Hero Analysis: Gazlowe
Welcome to the weekly series, Hero Analysis. Each week, we look at a hero’s fully kit to give us a better understanding of Blizzard’s hero design and give insight to possible ways to go about using each hero to the fullest extent. Most of this article comes from theory but carefully considering each skill can allow the players to get into the game with a better understanding behind the goals and purposes of each hero.
This week, we look at Gazlowe, a specialist hero from the Warcraft franchise. Gazlowe works around powerful area denial and strong lane presence through the use of turrets and massive AoE abilities. Not only can control a lane masterfully with effective use of skills. Proper positioning is also extremely important as Gazlowe benefits heavily from being in the right place at the right time.
Gazlowe’s ability all require careful positioning and timing in order to use correctly. If mis-timed, players will find themselves largely ineffective within teamfights and lanes. On top of that, if Gazlowe is not in position, he will find that his abilities are easily avoided. Feel free to take a look at our hero database for a quick overview of Gazlowe’s abilities.
His heroic trait is passive but the player needs to actively utilize the ability by managing Gazlowe’s position in relation to his other abilities. As Gazlowe requires consistent usage of his abilities in order to deal the most damage, without using this heroic trait – the player loses out on a large portion of damage potential. At this time, we are unsure what exactly drops the scraps that Gazlowe can pick up – it’s likely the turret drop the scraps but it is possible that his other abilities drop scraps as well. To best utilize this trait, players need to keep in mind where to place turrets that can allow Gazlowe to safely run over to the scrap to gain that extra mana and cooldown reduction. At the wrong location, Gazlowe would risk too much in attempts to grab the scraps – ultimately not worth the risk for its reward. There is a definite aspect of micromanagement here, not in the way that you must control multiple units but the player must be aware of the positioning of multiple aspects of Gazlowe’s abilities.
Gazlowe’s signature skill – placing a turret at the target location. This turret simply attacks nearby enemies consistently. The damage output of these turrets is largely determined by the amount of time they get to hit something – the lack of mobility is made up by the sheer consistent damage potential. During the laning phase, Gazlowe with these turrets can ensure that his own town is never truly in danger of destruction without a larger enemy force. Enemy creeps will be quickly cut down by the extra damage that these turrets provide. This also means that Gazlowe can push a lane effectively. By advancing the turrets slowly up a lane, he can overwhelm enemy towers with the assistance of his own creeps. It is important to note that overall defensive abilities of these turrets, they do not last long under direct attack – the player must make sure that they are placed in a location that can safely attack desired targets. This is even more important during teamfights, Gazlowe is unlikely to set out the maximum two turrets during the teamfight – it’s just unlikely that both survive and the teamfight lasts that long at that location. The player needs to make it count, putting it where enemies would likely be escaping or right at the edge of the fight so the turret won’t die while still have ample time to continually deal damage. Enemy players may look towards killing these turrets in order to cripple the damage output of Gazlowe – this is a legitimate concern during teamfights but players must also remember that if positioned well, enemies must go out of their way to kill the turret which gives time for Gazlowe’s team to react and capitalize on errors. As Gazlowe’s signature ability, it opens up with the idea that positioning not only himself but his abilities is important – Blizzard definitely puts forward a clear style of play for Gazlowe, a methodical planner.
Gazlowe’s second ability is a charged laser that can be repositioned and released to deal heavy damage in a line. In order to do maximum damage with this ability, the player needs to charge it for quite a long time – although the range is quite long, the channel is enough for players to effectively move out of laser range. In order to use this ability effectively, then, Gazlowe needs to begin channeling this ability at the correct time at the right spot – in a position that forces the enemy to stay within reach, whether it be imminent danger elsewhere or simply lack of movement options for the enemies. But players must not be greedy with this ability, due to the choice of releasing the laser for perhaps less damage but lower channeling time – players might never cancel it early in hopes for increased damage. But if the ability never hits, the potential for more damage is useless. A strong Gazlowe player will release the laser at the last possible moment to hit the targets, not when it could do most damage. This ability definitely encourages allies to work with Gazlowe in order to do the most damage within a fight, strong AoE disabling abilities can allow Gazlowe to charge up and hit multiple enemy heroes dealing devastating damage with little danger to Gazlowe himself. This ability is impressive in its damage potential but it lacks consistency on its own – clever usage and masterful positioning is needed in order to make any use of this ability, definitely a higher skill-capped ability that Blizzard has been seemingly hesitant to add to many heroes.
His last normal ability is a time bomb that deals powerful damage and stun enemies around it when it detonates after a long delay. This ability’s AoE is decently sized but the long delay makes it incredibly hard to hit enemies on the move. In order to make the most out of this ability, it should be used as area denial or follow-up. One large aspect of Gazlowe’s abilities is area denial, almost all of Gazlowe’s abilities force enemies to avoid the minefield of different effects that they might encounter against Gazlowe. A team can take advantage of this caution from the enemy team, a well-placed time-bomb can ensure that enemies will be hesitant to move directly on Gazlowe’s team. It forces a choice on the enemy team, either run directly at Gazlowe’s team and suffer the time-bomb’s powerful effect or go around it carefully while Gazlowe’s team has time to reposition and react accordingly. This is a huge advantage to Gazlowe’s team, forcing certain movements out of the enemy team allows control of the pace and movement within team fights. In order to actually hit the AoE from time-bomb, Gazlowe almost always needs some sort of set up. Long and powerful roots or immobilizes is required for this ability to hit, without it – enemies have ample time to walk out of the AoE. But if combo’d correctly, Gazlowe and his team can deal a significant blow to the enemy targets. Once again, this abilities has a high skill-cap that forces players to use it carefully or the ability is largely useless. With this in mind – Gazlowe’s design shows that Blizzard is showing their willingness to create a harder to play hero that requires more careful timing with allies and individual skill.
Gazlowe’s two choice of heroic ability present two distinct types of playstyles for players – much like many of Blizzard’s other heroic abilities.
Heroic Ability 1
This heroic ability gives the obvious playstyle of pusher, allowing Gazlowe to more easily overwhelm towns with heavy damage from creeps and his own turrets. The use of this ability must not be wasted – creeps are easily killed by enemy AoEs so Gazlowe needs to watch the map carefully for enemy movements, he needs to use this ability when he knows that there is at least some time to bash on a town. It’s interesting to note that this does not increase the tankiness of the units effected by it. This means that this ability is strongest when there is a hoard of creeps, a few creeps will be quickly taken out and this ability made useless. With this heroic ability, it is encouraged to play that steady style of pushing, methodically pushing forward in a lane snowballing as many creeps as possible and then activating this ability to quickly burst down a tower before enemies can effective react. A split-pusher’s role is to cause impact within the game without being directly within teamfights, Gazlowe can effective do this – he’ll be able to force enemies to go back to deal with the extremely powerful creeps or suffer the loss of many towns and buildings quickly to the mob of empowered creeps.
Heroic Ability 2
The second playstyle that Gazlowe can easily adopt is seen with this heroic ability. The AoE pull + damage is a huge blessing for teamfights allowing for Gazlowe and his team to rain down powerful AoE abilities to decimate the enemy team in a blaze of crowd-control and damage. Not only does this ability help combo Gazlowe’s own abilities – allowing him to hit many targets with his powerful AoE abilities, it is likely best used as follow-up to another hero’s initiation. If an ally initiates with a powerful stunning ability, Gazlowe can easily hit many targets with this heroic ability in order to make the most out of the possible AoE damage that he possesses. There is still a delay with this skill, although not nearly as large as time bomb but it means that there is time for enemies to react accordingly to this ability being thrown out. Once again, it reiterates the necessity of teamwork and timing in order to make the most out of Gazlowe’s abilities especially during teamfights where chaos ensues in the flurry of abilities and attacks. Blizzard clearly shows an alternative playstyle for Gazlowe with this ability – deviating away from the more solitary lane controller to a powerful teamfighter that is a force to be reckon with.
Gazlowe is the king of battlefield management, forcing enemies to avoid his many devastating effects with awkward movements and positioning. In one sense, he’s an extremely solitary hero, unable to quickly move his turrets to maximum amounts of damage – this requires the team to play around this aspect in order to make the most out of Gazlowe. But in another sense, Gazlowe can forgo making his turrets the centre of his playstyle – opting for more of a teamfighter that has powerful AoE abilities to destroy the enemy team. This Gazlowe excels with combo’ing with allies to make the most out of his every skill – locking enemies in place, pulling them together, and disintegrating them in a blaze of AoE damage. Positioning is key with both styles of Gazlowes – if a turret is placed at the wrong location, it easily dies; if Gazlowe positioned in the wrong place, his abilities are easily avoided and he gets picked off – defenseless. It should be noted that Gazlowe does not have a movement ability, much like many of the other heroes within the game. This unique thing to note further cements the idea that positioning for him is extremely important. Blizzard has made it clear that Gazlowe requires teamwork – either build requires the player’s team to communicate intentions and plan ahead of time against enemies. Whether it be to distract enemy heroes to give Gazlowe room to destroy a town or to combo together many devastating abilities within a teamfight to destroy the enemy – Gazlowe and his team must work together or Gazlowe will find himself largely useless and incapable of doing much of anything. Teamwork is so key in “Heroes”, Blizzard pushes that point with their hero design that often requires players to chain together multiple abilities to make the most out of each. There is such a clear direction with overall hero design with Heroes of the Storm that players can’t help but adhere to the goals set out by Blizzard – to create a game that tests the player’s ability to work with others and react appropriately to enemies as a team.
Kindly join me next week for another hero analysis – do you have a hero you want to see looked at? Put in a request in our comment section and I’ll take a look at if there is something to talk about. Thank you for reading.