Opinion on Grohk, the Lightning Orc

Let me start off with saying that I love this game: Paladins. Team-based objective-oriented multiplayer FPS (occasionally TPS) with characters, and abilities, and card-choices and OMG – god bless the developers, the designers, all those amazing peeps. One of the characters is this orc called Grohk. The rhyme is absolute. Apart from it, the character itself is of my liking, and here I shall get into it more:

Lore

This is what gamepedia told me:

‘Grohk was always a bit… off. He never fit in with the other orcs. In fact, the Fire Tribe cheered when Grohk left. They laughed when he returned, proclaiming himself prophet to Vex, the Lightning God. The tribe stopped laughing when Grohk electrocuted them all. Now, Shaman to the new Lightning Orcs of the Red River, Grohk ventures into Crosswind Hold to interpret the will of Vex.’

There are some interesting things worth noting: Grohk never fit, I guess it has something to do with technology, since his current(get it?) weapon is a lightning-shooting techie thing, but, apart from it, he seems pretty traditional. The tribe used to be a Fire Tribe, now it’s filled with converted Lightning Orcs. His god’s name is ‘Vex’, which means to irritate, to disturb; but is often linked with ‘hex’, and with hoodoo traditions – which further enhances Grohk’s status as a shaman.

Everything about him is reflected in his abilities and weapon. The fact that he seems off and his patron god is a god of lightning: that fits the main weapon, a techie gun-staff shooting electrical death. Bonus thematic points for his Chain Lightning ability which is both electrical and shamanic. Then there’s his Healing Totem (tribes had wooden fetishes called totems, usually representing certain spirit animals) and Ghost Walk (shamans are walkers between the physical and the spiritual realm). So far so epic, a very good representation of his background through the actual in-game abilities (especially the Vex-part; he’s annoying as hell).

Similarities with Other Characters

By that, I am first referring to characters from other games. The first, and most obvious, example to come in mind should be Warcraft 3 or Heroes of the Storm, because we’re talking Warcraft universe: orc shamans, come on, they’re pretty iconic!

In Heroes of the Storm there’s Rehgar: he’s got a Chain Heal, he’s got a Lightning Shield and a Totem which slows nearby enemies. Rehgar is the character most similar to Grohk. In Dota there’s Shadow Shaman with his Shadow Wave, and Juggernaut with the Healing Ward – but both share only one similar ability.

In comparison with those other characters which share bits of Grohk’s ability kit, their personality is much more foreseeable. Our orc here is pretty dumb, yet able to use advanced technology (which he might regard as magic),  has a pretty tribal and balanced feeling: he is more simply shaped, unlike Rehgar who possesses a more complex mix of motifs, including feral and berserk-ish. Grohk doesn’t require more in his composition than he already has.

Now, as far as other in-game characters concern, he’s the only healer so far.  Other characters have cards which can offer healing in a variety of ways, by Grohk’s the only one with an actual  healing ability in his kit. He is more of a jack-off-all-trades than the other ones. He’s not the only one sharing a fantasy-mixed-with-technology feeling, Cassie and Fernando share it big time (but, then again, this seems to be one of the core aesthetic and lore-related motifs of the game).

He has the only beam-weapon, the only chaining ability, the only one able to generate a vulnerable structure with supportive (not defensive) capabilities. He is unique – that is the important bit. The current roaster of characters is small, however, and I hope that Grohk won’t lose his uniqueness anytime soon.

Kit

As far as the weapon goes, it is great – I love it. It plays well medium and long range, but is incredibly silly to use in close range. This is just fine, because from distance this shaman looks like an impressive figure, whilst up close he’s plainly silly.

His Healing Totem, as already mentioned, is the only heal in the game. It can be easily destroyed, but can heal an entire team. Its design has two main components which, I personally believe, make a healthy mix: fixed position and AoE. The game is a continuous wave of moving and holding ground, chasing and defending. The fact that the totem cannot be moved means it will be used whilst defending – the time when your team needs to stay strong and survive. If it were able to heal on the go, then the team would be able to retreat from a lost fight, heal up, and assault the weakened enemies. The fact that it is AoE encourages having more people on the conquered checkpoint (whose size is similar to the totem’s range), and it also offers a great reward at the cost of good positioning. Overall well thought out ability.

There’s Chain Lightning, which causes his weapon attack to also chain to another target, which further bounces up to a certain number of enemies. This offensive ability doesn’t offer much of a solution to his tricky aiming, but offers a great reward of getting it right: huge damage. However, there are two situations when this ability is easily usable for a high yield of damage: when attacking the enemy gate, or attacking the enemy cannon meant to destroy your gates. In these cases, the whole team can be damaged. The fact that he’s got both a chaining ability and an AoE gives a really great sensation of having a bunch of control over the battlefield.

Then there’s Ghost Walk, which gives a small burst of speed to Grohk and makes him invulnerable. This is an amazing escape ability – and, the only thing that it can be is an escape ability. It may not be as versatile as the others, but it does its job, and it does it well.

Cards

Most cards offer a form of synergy between the 3 abilities (and between Chain Lightning and Weapon cards, since Chain Lightning procs Weapon cards). Cards enable the Lightning Orc to silence, slow, buff movement speed, buff attack power, reduce damage, increase attack speed, silence, root, even share experience! It is obvious that this Shaman was made with the words ‘balance’ and ‘jack-of-all-trades’ in mind.

Astral Travel gives the player 100% bonus speed whilst in Ghost Walk – escapes made easy (+shamanic theme bonus points).

Distribution makes allies within 40 feet to gain 40% bonus experience – like a great shaman sharing his wisdom, this might seem game-changing, but is actually pretty situational, as far as my experience goes.

Forethought makes Grohk gain 40% more experience, and all cards have their cooldowns reduced by 80% – this is a game-changing one. If you get it level 1, that’s it: game. If you are doing well, this card can make you be ahead of everyone else. If you are not doing quite so well, you might think you just lost a card spot, but actually, you didn’t: you can replace it at level 6, level to which you’ll get faster than the others, or you can keep it and be more useful when defending, since all cooldowns would be up a short time after respawn.

Gale makes all allies within the totem’s range to take half the damage and be immune to enemy status effects. This is huge. This might seem OP. It most certainly is! Too bad sticking together might be a bad idea in some situations.

Monolith Totem makes the totem sturdier, with 500 bonus HP and 40% damage reduction. This fixes one of the problem the totem has: its vulnerability. Though, unless you are going for a totem-centered build, I wouldn’t recommend getting this card in the build – it doesn’t seem worth for what it does unless you have more totem cards meant to aid a standing-still team.

Outreach makes the totem have 80% increased radius. This does a lot, in the sense that it allows more freedom of movement. It also allow people not to stick too close, so they won’t be as affected by enemy AoE. It slightly discourages allies from protecting the totem, however.

Overcharge increases the width of your lightning beam by 60%. This is a card which helps players use his weapon, apart from that, it doesn’t offer any in-game bonus. I’d say, learn to aim, free up a card slot!

Phantom increases the duration of Ghost Walk by 3 seconds. This is amazing, considering that GW by itself might seem too short. GW can be deactivated at any time, anyway, no downside whatsoever. Take it if you think you’ll get picked on a lot.

Totemic Rescue spawns a totem at your feet when below 30% HP, alongside a short boost of speed. This is useful both for the totem-centered shaman, and also for the up-close (more like, up-medium) and personal shaman, since it doesn’t offer only another totem for you to spread your buffs with, but also something to buff you shortly or take a hit if you are on the run, or in one-on-one duel.

Wind Totem makes the totem give allies double movement speed for 2 seconds. What I like about this card is that it offers a new purpose for the totem: it may be static, sure, but now it can help you move, therefore it is usable in more situations. Would it be worth the cooldown? Surely, in certain cases.

Anvil silences enemies when you active Ghost Walk. Not only will you be able to escape damage with GW, but you also might just disturb the enemies’ attempt of using some ability to chase you down. Extremely useful in team fights as well.

Blackout makes your attack have a chance to silence enemies. Combine this with Chain Lightning, be one annoying bastard – always.

Hamstring makes your attack have a chance to slow enemies. Arguably less potent than Blackout, but, come on!! Maximum annoyance!

Momentum makes your weapon attacks to reduce the cooldown of Chain Lightning. This is by far my favorite card. If all your cards are centered around your weapon or CL, you are one annoying crowd controller that can neutralize an entire team when everyone’s gathered around a gate. It will convince your foes to go for you and get you down, and you won’t quite be able to defend yourself easily, but hey – do it for the lolz! The Electric LOLZ!!!

Planted makes placing a totem to root nearby enemies. Just like Wind Totem, this offers your Healing Totem a new purpose, except this time it is centered around your enemies. The effect is, just like Wind Totem, immediate. Satisfaction: guaranteed! Usefulness: debatable (situational is a better word).

Sow the Seed makes your attacks have a chance to spawn a totem at your enemy’s feet. This is one of those synergy cards I talked about. In case there’s a teamfight, this card is effective, making you able to heal your allies without getting into the fight yourself. If you have some totem cards which have an effect on enemies, the better.

Spirit Steal makes colliding with an enemy whilst Ghost Walking to spawn a totem. Major synergy! Yet again, regarding the ability-role and ability-usage changing theme of some cards, this makes Ghost Walk an ability to be used whilst in a fight. It can even allow you immediate effects, such as Wind Totem, and offer a lot of support to your team quickly. It might be kamikaze, but two(or more) totems are always better than one.

Cluster increases the damage Chain Lightning deals to secondary targets. I personally don’t find it that useful, considering that I care more about the weapon-card procs, but each to their own.

Conductor gives your attack a chance to make the enemy a conductor, meaning they damage nearby enemies every now and then for 4 seconds. This is huge! Chain Lightning by itself punishes enemies sticking too close together, but this punishes them even more! The damage isn’t bad either.

Discharge and Electric Imbalance causes Ghost Walk to deal damage around Grohk when entering/leaving GW. Both offer an offensive usage to GW. I really love how one card is enough to change the feeling of a character.

Lightning Totem makes your totem shock nearby enemies. It is great, add damage to your totem, let it wreck havoc!! Well, main problem is, the totem can die quite easily. Sow the Seed offers a great solution to this issue, making the totem spawnable from afar; Monolith Totem is a more direct fix.

Manifest gives your attack a chance to make enemies vulnerable. Combined with Chain Lightning, that’s an AoE, very potent debuff. Get it, really, be that annoying bastard we all want to be!

Overload increases the attack speed of allies within the radius of the Healing Totem. Really well fit in a totem-centered build.

Precinct causes enemies near the totem to take 60% increased damage. That is huge! Really huge! Best combined with Sow the Seeds and Lightning Totem.

Stimulate gives allies within the totem’s radius bonus attack damage. That’s straight forward.

Arc Lightning makes Chain Lightning gain bonus bouncing radius, and also allows it to bounce from your totem. This means that if, somehow, your totem is within the enemy group, target it for no-aim-effort. Best used with Sow the Seed.

Healing Rain grants a lot of bonus healing for your Healing Totem. You into support? You get this.

Thunderous Rage makes your attack deal a bonus of 0.5% of your enemy’s maximum HP every hit. This is huge, again. Chain Lightning synergy, even without any chance-based proc!

Overall Feel

Grohk is the ultimate balanced character: he’s got healing, he’s got damage, he’s got escape. His utility is highly empowered by the cards. Here are the feasible builds I came up with, unsure whether they are played or not:

Totemic Support – puts accent on things like Healing Rain, Stimulate, Gale, even Monolith Totem to greatly buff allies. Outreach is a must. Things like Spirit Steal or Totemic Rescue for bonus totems also is a great addition. This, however, centers the orc’s full potential in static situations: defending and, rarely, gate attacking.

Totemic Assault – makes use of Sow the Seed, alongside Arc Lightning, Lightning Totem, Precinct to generate totems at the enemy’s location to deal great amounts of damage. This is, again, situational, and the enemy should be gathered within a single location.

Chain Lightning – using the god-blessed card of Momentum alongside, really, any other CL or weapon card in order to become the annoying nuker with damaging, debuffing and crowd-controlling capabilities. My favorite, by far.

Hit and Run – using Ghost Walk related cards to silence, damage, create totems and escape certain situations. Problem is, once GW is used offensively, it won’t be available defensively. For that, Planted or Wind Totem can be quite useful.

Opinion

Best character I’ve played as for some time. When playing a game in which the game-experience is customizable, meaning choices of gameplay can be made, I always go for a jack-of-all-trades, someone able to change their role as needed, even though may not excel at that given role. The character itself is versatile, which makes him a practical support (and I doubt this game will ever have a support-only character). The cards, however, offer specialization options which have great synergy or offer new roles to abilities, proving to be choices which have a visible impact on the game, and how you play Grohk.

You, Paladins team, have done a great job! Keep it up! :D

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