Tag Archives: Mists of Pandaria

#400 How Far We’ve Come

Today is a big milestone for me, this Monday is the 400th Be MOP post! What makes this milestone truly impressive is that it is the 400th Be MOP post without skipping a beat on my Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule that I have set in place with my first post that I made two and a half years ago. This means I wrote through all of my college finals, every sick day, every snowstorm that caused a blackout, and everything that happened to me in my Post-college life.

Looking back on some of my first couple of month’s posts it is amazing how short some those post actually were.

Looking back on some of my first couple of month’s posts it is amazing how short some those post actually were.

 

I have mentioned this before but the Be MOP blog was the result of a winter time walk down main street of my college town, the week before my Juniors finals, and experiencing an early Quarter-life crisis when I realized that I was just a Political Science student, with no minor, soon to go out to the world in just a few short years.

To top it off were people out there who were just a little bit older than me making a living from playing and writing videogames, a job option that was very appealing to me, and I was no where close to being on that track for that sort of career path. Although looking back I was already making some money from writing about videogames, it was just too inconsistent for my liking.

I was actually waiting for WoWinsiders next call for submissions, which was scheduled to return soon before coming to the realization that i could publish these thoughts by myself.

I was actually waiting for WoW Insider’s next call for submissions, which was scheduled to return soon before coming to the realization that I could publish these thoughts by myself.

 

When I first started BeMOP.wordpress.com so long ago I had no idea that it would last for this long, even during my transition from experiencing burnout from World of Warcraft to writing about PC and general gaming events.

And because of little blog I have:

  • dramatically honed my writing abilities
  • 200+ WordPress followers
  • a Twitter account and now it has grown to 500+ followers
  • the confidence to add ‘blogging’ to my resume. (the same resume that I submitted to get my current post-college job)
  • started a Twitch Stream and soon after got accepted in the Streamer Partnership Program from Infinite Crisis.
This one email made my week

This one email made my week

 

For today I just want to say, ‘Thank you’ to everyone who ever stopped by or left comments on this site, swung by my Twitch Stream, follow me on Twitter and even enduring through every single political inspired posts about videogames, literally none of this could be possible without you guys and I thank all of you because of this. It really makes my days and helps motivate me to push through the days when I was hit over the head with writing block and I have the days when I do not want write about anything.

To anyone who is still hesitant about starting or continuing their blogging/streaming experience, start now and just keep going. You might not always pump out your best quality works all the time but you will eventually improve day by day, week by week. Even if you do not get noticed right away, it is better to start building a background of quality content that you can pull up any time to prove you have a solid history of writing or producing content rather than waiting to come up with the perfect way get famous with your debut.

 


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#374 What would bring me back to WoW?

A new expansion of World of Warcraft is on the way to the beta testing phrase. I have not been keeping tabs on the development of this expansion as much as I usually do, but as usual Blizzard is expected to get a bump in subscription for that business quarter from people coming back to their game. Now that I am no longer playing WoW I am a part of the ideal demographic for Blizzard to advertise to get me back to play and subscribe to Warlords of Draenor. Today I am going to take out the middle men that comes from all the marketing studies and focus groups and I, a burned out WoW player, will tell you and any Blizzard employees reading exactly what Warlords would need to do to get this potential customer to get back into World of Warcraft.

buckle up guys this post is going to be a doozy

buckle up guys this post is going to be a doozy

First I want to start out with listing some features that are not be the main reason to get me back to playing World of Warcraft:

I am going to return because of the newest features and improvement to the game play. I have solo-leveled a mage through all of Outlands and I have raided as a mage from Wrath of the Lich King to Mists of Pandaria. During those times I was forced grind through some ridiculously long quests and I was asked change mage specs that I did not originally play as nor liked using when I was in the raid for the sake of doing the most optimal for damage towards the raid boss. If I were to come back to World of Warcraft I will play as a mage and  if I want to raid I will find a way to raid. It does not matter to me if Blizzard changed the class mechanics or if they simplified the talent system again I will find a way around those hurdles so I can play as a mage again.

 It is not just mage but my mage, the my first character I ever made in WoW.

It is not just mage but my mage, the my first character I ever made in WoW.

 

Secondly the lore and story of the expansion will not get me to pack my bags for Azeroth. This might be a big surprise for my long time readers that the lore will not get me to playing since I have written dozens of Be MOP posts about my love of the lore in the game and how I can draw parallels to other stories and events outside of the game but during my hiatus from WoW I have been playing other games and catching up on my comicbook collection. While I was playing those other games and reading the latest issues of Spider-man I realized how much quicker other games and media are able to tell their stories in the span of a few hours or a few weeks than the months or years it takes Blizzard to tell the full saga of what happened between the Horde and Alliance in the new world. If I hear the story of the game is interesting enough from my other friends then a quick trip to a WoWWiki will get me filled in on everything I need about the game without having to log into the game.

 

I started to come the this realization at the start of my burnout phase, when I got frustrated that I had to wait until the next raiding content was created and polished to a shine before learning about what happens next in the war.

I started to come the this realization at the start of my burnout phase, when I got frustrated that I had to wait until the next raiding content was created and polished to a shine before learning about what happens next in the war.

Now that we got those out-of-the-way I want to talk about the two things that would get me back into the game.

The first thing that might get me back to playing Warlords is another subscription bundle similar to what they did to lock players into playing the game during the lull between Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. Way back in the early days of this blog (as a matter of fact the THIRD Be MOP post I have ever created) I wrote a wonderful post that broke down and game a dollar price value on everything that was in the first World of Warcraft annual pass. After doing a bit of math I decided that paying for one year of World of Warcraft was giving me enough of valued content where the actual cost per month to play WoW as just under half of the normal $15 asking price.

I realized that this was an old post but until I had to edit this post and find the pictures I did not realized HOW OLD the annual pass post was

I realized that this was an old post but until I had to edit this post and find the pictures I did not realize HOW OLD the annual pass post was

 

But the biggest feature that would get me to resubscribe would be my friends and a video game social network. After unsubscribing from World of Warcraft and letting enough time past to see why what kept me going and why I left without bias, the main drive for logging in was the my raiding group. Each weekend I would log in and group up with the same bunch of people to take on the next big raid boss and progress through the current raid. It was talking and socializing with my raiding and real life raiding friends, telling stories, swapping tricks and class secrets that kept me excited and invested in the game. That investment would show by logging in every day to complete the same dailies, spending hours farming cooking materials for the right ingredients to make the best fests and -most importantly of all- to continue to invest $15 a month into the game. The main reason I left the game was because the Cataclysm guild I belonged to dissolved somewhere between the transition from Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, once the guild fell apart I felt lonely because I was just playing WoW by myself and I did not want to go through the hassle of either spending more money on a character transfer or seeking out a raiding guild that fit perfectly in my existing schedule.

That being said, I do not think I will ever return to the game because the window of opportunity to really play the game has closed. Since I left World of Warcraft in the summer after I graduated college I have found a full-time 2nd shift job, I now have college bills to pay off each month and between those two I have the other games to get through on my Steam backlog and I have to keep up with my Twitch channel.  I just do have the free time anymore to raid every weekend, let alone trying to fund the monthly subscription on top of everything I am currently doing. I guess this is goodbye to World of Warcraft for me, it took me the act of writing this post to realized that nothing Blizzard could do, save for during WoW free to play would get me to redownload the game client. I do hope that Blizzard the best for the newest addition to their game but it looks like I am not ever going to come back to my mage, which is a bit sad but at least I can thank Blizzard for the years of entertainment and the years of slowly training to be the component video game player that I am today.


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#357 Heroes I want to see in Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard had a busy week, with the launching of their first expansion for Diablo 3, Reaper of Souls. On top of their impressive launch party but Blizzard also announced that Tyrael will be one of the playable heroes in the their newest game Heroes of the Storm.

This is great news because not only are Blizzard taking a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, Building hype for Super Smash Brawl, by announcing segments of their new game in line with a major release of one of their other gaming titles. But it also means I was completely called it two weeks ago when I  exposed Blizzard’s “No game is an Island” marketing plan (Be MOP #350)

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company's marketing plan.

Nothing makes a blogger happy than correctly calling out a multi million dollar entertainment company’s marketing plan.

 

I could go into more marketing material but today, this Friday, I want to create a list for some of the Heroes I want to see in the game. Because the best thing about this game than say any of it’s other competition in the A.R.T.S/Moba genre is that Blizzard already has three expansive universe that they could continuously harvest from for years to come.

One (or all of the) Dragon Aspects from World of Warcraft.

These were my favorite characters from the Warcraft universe, they were there from the beginning with the creation of the Well of Eternity and they fought besides the players against Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Plus how cool it would be incorporating powers like time manipulation into the game.

Deckard Cain from Diablo

This character has been an established character since the original Diablo and while playing through Diablo 3 for the first time I felt a bit anticlimactic killing him off in the first Act, it would be cool seeing an old fragile man going 1v1 against Diablo himself on the battlefield.

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

I could totally see him play as a support/specialist

 

A heroes from Blizzard’s still super secret T.I.T.A.N MMO

We know this project is eventually coming and even someone with no background in marketing can tell you that the moment project T.I.T.A.N is announced or hits the beta that Blizzard will be releasing a special HotS hero from that series. We now the game is in the works, it is better just to get it out of the way now.

 

An Innkeeper from World of Warcraft

I want something like an Inn Keeper in Heroes of the Storm, because it would be hilarious to see a game full of powerful heroes and villains to see one normal NPC in the heroes roster and fighting besides aliens, demons and important world leaders.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

If they really wanted to connect it to a franchise they could have it be a new Hearthstone character.

 

Those are just my pick for additional heroes to add to the game, but I want to know what you think, What characters from Blizzards games do you want to see in Heroes of the Storm? Leave a comment down below I would love to hear want other people want from this game.

And Blizzard, if you are reading this, I can not wait to see you at this year’s PAX East.

 

 


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#351 Why I am the Perfect Heroes of the Storm Player

Some stirrings around the internet has revealed that an early build of Heroes of the Storm has made it into the hands of some people on the internet and that means that a beta version of the game is on the horizon. With that I believe now is the best time to write the third installment of one of my oldest blogging series, explaining why I am the perfect player to play the Beta of Heroes of the Storm.

The storm is coming

The storm is coming

This series started way back in the early single digits when I explained how I was the perfect Diablo 3 player because I knew nothing about the previous Diablo games so I could offer the purest feedback without any bias from the old games. (Be MOP #25)

Fun fact I wrote that blog post because I one of my college professors was a proud Greek man and I knew he would be flabbergasted if he ever learned that I used a famous Socrates quote to justify getting playing a videogame

Fun fact I wrote that blog post because I one of my college professors was a proud Greek man and I knew he would be flabbergasted if he ever learned that I used a famous Socrates quote to make my case for me to play a videogame

I made my case about Hearthstone because with my past experience with Pokemon TCG and  Magic the Gathering would help Blizzard with giving feedback when it came to balancing some of the odder and unconventional deck builds. (Be MOP #240)

Now I get to make my case for Heroes of the Storm. First off I got the experience of playing Blizzard games for years and I have been writing about them for years so I know the ropes when it comes to their participating in Blizzard’s betas.

But more importantly I have been following this game’s development cycle ever since I first mentioned when I compared Blizzard to the Pokemon company with their choices to expanding into different genre of games (Be MOP #68) to when I was predicting Blizzard’s major announcement in last year’s PAX East (Be MOP #191). I was there to write about the official acknowledgement that the game is still in production in the Activision-Blizzard financial results (Be MOP#219) after months of no updates on the game and all the way through their third final name change (Be MOP #288).

If comedy have taught me anything it is that a good running gag needs a killer ending to finish off the series and I like of no better ending than letting me into the beta.

So Blizzard, Please?

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#350 Blizzard’s ‘No Game is an Island’ Marketing Plan

Blizzard is back in my sights with their recent announcement that their newest game, Hearthstone, has moved out of the Beta stage and have officially released to the public.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

A game that was first relieved at Pax East last year, which is surprising in terms of game development cycle.

I played the game when it was in Beta a while ago but for one reason or another I dropped it for various reasons that I have now forgotten. As of writing the final game is for PCs and Macs with an iOS version in the works with no work on the Android version.

What caught my eye from the Hearthstone release was the promotional World of Warcraft Hearthstone mount that you can get when three games. I do like this line of thinking with this promotion not only because I am a former mount collector in WoW but because it looks like it is Blizzard’s new long-term marketing plan. A marketing plan that I now will be calling ‘No Game is an Island’ with Blizzard using all of their existing games to offer a promotional in game prizes as incentive for players to buy their new Intellectual Property.

 I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

I like to imagine that this long-term plan was started in a Blizzard executive meeting when they saw the signs that World of Warcraft was not going to last forever.

 

This have been in the works for a while, it started with StarCraft II and Diablo 3 with the announcement to add exclusive non-combat no more pets in the collector editions to try to get existing WoW players to buy the more expensive versions of the game.

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II's and Diablo 3's collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

we saw that idea expanded with the StarCraft II’s and Diablo 3′s collector edition of their expansion packs with both of theme offering exclusive portraits and banners sigils for each other

 

Then now that long-term plan evolved into the creation of the Free to Play Heathstone and Heroes of the Storm games which advertise the other paid games and the merger of their various game launchers into one meta Blizzard launcher.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve's introduction of Team Fortress 2's hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

It is a brilliant move, and it reminds me of Valve’s introduction of Team Fortress 2′s hats that you can only get by preordering other games that you bought through their Steam service.

 

Blizzard’s plan only works with active Intellectual Property, which might be the reason why we saw the release of StarCraft II and Diablo 3 in the past few years after an extremely long hiatus of the games. I am also excited to see what this might mean for Blizzard with for the future, especially with their Hero of the Storm starting to be prepped for a beta release.

With a free constantly updating Action Real Time strategy game like Heroes of the Storm this is an open invitation for Blizzard to start pumping out executive cosmetic items or hero skins for HotS as rewards, incentives for buying certain paid games or participating in time limited in games events or attending video game conventions like BlizzCon and possibly the upcoming PAX East.

I have not had much interest in Blizzard games ever since I stopped playing World of Warcraft but I hope that this and more importantly the Heroes of the Storm will get me back in to playing their games and from there who knows I might even pick Starcraft II or Diablo again.


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#342 Blizzard and Microtransactions (part II)

Oh it is this something special, I get to talk about Blizzard and World of Warcraft again, call it a callback to Be MOP’s earlier days (which was about six months ago before I decided not the renew my Warcraft subscription). Blizzard made headlines because they recently announced that their newest virtual shop item, any one of your characters to be instantly boosted to lv 90, will be sold at $60.

Image from WoW Insider

This is not the first time I talked about the latest addition to the Battle.net store, funny enough the last time I threw my two cents in about the Blizzard Store was 99 posts ago (Be MOP #243) Image from WoW Insider

Ignoring the fact that WoW is still subscription based and you still need to buy expansion packs this is quite a bit of money to spend for a in-game purchase.

This one item is Battle.net shop equals to one of the latest current-gen AAA game or four months of WoW play time just for the ability to skip the leveling process in a MMO. We could call it a E-shop purchase but this is a microtransaction and one that is a bit too big to be called ‘micro’ any more.

Initially the idea of micro-transaction is supposed to offer the player cosmetic goods that does not unbalance the game, like Blizzard’s mounts and Valve’s hats in TF2  or bypass the tedious parts of the free to play game, like the ability to either buy the newest champion with your money or grind up in-game victory points in League of Legends by yourself.

From the business point of view micro-transactions are meant to be small enough to justify the  impulse buy when the prompt comes up. Very similar to the dollar menu at a drive through or the candy shelf at the checkout aisle at the grocery store. It a microtransaction should not be enough to wait for your next paycheck to come in before heading over to checkout.

Between this and the Batman DLC fiasco (read Be MOP #280 & #338) it seems that the gaming industry is forgetting what microtransactions and downloadable content actually means.

It’s not just Blizzard, other companies have been incorporating in costly microtransactions, trying to push the edge of what is acceptable to pay for these services.

Case in point. Image from Reddit.com

But I want to know what you think: What is your opinion about the $60 price for a level 90 character? Are you planning on buying it?

And do you think there should be a limit on how much a company should charge for the items and services in their in-games shops? If what should it be?

Leave a comment down below I would love to hear what you think on the matter.

 


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#311 Where are the Winter games?

Yesterday’s snowstorm following close by today’s cold snap has forced me to face the fact that the winter season is in full swing here in New England. As family tradition states that with the winter season I break out the winter sweaters, festive beverages, and Christmas music for the rest of the month.

The problem is that between the decorations around the house and the holiday events around the town I do not have any games that properly captures the winter season. Fall has the Halloween holiday to define that time of the year and with that there are a slew of horror and zombies to best compliment the season, so much so that Valve had their own Halloween sale offering huge discount with almost every game that had the word zombie in the title.

 

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren't winter themed games

Sure we have the Winter Steam sales but those aren’t winter themed games

 

I can not think of any games that I know of that capture the spirit of winter.  Off the top of my head the Batman Arkham City because of the entire game takes place in gothic city during the winter time and in a pinch you could argue Paper Please could fit into the winter category if you ever wanted to feel like you were living with your family in a harsh a communist country funded apartment without any free heating.

Living in a bedroom with no heating fits pretty well right now

talk about a cold game

I ask this because this is the first winter that I am not subscribed to World of Warcraft, so I can not relay on Blizzard’s Feast of Winter Veil event for my yearly fix for the winter season themed games.

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

I will miss looting the Stolen Present from the Abominable Greench

So I am opening this to everyone, what are some of your go-to games to get into winter seasons when the it starts getting cold outside?


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#309 Valve, Linux, and the Questions about the Future of PC gaming

Earlier this week everyone’s favorite gaming company came back into the news with the announcement that Valve has officially joined the Linux Foundation, an organization that promotes the growth of the open source Linux operating system since 2007.

If you have been paying attention to Valve’s actions since September this another step for the company to secure themselves in the Linux group and prepare themselves for the launch of their own Linux-based operating system, Steam OS, which is planned to released sometime next year.

coming out early 2014....maybe?

coming out early 2014….maybe?

After talking to some friends and few other bloggers about Valve’s project everyone seems to be split on what type of operating system Steam OS will be. I met some people who will claim that this will revolutionize the Desktop market with a free ,open sourced, operating system that will topple Microsoft’s hold on the market within a few short years.

Then I and a few others believes that the Steam OS will only be a trimmed down operating system very similar to the XB1 and PS4′s interface and will be successful for a niche demographic because of the lack of file support and other functions like you see in a Windows and Apple’s systems

We soon realized that how little the public actually knows about what Steam OS can do outside of booting up Steam and playing games more efficiently and these questions are currently preventing us actually predicting the future of this product.

We've seen how the new Steam Controller works by way of Valve's YouTube page, but not on how we can navigate through the OS

We’ve seen how the new Steam Controller works by way of Valve’s YouTube page, but not on how we can navigate through the OS

Even if Steam OS becomes a major hit and becomes as successful as Valve and everyone else who are following the product are hoping it to be it will only raises more questions about the future of other PC gaming companies. Unlike the big three console company’s group effort to push motion controls and multimedia features into the living room, Valve is the only big PC company that is pushing for Linux integration. While Valve was able to get NVIDIA to follow their footsteps we do not know how this will affect other AAA PC game companies, with a special focus on Riot’s League of Legends or any of the big games from Activision Blizzard.

I don't know know Riot could work in a Linux Penguin skin into their champion rooster

I don’t know Riot could work in a Linux Penguin skin into their champion rooster

For this Friday I would like to open these questions to you, Do you think Steam OS will be a fully functioning desktop operating system or will it be more like the other console operating system that limits the capabilities to just playing games?

-and-

no matter what you think the finished product of Steam OS will be, What are your predictions on how other standalone PC companies will react to Valve entering the Linux world for the sake of gaming,. Do you think that in a few years we will read announcements that League of Legends and World of Warcraft will be fully supported by Linux or do you think both companies are happy where they are with being just supporting Windows and Apple computers?’

Leave a comment down below, I would love to see what everyone else’s thoughts on this topic.


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#299 Blizzard Returning to their Roots

One of the other bit of news that came out from last week’s BlizzCon was the announcement that Blizzard is working on adapting the first two Warcraft games for the modern operating systems

I wonder if they will follow the way of Steam and port it to Linux while their at it

I wonder if they will follow the way of Steam and port it to Linux while they’re at it

Between that, the reveal of their newest game, Heroes of the Storm, the launching of the Hearthstone trading card game and the release of Starcraft II and Diablo 3 (each with their own expansion packs) from the past few years it looks like Blizzard is trying to go back to its roots.

If you need to look any further just look at the new Battlenet launcher. Its an all in one stop for all your Blizzard games

If you need to look any further just look at the new Battlenet launcher. It’s an all in one stop for all your Blizzard games

One of the complaints that I heard people had with Blizzard was that since they launched their MMO in 2004, it was slowly becoming a World of Warcraft company while ignoring their other projects.  It looks like Blizzard heard those comments and are willing to make a change in direction by supporting all of their three well established games and at the same time put effort in creating new games as well.

Twelve years between the newest addition Diablo and Starcraft games. What is this Valve?

Twelve years between the newest addition Diablo and Starcraft games, why would they start now?

If I was a cynical person, I would say this change in company behavior is because they saw the number of players leaving World of Warcraft and this is their attempt to stay afloat after WoW eventually sinks below the point where it can not fund the entire company.

I do wonder if this means if we will be getting Starcraft III and Diablo 4 sooner rather than later and possibility some band new independent IPs to boot.

What do you think; Do you think Blizzard is changing their business ways for the new decade or am I just reading too much into it? and if so, what are you hoping for from Blizzard in the future?


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#298 The Storm (of Heroes) is Coming

BlizzCon 2013 has come and gone bringing a slew of new information about all their Intellectual property from Diablo to Hearthstone. While the story of  World of Warcraft’s next expansion is cool and interesting there was nothing there gameplay wise to convict me to resubscribe.

I would be a pain renaming this blog Be DOW

Plus it would be a pain renaming this blog to Be WOD

What did catch my eye was the cinematic and gameplay of Blizzard’s long awaited Action Real Time Strategy game, Heroes of the Storms. I have made no small attempt to hide the fact that this has have been the one Blizzard game that I am eagerly looking forward to ever since it was announced at Blizzcon 2010 under the name Blizzard DOTA.

I remember hearing about Blizzard Dota like it was yesterday

I remember hearing about Blizzard DOTA like it was yesterday

But In order for a new game like this to succeed in the surprisingly fast growing A.R.T.S/MOBA market Heroes of the Storm needs to bring a unique twist that is unlike any other MOBA games that currently online. From what I have read Blizzard has a bunch of different gameplay features it’s bringing to the party:

  • Shared experience between all players on your team
  • Gaining experience in death
  • The exclusion of  gold and purchasable items and the doing away with last hitting minions in lane
  • The introduction of mounts for champions

Thanks to Ongamers.com for proving the information about H.o.t.S from their hands on experience with the game

I am by no means an A.R.T.S (or MOBA) expert but to me it looks like Blizzard is trying to make Heroes of the Storm matches shorter than League or Dota 2′s matches while ruling out the option for one team to play aggressive in the early game and just snowball all the way to victory.

Blizzard has stated that this is not just another ARTS/MOBA but a challenger to the genre but they have a steep challenge facing the company not only trying to overthrow Riot position as top game while trying to convince the gaming public that it is a different (and better) game than anything else out there.

HotS could work and coexist with the other MOBAs because of its differences, just like to how Football and Rugby are both similar sports but the minor differences are what makes them stand out. Or Blizzard’s project (and any other MOBA game that fails to differentiate itself from the crowd) could follow the same fate that the XFL had when it tried to challenge the NFL in 2001.

There's a reason you don't remember the XFL. Also I believe I earn an achievement for connecting MOBA matches to football and rugby

There’s a reason why you don’t remember the XFL.


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Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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