Heroes of the Storm introduces new Diablo-themed battleground: Infernal Shrines
Infernal Shrines, the second map of the Heroes of the Storm Eternal Conflict event, is expected to hit live servers next week, along with Kharazim, the Diablo III monk.
The goal of Infernal Shrines is to use the map's namesakes to summon a powerful boss - a Punisher. One of the shrines (there are three, one for each lane) will periodically activate and can be triggered by either team.
Once triggered, Shrine Guardians will appear to defend it and the team who defeats 30 Guardians first gets the Punisher. So far, the purpose of this map sounds fairly similar to several other battlegrounds, including the most recent, Battlefield of Eternity - race the enemy team to an objective to receive a lane pusher.
The difference, according to the official Gamescom annoucement, is that the Punisher will be less concerned with demolishing enemy fortifications than "hunting down enemy heroes". Considering all map bosses - both AI and player-controlled - have been primarily geared towards destroying buidings, one to combat enemy heroes directly would be quite interesting. While the others are powerful, their abilities are meant to keep the opposing team out of the way more than anything else (the Dragon Knight's kick, the Garden Terror's polymorph or the Grave Golem's stun, for example).
If it's going to be chasing heroes, the Punisher is going to need a few tricks up its sleeves. Diablo III players will recognize the elemental properties it spawns with to augment its attacks. But thankfully, unlike the elite mobs in Sanctuary, it can only have one of the following three:
The Punisher emits rotating beams of energy.
The Punisher shoots shards of ice that will explode and freeze you.
The Punisher launches rapidfire fireballs that explode on impact.
It's entirely possible that the color of the shrines will indicate what affix the Punisher will spawn with - purple for arcane, orange for mortar, and blue for frozen - as shrines in preview images have all been one of these.
The map itself looks good, but that should come as no surprise, because so did Battlefield of Eternity. Infernal Shrines uses the same tileset(s) as the Heaven versus Hell theme. Though it's cool, it is a slight pity considering that when I first heard "Punisher", I began hoping for a Westmarch or city map, since punishers are an enemy encountered the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls.
In keeping the map base the same, Blizzard has all but confirmed that they're making a point of having at least two battlegrounds share a visual and thematic style. This mostly shown in the architecture, such as the forts and core, but there can be more subtle ways to show the same "world" in the Nexus, such as minion and overall environment design. Currently, Blackheart's Bay is the only odd one out with a clear nautical theme that's not shared by any other maps, so it's likely we will see another original Nexus battleground at some point in the future.
Will you be playing this new Diablo-themed map? Let us know in the comments!