Hero Analysis: Nazeebo
Welcome to this week’s installment of Hero Analysis – as per usual, we’ll be looking at everything we know about a hero to analyze the possibilities for that hero in terms of gameplay and synergy but also looking at how Blizzard’s design philosophies behind each hero and how they fit into the overall goals of Blizzard with Heroes of the Storm. Not only does analyzing each aspect of each hero allows players to have a better understanding of how to play them it also gives everyone a good understanding of Blizzard’s overall design goals. Remember that any of this information here can be changed by Blizzard as the game is only in friend and family testing phase, much of the information here could be changed and likely will as Blizzard continues to develop this game.
This week, we look at Nazeebo – he is a specialist hero from the Diablo franchise. As the witch doctor, he uses his many summoning abilities to be a potent pusher and a teamfighter. All of Nazeebo’s abilities summon something although some of the summons acts like odd moving projectiles. While Nazeebo himself is quite squishy and lacking an escape ability – proper use of his abilities can allow him to overwhelm his enemies.
Naziba’s abilities are very powerful but due to nature of them summoning creatures to cause the ability effect, the usage of all of his abilities are unique.
Nazeebo’s heroic trait is a passive attack modifier. His basic attacks will apply a damage over time to enemies and if they die, he will regain health and mana. The damage is not the most important part of this ability; although the extra damage is helpful, the sustain provided by this trait if the player uses it correctly is immensely powerful both in lane and in team fights. During the laning phase, it is almost like last hitting from other games of the similar genre, Nazeebo wants to make sure he has this debuff on the creeps that are about to die to continually gain health and mana – this allows Nazeebo to stay in lane, take harass, and very effectively dish out heavy amounts of damage through continual usage of his spells. During teamfights, Nazeebo needs to make sure whenever anything dies, he gets something from it – the extra bit of health and mana can mean life or death in a sticky situation as Nazeebo does not have a proper defensive ability or an escape ability. Overall, it is a simple effect that brings in the idea of last hitting but in a way that does not encourage competition as Nazeebo does not need to directly get a kill to get benefits.
The Witch Doctor throws his iconic jar of spiders at the target location – spiders will spawn and attack nearby enemies for a short period of time. It’s a simple damage ability but its method of use is unique – players needs to account for the spiders spawning as little units that will attack nearby enemies. If used against an enemy that is isolated, then all the spiders will attack that one target – if used when an enemy is nearby many other enemy units, the damage will be dispersed. There is a huge amount of damage potential from this ability on a single target but there will be very few times where the full damage potential can be attained unless Naziba is skillful or the enemies misposition. Timing it for when enemies must spread apart can help assure that the spiders all focus on the desired target to deal full damage potential or using the area target carefully to abuse the AI of the spiders that will only hit the nearest target. Although this ability can be used in a simple way (just throw it into the centre of a team), using it cleverly can immensely increase the damage it does – this idea of using the Witch Doctor’s summons effectively through good aim and timing is seen throughout his whole ability set.
Nazeebo summons a ring of mummies at the target location after a short delay – the mummies are immobile and will attack the nearest thing to them. These mummies act as a physical block to movement – it is essentially a cage to put enemies in. But there is catch – it is very possible to accidentally lock allies within the ring and killing them as they cannot run; but this fact is covered by the fact that Naziba can recast the ability to immediately kill all of the mummies. It’s very important for Nazeebo to communicate with allies to know when it would be a good time to use this ability – disrupting his own team’s initiation is very possible is a ring of mummies is summoned at the wrong location. But the ability’s faults aside, this is an extremely strong tool for Nazeebo. Firstly, it’s an extremely powerful lockdown against enemies that do not have movement abilities – they’re forced to destroy the mummies, possibly taking damage from them and Nazeebo’s allies in the process in order to escape. It’s also possible to use it to isolate an enemy in order to achieve maximum damage with Nazeebo’s first ability – locking a single enemy inside the circle and overwhelming them with spiders. But that is thinking about the ability to lock enemies inside the circle – and that is not always necessary to make use of this ability. Much like Tassadar’s walls, the circle of mummies can physically block off movement paths through narrower passages – not a single enemy needs to be inside the circle, they just need to be on the other side of the circle. But even when not looking at the ability from a utility/disable standpoint, the damage it can do is extremely helpful in fulfilling Nazeebo’s specialist role. Nazeebo can push lanes forward effectively with his other abilities and then cast the ring of mummies around a tower to allow every mummy to deal damage to a single tower due to its immense size. This makes Naziba a great building destroyer, his damage much greater than some other heroes when it comes to damage to towns. This is a unique ability in its variety of usages – players need to think creatively when using it and not forget about the many possibilities that it has outside of a simple circle of impassable terrain.
Toads are summoned in front of Naziba and they hop forward so long as the terrain permits. In doing so – if they touch an enemy unit, they explode and deal damage in a small AoE around the frog. What this ability truly is, is a cone AoE damage ability but to use it – Nazeebo needs to be aware of what the toads can do. The toads move at a decent speed but they are forced to follow normal pathing rules – so attempting to set toads on an enemy over a wall is largely impossible. To use this effectively, Nazeebo should be moderately close to enemies as well as have a clear path towards the intended target or the toads might just explode on useless targets effectively wasting his cast. This ability takes the idea of a simple cone damage ability and add in the Witch Doctor uniqueness to it – using the idea of summons to make the simple AoE much more compelling to use and play against, allowing both Nazeebo and his enemies to position in relation to how the toads can or cannot move. In doing so, a simple ability becomes an interesting one. This is a really big aspect of many of the specialist heroes within “Heroes”, specialist heroes often take on roles that have simple ways to fulfill them – simply throwing a skillshot line nuke at the target enemy for damage – but with a specialist, there’s always a twist. With Nazeebo this twist is that all of this abilities create summons to cause the effect to happen, this twist requires Nazeebo players to be aware of not only the usual range, speed, cooldown, mana cost of the abilities but the AI of the units he summons if he cannot control them. Its clever design, hiding what would seem like a boring and uninteresting ability behind a unique method of delivering the effect to make it interesting and unique to play.
As with all of other Nazeebo’s active abilities, both heroic abilities do summon something in order to cause an effect. The difference between them is a fact of versatility – one has much more versatile usage but the other trades away versatility of immense amounts of damage.
First Heroic Ability
Nazeebo summons a golem under his control, it simply attacks enemies. This is quite a simple ability – but a good RTS player can use the extra unit’s damage as well as Nazeebo’s own abilities to wreak havoc on enemy teams. The combination of Nazeebo’s powerful damaging abilities and a large tanky golem to stand in the front line can force enemies to make a hard decision – to be pummeled by a powerful golem or suffer the constant damage of the witch doctor. During team fights this can be huge – the golem can hold the front line effectively, its presence can force squishier enemies to move back and tankier enemies to move around it – lest they want to waste their abilities on a summon. All the while, Nazeebo himself throws spiders, toads, and mummies at his enemies trying to avoid the golem running around in the middle of a fight. But outside of teamfights – this has application as well, one of the roles that a specialist can often take is siege, they can settle down to avoid most team fights and focus on dealing devastating damage to enemy buildings and structures while they’re distracted – Nazeebo with this heroic ability can certainly do that. Due to the tanky nature of the golem, Naziba can use it to tank off shots from defensive abilities and wasting their ammo while still keeping the golem alive to do additional damage if the micro is done well. Nazeebo’s own abilities compliment this by allowing him to kill enemy minions quickly and do even more damage to buildings through his mummies. All and all, this heroic ability gives the perfect boost the Nazeebo’s teamfight and pushing capabilities if the player can do well in controlling not only Nazeebo but the golem in an effective manner.
Second Heroic Ability
The other choice of heroic ability is completely geared towards teamfights, its strength comes from its ability to do immense amounts of damage during a time where enemies are often bunched up and cannot run away immediately. Nazeebo creates a voodoo doll that deals heavy damage over time to enemies near it. The key here is the Nazeebo must channel it – meaning that he is vulnerable during this time. There are some unique ways to make sure that Nazeebo can safely continue channel this ability so long as he needs it. One of which works well when he’s defending allied towns – due to the wall that is present within towns, Nazeebo can safely hide behind the wall while channeling this to help stop enemy attempts at destroying the town. In turn, defense turns into a powerful offense – with this in mind, teams with Nazeebo can use this effectively to turtle out games, going for heroes that benefit greatly from games lasting slightly longer to give them an edge in controlling the game’s pace and progression. Another way to ensure that Nazeebo can channel this ability safely is to put himself in the centre of a mummy wall – if the enemies do not have movement abilities or ranged disables available, Nazeebo can continue to channel this ability without worry since his mummy circle will nicely protect him from any oncoming danger. This ability does not have nearly as much versatility as his first heroic ability choice but if used correctly, it can decimate enemies and not even allow them the slightest bit of mistake in positioning or they will suffer the extreme amounts of damage coming from the voodoo. But players should keep in mind there are two pieces of positioning that needs to be kept in mid for this ability – the voodoo itself and Nazeebo while channeling it. Both need to be in a good position in order for this to be effective – the voodoo in the wrong place won’t do damage, Nazeebo in the wrong place will swiftly be picked off or interrupted. This ability has about as much skill cap as the first heroic ability albeit in a different way, careful positioning instead of micromanagement.
Nazeebo is extremely strong in teamfights as well as in sieging enemy towns. During teamfights, Nazeebo can throw out huge amounts of damage while forcing enemies to position against his most fearsome summons. Each ability can deal a huge amount of damage to enemies they are not careful about avoiding it – sometimes forcing enemies to spread apart and other times forcing them to stick together to help mitigate damage on one ally. While sieging enemy towns, Nazeebo can push creep waves forward with his powerful AoE damage while regaining mana and health as he kills creeps – then when he reaches a tower, he can quickly destroy it through a powerful combination of his many abilities that go towards distracting and damaging the buildings. Blizzard has created abilities that would be quite lackluster if it were not for the unique Witch Doctor twist to it. If it were not for the fact the each ability is a summon that causes an effect of some sort – the abilities would be nothing more than a simple immobilize or a cone nuke. This is where Blizzard has shown that through their unique character design, they can take existing ideas and breathe life into them. The specialist role has once again shown that Blizzard is quite willing to try out new mechanics in order to make each hero feel unique yet useful within overall hero pool – something other developers often fail to do.
Please join us next week for another hero analysis, if you have any comments feel free to post anywhere and we’ll be sure to check on it.