It’s A Cho’gall Blizzmas: The Gift of Two Heads

By – Trevor Shanahan

 

Blizzard’s free-to-play MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, has reinforced and challenged some conventions of the popular genre.  In a fall update, Blizzard released a long-teased character; the ogre magi Cho’gall.  Though many MOBAs tout unique characters, Cho’gall may be an exemplar among “unique” MOBA heroes; he is actually two different heroes controlled by two different players.

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Cho is a melee warrior, and Gall is a ranged assassin; he’s like a Swiss Army knife…only he’s a two-headed ogre magi.

 

Initially offered as a reward through an in-game event; Cho’gall offers latent rewards for players who work together.  The hero can operate, albeit to diminished effect, by two people who just want to play a match as one half of a powerful character.  However, if two players can work together, communicating directly (through chat or voice chat) or indirectly through cues (visual cues abound for this character), Cho’gall can be an incredibly dangerous and effective combatant.

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When Heroes of the Storm received its last big patch, making Cho’gall available, I jumped-on to unlock the character.  To get the ogre magi, players had to find games with players who had the character unlocked and win two consecutive matches as one of the heads to unlock the character.  The promotion was a clever marketing move, using character distribution in a snowball effect to create demand and gradually enable more and more players to offer co-opportunities for other players to unlock Cho’gall.  To further incentivize teamwork beyond the character unlock, Heroes of the Storm offered players in-game gold to continue playing with others.

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Any two players can slop through a match to varying degrees of effectiveness, BUT two players working together can make Cho’gall the force of nature Blizzard intended him to be.

 

Cho’gall may just appear to be another hero available to play in a popular game genre, but what if he (or is it “they”) is a commentary on MOBA stigmas?  Both League of Legends and DotA have faced the harrowing dangers of player community toxicity; earning the games bad reputations regarding player-to-player treatment and interaction.  Then comes Blizzard with a character and corresponding promotion that encourages and rewards team work and cooperation.  The added lore about Cho’gall’s heads sometimes not getting along, but when working together becoming a dominant force on the battlefield is no coincidence (I don’t think it is anyway).

 

If you haven’t tried Heroes of the Storm yet, do it, it’s free-to-play and offers a nice tutorial and generous hero rotation to keep a player interested.  Currently, Heroes of the Storm is offering a referral program.  If you’re new to the game you can get two free heroes to play (Raynor and Sylvanas) if you refer a friend, and they get a Starcraft vulture mount.  If you’re a current player, now is the time to rally your friends and get them playing.  Think of it like this; every new player is a potential “other half” of an ogre magi for you to dominate the battlefield with.

 

 

About the Blogger:

ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.