After ages of waiting Blizzard finally decided to let me in on the Alpha (now Closed Beta) of their upcoming MOBA – Heroes of the Storm.
I was going to start with explaining that I have been a casual MOBA player for a while now, then I looked at my League of Legends playtime and noticed the 69 hours played… I guess for a MOBA that’s still pretty light. So…
I am a pretty casual MOBA player, I have always enjoyed the team gameplay of the genre and the nice learning curve it offers in its mechanics, but the time needed to play a single game just never seem to fit into the time I had, which was a big shame. League of Legends introduced a couple of new modes that helped bring down times but they never felt like they did enough and I always felt like I was missing the main game.
Upon starting Heroes of the Storm I assumed I would have a similar issue, however after my first match against actual humans I realised this was certainly not the case. Most games seem to finish in about 30 minutes, usually less if one of the teams is a bit rubbish. This is a major plus for me, at last a game in this genre that I can play around my life.
Another thing that always got to me about other MOBAs was items, the shops full of items often had so many choices that it seem liked it took ages to work out what were the best options, and once you knew them you never used any of the others. Always seemed a little odd to me. There is no such item shop in Heroes of the Storm, at certain hero levels you get to choose a talent from a selection of four (at least once you have played a few games with a hero) and customise your hero that way. Much simpler, maybe too simple? I am still torn on this.
Heroes of the Storm also makes a few changes to make it a friendlier game, there is no chat to all during a match, so no grief from the other side. Oddly there is still team chat… I would be happy if they ditched that too to be honest to eliminate people giving any kind of abuse from your own team. Not that this has ever bothered me, I actually enjoy people telling me to uninstall the game. Stuff like this seems to happen far less, so far, in Heroes of the Storm.
This is helped by progress being shared. As all heroes on your team go about their business any XP gained goes into a team pool that levels up everyone at the same time, this stops the usual shouts of “kill stealer, ffs @#!@#” and with no items to buy there is no gold to steal from a player. Yes its simplified, but its changes like this that make the whole game a little less stressful which in turn makes people a little bit nicer.
My only real concern at the moment is the cost of things, the real money cost that is. While the game is free, you can buy heroes you wish to play when they aren’t in the free rotation each week. These current costs feel a little high to me, heroes vary in price but I am not sure I would ever pay £7-8 a hero. Not that you have to, you can also earn gold while playing so buy things with this, however this seems a bit slower than I would like. Things like daily rewards and levelling up heroes give this reserve a boost though so I am sure in time I will build up a nice roster of heroes. Plus the games great and free, spending some money on it is the least I should do.
All of this plus the usual Blizzard charm you would expect makes me think this will be the MOBA for me, it may not be the hardcore MOBA a lot of people want but this is where I think Blizzard are being smart, why would you try and go up against DOTA and League of Legends? You would be mad to try.
Seeing iconic characters like Diablo go toe to toe with Jim Raynor never really gets old, hopefully it continues to be as fun as it has been so far. I guess I had better get to rank 30 to see what ranked play is like.
Also, Stitches is amazing <3