Blizzard will once again draw on its most recent game, Overwatch, for upcoming content in Heroes of the Storm. A pair of characters and a new map inspired by the shooter are on their way to HotS in the near future, as are new skins and an event.
On the character side, the first of the two is Ana, who in Overwatch serves as a hybrid sniper/healer that’s also capable of mitigating healing done by the enemy team. Coming after her is the explosion-crazed Junkrat. No specific details for either character have been announced yet, but given Blizzard’s usual pattern in the past, we’ll likely be hearing about them soon.
The map is called Volskaya Foundry, which, as you can guess, is inspired by the Volskaya Industries map in Overwatch. It’s the second Overwatch map to make it into the game, though the first one, Hanamura, has been temporarily removed so that it can be improved, possibly due to its complexity. This new one sounds more straightforward–albeit with a cool twist.
Volskaya is a large, three-lane map with conveyor belts that can speed up (or slow down) players’ movement as they attempt to periodically capture points around the map. As in Overwatch, capture progress can be blocked by a single enemy; if one steps into the area at 99%, you’ll have to deal with them before reaching 100%. Certain mercenary camps also yield sentry guns that can be placed around the map.
By securing the capture points, two members of a team can join together to control a giant mech called the Triglav Protector that can then be used to push a lane or generally wreak havoc. Much like the co-op character Cho’Gall, one player controls movement while another serves as the gunner. Only two players at a time can take control of it; Blizzard told GameSpot that it hasn’t yet looked at characters or vehicles used by more than two players. But you’ll have more of an opportunity to play with the Protector than just on Volskaya; Blizzard plans to introduce a single-lane Brawl mode called Bash ’em Smash ’em Robots where players can more freely use them.
Additionally, a new event is coming to the game that also draws inspiration from Overwatch. Pachimari Mania causes Loot Boxes to appear around the starting area during the pre-match phase. By scrambling to open them, players have a chance to unlock a new portrait, banner, spray, and emoji.
New skins and mounts were also announced today. Skins include the Shrike version of Ana from Overwatch, as well as Commandant Varian, while the mounts are Celestial Raptor and the Invisible Horse, all of which are pictured above. A specific release date for all of this content has not yet been announced.