What’s Killing My Social Life This Week – Heroes of the Storm

{Before I begin, quick disclaimer. Heroes of the Storm is very much still in beta and as such the current version of the game is not representative of the final product blah blah blah-de dah.}

Have you ever wondered who would win in a fight between Nazeebo and Abathur? Do you spend many sleepless nights arguing about thinks like that in forums? Do you possess large amounts of disposable income you just can’t wait to waste? Well then, I’ve got good news for you.

Heroes of the Storm is an AU MOBA ROTB OMG by Blizzard, which takes some of their most popular characters and mashes them all together into a formless mass of pings and verbal abuse. The story is this; you are a freckled, dark-skinned fanfic writer that has for some reason decided to create and all-Blizzard Universe crossover, shipping Azmodan with Diablo, Nova with Janna, Anub’Arak with Abathur and having them all fight to the death in large, three-laned environments. You might wonder why you’d do that. So do I.

Now, whenever a new Dota clone comes out, the first thing MOBA veterans like myself do, is try and figure out what everyone’s been renamed to; Leona, Garen and Jarvan seem to have merged into one entity, Pudge has received a texture update, Vayne got her hands on another crossbow and Swain’s pet bird seems to have taken up godhood as a new past time. Having said that HotS really is quite different from most MOBAs out there. And while it adds a few things, it would probably be easier to start off with the stuff it does away with, when it comes to the usual format. For one, there’s no gold, or indeed shops. You’d think a raging battlefield would make for the ultimate,  niche weapons market (*cough* America *cough*), but that just shows what I know about business. With the lack of a stable currency, last hitting is also out the window and enemies now only drop exp and the occasional regeneration orb. The overall design is very much streamlined and ground down back to its root components, but it kind of works out, strangely. Sure the mechanics might not be as complex as you might be used to, but that doesn’t make the game easy. In fact you’d be surprised how hard matches can become as you level up and are pitted against skilled players (see also “tryhards”).

Now, the thing which sets this game apart from most MOBAs out there (besides the obligatory female objectificatio- oh wait) is the leveling system. Each time you use a certain hero in a match, they earn exp and level up, allowing you to unlock more traits and abilities and other cool stuff. If, say, you play enough games as a powerful but non-intimidating (and might I add handsome) sorcerer of the pixie variety, then you can unlock their secondary ultimate ability Summon Homicidal Nymphs, which is as terrifying and self-explanatory as it sounds. While this mechanic does add a lot of variety to the game, I ended up almost never using the unlocked traits I got, because they were a) not the ones I got used to or b) crap. Explain to me, if you will, the logic behind Li li’s Water Dragon ability. Why on earth would you even consider picking that over Jug of 1000 cups, when the former slows the target –inflicting next to no damage- while the latter basically renders you and all allies around you immortal for the next 6 seconds. I just don’t get it is all.

Moving on to the maps, HotS features a total of 7 different battlegrounds to fight in, all with their own unique, bullshit god-like entity and/or haunting abomination. You see, in each of those maps you can complete certain objectives to ensure that divine deity trope #275439801 helps your team and wrecks the other one’s shit like an angry coprophobe with a big hammer. And while the maps have some diversity, the objectives fail to evolve past collect X of something to summon the power of Y and win the game. What’s really annoying is that once a team has secured/acquired/butchered everything around said objectives, there’s little leeway for the other to recover and fight back. I suspect that’s the whole point of Heroes of the Storm, to demand that players work together as a team and balance maintaining lane presence with completing mini-quests. That and shipping people like a cruiser built out of ao3 posts.

So, in conclusion, is Heroes of the Storm worth a try? Sure. It’s a solid MOBA experience that has some features and heroes worth checking out. If, that is, you manage to get a beta key, either by patiently waiting for one or by expertly hacking into Blizzard’s databanks, viciously ripping out a code from their “to-send” list and cackling madly as a thunderstorm rages dramatically in the distance. Not that I’d know how to do that.

-The Fairy Wizard

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Posted on May 1, 2015, in Features, Geekology, Reviews, Video Games, What's Killing My Social Life This Week and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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