mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Initial Impressions — Heroes of the Storm

I spent a bunch of time this weekend checking out the Alpha of Blizzard's upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA), Heroes of the Storm. I know the general idea behind this genre, but I've actually never played a MOBA, so you can say this weekend was my virginal MOBA experience. Here are some of my initial impressions.

  • The game is fun! Generally, I had a great time playing. The game is accessible, enjoyable, challenging, and addictive. I mostly played AI comp stomps; playing against other people made the game much more brutal.

  • The maps are really cool. I’m not sure how other MOBAs work, but every map in Heroes has a different gameplay mechanic that can and should be leveraged to gain a large tactical advantage. For example, on Dragon Shire, a party that can simultaneously control two shrines can then summon a powerful Dragon hero that marches towards the enemy’s camp. It’s refreshing to see maps that differ in more ways than simply their texture.

The loading screen explains the map-specific mechanic.

  • Pick-up groups suck! This is a team game; it requires some amount of coordination. Playing with random people, it seemed like everyone was just doing their own thing. If our opponents had even a MINIMAL amount of coordination, we got totally wrecked. It reminded me a lot of a 4v4 in StarCraft where everyone just does their own build and everyone hopes it works out in the end. Sometimes it does, but most of the time it doesn’t.

  • I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m kind of figuring out what to do and find myself sometimes being a good team player, but – generally – I still have no idea what I’m doing. Fortunately, this can be remedied by playing more frequently, and playing with people who can show you the ropes. This is mostly just an apology to all my MOBA-playing friends who I will invariably frustrate.

I’m eagerly anticipating the release of Heroes, mostly because that means I’ll be able to cajole four other friends to play with me.