Review: Heroes of the Storm
Over the years, I have tried a number of MOBA games. My first experience came from a Stardock game, DemiGod. I found the combination of RPG and RTS elements fascinating, and played numerous games against the AI. However, few of my friends shared my interest in the little known title. Later, League of Legends released, which I reviewed for RPGamer. I ultimately found the lack of map variety and poor value (of the retail product) dragged the experience down for me. But, hey, the game went on to become the most popular games (if not THE most popular) with over 32 million players, so what do I know?
For #ARPGAugust, I gave Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm a spin. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the experience quite a bit. Instead of the one map we originally received with League of Legends, HotS has over a half dozen. Furthermore, each has unique mechanics begging exploration and experimentation. In most MOBA games, your characters level up individually, and pick up gold to spend on gear and items. HotS uses a team experience bar, causing all characters to level, together, at the same time. It eschews items altogether, leaving a small selection of skills the character chooses from every few levels. These design decisions result in a leaner, faster game that focuses more on action and team tactics… and I feel the genre better for it.
Communication can take place between team members only, and a single click turns that off, leaving the mini map, and pings players make on it, as the only form of communication. This really cuts down on venomous messages. If you do not wish to play against, or with, other humans, the game provides comprehensive AI options allowing you to play with just your friends, or even solo. The fact that the Blizzard characters you can play come from Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo franchises only sweetens the pot.
HotS provides a weekly rotation of characters to play, for free. Players may purchase them with gold earned slowly through gameplay, or with cash. Blizzard has packages and sales available on regular basis.
My brothers and I played this nearly non stop all month long, and plan to play together every week, as time allows. I highly recommend it to all players, even those who may not have cared for other MOBAs.