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Initial thoughts on Heroes of the Storm

With a twenty minute play test under our belts onGamers can chime in on the relevant eSports features from Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm alpha.

Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm is available for play testing in it's alpha form at this year's BlizzCon. I had the opportunity to play a Pudge or Blitzcrank clone called Stiches for thirty minutes on one of the games three maps.

The game was polished visually, and the look is distinct. It does not look like either Dota 2 or League of Legends. The skills were snappy and responsive, and I was happy that everything felt so fluid. The only part of the experience I found underwhelming was that your performance doesn't give personal benefits. After a killing spree being the same level as all of your teammates will take some getting used to.

Below are all the features relevant to competitive play:

Experience is shared between all players on your team. If you kill a creep, a player, or a tower everyone on your team gets the experience.

There is no gold and there are no purchasable items.

You start with all of your skills, and with each level they increase in strength. It is not like Dota 2 or League of Legends where you choose between skills to level as the game proceeds.

Every few levels you can choose between a few talents. This, in a way, makes up for the lack of items in the game. This is where players make reactive decisions based on how the game is playing out. In some cases it's better to have one talent than it would be to another. On the character I played all my talents, save for my ultimate, were passive.

You get your ultimate at level ten.

You get experience while you're dead.

At the moment there is no benefit to last hitting. You get no extra experience.

Aimed abilities have a League of Legends like crosshair to indicate where your skill will go.

On the map I played it was possible to collect items on the map that give buffs to your team or debuffs for the other team.

Jungle creeps can be captured and used to push your lanes.

You have a spell that sends you back to spawn similar to the mechanic you see in League of Legends.

There are no teleportation scrolls. You use a mount to travel around the map quickly.

Both my character and my mount had a variety of custom skins to choose from.

17 Comments Refresh
Posted by Varega

Any video reviews or possible first looks coming out? I'd love to see the game in action from you guys.

Posted by codyconners

Blizzard is very particular about game footage. I, unfortunately, think we won't get a hands on at this event. I can do my best to answer any questions you might have, though.

Posted by hebble

@varega I believe Cody and Travis are going to do a video later talking about how the game feels and how it compares to LoL and Dota. Stay tuned for that this evening sometime.

Posted by Link69

It looks... special.

Posted by hebble

How different are the maps? Does it make a big difference? Is there a "main" map?

Would pros be expected to play on multiple maps in a single match, like SC?

Posted by Skim

Interesting, thanks for the info! i hope its okay that I drop this link here, as I think it provides some additional, visual information to this post.

A few questions I got: "There are no teleportation scrolls. You use a mount to travel around the map quickly."

Can you kill mounts, thus making it harder for your enemy tot ravel? Do you stay on your mount? From the video I linked you can see/hear that there are different objectives: Are these important for the outcome of the game or can you still play the simple "kill the throne" game?
Also, how big is the map? (compared to League/Dota2)

Posted by codyconners

The mounts work kind of like they in World of Warcraft. Once you attack you dismount.

The maps feel a little smaller than both Dota 2 and LoL. I think they're trying to force the games to be quicker. I'm almost certain that was a deliberate design choice.

Posted by Fwizzz

Gameplay video with be a nice. This would be a nice escape if there are times I don't feel like playing Dota2. Though I don't like some mechanics. hope they can improved. Esp the personal gain part.

Posted by Ashelia

Level ten ultimate is really questionable.

Posted by Fwizzz

So no last hitting. How can you outfarm the enemy? Some of these mechanics are really questionable.

Posted by 1manpizza

Haven't seen enough of the game to judge, but it looks god damn beautiful. It's quite obvious they're trying to do something different from LoL or Dota, should be interesting.

Posted by Storm

Looks far too watered down. MOBA's work so well because they try to have equal amounts of mechanics, knowledge and strategy. Reducing the influence of mechanical skill really lowers the overall experience.

Posted by lilopuppy

What's with the Dotalikes lately? Are they going the esport route?

Edited by 1manpizza

@lilopuppy From the looks of it no they aren't. It seems like they are taking the hearthstone approach. Casual and fun. It has a unicorn mount in it.

Edited by ninjastyle

I would not be surprised if this game became popular very quickly just like Hearthstone did. I am pretty certain that the absence of last hitting and similar traditional MOBA mechanics does not mean that this game cannot be played competitively, casual friendly and easy/simple to get into does not mean that the game is going to be easy to master. It might even be more demanding mechanics wise since the phase of the game is much quicker because of the mount system and absence of necessity to farm as much as in other MOBAs.

Also, since there are no items, everyone shares the experience and you will be able to level up even if you are dead; there is never going to be one person with overwhelming power like in other MOBAs. This means that a single player will not be able to carry, comebacks are going to be possible most of the time, you will need to be applying a lot of pressure since there will be no such thing as a huge lead; all of this makes teamwork really important at any stage of the game (not saying that it's not important in other games).

Edited by KOKOStern

They want the game to be as short as possible and as simple as possible to have the lowest bar of entry. Anyone should be able to pick it up easily. You will not find elaborate mechanics in such a game, the same design princables work here in as with Hearthstone - short and simple.

The game will try and be similar to Bloodline Champions but since there are creeps in the game, a lot simpler and less in your face.

As far as I can tell this will be cute and fun to play for a niche community who wants to play this type of game casually / Blizz fanatics. It will never pick up in a competitive sense like Dota or LoL.

I'm pretty positive this is exactly what Blizzard is aiming for.

Posted by blackknight467

I think the some of those changes are pretty great ideas. Mounts, shared experience, and no benefit to last hitting make for rather unique gameplay and from a visual perspective are much easier to understand to someone watching the game for the first time. I think this game has some pretty great potential.