Heroes of the Storm Review - Totally Not A MOBA

Heroes of the Storm Review - Totally Not A MOBA

For what it is, Heroes is a great game with some room for improvement. Whether "what it is" appeals to you or not is a matter of personal preference.

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My only major complaint with Hots remains the pricing structure, both in-game and with real money. The prices of heroes range from reasonable to ridiculous ensuring that anyone who wants to unlock more than a handful of characters needs to play the game a *lot* before it happens, and I do mean a lot. Meanwhile the real-money costs for heroes is just silly. Cosmetics? Sure, why not, I've no problem with that sorta stuff. But to unlock the heroes for gameplay purposes? That shit needs to be less expensive.

There are bundle packs that are slightly more reasonable and which circulate between one another on sale, but it's still not ideal.

Luckily the actual gameplay is solid and entertaining. I'm one of those nooby idiots that can't get into hardcore moba style games, never have, but for a casual bit of fun Hots is actually really entertaining despite my general dislike of the genre. I've been playing it on and off for a few months now and have had some great fun.

I'm sorry, Blizzard, but I don't see this game succeeding on the level of their previous franchises.

You see, the biggest problem with this game, by far, is that teamwork is emphasized to the point that individual play doesn't feel impactful. I played the beta for a while, (disclosure, Gold IV in League of Legends) and I never felt like I was contributing very much. It's all about objectives, and very little about individual play. This is great when playing with friends, but the majority of players play solo...and that takes away from the experience.

What's more, the game doesn't feel very smooth or responsive to me. I hate using the mounts to get around in the game. And while they have gotten a little better, the pricing structure is still ridiculous.

All of these problems tell me that, sooner or later, HotS will become a financial liability to Blizzard, considering how much they are banking on it catching on with the eSports scene. When that happens, I expect to see the game go the way of Heroes of Newerth.

I still don't think the game is good enough to have a serious eSports scene.

I kind of enjoy playing HOTS with friends but I just cannot solo queue it at all. As already mentioned above, my individual play has way less impact on the game than in any other MOBA. Yeah I might be doing fine myself but since my team is level 8 to their level 10, i'm just as fucked as they are even if i'm the only one without deaths. Let's just say if my friends asked if wanted to play HOTS or League I would say League every single time. It's not a bad game exactly

Only bad Abathurs sit in base all game by the way OP, I know you're exaggerating for the article but I have to say it. The pushing power of your locusts are absolutely wasted if you do, even if the backdoor locust build was nerfed to shit recently.

SlumlordThanatos:
I'm sorry, Blizzard, but I don't see this game succeeding on the level of their previous franchises.

You see, the biggest problem with this game, by far, is that teamwork is emphasized to the point that individual play doesn't feel impactful. I played the beta for a while, (disclosure, Gold IV in League of Legends) and I never felt like I was contributing very much. It's all about objectives, and very little about individual play. This is great when playing with friends, but the majority of players play solo...and that takes away from the experience.

What's more, the game doesn't feel very smooth or responsive to me. I hate using the mounts to get around in the game. And while they have gotten a little better, the pricing structure is still ridiculous.

All of these problems tell me that, sooner or later, HotS will become a financial liability to Blizzard, considering how much they are banking on it catching on with the eSports scene. When that happens, I expect to see the game go the way of Heroes of Newerth.

I still don't think the game is good enough to have a serious eSports scene.

Yeah I don't really buy the esports side of it either, I checked out a game a while ago and just closed the browser after someone fed 3 kills as Tychus in as many minutes on Garden of Garbage*. It... needs some time to grow at the very least.

* Super endearing name for the worst damn map in the game, who the fuck thought it was a good idea?

SlumlordThanatos:
You see, the biggest problem with this game, by far, is that teamwork is emphasized to the point that individual play doesn't feel impactful. I played the beta for a while, (disclosure, Gold IV in League of Legends) and I never felt like I was contributing very much. It's all about objectives, and very little about individual play. This is great when playing with friends, but the majority of players play solo...and that takes away from the experience.

I never really played MOBAs so this comes from a place of ignorance but isn't the point of group games to do teamwork. I mean if you want individual play their are single player games for that, Or non team based multiplayer.

Eric the Orange:
I never really played MOBAs so this comes from a place of ignorance but isn't the point of group games to do teamwork. I mean if you want individual play their are single player games for that, Or non team based multiplayer.

You're right, but only to a certain extent.

The best team games give exceptional players a chance to shine, while still balanced in such a way that a team that works well together will trump even the best players. In Heroes of the Storm, I never felt like I could put the team on my back and carry them like I can in other games, and there are fewer opportunities to make individual plays in HotS.

This attitude also doesn't translate well to a fun game to watch. Part of the reason I like watching professional League of Legends so much is because playmakers can make a flashy individual play to change the course of the game, while HotS is simply teamfight after teamfight over objectives. I don't think there's enough variety to make HotS fun to watch.

Although I enjoyed HOTS a lot at the start I've found to me it's quickly lost the magic touch.

That being said this was some time after my stimpack ran out and I think that may be the problem, progression in this game in the champions department is a lot slower than in other games.

Imagine League Of Legends but every champion costing you 6300 minimum.

Most "good" heroes will cost you 10.000 points at the moment, if you're playing bot games if I remember correctly that would mean you'd need a shallow 1000 games to actually get that hero, sure there are daily quests and the hero leveling thing but once you reach a certain level (say 30) and your stimpack runs out you will be running out of heroes to cash in on and similarly be running out of quick level rewards.

Wait, now I have to memorize not only every hero but also their alternate abils? And last hitting is meaningless? And also no items. so no majik immune to counter stuns. so stun and slow heavy heroes will dominate 1v1s. Yup this isn't a moba, it's a train wreck.

(Ps, try not to get HotS [heroes of the storm] confused with HotS [heart of the swarm] the starcraft 2 expansion)

i actually liked the objective side of the game. i like it that solo plays are not that important (im mostly a tank player. LoL gold II
and i love my tank jungle/support/top) the thing i didnt like is that the game gives you too little information. who killed me? did this guy do more damage? shall go for that guy? how much is that guys health? is he out of mana? and.... you cant make important decisions in the game. what if you dive and find out he had 500 more HP than you thought. or empty your abilities on a guy that had 500 less than what you thought. the problems are that. also the talent thing is too restrictive. sure its easier and simpler. but in a LoL game if i see that i die too much i can sell a damage item and buy a tanky one. i can change parts of my build. i bought something wrong? well lets redo! HotS dont give me that.

I felt I needed to memorize a Periodic Table of Champions before I could even start to consider myself ready to play and not drag my team down.

as a somewhat experienced moba player i can tell you that this is a load of crap. you dont need to know every champion or their abilities or their weaknesses to play. sure it helps on higher games but its not needed. just know your own champ and the game well enough and you will do well (lower tiers that is)

Well so far every comment that have people disliking it (aside form the poor monetization) seem to come from people who actully like other mobas. I like the review disliked every other moba I have tried but am quite likeing heros of the storm, so I am curious how this that pans out over a larger group.

So... What you're telling me is that if bot lane feeds stupidly hard, I'll end up at a disadvantage even though I wasn't losing my lane? I guess the 20 minute length is a plus there.

Comebacks are also a thing in LoL, though I don't know about DOTA2, they just aren't easy, as they shouldn't be. I've had games where everything except the Nexus was destroyed, but the enemy threw the match because they were careless.

I think this review hit the nail on the head as to whether one likes this game or not - it's the MOBA for people who don't like MOBAs. And as one such person, perhaps that's why I've enjoyed it as much as I have.

I agree that the pricing sucks though. Nothing against a hero rotation, but you'll forgive me for being put off at the notion of paying $10 for a single hero, or $20 for a unicorn mount.

Hots is my favourite Moba, and for all the reasons a lot of people dont like it, the lack of individual impact and the need for team work. i also only que solo something which ive heard is impossible ;)

i basically got sick of LoL because every game i joined i had to play support or tank or get trolled as people lock adc or top solo and threaten their team. in hots i can play who or what i like and i dont have to be the bitch of some stroppy 11 year old cunt.

as everyone likes to spam predictions ill add mine , i dont think it will take off fast. the amount of time/money people have invested in lol/dota i dont think they would move to hots even if they actually do prefer playing it. so its going to have to build its own base and that will take time. but as an esport it has to be the best for a non player to watch , dota doesnt make a lot of sense till you know whats going on and lol has the problem of nothing ever really happening for 20 mins.

its certainly no danger for blizzard , i bet wow is still to this day bankrolling everything they do and buying yachts a plenty i mean they have the cash to just drop and walk away from titan after 7 years of development.

i would strongly disagree with the claim you cant make single moves and feel impactful, theres definitely a lot of room for individual skill , you just dont get the carry levels of being able to face rape the whole team just by out gearing them.

Having played it this past week, it's alright. It's not a bad game by any means, and it has its pros and cons compared to other MOBAs. The map variety, the accessible nature and focus on teamwork as opposed to solo play are all fine and good. The heroes themselves are well made and joy to play. But I don't think the game will blow up the way Hearthstone did.

HS scratched an itch by providing a broad-appeal CCG to a market with nothing comparable out there. M:TG is too expensive for casual play (Duels of the Planeswalkers were simply advertisements/demos for the main game you could buy), most of the other stuff was cheaply made, overburdened with microtransactions, etc. Hearthstone provided something people wanted and it payed off. It was interesting and felt fresh. CCGs in general weren't "mainstream" before that. Also, the business model of HS was a lot more fair than most online CCGs, particularly with the Arena.

On the other hand, HotS is entering a hostile environment. It's competing with literally the most popular game on the planet (LoL), with DotA2 nipping at its heels as likely the 2nd most popular e-sports game. I addition, there's a plethora of alternative 2nd tier games, such as Smite. The genre is saturated to the point that perfectly good games are starting to dry up (Dawngate, Infinite Crisis, etc.)

And at the end of the day, the one thing that'll kill HotS (or at least keep it from getting big) is the business model. In my opinion, Blizz is overestimating the value of their IP - people won't be willing to pay up at their prices for long. The gold-generation in game is embarrassingly low, prices are needlessly high and the real money costs are silly. In the long run, this will drive people away, especially as there are more popular games with much friendlier business models. If Blizz wants in on this particular market, they need to offer a much better deal than they are currently, at least if they want HotS to be any more than a side dish...

fieldalex:
Wait, now I have to memorize not only every hero but also their alternate abils? And last hitting is meaningless? And also no items. so no majik immune to counter stuns. so stun and slow heavy heroes will dominate 1v1s. Yup this isn't a moba, it's a train wreck.

(Ps, try not to get HotS [heroes of the storm] confused with HotS [heart of the swarm] the starcraft 2 expansion)

What does this even mean?

First-of-all, yes each hero has 2 Ults, but that doesn't make it too hard to memorise, considering you don't have to memorise every hero item progression or items overall. You also get a try mode with every hero so if you can't spend a minute there to check out all heroes' abilities and talents it's on you.

Second, yeah this game has no items, but it does have spell block talents and a new hero who is CC-immune. Stuns are nowhere near as long as in DotA or LoL so no, you're wrong that stun and cc-heavy heroes dominate lanes. The hero who is currently dominating laning (Zagara in my opinion) has no CC, only a lot of summons who wreck towers and annoy opposing heroes to no end. And why would you even need magic immunity? I hate the fact that Black King's Bar is pretty much a must in every DotA game because stuns are so potent.

Third, yes, no last hitting. Thank God, now I can see which people came from LoL and DotA because they only stay in lane the whole game. It's objectives based, you don't win by killing creeps and earning money, you win by doing things on the map. That's the key difference. Is it better or worse than lane farming and jungle farming it's not for me to decide, but it's the main differentiator between this game and other MOBAs. Calling it a train-wreck because it's different from what you're used to is ignorant.

I was really into Hero Attack for awhile in the SC2 arcade, so MOBAs both intrigue and disgust me. I liked the strategy of customization while also lacking the intense micromanagement of most strategy games, but most of them struck me as horribly unbalanced with the same pool of heroes being used. To hear that they streamlined this even further by removing itemization (which held similar unbalances, and that was with a simple item set as Hero Attack) and place greater emphasis on teamwork piques my interest. I know some here hate the fact that one cannot carry a team, I enjoy that. For that to happen in the first place suggestions an unbalanced nature that shouldn't exist in the first place.

But I haven't played the game at all yet, so we'll see.

Captcha: fried rice. "Flied lice?! It is fried rice, you plick!"

"Totally not a MOBA"? You mean in the same way it's "Totally not a clickbait title"?

MOBA is such an ambiguous term that you could throw in Team Fortress 2 and it'd make perfect sense. No, let's not kid ourselves here, HoTS is more like League of Legends or DOTA than anything else, so whatever words you choose to pretty up the argument with, it's a thin one.

The question is, is it different enough from what's out there? I'd say no.
It's not the inability to carry the team or even the lack of items (which is a significant loss of mechanics) that sets it apart. In truth there is so very much more that makes these games alike, that trying to find the differences in an attempt to distance the game from the others, just amounts to lying to yourself: "It's not like the other games I don't like".
The difference, at best, are the objectives that require you to think marginally differently and attack from other angles or have to maintain dominance of certain areas based on secondary or tertiary goals (such as the minion camps).
Since LoL came out, the thing that has been missing is a campaign or scenario mode. I feel HoTS comes a bit closer to that idea to really bring in the last remaining people who aren't playing the big MOBA's.

That's really the crux of this topic, isn't it. It's "who can we get to play this" and this article smacks of the negative associations MOBA's bring with them, such as "it's only multiplayer" or "it's a toxic environment".
This has happened every single time a new MMO has been announced, where the company and the hyped audience both fight to tell everyone how much this game isn't World of Warcraft.

CJ MIOZZI:
I've tried a number of MOBAs over the years, from the big names to more obscure ones, and simply couldn't get into any of them.

Again, this is exactly what people say about MMO's. "I tried it, it just wasn't for me". No, you have no idea what the game is, because if you've just "tried" it, you haven't seen shit of what the game is about.
The point of MOBA's, just like MMO's, is the end game.

If we really have to boil it down, then it's about improving yourself so that you can consistently win or at least do a good enough effort that you're satisfied with your performance.
Way too many people go into these things with the mentality, that because they've played games for 10 or 20 years, they've seen it all and there can't be more to the game than the first impression.

Let's turn this around and say "If you like HoTS, there's no reason that you shouldn't like League of Legends". It's basically the same mechanical game with a few differences. Yes, you have to put in more effort and learn what item builds, talent builds and runes you should get depending on your setup and the one you're against, but it's peanuts compared to what the difference is between the endgame of HoTS and LoL. One is a game that'll flip either way despite consistent gameplay and the other is a genuine eSport where the skillcap is a hell of a lot higher.
I've played LoL for years and I'm horrible at it due to my poor hand-eye-coordination along with the inability to focus on fighting as well as maintaining map awareness. However, I will promise you that I can wipe the floor with by far most of the people here who "have tried it".

Note that when I say endgame, I don't mean reaching level 30 on your LoL account or the endgame of a single match. I mean when you're familiar with all heroes, all their builds, all team compositions and tactics, then you practice, you learn how to be part of a regular team and how to apply your strengths to the game. That's the endgame.
You want to know the amazing part? You can go beyond that and make a career out of it.

-

HoTS is a lite/light version of the actual game. It's the Hearthstone to Magic The Gathering. It's Blizzards new game for people with an attention span of 20 minutes who don't want to invest themselves, but crave instant satisfaction, also known as lazy gamers.

'Too team-based'? One of the cardinal rules in every MOBA I've ever played (including DOTA 1 the origin) is never to wander off alone when enemy heroes are MIA, lest you stumble into more than one enemy hero at a time and be instantly stunlocked and killed. Unless your opponents are total incompetents, you cannot win teamfights (any fight outside of lane and some in it too later on) without your team.

And comebacks are actually possible to make? Sweet. Just tell me there's no hero equivalent of Rikimaru and I'm sold.

Lastly, I'll hit upon a subject that very much falls under the "your mileage may vary" category, but I'm not overly fond of Blizzard's pay model. Heroes is free-to-play, but with microtransactions that allow players to purchase XP and gold boosters, cosmetic items, and heroes. Costs feel like they're a little too high. While you can play Heroes without ever spending a dime by purchasing heroes with in-game gold or simply sticking to the half-dozen heroes on free rotation every week, there are a limited number of inexpensive heroes, and new heroes will sit around 10,000 gold for a very long time before being discounted. It would take roughly a month of play, at one hour a day (just enough time to complete daily quests for their high gold reward, since playing more than that has almost no further gold gain) to be able to accumulate that much gold, and heroes will be released once every three weeks, according to Blizzard's plans - so the average player will never be able to afford to keep up with the amount of heroes being released without spending real money.

A 10,000 gold hero can be purchased for $10. You can argue that's less than a monthly MMO subscription fee, but in an MMO, you're paying for access to a huge amount of content - an entire game world with dozens, even hundreds of quests and events. $10 for a single hero feels steep in comparison. As for the cosmetic items, those can only be purchased with real money - an option to pay with gold, even a huge amount of gold, would be appreciated for those players who have no desire to purchase new heroes - and their prices range from $5 to $15 - again, for just one skin for one hero. I'm not opposed to the microtransaction model in principle, but when you calculate how much $60 can buy you in Heroes, it doesn't feel like you're getting your money's worth relative to just flat-out buying a game for the same price. An option to unlock all (or most) content in the game for $60 would be welcome - the closest thing is a $40 bundle that gives you eight heroes and six cosmetic items, which effectively values the entirety of the game at about $180, given you're unlocking roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of the content for $40.

I realize you mentioned 'ymmv', but for my milage, complaining about the cost of heroes - and especially the cosmetic skins that do absolutely nothing to change the actual gameplay - in a game that is literally free to play seems like a major nitpick. The bulk of the heroes (with a few holdout exceptions) are free to play and test before committing to them if you can wait for their rotation, so unless you're either impatient or feel the need to unlock every single hero - even the ones you rarely expect to actually play - the gold system isn't really all that bad.

And there's a certain element to consider of where do they find a balance of charging too little and not making enough to support the game being free to play and too much where they don't sell enough for the same reason.

But there is a certain point where I have to wonder about complaints about the cost of things when they quite literally give you the game to pay for free - and a means to unlock heroes for free - at what point does it just come off as being 'I want and deserve to have it all' greedy?

fieldalex:
Wait, now I have to memorize not only every hero but also their alternate abils? And last hitting is meaningless? And also no items. so no majik immune to counter stuns. so stun and slow heavy heroes will dominate 1v1s. Yup this isn't a moba, it's a train wreck.

I fail to see how doing away with the necessity of last hit is a bad thing. Or how not having to memorize items is a bad thing. Between having to memorize dozens of heroes and dozens of items for those heroes vs having to memorize just the heroes themselves, I'd take just the heroes.

Space Jawa:

I fail to see how doing away with the necessity of last hit is a bad thing. Or how not having to memorize items is a bad thing. Between having to memorize dozens of heroes and dozens of items for those heroes vs having to memorize just the heroes themselves, I'd take just the heroes.

Why would you bother memorizing the items when you can just hover the mouse over them and they tell you exactly what they do and are sorted in the shop by what stats they give? As for unlocking of new heroes, I'm sure it's fine now when they need so many games to unlock one, there's only about 36 of them so far. After all, it's not like LoL started with 40 champs and is currently at 127.

Last hitting is a good thing because it keeps you in lane and always applying pressure to the lane youre in, which makes ganks and initiating team fights riskier as it may harm you late game, this is to keep you from getting stomped just because you wanted to solo lane for a bit. Also it makes poking a choice rather than somthing you do all the time,and it makes you consider if you want to do dmg now or get items later

Space Jawa:

[quote="fieldalex" post="6.876256.22043295"]Wait, now I have to memorize not only every hero but also their alternate abils? And last hitting is meaningless? And also no items. so no majik immune to counter stuns. so stun and slow heavy heroes will dominate 1v1s. Yup this isn't a moba, it's a train wreck.

I fail to see how doing away with the necessity of last hit is a bad thing. Or how not having to memorize items is a bad thing. Between having to memorize dozens of heroes and dozens of items for those heroes vs having to memorize just the heroes themselves, I'd take just the heroes.

If you want to own every (or the majority) of heroes then this would get pricy. But if you are focused on getting 10 or so heroes it's quite possible to do without spending any money.

I've been playing the game for less than 2 months and I own 10 heroes. At least half of them cost 10k gold. I think I only own 1 that was 2k. The key is during the free rotations level every character to level 5 as you get 500 gold. It doesn't take that long to do either. Coupled with doing your daily quests then it is quite possible to have a good selection of heroes.

Haven't played this yet, never really liked Mobas, outside of SMITE's coliseum deathmatches. Feel like I should give it a try though, this game has some of my favorite Hearthstone characters (Missing Ragnaros and Dr. Boom tho)

Hell, I'm probably going to have to play this just for that sweet card back

SlumlordThanatos:

What's more, the game doesn't feel very smooth or responsive to me. I hate using the mounts to get around in the game. And while they have gotten a little better, the pricing structure is still ridiculous.

What didn't you find smooth or responsive? I'm by no means a Gold IV player in LoL, but HoTS felt just as responsive as LoL did out of the gate to me. Skill shots felt the same, and I've never felt "I fucking hit that!" yet when I've missed, some ultimates have a little bit of a windup, but it doesn't feel clunky to me. Heftier might be a better description. Agree the pricing structure is a bit iffy though. A 10k hero=a 6.3k hero in LoL takes me considerably longer to get the gold for than it does in LoL, when comparitively they should take the same amount of time.

OT: I'm not really digging this description of MOBA for people who don't like MOBAs, HotS is a MOBA, it's just more relaxed in its gameplay than others. LoL is a lot less complex than DotA2*, but we don't argue that it isn't a MOBA, do we?

If you wanted to boil it down, DOTA 2 would require the most overall concentration, LoL less than that, and HoTS less than that. That's all. Do I want to play a highly concentration intensive game with the most complexities? I'll play DoTA, do I want to forgo some of that complexity in place of meatier combat and the better inclusion of jungling? LoL it is. Or do I want to have a chillaxed 20 minute game that's more objective based? HoTS for me tonight.

If you don't like the genre, this isn't going to be the game that gets you into the genre, because it still has most of the tropes of the genre. Okay it doesn't have a toxic community(yet), but just because its streamlined, I don't see how it would make the genre suddenly appealing to someone who doesn't like it.

*and I play LoL because I've never enjoyed the crafting system in DotA, last hitting feels tighter in LoL, I don't want to have to worry about denying in the way that DotA2 asks you to, and heroes are a /little/ too squishy for me in DotA

I have three major issues with HOTS, coming from DOTA2.

Cosmetics. Not the price or lore-friendliness. There is zero consistency with how some characters look. With a skin and paintjob some times it's very hard to recognize the hero. Despite a lot of the bitching about certain "hats" ruining Dota2, general shapes and color schemes remain roughly the same.

Overall approach to balance in HOTS is not my thing. Weak and spammy skills with fairly large healthpools, short stuns, and lackluster crowd control. It barely has any moments when you can feel like a god amongst mere mortals. Ultimates, or however they are called in HOTS are on or maybe slightly above of the level of good non-ultimate skills in Dota2. Everything is so damn weak and there are nowhere near enough FUCK YEAH moments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEXkzm5x8y0 <- This is dota2 not at it's craziest, but still quite crazy. And it's beautiful. Impossible in HOTS.

A lot of skills are visually and audibly indistinct. Too easy too miss things happening with them also being so spammy from the start. It also gets in the way of HOTS as an esport.

And non-ranked matchmaking... It sucks. It's not fun to lose from the moment you are matched with 4 other people and none of you is a healer/support or frontliner/tank against a team who has proper combination of characters. 5-6 matches in a row.

GladiatorUA:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEXkzm5x8y0 <- This is dota2 not at it's craziest, but still quite crazy. And it's beautiful. Impossible in HOTS.

This is also a good example of impossible things in HotS:

Denamic:

GladiatorUA:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEXkzm5x8y0 <- This is dota2 not at it's craziest, but still quite crazy. And it's beautiful. Impossible in HOTS.

This is also a good example of impossible things in HotS:

What? Something weird and not even funny? At least find something interesting.

 

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