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Published on September 10th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier

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Heroes Of The Storm: Hands On With Blizzard’s Latest Gem

I have always been of the mindset that once you have played one MOBA game, you have played them all. That didn’t stop be from trying others. I have made my rounds with DOTA, DOTA 2, Guardians of Middle Earth, Infinite Crisis, and others. I even tried Strife at PAX. But they all pretty much led me back to League of Legends. It’s not that these are bad games, quote the contrary they are quite excellent. But I believe that I keep coming back to League because it was the first that I played. So when I stepped up to the computer to play Heroes of the Storm (“HotS”), the free-to-play MOBA title on i’s way from Blizzard, I wasn’t expecting much more but a Blizzard variant of League. This was not the case.

 

Following the same basic formula of MOBA, HotS brings characters from all of Blizzard’s intellectual properties (Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo) This may be what entices me about this MOBA. Characters I know, and understand (with at least a little bit of background) that I can spot by name. Some characters were a bit unknown to me, but it was easy to see where they came from, and their strengths on the battlefield.

 

Speaking of the battlefield, it is actually quite a bit different from my usual experience in League. From my experience, on the map I played, there are not clearly defined routes to the enemy’s base (referred to as a “core” in HotS). Instead, there are very circuitous routes to each side, with a bevy of extras to be found littered throughout the map. The defender towers you counter along the way are not solely towers, but they act as gates as well. You must destroy the gate to get to the tower, and you can also destroy the supports for the gate (should you wish to do so).

 

The map also has zones that can be taken over by your team. These zones may be different on each map, but on the one we played it proved to be useful as a weapon. A large ship (possibly pirate) in the middle of the zone, once obtained, would begin to launch cannon balls at the opposing teams’ tower and core. Giving you another path to victory as the game progresses.

 

The abilities of each character were also pretty robust. What I did not see was the same ability being used on each class type, but with a twist from their respective IPs. What I did see was unique abilities for each available melee and ranged caster that showed the diverse background that they had to draw from in using the characters from the different IPs.

 

You could also use a mount in HotS. Not uncommon to regular, and not-so-regular, players of World of Warcraft, mounts is a relatively different concept for a MOBA title. Obviously designed to help get you back into the action faster after an unfortunate death, I can’t help but wonder if the mounts may play a bigger role once the game comes out of Alpha.

 

I, for one, am really looking forward to this game once it releases (hopefully later this year). With the plan for it to be free to play, it should definitely be on your must play list. It will definitely be worth keeping an eye on to see how it competes with its major competitors like League of Legends and DOTA2.


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