This is a followup
post to the review that I did on Raynor in Heroes of the Storm. I
suggest you read the review before reading this rework because I will be referencing and addressing the problems that I have previously discussed in the review itself.
The goal of this
rework is threefold:
To make Raynor more
Raynor’s build options to increase variety
To make Raynor’s
portrayal in Heroes more accurate to his portrayal in Starcraft
To start, we’ll go
over the changes I’d make to his core design.
Q: PENETRATING ROUND
Increase Base Damage
from 240 to 260.
Remove the Knockback
from 12 seconds to 10 seconds.
Reduce Mana cost
from 60 to 40.
E: ADRENALINE RUSH
RAYNOR’S RAIDERS - 60 Mana, 45 Second Cooldown
Call in reinforcements, replacing any lost Raiders.
Passive: Raynor is accompanied by two Marines.
RALLY FORMATION: Raiders
follow Raynor closely, mimicking his movements and actions.
ASSAULT FORMATION: Raiders
spread out and will attack nearby enemies automatically. Raiders will pursue targets they have recently attacked.
HEROIC 1: HYPERION
HEROIC 2: RAYNOR’S
COMMANDO STYLE - 50 Mana, 50 Second Cooldown
Activate a Motion
Sensor that reveals the location of enemies in a wide area for 5 seconds.
the Attack Range and Attack Damage of Raynor and his Raiders by 20%.
REVIEWING THE REWORK
There’s a lot to
go over, so I’ll cover each ability in turn.
The changes to
Penetrating Round are pretty straightforward – its biggest problem
was that it had the knockback effect by default, making it very
awkward to use and kind of a niche defensive ability as a result.
Removing the knockback allows it to be used in a much more aggressive
manner, opening up the opportunity for Raynor to do something other
than Basic Attack constantly. To make up for the loss of crowd
control, it gained a bit of damage and better sustain via a shorter
cooldown and a lowered mana cost. For those who liked having the
knockback effect on Penetrating Round, it can be re-obtained with a
talent at Level 4.
As I mentioned in
the review, I actually like Inspire a lot. I don’t feel there needs
to be any changes to Inspire itself, but I have made a lot of
upgrades to its talent selection. Examples include upgrading Seasoned Marksman and Vigorous Assault into Inspire talents.
RAIDERS / FORMATION
Here’s the “big
deal” portion of the rework, as Adrenaline Rush and Advanced Optics
have been completely replaced by the addition of some battle buddies
for Raynor. Before I get into the technical and gameplay stuff, I’m
first going to talk about the characterization reasons that I did
As I pointed out in
the review post, Raynor is a normal guy. He’s not Artanis, who has a
cutscene in Legacy of the Void where he fights off a dozen Zerg with
swords and then microwaves about a hundred more with psychic power. Raynor is also not Kerrigan, who has a cutscene in Heart of the Swarm
where she ripped through tanks and combat walkers with ease when she
invaded Augustgrad. However, Raynor is a leader, and by working with
his men, he has been able to match (and overcome) both of those
characters in warfare. In every single one of his appearances in the
Starcraft series, he’s been supported by additional forces of some
kind. Here are some examples:
first mission of the Terran campaign, “Wasteland”, literally the
first time Jim Raynor ever appeared, he’s got dudes backing him up.
Here’s some red
dudes he had with him in “Revolution” when he met Sarah Kerrigan
for the first time.
What if he wants to
be a Marine instead of riding around on a sweet jetbike during
“Jakobs Installation”? He’s got even more dudes.
Time for Starcraft
II: Wings of Liberty. First mission: “Liberation Day.” Raynor’s
there and he’s got dudes.
Shroud.” Super secret special mission where Jimmy checks out a
research station? Dudes.
“Belly of the
Beast.” Jimmy and assorted Hero Dudes go cave crawling to kill big
nasty worms with lava. Granted, they’re Hero units, but they’re
The moral of the
story is that Jimmy doesn’t go it alone (and also that “dudes”
doesn’t sound like a word anymore).
So with the
characterization reason out of the way, what’s up with gameplay?
Well, Raynor needs mechanics unique to him, and having a group of
guys that shadows his movements is pretty unique.
By default, Raynor’s Raiders provides Raynor with two Marines that flank him as an escort. Through talents, a Medic, a Firebat, a Reaper, and a Marauder can also be added to the squad (and they’re shown in the example images to show where they stand in relation to Raynor when they’re added). The method by which
they follow him is based on the state of his Trait, Formation.
The mechanics of
Rally Formation are pretty straightforward: the Raiders take up
various positions around Raynor and mimic his actions directly,
whether he’s moving or attacking. They also move to maintain their
position relative to Raynor, so for example the Marines will always
move to stand parallel to Raynor, the Firebat will always take up a
forward position, and the Medic always brings up the rear. Not shown is how the Marauder and the Reaper act when solo - they take up a position immediately in front of Raynor if there’s only one of them, and then shift to standing in front of the Marines when both of them are present.
As an aside, Rally
Formation automatically applies if Raynor uses his Mount, meaning
that he cannot use the Raiders to “drive by” enemies with Assault Formation, nor can he abandon his dudes (because that wouldn’t be fitting for a compassionate leader).
spreads out the Raiders a bit more and gives them their own
aggressive AI, attacking nearby enemies independently of Raynor. They
will pursue their targets until destroyed, meaning that a clever
player can cause the Raiders to fixate with Rally and then swap to
Assault, causing the Raiders to pursue the target regardless of what
Raynor does. Swapping back to Rally causes the Raiders to return to
Raynor’s side, allowing the player to prevent them from dying if
surrounded by battle buddies has distinct pros and cons. On the
upside, it would make Raynor much stronger against characters that
rely on non-piercing skillshots – using the Raiders to absorb Li
Ming’s Arcane Orb or tank Stitches’ Hook could prevent getting
picked off. However, characters with strong AOE abilities would be
able to use the Raiders against Raynor. Kael’thas’s could easily
use a Raider to transfer Living Bomb to Raynor, whereas Chromie’s
Sand Blast would bypass the Raiders entirely because they’re
In terms of stats, I
would put the Marines at 400 base Health and 16 damage per second,
basing the other Raiders off of those values with adjustments as
necessary. For reference of scale, Zagara’s Hydralisk produced by
the Hunter Killer ability has about 500 base health, give or take,
and deals 68 damage per second. The Raiders’ primary job is to be a
skillshot shield, and the supplemental DPS is there to make up for
the adjustments to Penetrating Round and the removal of Adrenaline
Something you may
have noticed in the screenshot of Raynor and his buddies in Belly of
the Beast is that he’s got an enormous rifle instead of his usual
Gauss. That is the HEV rifle, which appears twice: in that mission
specifically, and in a cutscene prior to that mission where Raynor
uses it to blast apart a Hydralisk.
I always thought it
was a crying shame that it didn’t appear in Heroes of the Storm,
even though Tychus got his Minigun, so my thought process was this:
Banshees just doesn’t have the “wow” factor that calling in the
Raynor has been
shown to be able to get down and dirty with his forces, up to and
including doing special operations deployments where he served as a
commando among a strike force (Jakobs Installation, Piercing the
Shroud, Belly of the Beast, ect), sometimes bringing along specialist
units or equipment to do so.
Commander loadout in Starcraft II states that Raynor favors an Infantry-heavy army.
Belly of the Beast
is one of the penultimate mission options before All In. In Belly of
the Beast, Raynor chooses to nullify the Zerg’s Nydus Network on
Char, establishing better control of the ground. If the player had
chosen the other mission “Shatter the Sky”, Raynor would destroy
an orbital platform that would give the Terrans uncontested air
With all of this in
mind, I figured that Raynor already had Hyperion as his air support,
so why not make the other Heroic focused on establishing better
ground control for some variety? This is where the Passive bonus to
range and damage of Commando Style comes into play: Raynor pulls out
the HEV Rifle and the Raiders get upgraded to Commando status.
I know I’ve talked
a lot about how I’m unhappy with Raynor’s status as a hero who
relies heavily on Basic Attacks, but I honestly don’t have a
problem with a Basic Attack build in concept. Where I take issue is
that Raynor practically ONLY has Basic Attacks, but with the changes
I’m proposing that will no longer be the case. Therefore, I have no
qualms with giving Raynor a Heroic that has a passive component of
“be a better Basic Attacker” because that’s not going to be the
best option to take by default anymore.
So those are the characterization/gameplay justifications for the passive component, but what about the active?
Well, in Belly of the Beast (where the HEV Rifle appeared in a
playable state), Raynor has an ability called Radar that makes him
function similarly to a Terran Sensor Tower.
Radar detects the
location of cloaked units or units hidden in the Fog of War, but it
doesn’t reveal them entirely – with it, the player can tell that
SOMETHING is there, but they cannot tell what specifically it is. I
feel that an effect like this has enormous potential for Heroes,
giving Raynor the ability to scout around himself in the event that
the team is doing something risky like taking a boss or splitting up
to take multiple objectives. Alternately, the player can use it as a
soft counter to Stealth to help themselves pinpoint the location of a
nearby invisible unit, allowing them to line up a more accurate
Penetrating Round. There are a lot of potential uses for such an
ability, and I feel that’s appropriate given Raynor’s status as a
The intended range of the Motion Sensor effect is roughly equal to that of Tassadar’s Oracle, perhaps a bit larger. Additionally, because it’s detecting the location of the unit rather than revealing it entirely, there would be no notification to enemies that they’re under the Motion Sensor effect. This would give it a bit of an advantage over Oracle’s complete reveal, as the enemy team would not be aware that they were being tracked - a mechanic that I feel is fair for an ability that’s supposed to be a Heroic.
Finally, the other
half of the rework. My ultimate goal here was to provide Raynor
players with a good variety of talents to choose from, more or less
culminating in three distinct builds:
Takes most of the Penetrating Round talents to give the player a good
source of Ability damage to back up their Basic Attacks.
Takes most of the Inspire talents to provide Raynor with increased
personal strength while making Raynor a better supporting character
to allied Heroes.
Takes most of the Raynor’s Raiders talents to increase the strength
of the Raiders, both as a defensive measure for Raynor under Rally
Formation and as an independent squad under Assault Formation.
I’ll give a brief
explanation for each talent tier to explain what my design goals
were, in hopes that I managed to meet them.
LEVEL 1 (TIER 1)
Penetrating Round hits an enemy Hero, its cooldown is reduced by 4
Quest: Hit Heroes
with Penetrating Round 20 times.
Penetrating Round’s damage by 100.
When Raynor or his Raiders attack an enemy Hero, Raynor gains 0.1
Reward: Upon gaining
40 bonus Attack Damage, Inspire also increases Attack Damage by 20%.
Reward: A Medic is
added to the squad, instantly healing Raynor or a Raider for 250 if
they are reduced to 40% health or less while the Medic is alive. The
Medic has 3 charges, and generates a charge every 30 seconds.
Gathering a Regeneration Globe will restore a charge.
A recent trend in
hero reworks is to make Tier 1 the “quest tier” and just jam it
full of Quest Talents. Even though I tend to hate Quest Talents, the
concept of the “quest tier” has grown on me over time, so I’m
shamelessly implementing it here.
Confident Aim gives the player the ability to strengthen their Ability Damage output in the same vein that Valla and Falstad can.
Mercenary Munitions is Seasoned Marksman in a different pair of pants. 0.1 Attack Damage may not seem like much, but keep in mind that it also counts the attacks that the Raiders make, meaning that by default it’s roughly 0.3 Attack Damage per cycle when counting the Marines that come by default. The rate of Attack Damage gained can be increased by adding Raiders to the squad, giving Mercenary Munitions a flexible position. The Quest Reward that provides Attack Damage functions similarly to how Inspire’s Attack Speed bonus works - Raynor and his Raiders get the full bonus, whereas nearby allies get half.
First Aid is a blatant
reimplementation of Adrenaline Rush with some tweaks. The Medic is
the only Raider who will take up the rear guard, giving the quest
reward a unique defensive slant in addition to its healing
activations. I should mention that there’s intended to be only a
second between the Medic’s heals, meaning that she can rapid-fire
them on someone in the squad being focused down.
LEVEL 4 (TIER 2)
knocks enemies back and reduces their Movement Speed by 30% for 3
Raynor and his
Raiders heal for 25% of their Basic Attacks while Inspire is active.
Adds a Firebat to
the squad. The Firebat deals splash damage and takes 50% less damage
from Non-Heroic enemies and structures.
Rustler is where
Penetrating Round’s knockback went to live, now rolled together
with Hamstring’s slowing effect to make it a more attractive
is a reimplementation of the generic Vigorous Assault, with an extra 10% of
healing thrown in because it’s attached to Inspire’s duration
rather than being wholly passive.
Finally, the Firebat
will help with waveclear via its splash damage (same damage output as
a Marine but with a radius large enough to hit the entire wave) and
its Non-Heroic armor will aid in taking Mercenary Camps and
LEVEL 7 (TIER 3)
Penetrating Round’s damage is increased by 20% for each additional target hit, up to 100%.
Raynor and his
Raiders gain 10% Movement Speed while affected by Inspire. This bonus
is increased by 5% for each allied Hero nearby when Inspire is cast.
Adds a Reaper to the
squad. If attacking an Enemy Hero, the Reaper will throw a grenade
that deals 225 damage every 10 seconds. Raynor’s Basic Attacks reduce
this cooldown by 1 second.
Trick Shot is a
rebranded Cluster Round with a clever name and a lack of AOE
widening, going down several tiers simply because it wasn’t strong
enough to be a 16.
Revolution Overdrive is one of the few unchanged talents, remaining as it is because there’s nothing wrong with it.
Reaper is Focused
Attack reincarnated as a Raider talent, providing Raynor with another
offense/defense choice. 225 damage sounds like a lot for a bonus
damage activation, and it is, but currently Raynor’s Basic Attack
damage is 127 and Focus Attack increases the damage of the given
attack by 60%, leaving us with 203.7 damage. Given that the Reaper
can be killed to prevent the use of his special attack, I feel that
20 or so extra damage on the activation is fair.
LEVEL 10 (TIER 4)
Order the Hyperion
to make a strafing run dealing 69 damage a second, hitting up to 4
enemies. Also occasionally fires its Yamato Cannon on Structures for
826 damage. Lasts 12 seconds.
(50 Mana, 50 second cooldown)
Activate a Motion
Sensor that detects the location of invisible enemies and enemies in
the Fog of War for 6 seconds.
the Attack Range and Attack Damage of Raynor and his Raiders by 20%.
I’ve already gone
over why Hyperion is great and why I think Commando Style is
LEVEL 13 (TIER 5)
damage is no longer affected by Armor.
Inspire lasts 50%
longer and grants 10 Armor to Raynor and his Raiders while active.
gains a second charge.
Railgun I did because I think giving an ability an armor-ignoring property would be neat, and because it could give Raynor an interesting niche as an anti-spellshield character without relying entirely on Basic Attacks.
Adrenaline Rush was put out to pasture, so Steel Resolve got some armor from Fight or Flight to make up for the fact that Adrenaline Rush is no longer around to apply Inspire.
Reactor Add-On is a cute throwback to Starcraft II and a big boost for the Raiders’ uptime.
Secret Bonus Round 4th Talent: Spec Ops
will place Raynor and his Raiders into a Dropship that will rapidly
fly them them to the chosen destination. This has a 80 second
Spec Ops Dropship is
kinda like the reverse of Chromie’s “Bye Bye!” talent, allowing
Raynor to rapidly re-enter the battlefield rather than helping him
get out of it. I figured it would be a nice homage to the unsung hero
of many of Raynor’s missions: the sleek black dropship that ferries
him and his forces to where they need to be.
Why didn’t I put it with the other talents? Well, as much as I’d love to see it get implemented, I’m pretty skeptical that it would (assuming this rework happens in the first place). Still, it’s a nice idea, and I wanted to pitch it.
LEVEL 16 (TIER 6)
gains a second charge.
range by 30%. Each allied Hero affected by Inspire increases the
Attack Speed of Raynor and his allies by 5%, up to 20%.
Adds a Marauder to
the squad. The Marauder’s attacks deal bonus damage to enemy Heroes
equal to 3% of their Maximum Health.
With the changes to
Penetrating Round’s core functionality and talents, I felt that
Double Barreled should be a Level 16 talent because 16 is supposed to
be a huge jump in damage and doubling the frequency of being able to
use a potentially powerful ability is a big deal.
Shoulder to Shoulder
makes Raynor able to increase the value of Inspire for both himself
and his allies by a substantial amount, making it extremely valuable
in a teamfight.
The Marauder is the
Raider who got Giant Killer, something I felt was appropriate given
that Marauders are anti-armor units in Starcraft.
LEVEL 20 (TIER 7)
An additional set of
lasers blast the ground 5 times per second, dealing 40 damage in an
Reduces Motion Sensor’s cooldown by 50%. Raynor and his
Raiders deal 25% additional damage to enemies under the effect of
A Card To Play
Whenever a Hero
(ally or enemy) is killed, the cooldowns of Raynor’s Abilities are
reduced by 10 seconds.
If a Raider dies,
Raynor gains 3% Attack Speed and its Attack Damage is added to
Raynor’s while it remains dead.
Scorched Earth received no changes because it, like Hyperion, is perfectly fine as-is.
Targeting System allows Motion Sensor to be used for more
than just locating enemies. Since it’s damage dealt by Raynor being increased, it works for all builds.
A Card To Play got
buffed to include Basic Abilities so it would become an attractive
option for a Penetrating Round or Raynor’s Raiders build. As it is
now, it hardly sees any use – the cooldowns on the Heroic abilities
are just too long for A Card To Play to have any real value in a
teamfight, and if you’ve managed to get to Level 20, teamfight
strength is going to be what you want the most because a single lost
teamfight will probably lead to the end of the game.
All In is a good
choice for players who have gone the full Raider build, allowing
Raynor to maintain a high damage output even when his squad is wiped
out. The additional Attack Speed is to make up for the lack of
special effects, such as the Reaper’s grenade or the Marauder’s
With Raynor’s overhauled kit providing a more flexible gameplay experience and the upgraded talent tree supporting a wider variety of build options, this rework would solve the vast majority of the design and gameplay issues that Raynor currently has. It won’t make him good at everything, but that was never really my goal in the first place - I just want Raynor to feel like Jimmy again.
Some old art of an old character that I found and want to post.
This is Mar, an infested terran who got left behind (accidentally) by Raynor’s Raiders during the fall of Aiur. She slowly grew infested from exposure and lost her mind.