Rudra Design

When Energizer was first introduced into Heroes of Newerth, many claimed the item was flat out awful, and others claimed the item was fine, it just was not utilized well on any hero. So if it was not utilized well on any hero at the moment, what kind of hero could utilize the item to its full effectiveness? Since then the item has received some strong and much needed buffs, but that doesn’t change that the heart of Rudra’s design came from attempting to have this item used to its full extent.

When you looked at Energizer, it was a pretty underpowered item at the time. It was the third item of the starting bracer upgrades and the one that utilized the agility equivalent, the Soulscream Ring. Unlike the others though, most of your common support heroes do not pick up Soulscream Rings. Most support heroes preferred a Fortified Bracer or could manage with an Amulet of the Exile, but a Soulscream Ring had no place on a support hero, so most supports bought the item as a bulk item. But for 1700g lump sum, the item was less amazing and you missed out on the buildup bonuses that other somewhat competing items like Astrolabe and Gravelocket had. So what were the core aspects of Energizer that were of concern to designing a hero?

  • Energizer requires a Soulscream Ring buildup
  • Energizer works on minions/player controlled creatures
  • Energizer provides a flat movement speed bonus
  • Energizer needs to be more valuable than other items in the price range

Looking at this list, the pieces to Rudra started to fall into place. Rudra would mainly want to be an agi hero with minions, and he would want to be able to utilize a flat movement speed bonus to the best of his extent.

I wanted to design the minions of Rudra first because they would be the heart of the hero. The minions would have to want Energizer to be of some use to the hero. So how could I make it so that a hero would want minions that wanted a flat movement speed increase? One of my favorite heroes from DotA is Visage, and his ultimate is one of the most creative abilities in the game. I feel like the rest of his skillset isn’t that interesting, but the ult makes the hero above and beyond an interesting hero. How well would something like that transfer into Heroes of Newerth? If say he had minions that dealt damage appropriate to their movement speed? This would allow him to have a focus on Energizer because of his minions as well as his minions loving Energizer because their damage would be boosted by the flat movement speed increase. Not to mention that during the early stages of HoN beta, there was a contest to come up with an agility pushing hero. While we got the Strength and Intelligence winners of the contest eventually put into the game as Gauntlet and Geomancer, there never was a winner even announced for the agility contest. We could kill two birds with one stone with this design, create a new agility pusher as well as one that utilized Energizer to its full extent.

I was a fan of Blood Hunter’s Blood Crazy because the ability was this unique double edged sword. You could use the ability on an enemy for a long duration silence at the cost of increasing their attack damage, or use the ability on an ally at the cost of silencing them. The ability was later changed so that you could purge the unwanted part, but for the most part, the ability created this unique clash that required a full recognition of the tradeoffs and proper intuition to know when and how using the ability would best suit you. So I wanted to replicate this double edged sword idea because I think it paves way to unique interactions that most other heroes don’t have. The idea hit me to have a somewhat “ramp up” speed boost that could factor in this double edged play. By creating a short immobilize and then have it ramp up to full speed, you’d be able to keep enemies enemies slowed long enough to finish them off or pay the price and give them the leverage to escape. Meanwhile the reverse would be true for allies, you could utilize it to attempt to save someone. If they could survive the initial build up time of the speed boost, they could use it as an escape. Or if used  as a pseudo-initiation tool, they could ignore most of the drawbacks with proper planning. With this  the ability would serve a dual purpose on both allies and enemies. Plus, the ability would serve as as form of allowing one of his minions to fully damage someone. For now, I like the concept of the ability, but I fear the numbers may not be exactly fine tuned. I do feel that it is possible to hit that sweet spot where it is equally usable in all 3 situations, and with that, Gale became his second skill.

One of my favorite Gamecube games was Lost Kingdoms, a card battling RPG that had a slew of monsters that you summoned to fight for you. One of the cards I can remember in that game distinctly was the Sphinx, which when activated, would send out a sonic screech that expanded as it traveled. I’m always intrigued by spells and abilities in other games, and while in essence this skill was just a cone, the sound played a big part in it to standing out. This skill is what brought out the theme of Rudra as a hero because I wanted to portray this as a Sonic Boom type of skill. This Sonic Boom idea brought out the idea entire theme of a storm entity which in turn led to the naming of Rudra. As for the ability itself, I wanted to create this ability that did more the closer you were, and tapered off the farther out it hit you, much like sound does. To complement the sound theme and apply some extra utility to the hero, I contributed a similar scaling silence to the ability to go along with the idea of going deaf from this giant sound blast. The ability’s dependency on being in melee range helped contribute to the idea of Gale being used on yourself as a form of initiation to get off the ability, and Deafening Blast became Rudra’s go-to nuke.

I’ve gotten a good synergistic core for the hero so far. All of his abilities mesh pretty well together, a strong nuke for his general usage, some decent control and unique pushing power. At this point, I needed a “filler” skill, something just to flesh out the hero as whole. I greatly enjoy designing heroes with less than 600 attack range because I feel like there is not a whole lot of exploration in that field. So for Rudra, I wanted to continue with this naturally, and decided on 450 attack range. I also wanted an emphasis on general speed and to help him in lane as a hero, providing 325 base movement speed serves as a point of increasing his harass potential and ability to avoid harass. I just didn’t feel like this would be good enough to separate him from the rest of the 450 range heroes. Blitz and Myrmidon are much more suited for trilanes because of their kill potential and Midas isn’t exactly applicable in terms of comparison, so how would Rudra fit into a traditional dual lane setup? The idea I had thought of was to help him combat ranged harass a bit more, a passive chance for reflect. Consider it like Zephyr’s passive except you do not need to attack to maintain it. I felt like this fleshes out Rudra a bit more in terms of being able to support a bit in lane, or survive solo lanes against much stronger ranged heroes, but providing no defense against melee heroes who threatened Rudra.

In general I wanted Rudra to be a hero that excelled one hundred percent at using Energizer, and I think for the most part, he accomplishes that. Recently Energizer has received some tremendous buffs that make it an actually viable item on most supports, but that doesn’t discredit Rudra’s purpose. In terms of how teams would incorporate him into lineups, he is intended to be slightly versatile in just how you choose to use him. He could be a pseudo babysitting hero who also doubles as a strong pusher, or you could choose to focus strictly on his ganking prowess as he shows a potential global presence. He’d fulfill that old adage of a community created agility pusher while bringing a tremendous storm, for more details on Rudra’s numbers, check here.

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