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Author Topic: [PC] Heroes of the Storm  (Read 506 times)
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rittchard
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« on: March 04, 2014, 09:14:07 PM »

I couldn't find a thread about this, did I miss it somewhere?

Anyway looks like Blizzard is going into alpha test soon; game footage looks like a ton of fun:

http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Heroes-Storm-Alpha-Test-Announced-By-Blizzard-Check-Out-Gameplay-Videos-62595.html

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PR_GMR
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 04:29:10 PM »

The map looks too small and simplified. Graphics are pretty... but don't think this will pull me away from LoL.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 03:20:59 PM »

Woo, just checked and there's no NDA.  Anyone else get into the alpha? 
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rittchard
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 06:23:18 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on March 14, 2014, 03:20:59 PM

Woo, just checked and there's no NDA.  Anyone else get into the alpha? 

You got in, really?!?!  I hate you!!!
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wonderpug
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 06:56:50 PM »

Quote from: rittchard on March 14, 2014, 06:23:18 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on March 14, 2014, 03:20:59 PM

Woo, just checked and there's no NDA.  Anyone else get into the alpha? 

You got in, really?!?!  I hate you!!!

They must have really desired my demographic of having little to no MOBA experience and a complete lack of knowledge that Heroes of the Storm was even in the pipeline.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 07:17:26 PM »

omg this is not only the most amazing MOBA ever, it's the most amazing game ever made.  And its current state is undoubtedly the finest it will ever be (for some reason).

I'm only at the installation screen, but still, very impressive so far.
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forgeforsaken
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 07:37:59 PM »

The guy with some of the least MOBA experience gets in... saywhat
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wonderpug
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 07:49:37 PM »

Have any other MOBAs ever had experienced shared team-wide?  Seems like a pretty big departure from the ones I've played, and it seems like it would do a lot to encourage playing support roles.

The game itself has amazing production values for being in an alpha.  I'm still just in the tutorial but at least this part just about already feels like a polished full game.

And I'm just loving the humor so far.  I have a soft spot when games make fun of their own premise.

Tutorial spoilers?

Spoiler for Hiden:
After Uther Lightbringer summons James Raynor through a nexus to fight some Diablo minions, Raynor asks "so this is some kind of Protoss thing?"  Uther: "No, it's... well, it's hard to explain."

And then after Uther explains some MOBA game mechanics:
Raynor: "Ok, take out the palace and we win.  But why are we doing this?"
Uther: "You know, you really shouldn't think so hard about these things."
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rittchard
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2014, 08:37:30 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on March 14, 2014, 07:49:37 PM

Have any other MOBAs ever had experienced shared team-wide?  Seems like a pretty big departure from the ones I've played, and it seems like it would do a lot to encourage playing support roles.

Nope not that I'm aware of, this is one of the things they are doing to help balance out having players who may be more skilled than their teammates with n00bs.  Sounds like a really good idea as it ensures no one teammate should bring the whole team down from that perspective.  What can happen in a typical MOBA is that you get a cascade/domino effect - bad player keeps dying, levels slower, then gets killed even more because he is low.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 09:05:32 PM »

From super early impressions, this game looks fantastic for people like me.  Just like the big changes from Diablo 2 to Diablo 3, this seems to be changing the MOBA formula in ways that are super appealing to genre-casuals like me, but potentially upsetting to genre die-hards.

Background: My limited MOBA history includes a fair amount of Demigod, a bunch of Monday Night Combat if that counts, and some recent dabbling with Smite. 

Unless I'm missing something, HotS completely does away with earning in-game money and item shops.  This is awesome to me, because while I've been holding my own in Smite pick-up-groups I'm still totally intimidated and baffled by the item shop.  I have more fun actually playing the match than shopping for items to counter enemy builds, or following the meta game, or other such genre jargon I don't really know anything about.

I'm seeing MOBA die-hards complaining about the rotation of free heroes, but it seems just like how Smite does it which seems fine to me.  In addition to being able to try new heroes from the weekly rotation, you can try anyone you like in a solo trial match.  You can also turn minions on and off and otherwise modify the trial match to let you try everything you want about the hero before buying.

I'm seeing MOBA die-hards complaining about how the team-based levelling means you can't intentionally overlevel one player on your team at the expense of the rest of the team.  I mean, I guess I can see how that could suck for advanced tactics on the competitive scene, but for someone like me who will mostly play pub games, team-based levelling is awesome.  I can't stand the snowball effect of having a newbie on your team underlevel and then die more because of it and boost the opposing team even more.

I'm also intrigued how in HotS you choose your hero before you join a pub team.  As I was learning Smite in the beginning, it could be frustrating to have the hero I knew or the hero I wanted to try get picked before I could pick it.  What I don't understand about HotS is how the system is going to work to avoid teams of all healers or whatever.  If it always makes teams of say, 2 warriors, an assassin, a support, and a specialist, I can see myself not liking the lack of diversity and randomness.  We'll see.

So I'm loving it so far, but I'll be really curious to see what you more experienced MOBA-ers think of it when you get in. 
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wonderpug
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 04:54:21 PM »

Ok, I've gotten my feet wet a good bit more in the game with a handful of co-op and versus matches.  Mixed bag of impressions, to be honest.

The Good
  • I love the short matches.  You can finish most games in 12-20 minutes, but they still feel like they have all the push and pull of a 45min+ MOBA match. 
  • Reduced jungling - Instead of having a player spend a lot of time fighting alone in the jungle, jungle camps are just things you occasionally fight briefly and for an obvious and immediate addition of some new soldiers in a lane.  This seems to keep the focus on lane pushing and interacting with teammates and other players.  Good thing.
  • Reduced need to warp back home.  There are potions that drop in combat Diablo 3 style, plus healing fountains in your forward towns that restore ~33% of your health.  That combined with the elimination of items means you get to spend more time actively playing at the front lines.  Good thing.
  • Towers have a stock of ammo that only slowly replenishes.  If you're able to push your creeps to the enemy tower, you don't just chip some minor amount of damage off but also start depleting their ammo.  Push to the towers consistently enough and they just stop firing.  This seems like a really simple and effective way to give a bigger reward to whoever is pushing their lane better.
  • Shared team XP overall seems like a smart new game mechanic, but more on that in The Bad
  • Quests are great.  Quests give you XP for your arbitrary level up bars, and just like in Hearthstone you get a new quest each day.  There are also hero-specific quests like "use Joe's X ability 10 times in one match", plus epic hero quests which I have yet to unlock.  The quest mechanic does a great job helping along the 'one more match' and giving you extra objectives and incentives
  • For the most part, the game succeeds in the goal of distilling the MOBA experience to its core without dumbing down the strategic thinking
  • Dynamic map events - each map has some kind of big game mechanic to do.  For instance, in one you have to try and hold two points long enough to wake a playable Dragon Knight to fight for your side.  These map events really change things up, and have a huge effect on the match...

The Bad
  • ...but the dynamic map events seem a little too game changing.  The advantage you gain from winning a map event seems to overshadow almost everything that occurred in the interim since the previous event.
  • claustrophobic zoom level - I don't know why Blizzard keeps on doing this with its games, but it feels like you just can't see as much of the battle at once as you'd like to.
  • Gold income (for buying new characters) is slowwwwwww.  I don't have a frame of reference for how the pacing is for earning new heroes in LoL, but here it just seems achingly slow.  I guess they have to make their money somewhere though.
  • Shared team XP - for the most part this seems like a good thing, but you can still end up with shitty teammates feeding the other team, and when that happens it means you all get underlevelled.  Plus, the shared XP makes an AFK player a worse handicap than with traditional XP systems.  In other MOBAs, the afk player doesn't contribute, but at least also doesn't feed the other team.  In HotS, the afk player causes the rest of you to have reduced XP for everything you do.
But the biggest marble in the Con column is that the game is missing some je ne sais quoi in the fun department.  I don't know, it just feels a little soulless in some way for a lot of the time in a match.  Even though I'm still in the fun stage of experimenting with new heroes for the first time, I too often feel like I'd rather be playing Smite.  It is still in Alpha, though, and their latest Q&A mentioned a bunch of good things they're planning to add to the game soon, so hopefully it's just too early in development to judge the Fun Potential.  I may also be a bit spoiled by how flat the spells and abilities look in a 2d game like this compared to the grandeur you can get from 3d Smite.
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rittchard
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 07:18:53 PM »

So far everything you list in the good column sounds really good to me, definitely seems like it will give a different MOBA experience.  Shorter matches with more focus on fighting and interaction just all around seem great for gameplay.

As for the cons, obviously I haven't tried it but I'd imagine the dynamic game mechanic inherently needs to be match-altering, or it ends up not being an interesting point of conflict which kind of defeats the point of having it there.  The shared afk penalty sounds like it has to be changed, hopefully if enough people give feedback.  Gold income I suspect will also change once the game gets some momentum, they are probably still testing.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 02:32:20 PM »

Quote from: rittchard on March 20, 2014, 07:18:53 PM

As for the cons, obviously I haven't tried it but I'd imagine the dynamic game mechanic inherently needs to be match-altering, or it ends up not being an interesting point of conflict which kind of defeats the point of having it there.

Yeah, it does need to have a big effect, but it currently seems a bit overdone.  But then again, since everyone is still learning the game you often have teammates who don't get how important it is to push the map objectives, and maybe that plays into the feeling of unfairness.  It's certainly something that could get fixed by balance patches.

On another subject, most of the heroes I've tried so far have the typical mix of cone attacks, teleports, stuns, heals, shields line attacks, etc.  One hero in particular, though, really breaks the mold:  Abathur.  He's the 'evolution master of Kerrigan's swarm' and is extremely difficult to play. 

This overview covers him in much more detail than I could, but the most obvious twist is that Abathur never really does his own fighting.  You pick an ally to posses as your symbiote, and you sort of float around on that ally with a unique separate set of abilities (skill shot, AoE, shield).  Abathur's ultimate ability is to become a full copy of a friendly hero and use that hero's skills and ultimate instead.  He also has nests that with an upgrade can be placed globally and act as mines as well as giving vision.  Since Abathur's 'mount' transportation is replaced by the ability to tunnel anywhere with vision, there's a ton of strategy to nest placement.

He's far too complicated for me to play at this point, but I really hope we get more heroes like this in the pipe that really break the mold.
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rittchard
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2014, 05:50:24 PM »

That's interesting, I thought they were claiming each hero was supposed to be really unique/individualized/special to play, sounds like that's not the case?
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wonderpug
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 06:55:52 PM »

Quote from: rittchard on March 21, 2014, 05:50:24 PM

That's interesting, I thought they were claiming each hero was supposed to be really unique/individualized/special to play, sounds like that's not the case?

I dunno, I've only tried about 10 heroes so far and most of them seem pretty standard.  There's lots of fun flavor to the presentation and animations for each character with typical Blizzard polish, but when you boil them down to what they do they seem pretty cookie cutter.  From the dev diaries, it sounds like they have plans to expand on the hero-specific talent progression as you level up in a match, so I think that may be where they differentiate themselves more.

For example, here's the current free rotation:

  • Zeratul - pretty typical set of assassin skills
  • ETC - pretty typical set of warrior skills
  • Muradin - pretty typical set of warrior skills
  • Tassadar - pretty typical set of healer skills
  • Arthas - more on the unique side.  warrior without a lot of burst damage capability but with a lot of slows and freezes that can be devastating in a way you don't immediately notice
  • Witch Doctor - definitely unique, lots of area damage abilities pulled straight from Diablo 3, with a lot of regen abilities.  I like that his gargantuan ultimate does extra damage if he's able to pick up a minion to use as a club
I may be being overly critical, and there are also still not all that may heroes in the game.  And even though I called those skillsets above typical that doesn't mean they're not fun to play.  ETC's stun ability, for example, makes enemies dance to his music, and his other abilities are powerslide, face melt, guitar solo, mosh pit, and stage dive.  He's probably my favorite hero of the current rotation.

Bear in mind that my most immediate point of comparison is Smite, so I guess mainly I'm saying the heroes seem a lot more same-y than the great variation you see in Smite.  If you told me I had to play Muradin instead of ETC, for example, I wouldn't bat an eye since you don't really have to play them that differently.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2014, 02:15:39 PM »

We just got a new rotation of free heroes, and FWIW these heroes are feeling much more diverse and unique than the last batch.
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wonderpug
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2014, 04:10:15 PM »

They just announced a Murloc hero which sounds pretty interesting.  He's designed to die a lot, which cracks me up, but you place an egg on the map so you can respawn and get back into the action fast.
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rittchard
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2014, 05:49:33 PM »

Are they ever planning to open this to larger player testing?  Or give you some friend invites???  icon_biggrin
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wonderpug
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2014, 06:13:07 PM »

Quote from: rittchard on April 14, 2014, 05:49:33 PM

Are they ever planning to open this to larger player testing?  Or give you some friend invites???  icon_biggrin

They said they're adding users in alphabetical order by username, starting with S. on a weekly basis, based on the amount of server load they're maintaining.  So basically, the more I play, the less chance you have of getting in! icon_twisted

They're also doing their first character wipe tomorrow, so hopefully that's a sign they're getting ready to open the gates a wee bit more.

They're also unlocking all heroes for a couple days this week.  My free time is horrid this week, but if there's a particular hero you're curious about I'd be happy to give it a spin and give some impressions.
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