Well shit… I think I like Mobas now. It is a day in my gaming history I didn’t think would come due to both my unwillingness to really learn about them and also because of a community that has crossed over from toxic, to radioactive. I love competitive gaming but really dislike how it seems to promote hostility between players and Moba’s represent the absolute worst of that.
And that brings me to Heroes of the Storm – babies first Moba as I’ve lovingly called it before, and mostly a whole week so far of staying up to around midnight ( I wake up at 5). I have been tired, cranky and pleading with myself every day to go to bed early but then I’ll jump back in and that personal promise is forgotten.
I think a part of what grabbed me originally is just the simplicity of the mechanics and gameplay. LoL and the others like it are extremely hard to get into due to the absolute wealth of knowledge needed with gearing for characters, and also due to the basic mechanics like last hitting. These things, for a new or dare I say, casual moba player like myself are an extreme turn off. I don’t want to put in that amount of time just to play at an adequate level.
With Hots I’ve avoided the worst of Moba time constraints. I’m able to jump in, play and compete at a reasonable level just about immediately. I can catch up and keep up with the level of knowledge needed since it is new, and the rest is just getting acquainted and skilled with the gameplay.
I think what I do like as well is that Hots feels like more of a team game. With LoL and co it often revolves around individual actions, and these actions that lead to success. Laning well as an individual. Ganking, last hitting for gold, and just generally spiraling up in the levels until you can carry a team. Sure team fights are a big part but even those seem to be skewed to the part with stronger individuals.
Hots has a team level with individual actions counting towards this so, even with a stronger player it is everyone together making a difference. And then there are the map objectives which count towards a team’s success as well and often, it is everyone as a team that has to work towards them.
Getting together with my guildies has been a blast with these. I don’t feel so constantly paranoid and anxious with worrying how I’m doing but more what we as a team are doing. It frees that performance anxiety style of thing I often suffer in these games and well… I seem to be playing a lot better because of it. It has been more fun learning group strategies as well, and playing as a group rather than an individual that is often brought together. I just like those group aims far more.
I also think, in true blizzard style they have created a game that is accessible (for a Moba); simple to understand at first so you can just jump in and play but also hard to master. The maps hold a fair bit of strategy as to how you play on them, there is the natural pvp learning and getting more skilled as a player. The characters are simplified as well but with the certain level based buffs you can pick also add a certain amount of complexity to the games. It is no lol, and certainly has a much more restricted meta but it is enough… enough to make each game feel different. enough for there to be a lot of room for growth but without feeling to overwhelmed.
Maybe because of this general simplicity and the “babies first moba” approach it has also avoided the brunt of the hardcore, elitist, asshole moba community. They look down with derision at Hots, it is beneath them and thus stay away…. thank fuck. There is still some general bickering in team games, especially when it comes to expected group actions but it is nowhere near as common, or all-encompassing as it is elsewhere.
It isn’t without its issues though. It is a game that can become quickly unbalanced with no way of ever catching up, more so than other mobas. The design towards team levels means those ahead of the other get a distinct power advantage which often spirals into control of map objectives, laning and team fights. This in turn creates an even stronger advantage. It can be turned around and our group have done that many times, good team work does help but only so much in the absence of the other teams.
I also have concerns as to whether Blizzard can balance the game properly. PvP games, and especially mobas require there to be an amazing amount of attention to the meta and an ability to react appropriately to it. Their track record with Hearthstone is abysmal, leaving in overpowered cards and combinations, not to mention the huge advantage of the new packs. Hots has a rather terrible balance right now as well. There aren’t even that many heroes and already there is an extensive tier list with huge differences between them. There are blatantly overpowered skills, and some characters that are utterly useless, or at least nowhere near being competitive.
We shall see how they go with it over time. It is still rather new but this is an area Blizzard really needs to focus on if they want Hots to go further.
Oh and seriously… just about everything is extremely overpriced. Cheapest characters being around $5.. and there ain’t many. A general price of around ten with it going as high as $15 for new characters. It’s stupid, even with the ability to buy them with gold earned in-game. Some of the packs are like $50 for just a handful of characters, and skins are mostly over $10 as well. Because of that I don’t see myself buying very much from it.. ever and that will probably prove detrimental on my experience.