Heroes of the Storm

Fixing the Lost Vikings Longboat

Tldr: Fix Longboat Raid by making it act like a real hero.

Problem 1: The heroic ult with the least popularity in Hots is the Lost Viking's Longboat Raid, which is taken 8.97% of the time. No other hero has an ult below 10%. Since Longboat Raid involves a whole animated model and music, it should be part of gameplay.

When Vikings cast Longboat, which requires grouping first, they become unstoppable but their movespeed decreases, and their DPS goes from 530 (or more with talents) to 430 (or less if Q misses, which it will). That's not attractive compared to extra lives. (There's also a specific synergy that was removed: old Nordic Attack Squad was a buff on 15 sec cooldown, so Longboat could protect vikings between Squad uses. But new Squad has no cooldown)

A Bad Solution: Simply boosting Longboat's damage and health by 40-80% would get it picked. But that would hurt gameplay as it makes the second problem even worse.

Problem 2: While active, Longboat Raid is boring to use. The regular Lost Vikings are a high APM hero with frantic decision making, but Longboat mode brings them down to far less involvement than average heroes, or even Lili. That's because (1) Longboat is ~25% slower than a normal hero walking, so the player has fewer choices about where to go and dodging enemy threats is unrealistic. (2) it attacks while moving, so the player never has to decide between movement and dps. (3) it is Unstoppable, so many enemy interactions just can't happen. (4) it is fewer unit bodies than normal Vikings, with only 1 attack and 1 spell.

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Using Longboat is basically 1 click to set movement destination, 1 click to pick attack target, and then spam some Qs that'll barely do anything. Just drift along and relax; the best part is the peppy song.

Compare Longboat to when other heroes temporarily transform into super mode, like Tychus Odin, Alexstrasza Dragonqueen, and Abathur Ultimate Evolution. Those modes all have 3 abilities on QWE, because that's the standard minimum for the player having enough to do to interact with the game. It would be easy to imagine the super-mode being playable as a separate hero for an entire game, with just some adjustments to health and damage. But TLV wouldn't want to stay Longboat for the whole match even if they could.

Solution: Rework Longboat so that it plays about the same as a regular hero. Give it 100% movespeed, attacks that interrupt movement, and 3 basic abilities, but it isn't permanently Unstoppable. (An ability could provide limited Unstoppable, like Anubarak has). I won't get into suggesting exactly what those abilities should be, as there are many fine possibilities. The point is that Longboat should have some options so the player is active and faces meaningful choices. (Maybe those abilities can cost energy bar, so it's ineffective to spam them all on cooldown).

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Goals: The balance target shouldn't be that Longboat Raid is the "teamfight ult". It is distinctive and interesting to have a 7v5 teamfight, so ideally using Play Again to enable multiple vikings to join the fight will remain the more-common choice. But Longboat should have a strong reason to be chosen in either of 2 common cases: (1) the player doesn't have the skill to handle 3 units in a fight, and needs to simplify down to one. Or (2) the enemy composition has a special advantage when fighting extra hero bodies, such as Maiev, Mephisto, Kelthuzad, Orphea, Liming, or Alarak. Longboat can be a counterpick against anti-Viking heroes.


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