Greetings RagTag Nation! Mr. Prueitt reporting in.
This week I decided to put on my best piece of armor, brush up on my magic spells and demonology, and dive headfirst into the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) from Blizzard entertainment, Heroes of the Storm!
Admittedly, I fanboy’d pretty hard when I saw the announcement trailer for this game dropped in November of 2013. All three major universes created by Blizzard (StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo) would clash on an epic battlefield and compete for true dominance in the nexus, proving their strength to their dimensional counterparts. For those who had no clue what this game would be like, if you’ve played League of Legends of DOTA in the past, you’ll feel right at home. To a point, that is.
Enter: Heroes of the Storm. My first impression was quite bad. I thought Blizzard was just making another League/DOTA clone for people to be inconceivably toxic to one another and find out how many 13 year olds their mothers have slept with. Surprisingly Blizzard had no item system included in HOTS like League or DOTA, which came as a nice surprise. The week I joined, Diablo was free. Being a fan of the Diablo series (yes, even 3) I was thrilled to play as the lord of hell. Clearly he had been hitting the gym, and his in-game skills reflected his abilities from past games which I thought was a nice touch. I felt bulky and slow as a towering beast should, but once up close Diablo could really deal some damage and tear into the enemy. Aside from some team coordination issues, we managed a win by destroying the enemy nexus.
Heroes in the game are divided into ranged or melee classes, and from there you have your specialists that focus on either destroying enemy structures and pushing lanes, warriors that act as tanks or bruisers that can sit in the heat of battle and dish out punishment, supports that can shield and heal allies while at the same time displacing, slowing down, or stunning opponents, or assassins that make up for in damage and maneuverability what they lack in health. The only two assassins I’ve had fun with are Thrall who can sustain and deal tons of damage and Tychus, pictured above, who can deal tons of damage with is mini-gun, displace and shred structures with his grenades, or call down an Odin mech or Mining Laser to deal tons of damage.
The way the game works is pretty standard: Push your (2-3 lanes, they vary from map to map) to the enemy nexus, kill enemy heroes, and win. I loved what Blizzard did to make the game focus more on skill and coordination: capturing objectives and mercenary camps (Boss [large powerful minion], Bruiser [small squad of 3 warriors and 1 mage], and Siege Golems [huge damage outside of tower ranges] will give teams a tremendous edge in pulling out a win. Learning the ebb and flow of a normal game was by no means easy. Knowing when to continue to push a lane or grab a mercenary camp to help solidify or mitigate a large enemy push was admittedly difficult. But once the teams I played with learned the importance of Objectives=Victory, we won a significant amount more often.
Overall, I’d put Heroes of the Storm on your list of games to try if you’re a fan of DOTA or League. If you hate items involved with either game and want to focus simply on team, mechanics, objectives, and overall having fun, then by all means good luck in the nexus, and I hope to see you there!