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Critics Praise Heroes of the Storm

Critics across the board have praised Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm with overwhelmingly positive reviews, calling it “a MOBA for the masses.” But will this wave of positive reception spur a revolt from hardcore MOBA players?

According to a recent article on gamesindustry.biz, critics everywhere have embraced Heroes of the Storm (HotS) as a modern masterpiece, a much-needed revitalization of the MOBA genre. By removing currency and individual levels, Blizzard streamlines the game, taking emphasis away from builds and meta gaming and placing it on objectives and team fights. But these features work two-fold, simultaneously improving and crippling the game. And critics and players can’t seem to agree whether the game is actually any good.

The Critics

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Critics everywhere seem to love HotS. Marsh Davies at Rock, Paper, Shotgun “bloody loves it.” He praises Heroes of the Storm as a professional rework of a tired and heavily modded concept. He writes:

…they’ve looked at the vastly intricate things these games have become, born of a mod scene and, over many years of iteration, barnacled with opaque traditions and abstruse, impossibly dense formulae – they’ve looked at all this and said, “What if someone, like, actually fucking designed this?”

CJ Miozzi at The Escapist commends the game for giving players the ability to rally late game, a feature absent from industry contenders like League of Legends and DotA 2. He writes:

In one game, our team’s core was taken down to just 1% health – a single hit from a single enemy minion would have lost us the game – and the enemy’s core was still at 100% health. Yet we rallied, made a strong tactical decision and acted upon that decision as a team, and won.In another game, inexperienced players on our team were repeatedly feeding the enemy easy kills, which led to the enemy gaining a huge lead in the early- and mid-game. The level lead the enemy had on us seemed impossible to recover from, but by the late-game, we made a play that the enemy did not properly respond to – they made one very bad decision, and that cost them a game they seemed to have in their pocket.

Even MMOGames’ Nick Shively praises the game, preferring it over League of Legends. He writes:

Both League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm are exceptional games that add a lot of value to the MOBA genre. Nevertheless, Heroes of the Storm brings something new to the table that hasn’t successfully been implemented by any other game. There are dozens of DOTA/League of Legendsclones out there, but Heroes of the Storm is something new and refreshing. By focusing on PvP, dynamic events, varied battleground scenarios, and wrapping it all in an aesthetically pleasing package, Blizzard has likely created the next evolution of the MOBA genre.

The MOBA Community

Heroes of the Storm

The MOBA community disagrees with most of the critics, however. Many criticize the game for its lack of strategy. In an article released late last year, Thomas Adams criticized the game, writing:

The future of Heroes of the Storm will solely depend on Blizzard’s ability to adapt to what the market wants. I currently do not foresee the market asking for a more basic version of what they’ve already got. The MOBA giants League of Legends and Dota 2 both have items, last hitting, a jungle and lots of other things (massive understatement). I personally will never enjoy playing a MOBA style game without those additions. I’m only one gamer and the world is a huge place, meaning there will be plenty of gamers who will love the removal of those and really prefer Blizzard’s game, or maybe another MOBA that will undoubtedly be announced/released next week!

Gold, last hits, level and zone management are core principles of almost every MOBA game, and no matter how much Blizzard tries to distance itself from games like League of Legends by branding HotS an “Arena Brawler,” comparisons to every other title in the genre are inevitable.

So what do you think? Is Heroes of the Storm a savvy reinvention of the battle arena genre, or is it a dumbed-down cash grab?

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