaros can become a Raid Boss and make it feel just like you’re in World of Warcraft!
- BY FIRE BE PURGED: Oh goodness, his waveclear is terrific, and he has a few ways to get minions smashed into pieces. His level 1 Sulfuras Hungers quest makes it the best, in my opinion. Empowering Sulfuras just for killing Minions? It’s only going to get better.
- TASTE THE FLAMES OF SULFUAS: He can combo like crazy! His Sulfuras Smash is an AOE stun, does lots of damage, and can wombo with so many different characters. Or he can just combo by himself, because what does a God need with insects?
- YOU SOUGHT THE POWER OF RAGNAROS: His Molten Core and Lava Wave can stop map mechanics. He is a God, after all. He can stop buildings from being destroyed, melt entire waves of minions/creep. He can either negate map mechanics, or dampen them into being absolutely worthless. And again. Raid Boss.
- TOO SOON: His abilities look cool, but he does act like a WoW Raid Boss in that most of them are very telegraphed. It’s tremendously easy to avoid a lot of them, unless you simply aren’t paying attention. You can see Lava Wave coming down a lane on the mini map, Sulfuras Smash also has a nice big area of effect. Most of his big damage is avoidable if you don’t stand in the damn fire.
- MY PATIENCE IS DWINDLING: Other than waveclear, and situational burst damage, he doesn’t bring a lot more to a team. He’s fun to play, and it’s insane to become a gargantuan, waveclearing God, but he does not bring a ton to the team other than that. Such is the fate of all assassins though…
- COME FORTH, MY SERVANTS: His survivability is pretty damn awful. His only real escape is also an attack, in Blast Wave. He can buff himself or an ally and get a speed boost. But it really won’t save you. He has no dash, teleport, or actual escape tool. So he needs friends. Or rather, servants.
But what does Ragnaros bring to the battlefield? And since Heroes of the Storm, as you guys know, doesn’t have item builds, you have to consider where he belongs on the team. He needs to be surrounded by his minions [RE: The Team] to protect him while he makes life miserable for the rest of the enemies. While he does tremendous amounts of damage that can be avoided, he can be built in a few different ways around whichever ability you think is most important. He’s very easy to build though – just figure out which ability is the most important for the situation and build around it. Personally, building around Empower Sulfuras is the most rewarding for me. It has the highest potential damage output, and while it is risky to be right in their face for most of it, no guts, no glory! But let’s discuss all the potential options. What are these abilities?
- Molten Core [Trait, 100 seconds]: Become the Raid Boss you were always meant to be! Channel into an allied keep or fortress, or the ruins of an enemy fort/keep, and reveal your true form! Become a gigantic Ragnaros with new powers that have a ludicrous amount of range, and gain 4156 health, that burns away over time [18 seconds]. He can use it to save structures, or smash down one to become a threat in the middle of the enemy team. When that health runs down, he turns back into his old form.
- Empower Sulfuras [Q, Buff, 4 seconds]: Empowering his next attack, Ragnaros deals damage in an area, which also heals for a percentage of the damage dealt. It heals double from damage dealt to heroes, which is the only real survivability he has. Molten Core: If using Molten Core, he stuns and damages nearby enemies.
- Living Meteor [W, Damage, Line, 12 seconds]: Ragnaros summons a meteor from the heavens, and picks a direction. Dealing damage upon landing, and then rolling forward, and one of my favorite upgrades is that it can give Ragnaros up to two charges of Spell Block. That is admittedly situational, but incredibly useful. It’s great waveclear and can be thrown in hilarious directions, to stop people from chasing you, deal damage beyond walls, and much more. Molten Core: Instead of one huge meteor, he summons a small meteor shower, each meteor deals damage and drops a 25% slow.
- Blast Wave [E, Buff, AOE Damage, 10 seconds]: Ragnaros buffs either himself or an ally, giving them a 25% speed buff for 1.5 seconds and then deals damage in an area to all enemies nearby. Molten Core: Ragnaros creates a large delayed explosion to non-structures! 25% more damage to minions and mercenaries to boot.
- Sulfuras Smash [R, AOE Damage, Stun, 60 seconds]: After a small delay, Ragnaros smashes his hammer down into a fairly large area. Enemies caught in the center of it take triple damage and are stunned for .5 seconds. They have to be too busy to take notice, or elsewise CCed to make the absolute most of it.
- Lava Wave [R, Lane Damage, 100 seconds]: From the fiery core of Ragnaros comes a torrential wave of lava! It rolls ponderously slowly down the lane of your choosing, and while it’s very noticeable and easy to see which lane it comes to, not giving it credit will cause tons of damage. It’s his best weapon against map mechanics like Zerg rush, or some of the Spider minions.
Conclusion: Fun, but Risky. A Bit Situational.
I will say that they faithfully recreated the God Ragnaros for HOTS, something I definitely did not expect. I didn’t expect to see him, that is. He needs his insects to body block for him, to set up kills for him, but if he lands one of those rare stuns, he can get work done all on his own. He can become a God among men, but he takes damage like a wet piece of paper in it, so I wouldn’t just throw it around. Knowing when to go in and when to stand back and hurl Meteors will be the key to success. He stands out in the fact that he can clear entire lanes, and become a godly fire being, but he doesn’t really have the all-in capacity that a lot of assassins have… it is something that is very important to be aware of. He’s not a traditional assassin, but there’s nothing traditional about a God being made into a MOBA hero to begin with, is there?