There are two types of people: those who play MOBAs and those who don't
MOBAs are a divisive genre of games. They are technical, ever changing, and require focused effort to remain informed on current strategies. MOBAs are perceived as inaccessible for new players, yet they have grown into the world's the largest game genre.
I started playing League of Legends in 2013. Season three of competitive play had just kicked off, and excitement for the game was growing at an astronomical rate. I was reluctant to play a game with only one map, and a single objective, but I quickly realized there was so much more to League than just attacking minions.
Advanced mechanics, highly cooperative team play, and a diverse collection of playable characters kept things fresh each time I played. League of Legends had me hooked. Over the next few years, I would spend hundreds of hours playing game after game on the traditional 5v5 map, Summoner's Rift. Although I was playing the same group of characters on the same map, the game never got old. There were countless strategies that I could employ, and this gave League an addictive loop.
My love affair with League of Legends wouldn't last long however. The game changed at such a rapid rate, that it became difficult to keep up. Players would find ideal builds from pros which they would simply copy across the entire game. The magic I once saw in League of Legends quickly disappeared, and a deep longing to break the cycle grew within me. After over 1,035 hours played, I decided to uninstall League of Legends.
One week later, I received an alpha test invite for Heroes of the Storm.
Originally named Blizzard All-Stars, Heroes of the Storm was the new kid on the block. While DOTA 2 and League of Legends were pulling in millions of players worldwide with a traditional MOBA experience, Heroes of the Storm set forth to redefine the genre. Heroes of the Storm forfeited advanced techniques such as last-hitting and jungleing in favor of team-focused gameplay mechanics. Players don't level up individually. Instead, they all gather experience as a team. Players don't have to memorize dozens of items in a confusing shop interface. Instead, each character unlocks various talents as they level up. These talents allow players to specialize their character in that specific match to meet the needs of the team.
I describe Heroes of the Storm as the Super Smash Bros. of MOBA style games. The fun of the game isn't from counting frames or building advanced meta techniques. The fun comes from watching Blizzard's legendary heroes and villains duke it out a the literal fight to the death. Heroes of the Storm is an action strategy game. Maps funnel players toward objectives and large team fights, rather than encouraging them to sit in lane and farm gold and experience until the late game. This makes a typical game of Heroes a rapid fire series of action packed battles!
There are ten playable maps in Heroes of the Storm. This is a stark contrast to traditional MOBAs like League of Legends or DOTA 2, which typically feature only one map. Each map in Heroes offers a unique objective to complete. Sometimes players are tasked with gathering items around the map to summon a giant player-controlled monster, while another map may require a team to capture control points to fire death lasers at the enemy base.
This variety was the breath of fresh air I needed. Heroes felt less like busy work, and I had more fun playing it. I could go on for hours telling you everything I love about Heroes of the Storm. However, when I saw the character trailer for Tracer, the latest hero added to the game and the first hero from Blizzard's new game Overwatch, I realized why I love the game so much.
Heroes of the Storm doesn't take itself too seriously.
MOBAs are serious business. Those of you who don't play MOBAs probably figured that out within the first three sentences of this article, but Heroes is something special. It knows what it is, and it leans into it. Many gamers will break down top picks for the best characters in a game, but for me, Heroes is about picking my favorite Blizzard heroes, partnering up with my friends, and having a good ol' fashion brawl across Blizzard's fantastic universe.
The team-heavy focus of Heroes makes it a very rewarding, yet sometimes fury inducing, game. Despite what I may say after a embarrassing loss or stunning defeat, I love Heroes of the Storm. Even thought it's not considered one of the popular MOBAs, I think it's one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played. It's a love letter to all Blizzard fans, and a fantastic free-to-play experience for those who are curious about MOBAs but wish to dodge the high barrier of entry. I can't wait to see how Heroes of the Storm evolves as the Blizzard universe continues to grow.