Hey everyone, Buro here! Earlier this week you were able to read about how [S2] Malloc helped conceptualize Circe the Deceiver, I'd like to go into a bit more depth and detail about some of the design iterations that she went through prior to becoming the hero she is today.
Before Circe was put into SBT for testing, she went through quite a bit of iteration. With a concept as interesting as deceiving the enemy, we had to make many adjustments in achieving something that was fun to play without adding a large amount of frustration to play against. This proved to be quite the challenge. As an example, one iteration of her ultimate was to change the appearance of all the allied heroes to that of the deceiver for a certain duration so the enemy team would have no clue who was who. This, despite being a neat ability in concept, turned out to be terribly frustrating for the opposing team -- removing interesting decisions for the enemy team while not providing any tangible satisfaction for the user.
Once Circe made it to SBT for testing, it was apparent her first and third abilities did not mesh well with the rest of the hero and needed to be looked at again. The original first ability was a single target stun that reduced the primary stat of the target hero. The stat reduction, while effective, didn't feel impactful at all in use and limited the options of whom you could effectively target. Since we wanted something that needed to feel good to the player we decided against this initial design in search of something better.
After thoroughly reworking the first ability, we turned our attention to the other outlier, Circe's E. The third ability became something that we really enjoyed and will likely put on a future hero, but just didn't work with Circe's skill-set and overall feel. Here was the initial concept:
Target area to spawn a cloud of mist for a duration. Within the mist, allies are granted stealth with a fade time and all terrain walking.
After a few iterations of this concept, it turned out to not have enough synergy or effectiveness with Deceiver's other abilities and was changed out for the ability - Deceive. This ability was suggested many times throughout the design of Circe and really fits well into the theme of the hero.
Circe's second and ultimate abilities have been essential in solidifying her unique role in HoN. Her (W), Doppelganger, allows her to deceive the enemy with illusions of other heroes and her (R), Twisted Visage creates those exciting and memorable moments that make Circe a truly fun hero.
Immediately when Circe hit SBT, there was a lot of great feedback about her ultimate and concerns regarding its balance, but above all, it was fun. We've since added the channel time requirement to the ability, a break range, as well as the damage reduction. Much feedback focused on Circe copying items, but in the end, we wanted to keep the fun aspects of the hero and went the route of reducing overall damage instead of removing that functionality. Even after doing all of that we will be keeping a close eye on the balance of this ability when it goes live.
I hope you've enjoyed this little insight into the development process of Circe, the Deceiver. Look for her to deceive Newerth on September 25th!