Deathwing: Bad Game Design?

tl:dr version: “Well yes, but actually no.”

Yes, Deathwing cannot benefit from allied abilities, including healing, buffs or mobility (such as Portals from Medivh). However, that doesn’t mean he “plays alone” and doesn’t rely on teamwork. In fact, it’s the complete opposite.

All of Deathwing’s abilities have wind-ups, meaning you won’t hit jack against an enemy team that has at least half their brain functioning. Even further, he lacks mobility. He has no traditional mount, and his only “mobility” spell has a wind-up + can only be used in one stance (meaning you might not even be able to cast it when needed.

Deathwing absolutely relies on friendlies to crowd control the enemy so he can dish out damage and hit his abilities reliably, but also to ensure his escape until he can take flight and regenerate.


Bad game design? Or bad hero? I would call bad game design boring, unimaginative, cookie cutter. But I think he is one of the most interesting and unique hero’s in the game. i think Deathwing from a design standpoint is very interesting and can work well.

I don’t think deathwing design is no different then cho’gall, vikings, murky, abathur who have very different game play. You could make the augment against those hero’s as well since it breaks the norm.

Just because he can’t be targeted and healed by allies doesn’t mean they can’t support him or he can support them. As with all hero’s different comps can better synergy then with others.


People are calling it too early whether he’s OP or UP. Truth is, due to his kit he could be either, it simply depends on where DW falls when people start playing him.

His kit is either insanely strong due to the unstoppable, or easily countered due to the lack of team healing.

he’s not OP and he’s not BAD either. he’s a BIG DRAGON! very very BIG!

If you are going to throw around terms like “Bad Game Design” first you have to explain what the game is designed around, which you sort of did, and how his character design runs counter to that, which I don’t think you did very well.

I say ‘sort of did’ because you said ‘Its a team based game’ but didn’t actually elaborate on what that means.

Implicitly you are claiming a team based game is a game where your character abilities affect allies and that no other types of character interactions can be considered.

Consider the solo lane characters. Most of them have selfish abilities, ie, they can effect themselves and their enemies but rarely buff allies. Their role in the team is to win a lane vs another hero, damage enemy minions, and have enough survivability to escape if needed.

Tanks rarely buff allies as well. Their role is to protect allies by controlling the space the enemies can operate in.

Assassins rarely have abilities that buff allies, their role is to do damage to enemies and secure kills.

Support and healers do have abilities that affect team mates, but it is usually limited to those two roles.

Deathwing’s flaw is one step further along one aspect of team play. By reducing 1 type of solution to the teamfight aspect, they have made the other solutions m more important. Positioning, coordination, controlling the enemy.

I don’t see how that runs counter to the team based philosophy of the game, it just changes the dynamic of the puzzle slightly. And that’s good. You want a changing meta game. It keeps things interesting.


If you listen to the sound his Q makes, it is impossible to consider him boring.

Ha, I had a thread about that too! I feel like it’s inherently a little unfun to get blown up in an instant. I personally wouldn’t mind more protracted teamfights. If I run the risk of running out of mana, that’s part of mana tension and another mechanic to learn. Possibly even a reason to include mana restoration in more kits/talents. Anyway, I’ll adapt to whatever the current meta is.

What if you don’t go stand next to him?

All his abilities have startup or delays or both. He’s not going to hit anything without assistance.

But almost his entire(?) kit is area-effect damage, which flourishes at its best in teamfights.
So you can’t just green-out all your mistakes and have to actually think about how to play. What’s wrong with something new? If it REEEEALLY doesn’t work, they’ll adjust it. 50% from healing (multiplicative with reductions, not additive), or maybe he can’t benefit from armor/shields, or maybe he goes on cooldown after taking an effect from allies (making only burst healers terribly effective), there’s a lot of alternatives.

Thank you.


Straight outta Jurassic Park

Simple, then he wins since you physically can’t kite and hit him at the same time in Destroyer form, his dash even with a delay covers a lot of ground and if he tags you right you’re slowed.

If you’re running from him then you aren’t killing him either, and since he can ya know heal by himself infinitely I think he’ll be fine with that.

EDIT: I should clarify that Valla and Lunara can probably kite him, but most other heroes don’t get good movespeed combined with ranged auto attacks except Fenix who mostly gets his speed from a slow and Greymane at 13.

He isnt even out yet? Play first judge later :clap:


I think during the reveal stream one of the devs asked “wow is it even fun to play with deathwing” and the response was “yea if you are deathwing”. I, for one, am not amused by devs that wish to sell new content more than provide an enjoyable experience for the other 90% of the people in the game.

Shaking up the solo lane is a good thing imo. If bruiser/tank offlane can’t handle him then people look to other roles.

Lots of ranged assassins can beat him solo, or at least stall him, if they play their cards right. Falstad’s passive and E means he can kite DW for days, and he has strong single-target damage with W build or AA build giant killer. Zagara can creep up the lane for range and movespeed, has nasty % damage via hydralisk talent, and can either out-macro DW(Nydus) or screw him in teamfights (Devouring Maw, which ignores unstoppable). If all else fails, mages can glass waves as they come into tower.

A good Illidan could also give Deathwing trouble I think. He has mobility to dodge all of DW’s abilities, sustain to stay in lane/fighting, evasion to win AA fights, a % damage talent, and The Hunt to match Deathwing’s global pressure.

Lastly, while Deathwing does have self sustain via flight, I believe it has a 45 second cooldown. If someone is forcing DW to use it just for lane sustain then I’d argue they are winning (similar to forcing Dehaka burrow/Falstad flight).

More mana/energy to patch up the other 3 idiots on the team :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Would’ve put this in the above post but the forum was being stupid about formatting.

I was mostly just pointing out that you can’t be a terrible duelist (aka bottom 50% of the roster) when you have enough sticking power, damage, and tankiness to slap most heroes into the dirt.

EDIT: Also 45 seconds is like, less than the amount of time it takes for two minion waves to spawn, so if a Deathwing is injured too bad they can back for the healing from warping back (since the B counts as self healing as part of the active) and then use their Z to heal the rest as they warp back.

Making Dehaka or Falstad use their Z for sustain also isn’t really winning, not any more than making say Fenix back off and shield up for a bit. You stop them from warping globally for a minute and unless the person on the other end is foolish and decides to do that right before an objective, and then warps to the opposite side of the map, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal for the Falstad or Dehaka.

DW has to use his flight to heal. It gets be interrupted if he takes damage, and there is a delay to it. He can’t just fly up and heal in the middle of a fight.

Ranged heroes can just stutter step. Zul Jin doesn’t have mobility, be he’ll never have to go in range since he can stack his W quest on DW all day.

Falstad can Q from out of range.
Gul Dan never need to be in range
Hanzo will never be in range
Junkrat never needs to be in range
Li Ming

Ranged shouldn’t have an issue with DW.

Stutter stepping slows you down, and Deathwing himself can Stutter step. Also if you don’t kill him by the time he reaches a gate he’ll be back in less time than a minion wave with basically full health.

Also none of the heroes you listed are characters that’d ever attempt to duel Deathwing, and if he ever gets close to them with his dash to W they’re gonna eat a lot more damage than he is.

Again, I never said he was a great solo laner, but his sustain makes him passable and it’s not like you can kill him before he kills you ever unless he overcommits.

We’ll see.

20 predictions.

While he seems selfish in concept much like medivh i doubt you’ll get to suceed ignoring your team.
Plus the ennemy team will have to make use of their 5 man unity to bring DW down like Cho’Gall does force you to work as a team to beat them.