The Other HoTS: Heroes of the Storm Alpha Impressions

I don't really understand why Blizzard decided to name their new MOBA something with the exact same acronym as Heart of the Swarm, but there you are. The ways of Blizzard are a mystery, not to be understood by mortals. I further don't know what it is about Blizzard that makes me want to play all their games - I only got into Magic: The Gathering for a hot minute until I kind of got bored but I play Hearthstone like a damn maniac. I have never before had an interest in the MOBA genre, but once I heard about the Heroes alpha I immediately wanted in with the yearning of a romance novel's protagonist. And in I got (thank you gaming gods!).

I only have tangential experience with the genre - I played a tiny bit of League of Legends and got as far as the start screen in DOTA2 before I got intimidated and went off to do something else. So I went into Heroes with a completely open mind and I am here to say that it is a hella fun game. One thing I like, but also am intimidated by, is the teamwork aspect. From what I've heard, Heroes emphasizes teamwork a lot more than other MOBA games. For example, in the end screen it tells you how many takedowns you participated in, not how many you got the final blow on. So if you're looking to rack up the kills and ignore the rest of your team, this is not the game for you. I say its intimidating because I have this nagging terror of letting people down, which is part of the reason I don't solo queue. But that's alright since enough people I know have gotten into the alpha to make it possible for me to play without doing that. And with friends the worry about sucking the team down into the depths of noobitude is less all-encompassing. I suppose solo queueing might help me get over my fears (because that nagging terror doesn't just apply to gaming) and thus help me grow as a person but for right now I'm not doing it. Gaming is supposed to be fun, not make me grow as a person. Right?

Be quiet, brain, or I'll stab you with a Q-tip.

Alright, enough about my personal issues I'm supposed to be talking about a game. How are the graphics, the gameplay, the ownage? From whence comes the fun? From Hearthstone I already knew to expect a lot of detail in the graphics - I have impatiently clicked on every interactive bit of every game board waiting for someone to pass a turn at this point. I am not a patient Hearthstone player, which is why Nozdormu is probably my favorite card. There is a lot of detail in Heroes as well, from the gate opening animations to the character movements. It is all very pretty in that lush and cheerful way that Blizzard's stuff generally has. Overall it is a very good-looking game.

I've played with about 6 heroes at this point and I can't say a single one of them wasn't fun. There were a couple that I didn't understand very well, and thus really sucked at but I still had fun. I'm serious about the sucking - I was playing Tassadar so badly that someone on our team thought I was a bot, except a bot probably would have played better than me at that point. I don't really get support characters, I guess that's something I'll have to work on. All of the heroes I've played feel unique and powerful in their own ways, but also very different. There is a metric ton of variety that I'm sure will keep me busy for quite some time. To illustrate, every hero has an ultimate attack that you get at a certain level. While one hero might be able to call down an airstrike another might summon an ice dragon to raze the field. My personal favorite is one of the Elite Tauren Chieftain's ultimates that makes enemies around him dance for a few seconds. Potentially devastating and hilarious, with a side note of power-grab. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite hero it would probably be ETC, but that decision would be really hard because there are so many fun characters. And I would most likely change my mind after five minutes. I can feel it changing right now, in fact. Or I'm gassy.

So once again the fell sorcerers at Blizzard have crafted yet another thing to eat up my time/money. Hopefully not too much money, but I couldn't resist buying a hero variety pack. It was on sale! I HAVE NO REGRETS. In all seriousness, this game is really well put together so far and its only in the alpha phase. I'm excited to see the finished product.

Look! Buttons!

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