Castor/Pollux Design

I like playing a whole lot into themes in design, and I will admit that strategy is often something I neglect to keep as a core design focus so that the hero would “bring something” to the game if it were implemented. So with Castor/Pollux, I wanted to make the “bring something” be the forefront of the design. As some of you can probably tell, I like the Guild Wars 2 skill icons quite much because of the style of them and polish. They’re really easy to use for hero drafts, and serve as a source of inspiration for abilities. Well one of the big inspirations came from one of the Mesmer skills because it was one of the few ones faces that featured a close up of a face, but it featured two faces. So for Castor/Pollux the main strategic design element of the hero became a very mesmer-like anti-caster focus, with a focus on “connectedness.”

Mesmers were popular as a strong counter class in Guild Wars, and I wanted to bring a similar feel to HoN with Castor/Pollux bring the focus on an anti-nuker or general caster hate. The icon drew inspiration to do a connectivity theme and Castor/Pollux were twins from Greek myth, making it a fitting name to match the icon.

Originally I wanted C/P’s ult to be a skill called Paranoia. Reminiscing of the Yogg-Saron boss fight in World of Warcraft, one of his abilities was to make you go insane and turn against your allies, seeing them all as foes. I wanted to replicate this feeling in HoN by creating a giant, chaotic mess. Paranoia was going to serve as the form of “disconnect” in the connectivity theme as you disconnect the opponent from reality and knowing to completely screw with their perception. I wanted Paranoia to be like Puppet Master’s Puppet Show, but on steroids. The ability would scramble up which heroes they saw as allies and which heroes they saw as enemies as well as who they could damage this way. Unfortunately, as much I wanted to attempt to make Paranoia work as a skill, I didn’t see it fitting into the main goal of creating an anti-caster and foresaw complications with how to execute it, so I had to scrap the idea for C/P.

rsz_mass_invisibility

But what would serve as an ability that focused C/P becoming an anti-caster, with the other themes being a supplement to the overall design? Well one idea that came to me was the the notion of spellstealing. Spellsteal has existed in just about every RPG known from the Blue Mage in Final Fantasy to the move Mimic in Pokemon. It had even been introduced into the MOBA scene through the DotA hero, Rubick. It is an incredibly popular concept, and no HoN hero has yet to experiment with the notion, so I thought what better option than to put it on Castor/Pollux? I wanted it to play into the connectedness theme though, so I pondered on how to bridge the gap between spellstealing and connectivity. In most cases, Spellsteal was a long term effect. You used it once, and you gained that spell for a long set of time. There wasn’t much “connect” in it. Then I pondered on stealing multiple spells and I connected the idea of how to make Spellsteal work for C/P. By having the ability work as a debuff that stole a spell whenever they casted one, it brought in this connected theme to connected to your opponent. When your opponent was affected by the spell, whenever they casted, you would also get that spell. It created the scenario where you could essentially steal their entire arsenal of spells, but they controlled the timeframe you had to cast each one. It was exactly what I wanted out of Castor/Pollux.

rsz_echo

To go on with the theme of the hero, I was inspired again by an icon from Guild Wars 2 and what it did. There is a skill called Winds of Chaos that is a bouncing projectile, and I thought of how I could use a bouncing skill to show connectivity? I had been intrigued by the displacement ideas of skills that had sent players back to previous locations in time, and thought of a pseudo form of implementing this. What if the person hit by the bouncing projectile was pulled to the previous location of where the orb was? So say the orb hits you, then whoever gets hit next gets pulled to you, then the next person hit gets pulled to where the other was and so on and so on. Creating a chain of “connectivity” between the players. This skill would serve as a general nuke but also an incredible disruption tool to exploit potentially fragile nukers and supports. This would serve as a forced bond in the form of Forced Connection.

As for how to continue the anti-caster notion, I wanted to deal specifically with magic armor. I wanted an imitation of stealing magic armor to play on the whole spellstealing aspect of the hero as well. If a target was hit by a spell casted by C/P, the target would lose a large amount of magic armor and C/P would gain a little. This idea of numbers to play into the design was intentional to prevent players from being able to use solely one cast of Forced Connection to reach the max +magic armor buff. It would either require a combination of Mimic or a reliance on Forced Connection to come off of cooldown before the player could obtain the maximum magic armor buff from this ability. Because of this newfound magic armor buff, I wanted to balance out the hero design through base stats as well. So I decided that a smaller starting magic armor would be much more preferred so that C/P would be susceptible to ganks if they were not prepared and requires an attention of their own to maintain their resistance to magic damage.

Lastly, the core of C/P was almost finished and I had to design one more ability to finish it all together. One of the greatest banes of a single target hero in Heroes of Newerth is a Nullstone. The item alone is capable of stopping even the strongest Superior Magic spells and throws a wrench in plenty of heroes’ plans. I felt like C/P had enough conventions already to counter casters, and I wanted the hero to be very support oriented. I had noticed that there was no “connectivity” theme between C/P and allies as much. What if Nullstone’s effects didn’t nullify a spell, but simply redirected it? Technically your spell would not go completely to waste, it would just be on a target that you hadn’t prepared for. Rather than that Tundra ulting your team’s hard carry, what if he “wasted” his ult on C/P? What if rather than Pyromancer firing a Blazing Strike at your Flint Beastwood, he hit an extremely resilient C/P? This would play into his support aspect as well as connecting a bond between C/P and his teammates. So at last, we get Redirect.

It was an interesting process designing Castor/Pollux. Typically if I had created an ability I had found interesting, I’d center the hero around that and try to make it work. For Castor/Pollux, I had determined on a strategic theme and tried to bend my concept and theme around such. As for how Castor/Pollux would be picked, Mimic allows Castor/Pollux to work as a counter combo caster. What if you used it on Pebbles and was quick enough to use both Stalagmites and Chuck? Or on Tempest to pull off his full arsenal of spells? He was designed with the intent in mind to take not just a specific spell of a hero’s but to be able to use their entire spellset against them. Not only would he have the potential to do this, but he’d have the potential to do it better with his -magic armor buff. Enjoy Castor/Pollux!

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One Response to “Castor/Pollux Design”

  1. Endgoodsmith Says:

    Hot

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