Games Interview: Blizzard’s Alan Dabiri on Heroes of the Storm‘s Dark Nexus event

  • David Smith
  • May 10, 2018
  • Comments Off on Games Interview: Blizzard’s Alan Dabiri on Heroes of the Storm‘s Dark Nexus event

With Heroes of the Storm‘s Dark Nexus event now in full swing, players are getting to see a side of the game they’ve never gotten a piece of before — one with lore, one that attempts to explain the bizarre confluence of characters and events that make up the game’s central conflicts. With so much happening at once, we spoke to Heroes of the Storm Game Director Alan Dabiri to get a few things straight.

The Iris: Can you tell me a bit about the Dark Nexus event? What can fans expect from this new content drop?

Alan Dabiri: The Dark Nexus event includes new skins and mounts unleashed by the Raven Lord in his attempt to gain power within the Nexus. The main highlights are Dark Nexus versions of Gul’dan and Alarak. These characters were revealed in the first Rise of the Raven Lord comic we recently released, and are the first step in a continuing narrative we have planned throughout the year.

TI: Up until now, Heroes of the Storm has been content to live in its own little corner of the Blizzardverse, rarely dipping into any sort of formal lore beyond “Everyone’s here. They’re gonna fight. No further questions.” For the Dark Nexus event, what’s prompted this dive into HotS lore? Do you see this decision influencing the game more broadly moving forward?

AD: We’ve always been (and continue to be) excited about bringing existing Blizzard universes into Heroes of the Storm, but we’ve kind of waved our hands at any real context it has in the Heroes universe. We’ve touched on this in the past in some places, but we thought now would be a great time to take a deeper dive into the lore of the Nexus and set up for future content. The introduction of the Raven Lord and his unleashing of the Dark Nexus are the first steps to this.

TI: We’ve seen Dark Nexus skins for Alarak and Guldan already. What’s the process for picking which characters will be getting a Dark doppelganger for this event? Is it just the rule of cool, or is there a method to the madness steeped in the new lore?

AD: While there is good amount of thought that goes into planning Heroes get skins for a specific event, I’ll admit that there is also quite a bit of jamming on what people think would be cool.

TI: Can you talk a little about what’s gone into creating the Dark Nexus skins for Alarak and Guldan? Both are a great fit for dark-themed skins but what made them the right picks for a Dark Nexus wardrobe change?

AD: Both Gul’dan and Alarak set a tone and wield power that, when amplified under the lens of the Dark Nexus, set us up perfectly for the primal and destructive force we wanted to convey.

TI: What have you learned from previous content drop events, like the recent Mecha event for instance, that informed the construction of the Dark Nexus event? What are the guiding stars designwise when you’re building a new HotS event like this one?

AD: We actually sit down after every event to review everything we’ve learned from the outcome, including things like how players reacted to the event, and what skins and mounts they equipped the most, and so on. Mecha Storm was pretty easy to learn from: Players love giant robots! I have no doubt you’ll see more of that at some point in the future.

TI: Who do I have to bribe for an evil version of Deckard Cain and how much do they want?

AD: I’m sure Deckard Cain has a dark side that can’t wait to come out.

TI: There’s always a lot of components that go into events like these but what’s the thing you’re most excited for fans to see in the Dark Nexus?

AD: While the main thing we want players to get excited by is the awesome new skins and mounts coming into the game, we’re also looking forward to having players experience their first glimpse into the characters and events that exist uniquely within the Nexus.

Our thanks to Alan for taking the time to chat with us! Heroes of the Storm’s Dark Nexus event is on now. The game is free to play on Windows PC and Mac OS X via the Battle.Net app.


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David Smith

David Smith is the former games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.