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Will “Heroes of the Storm” Weather The Storm?

We couldn’t have been the only ones breathing out sighs of disappointment when Blizzard announced that they’ve officially cancelled “Starcraft: Ghost” last year. At least when it was placed on indefinite hold back in 2006, we had a novel to tide us over for Blizzard’s Starcraft third-person shooter (it is as cool as it sounds).

Well, sigh no more! After 13 years, you can finally play as the protagonist from “Starcraft: Ghost”, Nova, in “Heroes of the Storm”! But it’s not a third-person shooter… /small sigh/ At least there’s “Overwatch” for a Blizzard-made shooter.

“Heroes of the Storm” is Blizzard’s very own Massive Online Battle Arena (MOBA) featuring characters taken from their own IPs: namely “Warcraft”, “Starcraft”, “Diablo” and…“The Lost Vikings”? If you’ve ever wanted to watch Kerrigan go toe-to-toe with the Devil himself, fulfil your power fantasy and beat the ever-loving snot out of an actual demon with a space hive-mind symbiote (oh man, we love video games!).

HotS

Though in the same genre as “Defense of the Ancients 2” and “League of Legends”, “Heroes of the Storm” offers a very different experience to differentiate itself from the other two massive titles. Namely: a lack of keyboard-smashing rage and general saltiness.

“Heroes of the Storm” has a generally more casual and less intensive atmosphere than the likes of “DOTA2”, “LoL”, and even “Smite”. Hard as we tried to get angry and ‘salty’, we just couldn’t find our ire while playing as nostalgic Blizzard characters.

Play once more in a team-based objective game where a team of 5 complete strangers are forced to co-operate for upwards of 20 minutes. Whether your team plays as 5 separate fingers or as the whole coherent hand, battle the other team to control objective, demolish Forts, and beat up their Core with sniper rifles, hammers, fists, and staffs.

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In an effort to promote non-stop action and remove the carpal tunnel-inducing tragedy of hour-long games (like DOTA2), where heroes sit under their towers or in the jungle farming, each team shares experience equally between all members. Ah, sweet sweet EXP communism.

Last hitting doesn’t do anything like reward you with gold other than give momentary satisfaction that you know the Hero’s attack animation well. There are no items to purchase anyway.

The removal of farming and item purchasing removes a main cause for MOBA-induced anger management issues as it means that teammates will always have to stick by you – because there isn’t much else they can be doing with their time in-game.

Instead, you’ll spend your time roaming the Battleground to capture neutral objectives such as Mercenary camps by pummelling them into submission and enslaving them to your side to push the lanes for you. It really makes you question if you’re really fighting on the side of Heaven on the “Diablo”-themed maps.

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Each of the 9 maps also contain bonus map-specific objectives that teams can fight over to gain a pushing advantage for their team. From paying a pirate ship to bombarding the enemy’s structures to growing a controllable plant abomination, both sides will fervently battle over the map’s objective so that they don’t have to see the red defeat screen.

In addition, Blizzard has added an even better feature for dealing with toxic players alongside reporting them for being utter ‘scrubs’ and muting them. If enough people report someone for being toxic, they will be banned from talking in-game for 24 hours, with the length of the ban doubling each time they get reported again. Essentially, you can make sure someone who only knows how to spew colourful vulgarities and insults will never be heard by anyone ever again.

Alongside with cross-team chat being disabled so that teams can’t ‘BM’ and insult each other’s mothers and sexuality, Blizzard is trying their hardest to birth a friend(lier) MOBA environment.

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But despite a well-polished, visually-appealing game with Blizzard’s trademark cartoonish sound effects, “Heroes of the Storm” is missing a little MOBA soul. The Traits system, which replaces items, has a lack of build variety as you can’t just buy an insane assortment of items to drastically change a Hero’s playstyle; turning a meek support into a roaming, nuking, ‘ganking’ murder-machine.

Shared experience also removes some of the satisfaction of winning with immense personal effort as you can’t “carry” your team with sheer effort and determination – all teammates are extremely equal. And even though gamers worldwide moan about toxic players and bad teammates, no meal is complete without a little bit of ‘salt’.

“Heroes of the Storm” is fun and pretty game that’s a welcome break from the intensive right-click fest of “DOTA2” and “LoL”. Blizzard has populated with 39 interesting heroes from their franchises to justify giving it a whirl for a generally rage-free playing experience; with more Heroes being added until they run out of IPs.

But we just can’t find ourselves putting more than 2 hours into it per sitting, unlike our 8-hour binge sessions of ‘Ranked’ “League of Legends”. There isn’t much of a desire to ‘redeem’ yourself if you lose, or the thirst to own more if you win. It is exactly as advertised on the box: a casual gaming experience to have fun. And we can respect that.

DANamic.ORG Rating: 3.5/5


 

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Manfred Tham

Metal is my jam and anything about video games, alcohol or films is a good conversation starter with me. Also a massive nerd.

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