It’s been all of a week since BlizzCon 2013, where details were dropped on Blizzard’s upcoming character brawler Heroes of the Storm. Excitement over the title continues to grow, despite no real indicator as to when we’ll actually get a chance to hop into the game ourselves. While Heroes of the Storm most certainly shares a number of characteristics with the MOBA genre, and for all intensive purposes can still be safely classified as one, there are a lot of large differences between Heroes of the Storm and existing titles on the market right now, and they’re worth addressing and taking into consideration.
Major Difference: PvE objectives are constant, and super important.
What it means: It’s easy to get lost in a MOBA, initially. It’s tough to know when to leave the lane, when to farm, when to setup ganks, when to ward. Heroes of the Storm will have a more streamlined approach, through the use of manifold PvE objectives. Your team will want to be constantly claiming gold doubloons, skulls, tributes, or even the services of various mercenary groups. Team coordination will be absolutely essential to success, so wandering off to play lone wolf could be a huge detriment. While this change will make PvE’s impact a lot more noticeable, it should also increase the frequency of team fights. If key PvE objectives are taken, the opposing base will come under siege, ensuring that the other team must defend it, and hey, we’re all really here for the team fights, right?
Major Difference: There are multiple Heroic Abilities.
What it means: Ultimate abilities have always been a hugely important factor in MOBAs. DotA 2’s Lina possesses an ultimate ability that allows her to deal critical damage to one opposing character, on a sizable cooldown. Like it or not, that’s your only option with that specific character. In Heroes of the Storm, ultimate abilities have been renamed Heroic Abilities, and players have two options, at present. As an example, Jim Raynor can either choose to utilize the famed Hyperion, a ship more geared towards base destruction, or a pair of fasters Banshees, able to deal solid damage to an opposing hero, while also giving Raynor increased visibility. This change, in conjunction with other talent customization options, will allow for more flexibility in team construction.
Major Difference: Experience is shared by the team.
What it means: It’s totally common in MOBAs to see a hard farming carry be eight, nine, even ten levels higher than a support character, making them easy pickings. This is, for the support player, absolutely no fun. There’s a difference between a challenging, satisfying fight, and exploding because a geared carry looked at you wrong. Shared experience means that characters such as Abathur will always be relevant in team fights, increasing the amount of fun for all players, and not just the super farmed ones. This should change the current attitudes towards playing as a support hero.
Major Difference: There are no items in Heroes of the Storm
What it means: The pursuit of specific items is one of the core tenants of MOBA life. Carries, semi-carries, even some supports will spend their existence trying to farm up some core items to use against their opponents. While not necessarily a bad thing, it does substantially increase the amount of time spent in a game. The Dark Lady, an agility carry in Heroes of Newerth is just not functional without a set of four to five different items. In Heroes of the Storm, since there are no items, attention can be diverted from that pursuit, and towards team objectives. Kerrigan will never just wander off alone into the jungle, totally AWOL for 30 minutes while she works on an Infinity Edge. This direction helps to reinforce the message that Heroes of the Storm will absolutely be a team game, first and foremost.
Despite all of the differences, there will be some similarities. Heroes of the Storm will, similar to other titles on the market, invite ten people together to duke it out with some of their favorite characters. There will also probably be a lot of yelling, laughing and face palming, all integral to the experience.