Blizzard 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!