Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm is a 3D hero brawler set in the entire Blizzard universe. Players can battle as their favorite characters from the Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft franchises on one epic arena.
|Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Pros: +Great cast of recognizable characters. +Unique objective based maps. +Easy to pick up and learn.
Cons: -Simplicity may put off some.
Heroes of the Storm Overview
Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's take on the increasingly popular MOBA genre. The game features traditional 5v5 MOBA gameplay with a unique cast of characters from the three major Blizzard franchises: Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft. Blizzard doesn't label Heroes of the Storm a "MOBA," and instead prefers the term, "Hero Brawler".
Heroes of the Storm Key Features:
- Blizzard It Up – MOBA gameplay with a large cast of heroes from the entire Blizzard universe (Starcraft, Diablo, Warcraft, and others!).
- Let's Share Exp – experience is shared between the entire team (all same level).
- What is Farm? – no last hitting required and no items in the game. Instead, players customize their heroes through talent selection.
- Unique Maps – each map has its own objectives, making each map feel unique.
- Start with Nearly Everything – players start with all of their abilities unlocked, except their ultimate. Every few levels, players can learn a talent to enhance an ability.
- Shorter Matches – gameplay is action-packed and typical rounds take 10-20 minutes.
Heroes of the Storm Screenshots
Heroes of the Storm Featured Video
Heroes of the Storm Heroes
Starcraft Heroes: Tychus / Zagara / Kerrigan / Tassadar / Raynor / Valla / Abathur / Sgt. Hammer / Nova / Zeratul /
Diablo Heroes: Azmodan / Tyrael / Nazeebo / Diablo / Sonya / Johanna / The Butcher / Leoric
Warcraft Heroes: Thrall / Jaina Proudmoore / Anub'arak / Brightwing / Muradin / Chen / Li Li / Murky / Rehgar / Arthas / Illidan / Gazlowe / Malfurion / Falstad / E.T.C. / Uther / Tyrande / Stitches / Sylvanas
Other Blizzard: The Lost Vikings
Heroes of the Storm Review
Heroes of the Storm (formerly titled Blizzard DotA and Blizzard All-Stars) is a free-to-play 3D MOBA developed by Blizzard Entertainment, which features crisp, clean visuals and heroes from other Blizzard franchises such as Starcraft, Diablo, and Warcraft. Heroes of the Storm, or HotS for short, began its closed beta on January 13th, 2015, open beta on May 19th, 2015, and was later officially launched on June 2nd, 2015 for Microsoft Windows and OS X.
HotS first appeared in Blizzcon 2010, and went through many phases of playtesting over the years. Five years later, the hard work is well reflected in HotS. The graphics are not too cartoony unlike some other MOBAs, and Blizzard has done a wonderful job making the game unique with things like mounts, objective based maps, and nostalgic characters from their other games. Given Blizzard’s prowess in the gaming industry, it is needless to say HotS will not be “just another MOBA”, and after playing the game, this is evident.
When players first log into Heroes of the Storm, they are thrown into the games tutorial, but have the option of leaving it. If they do choose to proceed with the tutorial, they’ll find that many of the mechanics and features of HotS are similar to other MOBAs.
The tutorial educates players with the essentials of the game, as well as the MOBA genre, in a humorous way. Players go through the tutorial as Jim Raynor, accompanied by another familiar face, Uther the Lightbringer. Uther serves as the mentor in this tutorial, walking players through movement, camera control, ability usage, and the main objective of the game, which is destroying the enemy’s “core”. A couple of main points the tutorial points out is that Heroes of the Storm doesn't have “gold” or “items”, so no last hitting is necessary. Another key aspect of HotS is that experience is shared globally with your team, so everyone on your team is always the same level. After its successful completion, more tutorials are offered that focus on specific aspects of the game. However, these subsequent lessons aren’t mandatory in any way, but they do offer a quick way to earn money to purchase more characters.
Heroes Come in Many Forms
Upon entering the game, players will notice that they’ll be able to purchase and view many characters, or “heroes” as the game calls them. Like many other MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm offers players a variety of heroes to use in their games, each one possessing their own unique characteristics. They’re sorted into their respective roles of warriors, assassins, supports, and specialists.
Warriors are heroes that are focused on being on the frontline, getting into the face of the enemy, ripping their faces off, and soaking up damage. Warriors are perfect for players who really just want to dive into an enemy team and smash faces in. A prime example of this is Diablo. Yes, the demon overlord from the Diablo franchise. He has abilities that allow him to headbutt enemies into a wall, stun them, and perform an ability called Overthrow, which will make Diablo pick up an enemy and slam it behind him, stunning and rendering the opponent useless for a short time. If you’re the type of player that likes to just throw yourself into the heat of battle, then warriors are meant for you.
Assassins deal the most damage, usually having utility skills to supplement their offensive skills. Be wary, as this means they have lower health pools and should stick behind their team. My favorite assassin is Nova. She has a trait that allows her to go stealth if she hasn’t taken or dealt damage, allowing her to snoop around the map without being seen. This element of surprise gives me plenty of opportunities to gank and deal a lot of damage.
The role of the supports are self explanatory; they’re heroes focused on assisting their teammates through a variety of abilities. These range from heals, debuffs, and buffs. Supports can still deal damage, yet nothing to depend upon. The hero, Li Li, is a great and easy to play support. This little panda girl has a heal, a single-target buff that deals damage to surrounding enemies, and a skill that causes enemies to miss their next two basic attacks. Her heroic abilities can either be a massive AoE heal or a heavy slow to enemies. For people who want to be helpful to their team in a less damage-oriented way, support is the best role for them.
The final category of heroes resides in the specialist role - a role that is assigned to the misfits of Heroes of the Storm. The specialist role contains all of the characters whose abilities do not quite match up with the other roles, making them incredibly interesting heroes to play. The hero called Abathur is a perfect example of this. His abilities center around setting up traps that deal damage and grant vision, as well as assisting other units and combat structures. For his heroic abilities, he can either clone enemy heroes, granting him control over a stronger version of them for twenty seconds, or upgrade an allied minion into a “monstrosity”, which is essentially a unit that gets stronger when enemy minions around it die. If players are looking for a more interesting experience with their next game, consider using a specialist hero.
Overall, Heroes of the Storm offers a wide variety of characters for players to mess around with. Warriors, assassins, supports, and specialists all provide a different experience, and many will find that no hero feels like a copy of another.
Heroes, Skins, and Mounts? Oh my!
The HotS store offers a variety of goodies for players to purchase. Heroes are primarily bought with gold, a currency obtained through playing matches, leveling up, and completing “daily missions”, which are a set of objectives given for players to complete every day. Heroes are pricey, as a single hero can cost up to 10,000 gold. Gaining gold is depressingly slow in Heroes of the Storm, because winning an excruciating match will only net you thirty gold. Due to this, many might think of obtaining heroes through actual money. The cost of them range from five to ten dollars, with the newest heroes being the most expensive.
Heroes of the Storm also offers an assortment of miscellaneous additions that can enhance a player’s experience. These come in the forms of skins, mounts, and stimpaks. The most basic skins change the aesthetic appearance of the chosen character, while the more pricey ones (the “epic” skins) go beyond simple appearances, overhauling the entire theme of the hero. The animations, the sound effects, and the voicing -- all can be changed with the most expensive skins. Prices of these skins can range anywhere from five to fifteen dollars. However, not all skins require money to buy, as some skins are given to players automatically after reaching a certain hero level.
Stimpaks are boosters that can be bought to be used for either a seven or thirty day period, with the first one costing four dollars and the latter costing ten dollars. They provide a 100% bonus to experience points and a 150% bonus to gold earn. If players are just starting out, I recommend that they hold off on buying any sort of stimpak, as they’re given a seven day stimpak upon reaching level ten.
Now many are probably in disbelief at the mention of having mounts in the game, but it’s true. Heroes can use a mount to traverse stretches of land to quickly get to their objective. Mounting up is mainly used to get to objectives faster or get across the map to gank someone. Using abilities will immediately dismount the character, and mounting takes a few second to perform. This means players can, in fact, ride a majestic unicorn into battle...or a pig, if they really want to. While the heroes are given generic-looking mounts, they can pimp their ride with money, ranging from ten to twenty dollars. There is also a golden pig mount that can be purchased with 20,000 gold. Having a special mount does nothing but make players feel more fabulous.
The store in Heroes of the Storm is exactly what you'd expect from a MOBA. Like many other games, it offers ways to purchase characters, skins for those same heroes, and boosters for players. But really, that twenty dollar unicorn might be worth it. Like League of Legends, every hero can be purchased with in-game currency, but those unwilling to save up can purchase them with cash.
No Item Builds = No Customization? Wrong!
HotS provides its own unique system of creating diversity with the heroes and their playstyles. This is achieved through the system of Talents. There are certain level intervals (1,4,7,10,13,16, and 20) that allow players to choose a ‘Talent’ for their hero. These talents vary from passives to boost health, traits that add bonus effects, and different effects for the hero’s active abilities. Depending on what talents players choose, the matches will be the difference between having an ultra tanky Warrior, or one that is adequately tanky and has great damage output. Talents allow players to tailor their hero to their preference, giving players a good degree of customization.
Have it your way
HotS contains a variety of game modes that include the following: Cooperative Play, Quick Match, Custom and Hero League. So whether players want to bash some AI in Cooperative, play an in-house game in Custom, or take it to the big boy ranked Hero League, HotS contains plenty of entertaining modes. The most standard and played mode is Quick match, which is a regular match that puts players in a 5v5 situation on a randomly chosen map. The ranked mode, Hero League, requires players to be level 30 and have 10 characters purchased. These 10 cannot include the current free to play rotation of heroes either.
The “Core” Gameplay (5v5)
Typical of most MOBAs, the core gameplay revolves around trying to destroy the enemy’s central structure, which is called the core. HotS ironically adds flare to this with the removal of gold, items, and individual leveling. A lot of the complicated aspects of a MOBA, such as farming and creep stacking, are thrown out the window. Players are left with the raw team fighting that makes a MOBA exciting. Every player on a team is always the same level. Exp is gained through killing minions, enemy heroes, neutral camps, and destroying structures. Spawning into a match, the first thing that is established is who will be going to which lane. When the game begins, players will usually capture the nearest vision point, which provides a big radius of vision. Remember, killing minions do not provide players with gold, but pushing can provide benefits such as being ahead of the other team in terms of experience, pressuring structures and turrets, and forcing them to run out of ammunition. Once a turret runs out of ammunition, it becomes a rather useless piece of stone. Often while I am in lane, I have several skirmishes with the enemies. I spent more time harassing and trying to kill the enemy than pushing my lane. Depending on the hero you are playing, this may not be a wise decision. Diablo does well in ganking other lanes because his crowd control abilities are great for locking down enemy heroes, but not so much for killing them. However when I played Jaina, a ranged assassin, I spammed a lot of my abilities, bursting the enemy and usually killing them with my blatantly superior skill. Players wants to remain in the lanes of the map as much as possible. I learned this the hard way as one quick back to my base left my lane partner in a 2v1 situation where he brutally got murdered, and half of our outer structures were destroyed. Oops.
Work Together, or Die Alone
As mentioned previously, there’s no gold or items within the actual game modes, resulting in an emphasis of teamplay rather than a “solo carry” type of playstyle. Heroes of the Storm forces players to work together instead of trying to become a one man army that steamrolls over the enemy team. Team members need to communicate and help each other out to overcome the hurdles in front of them, and also have an eye for strategy by capturing the various types of objectives that the game mode offers.
The rewards from completing map objectives are game changing, to say the least. In Blackheart’s Bay, players must collect Doubloons from either chests or neutral camps and turn them into Blackheart. Once the required amount has been paid, Blackheart’s ship fires multiple cannons into enemy structures that deal A LOT of damage. Some structures fall to two or three cannons. I have lost a match, solely from Blackheart’s cannons mercilessly destroying my core. Strength in numbers is essential in HotS; ideally players want to be doing everything with their team, from capturing neutral camps, to taking and completing objectives.
The Good and the Not So Good
Like any other game, Heroes of the Storm has both its positives and its negatives. But first, let’s outline what I believe to be the positives of the game. Firstly, the game is extremely easy to get into. There isn’t anything exactly complicated that HotS asks of its players -- it forgoes itemization and wave control. Instead it centers around working together to secure objectives and destroying the enemy’s core. The games themselves are interesting, as there are a variety of maps that can be played, with each one having its own unique side objectives. The length of these matches are also short, with an average time of ten to fifteen minutes. Heroes of the Storm is also visually appealing, and features characters from franchises many are familiar with. For those who have played other games from Blizzard, seeing these old faces definitely adds a nostalgia factor.
However, Heroes of the Storm also has its downsides. Despite the games initial simplicity, there IS an actual skill curve. There’s knowing how to use your hero properly, how the map works, and when to take objectives. While there’s probably more to it than just those three, being knowledgeable in those three fields already separates the average player from the skillful ones, and this can be considered both a positive and a negative. The game is also a little bit too team-oriented, as one bad player can easily throw the match, regardless of how hard one tries to win. Aside from these two points, I also have a gripe with the amount of gold earned per match, as it makes getting new heroes a real grindfest. Some heroes also feel a bit overpowered, but that can go for any game.
Final Verdict - Excellent
Heroes of the Storm provides a heavily toned down version of a MOBA, yet their interesting characters and interactive maps provide a new way to play the genre. It's smooth visuals are pleasing to the eye, and puts characters from other Blizzard titles in a new light. Some players may not like the simplicity of HotS and find the gameplay uneventful, but it's definitely a game worth trying. HotS gives you a nice break from your standard MOBA creep farming and itemization, and instead gives you a lot of team based action. As always, it’s more fun with friends.
Heroes of the Storm Videos
Heroes of the Storm Links
Heroes of the Storm System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Dual Core / AMD X2 5600+
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT / ATI Radeon 2600 XT
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 (64 bit OS recommended)
CPU: Intel Core i5 / AMD FX Series
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 / ATI Radeon HD 7790
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
Heroes of the Storm Music & Soundtrack
Heroes of the Storm Additional Information
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Composer(s): Glenn Stafford & Jason Hayes
Other Platforms: Mac OS X
Game Engine: Proprietary game Engine
Closed Beta Date: January 13, 2015
Open Beta Date: May 19, 2015
Development History / Background:
Heroes of the Storm was developed by the world renowned American game developer Blizzard Entertainment. Development for Heroes of the Storm began when Blizzard first announced "Blizzard DotA" as a custom map for Starcraft 2. Given the growing popularity of MOBAs like League of Legends and DotA 2, Blizzard knew they had to get into the MOBA genre one way or another. Since its original announcement, Blizzard Dota, which later became Blizzard All-Stars, was eventually renamed Heroes of the Storm. The game has been in active development for close to 5 years with the closed beta finally launching on January 13, 2015. Even before open beta was announced, 9 million players had registered for beta access, showing that there's huge demand for Blizzard's new MOBA.