Second, I'm neither a fan nor a hater of Blizzard. Blizzard often sticks to safe rather than unique features, but it also makes games for the masses, which is great because I love to drag my friends into my games. But a game that attracts everyone also attracts the kind of people I don't want to play with.
So why should I -- or you -- play Heroes of the Storm?
Once you're in-game, you'll start to see how HotS is different from other MOBAs. First, there's no item shop in-game, just a real-cash or in-game currency shop for heroes/skins. Instead, there are "talents" you choose at certain levels within the match, and you unlock additional levels (for specific heroes) at the end of the match to open even more talent options. Player levels unlock content such as dailies and hero rotation slots.
Next, "Jungling" is almost gone. That is, there is a jungle, but you're not running around grabbing power ups, just killing mobs that will then run down the lane at your opponents. The tutorial revealed this by asking me to help "persuade" some "mercenaries" (as these units are called) to join my side. While some characters are supposedly better at this than others, the work felt rather quick and easy.
Each map has side missions or "quests." Most are similar: Go to an area and kill something or take it before the other players. If you've played certain modes in Prime World, for example, you'll have an idea of how important these missions are. Ignoring them is a really bad idea, and they're a nice break from the usual laning game you see when jungling is reduced too much.
Understandably, co-op mode, which is like PvE, appears less popular. My queue was about 3 minutes on a Friday evening; an hour later, PvP Versus mode had a wait of less than 2 minutes. Queue times have been about the same other times I've played. Matches tend to last about 40 minutes, which is shorter than most League of Legends matches, but maybe a bit too long for people I'd normally introduce to a new MOBA. Custom and ranked games aren't currently open for testing.
And as I've come to expect, Blizzard knows how to dangle a carrot in HotS. Leveling up heroes unlocks new skins and color variants. The game has daily quests that often challenge the player to try different roles, like playing three games as a support class, but the toxic players in general chat can be a deterrent to experimentation. For example, I've been playing Uther, a support class, and get tons of harassment from people demanding heals (sound familiar MMO fans?). Maybe it's because it's a MOBA, but again, this is why I often avoid Blizzard games.
Overall, Heroes of the Storm is exactly what I'd expect from Blizzard. Gameplay mechanics that are normally challenging (like jungling) or time consuming (like item shopping) are simplified, streamlined, or removed. Instead, Blizz hones the barest essentials of the genre in a way that more casual players can appreciate it. If that's what you're looking for, Heroes of the Storm may turn you to the MOBA side.
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