Heroes of the Storm is a new game from Blizzard, currently in Alpha, basically classified as a MOBA, but with more emphasis on ARPG elements, calling itself a Team Brawler Game.
The game features a selection of famous and inspired Blizzard characters to do battle with in multiple game modes. Games are typically shorter than most MOBAs, clocking in at an average 15-25 mins instead of 40-60 mins that people are used to in games such as League of Legends.
For players with experience with other MOBAs, HotS is an easy transition, but there are some important distinctions you should make.
No Gold – Whilst a couple of heroes abilities benefit from last hitting, there isn’t any gold earned from killing minions/towers in the game, and no thus no items to buy. In this respect the game is much more about the team than the individual. Experience is shared between the whole team, and thus you benefit your whole team with your all your actions.
Fast Action – Because there’s no gold farming, there’s no 20 minute farming stage before things kick off, this means action against other players and team-fights are commonly erupting right from the start.
Unique Objectives – Each map has a unique objective to focus on, and it’s highly advised to focus on these objectives because they give big advantages if you do, and do them well. If just one person on a team doesn’t help with objectives, it can mean the other team will stomp you, with summoned golems etc.
Talents – The game employs a talent system, which modifies your character’s core abilities, you start off with your 3 main abilities, and unlock your ultimate ability at lvl 10, of which you have 2 choices currently. I feel this gives characters a more unique nature, rather than a limited set of abilities which are boosted through item acquisition that everyone can get.
Jungle Camps/Mercs – You defeat these camps and then stand on a ground area to take them into your minion army, then they take a route to assault the enemy base.
Mounts – You can mount in this game, being attacked or attacking dismounts you, a good tactic if you are being chased is to run into a bush round a corner and mount if you have enough space before they can enter the bush and attack you.
Gaining XP – You gain xp by just being near enemy minions being killed, you don’t have to hit them. In this respect you don’t want to leave lanes without a hero on your team there because you’ll reduce your team’s xp. But always leave a lane for the game-mode objectives and if the enemy team has grouped up to take an objective.
Town Base –
- Palace which is like the Nexus, when destroyed, the game ends.
- Forts, a grouping of buildings; Castle/Fountain/Towers/Walls that protect each lane.
- Healing fountains which replenish health and mana on a cooldown after you click them.
- Castles which spawn minions and shoot likes a cannon tower but with more ammo.
- Cannon Towers which defend the town. Each Cannon Tower has ammo, and replenishes the ammo slowly.
- Gates, these let your allies through, but not the enemies.
- Lane Dynamics – When all the forts in a lane are destroyed, a catapult minion will spawn, similar to super minions.
Blackheart’s Bay : When the event starts, you can go fight various camps around the map and collect Gold Coins from them. Each team has to pay the pirate in the center of the map to get him to fire his cannons on the enemy team. If you die, you drop your currently collected coins if you haven’t paid them into the pirate. There are also Chests that appear that you hit to gather coins from. Everytime you finish paying the pirate for a bombardment, the next one costs more coins. You have to channel handing in the coins to the pirate, and this can be interrupted.
Dragon Shire : When the event starts, you need to capture the north and south shrine points on the map, when you control both, a player on your team can click the statue in the center, after channeling for a few seconds, they become the dragon knight, which has special abilities. You use the dragon knight to siege down the enemy team.
Garden of Terror : When the event starts, various small seeds and two boss plants will spawn in the jungle. When these plants die, they drop seeds, when your team picks up 100 seeds, it will allow a hero to control a Garden Monster that spawns in your base. Whilst controlling it, you should siege down the enemy base and use you special abilities accordingly.
Haunted Mines : When the event starts, you should have your whole team enter the mine portals, at the top and bottom of the map. By killing the undead minions inside, they drop skulls, which you collect to empower a Golem for your army. The more skulls you collect, the stronger your Golem. There’s 100 skulls to collect each event, and the Golem begins his rampage from your base to the enemy’s, resurrecting in the same place it died when the next event is over.
Cursed Hollow : Periodically a tribute point will spawn randomly on the map, a player needs to click the tribute to collect it, and can be interrupted whilst they channel collecting it. When you collect 3 tributes, you curse the enemy team for a limited time. Cursed enemy forts won’t attack, and cursed enemy minions have 1hp, making it easier for you to siege down and push a lane.
The game is still in alpha, and it’s considerably well polished for an alpha, but nevertheless there are various problems with the game at the moment :
Limited/Buggy Rejoin Feature – Because the game uses the SC2 model for joining, and in SC2 if you disconnect, the game ends. The current workaround is to use the replay feature to run through and load you back into the current action. This means when rejoining, you have to download the current reply up to the present, which takes some time to fast forward through.
No Surrender – There doesn’t seem to a surrender function in yet, but games don’t last much longer than 20 minutes anyway.
Matchmaking – The matchmaking system isn’t properly implemented, and so new players can often get matched with high level players, which creates a very imbalanced match when considering objectives are very important and new players often don’t know the way to play them.
Minor Bugs – A range of minor bugs and problems that affect individuals with certain configs and situations, given time these should be ironed out, it’s just the nature of a new game.
Prices – Some of the prices for champions and skins are ridiculously high, I’m pretty sure Blizzard would make more profit bringing them inline with other games, but I suspect they are this high because of the limited champion pool and skin choice compared to other games currently.