Heroes of the Storm is revealing a great amount of creativity in a monotonous and repetitive section of the market. But this might change drastically.
Perhaps you now about the Warcraft III fan created map that brought a new genre into the market.
“Defense of the Ancients” Warcraft III mod was a multiplayer online battle arena that puts 2 teams of 5 players in a continuous battle, where the objective is to destroy the enemy ancient.
It was based in a Starcraft fan created map called “Aeon of Strife”, with various similarities, but this one had much more limitations.
The abbreviation, DOTA, might be more easy for you to understand what I’m talking about. Of course, it is related to Valve’s DOTA 2, since Valve got the rights for commercial use of the trademark. The MOBA genre then started to grow with more games implementing the same mechanics and objectives like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth.
But the genre is always showing more games with more common details than new features.
I think Heroes of the Storm shines in this section of the market.
By giving different and entertaining features, that makes each match so more different than the last, the game don’t give a feeling of repetition.
I mean, it appeared as a nice way to entertain Blizzard fans, with all their favorite characters. Then it revealed to be a fun game with a lot of different maps and strategies. Of course these last ones are the same points all the other MOBAs appeal to contrast from the rest, but take a look at the Blizzard take on the genre:
There are 4 types of Heroes: Support, Assassin, Warrior and Specialist. They can also be ranged or melee. Specialists, such as Zagara or Murky, deal with the minions and buildings. For me, they are an amazing addition, since these characters can change the tide of any battle, using their own minions or powerful solo mechanics.
Some of the heroes of the more common classes are also interesting, like Rexxar, that has a bear that you control at the same time as the hero, or The Lost Vikings, that are 3 heroes that you need to lead through the battlefield.
Cho’Gall must be the most perfect point to prove the strength of Heroes of the Storm. A two-headed Ogre that is played by 2 players at the same time. It counts has 2 heroes, but only Cho guides the Ogre. Gall is like the Abathur hat (an ability that grants a parasite to a friendly hero, assisting him while following his steps), with ranged abilities and attached to Cho. The players need to think ahead and predict the other head movements to unleash destruction in their enemies, together.
The battlegrounds (10 at the moment) have their own quest. The final objective is, as you may think, the destruction of the enemy nexus, but you can use the battleground as a weapon. Sometimes you need to gather tributes, hold a position or defeat massive creatures to get the rewards that will help you nicely. The last map added, Towers of Doom, doesn’t allow the heroes to strike directly against the enemy nexus. Instead, you need to activate altars to deal damage to their nexus, for each bell tower you own.
All the battlegrounds require each team to work together, making use of their advantages and limiting their weaknesses.
The game began by only revealing you kills and deaths during a match. The kills of each player counted as last hit kills and assists, contributing for a more friendly team play.
Unfortunately, as all team-based games seem to be rapidly enhanced into the e-sport scene, with large amounts of money involved, Blizzard ended up implementing a K/D/A (Kill/ Death/ Assists) system, just like League of Legends or DOTA, probably due to the competitive scenario. For me, this system lead to a more toxic community, more focused on comparing stats than figuring out different and creative strategies.
Speaking of a competitive scenario, Heroes of the Storm has 2 ranked modes, that you can participate either solo or with a friend or as team of 5 players.
The game is free-to-play, featuring microtransactions for cosmetic content like heroes skins or mounts and convenient items like experience and in-game currency income boosts, or heroes you don’t own.
With the in-game currency you can buy heroes, as well as some specific skins and mounts.
The game seems to be evolving very well in the casual and fun domain that it takes over nicely, but I’m afraid that it might be getting some tweaks following the results of the competitive tournaments, for a more serious and compact gameplay style.