Will Heroes of the Storm be the MOBA to take down DOTA?
Blizzard Entertainment’s is throwing their hat into the MOBA ring with Heroes of the Storm, which combines the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo universes. Being Blizzard, they are doing a few thing differently than what other MOBAs have done. Recently I got invited to the technical alpha, and want to give my thoughts on it.
The major change from other MOBAs is the addition of team levels. Rather than each individual player gaining levels, the team gains levels as a whole. This means that staying in a lane is less important because you can’t fall behind. This also allows Blizzard to create fun gimmick maps rather than sticking with the typical three lane map. Such maps include a ghost pirate that can be bribed into bombarding the enemy with his ghost ship, or a map with a haunted mine that will summon a powerful troop for you based on how many undead you killed. Each map’s mechanics are different and refreshingly unique.
There are two other fairly big changes. First, you start out with all of your abilities available, with the exception of your ultimate. This means that team fights and engagements happen almost as soon as the gates are open. It also ties into the other change, the lack of a shop. Since you start with all of your abilities, leveling up gives you the chance to augment your character into a variety of builds. For example, Stitches can either gain extra 35% healing when healed, or prevent 50% of damage done by non-heroic targets when he hits level 4. Each hero can be built for multiple roles depending on what your team needs in the moment.
What Blizzard has done with Heroes of the Storm is create a MOBA that is easily accessible, but still has depth. The game is built to encourage engaging enemies, whether in a huge team fight over an objective or just trying to bully an enemy out of your lane. It also allows for heroes with unique mechanics such as Abathur, who stays in base and can assist heroes using mines and shielding friendly units. While some heroes still need to be balanced (I’m looking at you Murky) and others still need to be added, Heroes of the Storm is shaping up to be great. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of the MOBA genre, it’s worth checking out.