Hero Spotlight: Tychus

In case you guys hadn’t noticed, I’ve added a link to the side to provide you guys with quick links to all the hero spotlights I’ve done over the past few weeks. In doing so however, I realised that when it was Tychus week and I spotlighted him, I didn’t really do him any justice whatsoever. I know I said I wouldn’t go back over articles I’d already done, but because the format changed so drastically between him and even the next spotlight, I figured I’d give him his own article instead of sharing it with other Heroes news, especially with what feels like forever since Blizzard last did a hero week themselves – although Murky should be coming along shortly. I’ll also be changing the format slightly again this time to avoid repeating myself over and over.

Tychus Findlay, notorious outlaw, is from the StarCraft universe, originally in concept in the first StarCraft game, but really coming to the forefront in Wings of Liberty. He’s got a great deal of information in his biography on the StarCraft Wiki if you want to check out more on him as a person, but generally speaking: he’s a southern badass from Mar Sara that has a no-nonsense attitude and an aptitude for getting things done ‘the fun way’. He’s primarily in the Assassin role in Heroes, but through talents you can make him a little tankier in case you find yourself in a team with four other assassins and you need someone to take the hits while Kerrigan or Zeratul go in for the kills. Unfortunately, his main drawback is a general lack of utility – he’s there to kill and take hits, but that’s about it.

Please note that at the time of writing this article, Heroes of the Storm is in technical alpha, and I’m not in the alpha to be able to check live updates, so chances are that some of the numbers may have been tweaked and are yet to be updated on online sources.

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Abilities

[Trait] Minigun: Before attacking, Tychus must windup his Minigun briefly. Once wound up, he attacks much faster than other Heroes.

The delay isn’t too long, and you are safe to target switch between enemies without having to wind up again (as long as you’re not moving) so this trait isn’t as bad as it sounds. Especially without the need to last hit like in other MOBAs, you’re not penalised for missing those crucial last hits. The minigun still has a wind-down, so if you do find yourself moving in between shooting, you don’t have to wait for the windup again each time as long as the gun’s still rolling.

[Q] Overkill: Focus Tychus’ minigun on the target, dealing 3760 (720 + 160 per level) damage to the target over 5 seconds. Other targets in the cone take 940 (180 + 40 per level) damage. Can be retargeted.

Overkill deals a ton of damage in a short burst, and allows for Tychus to be able to kite or chase down enemies while moving. It’s a massive attack in team fights that really hits the flavour of Tychus down to the tee. Tapping Q again while channeling it will allow you to switch targets with it, though for the moment it looks like you’re locked to Overkill until the channel is over, so you’ll have to make sure you don’t want to cast any other abilities in the next 5secs.

[W] Frag Grenade: Tychus lobs a grenade that explodes for 560 (85 + 25 per level) damage. Enemies hit are pushed away from the explosion’s epicenter.

The knockback is fairly respectable, and reminds me a lot of Batrider’s Flamebreak from Dota 2. It’s good for knocking heroes into or away from you, or you can knock them behind walls or out of bushes and that. This is pretty much as far as Tychus’s utility goes, the rest of his abilities focus centrally on dealing or taking damage. Because of his lack of stuns and that, you’re probably going to be the main person to pick up map objectives like Doubloons or Cursed Tributes, though if you can knock enemies away to make sure a team mate can complete an objective: do it.

[E] Run and Gun: Charge forward and instantly wind up Tychus’ minigun.

A great initiation ability, especially if you pick up Bolt of the Storm at 20, and it allows you to right click damage straight into the fight. With his natural tankiness, being the initiator of team fights makes sense for him, even in the usual squishy nature of the assassin role. However, it’s not an ability that you target enemies with, so you can easily make your escape if you suddenly realise that you’re put yourself in a bad position and need to move out. With an 8sec cooldown and just 50 mana cost, it’s very easy to spam and jump around the battlefield, weaving in Q’s and W’s in between.

[R1] Drakken Laser Drill: Summons a Laser Drill that deals 155 (22 + 7 per level) damage per second. Able to be targeted by reactivating.

When this first came out, I believe it was the best choice for his heroic despite how awesome it was to commandeer the Odin for his other heroic. However, this served more as the Assassin’s heroic while the Odin was the Warrior’s heroic, giving him a little more survivability. Since then I’m not too sure after balance changes, but I’d like to think this is how Blizzard plan to balance Tychus between his two heroics: this does an amazing amount of damage to a single target, such as buildings and defending against a push.

[R2] Commandeer Odin: Tychus pilots the Odin, gaining a second health pool and reducing all Crowd Control effects by 50%. Basic Attacks in the Odin do heavy damage and no longer require a windup. Tychus gains the ability to fire Ragnarok Missiles and Annihilate to devastate a large area.

He gets more tanky with this talent, allowing himself every 100 seconds to gain a second health pool and wreak as much havoc as his health pool allows, or 17 seconds are up. Do note that when you leave the Odin, your health will be the same as when you entered it, so if you clutch R’d you better make sure you’re out of harm’s way when you’re about to leave. The abilities he gains are as follows:

  • [Q] Annihilate: Tychus fires the Odin’s cannons in a straight line, dealing 70 damage to everything in its path.
  • [W] Ragnarok Missiles: Tychus launches missiles at everything in a radius around him, dealing 70 damage to each target.

With a nuke strike as the level 20 upgrade to it completing the E slot too, but I’ll get into that later.

Talents

As I mentioned earlier Tychus can either be tanky or ganky, and his talents certainly prove that to be the case. In this section I’ll go through each tier and explain how the choices can be used depending on what lineup you have, what lineup the enemies have, and generally how he looks to be on paper. I’m not in the alpha at the moment, so I might have gotten the wrong end of the stick on some of these choices without being able to test them out myself, and of course with it being alpha some of these talents may change over time.

TychusT1Level 1 is always going to be the difficult talent to take, as it dictates the way you play the rest of the game. Fortunately Tychus is the one instigating combat as opposed to reacting to it – all you need to do is determine whether or not you’re going to go around and pick off enemies, or if you’re going to be in the middle of combat taking everything to the face. The first two picks are more tanky options, and the latter two are more ganky options. Personally, I’d go for Regen Master if you’re building to tank, or upgrade your Q to go for more ganky builds.

Remember that only the mage creeps drop health globes at the moment, so if you have a lane partner that’s taking your globes, make sure to tell them that you need them for your warrior build. If you have a melee laning partner or have a support glued to you

TychusT2Again, it’s a very clear-cut between tanky and ganky here. Vampiric Assault scales extremely well with his increased attack speed to make sure that he’s healing up well during fights. Focused Attack, similarly is amazing for a ganky build with his increased attack speed again, especially for taking it off cooldown again and again. The W upgrade is pretty good for pushing, but I still think the other two options are much better.

TychusT3Another opportunity to upgrade the W, but we’re going to miss it again this tier because Tychus isn’t really that much of a utility person. It might serve to catch people out better, but chances are you already have someone in your team for that. First Aid is fantastic for tanking, especially with Path of the Warrior for even bigger heals, but is overall a solid option for the tanky Tychus, even over Rapid Fire for more Vampiric shots. However, I’m not too sure on the choice between Rapid Fire and Searing Attacks for the ganky Tychus: I’m leaning more toward Searing once his weapon’s been wound up to make sure you get those ganks off.

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As I mentioned earlier, Commandeer Odin (please note that it’s not a rank, but an action to take control of something, so please stop calling it Commander Odin) is going to be the more tanky option, especially if you enjoy going into the middle of fights. That’s not to say that you go for the Laser Drill as a ganker though, as the abilities you get in the Odin are fantastic to get those ganks off. Plus, a dead ganker does no ganking, so this is a good clutch save to finish off opponents and get the heck away afterwards.

I’d go for the Drakken Laser Drill in times where you know you’re going to need sustained damage on a target that isn’t moving much, like the Grave Golem or pushing down towns, forts and the core. You can see in the video above that it’s pretty good at defending certain areas as well, but it can be targeted and killed. It’s still fun to place on a chest in Blackheart’s Bay or a tribute in Cursed Hollow, so it’s down to your own playstyle really.

TychusT5At level 13, we’ve got a few options in both categories here. Relentless is a solid tanking (and ganking) option that allows you to get away from bad quicker and cleaner. Especially in solo games if you get affected by CC, chances are you’re going to get focused down soon. However, we’ll be taking a good, solid survivability talent in the next tier, so against improving Overkill I’d say that it’s best off going for upgrading the Q once you unlock the ability to choose that talent. As a warrior, you’re not going to be able to taunt people onto you, but you can sure as hell make sure the enemies aren’t getting away, or enemy assassins aren’t catching up to your supports by slowing them down.

For the ganker role, pretty much everything in this tier is a viable option. Upgrading the Q makes sure enemies don’t escape as easily and pairs well with Executioner in the next tier; Giant Killer is especially useful against enemy warriors and map objectives; Relentless gets you out of CC faster so you can continue eating face; and upgrading your E is great to help chase down and nail those kills (or get out of a bad situation). Overall I’d say to go for Stim Pack as it has that double-edged sword of chasing down the squishies – which your role as a ganker is – as well as having that option to be able to get out of Dodge. Pre-8, it would depend on the matchup: against high CC go for Relentless, if they have a lot of high health enemies go for Giant Killer. It’s especially useful against the Grave Golems and Dragon Knight too.

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For tier 6 at level 16m we have one main tanky option that really sticks out in Stoneskin. Again, this is where Path of the Warrior helps buff this out even more, but it’s likely that the regen is still going to win out. Regardless, for this tier there’s only one main option for the tanky Tychus, though upgrading the W is certainly an option to get enemies away from the rest of your team.

For the ganky Tychus, Lock and Load is a very tempting talent to chase down enemies. Remember that everyone has the same base movement speed unlike in other MOBAs, so getting that 15% extra speed will mean that it’s only heroes with abilities to escape that will be able to get away. Executioner is a pretty solid pickup too if you upgraded your Q in the last tier, but movement speed helps a ton in most situations.

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Finally, at level 20 we have 3 options available to us once we get there: two storm abilities and the opportunity to upgrade our heroic we picked at 10. I’m not sure if Fury will stack with Vampiric Assault, but interestingly his version of Fury is 25% less with each bounce, when most other Furies are just a flat 50% reduced damage on both splashes. Regardless, from a warrior’s perspective, being able to stay in the Odin for longer is fantastic and having that nuke to drop when you’ve got a massive team fight going is great for pushing the fight into your favour. However, I do love Blink Dagger in Dota, so Bolt is always going to be a solid choice in most situations. The anti-push on Focusing Diodes is also a great option if you picked up the Drakken Laser Drill.

Similarly, in the ganker build Bolt of the Storm is brilliant for getting into and out of bad situations. You can chase enemies down or Run and Gun in, take a kill, Bolt out before anyone can react. For the ganking Tychus I probably wouldn’t recommend upgrading the heroics as the Storm abilities are just that powerful to gank with. If the game is nearing the end and you need that push, you can combine Fury with your W to easily mow down waves and help finish the game off.

Weekly Roundup: Happy Birthday Diablo!

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Diablo 3 came out two years ago! Two years! That’s time gone by so quickly it’s unbelievable. To celebrate, Blizzard have increased legendary drop rate by 100% and will earn double rift fragments on their bounties from 15th-22nd May. Take a wild guess as to where the majority of my gaming time has been this week… If you guessed it was Hello Kitty: Island Adventure I’ll have to disappoint.

I’ve actually spent a lot less time than I’ve wanted the past few days starting the anniversary holiday in Diablo, but I’d still say a sizable chunk of my online time has been on there. I’ve managed to get new boots, new shoulders and my first Tal Rasha’s piece on my Wizard so far. I’m also certainly enjoying the increased drop rate of the worse legendaries just to get more Forgotten Souls to get better reforges and whatnot.

With news of patch 5.4.8 on the horizon, and gear upgrades going up another 8 item levels for SoO gear, we decided on halting progression on Blackfuse for the time being, to get some more gear improvements through either gearing alts/bench players, getting Warforged gear or generally getting upgrades through other means (still no Immerseus trinket though, QQ). When the patch drops, we can upgrade 8 items in the first week if they’re already 2/2 upgrades to 4/4, so hopefully on next Sunday’s raid we can get a bigger dent into Blackfuse by being able to take care of the belt or mines or whatever just that little bit easier. Sure, we’re struggling on mechanics, but getting rid of those mechanics faster might be that push we need to get onto Paragons, and then Garrosh himself.

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It’s good that Blizz are looking at new ways of nerfing content: In ICC we saw the zone-wide buff to players’ health, healing and damage; in Dragon Soul, tier 14 and Throne of Thunder bosses received health and damage reductions in a zonewide debuff on them all; and now Blizzard are looking to buff players again, but in a new fashion of us being able to choose where we upgrade our gear to do more damage or healing, or get more health. Over time, it will act similar to the 5/10/15/etc% stacking (de)buffs, but the immediate punch to those of us with 3k valor already will notice a significant difference straight away.

I know instanced PvP has an item level cap, but I wonder if world PvP will be impacted by those that will end up having full 588 HCWF gear, against those Prideful PVPers with only 550 iLvl. Is this Blizzard preparing for perhaps another PvP season before Warlords is out? I’m certainly hoping for more expansion details soon, as I’m pretty sure it won’t be a happy BlizzCon if there’s no Warlords out by then… Though having said that, even a month before BlizzCon would be awkward for the race to world first – unless we end up having a live raid between Method and Blood Legion or whatever at BlizzCon to watch them attempt new bosses right in front of us.

Weekly Roundup: The Rift between expansions

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I’ll admit, I’m not feeling the drive to play WoW anywhere near as much as I have been, and with Warlords of Draenor on the horizon, I think I can safely say I’m in pre-expansion blues. I know that since I picked the blog back up a few weeks back it’s not entirely had the best WoW-focus anyway, but still I feel the pull loosening and loosening. Last expansion’s blues was filled with me trying to grab as many achievements as I could, trying to gear up alts through Dragon Soul raid finder, and progress through normal and heroic DS on those alts. We even set up a Horde counterpart guild so that we couldn’t be boosted by an assortment of differently geared mains and alts. With more hours at work taking me away from any kind of regular raiding schedule with the friends I’ve already made online (and they themselves finding less incentive to be ingame) I just feel that Mists is… Done. For me, anyway.

War Crimes came out earlier last week, and that’s largely cemented my feelings towards the gap between Mists and Warlords. I feel like I’ve finished my part in the expansion, even with 3 heroic bosses still to kill. I enjoy raiding, and I’m sure as hell going to still give it my all to my guild when we are making attempts on Blackfuse, but if we hang up the towel I likely won’t have sorrow that I didn’t complete the final bosses this expansion has to offer. The Cutting Edge achievement will completely be out of my grasp but I’m sure I’ll be able to pick up the boss kill achievements at a later date. I’ve got my staff heirloom from normal, and I can’t imagine having the heroic one to be THAT much of a difference while levelling, and I’m sure I’ll have as much motivation to get the mount as I do Invincible or Mimiron’s Head.

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Looking back even further from last expansion’s blues, and in the twilight of Wrath days, I remembered I was looking at other MMO’s to play. Rift was in beta at the time, and I checked it out. I can’t exactly remember much of what I experienced back then, as I was hopping to and from games like anything back then too, but I decided that with this apparent new patch massively improving the game that I’d check it out again. It’s free to play now after all, so what’s the harm? Of course, I don’t know what this new patch brought, or how it would have improved the game at all – I even struggle to remember what I played back then: I’d just started trying out Balance Druid for the first time in WoW, so when I heard that Druids were a DPS spec of Clerics I wanted to try that out. I also had some kind of Rogue tank on the other faction, so I tried to fire it up and join a friend who I noticed pop up on my Steam profile… Only to find out I was spammed with an authentication error whenever I tried to log in.

Oh well. Moving on, I still downloaded the update and decided to play as a guest for a while and ended up creating a new account irregardless. I have to say, I was fairly impressed with the changes to the game in the past two or three years. I wouldn’t say it’s a Reaper of Souls kind of improvement, but it certainly feels much more of a solid game, and has cycled into the free-to-play model pretty well, though I only say this as someone that’s spent roughly 2 hours or so in the past week and hasn’t seen anything much past level 10. From what I could tell from a brief look at the Rift Store, you could buy things such as mounts, companion pets, experience boosts, faction changes… Things that sounded a little familiar, and I contemplated what WoW could look like with this monetary model.

Upon looking deeper into it however, there were other things that you could purchase with real currency. Trion have a subscription model that you can purchase if you wish, that would grant bonuses such as bonus currency (both gold/platinum as well as dungeon or crafting currencies); bonus experience boosts; instant access to banks/trainers; bonuses to reputation/notoriety; discounts in the store; queue hopping to get onto servers, or shards as they’re known in Rift; loyalty bonuses for keeping subscribed for long periods of time, and more. When I looked at the subscriber bonuses, I quickly came to the conclusion that Blizzard could probably not get away with turning their subscription model to something similar to Rift. I can only imagine the outburst on the forums where people would feel “forced” to stay subscribed in order to stay competitive.

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At the end of the day, they’ll be the vocal minority and the pricing structure probably won’t be more expensive to what we’re paying each month now. However, because the free-to-play option is available, QQ will definitely ensue for people feeling that they’ll be nerfed in comparison to subscribers and have to pay Blizz in order to stay in heroic or mythic raiding. Personally, I’m happy staying free-to-play in Rift, just as I’m trying my best to keep real money out of Hearthstone, and if I ever get into Heroes of the Storm I’ll hopefully just be earning the gold and spending that ingame. The latter will depend on how quickly gold can be earned post-40 and when new heroes come out that I find out I want to play, but for now I’ll grind to 10k gold and get my Abathur and be happy. With my desire to main Abathur, I have no real need to buy mounts anyway, and unless I falter and end up buying Pajamathur, I won’t actually see much of my hero in any case in a standard match, so there’s not much need to buy skins on Abathur in my opinion.