Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 16, 2014

Email: Heroes of the Storm

I’ve been watching Day[9]’s videos for Heroes of the Storm myself, and I can agree that what I’m seeing has me excited to the point where I’m really hoping that my computer will be able to run it when a more widely available version comes out.

I play League of Legends myself, and what I’ve see of Heroes (abbreviating it as HotS seems awkward considering that there’s also Heart of the Swarm) looks like it’s everything I like about League of Legends but without most the stuff I don’t like about League of Legends. There’s a particular game mode in LoL called ARAM (All Random All Mid – one lane with all campions randomly decided) which is currently the mode I play most frequently, and it gets rid of most the stuff that bogs down the bulk of the standard game and gets right into why I like the game and what I find fun about it – champions duking it out against each other and fighting as a team.

I certainly wouldn’t be able to say for sure without playing it, but I’ve got a feeling that Heroes may well be Blizzard basically taking ARAM and expanding it to the entire game, but without the two factors that give ARAM it’s name.

If your computer can run Starcraft 2 well, it should run HotS too.

The hate against HotS is a very healthy sign. A bad sign about a new game is indifference. Passion is what you are looking for. Passionate hatred is just as worthy as passionate love. Passionate hatred can easily flip to passionate love and vice versa. (Notice the swing with the Diablo 3 players. Passionate love when the game came out followed by the most passionate hatred I’ve ever seen. After patch 2.0, now it is back to passionate love. The indifference is not there as it is for, say, Torchlight 2.)

Over my many decades of gaming, the issue of games agining is an important one. Why do games age? It is not just the older graphics. Some games like Pac-Man have not aged at all and are just as much fun today as they were then. The biggest aging element to games is bullshit. There are bullshit elements in the game that need to be removed. I love the original Metroid. But there were many bullshit elements in the game such as powering up your life by standing by a pipe hitting the same insect enemy over and over and over again. That’s bullshit. I’m glad it is completely removed from future games. While that issue didn’t bother us much at the time, today, we recognize that it shouldn’t be there. It simply isn’t ‘fun’ even though we felt ‘clever’ and ‘hardcore’ by using it. Another example would be the birds knocking you off in Ninja Gaiden 1. At the time, we thought ourselves ‘elite’, ‘expert’ and ‘hardcore’ for going through that. Today, we recognize it for being a bullshit experience. And don’t get me started on the underwater level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 for the NES.

Interface changes are where most of the bullshit is at. Early PC games are unplayable not because of poor graphics but because of poor interfaces. Of course, they weren’t poor interfaces during their time period.

In some ways, I feel we’ve forgotten what games are about. Games these days are all focused on ‘careers’. Your Starcraft 2 multiplayer is a ‘career’. How ridiculous it is to have ‘careers’ in a video game! One of the best examples of how a video game should be is Bomberman. It’s accessible, it’s fast, it’s fun, it’s addictive, and you can lose and not care. There is no such thing as ‘Bomberman career’.

As a whole, video games should be getting prettier and playing better with technology, and they should also be carving away the bullshit like Michelangelo slowly chipping away excess stone from David. It’s like in Warcraft 2 where everyone would start with a single peasant. Every multiplayer game we had to sit and watch our townhall get built and a farm before anything could happen. In Starcraft, you started off with your ‘townhall’ and a few peasants to eliminate that bullshit.

My problem with the Game Industry or Excessive Game God Egos is that they go the REVERSE and start adding in bullshit that shouldn’t be there. This, to me, makes the games feel more aged even though they are ‘newer’. Adding in bullshit would be like adding in narratives that shouldn’t be there or ‘cinematic movies’ where no one cares. If there is anything I’ve learned about myself with gaming is that I am highly allergic to bullshit. It is like reading a book where there is tons of rhetoric that hogs up space and time where you can’t get to the content. Classic games are classic because of the lack of bullshit in them, that is why they aged so well.

I think most of the players of DOTA 2 and LOL are younger people. Some claim their ‘veteran gaming status’ by playing DOTA since Warcraft 3. Our standard of history, and of video games, begins when we first start playing. What I think will happen is that a decade or two from now, people are going to find DOTA 2 and LOL ‘aged’. It won’t be due to poorer graphics. It will be due to some bullshit mechanics in DOTA 2 and LOL that will be ‘baked out’ of the newer games. This is the natural process of all gaming though. There might be some babies thrown out with the bathwater of course. Vanilla WoW had many bullshit elements that deserved to go away, but some elements were tossed that removed the fun factor of others. Vanilla WoW required a strategic view of leveling up where you zone hopped and continent hopped. In modern WoW, the strategy to leveling is gone which has made the leveling process ‘boring’ to the point where Blizzard is considering axing it.

I suppose I’m excited because HotS seems like it was made to include me, not exclude me, and it is a game I think I can get others to play with me. I tried to get others to play DOTA 2 with me. The number of heroes available at the start overwhelmed them. All the tactics like stuff to buy, last hitting, etc. just flew over their heads. They quickly stopped playing. then I had to stop playing because if I can’t get my friends to play, why should I play?


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