Hi homeos, Diva here with episode 3 of our developer's blog on Drunken Master, an upcoming hero. A quick update on Drunken Master: he has been getting testing in the test client, has created some pretty cool moments, and is overall shaping up to be pretty cool. This section of the Drunken Master blog will focus on his pre-test patch iteration internally here at the S2 office, as well as his test client iteration.
Behind Closed Doors in the Smoke Filled Room:
When we first started the poll for which hero to focus on in this dev blog series, many players expressed concerns about the alternate mana mechanic that was meant to be used on Drunken Master. This outcry grew yet louder when the design doc was unveiled in the first episode of the dev blog, and we took it to heart. We were ourselves initially skeptical of the alternate mana mechanic; I personally was not sure how integral to the hero's design and feel the mechanic was, and whether its benefits outweighed the negatives. So we sat down over several lunches and discussed the merits of the "drunk bar" over a standard mana bar, as well as potential alternatives. The main alternatives that were presented were:
- Create a third bar on top of mana and health for this hero
- Make Drink give charges that were expended from and kept in a state
- Ditch the entire concept of pre-drinking and drink charges impacting the hero
- Make Drinking restore mana, and mana be the sole resource
After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that the alternate mana mechanic was not what drove the hero; the hero's defining characteristics that shape his feel come from the abilities themselves, not how they are cast or enhanced. We did, however, want to keep the drinking = getting progressively more drunk = more potential power dealio. We went with option 2, making Drink give charges that are used from and kept in a state. While it injects a tertiary resource for players to manage, and requires maintenance and static periods (whereas the hero's other abilities really encourage unpredictable, mobile play), we feel that it adds depth to the character and really pounds in the feeling that you're playing a true drunken brawler.
Initial Testing and Reception:
When Drunken Master was first put into the test client, his temp art was... bad. I'm not nearly as good with temp art as Nome is, and I couldn't find anything suitable in the modders section. This contributed to an awkward feel for the hero. It's truly amazing how much art contributes to how a hero feels and plays, and for that I am incredibly grateful that we have AMAZING artists on staff here at S2. This didn't stop us from getting some good feedback and data though! People liked the idea of a drunk dude punching enemies. It's supposed to be cool or something.
Out of the gate, Drunken Master did great in lane. We expected this- Lunge is a fast initiation ability from range that both stuns and displaces enemies, and Stagger is an early disjoint and approach tool. Initial test builds ranged from maxing Drink early (1-4-1), which I adopted as my personal favorite, and ignoring Drink entirely to max Lunge and Stagger. All builds picked up Numb to Pain when available, as it provides immunity to all forms of CC. The hero often dominated lanes, hit a lull period in the midgame, and if allowed to peak, peaked high in the late game.
Change through Testing, Prettifying through Blacryu:
Luckily for my artistically handicapped self, Blacryu made a model to serve as temp art for Drunken Master. You guys can find it in the mods section- it's freaking fantastic. This helped HUGELY, as the hero now had the proper feel and look to him. Thanks again Blacryu!
Although Drunken Master dominated his lane, we found through much testing that he had a difficult time farming up and retaining his high effectiveness. The combination of his difficulty and high item dependence made him a tough hero to get through the mid game and to his peak. Many builds were toyed with; straight Insanitarius, tanking with HotBL, straight Frostburn, etc. The hero just needed too much: attack speed, movement speed, extra beefiness, and damage are all crucial to this kind of hero. To remedy some of this, we gave him a series of buffs, as well as toning down his lane dominance with Lunge:
- Stagger now deals minor physical damage in the AoE that he staggers to
- Stagger's drunk damage and move speed enhancement lasts for 4 seconds, up from 2.5 seconds
- Numb to Pain now gives (5/10/15)% Movement Speed
- Drink channels for up to 3 seconds, down from 4, and gives more per second to compensate
- Lunge mana cost from 90 to 120
With these changes, I'd still peg Insanitarius as a great early pickup, but defensive items make him really difficult to bring down. In a recent test game, one of our competitor-level players, JoshP, built Nullstone and HotBL on Drunken, and was nearly impossible to take down. Straight Frostburn still sounds really appealing, as that early strength is very nice and the slow application works with Lunge's double attack. We'll see how the hero shapes up moving forward, as we aim to complete testing on him and get him to a balanced and fun state!
I'll leave you guys with the bloody awesome concept art for Drunken Master, courtesy of aforementioned amazing S2 artists:
Last edited by DivA; 07-06-2011 at 12:00 PM.
Pu Liu | Director of Monetization
dang, that barrel needs to be removed...
aint cool dude.. aint cool...
i more prefer the "magically" appeared glasses rather than a barrel
Last edited by Eishun; 07-06-2011 at 12:04 PM.
Thank you Riot Games For destroying the Genre
I hope you guys die in fire, and may god have mercy, because i wont
Good work S2. Stay strong, keep it lolzy.
The likeability of a hero depends largely on the look and feel, I agree with you there. It's a shame you don't put more detail into some of your heroes design, model, animations and voice acting.
EDIT: Ophelia for example, could you please get some modellers to fix her hair PLS
Last edited by Zpredator; 07-06-2011 at 12:18 PM.
Very nice to hear that you decided to add charges to him instead of alternative mana mechanics.
I'm hoping that special heroes like this will have a good impact on the game, though.