Tag Archives: Blizzard Heroes of the Storm

#488 Heroes of the Storm First Impressions

Over the weekend, due to a combination of some free time, watching various PAX South Streams, and remembering that I actually had the game in my inventory, I booted up Blizzard’s second Free to Play game, the A.R.T.S/MOBA game Heroes of the Storm for the first time to play a few rounds.

I played between the two free ranged and support heroes of that week, Malfurion and Falstad, for a few matches in the Raven and Haunted mines map. I did have a fun time playing the game, winning my fair share of matches and even scoring a few killstreaks here or there, I contribute that to my months of Twitch training.

 Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

Its weird starting fresh in new MOBA/ARTS game, relaying on the free champs that week instead of the handful of champs you know so well.

My first impressions is that it is a fun game with more of a focus on map objectives than player kills, and the objectives are fun to partake in. from collecting skulls to power up your bulldozer of a Grave Golem as it marches from one side of the map to the other to claiming capture points to ensure that your team gets the highly prized buff or inflicting a powerful curse or attack on the enemy’s defenses.

I have only played for a handful of matches, so I do not know how I feel about Heroes of the Storm choosing a heavy focus on Talents and upgrading and side-grading the hero’s abilities over the item approach for character improvement. I definitely know that I am not a fan of Blizzard’s gameplay choice to let players pick their champions first and then enter the queue.

I lost quite a few solo-queue matches because our team was comprised of two supports and no damage and that was because there was no time to communicate to the other players and and change our team competition before rolling out.

I do not know how those two complaints will might work with the competitive scene of the game when it comes to the staple pick/ban phase and counting other champion’s play style we see in other games, that is if there is a community interest to move towards a competitive or metagame route.

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments

of course it will, we have competitive Hearthstone tournaments why wouldn’t we have a competitive HoTs scene

Those two complaints are not enough to deter me from the game all together, and I will still plan to play it but recreationally, I know that if I play Heroes of the Storm any more than casually I end up losing money, fast.

I know that if I lose money it will not be because of HoTs’s microtransactions or colorful unicorn mounts but by resubbing to World of Warcraft. It was the same problem I had with Hearthstone. While Heroes of the Storm uses assets from their Diablo and Starcraft games the game is heavily designed with the World of Warcraft Universe in mind, taking a bit of priority over the other Blizzard intellectual properties, with maps, building designs, heroes, mounts, sound effects, and the inclusion of Hearthstones as the item used for recalling back to base.

Even now, after playing a few games, I can feel the itch, the Warcraft itch to resubscribe to reenter the world of Azeroth to revisit those lands and important characters. The itch is especially bad with that new expansion that involves New Outland and time travel. I left World of Warcraft more than a year ago and I know that if I go back I will be lost forever giving $15 a month to Blizzard for the access to a game that I will hardly play.

I wish I could go back to World of Warcraft again, but I just do not have the time, thanks to my current schedule to to allow the time investment for the hours of preparing and committing to a guild that raids end game content continuously and progressively as I would have want.

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

The kicker is if Blizzard added a special champion costume exclusive to the World of Warcraft subscribers

Another reason that HoTs will not be played anymore than casually is because I already have a main A.R.T.S/MOBA game that I play,on a scheduled basis. A.R.T.S are like MMOs, you can only really choose one to sink enough time into to get the best benefits and I already have one and it’s not this one.


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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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#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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#288 An ARTS by any other name

Good news everyone! In preparation for next  month’s BlizzCON 2013, Blizzard has officially -and finally- announced their own Action Real Time Strategy game to compete with the likes of League of Legends, DOTA 2, Heroes of Newerth, and DC Comics’ Infinite Crisis.

It's about time, even when factoring in Blizzard-time

It’s about time the company acknowledged this game, even when factoring in Blizzard-time

 

This game has been on my radar for quite a years ever since Blizzard first announced three years ago in the 2010 BlizzCon, up to when they causally mentioned it in the Activision-Blizzard’s Q1 Financial Report (Be MOP #219). Since then the project when through a bit of an identity crisis, initially the game was called Blizzard Dota then last year it was renamed as Blizzard All-Stars and now finally settling on the title “Heroes of the Storm” and the official announced it with a humorous little self-referencing video titled “The Game Formerly Known as ‘Blizzard All-Stars'”

Curse them for using that Prince joke, I was going to use that for this post. I guess they know their audience.

Curse them for using that Prince joke, I was going to use that for this post. I guess they know their audience.

 

As the title of this post suggest the name of the game is not what we should focus on but instead on the game play and the uniqueness it brings to the table. For this game to be successful it needs to have something built into the game that makes it stand out from the other A.R.T.S like League of Legends and Dota 2.

As of right now there is no video of the game play of the Storms of the Heroes, either from back 2010 or from the current build, but I would not be surprise if Blizzard releases a ton of content, including the starting champion pool, the maps designs and that one thing that makes them stand out from the other games on the market.

To any Blizzard employees that might be reading this, I would gladly volunteer to be a beta tester.

To any Blizzard employees that might be reading this: First, hey how’s it going? Secondly, I would gladly volunteer to be a beta tester if you are looking for players.

 

But I want to know what you think, what do you think of Blizzard’s ARTS game? and more importantly what do you think of the ARTS/MOBA genre?

I ask the second question because to me, it looks like the ARTS genre is on route to be the defining go-to genre for 201X  for the PC similar to how the MMO was big thing for the PC gaming world back in the 200Xs.

 


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