Consume everything when the Devourer Heartrune releases alongside Blood of the Sands on July 6. We caught up with Combat Designer Josh Hurley for a glimpse into the ability’s concept, design, and challenges. The team always wanted to turn the sandwurm into a Heartrune, but burrowed through numerous iterations before landing on the final version.
“When we were asked to make a Heartrune for this release, we immediately wanted to include the Devourer. We just didn’t know exactly how to do it. What if your arm turned into a worm and you slapped enemies with it? What if your head turned into a big Devourer mouth and you chomped down on targets? What if you threw a little bitty worm at a target, it bit their head, and then blocked their vision for a few seconds? We eventually landed on the 'summoning' aspect. Now it pops out of the ground."
“During early prototyping we used emotes as animations to set up the ability. There was a point in time where the pose to summon it used the “Wiggle Dance” emote, and although it looked kind of ridiculous, I will always love the concept of doing a little wiggly dance to summon the Devourer.”
“We wanted to add the concept of a backup attack, which we haven’t really used in prior abilities. Following our recent balance changes to separate damage from crowd control, plus the usage of Grit and Uninterruptible to prevent stagger, it creates another layer of interesting gameplay. What better way to add salt to a player’s wounds than with a chomp when they Grit their way through the initial knockback area?”
“The Devourer Heartrune has two parts to it. If a player can somehow avoid the initial knockback as it emerges, the chomp is there as a back up to deal damage. Most of the time targets will get knocked outside of the radius of the follow up attack by the first hit. But those that Grit through that first attack, or avoid it via other mechanisms, will take a bigger chunk of damage.”
“We decided to break from reality with this ability and allow it to trigger on platforms and raised areas where the Devourer cannot actually burrow. One nice moment during an internal War playtest was getting into the defender’s fort and then using the Heartrune to knock ranged defenders off of the walls toward the attackers. It was really gratifying.”
“The Devourer is quite stubborn and doesn’t instantly appear when summoned, so leading a moving target will yield more favorable results.”
“The method of chompy deployment was something that we couldn’t nail down initially. We went through a few different methods, including a ranged melee attack where you summon it out from under you, a projectile that would bait out the Devourer, and a simple summon along the ground similar to other spells. Each one had their own individual benefits as well as their shortcomings.”
“I personally favored the projectile. However, knowing our player base, and ourselves, it definitely would have been a development nightmare due to the amount of locations that a projectile could have landed.”
Stay tuned for more Season 2 previews. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.