So I downloaded Heroes of the Storm yesterday and promptly spent a few hours on it. And so far, my verdict on it is a resounding ¯\_(?)_/¯ .
…yeah, that about sums it up. ¯\_(?)_/¯ .
If you want a more detailed review, read on. First, a brief bit about my history with the genre so you can decide how many grains of salt you want to take my review with.
It was the year 2006 or so, sites like Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia either didn’t exist or were brand new, and there was a Warcraft III custom map that was making a splash in the RTS community called Defense of the Ancients (or DotA for short). Specifically, the most played version was called DotA All-Stars. DotA All-Stars took a bunch of heroes and units from WC3, gave them new personalities and names, and sent them off to fight each other and destroy towers down set lanes.
Seeing as this was back when I was still huge into RTS games, I of course wound up giving DotA All-Stars a download and a look. And you know, it was fun. I didn’t think it was quite as fun as some of the other custom map games I’d played through the years, nor was it as fun as the base Warcraft III. But I put a week or two into it before moving on to other games.
Fast forward many, many years later and this custom map had spawned not only several imitators and spiritual successors but an entire genre. One that, for the most part, I have had little interest in. Nothing against it; it just doesn’t tend to hold my interest. As I’ve said before, the best MOBA I’ve ever played is Awesomenauts, which took the genre and gave it a fantastic shot in the arm by way of making it even more fast-paced and giving it considerable platforming elements. But the more traditional stuff? Not really my thing.
So I went into Heroes of the Storm wondering if it was going to pull off what most other MOBAs had not – if it was going to hold my interest.
And the answer is yes… but not for gameplay reasons.
From a technical standpoint there’s really nothing wrong with Heroes of the Storm. It’s a solid example of the genre. It’s easy to learn and get into. It’s streamlined. It oozes with Blizzard charm. And the last part, here, is the key. In Heroes of the Storm I can play Diablo. I can play a robotic Anub’arak. I can play Tassadar riding around on a tiny horse. And they banter with each other and Stitches warns you when you’re getting low on health. And ultimately that’s the part of the game that I’m enjoying. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been in Blizzard’s thrall (no pun intended) since the late 90s. The dorky fan side of me is eating this all up.
But seeing as this is all basically just Fan Service: The Video Game, I don’t really know how much longer I’m going to put into it. I suppose things could change, but I don’t really see myself playing this long-term. When I play it, I have fun, but I also can’t get “Now I want to play Awesomenauts and/or Warcraft III” out of my head. And that’s the crux of it. If I want a MOBA, I’ll play Awesomenauts. If I want isometric Blizzard universe, I’ll play one of the Diablo, Warcraft or Starcraft games. If I want Warcraft lore, I’ll play WoW.
…but for now, I REALLY want Stormpunk Kael’thas, so for now, I’ll keep HotS installed.