Heroes of the Storm (formerly titled Blizzard DotA, and Blizzard All-Stars) is a hero brawler. It is free-to-play and is released digitally. Formerly a mod for StarCraft II, it has since become an independent product. Blizzard is intent on pushing the game as an e-sport, and has a team dedicated to building e-sports and making deals with third-party sponsers.
The technical alpha began in March, 2014, and ended temporarily on September 22, 2014. A closed beta began on January 13, 2015. The game entered open beta on May 19, and received final release on June 2, with physical release through its starter pack.
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Heroes from Azeroth, Sanctuary, and the Koprulu sector have been sucked into the Nexus, a transdimensional storm. Stranded in a strange limbo of clashing universes, these combatants are joined by the same fate—to engage in pulse-pounding combat, to team up in a deadly struggle for survival, and to answer the age-old question...who would win?
Heroes of the Storm is free-to-play. Players can unlock heroes and other content just by playing the game. Cosmetic upgrades like skins, equipment, and mounts will be available. New heroes will also be released over time, along with new battlegrounds, though battlegrounds will probably be freely available to all players. It’s also possible that additional talent options for existing heroes could be available as unlockable content.
Blizzard intends that Heroes of the Storm will have multiple maps. Many of these battlegrounds share environmental features, like forts, which are sprinkled along the pathways between each team’s base. Each fort includes structures such as gates to prevent enemy movement and healing fountains for health and mana regeneration, in addition to a protective guard tower. Capturable watchtowers also mark important positions on many battlegrounds, offering vision on key areas.
The game will feature an automated matchmaker, based on player skill. It will have its own ladder. Friends can be added which is useful for the party function, which can start a shared match based on those on the list.
The average Heroes of the Storm game is designed to last approximately 20 minutes. The layout of the game encourages early team-based aggression. If all five members of a team go for the neutral boss early enough, or capture their jungle camps, there is no way that the enemy will be able to counter-push their lanes. The game lacks a traditional laning phase, and is designed for non-stop action. As long as a hero is in each lane, their team will benefit.
Each player is assigned a hero. During the match, waves of computer-controlled minions spawn from towers and advance along each lane. Heroes fight alongside their minions to destroy enemy towers and advance toward the enemy base while protecting their own. During their battles, the heroes gain experience, enabling them to become stronger. A rejoin function exists for players who leave matches.
The gameplay will provoke aggression more than in DotA, where camping by a tower and last hitting the creeps was the best, but not intuitive or heroic-feeling strategy. Heroes share experience and the game, and last hitting is absent. The game displays how much experience each team has. This is intended to reinforce the team-oriented feel of the game.
Blizzard hopes to provide support for mods. However, there are potential issues with this due to Heroes being a free-to-play game.
Heroes will be able to ride into battle on a mount, allowing quick returns to a fight and great mobility from one lane to another. Mounts replace boots. They have a two second channel time and allow heroes to move around faster on their respective summoned mounts. Each hero had their own mount in earlier builds. For instance, Kerrigan had a zergling.
Friendly and enemy towns dot the pathways between each base, and each town includes structures such as gates to prevent enemy movement and healing fountains for health and mana regeneration, in addition to a protective guard tower. Capturable watchtowers also mark important positions on many battlegrounds, offering vision on key areas.
Main article: Heroes of the Storm/Development
- Defense of the Ancients
As of May, 2015, the game has had 11 million beta sign-ups.
- Destructoid: 9.5/10
- Escapist: 4/5
- Gameinformer: 9.25/10
- IGN: 6.5/10
- PC Gamer: 84%
- Polygon: 7.5/10
- Heroes of the Storm is referred to by Blizzard as a "hero brawler," rather than the usual label of "MOBA" (multiplayer online battle arena). According to Dustin Browder, "one of the things we wanted to emphasise in the game was a lot of action. We felt like it captured the essence of what we're trying to create, a game where you jump in with your friends and battle it out with enemy heroes." Blizzard previously considered labeling the game as an "action real-time strategy" (ARTS, similar to DotA 2), or to modify the term to "fast-action real time strategy."
- Mike Morhaime refers to the game as "Blizzard: The Game," due to its use of Blizzard's franchises.
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