Hero Analysis: Malfurion
Welcome to this week’s hero analysis. We look at a hero from Blizzard’s current released pool with each article. Not only does this type of article help us understand each hero better but it also gives us insight into Blizzard’s design choices with each little piece of information we have right now. Once again this is a series of articles based purely on theory and observation – anything discussed here can be changed before even the release of closed beta.
This week we look at Malfurion, a support type hero from the Warcraft franchise. The design will be extremely familiar to players of similar games – it is the classic support, a mixture of CC abilities and defensive supportive abilities. Players will find themselves very capable in healing allies and setting up kills by providing powerful CC and increased mana regeneration. There isn’t much to talk about with Malfurion – he is relatively simple as a hero but that is not to say that there is absolutely nothing to discuss.
The kit Malfurion gives players the tools to assist allies in a multitude of situations. Whether it be defensively or offensively – when used properly, Malfurion can be a great asset to a team. That is not to say that Malfurion is absolutely dependent on allies, he will be able to hold his own – there is potential with talents that he can become a formidable spell-casting damage dealer.
Malfurion’s heroic trait is a targetable ability that gives an allied hero increased regeneration for a period of time – effectively “healing” the target’s mana. In the grand scheme of things, this skill is simple – ally needs mana, and then ally gets mana. But there’s more to this ability, aside from simple utility – there is room for interesting combinations between heroes, specifically those that have spammable yet mana heavy abilities. Pairing up Malfurion with a hero with the right ability – such as a powerful nuking ability – can mean that the duo can easily push out enemies from a lane and away from possible experience gain. Players may look towards creating combos that can effectively use this heroic trait in order to maximize the effectiveness a team composition. Malfurion himself can make great use of this ability, his main defensive ability and his main offensive ability are both quite spammable – the increased mana regeneration is welcomed. Overall, this heroic trait works well in complimenting his own ability set as well as his allies’ purposes.
His first ability is a single target healing ability that further heals the target after the initial burst heal with a heal over time. Due to the fact that it does have a burst heal, it can be used in a clutch moment to save an ally from death yet due to the heal over time after the main heal, it is expected that the burst heal will not be as strong. Together, this skill is not quite as useful in healing someone in danger of dying but in terms of sustaining allies over a long time, it is extremely useful. This ability alongside Malfurion’s heroic trait, he can assure that his allies can stay out in the field for as long as possible in fighting condition – consistently healing and regenerating mana for allies. Already, after taking a look at two abilities, Malfurion is seemingly designed to be a hero that focuses on sustainability.
Malfurion’s second abilities is a single target ranged damage ability that is extremely spammable. On cast it also debuffs an enemy granting vision of the target for a short period of time. It doesn’t do much damage but in return, it has a lower cooldown to allow for consistent spamming. Its damage is likely not the most important aspect of this ability if the player looks to play the support role – instead the vision that this ability grants on the target is its greatest asset. Due to the spammability of this ability, the vision granted can be pretty consistent, allowing Malfurion to maintain vision over a target – preventing possibilities of jukes or invisibility for escape. This allows Malfurion’s allies to easily track down and kill a specific target in which the enemy cannot easily escape through evasive manoeuvres. On the other hand, there is likely some talents that Malfurion can obtain in order to increase the damage potential from this ability – in doing so, this ability becomes less for utility and more for damage. The spammability giving similar effect to auto-attacking hero’s consistent damage potential. Once again this ability shows that Malfurion focuses on sustainability instead of large explosive abilities.
In Malfurion’s kit, his third ability is an area target ability that will immobilize enemies in the target area after a short delay. The hallmark of a support in similar games is often a CC ability, Malfurion is no different. This ability could have extremely powerful defensive capabilities – even with the delay, enemies might be hesitant to follow through on a potential kill on Malfurion’s allies due to either having to avoid the ability or suffer the root and damage with possible counter gank. On the other hand, due to the delayed nature, it might be harder to use it to initiate aggression on enemy targets. But with some set up with allies, this ability can be a powerful disable – holding down a target for an extended period of time. It should be noted that this isn’t a full stun, it’s just an immobilize – which means that enemies can continually cast spells and attack. While initiating on an enemy held down by this ability, players need to note that potential turn around through the use of the abilities and possibly using defensive abilities in attempts to avoid death.
As with most heroic abilities for each of Blizzard’s heroes, they both look towards a variation of the hero’s playstyle. With Malfurion, there’s a defensive support ability and a more aggressive ability. But there is similarities between both of them, they are both PBAOE abilities so Malfurion needs to pay attention to his position or the abilities will largely be wasted.
Heroic Ability 1
The first option is the defensive support playstyle – when activated, allies around Malfurion will be healed over time. During teamfights, this ability provides a huge sustainability bonus for Malfurion’s team – so long as Malfurion can stay within range of those allies in need of the healing. This ability makes Malfurion a huge target within teamfights – as a support, he is expected to not be incredibly tanky. If Malfurion isn’t careful, he can be quickly burst down within a fight. Players need to balance Malfurion’s position to stay near allies in the fight and also away from possible danger. Although Malfurion is a pretty simplistic hero by design – Blizzard once again gives room for a skillful player to shine through effective usage of Malfurion’s abilities and proper positioning.
Heroic Ability 2
Malfurion’s second option for heroic ability is a delayed PBAOE damage and silence. There is a notable delay with casting this ability, in order to make the most out of this ability, Malfurion needs some sort of set up to hit a target. While it might be possible to use his own immobilize in efforts to hit a few targets with this ability – in order to hit multiple enemies, Malfurion needs powerful AoE disables to set up for this ability. The huge silence and damage can be extremely powerful in midst of a teamfight, shutting down enemy casters. Once again Malfurion needs to be careful in his positioning, too close to dangerous enemies, he dies quickly; too far away from enemies, they easily move away from the AoE during the delay. This ability shows a more offensive style for Malfurion – focusing more on the aggressive side of a support, employing more damage and the extra silence to further destroy enemy targets within teamfights.
Malfurion is a simple support hero, perhaps one of the heroes that Blizzard designed to allow newer players of the game to get used to mechanics and other heroes. By focusing on simple sustainability abilities – players can stay out in the field collecting experience and helping allies consistently without having to go back to base often. In doing so, Blizzard has created a hero that allows a new player to experience more of the game, playing a role that is often considered lackluster to newer players. On the other hand, veterans of the genre will find Malfurion extremely familiar both in playstyle and ability set. The heal and the disable are usually hallmarks of an effective support hero but that does not mean it is all a support should be able to do. Malfurion’s design shows this through the possibility of quite a bit of damage if the player is creative in talent choices. There is a clear idea creative builds with almost all of Blizzard’s heroes, there are many ways to play a single hero and even deviate from the role that is labeled for that hero. Malfurion is certainly a powerful supportive hero but there is clear potential to do huge amounts of damage. Creativity is a huge aspect of Blizzard’s design choices – not only are they creative but the players should have room to be creative and play in a way unique to them.
Please join me next week for another hero analysis article, feel free to comment if you think there’s something to improve or if I have missed something. Once again, thank you for reading – keep an eye on Stormable for more content as we get closer and closer to closed beta.