Heroes of the Storm (Episode 76)

THE GRINDSTONE TRIBUNAL:

This time, we have Karochi and Tebble joining us, along with Karis and Dreskar again, to allow their unfiltered opinions on this title, in addition to mine. Did you all enjoy this month?

Tebble:
Heroes of the Storm is a good game, but is best played with friends. Its easy to pick up play style allows more players to have a good time, but the objective focused gameplay means premade teams with have the advantage vs a team of randoms thrown together and told to work as a team. The talent system is simpler than buying items in the other MOBAs, but doesn’t give you as much flexibility as item builds and you can’t undo your choices during a match if you make a wrong choice or misclick.
My main problem with the game is the very slow gain of the in-game currency of gold as you get very little for playing the game.Your main source of income is from completing the daily quests as you get very little from playing matches if you don’t have a booster. The community from what I have experienced is very quiet and I have encountered very few leavers or trolls. I can only play a few matches before I get burned out as there isn’t much incentive to play once you hit account level 40 beyond grinding hero levels, unlocking heroes or playing ranked.
Recommended?: YES, but expect a lot of grinding to unlock heroes and the eventual arrival of the MOBAtards as this gets more popular. I highly recommend you bring friends to play with.

Karochi:
I love Heroes of the Storm for what it does differently but it really does exemplify how people can’t handle change. What could have been a great experience was ruined by people constantly unwilling to play the game as it was intended. Lucky for me, I had enough people to play with so I didn’t usually have to queue with randoms.
HotS is great at what it does, being a way more “casual” take on the MOBA genre, but that has it’s ups and downs. Personally, I always liked the aspect of molding an item build to fit whatever current situation you were up against in other MOBAs (albeit that usually boiled down to the same builds too). I liked the fact that you could take a character that was traditionally something else and change it to how you’d want to play it. In HotS however you get exactly the same character who’ll play exactly the same and there’s nothing you can do about that. This would be fine if the roster was being enough to keep changing out to characters of the same playstyle to keep it fresh, but that simply isn’t the case here.
All in all, it’s a game that works great for a couple of hours, every other day, with a group of friends. Playing much more than that gets boring, and with how the game is structured it’s mostly pointless. I also can’t stress enough how absolutely terrible the majority of players in this game are.
Recommended?: Unless you bring your own team, NO.

Karis:
Not even gonna front here, Heroes of the Storm is a good game.  It takes most of the problems that people typically have with the MOBA genre, and comes up with actually decent solutions to them.  Hate being confused over what items to buy?  There are no items.  Hate people complaining that you are too low level, or not getting enough kills or minion farm, because you chose a character that is weak at the start?  All experience and levels are shared, making the game actually more about team success, and allowing those players to level up to where there character can finally shine.  Hate being told to jungle, because the current meta dictates that this is what your character is supposed to do?! (yes, we know Jon, we know)  Well, there is no jungling here!   In fact, there almost is no meta.  The “meta” is pretty much just, “Hey, the map objective is up, we should probably do that… …Oh it’s done? Coool.”
…Oh, did I forget to mention that if you still can’t stand the people you’re playing with, you can just straight up turn the team chat off?  Best. Fucking. Idea. Ever!
Now, are there problems with the game? Oh, plenty.  Character prices are ridiculously high, and bots are cheating pieces of shit, being able to target you when by all accounts, they should physically not be able to see you.  Also, just by the nature of this just being a MOBA, you’ll have a bunch of people coming in ‘cause they played League or something, and trying use the same tactics they would in those other games, not realizing that the way HoTS is set up, those play styles DON’T FUCKING WORK!!  HoTS does a lot of things right, but even it can’t counter human stupidity.  Still, a valiant effort.
Recommended?: A nice alternative to the standard MOBA, definitely YES.

Setch Dreskar:
Heroes of the Storm will actually hold a special place for me in the MOBA genre, most specifically because it is one of the first MOBAs I find myself enjoying my time within and wanting to come back to it. While the game itself can get grating and frustrating, especially when the community cannot seem to grasp the concept of the game itself I still want to play it and laugh at the small audio snippets between heroes. I do need to take breaks often, it’s not a game I can play for long periods of time without needing to do anything else just for a breather but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that enjoys a title but burns out on it.
I am rather annoyed at Blizzard’s obvious greed when it comes to hero pricing but since it is about the only way they will make money off the title I can understand why they want them high. This game has also yet to turn around my opinion on Blizzard as a whole and actually reinforces it with its CGI trailer, not representative of anything in this game whatsoever, style that Blizzard constantly seems to fellate rather than just admitting what the game they are shamelessly hyping up, actually is. It also amuses me endlessly that Blizzard are whining that their game isn’t in the top 3 of the MOBA market.
Recommended?: Surprisingly YES given my stance on Blizzard.

ChaosD1:
I like to let everyone write up their tribunal piece so I don’t repeat the same ground too much. We’ve been over the high priced heroes, the meta-turds trying desperately to play this game like every other formulaic MOBA on the market. It’s said and done… But this also gives me to opportunity to cover things I forgot to mention in the video, or Dreskar missed adding to the script, followed by my failure to add it.
First: The cooperation aspects? Fucking genius. The minute I played the first match alongside Tebble and noticed “Wait… we all get the experience for kills?” I beamed brightly… internally. Everyone knows I am physically incapable of smiling.
My pessimistic side immediately sprang to mind… “Ok, what will people argue over?” I thought. “Will people be complaining that others aren’t getting enough kills?” It was then I noticed that kills didn’t exist, and the “takedowns” stat was a much fairer combination of kills and assists. No more whining about “kill steals”. No more gold and XP bonuses to fight over.
Picking your character before the match starts? Genius.
Having objective focus trump laning and team fight importance? Genius.
Being able to mute allied chat altogether, while allowing pings to be far more clear in their communication abilities? Genius.
The easily located healing fountain being usable by everyone, on their own individual cooldown? Fucking genius.
This. THIS is the game “Strife” was trying to be, and as I said in the Sidequest for that game, I don’t think really S2 understood what the problem actually was. Blizzard clearly does.
One of the saddest comments I read in reply to the Sidequest on Heroes of the Storm, was claiming the game didn’t feel as exciting, because “doing very well does not make your hero statistically better than everyone else.” Sorry, that’s about the most disturbing reason I’ve ever heard to play one of these games, and that is not the attitude I want from a teammate in anything. Like, wow. How desperate can someone be for a false sense of self worth? Sure, you can’t say “I did really well that match”… now you have to say “We did really well that last match.” And to me, that feels a fuckton better.
These self-proclaimed MLGers are anything but. The real MLGers are playing the games they want to be good at. Sometimes a few of them. They aren’t moving onto the next game trying to bring over their “mad skills” to a bunch of unprepared players. They aren’t top-tier NFL draft picks. They’re the shitheads in the schoolyard claiming to be a better quarterback than Tom Brady because they refuse to play against anyone near their own skill level. They’re deciding this game is too “casual” and “carebear”, leaving in droves because the players refuse to play the game like every other similar title. Unlike SMITE, Blizzard isn’t catering to their cries. I couldn’t be happier for it.
It does suck that you can’t undo a talent choice once you choose it, and it does require a certain level of foreknowledge to know exactly how useful, or useless a choice will be in an upcoming fight… but this doesn’t bother me all that much. Matches that last an average of 15 minutes is alright by me. I have shit to do. And this short match time lets me feel, “Oh, I screwed this up a bit. Well, there’s always next time.” And “next time” is much sooner than you’d think.
Recommended? Hell YES. This is my new favorite MOBA.

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Posted on June 30, 2015, in Episodes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. As soon as you started talking about Blizzard’s aesthetic theme, I was thinking “this music sounds a fair bit like the Sephiroth theme song.”

    It’s always nice to hear about progress on making communities less awful.

  2. I’ll have to admit, I’ve been curious ever since that sidequest video, but just never been that good at games, less so competitive ones.

    I guess all that doesn’t matter since I already jumped in last week to try the game, and I love it. Don’t have much time for it, but doing a couple matches a day and completing daily quests is more than good enough, plus I stick to vs AI so far.

    Even got a couple heroes in my roster unlocked already, first was Li Li of course, I love that panda and I guess her being on the free rotation when I joined helped solidify my feelings for the game.

  3. Heroes of the Storm is quite amazing. I’d play more of it, but I dearly suck at anything PvP. Nevertheless, having played Heroes of the Storm… I really can’t go back to traditional MOBAs. It fixes nearly every issue I had with the genre, so going back is now impossible. THIS is what it took for me to actually enjoy the MOBA genre.

    Business model aside, I’m actually quite impressed at Blizzard’s game-making chops. They’ve become quite adept at taking existing ideas and polishing them into a fine shine like nobody else could. They’re not constrained by “tradition” of how particular games have always been made, and are perfectly willing to strip out the bullshit but keep the meat of the experience. Or so it seems from their recent track record.

    So HOTS is casual. Good. That’s what makes it fun, whereas its competition is all stressful.

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