Developer Insights: Sky Temple
It’s time for another Developer Insights. Today, we’re taking a detour from the heroes themselves and chatting about the newest addition to the Nexus, Sky Temple. Senior Technical Designer Meng Song gave us the latest on this Battleground.
Trikslyr: Sky Temple, the newest Battleground to make an appearance in the Nexus, became available with the release Closed Beta. Can you give players a summary of the map?
Meng: Sky Temple features three temples located in different spots on the Battleground. Throughout the duration of the game, any of the temples can activate, allowing players to capture them. After capturing a Temple, it’ll begin firing away on the opponent’s structures. To avoid taking too much damage, a team can contest the location by standing in the capture circle and potentially steal the Temple for themselves. Teams will need to coordinate and work together to harness the full power of Sky Temple’s map mechanic.
In addition to fighting your opponents for control of the Temple, teams will have to battle the Guardians who activate and attempt to protect the captured Temples. The Guardians, surrounding the capture point, will attack the team currently in control of the Temple in order to protect the area. Teams will have to defeat the Guardians if they wish to remain in control of the Temple and its power.
Trikslyr: Sounds fun! One of our awesome community members, @FourCourtJester, asked a question about the Temples and their activation. Jester would like to know if the Temples are scripted or purely random when it comes to their activation cycle.
Meng: There are a few rules the Temple activations do adhere to; however there are also some random elements to keep the rotation spontaneous and fun. The first activation of the game will always feature the two temples located at the top and middle of the Battleground, as they are static. Everything else is up to the magic of Sky Temple.
Trikslyr: @Cyasteve has a question focused specifically on the activity of the Battleground. Between the three lanes, the three locations for Temples to spawn, and all the mercenary camps on the Battleground, Sky Temple feels very busy compared to other Battlegrounds. What was the intention of the design team by providing so many objectives on such a large Battleground?
Meng: When designing Sky Temple, we really wanted to think outside the box and focus on a few different objectives that have evolved based on the experience we have learned from our earlier maps. For Sky Temple, we aimed to:
- Place more emphasis on the map mechanic and less on lanes.
- Allow players to split into groups and deal with different objectives.
- Provide interesting choices for players to make.
We made a majority of these decisions based on the massive amounts of feedback provided by many of the players at BlizzCon, the Tech Alpha, and our own internal playtests. We really like the direction of Sky Temple and believe it hits one of our widespread goals of making every Battleground fun and unique. We hope you’ll agree with us as everyone gets the chance to play it.
Trikslyr: Community Member @__TomTom_ shares some concerns that Sky Temple may have some balance concerns for the team that finds themselves behind in experience and map control. What steps has the design team taken to make sure there is always an opportunity for the losing team to make a comeback?
Meng: We believe we offered a strong amount of counter-play in Sky Temple. For example, when a temple is activated by a team, the opposing team can always compete and take it back. The Temple Guardians can help their cause due to their prioritization of attacking the team who currently owns the capture point.
There are other options, to help mount a comeback, if your team would prefer not to take a straight on fight at a captured Temple. Sky Temple has multiple temples to secure, mercenary camps to push different lanes, and even a boss mercenary that can provide some great pushing power. We’ve aimed to provide the losing team with a number of options to regain momentum. Of course, we’re always listening to feedback and we can tune Sky Temple if it’s needed.
Trikslyr: Are there any specific heroes the design team expects to excel on Sky Temple?
Meng: Heroes that can deal with mercenary camps and Guardians can really excel on Sky Temple. My personal favorites include Zagara and Gazlowe.
Putting stock in heroes with mobility to help claim Temples can be quite a strong strategy as well. A Brightwing and Falstad combo can be very helpful to teammates trying to grab Temples across the Battleground.
One more tip! There are a lot of tight corridors that make abilities with area of effect potential very powerful. Consider picking up Nazeebo’s Ravenous Spirit or Nova’s Precision Strike for maximum effect.
Trikslyr: Let's end our Developer Insights with a quick and fun anecdote the design team experienced from the creation of Sky Temple.
Meng: There is one bug in particular that I found to be quite hilarious. When we first introduced the Guardians into Sky Temple, we had a case in which the Guardian of the bottom Temple thought he needed to defend the top Temple when it was activated. This resulted in a lone Guardian walking across the entirety of the Battleground just to make it there when the Temple’s shots were nearly depleted. Poor guy.
We also tried giving Guardians a tornado ability with a short cooldown. This proved to be way too chaotic as fights around the Temples would have heroes flying all over the place. It was really funny, but not as fun as you’d think in practice.
A huge thank you to Meng Song and the design team for the insight about Sky Temple. Keep an eye on HeroesoftheStorm.com for more news from the Nexus.