Heroes of The Storm Gameplay: 10 Interesting Facts About This Awesome Moba
Ever Wanted To Help Sylvanas Get Her Revenge On Arthas? Well Now You Can
Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's answer to the big names of the MOBA genre such as League of Legends and Dota 2. Instead of trying to produce a game that would kill its competiton – a most unrealistic task given the popularity of said competition – Blizzard cleverly adopts a tactic of creating something different to draw in both the veterans and the newcomers to the MOBA genre.
1. Heroes From Every Blizzard Franchise
One thing that makes a MOBA stand out are memorable playable characters. Games like League have a roster of characters created from scratch, but they're old and unique and everyone remembers them. Games like Smite draw inspiration from real world mythologies. What does Heroes of the Storm have?
Well, the playable champions in HotS are none other than the many characters we've known and loved for years, decades even. One of the main selling points of the game is that you can play as your favorite hero or villain from your favorite franchise and test your mettle against other legendary characters from Warcraft, Starcraft or Diablo.
They even have unique interactions with other heroes from their universe they have a particular relationship with. Sylvanas will seek out Arthas for revenge, while Diablo mocks Tyrael. And how can you resist Brightwing's cuteness, especially once you discover that she's actually a manic serial killer?
When you are the Archangel of Justice and your team mates are a murloc and a faerie dragon, that's when you know things are about to get interesting.
2. Blizzard's Philosophy: Easy To Learn...
Li Li is a pretty straightforward hero.
Blizzard's games have historically been easy to just install and start playing. Controls and interfaces are intuitive, and so are your character's role and skills.
Warriors (or “tanks”) soak damage, assassins deal damage, and supports bring utility to their team. Each character's skills are easy to understand and if you're familiar with the hero's universe, you will also know in advance what set of skills this champion might have access to.
Uther is a good healer, for instance, as expected of a Holy Paladin. Nova can use cloaking to set up ambushes and the witch doctor Nazeebo throws jars full of poisonous spiders and summons gargantuan zombies.
Every hero's skills are consistent with their universe. For instance, Jaina can cast her iconic spell, Blizzard.
3. ...Yet Hard To Master
On the contrary, the Lost Vikings may prove to be quite difficult to play to their full potential.
Just as Blizzard's games are famous for being easily accessible, they also have a reputation of being deceptively hard to master. Heroes of the Storm is perfect for that bit of relaxing, casual fun, but becoming truly good at this game is going to take dedication.
HotS does have depth, but it does not come from the usual staples of the genre, coming instead from thinking outside the box. By getting rid of a lot of usual MOBA features and replacing them with new things, Heroes encourages players to try on new strategies and play styles.
For instance, in every MOBA, you have to think in terms of team compositions and counters to enemy heroes and choose your champion and their equipment accordingly. In HotS, where you can customize your hero with talent choices, you can (and should) instead tailor your play style to adapt it to the enemies you encounter or even to the map you are going to play on, which opens up almost endless possibilities for a skill set that appears rather restricted at first.
And the three Lost Vikings are a perfect example of that.
4. Get Rid Of Artificial Complexity, Encourage Tactical Play
You can see the different features HotS has to offer.
A big decision on the part of Blizzard was to get rid of the complexity created by purchaseable gear, runes, and the myriad of secondary stats that you can expect to find in a MOBA. While some people do enjoy learning every possible item combination for all of their champions, it adds a layer of difficulty – and a steep learning curve – that is not always enjoyable.
Heroes adopts a minimalistic approach to champion building. All champions start a game with all of their abilities, expect the ultimate, already learned, and it is not necessary to upgrade them. There is no gear; all heroes have preset amounts of HP, mana and damage that increases with levels.
What Heroes does have is talents. These can be considered a replacement to gear and skill upgrades since a lot of them modify your character's base stats or give your spells a different mechanic. You gain one talent points every 3 levels, which you can spend on one of the 4 talents in that tier (and only on a talent in that specific tier).
Talents can be active or passive, and may completely change the way a champion plays. At level 10, you unlock your champion's ultimate ability, and at level 20 you also get the opportunity to upgrade it, or choose a different ability to learn.
Depending on how you build your champion, they become proficient at some aspect of the game beyond their starting role, and you must communicate with your team mates in order to put your build to good use by assisting them, ganking enemy champions or pushing objectives when the other team is not expecting you to.
Li Li keeps just enough distance from the thick of the battle to be able to heal Tyrael instead of wasting mana on herself.
5. Fast, Quick-Paced Matches
A well-played team can end confrontations rather quickly.
We all know how long an average match in your average MOBA can be. Games often last from 45 minutes to an hour and possibly more, which does not encourage casual play. Furthermore, no one likes dedicating almost an entire hour of their life to a frustrating loss!
Heroes of the Storm tries to fix this problem by featuring quick 15-20 minute games. Since there is no equipment to buy, gold is not necessary and with it, the game also got rid of the last hit mechanic. Merely being in the vicinity when a minion dies is enough to get experience, which is the only resource you need.
Even better, your entire team also receives the experience you earn, so everyone is actively contributing to their team mates' leveling up as long as they are standing near minions or objectives. The laning phase is over much sooner than in other games, with team fights happening all over the place literally minutes after a match starts.
Your champions' skills are also adapted to this fast-paced gameplay. With very short cooldowns or even no cooldowns at all, or with a charge system that lets charges accumulate over time so you can unleash skills in a quick succession, you may engage in almost every battle with your entire toolkit at your disposal.
Merely being in the vicinity when a minion dies is enough to gain experience and share it with your whole team.
6. A MOBA Focused On Objectives
It's rather different from your average MOBA.
Objectives such as bosses and mercenary camps that provide buffs and extra troops to your side are not a new thing in MOBAs. However, they are especially important in Heroes of the Storm.
Focusing on accomplishing the objectives will often reward your team with large amounts of experience and may well turn the tide of the battle in your favor. Because they are so important, they encourage team fights early into the game, something that rarely happens in other MOBAs.
This makes teamwork in Heroes of the Storm even more important than usual. Being able to communicate and successfully attack or defend an objective is key to the victory, and lone players will more often than not be the downfall of their team.
This temple shoots at enemy structures, destroying them, but its guardians will try to prevent you from holding it for too long.
7. A Lot Of Different Maps
Every map you will be fighting on is really unique.
Even though the basic format of a match does not change – it is always a battle between two teams of 5 players each – HotS tries to fight monotony by offering a wide range of maps to play on.
On every map, the main goal is the same – destroy the opponent's core. However, each map has a different layout and a unique set of objectives that allow this main goal to be completed in different ways. This adds an element of unpredictability and a breath of fresh air to every match you play.
Objectives are very different from one map to another. They range from straight-up destroying your opponent's structures as long as you control them, to cursing the enemy structures, which disables them and leaves them defenseless, to summoning powerful monsters that you or your team mates can take control of.
The map's layout itself can be very different from game to game. Some maps only have two lanes instead of three. Some maps are not symmetrical, with one lanes much shorter or longer than the others, and on some maps you can even explore the underground in addition to fighting on the surface!
The Haunted Mines is only one among the many different maps Heroes has to offer.
8. Several Interesting Ways To Change Your Hero's Appearance
So many options!
MOBA players are familiar with skins, these alternative designs for their favorite characters that also act as a way to monetize the game (since most of them can be bought in the game's shop for real money). Heroes of the Storm is not an exception and every champion has access to several skins.
These range from serious alternative looks to a re-imagining of the character, such as Blood Elf Tyrande or Demonic Tyrael. There are also Master Skins, that can only be used when the champion has reached an appropriate level, and are a good way to boast about your proficiency with the character. Not only that, but skins come in several different colors, which adds another layer to customization.
Characters are not the only thing you can get skins for. Heroes use a mount to quickly move across maps, and you can customize it too! From the stock horses to frostwolves and even a unicorn from Diablo 3's Whimsyshire, there are a lot to choose from.
Best of all? Everything can be bought with gold, the in-game currency, without having to spend a single real dime.
Each character has well-designed, and sometimes hilarious, extra skins.
9. Daily Quests? In My MOBA?
An interesting addition to the genre are these small daily objectives a player can focus on.
Daily quests involve playing a certain amount of games as a character from a specific universe or belonging to a specific class. Some will ask you to just win games instead.
They reward gold, which is very useful since playing normal matches yields very small amounts of gold and you need a lot of it to buy all the heroes and skins you want.
They also provide an incentive to break away from your routine and play a character you've not played before, or to come up with new tactics for the least played champions in your roster.
While in other games you just play matches upon matches over and over, dailies add another way to spice up things in Heroes, which is always welcome.
10. Competitive Play Is Serious Business
Heroes of the Storm might have a bright future as an eSport.
Heroes of the Storm comes complete with two competitive game modes.
The Hero League becomes available once you reach player level 30. You need to have 10 unlocked heroes (the weekly free rotation does not count) to be able to participate in it. This game mode features unranked quickmatches and ranked games, and acts a stepping stone of sorts for the Team League.
The Team League is every competitive player's goal in Heroes. It becomes available once you reach player level 40 (the level cap) and, just as for the Hero League, you need 10 unlocked heroes to play it – but you'll also need to create a permanent team and recruit team members to play ranked matches.
But competitive play does not stop there, as Blizzard also announced world championships for Heroes of the Storm, where the best players in the world will be able to compete against each other – and win prize money!
The Team League is the most competitive game mode in Heroes.
What do you think of the game so far? Leave your impressions of the game in the comments below.
Loving Heroes of the Storm already? Win the Malfurion Stormrage "Storm Mantle" skin in our Heroes of the Storm contest!