Game Designer John Bautista is back to talk about Buildables, specifically of the Thorgrim variety. Hit us with the knowledge drop, Bau!

Maze Runner

The Wall and the Demolition Hammer are some of the legacy designs we had in previous iterations of the game. These buildables are the embodiment of our design goal for Buildables: Tools that allow the player that can effectively impact the flow of a level. There aren’t any Buildables that are better at controlling the map than these two. There’s the Wall, which blocks off access to a particular area, or it can force opponents to go a certain route. Then there’s the Demolition Hammer, which can be used to destroy other Buildables or you can use it to engage and disrupt during teamfights.

Controlling the flow of the map dictates how you and your team can approach or move the Relic. Since delivering the Relic is one of the primary ways to score, being able to control the way opponents can approach your base will drastically shape the way the opposing team strategizes. With both the Wall and the Demolition Hammer, you can set up choke points on the map. So the enemy has a situation with these two – they can deal with the Walls and destroy them, but if time isn’t on their side, then they have to go through the opening you create, aka the choke point. If your team is coordinating together, you can focus your efforts and lay on the hurt while your enemy tries to make it through the choke point.

Thorgrim’s Buildables have the biggest opportunity to drastically change the flow of the game. I’ve seen dual-Thorgrim team comps, and they layer their Walls so it creates a maze. A literal maze on the map. Opponents would walk into the maze only to be greeted by a series of Demolition Hammers. They never what to do! They get stuck in this choke point or they get lost in the maze, and it makes it easy for your team to bring the pain.

Some of these were troll-y matches, sure, but if the opponent isn’t focusing on bringing down your Buildables and defenses, you can create layers of choke points going into your base, and that decreases any momentum the enemy has when they are pushing to score the Relic.

A Good Defense

There are a few traditional spots where you can drop the Wall and Demolition Hammer when playing on El Dorado. When the round starts, you drop a Wall on the first step near the entrance of your base. Then you set up a Demolition Hammer right next to it, aligned dead-center with the Relay, to protect against that approach. At the start of the next round, you place a Wall on the other side of the Demolition Hammer to complete the choke point. Then you can either place your second Demolition Hammer in front of the previous one for maximum protection, or you can use it in an offensive or opportunistic way. This setup protects against early rushes, and it’s pretty effective if your team is paying attention, as long as you can identify a breakaway, move back to your base and play defensively.

We actually showed this a lot during our matches against the Exhibition 8, where we’d set up Wall-Thumper-Wall, then you see Godspeed come up to try and do the Godspeed move over the walls, or try to sneak by the choke points, but he’d just get knocked up by the Demolition Hammer several times. Sajam, too, actually. And it’s because they only have the one approach. So if they mistime it, they’re just done. They get knocked back and their approach is disrupted. And it gives your team enough time to get back to the base, play defense and clear the Relic.

Bring the Walls Down

There are several ways to counter Thorgrim’s Buildables. First, ranged warriors can get into position and whittle away the health of the Buildables. Anne Bonny, for example, can deal damage to the Demolition Hammer while out of range of the shockwave. With equipment, you can build Gauntlet of Destruction, which increases damage dealt to Buildables. But even if you go that route, if you’re a melee warrior, you still have to approach the Demolition Hammer and risk getting knocked down by the AOE damage.

The Demolition Hammer is a Buildable that always gives people trouble. So, one of the best ways to deal with it is that, when you approach it, watch the timing. As the bell is dropping down, jump up, do a primary attack against it, and when you landed, deal some more damage to it! The AOE knockback only effects warriors who are on the ground, so it’s really about getting that rhythm and timing down.

And of course, there’s the Fire Catapult. Then you can just deal damage to enemy Buildables from afar. Keep it out of view, and it will start to tear down Thorgrim’s Wall pretty easily. Black Knight’s Siege Engine is great for this, too.

I can’t wait to see what players are going to do with Thorgrim’s Buildables. There are a lot of strategies that people have seen yet that completely revolve around Buildables. Some of the setups I’m experimenting with right now follow the traditional Wall-Thumper-Wall combo, but then I force a chokepoint near the edge of the map. It funnels enemies to the outside area of the level, and it creates moments for the Demolition Hammer to knock the enemy off of the map, or you can set yourself up with a Ram’s Head to throw an opponent out, too. There’s a lot of opportunity for expression and experimentation with Thorgrim’s Buildables.

Players are going to discover fun and new ways to utilize Buildables that we haven’t even thought of, and it’s going to be a lot of fun watching all of these strategies evolve.

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