Heroes of the Storm Impressions: What the Professionals Say

It’s almost been a month since the release of Blizzard’s ‘hero brawler’, the Heroes of the Storm. And while many friendships have been shattered and new relationships formed in the never-ending disagreements of whether HotS is MOBA or not, we choose to hear it straight from the mouths of babes eSports players and long-time game journalists.

So, is Heroes of the Storm the King of MOBA, or not? Was it a success or a flop? Was it too casual, too hardcore, or just a good balance between the two? Professional players from five of the most well-known eSports team, Team Refuse, Team Zeveron, Team Immunity, Team Fnatic, and Gamers2, and in-the-know game writers have welcomed our invitation to interview them on what their views are on Heroes of the Storm. Read on.


HotS’ Main Attractions

What exactly made HotS so appealing to the masses? There are just too many aspects of the game that made it so inviting for many.

Team Refuse is one of the most respected professional players in the European scene. Established in 2010, it has an excellent track record in the local Greek scene before moving on to the European levels. The Russian-based HotS team thinks that, “it is fair to state that the total lack of items, in addition to the accessibility of skills from the very first level, completely changed the dynamic of the MOBA genre”.

ZVFury from Team Zeveron agrees on the matter about the lack of items, saying, “A big thing for me is having different maps/battlegrounds to play on, Having multiple maps with different objectives makes each game feel fresh and fun. The other thing I’m sure a lot of people will love is not having to worry about farming gold or buying items because of the talent system.”

For Hykkup from Team Immunity, the game being casual is what made it appealing especially it being lined in the MOBA genre. “I’d say the main attraction is how casual it can be as a MOBA. If you’re not playing this game competitively and just playing with friends or even by yourself, it can be a heck of fun and real easy to pick up if you’re new.”

“I think the main attraction for Heroes of the Storm is its dynamic gameplay. It’s achieved by talent system which replaces farming half of the game to buy items. Second aspect that supports dynamic gameplay is the need to do map objectives, which usually causes teamfights” adds Nicker from the team Gamers2.

Lowell from Team FanaticLowell from Team Fnatic says, “Heroes are by far the main attraction. Blizzard has so many great universes, and now they offer a game in which you can play all of their heroes! Obviously, solid gameplay and map diversity are great as well. They add a great deal of depth to the MOBA genre.”.


Overrated Heroes

And speaking of heroes, there are some fan favorites, and some which are, well…not so much.

Established in 2003, Team Immunity is Australia’s first professional multi-gaming team. They are based in Melbourne and is considered as Oceania’s most successful professional eSports team. One of its members in the HotS team, Robadobah, offers his views and experiences on Kael’Thas saying, “Kael’Thas is a hero who is constantly picked or banned within the pro scene {because} his recent win rate has been poor.”

Nicker adds, “Probably I am the only one guy that thinks Kael’Thas is overrated hero.” Well… apparently, not really.

HotS team for Team Refuse

Team Refuse thinks The Lost Vikings are overrated. And ZVFury agrees, “I think maybe {they} would be the most overrated because if a team knows how to deal or punish a vikings player, it can become a useless pick for the team compared to doing a more standard hero.”

Lowell has an entirely different hero in mind. “Overrated… is hard to say. Usually, the characters that are considered too strong actually are too strong. Maybe Illidan would have to be the most overrated, as there are many ways to counterpick him.”


Underrated Heroes

Like a diamond in the rough, some of HotS’ heroes actually have more to them than they seem. Our pro players dishes out some of their most favorites.

If you’ve been watching the Heroes Hype Weekly Challenger Series, then you’ve probably have already watched how ZVFury and his team at Zeveron managed to maintain their undefeated record in the week’s (as of press time) series. Take note, with not a single death. Maybe because of their preferred heroes of choice? “As for the most underrated {hero}, I would probably give it to Tassadar,” says ZvFury. “He is all around good in almost every team composition you make due to his abilities and talents given to him.”

Team Refuse is reminding us not to forget that when it comes to dominating a lane, Sylvanas’ “ability to ‘deny’ enemy minions reminds us of the whole Cursed Hollow concept”. According to them, “Sylvanas is also a true force to be reckoned with; her abilities in dominating the lane as well as her overall damage and silence are really powerful!”

Robadobah for Team ImmunityRobadobah thinks that players should not be too quick to dismiss Sonya. “All that a good Sonya player needs to be effective is to have another warrior hero in their team. This allows the Sonya to go berserk looking for kills whilst the other warrior provides some protection to the rest of the team.”

Lowell agrees, “Sonya! I believe she is extremely strong, but very rarely picked!”

Nicker has something to prove. “In my opinion Nova is an underrated hero – I’ll try to prove it!” And he’s got his followers all the more excited with that statement.


HotS The Underdog Versus The Mainstreams of MOBA: DOTA and LoL

With the eSports scene growing rapidly for Heroes of the Storm, we would like to know how big of an impact it can make when compared to the other seniors of MOBA such as DOTA and LoL.

With more than 75 international events per year under their belt, there is no doubt that the team Fnatic has established themselves as a leading organization in eSports. They have been awarded Team of the Year twice already, one in 2006 and another in 2009. So, if one its players speaks his mind , other players will do good by listening up. Lowell thinks that, “I believe {Heroes of the Storm} will clearly get up there. I can’t say if it’s going to be number one, two or three… but it will be around the top for sure!”

“Yes I believe Heroes will surpass DOTA 2 and maybe even League within a few years due to the fact it’s easy to learn and fun to watch,” ZVFury agrees. “People love watching team fights in every MOBA, and Heroes has a bunch of those every few minutes due to the objectives on the battlegrounds.”

Jon Ledford ArcadesushiLong time game bloggers such as Jon Ledford argues there will always be “debates in the MOBA community on which is superior between Dota 2 and League of Legends.” And the players at Refuse are nodding their heads figuratively saying, “If it has the true and honest support of Blizzard, anything can happen. It’s up to them to let it shine, to be honest.”


What Made HotS Different From Other MOBAs

Although HotS has had positive feedback from the eSports community, there are still other who think it is not worthy to be included in the MOBA genre due to it being too casual.

Over 750k Facebook fans and over 200K Twitter fans – that easily makes Gamers2 one of the most followed teams there is in the eSports arena. Founded in November 2013, the team has already entered the $70.4 billion marketplace and acquired a mansion where their players and staff are plotting their next domination of the competitive scene. One of its players, Nicker, can’t really understand why people says that HotS is “too casual”. “You maybe don’t have to learn X quantity of items, so it’s easier to start playing and have basic knowledge, but I think the game is as casual as your opponent is,” he says.

Team Refuse thinks, “it’s a fresh take on the genre. People would think that it might be a bit casual because it’s easy to pick up and play, but beneath the core game, lies a truly inspiring team-centric MOBA.”

In addition, Nathaniel from Gamecrate is also more than happy for this change in perspective. He wrote his option in shacknews.com

Nathaniel Hohl Gamecrate

Naeiou from Team Immunity argues, “There’s just a lot of face-checking going on when you have to check major points on the map. It is this increased variability in conjunction with a wide range of maps and contingencies that makes HotS so different.”

“I think it’s going to be the most complicated MOBA on the long run. Map diversity adds an incredible amount of possibilities to competitive play: many strategies, many team compositions, etc,” says Lowell.

ZVFury believes that Hots will be in a different area than Dota2 or League because it skips the whole “farm minions for a bit then become strong enough to team fight.” According to him, “With Heroes, you don’t have to worry about killing creeps for gold or anything to become stronger, all teams need to do is defeat the minions for experience towards your team’s level.”

CJ Miozzi The Escapist

CJ from The Escapist doesn’t care what it is really, it’s all a matter of preference.


HotS: The King of MOBA. Or Not

So what lies in the future for Heroes of the Storm? Will it be able to establish itself as the King of MOBA? If not, what about the gossips and rumors going around that HotS is, indeed, the King of MOBA?

Nicker has high hopes for the game. “Everything is going forward really fast. I hoped for rapid progress in HotS Esport scene but I didn’t expect it will be so big so fast. If Blizzard will do their work well, I am sure HotS will be #1 MOBA really soon.”

However, Team Refuse is rather unsure. “It could be, but it has a long way to go in order to directly compete with the other behemoths of the scene. But those new MOBA games will ultimately make the gamer profit, providing with more and more thrills!”

“Impossible to know, but I surely hope so. Depth wise, it will most likely be the best one,” Lowell adds.

Fenny at MetadragonOn the other hand, game bloggers such as Fenny thinks that real money skin and hero prices in the shop will only keep players from supporting this game, and they should be revised.

Nevertheless, an ever optimistic ZVFury argues, “Like I stated before, I have a strong feeling it will become the strongest MOBA out there because it’s fun and easy to learn and watch.”

Nickers ends the argument with, “{HotS as a King of MOBA} is not {just} gossip!”


More MOBAs from Blizzard

Blizzard is very much well-known for the success of its RPGs such as WoW and Diablo. But is making more MOBAs on its horizons. We may never know from Blizzard themselves, but we can know what our professional players and game bloggers think on whether Blizzard should continue making more MOBAs.

Matt from Gamers Heroes thinks that there is bright future for HotS, being under the support of an established developer such as Blizzard.

Matt Trovalli Gamers Heroes

ZVFury thinks that, “Blizzard should continue what they are doing, they are doing a great job where they are at with Heroes and other Blizzard titles under there belts.”

Team Refuse promotes creativity saying, “We believe that any developer should try new stuff, and promote e-sports through a lot of genres. There is a lot of room for creativity, actually, there is absolutely no cap to that.”

Lowell has a word or two for the developer, “Well, {Blizzard} can focus on making this one the best!”

Also, Denny from Gamerant thinks that HotS has a bright future if it meets some conditions.

Denny Connolly Gamerant

What to Improve, Where to Begin

And speaking of conditions, there is also some room for improvement for Heroes of the Storm.

Daspurtz from Team Immunity suggests, “If I had the ability to change 1 aspect in HotS, it would have to be being able to change heroes just before the start of a game (20 second intermission)/ swap heroes.”

According to Lowell, “Ranked play has to be improved. Right now, it is very rare to actually play against people who queue alone in “Hero League”, and you are very often matched against groups of 3-4. Real soloQ would be better!”

Nicker thinks that there are too many battlegrounds already. “With the next patch, there will be 8 maps already. Blizzard should focus more on bringing new heroes to us instead of new battlegrounds,” he says.

Nicker from Gamers2“We think the game is in dire need of more heroes ASAP! Only recently, Blizzard changed the rules of the banning system, which previously were adapted exactly to facilitate the lack of more heroes,” agrees Team Refuse.

On the matter of heroes improvement, ZVFury gets even more specific saying, “I would like Blizzard to add or change some of the talents they have had on older heroes such as Arthas. Most new heroes can have a lot of good options to choose from each level, but older heroes don’t get a lot to choose from.”


To Play or Not to Play: The Verdict

Judging from most of our professionals’ opinion on Heroes of the Storm, the conclusion, therefore, is to come and play HotS.

According to Team Refuse, “it’s a ride worth taking!”

Nicker will not be trying to persuade anyone to play the game. “Sooner or later they will try HotS, and they won’t go back to other MOBAs,” he says.

Lowell has an even more enticing offer. “YOU CAN PLAY ILLIDAN! And you don’t need to farm 20 minutes.”

ZVFury points out that games are a whole lot shorter in HotS, “let’s not forget a Heroes match is usually around 20-30 minutes where other MOBAs can become 20-60+ minutes!” He also says, “I would first ask if they play support and are tired of being under leveled or too poor to have bigger items besides an inventory full of wards, if so, I know they would love heroes where your team levels together and you don’t have to worry about gold or any sort of in game currency to buy items because it’s only talents!”

ZVFury from Team Zeveron“I can definitely say the faster paced gameplay would entice a lot of LoL players to switch to HotS,” says Shy from Team Immunity. “In Heroes, games on average last between 10-20 minutes, so even if you lose, you don’t feel as time invested when playing. The other thing which ties into the quickness of the game is the fact that games are entirely objective focused, so individual gameplay isn’t as important as you would consider it in LoL, but rather, teamwork and team fighting is a much bigger factor.”

What about you? What are your impressions on Heroes of the Storm? Do you agree on what the professional players and journalists have said in this article? We’d like to know what you think. Leave your feedback in the Comments section.

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