Many Games, One Genre – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

hots3.jpgBlizzard has said from day 1 that they wanted to set themselves apart from the MOBA (multi-player online battle arena) genre. They have gone so far as to call Heroes of the Storm a “team brawler” instead of classifying it as a MOBA. For those who have not had the chance to play the technical alpha, you may be asking, “Is this just hype? Is the game really any different than Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends, or DOTA 2?”

The answer, friends, is a definitive YES. First of all, the games are much shorter. Blizzard made this goal no secret; indeed, games typically last for about 20-25 minutes when playing against other humans. This is much shorter than MOBAs, which can last 45-60 minutes in many cases. There isn’t always time to play a game for that duration. Let’s face it – many of us have work, kids, and other obligations that eat up our free time for gaming.

A second difference that is very noticeable is the game play. In MOBAs, you have to focus on last-hitting, itemization, runes, skill shots, etc. There is still a lot of fun, tactical play in Heroes, but without all of the bloat. Instead, players can focus on choosing talents that benefit the team in that moment, fun map objectives, daily quests, and skillfully pushing lanes to drain turrets of ammo. This style of game play has a much shallower learning curve and allows players to start having fun with the game immediately.

The third difference that I will mention is how disconnected players are handled. Nothing is more frustrating, especially in ranked matches, than having a player DC. Unless your team is really fantastic and the other team is not playing so well, you will almost always lose a 4v5. In Heroes, disconnected players are transformed into AI players. While an AI player is never going to do as well as a human, it is certainly more helpful than having nothing at all. Unfortunately, at this point, AFK players are not dealt with in the same fashion. Hopefully, Blizzard will incorporate this into the game as the alpha and beta testing continues!

*hint hint Blizzard*

So why does all of this matter? There has been a lot of talk about Heroes being “the League/DOTA 2 killer.” My argument is: Does Heroes have to be a MOBA killer? Can’t it just be a fantastic, stand-alone game option, as Blizzard seems to have intended by differentiating the genre to team brawler? Heroes provides a fast-paced and fun experience for gamers on a time crunch, avid Blizzard fans, and/or MOBA novices that want to learn the play style without feeling overwhelmed. The game play is simpler in many cases and allows anyone to step in and enjoy, whereas traditional MOBAs have a very steep learning curve. For those that want to keep with the more technical aspects of creep farming and specialized item builds, you can always jump on a MOBA and have that experience. Each game has its own cult following and there is no reason Heroes of the Storm has to end that. Can’t we all just get along? :)

Don’t forget to tune in to our live podcast or Heroes live stream matches each Monday night at 10pm EST!

~ NerdiChar

Special Edition Episode 1 – Technical Alpha Launch! (Video)

HotSCast Video ThumbnailThis week the HotSCast crew record a Special Edition Episode, as one of the hosts will be out next week for the normal recording night, and the Technical Alpha launched.  All 3 of your HotSCast hosts are in the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha and we are playing it like mad! We spent this episode discussing our initial thoughts on the Technical Alpha, and then finished the nights with some live streaming of the game itself.

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Special Edition Episode 1 – Technical Alpha Launch! (Audio)

HotSCast Audio ThumbnailThis week the HotSCast crew record a Special Edition Episode, as one of the hosts will be out next week for the normal recording night, and the Technical Alpha launched.  All 3 of your HotSCast hosts are in the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha and we are playing it like mad! We spent this episode discussing our initial thoughts on the Technical Alpha, and then finished the nights with some live streaming of the game itself.

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Heroes Technical Alpha Full Tutorial Play-through! (Video)

hots3_thumb.jpgGreetings folks!

Last night I logged into the Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha and recorded the tutorial, sadly I was commentating the whole time but had my program to only accept input from my mic when I had alt held down… but didn’t realize it, so this is the the pure, un-commentated version of the tutorial :)

More videos and coverage to come, so stay tuned!

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Episode 10 – Technical Alpha News! (Audio)

HotSCast Audio ThumbnailThis week Vincent, Mike, and Kali talk about the Technical Alpha having been announced for Heroes of the Storm, the concept of “Talents being the new Items Build”, and in Heroes 101 we go over the Specialist class type and the concept of Feeding and Feeder.

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Episode 10 – Technical Alpha News! (Video)

HotSCast Video Thumbnail
This week Vincent, Mike, and Kali talk about the Technical Alpha having been announced for Heroes of the Storm, the concept of “Talents being the new Items Build”, and in Heroes 101 we go over the Specialist class type and the concept of Feeding and Feeder.  This is the video from the live recording, remember you can join us in the chatroom for the live recording simply by hitting the “Watch-Live” button above on Monday nights.  For the edited audio podcast, check iTunes, Stitcher, or any other podcast streaming app later today as I’ll have that edited and posted in a few hours.

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Episode 9 – Geeking Out On The Art! (Video)

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Greetings folks! Here is the video of our live recording of the most recent episode, Geeking Out On The Art! The audio, as always, is available on the site here, on Stitcher and on iTunes. Hit the break for the embedded video!

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Heroes of the Storm soon to enter Technical Alpha Testing!

Heroes of the Storm AlphaWe are moving ever closer to Heroes of the Storm being playable!  Today Blizzard announced that Heroes will be moving into a closed “Technical Alpha” testing phase, specifically with the goal to test for server stability, game bugs, and graphical issues – among other things that would prohibit a successful beta implementation.

This is truly exciting news, this means we could potentially see a full open beta (like what they have done with Heartstone) before BlizzCon 2014!

Cheers!

~Vincent