Content of the article: "To add to the whole “Fox Hero hype” : 2 years ago, I made a post about how a beastmaster/summoner would be amazing in Overwatch. My feelings haven’t changed a bit."
Here's the transcript of that old post. Feels like a time capsule, just getting to speculate about new characters again is amazing.
What I love so much about Overwatch is that it brings, with Blizzard levels of quality and style, a bunch of pretty original mechanics to the shooter genre.
In a 2016 FPS, i can shoot people with dubstep, pin them against a wall with a 1000 pounds suit of armor, hack them remotely…
A ton of these abilities take inspiration from other games, and a type of hero I would really much like the Overwatch team to dive into is the summoner.
What's a summoner / Beastmaster / Familiar hero ?
To clarify : a summoner hero, to me, is a character who is defined by his relationship with a pet or minion(s), which he uses as his best asset on the battlefield. An example of this would be Annie and her teddy bear from League of Legends, or Azmodan from Heroes of the Storm. Outside of MOBAs, you can think of Mordecai from the Borderlands series, or the good ol' Beastmaster class from Dungeon and Dragons.
Why would it be awesome in Overwatch ?
To me, this mechanic is honestly a perfect fit for Blizzard's amazing character design.
It allows to explore a bond between two characters rather than simply the personnality of one. Go no further than the recent legendary puppy emote to see what can happen when you let an Overwatch character interact with a pet.
It can result in some very new, original ways to play the game. Let me ask a trained canine unit to fetch me a health pack. Let me send my personal bird of prey scout the map for me and warn me with the positions of enemies. Let me use my drones to provide a personal barrier or cover fire.
It's a very interesting design that offers amazing possibilities when combined with Blizzard's Expertise. Interacting with the summon(s) in first-person animations, emotes and intros, etc. could look truly amazing. It would also give the character great basis for lore, voicelines and personnality, focusing on the relationship with its familiar rather than just his own.
Show, don't tell
Let me conclude with a few links to hero concepts done by people with much more talent than me, and that showcase a glimpse of the awesomeness that this kind of hero could be for the game.
Nyah : my personal favorite. Scythe wielding and robot doggos ? I'm game.
Lyra : steambot birds are never a bad idea.
Nazar and Bullseye : the perfect example of the kind of hero/minion relationship i'd love to see in the game.
Romulus : better than commanding robot doggos ? Riding the robot doggo.
Now look at these guys and tell me this is not something that would lead to not only great hero design and lore, but also amazing game mechanics and animations.
EDIT : most people are worried about what this could induce in terms of bringing AI in a PvP environment. I 100% agree that AI is not a good way to go around this. There are many ways to make the minions/familiar, etc work as abilities without resorting to AI : target one player specifically for harassing, use them for supporting abilities or shields, etc. What i'm saying is the summon should not be an independant entity like a moving torb turret for example. That would indeed be incredibly cheap to play against.
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