It's that time! Heroes of the Storm is finally about to be released, though for all intents and purposes it has kind of been "out" for a while now. What do you think? Review it for your fellow Kotakuers.
Yes, the open beta has been in effect for a while, and Blizzard has certainly been taking your money for even longer, and I kind of count that as being "out".
I've put so many hours into this game, I actually spent money on it because I felt guilty. We'll be putting up some video tips later in the week to see what you guys think of the format.
Throughout my time in the alpha and beta, I've had connection issues. About 1-2 times per match, I'll drop, and it's just a matter of luck if I come back dead or alive. It also has an odd way of dealing with lag, preferring to just pause the whole game, which has led people to complain about stuttering. But that's fairer, competitively speaking, than having an AI predict your movements every time a packet is lost.
All around though, I'm loving it. I'm not into MOBA games, but I love the quick, 20-25 minute matches. I love that there's no gear, no gold, no last-hitting. I've always hated last-hitting as a mechanic to base a game around anyway. Not my cup o'.
It is certainly MOBA Lite, but that's cool with me. In other areas, I think it pushes MOBA forward in much-needed ways. Different maps, different objectives, and some crazy hero ideas are all what the genre needs. I absolutely love the crazy heroes. They're a great talking point when telling other people about the game.
Murky, who lays an egg on the map and respawns from the egg. Abathur, who never goes into a lane but psychically projects himself onto allied heroes to support them. And The Lost Vikings, who can be controlled as a group or individually (theoretically soaking XP from all three lanes as one player). The list goes on. Sylvanas can disable towers and forts. Falstad can swoop down anywhere. ETC and Illidan can ult themselves all the way across the map.
It took me a while to find my preferred playstyle, but I've settled on Zeratul. He's my homie. Of course I'll take whatever the team needs in draft, if we're down a tank, healer, etc, but the assassin playstyle is my favourite. Roaming between the lanes, tagging enemies, diving intelligently — it's a rush. Then later, splitting teams with a great Void Prison is heaps of fun.
The combos of ultimate abilities are so brutal that initiation is paramount. But if you mess a fight up, comebacks are always possible later. You can lose almost every team fight and still win, if you push the core at the right time. Some might take issue with that. But MOBA is an interesting beast, as a sport, in that it makes life harder for the losing side. It's like if a football field tilted one degree downwards after you scored a goal.
As a great example of some ultimate combos and teams going down different paths to victory, I suggest watching this pro match. It's a nail-biter.
What do you think of the game? Are you interested? What future do you see in it as an eSport? Are the Blizzard heroes enough to make you jump to a new MOBA? Are the comeback mechanics too strong? Do you prefer a MOBA that's trying out wacky ideas?