• Designing a Hero Academy Team (Part 1)


    I’m not much different than any other gamer out there.  I love playing games of all kinds and sharing my experiences with friends.  I’m also fairly creative and love trying new things.  When I got my game design degree at the end of 2012, I knew a career in the industry was the next step.  While this sadly hasn’t come to pass yet, I have decided to take my passion for creation and my love of game design and create a Hero Academy team.


    If you’re a dedicated fan of Hero Academy, you’ve probably let your mind wander and dream up new ideas for teams to be added to the Robot Entertainment strategy game.  For some, this means wildly brainstorming some ideas, for others it could mean jotting down some notes, and some take to their favorite forums to post their team concepts online.  For me, it went a little deeper.


    I wanted to create a team that fit within the lore and theme of Hero Academy, fun to play, fairly balanced, introduced some new mechanics to the existing engine, and was as professionally complete as possible.  Because of this, I decided to create a design document for the team detailing every aspect of the team’s creation and the reasoning behind these choices.  In addition, I enrolled the help of a former artist classmate to breathe life into the unit creation.  I believe that my final product shows that I accomplished these goals and made a truly unique and complete team that would fit in nicely within the Hero Academy world.


    The first thing I decided on was creating a unique theme.  We’ve had varieties of races and themes amongst the teams so far, so I went with a focus that was unique to the game and kept with the theme; the Crystals.  In Hero Academy, the Crystals are generally just thought of as objects used to help teams achieve victory, but what was the story behind them?  My team was created with the idea that a rag-tag group of outcasts and vagabonds have come together in the pursuit of Crystal study and worship.  They wouldn’t mesh well together, but the draw of the power from the Crystals has given them unity.


    With the theme in play, the next thing to do was create a team bonus to center them around.  Keeping with the Crystal theme, I gave them a +20% damage against Crystals.  This would tend to have the team become Crystal destroying specialists, but I was OK with this as there isn’t a team that does this already in Hero Academy, the Dwarves probably being the closest.  I also decided to stick with a standard, four units plus one super unit format for the team.  This kept them familiar to the other teams making newer players feel more comfortable with using them.


    After all of that was decided, I began the process of creating units.  Not wanting to have overlap with the existing human teams, Council and Shaolin primarily, I came up with units that looked not only like strangers to one another, but rejects from the world proper.  After a lot of experimentation and research, the team finally consisted of: the Guardian, the Rogue, the Geomancer, the Purifier, and the Golem.


    So take a minute to look over the team and see what you think.  You’ll find all of the stats, mechanics, and artwork for the team below.  I will go into more details about my decisions for the individual team members and the challenges in balancing them in my next blog entry.

  1. Avatar of Goffdude24

    I like this concept, and I can really see all the hard work you two have put into it. I would like to mention one thing though: it seems like a team that’s focused on one victory condition would have a severe disadvantage against a turtling faction.

    For example, if I were playing in the League as this team, and I recognized that the other player was setting up a defense as the Dwarves, I would realize that I would almost be guaranteed to lose. An AOE specialist team like the dwarves excels in defense, and because I can’t get to the crystals quickly, and the units are relatively weak in combat, I would almost certainly lose in this case, unless the Geomancer was given long range and high attack. His long range stomp might be the only answer to a defense set up like this.

    Anyway, great work! I really enjoyed reading about this concept.

  2. Thanks for the comments guys. I’m definitely going to delve deeper into my decisions behind the teams creation in a part 2. I think a lot of problems that I’ve encountered could be fixed with playtesting.

    Unfortunately that will never happen so it’s all kind of guess work as to what would and wouldn’t work. Still fun to talk about the possibilities though. 🙂

  3. Avatar of MNC-Dover

    Thanks for the comments so far guys. I’ll start plugging away on part 2 of this article and go into further details of my reasons for the design decisions and the headaches that followed.

    Sadly, this team will never be a reality and I think that playtesting would have fixed any issues that would have popped up. Never hurts to talk about the design choices though.

  4. I just want to say I think you should submit it to the makers of hero academy. Looks like you did most of the work for them and I’d love to play as this team personally.

  5. Avatar of MNC-Dover

    @Creed: Thanks for the love man! I actually went to them first before making the team public. They can’t legally accept outside submissions for any of their games.

    Now if they were to hire me on the other hand… 😀

    You could always promote the team on their Facebook page and forums. Don’t know that it would do much but it couldn’t hurt to try.

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