Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 13, 2014

Heroes of the Storm Update

Keep in mind the game is still in alpha.  Blizzard games in alpha is when the developers throw in ‘crazy things’ and ‘overpower everything’. When the game moves to closed Beta, the ‘overpower everything’ will be toned down and the ‘crazy things’ will be smoothed out. Blizzard likes going really wild with their alphas with the focus on making everything FEEL overpowered.

When you think about the evolution of games over the decades, it is true that games have gotten easier… in various ways. However, the most noticeable way is by removing mechanical gameplay. The biggest ways how game age is through their mechanical gameplay. Think of shmups in how some of them used to require you to push the button for each shot instead of holding it down. Think of Metroid where you had to shoot countless ‘bugs from pipes’ to fill up your health instead of the Super Metroid way of hopping Samus into a life booth and fill up on health.

When you look at the MOBA, you really have to look at Warcraft 3. Warcraft 3 is a very complex game and too complex for its own good. You had units that had passive skills that buffed other units, units that were siege, flying, etc, with all sorts of upgrades for each unit type, and so on and so forth. Warcraft 3 is so much more complicated than Warcraft 2 it isn’t even funny. Warcraft 3 is also much more complicated than Starcraft. Warcraft 3 has more races (four instead of three), and you had to deal with things like creeps on the map.

As awesome as Warcraft 3 is, it overshot the market. Most people cannot consume such complexity. When a Warcraft 3 game began, most of the fun revolved around the initial heroes exploring and combating each other before other units had been built. You don’t have many units to deal with at the time. It’s no surprise that this Warcraft 3 Early Game was frozen into DOTA (Aeon of Strife did something similar but used Starcraft heroes. Aeon of Strife was even named after the Blizzard lore of the Protoss Civil War).

There is nothing more laughable than ‘hardcore’ MOBA gamers  (LOL DOTA 2) as the MOBA, itself, was due to the overshooting complexity that RTS games were becoming. DOTA was the casual way to play Warcraft 3. By knocking off the RTS parts, much of the gameplay void was filled in with mechanical gameplay (last hitting, etc.). Mechanical gameplay never ages well, and gamers tired of it.

Heroes of the Storm can remove all the mechanical gameplay crap because it is restoring the RTS elements. Think of things like ‘MAP AWARENESS’, RTS gamers have to play on different maps (something DOTA players apparently can’t handle). The battlegrounds, with their unique objectives, offers various strategies that differ from battleground to battleground. Their crazy heroes, like Abathur, require a RTS mind. Instead of a normal RTS where you control many units doing different things at the same time all over the map, Heroes will have you still control just one unit. I’m hoping Heroes can bring RTS back to its ‘sweet spot’ of around Warcraft 2 fun before creeping complexity ruined the RTS.

Even once Heroes goes live, it’ll keep being updated with, perhaps, major additions. The company behind WoW knows how to keep updating and maintaining an online game. Can other MOBAs keep up with that level of updates? I was looking at the DOTA 2 updates, and what is there to expect except releases of more heroes that were in the original DOTA?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I very much dislike MOBAs especially the poisonous MOBA players who fit every hardcore stereotype. I love how they keep posting how many ‘hours’ they have played DOTA 2 without realizing they are like the WOW player posting how many ‘hours’ they have spent in Azeroth as DOTA 2 game time has the 50 minutes revolve much around the boring crap. I love how they keep complaining that Heroes is ‘stealing’ DOTA heroes when it was DOTA that literally copy and pasted most of the heroes and units from Warcraft 3. Much of the ‘abilities’ in DOTA were just JASS tweaks to existing Warcraft 3 spells. I’m hoping Heroes flattens the other MOBA games. I don’t think this will happen immediately, but history shows that when Blizzard enters a genre, it tends to eventually dominate it.

 


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