If you have ever played Riot’s League of Legends or either DotA and thought, “y’know, what would this be like if I didn’t have any gold? And what if there were no items altogether?” then Blizzard has your answer. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Blizzard has created the anti-MOBA, but for any true MOBA fanboys who like their battle-arena games with uniform structure; shield your eyes.
Inside Blizzard’s technical alpha for HotS (Anyone else only see the words Heart of the Swarm there?) I have come across some major differences from what you would expect from your most popular MOBAs. But first, let me tell you what I LOVE about Heroes of the Storm.
The Fun Times
It’s Freakin’ Blizzard Characters!
It doesn’t matter which is your favorite universe from Blizzard, be it Diablo, StarCraft, or WarCraft, they are all here and the crew from each is ready to ride into action! That’s right. That means as Diablo, you can cast APOCALYPSE on Jim Raynor, setting a rune beneath him rigged to blow him to bits in a matter of seconds. A universe mix and match doesn’t always work, but Blizzard did this right.
Assassin, Warrior, Support, and Specialist are the four roles Blizzard assigns to the spread of characters they have amassed so far. Obvious main characters from the different stories are in their respective places, with some pleasant surprises thrown in already. I, for one, did not expect to see Abathur from StarCraft make its way into the roster just yet. And seeing the roster now only makes me wonder who and what future additions will bring!
It’s as if Blizzard invaded Mario Party 2, and really ramped up the stakes. That may be an exaggeration, but each map has its own gimmicky objective ranging from paying pirates to bombard your enemies with cannonballs to collecting the Ravenlord’s tributes to place a curse on your foes. I find this a nice sway from the standard MOBA game, especially with it not being an insta-win for the team that reaches the objective first.
My personal favorite is indeed Blackheart’s Bay, where it’s a race to beat open chests of gold to obtain enough to pay Blackheart’s fee. As soon as one team has turned in his total asking price, his ship turns on that team’s enemy, and fires away. A great game-changer, but the other team can hold on until Blackheart is ready to strike again, and focus harder on beating the other team to the objective to tip the scales once more in their favor.
(Pictured below: Heroes race to pay gold to Blackheart and have his rain of cannonballs come to their aid.)
The Not-as-Fun Times
It’s Simple… Too Simple.
I feel like I’m being unfair in saying not as fun “times” because there should not be a plural on that. This is the only thing that irks me mildly about this game.
There are no items, no gold, but there is a simplified leveling system, where you gain experience and level as a team instead of individually. Now many may find this a better way for those casual players, or those just starting out as a good way to be introduced to the game, but the talent/skill leveling system alone is not enough for players to experiment anything too different from something they have tried before. Meaning two players who are playing Valla the Demon Hunter can only play her so differently without the specific customization that items bring. I find the limitations the simplicity of this game places outweighs any of the good that can come from it, especially at higher ranks of play.
That Being Said…
While there is and will be much more to say about this game, this is a first look from the beginnings of my involvement in the technical alpha, so it being at this early stage only excites me for what else there is to come! Don’t let the not so fun time discourage you from trying it out. While I find the simplicity may one day pose a problem, for now at least the fun times of the whole game greatly outweigh the not so fun time. I give Heroes of the Storm a 9/10 for the techincal alpha so far.
Heroes of the Storm: A First Impression (Technical Alpha)
Even in technical alpha, Blizzard is already delivering, and they deliver with style.What Our Ratings Mean