Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Heroes of the Storm- Slowly But Surely

As my long time readers are sure to know, I am a big fan of the MOBA genre. I enjoy the competition, the style of game, and the fast paced action that no other genre can bring.

For the longest time, League of Legends was my go-to MOBA of choice. In light of recent changes and updates to the game though, I am finding myself becoming bored with the game. The meta changes at the drop of a pin, games now consistently last 40 minutes, and the game now focuses around being tanky or sating a devourer. For me, the game has become stale, stagnant, and frankly, it brings out the worst in people. The community is toxic to an extreme, and it has not shown any signs of getting better.

With the advent of Heroes of the Storm, however, I finally have a MOBA that satisfies all of my desires in a game. Slowly but surely, it is winning me over to the Blizzard side of the genre.

Heroes of the Storm, for those that may not know, is a MOBA that focuses on the main characters of the three hallmark IPs of Blizzard. This means that we see Jim Raynor butting heads with Malfurion, or Tychus fighting Diablo. The heroes have 4-5 abilities that they use to wage war against their enemies, utilizing mercenaries and other map based objectives to reach the final goal: a destroyed core.

The trick to Heroes is the speed of the gameplay. The laning phase is short, the team fight phase is short, and the end game is short. Games, at their longest, go up to 40 minutes. There are no items or last hits. It's all about the objectives in order to win.

The Heroes are all fairly unique, with their own flavor and fun thrown in. In addition, the Hero level system rewards players for using that character, through skins and mount variations. Playing the Heroes also gives cool portraits and other bonuses. New content comes out constantly, but the balance level is never really altered in such drastic ways as League does. The in game currency is also much easier to gather due to quests and other bonuses for leveling an account. There are fewer characters, at this time, but it appears that Blizzard has plenty coming down the pipe.

The community is way less toxic than League. There is a lower amount of risk/reward in the game play, and the competitive scene has not taken a stranglehold on the game. There is a lot less communication in the game, but the ping system is perfectly usable for most of all issues. There are still occasional assholes, but with the additions of AFKs or leavers being replaced by bots, the impact is far less negative compared to League.

Finally, it has the infrastructure and support system of Blizzard, which is formidable and strong to say the least. I have rarely had issues with client, bugs, or latency issues; the same certainly can not be said for League.

Blizzard has done what they are best at: creating an accessible and entertaining game that changes the landscape of the genre. I would hardly ever recommend that someone play League of Legends, unless that person is a competitive and hardy gamer. Heroes, however, I think is fun for veterans and newcomers alike. It is a game I strongly recommend to anyone interested in breaking into the genre without the prospect of constant bickering and negativity.

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