Posted by Michael Mitchell @MitchFizzl
Gamer, writer, occasional pedant. Mitch lives up to all these adjectives and more by writing for Now Loading and Blizzard Watch. @Fizzl_CTR.
Michael Mitchell

Heroes of the Storm's latest hero, Samuro, was revealed last week with a little more fanfare than is usual for new heroes. Rather than a typical reveal through a hero trailer, Samuro was revealed via a livestream of senior art director Samwise Didier as he drew the character.

But who exactly is Samuro, and why was he revealed in such a different way than previous heroes? As it turns out, that second question can be answered by the first one.

However, first question doesn't have as simple an answer as you'd expect — Samuro is, in a way, more than just a regular ol' Blademaster hero.

Samuro Is An Extension Of Samwise

First and foremost, the reason Samwise was the one to reveal Samuro is because Samuro is a nickname that Samwise goes by — the character is very much an extension of Samwise himself. Truthfully, this is not uncommon.

Several Blizzard employees have NPCs in their games that represent the employees themselves. Metzen, who recently retired, primarily had Thrall, but also several others; Terran Gregory (in-game cinematic project director for WoW) has an NPC named after him hanging outside Stormwind. Numerous other NPCs in WoW and other games act as extensions of or homages to real-life people.

And while these NPCs all take on different degrees of their real-life counterparts' personalities, no matter which Samuro you're talking about, you can bet it ties back to Samwise in some way.

The Samuro Of 'World of Warcraft' is Part of the ETC Band

The most obvious manifestation of this in-game persona is via Samuro in World of Warcraft. Samuro in WoW leads the Elite Tauren Chieftain band, which is actually the name of a real-life band comprised of many Blizzard staffers! Most of the time, the band can be seen hanging out on a balcony in Silvermoon City (as in the picture above).

However, the band makes multiple appearances in-game and will actually perform songs recorded by Samwise and the other members of the real-life version of the band. If you want to catch them in action, you can try a few places:

  • Every 3 hours, the band plays "Power of the Horde" in the World's End Tavern in Shattrath City.
  • The band can also be found rocking out nightly (8:00 p.m. server) in the Grim Guzzler tavern inside Blackrock Depths.
  • And of course, what kind of Faire would it be without entertainment? Every month when the Darkmoon Faire is in town, ETC will put on a show at the top of every hour.

If you're wondering, though, this Samuro is not actually the Samuro we're getting in Heroes of the Storm. Well, at least not as far as anything has indicated. The Samuro we'll be getting actually dates back much further than World of Warcraft.

The Samuro Of 'Warcraft 3' Fought Alongside Rexxar and Chen

The very first appearance — and the one after which Heroes of the Storm's Samuro is being modeled — was back in Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne. After seeking revenge on the owlkin Bloodbeak for destroying his whole village, Samuro aided Rexxar, Chen, and Rokhan in their campaign.

While the Blademaster didn't play as prominent a role as several of the other heroes, he still had an entire mission dedicated to his unique set of skills. His job was to sneak into a Kul Tiras base and plant demolition charges. Why was it his job? Because he has Wind Walk, which essentially grants him stealth. That's right, he was a stealth samurai with explosives.

All in all, Samuro's time in Warcraft 3 is short. You play one mission as him, but that mission is enough to give him a bit of a backstory and enough of a toolkit to become a viable hero in Heroes of the Storm.

So How Similar Is The Original Samuro To The One In 'Heroes of the Storm'?

Pretty damn similar.

It's amazing to me how Blizzard can take a one-off character with a small set of abilities and turn him into a fully fledged hero. Granted, Heroes of the Storm doesn't have many abilities per hero to begin with, but it's impressive all the same.

Samuro of Heroes shares all of his original counterpart's abilities — Mirror Image, Wind Walk, and Bladestorm — as well as a few bonus abilities to round him out for the MOBA style of Heroes. All in all, he's a really fun hero to play, and if the PTR is any indication, he's going to do some serious damage.

In a sense, we've come full circle. Samuro started out as a less-than-Samwise-like nod to the artist, then became an outright in-game version of the artist, and now he's reintroduced as that original Blademaster by none other than Samwise himself. Now all we need is the WoW Samuro to enter Heroes of the Storm and we'll have some multiverse-level shenanigans on our hands.

(Oh, and for anyone interested, Blizzard is currently giving away the reveal artwork to one lucky winner along with several other prizes!)

What do you think of the all different versions of Samuro?