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.
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.
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.
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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