For the open-minded, non-topical internet user...

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Heroes of the Storm - A Player's First Impressions

Greetings dear MOBA fans!

Yesterday, the third of February 2015, I got home from a busy day at work. As usual my first job was to see what useless crap people posted on Facebook and look at my e-mail. I opened my e-mail and what do you think I saw?

“Blizzard” finally granted me access to their “Heroes of the Storm” closed beta. I was waiting for that moment since the beginning of the game’s test period release a few months ago.

heroes of the storm wallpaper

Alas, I got it now and I am very happy about it. Thanks Oba… I mean Blizzard.

I had a few hours left before bedtime and I decided to try this innovative game out. I do play the two best world renowned MOBAs - DotA and LoL but I did not want to expect anything from HOTS.

So the game is installed and I was ready to kick some butt.



My first positive impression was the intro movie. It was amazing to see how characters from different times, games, worlds, planets and dimensions cross paths on the battlefield. The music and graphic effects which contributed to the fantastic feeling I had when watching this prelude. I just knew I’d like this game already.

Next off was the tutorial which I had to play with Raynor - a noob-friendly ranged carry type of hero. Guided by the mighty Uther I quickly got used to the game and as I mentioned before - I have experience with MOBA games.
raynor and diablo
theruleofthegames.tumblr.com
What I loved about the tutorial is that it was actually very humorous and descriptive. The verbal battle between Raynor and Diablo was hilarious. And then came Stitches (although I prefer to call him Pudge) who made it even funnier. Damn, I was even more consumed by the desire to start playing the actual game. But you know, you got to learn the objectives and surroundings before you venture into the real action.

So some minutes later Uther taught me all I need to know about HOTS and it was time to try it out.

Pre-Game Menu

Easy to navigate. Before the match starts you can pick your desired hero so you don’t waste time doing that in-game.

You can view every hero, his skills and talents as well as the game shop with its skins.

You choose what mode to play and head directly to the battlegrounds.

Hero Selection

You are surely aware by now that the heroes you play are characters of all Blizzard games: Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft.

arthas

Since the game is still in closed beta, there isn’t a rich selection of heroes yet. There are around 30 available at this time. But for a new player this is a perfect opportunity to explore the game mechanics and try out some of the characters.

Maps

There are 6 different maps in this game. Although your mission always remains the same - destroy the enemy structures - these maps have secondary objectives. You collect different types of resources like gold coins or seeds and exchange them for powerful buffs or to get help from an NPC who nukes your opponent’s base.

I haven’t played every map yet but the ones I’m talking about are: Blackheart’s Bay and Garden of Terror. You can view all battlegrounds at battle.net website.

Neutral Creep and Environment

As in all MOBA games or at least the famous ones, there are neutral monster camps in the jungle area who grant additional experience and resources. What makes these camps unique though is how you benefit by defeating a certain pack of creeps.

jungle creeps

In addition to the experience you gain, on defeat these monsters join your forces and aid your creeps demolish the enemy buildings. There are both ranged and melee ones. There’s also a powerful boss who’s hard to beat but worth the effort. You cannot control these monsters and once they die it takes time for them to respawn back at their camp.

There are bushes in the jungle that, just like in LoL, hide you from enemy sight and you can use them to your advantage for a surprise engage or escape tools.

Mounts and Townportal

Mounts in MOBA you ask?

Well yes, there are. And the idea of having them is awesome too. This game is all about team fight presence and this way you move faster to get to your buddies. The purposes of mounts is time saving through mobility. There’s a few seconds channelling time to summon your horse.
mobility

To quickly return to your base for health and mana regeneration you use your hearthstone. This is a device which teleports you to your base after a couple of seconds channelling.

 

 Global Experience and No Gold/Currency

This is the point where you decide if you are willing to play this game or not.

In Heroes of the Storm there’s no currency. There’s no such thing as farming. No last hitting. No items. It’s pretty straight forward - destroy the enemy’s base before they destroy yours.

Your whole team shares experience by hero, lane and neutral creep kills and structures demolished. Individual kills can only be seen in the score board. If you get a pentakill your name is not displayed - it’s a team pentakill.

If you are the type of guy that boasts with his high kill count this game is not for you.

If you seek high competitive play with high skill requirements this game is not for you.

If you are looking for a friendly, fast paced, straight forward game with almost no strategy and skill required, this is your game.

Talents

talents
The only skill customisation option there is - the talent system. As your team progresses and levels up, you are given the choice to upgrade your skills - more damage, control impairment, healing etc. This way you better your abilities depending on the situation you find yourself in.

For example if you die too much, you can choose to steal life with your attacks or damage reduction.

Hero Roles

  • Warrior - melee fighters and tanks with damaging and crowd control abilities.
  • Assassin - ranged or melee single target damage dealers, mobile, squishy
  • Support - healing, damage and crowd control abilities
  • Specialist - specialises in structure demolishing, pushing lanes
For me roles don’t matter that much since you can play for example a damage dealing support if you choose the right talents for this purpose.

Heroes of the Storm Overall

Pros:

  • Noob friendly
  • Dynamic
  • Not time consuming
  • Various map scenarios
  • Fun to play, friendly community
  • Daily quests that give bonuses

Cons:

  • Limited hero development
  • Unlocking heroes and skins requires you to pay real money or spend a large amount of time until you get enough gold
  • The game is still in closed beta testing
nova