RTSGuru: Vulcan! Personally, I prefer the name Hephaestus, but either way he's probably one of the coolest lesser known deities in the Roman and Greek Pantheon. What drew the team towards adding him?
Travis Brown: We have been wanting to add Vulcan for a while now. He gave us the perfect chance to add our first turret god into the game and we were just waiting for the right time to introduce him. In the early discussions on Smite, we even had talked about him being the store vendor where the gods purchased their items (I mean, it just makes sense, right?). I'm sure glad that we went away from that plan or we wouldn't have a playable Vulcan today!
RTSGuru: As a Melee-Magical tank, how will he compare to other tanks in Smite?
Travis: We wanted Vulcan to have a new take and perspective on the tanking role. We didn't want him to play the same as the other tanks in Smite, with their greater reliance on their utility. With his structures being the source of consistent damage and harassment instead of himself (like that of Sobek, Ymir, etc), we force the enemy player to have to choose to destroy the structures instead of the mages or carries in the game. This ends up accomplishing the same thing as trying to kill an Ymir or Sobek earlier in fights to limit their impact from their utility.
RTSGuru: Tell us a bit about his passive. How does this factor in as he levels, and into the mid and late-game?
Travis: His passive allows Vulcan players to choose whether or not they will build their items around doing damage or trading off their damage to make themselves and their structures more durable. His structures already have an inherent health and protection pool, but by building certain defensive items, the structures can be made to be even more durable and a constant presence in team fights.
RTSGuru: I love the Infernal Cannon... it makes Vulcan remind me of an engineer from games like Global Agenda. But useful will it really be? Is it easy to kill, for example?
Travis: The Inferno Cannon is definitely useful. It is a delicate balance between easy to kill and dealing great damage. Along with his passive, he is able to increase the durability of the structures at the expense of his damage, which makes for an excellent trade off if you feel your Inferno Cannon is getting taken out too quickly. Vulcan's area denial with the Inferno Cannon is among the best in the game when used strategically.
RTSGuru: The Thumper XVI seems like more of a team-fight skill. Where do you see this being the most useful?
Travis: The Thumper XVI is really useful in a team fight, that's certain. However, picking up an early rank at level 1 makes for one of the most harassing abilities in the game. Placing that down near the minion fights makes melee gods unable to stay in the area without taking damage. Also, the Thumper XVI makes for a great assist on ganking overextended lanes. Placing that down behind a pushed lane as you come out of the jungle makes enemy players unable to retreat when you initiate a fight.
RTSGuru: How long does his Ult last? It seems insane, if you can get all his turrets to go off at one time. In a clusteredbattle, it could do some serious damage.
Travis: His ultimate powers his structures and himself for 6 seconds. If you get both structures down with your ultimate, it has the potential to do tons of damage. Not only do the structures fire faster, but the Inferno Cannon shoots 360 degrees and auto targets gods.
RTSGuru: What game mode do you see Vulcan being the most powerful?
Travis: I think Vulcan will shine the most in Conquest. Being great at area denial, pushing and defending make him very strong in the Conquest mode where all 3 things are most important.
RTSGuru: Are there any items you find so far that are more suited towards Tanking with Vulcan? Any other builds you want to share?
Travis: If you are tanking with Vulcan, it's a great idea to pick up defensive aura items because those will benefit his structures. Also, getting items like Gauntlet of Thebes will continue to give additional health to your structures as you gain stacks.