Howitzer Gameplay Update
Over the past few months Howitzer’s kit has received multiple large changes, particularly to his Slow Grenades, and his Ultimate, Make It Rain. Additionally, we have made an adjustment to the targeting functionality of his Land Mine.
The goal of these changes is to reinforce Howitzer’s unique position among our roster as an artillery mage, whilst also sprinkling in some mechanics to enhance his skill expression.
Let’s take a look at the new and improved Chief Explosives Officer:
Let’s first hop into the most exciting ability in Howitzers kit, Make it Rain. This ability has gone through multiple iterations and our findings have shown that players were very positive towards the flight mechanic within this ability. However, in the most recent playtest, the mock-up of the missile-slinging fantasy this ultimate was attempting to deliver, was not intuitive. Due to this fact, it often became difficult to utilise Make It Rain to its full potential. So instead of requiring manual firing of missiles and interacting with all elements of the kit, we opted for an automatic firing method that will launch 12 homing missiles towards your crosshair across a very short duration. Overall this change provides Howitzer a more unique ultimate with less overly complex mechanics.
Howitzer’s R2000 Missile has not received any significant changes, but as a result of us disconnecting it from Make It Rain, the ability will be easier to balance and tune moving forward.
Next, we have Land Mine. This playmaking tool has received a new targeting method where Howitzer will freely lob the ability in an arc, instead of utilising our normal ground targeting. The feeling of this lob will be akin to Dekker’s Stasis Bomb, without the long range. This allows us to retain the Mine’s powerful range and utility, whilst raising the skill floor to reward our Howitzer aficionados.
For something a bit more spicy, we have a significant change to Howitzer’s Slow Grenades. Instead of shooting 3 grenades on a delayed timer, he will now lob a singular grenade that, upon landing, will disperse into a circular minefield of 16 individual slow grenades that arm instantly. Functionally, the new Slow Grenade acts as a similar zoning tool as the previous iteration but comes with the benefit of having a more consistent behaviour across all ranges. Alongside this, the mines are now more readable for other players to identify in the world and play around. Of course, this also means more explosions!
Finally, we return to Howitzer’s passive, Armed Salvo. This ability also has not received significant changes with balance aside. We still feel it complements his kit greatly, improving his combos and his ability to lane whilst also making those Basic Attacks a bit more punchy.
Artillery Mages are notorious for their ability to strike enemies from a safe distance, providing reliable poke and utility, as well as potential burst capabilities. On the flip side, they are vulnerable in close quarters combat so they must be careful how they utilise their defensive abilities in order to maintain range.
These changes should better place Howitzer into this classification whilst also improving his feel and QOL. Whether it’s a well-placed land mine or a barrage of missiles, we’re excited to see what plays you can pull off in the games ahead.
- Declan “Bloodmordius” Ballinger