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Here are the first details on new Stormgate hero Maloc, a tanky fire-caster voiced by Chris Metzen

 Stormgate screenshot.
Stormgate screenshot.

The upcoming RTS Stormgate has three factions, two of which have been announced: Vanguard, with the previously-released hero Blockade, and the Infernal Host, which gets its first hero this week in a new beta build (codenamed "Elephant").

That new build will be available to those who purchase the $40 Kickstarter tier or higher. It'll introduce Infernal Host hero Maloc—voiced by Chris Metzen of Blizzard fame—and several new units including the Fire Giant and Burned One. (Coming later as part of the Infernal Host campaign: Warz, a character voiced by Marvel “Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu.) The UI also gets a refresh, which should be sharp, since it was already in pretty good shape.

Frost Giant has shared some exclusive details about Maloc with PC Gamer ahead of the new build. He's a primary antagonist of the Vanguard in the first chapter of the game's campaign: a tanky fire-caster who's slower than Vanguard hero Blockade, with a basic single-target fireball attack and ranged damage.

Maloc's Infernal Host armies differ from the default. All structures emit a Shroud equaling twice their footprint, the larger Fire Giant replaces the Brute, and his units don't have the Infest ability. He also gets the Mortardon, which replaces the Magmadon (a kind of lizard-like Kodo, for those familiar with Warcraft games). The Mortardon version fires flaming imps.

He also has a number of unique Rituals and other core abilities:

  • Serve the Flame, which eats all the corpses in a targeted area and makes a Burned One unit. These cost no supply; you can have a max of five. The more corpses you consume, the bigger they are.

  • Burning Blood, a DOT spell that eats 120% of the target's health over 8 seconds– but buffing that unit to do bonus fire damage. When it dies or the debuff expires, it has a fire damage explosion (which does half damage versus heroes or bosses).

  • Wildfire, which summons a cyclone that moves to a target location, then wanders in random directions like a critter, pathing like a flying unit. It's most similar to the Sea Witch Tornado from WC3.

  • Cinder Storm, which immobilizes Maloc and makes him the center of a large AOE of molten flame, offering health regen. This one's like “Starfall” from the WC3 Priestess of the Moon.

See video of Maloc in action below:

Other updates with this build will include:

  • An out-of-game Commander leveling system

  • Two preview maps for people to play with in custom games (the 1v1 Boneyard and Broken Crown Hinterlands without its creeps)

  • A new unit for Infernal Host, the Hellborne siege unit

  • A new top-bar interface for hero Rituals and HQ abilities

  • A new tutorial for co-op mode

If this all sounds alien to you, see my recent Stormgate hands-on impressions from a previous beta build for an introduction to what it's all about. In short, Stormgate comes from Blizzard RTS veterans, and feels like a direct continuation of the Warcraft and StarCraft tradition.

For more on the crowdfunding campaign, which has raised over $2 million and ends soon, see my interview with Frost Giant on the subject. Part of its purpose is to fund and grant access to this next beta build deployment—you have until the end of the month to buy in if you want access. For non-backers, Stormgate will release in early access on Steam this summer, and will be free-to-play.