One of my favorite characters in Blizzard Entertainment’s Heroes of the Storm is Nova. She’s over level 75 and I’ve fond memories of playing with her since Alpha. But despite some changes and a rework she had, I believe she is sorely in need of a big change. Here is how I envisioned it.
Nova is pretty straightforward: She’s the stealth assassin with a sniper. In Starcraft 2 missions she gets many different abilities and equipment, which I’ll borrow from, but mostly stick with the main fantasy.
Her rework moves around some talents but most importantly, brings in an equipment pack choice that defines her game-play at level 4, somewhat close to Varian. Her base abilities are the same.
I’ll include commentary in quotes.
Level 1: These are the old level 7 talents (One in the chamber, perfect shot, anti-armor shell.)
These help define her play style and bring in her real damage. As an assassin, she needs the damage from the start, not at level 7. That said, these abilities can be a bit too powerful at level 1.
To balance that, their base and scaling affects will definitely need editing. Linear scaling might still not be the best way for it. So here are some alternative ideas.
Nova’s basic attack damage is nerfed, but level 4 upgrades could introduce a damage increase, breaking the “linear” progression.
Nova receives an “upgrade” system similar to Kel’Thuzad’s Master of the Cold Dark.
Level 4: Equipment Packs!
Pack 1 - The Assassin Pack: Nova now has the Apollo Suit (the old level 20 fast-stealth talent) and her Snipe passive is enhanced: Her stacks can go up to 6 and if she hits 5 heroes consecutively at maximum stacks (ie missing or hitting anything other than heroes resets this), she no longer loses her bonus until she dies.
The idea here is the ultimate Assassin. Go into stealth fast and snipe harder than other builds. She can be a real disturbance to the enemy, and a dangerous one if she’s landing the snipes. This is probably the choice if she faces a more squishy team, and/or her role is to focus on them.
Pack 2 - The BlackOp Pack: Nova now has Advanced Cloaking (the old level 1 talent with improved regen in stealth, but at higher numbers) and a new quest. Each Orb she picks improves her stealth regeneration further. At 15 stacks, she gains permanent movement speed to Stealth.
This one is for a more daring assassin that doesn’t have the safety of Apollo Suit. But she can quickly regenerate enough to rejoin the battle, which should allow her to survive longer fights and offer some sustained damage in fights if she’s collecting orbs. This might be helpful vs teams without real squishies, or teams that might be hard to position against.
Pack 3 - The Assault Pack: Nova now has a longer delay going to stealth, but she has an armor. I’m not decided to the effect of this armor, could be a spell and/or physical attack blocker that regenerates over time, maybe longer if she’s in stealth. She also has a hellfire shotgun shot usable ability, which does a cone damage that has increased damage per her snipe stacks. Additionally, her total maximum stacks may be reduced to 4, reducing her burst potential through snipe.
Nova with this pack is still pretty fragile, but may survive in more situations than the rest. She also has an ability that works as a lane clear, plus extra damage. As shotgun scales with snipe stacks, her success is still enhanced by better use of her base kit. It’s important to note that she doesn’t become a top lane clearer, but gets some ability to do it. She can still use it in PvP, so her core role shouldn’t be affected harshly.
Level 7: This is the Utility level.
Ability 1 - Covert Mission: Bribe, same as now.
Alternatively, the required numbers might be set to somewhere around three/four times where they are now, but stacks gained are increased by her snipe stacks.
Ability 2 - Moebious Reactor: “Full Stealth” happens faster and coming out of full stealth gives her a damage boost for a short while. She’ll have a visual indicator for the buff.
This is for anyone who wants to play more into the ambush, and wants to make more of the Full Stealth. Of course, it could just come handy as a juking tool.
Not decided on the next, so some ideas:
Ability 3a - Portable Science Vessel: Usable ability. The target is immediately stealthed.
Ability 3b - Improved Bio-scanners: Usable ability. Reveals nearby low health enemies.
Ability 3c - Seeker Drone: Usable ability. A drone flies to the closest target and reveals it for a while.
Ability 3d - Psionic Scanner: Usable ability. Nearby enemies are shown in fog of war (as red “dots”)
The idea here is to give another usable ability. It may be several, but I think an assassin funded by the government could easily have that, which was also the case in Nova missions. Alternatively, these abilities may be automatically activated when she scores a kill, but should be a pretty short reveal.
Level 10: Ultimates as usual
Level 13: Holographs!
Ability 1 - Rapid Projection: Holo Decoy costs no mana and has lower hit points. If it’s killed by the enemy, the cooldown is reset.
If Nova is good at deploys, she’ll have endless decoys. This forces the enemy to be hesitant on attacking the first Nova they see, even if it means they risk being scouted.
Ability 2 - Holo Stability: Holo Decoy lasts longer, sees a larger area and over walls, and has double the hitpoints.
Holo decoy can now be used as a proper scouting tool.
Ability 3 - Solid Light Projection: Holo Decoy abilities now deals damage equal to 10% of Nova’s, plus 10% more for each stack of snipe. Holo has a longer cooldown.
Pretty straightforward. Holo can now be used for damage. The damage % and the cooldown should be considered together. It could be lower damage and lower cooldown or vice versa.
Level 16: Base kit upgrades
Ability 1 - Explosive Rounds: Snipe now has an aoe damage, even if it doesn’t connect. This damage doesn’t count for snipe passive stacks.
Ability 2 - Penetrating Shots: Pinning shot reduces armor.
Ability 3 - Holo Capacitator: Holo Decoy has a second charge.
Level 20: OP Time!
Ability 1 - Reflective Projectors: Nova has unrevealable.
Ability 2 - Griffin Snatch: Nova calls her plane to carry her to base.
Plus ultimate improvements, and rewind.