Sunday, February 15, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #25: En Taro Tassadar!

                I finally got invited to the Heroes of the Storm Closed Beta, almost everyone I know had access except me. Maybe this is Blizzard way of saying that they know I don’t appreciate everything they do (:D).
                MOBAs are not my thing anymore, I used to play League of Legends a lot a few years ago when it wasn’t so popular, but I got tired of the community and quit it just before the game made its entrance to the e-sports scene.
I gave DOTA 2 a fair try as well, but it wasn’t really to my taste. I felt the game mechanics discouraged team play in favor of soloing and that’s not for me. Probably looking from a premade team perspective, things are different, but when playing public games it can be awful.
                 I am an elitist at core (much more casual nowadays than I used to be) and I do care a lot about team work and victory, so I often get mad if the players involved play like headless chickens or act weirdly (tuning it down from idiots) and in MOBAs this happens more often than in any other genre. There are many players coming unprepared and refusing to read up on tactics and heroes mechanics ruining everybody’s day, sometimes trolling as well, forcing terrible reactions from the other players. It is a vicious circle in online gaming that continues endlessly. This is what determined me to stop playing League of Legends, I got tired of people wishing other people to get cancer.
                Heroes of the Storm does derail from the standard MOBA pattern dictated by the original DOTA and goes for a more different and casual approach. While the lanes with spawning creeps, leveling heroes and the main objective are still the same, the way to get there is a bit different.
                The game has an objective oriented gameplay with many side missions on the map that can give the edge to the team that completes them, this makes for increased team work and more variety in the gameplay. To better counter the soloing problem that these games have, here from the experience to the kills that the players have participated to, everything is shared between the members of the same team, rendering soloing futile. The chat has been restricted to teams only, avoiding the possibility of scandals between the teams, still this doesn’t stop people from trolling their own teammates.
                On the other hand the game goes out of its way to be as newbie friendly as possible with constant warnings both as pinging on the map and through announcers that almost never shut up.
The itemization has been removed so there are no items to make builds around them or use them to adjust to the situation or the enemy team setup. Instead there are some passive skills to choose from at certain levels enhancing the heroes’ combat capabilities and their abilities. While this sounds good, the builds are much more limited and pretty straight forward with no real surprises, but this system makes it a lot easier to get into the game as a beginner.
                Blizzard did put a lot of its traditional touches into Heroes of the Storm. Every hero in the game is taken from the lore of their three franchises and this is the thing I probably like the most about this game. It gives me the chance to play as Arthas (more like Lich King), Jaina Proudmoore, Raynor and many other emblematic characters from Blizzard’s stories (waiting for Medivh, Artanis or Imperius!).
The daily quests are here and so is the gold grinding to help unlocking new heroes. The unlocking goes extremely slow and can take several days as a casual to unlock one of the expensive heroes (10 heroes are required to join ranked games).
The mounts are here, with a decent variety for a game in Closed Beta, with different color schemes and many cash shop options.
Most of the spell, abilities and their icons in the game are the same with the ones seen in the other Blizzard games, which can be quite welcoming for the fans. Even the graphics resemble Starcraft II a lot, being the same engine used to power up this game as well.
                All in all this isn’t a bad thing, Blizzard has to address this game to their fanbase first before trying to steal players from the competition and I think they did manage to create a cozy feeling for their fans making their entrance into this game a lot smoother.
                The Heroes of the Storm has its problems, but is still in beta phase so most of them will probably be addressed before its launch. One of the things that worry me is the optimization. Starcraft II engine might be able to create games to run on older and newer game rigs, but these games don’t run great on many configurations, the engine being very pretentious at high settings when the screen gets full of moving units.
Overall, Heroes of the Storm is fun and enjoyable, which I didn’t expect. It helps a lot that every hero is very familiar for me, as I used to be a huge fan of Blizzard’s lore. The MOBAs market is quite crowded, but considering Blizzard’s fanbase, their focus on quality and the fact that this game is easy to get into, Heroes of the Storm will probably find its place on the market.
                There is much more to talk about this game, but I will rather write a full review about it in the future after more content for is released, in the meantime I think I’m going to have an enjoyable time playing it for a while.
Fear me, I destroyed the Zerg Overmind!

                A new review is in the works, it is about an older game that I play often these days, since I didn’t have enough time to play more of This War of Mine and write about it (but I’m not abandoning the review for this game).
If I can find a balance between the games I play, work and my personal life I will finish more of my articles that have been a work in progress for a while now. I had to abandon many articles in the past because of the huge gap between the time I played the games and the time I started writing about them. Even so, I’m thinking of new ways of increasing my articles output and I’m toying with the idea of doing something on a daily basis (at least Monday to Friday).

In the meantime, please share my articles and follow me on Steam and on Twitter!!


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