Blizzard dropped an unexpected bomb on us today with a tease of a new character coming to the game: 11-year African inventor Efi Oladele.
There are a few things that we can assume, and probably a few conclusions that we’ll certainly have up in the air until we see a preview of some other kind, but here’s what I’m getting so far from this post:
- Efi will likely be oriented around distributing and possibly remote-controlling drones across the map. (Note the over-ear headphones and visor on her head.)
- There will likely be a resource mechanic that governs how many drones Efi can have running at once. “Robots can be messy… and expensive.”
- Efi may be a new support: “I want to create things that make our lives better… something that can keep us safe.” If the drones provide enhancement or protection to allied heroes, that would certainly match with the intent here.
The biggest suspicion I have about Efi is this: I don’t think she herself is going to be on the battlefield. At eleven years old, she’s the youngest hero in the game by far. Immediately this asks the question of whether or not it’s right to put an actual child on a battlefield with guns and explosions going off.
Aside from that, though, there’s the cross-pollination of ideas that Blizzard is known for: brawls crossing over from Hearthstone to Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch and even World of Warcraft helps to indicate that when one team comes up with something neat, other teams follow suit. Particularly, the presence of a purely backline hero like Abathur in Heroes of the Storm makes me thing that this would be the role for Efi: she’d sit in the spawn, sending out her drones, and the player would have to ability to cycle between controlling the drones directly or letting them run automatically while she focuses on producing new ones. This leaves her Ultimate as a possible “deploy upgrades” power-up that amplifies what her drones are doing for a limited time.
Of course, that’s just speculation for now: until Blizzard releases more information about Efi or puts her up on the PTR, all we know about her is in the blog post below. Check it out and stayed tuned.
AN INTERVIEW WITH INVENTOR EFI OLADELE
Already one of the world’s foremost centers of scientific discovery and exploration, Numbani has a brilliant new mind to add to its ranks: Efi Oladele. In the last year, she’s built a resume of impressive achievements in robotics and artificial intelligence, but perhaps most remarkably is that she’s done all of this by the age of eleven. Last month, she became the most recent recipient of the Adawe Foundation’s prestigious “genius grant,” in recognition of her many accomplishments. She is undoubtedly someone whose career will be watched with great interest.
For this week’s “Spotlight on Numbani,” we had the opportunity to catch up with Efi to learn more about her and her plans for the future.
I’d like to start off by congratulating you, Efi. This is a tremendous, well-deserved honor. How do you feel?
Amazing! I wasn’t expecting it at all, so it was a big surprise. At first, I thought it was a joke—like one of my friends playing a trick on me. It’s been a week now and it still doesn’t seem real, but I’m very happy about it. Much better than winning the science fair.
How did you get into robots and artificial intelligence?
Well, I’ve always been interested. After my mom and dad got me my first robotics kit, I became obsessed with putting together little drones. When I started to get good at it, I tried to build robots to do my chores and help around the house. My parents think it’s cheating… It’s no fair! (laughs)
I want to create things that make our lives better. And someday, my dream is to build something that can keep us safe, like the new OR15s! I think that would be great.
It’s amazing what you’ve been able to accomplish at your age! How do you do it?
I’m not sure how to answer that. I just do it! I guess I’m very lucky that my parents put up with it. Robots can be messy, you know. And expensive.
Speaking of which, do you have any plans for what you’re going to do with your grant? New computer? College tuition?
Oh… I have an idea…
It’s a secret for now… but my parents are taking me on a trip to celebrate! It’ll be my first time flying, so I can’t wait.