A new heroine is coming to OMDU! Read the Blog: Designing Brass now!
Brass, The Master Engineer
“Super sweet, tiny girl, Dwarf power!” Brass, the Master Engineer
Brass is not just any master engineer. This little fire-plug was top of her class and one of the most successful du-wicky and thing-a-ma-bob builders of all time. Over the years, Brass learned to perfect her gadgets to the point where she could take on hordes of orcs all by herself. The size of the Unchained armies made no difference to Brass and other dwarf engineers. Killing orcs in scores has become a game to them. Brass' family was one of the last to evacuate the great stone structures of Thuricvod. Staying behind as the other dwarves fled to safety, they closed off the remaining rifts. This brave act cut off the Unchained forces at Thuricvod and prevented them from following the dwarves and continuing to reduce their numbers. Little is known of the family's efforts and sacrifice but, although Dobbin does not speak of it, he has always been secretly proud of his significant other and her lineage.
After showing so much bravery and valor, her family was asked to share their designs with other engineers to strengthen the ranks of the dwarven army in the hopes of better preparing future defense against the Unchained hordes. For many years following the hasty retreat from Thuricvod, the Unchained sought to push the dwarves around but found their tiny foes to be craftier and more powerful than ever. Brass has never asked for any credit for her family's substantial contributions to the dwarven military might. Her needs are much smaller than that. She only asks to be counted in when the killing starts and for all the short or small jokes to stop (but not really).
Brass is a Master level engineer and considered of the best in the Order. She is able to use her Blunderbuss, Dwarven Turret, and improvised demolition devices to keep her foes out of the rift.
Passive: “Short Stack” and “Scrap”
Brass is too short for large minions to see, so they will never attack her. Brass also collects scrap that drops from minions, which she needs for some abilities.
Primary Attack: Blunderbuss
Brass shoots a shotgun-style spread shot from her Blunderbuss. The closer to your target the more damage possible. The Blunderbuss also has a powerful knockback.
Secondary Attack: Cannonball Shot
Brass shoots a giant cannonball from her Blunderbuss that damages her target and explodes. The explosion also provides an area damage effect.
Third Ability: Swiss Army Wrench
Brass can use this ability to repair and upgrade her turret as well as damage minions. Any wrench attack on a minion guarantees a scrap drop.
Fourth Ability: Brass Bombs
Brass can place a land mine that explodes in an area when minions are nearby. Brass Bombs cost scrap to place and she can only have 15 out at a time.
Fifth Ability: Dwarven Turret
Brass places a ranged turret that attacks passing minions. She can use scrap to heal and upgrade the turret with her Swiss Army Wrench ability
The Dwarven Turret is an important part of Brass’s arsenal. The turret starts as a Tier 1 Dwarven Turret and can be upgraded all the way to a Tier 3 with the use of scrap and her third ability Swiss Army Wrench. In addition to upgrading the Dwarven Turret, Brass can repair the turret with scrap as well. Here is a breakdown of each tier and how the Dwarven Turret performs.
Tier 1 – Base Turret
The first tier uses a basic attack that locks onto minions and fires a projectile at a very quick rate similar to a machine gun. The health of the turret is also at its lowest.
Tier 2 – Electric Shield
Once Brass upgrades the Dwarven Turret to tier 2, it gains an electric shield that reflects damage the turret takes back on the attacker. The turret also gets a health boost and minor damage boost.
Tier 3 – Missile Pods
This is the highest tier of the Dwarven Turret. Two missile pods extend from the side of the turret and launch missiles at the minions. When the missiles explode they cause damage in an area around the explosion. The turret gets another health boost and another minor damage increase.
Brass' WeaversBrass starts the game as a bit of a glass cannon. She can’t take much damage but her powerful abilities compensate for her lack of health. The Dwarven Turret is also used to take some of the pressure off Brass so she can use her abilities more effectively. Her many weaver combinations increase her damage, provide scrap more efficiently, and make her turret more effective to help support not only herself but any teammates she brings with her.
Support Build: Turret Feature v.1 > Turret Feature v.2 > Turret Feature v.3 > Turret Feature v.4
This build focuses on making the Dwarven Turret a real powerhouse that is very effective in supporting the team as well as killing groups of minions. The first Weaver upgrade simply makes the Dwarven Turret live longer while taking punishment from minions. The second Weaver upgrade allows a tier 2 Dwarven Turret to reflect damage taken from minions in an area around the turret. The third Weaver upgrade increases the damage of the Dwarven Turret’s Tier 1 and Tier 3 damage. Finally, the fourth Weaver upgrade allows the Dwarven Turret to heal Brass and her teammates while standing near it out of combat.
Offensive Build: Brass Bomb Cache > Stunning Cannonball > Scrapuum > Cannonball Coming!
If you prefer to focus more on Brass’s abilities, this build helps Brass dish out the damage and keeps her out of danger by collecting scrap at a distance. The first Weaver upgrade lets you place Brass Bombs at half the scrap cost so you can fill the minion lanes with these devastating gadgets. The second Weaver upgrade allows the Cannonball Shot to stun minions in a radius around where the Cannonball explodes. The third Weaver upgrade helps Brass stay away from the minions by collecting scrap in a radius around her, this allows her to continue the fight at medium range where she is most effective. Finally, the fourth Weaver upgrade allows her to unload on minions with her Cannonball Shot by reducing the cooldown significantly.
Both of these Weaver builds are just a guideline to help when players first play Brass. Different players have unique and interesting playstyles and we look forward to hearing about the variety of Weaver builds that players come up with.
From Concept to Reality
Brass is an engineering marvel who can dish out a lot of single target damage with her Blunderbuss and take it to groups of minions with her Brass Bombs, Cannonball Shot, and Dwarven Turret. Brass’ concept is something we have looked forward to internally for quite a while. Early in development, we knew Brass would be an engineer, we knew she would have a totem or turret of some kind, and we knew Brass would be Dobbin’s wife. What we didn’t realize is just how many new features creating this hero would require.
As a dwarf hero, we wanted Brass to have a similar passive makeup as Dobbin. We decided to give her the same Short Stack passive and also wanted something to match the coin bags that Dobbin collects. We decided to give her a unique resource called Scrap and give that a chance to drop off minions. We integrated Scrap into the rest of her kit to give her a unique gameplay experience.
The Blunderbuss was an easy pairing with Brass’ primary skill (left click) from the beginning. We wanted to make sure we captured the feel from Orcs Must Die! 2 but still give it a unique feel for OMDU. For the primary attack, we use a feature that no other hero uses in the game. The Blunderbuss fires several small projectiles in a cone. Each projectile does damage individually, which wreaks havoc on soldiers and large units. Initially, the range of this attack was very short with a broad spread on the shots. However, we discovered that players had a difficult time determining the distance that the blast fired. We also found that because of her short stature many of the projectiles fired into the ground. We tightened the firing spread and also gave the projectiles a black puff of smoke effect similar to a flak cannon when they reached their full range. This helped greatly in communicating the distance, but we found that the distance was way too short. Brass was having problems using environmental traps and keeping away from minions. We nearly doubled the range and tightened the spread even further until we found a good balance between distance and the fire cone.
When we started with the Cannonball Shot as the secondary skill (right click), it was a projectile that fired in a straight line, would penetrate minions about 3 or 4 deep, and then explode causing damage in the area. Anybody who played with the Blunderbuss from Orcs Must Die 2 understands that this is not how the secondary attack worked. Even though the concept was interesting and unique we found that the expectation of the Cannonball Shot to act like the Blunderbuss from previous versions of the game was overwhelming. We changed the projectile to arc in the air as well as bounce off walls. The projectile now explodes on impact when hitting minions. During playtest we found that players really enjoyed firing the Cannonball Shot around corners as well as lobbing it over groups to hit larger minions in the back.
Brass’s third ability (Swiss Army Wrench) was a new and unique idea for heroes in OMDU. From the beginning, we wanted this ability to not only damage minions, but also be used to repair and upgrade the Dwarven Turret. We created an attack with “intelligence” that could tell the difference between minions and the Dwarven Turret and have different actions based on the situation. When attacking a minion the ability does moderate damage but in case players are having a difficult time collecting or finding scrap we allowed this ability to guarantee a scrap drop on every hit. When the player uses this ability on the Dwarven Turret there are 2 different effects that can happen. If the turret is damaged then Brass spends scrap to repair the turret to full health. If the turret is at full health then Brass spends scrap to upgrade the turret. The mechanics of the ability have not changed much from the concept but the range, damage dealt, and scrap cost for repairing and upgrading the turret changed frequently. We spent a lot of time tinkering with the range of the attack to make it look realistic while also being fun to use.
The fourth ability (Brass Bombs) initially worked very similarly to the boom barrel trap. Players could place the mines in close proximity to each other to create a chain reaction. This ability uses scrap so we decided to be generous with how many players could place on the ground. In the beginning, we allowed players to place around 10. That number ended up increasing to 15. In concept, for the chaining to be most effective, players would set mines along the outside of a minion lane until the last mine which would be placed directly in the line of the minion’s path. This would allow the front of the wave to pass the mines setting of the last one. This would cause the mines to explode in a chain reaction down the side of the wave damaging everything along the path. The problem here was an issue of minion pathing and unpredictable minion behavior in actual gameplay. More often than not, the minions would set of the first mine causing all others to explode without doing damage to the wave. We decided to remove the chaining aspect of the mines to provide a more friendly and easy experience when using this ability.
The Dwarven Turret is Brass’s fifth and final ability. We wanted the turret to be the most unique aspect of Brass’s kit. We initially started with using Stinkeye’s totems as a base for the turret but we needed many more mechanics in order to make the turret meet the vision of the ability. First, we needed to allow minions to attack the turret and give the turret an aggro pool that works exactly like it does for heroes. We also need a way to upgrade the turret and transfer resources (scrap) from the player to the turret. Then we needed the turret to support multiple attack types but also hide some of those attacks until the turret reached certain upgrade tiers. All of these new features proved to be challenging to implement but the end result was very rewarding. The initial design allowed Brass to place up to 3 turrets. During playtest we found that maintaining three turrets while fighting minions and placing traps to be extremely difficult and not much fun. We reduced the number of turrets Brass can place down to 1 and gave it a unique minimap icon to help players remember where the turret is placed. This change also required increasing the health and damage of the turret giving it much more survivability.
Brass joins the ranks
Strengths: Brass deals an excessive amount of single target damage. Because her shotgun blast is several individual projectiles she is very effective against soldiers. She fights most effectively at medium to short range.
Weaknesses: Brass cannot take the same kind of punishment that her Dwarven Turret is able to so players need to keep their distance but maintain a close enough range for her primary attack to be most effective. Her only crowd control abilities come at the cost of scrap, Brass Bombs, or her Stunning Cannonball Weaver upgrade.
Brass can find a way to fit in with many hero compositions but she is best at supporting her teammates with use of her turret or taking down large minions very quickly. She is very effective against bosses and large minions like trolls and her Short Stack passive allows her to do this without retaliation. The Dwarven Turret can be used as a tank to take punishment from minions. She lacks crowd control and has a difficult time dealing with minions in swarms or chasing minions down. Her Blunderbuss is very effective when pushing minions back but when she is chasing minions down the Blunderbuss will push minions forward, forcing them closer to the rift. Brass is also very effective against the Order units because of her consistent damage output.
Brass is a great fit for a team lacking damage or a tank that can absorb damage. In a team makeup that already contains crowd control with Maximillian and support with Dobbin she can use her turret to not only keep watch on a specific lane but use it as a tank to absorb damage while the team takes minions down.
Brass would not be a good fit in a team composition that already has a tank as well as high damage output but lacking in crowd control. For example, a team consisting of Hogarth and Yi-Lin could benefit greatly from some form crowd control. In this case you are better off playing as Maximillian, Ivy, Dobbin, Gabriella, or Stinkeye.
Original Art Design and Concepts
Brass has had a very consistent visual identity throughout the design process, but her turrets offered a brand new game component to visualize.
Designing Brass Insider Access
Interested in learning more about Brass? Tune in to OrcsMustDie.tv at 3:00 pm Central on Friday for a special “Designing Brass and Update Preview” Insider Access episode. Harmonia will be joined by Shade to discuss the upcoming update and the brand new hero, Brass!