Heroes of the Storm Impressions from BlizzCon 2013


Heroes of the Storm

By: Jason Siu


4 min read

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Curious about Blizzard’s entry into the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre with Heroes of the Storm? The staff at Full Cleared had an opportunity to check out Heroes of the Storm at BlizzCon 2013 and came away impressed with how Blizzard has managed to put its own spin in the popular MOBA segment.

Unlike DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends and even Awesomenauts, Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA without items. That’s right, no items, no recipes and no gold to earn. To help make it easier to understand, Blizzard breaks the Heroes of the Storm roles by categories: assassin, warrior, support and specialist. Also making Heroes of the Storm unique in the genre is the fact that individual players don’t gain experience while playing, but rather experience is shared across the team. That means if your hero is level 13, so are all the other heroes on your team.

Blizzard bills Heroes of the Storm as “a fresh take on the team brawler,” and it’s highly successful when you look at it from that point of view. Rather than your traditional three lanes to protect, players will engage in battles across a variety of maps, all of which have an additional playing field that feature objectives that could turn the tide of battle. For example, one map has players entering a mine to kill creep and collect skulls. Once all those skulls are collected, a mob is spawned for both teams, with the team collecting more skulls having the more powerful mob. It’s worth noting that on the map that we played on, the mob spawned in alternate lanes, so that they don’t end up facing off against one another.

Heroes of the Storm aims to have matches last around 20 minutes long, and from our experience, it’s spot on. We had a couple of matches that went even quicker than 20 minutes, but we blame that on the inexperience of all the players involved, ourselves included. Other unique features in Heroes of the Storm include mounts for the heroes, which give a mobility bonus. Players are able to select from a variety of costumes for each hero as well as mounts.

As for how Heroes of the Storm plays, don’t expect to jump into it and thinking it’s like DOTA 2 or League of Legends. While the overall mechanics of Heroes of the Storm are similar to other MOBAs, the strategy involved in being victorious is quite different. Leveling your hero, and subsequently your team, you’ll be given the option to choose from one of three skills to customize your character. Those skills could be passive damage bonuses, or actual actions to use while in battle. Some of those passive bonuses include additional attack damage, attack speed and even cooldown reductions.

Players receive three of their skills at level one along with a passive that you select when the match begins. The mount is usable when you are out of combat, giving you a 20-percent boost in movement speed while a hearth option is also available to teleport you to your healing fountain after a short period of time. Killing creeps on the map will help spawn mercenaries to help your team (since there’s no gold to gain) while towers have a limited amount of ammo but do recharge over time.

Most importantly however, is Heroes of the Storm fun? Absolutely. In fact, for an alpha version, Heroes of the Storm is quite polished. It’s different than your typical MOBA game, but in a good way, and we came away impressed with our time playing the game. It offers a nice change of pace to DOTA 2 matches that could last 45 minutes or even longer in some cases, though we’re a bit hesitant to know whether or not the “no-item” formula will work in the long run. Combat is fast paced though cooldowns seem a bit on the long side currently, but we’re confident those will be tweaked as more feedback is received on Heroes of the Storm. The addition of objectives undoubtedly give a whole new aspect to the MOBA genre, with teams having to take a risk by having players leaving the main battleground in order to help complete the objective better than the opposing team.

One thing is for sure, Heroes of the Storm is centered around competent teamwork and Blizzard is not only looking to make it a casual game, but a hit within the eSports market. The major question is whether or not Heroes of the Storm will offer enough depth to captivate the hardcore competitors.

Playable heroes at BlizzCon 2013 include: Falstad, Illidan, Kerrigan, Nova, Valla (Diablo III Demon Hunter), Naziba (Diablo III Witch Doctor), Raynor, Gazlowe, Uther, Malfurion, Tassadar, Arthas, Sonya (Diablo III Barbarian), Diablo, Tyrael, and Stitches.

We look forward to seeing and experiencing more of Heroes of the Storm when it kicks off its beta early next year.

Heroes of the Storm Impressions Gallery

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of Tunerzine.com and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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