Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s dive into the MOBA genre. Matches pit two teams of five heroes against each other with multiple objectives based on a particular map. The objectives that always remain the same are. Gain levels for your team. Take down your opponents and of course destroy their base.
I say gain levels for your team because Heroes of the Storm does things a little differently than other MOBA’s. Gaining experience doesn’t actually up your particular character’s level. More so all experience gained goes into a pool and your entire team levels. This means a player having a bad game won’t necessary derail his entire team. As other members who perform well can easily mitigate a teammates shortcomings.
Character roles break down into a few types that are very similar to other MOBA’s
We have our
Assassins – they are our heavy damage dealers but tend to be weak at absorbing damage.
We have our Supports who can buff or heal the party
We have our fighters who tend to be tankier heroes
We also have a new addition which are the Specialists. They are a group of heroes that have a unique set of skills and that change the way the game is played. For instance Sgt Hammer brings a siege tank to the battle that can make short work of structures or provide a solid defense with area splash damage in siege mode.
Structures are a little different in Heroes of the Storm. Players familiar with other MOBA’s will be used to tower hugging. That is the act of hiding or baiting an opponent towards your tower. Well, in Heroes of the Storm towers have finite ammo. They can and will run out of ammo over time if pressed too hard. So players who tend to prolong fights by tower hugging may come to realize that this is not a viable strategy in Heroes of the Storm.
Gameplay is very similar to most MOBA’s. Players start on the opposite sides of the the map and wage war. Creeps or minions spawn to aid each heroes with the overall objective of clearing sections of the map. With each fort like structure including a wall that must be destroyed as well as two cannons. Destroying the cannons, and wall will reward experience to your team. Killing enemy players will also reward experience of course.
In what most gamers would call the jungle lies camps of critters that can be bested and then they will enter a lane and fight for the team that claimed them.
Leveling up will provides improved stats and ever so often a talent point. Unlike titles like League of Legends players will start with all skills and abilities unlocked except their ultimate. Talent points will enhance your character by providing either a passive abilities like lifesteal on hit or an active ability like your ultimate.
Each map in heroes of the storm provides an objective that if completed will help destroy the opposing teams structures. Whether it’s gathering skulls, seeds or gold coins. These objectives end up taking center stage over the combat and Tower destruction. Teams that tend to push laning over objectives will surely find themselves staring DEFEAT in the face.
Graphically Heroes of the Storm is a solid looking MOBA. Character models look great with each model being well designed and rendered in a high resolution. Each map has its own aesthetic even changing up the announcers.
As far as sound, The game sounds good. Each character is individually voice acted with tons of flavor lines. I believe most of the Blizzard franchise voice actors have returned to reprise their lines but I as yet can’t confirm this.
The community is a mixed bag. While I found a lot of unskilled players trying to learn the ropes and that’s totally understandable. Heroes of The Storm also suffers from leavers and harrassers. I did leave a few games to test and there are leaver punishments so be warned.
Overall I have mixed feelings about Heroes of the Storm. While it brings a nice change of pace and a very low learning curve. I feel the games lacking of equipment builds something I really enjoy about MOBA’s in general; has been stripped away. With this title choosing objectives over a traditional laning phase it tends to make games feel more about a race to a point and see who can capture an objective than actually a strategic battle.