Heroes of the Storm: the old-timers still know how to surprise

League of Legends is still being refined, in addition, there is a consistently vivid opinion of LoL and Defence of the Ancients (DotA) as the undisputed leaders of MOBA games. Taking this into account, one could consider that nothing new can be invented on this topic. This is how, (almost) neatly paraphrasing Einstein, we can describe the success achieved by this developer's MOBA even before its official release.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm presents a fresh and innovative approach to arena games. While adhering to the core principle of team play for victory, Blizzard also incorporates familiar features from other leading MOBA titles, such as watchtowers, minions (referred to as allies), and the goal of destroying the enemy base. However, the game also introduces many surprising innovations that players should be on the lookout for.

In terms of team play, everything in Heroes of the Storm is shared among the players. This means that each player's character can only progress to the next level when they accumulate the appropriate pool of points, regardless of how they contribute to the game, be it by killing enemy mobs or engaging in combat. This eliminates the issue of one player falling behind due to poor performance in the early stages of the game. Additionally, scoring for participation in team fights is accounted for differently. The game only tracks participation in killing opponents, and each map features unique locations without dividing them into kills and assists. This removes the problem of players stealing kills to focus solely on their individual stats. This approach is similar to the modern approach of evaluating results in science or team games, where the focus is on teamwork, as opposed to individual achievement. Although players can still check their individual contribution to damage and destruction in the statistics table, the game emphasizes the team score over individual units.


Heroes of the Storm

One notable aspect of the first game is the absence of a store. Instead of buying equipment, we develop our character by choosing which direction to take with their skills. At the start of the game, we have three basic abilities and one unique trait for each character. As we progress through the game, we can improve our chosen skills and choose one of two heroic abilities at level ten. While this may seem limited, selecting talents after promotions can significantly impact a hero's statistics.

However, the limited development of heroes and accounts can be seen as a downside. After reaching level 25, which unlocks all of a hero's skills, a character's level becomes irrelevant (unless we choose to purchase the master level at level ten). Gold earned by completing daily tasks and winning matches can only be used to purchase more characters, skins, and mounts, although microtransactions are available for those who want to buy heroes, skins, or mounts with real money. Fortunately, the game is not pay-to-win, as all that is necessary to play is a champion that can be bought with earned gold. It is up to the player to decide whether to invest time or money in their heroes.

Heroes from all of Blizzard's universes are available in the game, each with their own unique skills and dialogue. Thanks to the rotation system, we can easily test out different champions every week. The graphics and music of the game match the high quality of Blizzard's other titles, forming a polished and cohesive whole that is pleasant to return to. The game and hero announcement animations are also of the highest quality.

For those familiar with other popular arena games, Heroes of the Storm may appear overly simplistic. However, this was a deliberate choice that has two significant advantages. Firstly, due to the lack of distractions, novice players can quickly adapt to this type of game. Secondly, experienced players will appreciate the fast-paced nature of the skirmishes and the absence of monotony. Unlike other games where players spend the early stages under a tower killing minions for extended periods, matches in Heroes of the Storm can be completed in as little as 15 minutes (or even shorter). The game's rapid action ensures that it never becomes dull, although it remains challenging even with its shorter game time.

WATCH THE SLIDESHOW Unfortunately, the game is still plagued by technical issues. Although most minor glitches have been resolved with subsequent updates, the optimization of the game is still problematic. The game is based on an engine that requires relatively powerful hardware, and even newer mid-range computers may struggle with a drop in frames per second. Even at the lowest graphic and sound settings, the game can turn into a slideshow during team fights, which significantly affects the gameplay experience. This is a common issue that players often complain about on forums and in chat, and despite Blizzard's efforts, it has yet to be fully resolved. Although there has been a significant improvement with one of the major patches, it was only temporary.

In conclusion, Heroes of the Storm is a brand new MOBA game that offers a unique experience. While it may not appeal to everyone, its truncated and refreshed version of the arena game is a worthy competitor to older titles. It is neither better nor worse than LoL or DotA, it is simply different.