Heroes of the Storm isn't live yet, it's currently in a technical alpha and you can play with all heroes for free and some game modes aren't really locked down, but I like it. It's a strange twist on the LOMA genre made popular by DOTA and League of Legends, but it takes some stuff away, adds new ideas with a cast of characters many will recognize, each with their unique playstyles and a fun talent system to boot.

The things they do differently are many; your team levels up as a team, there is no gold, no last-hitting, there are no items, towers have limited ammo that replenishes over time, there are more than one map, you have talents that unlock at set levels and you can gain access to more by raising your level. There are quests to complete in order to get gold - which will allow you to buy heroes without spending real money.

You defeat monster camps in order to get them to attack the enemy base, each map has a gimmick - taking doubloons from chests and pirates in order to bombard the enemy camp with cannonballs, gathering skulls in order to summon a giant bone golem, getting transformed into a dragon after controlling shrines on the map, cursing the opposing team so their minions and towers become useless. All of these mini-objectives can turn the tide of battle and they must be watched out for. I also love the heroes which capture the flavor of the games they are coming from, a surprising addition being the siege tank, able to turn into a turret that must stay immobile to really shine.

All of that, of course, can't fix bad player behavior, which is rampant in this kind of game, and all these additional objectives mean that if the other team is more organized than yours, it's going to be a bit difficult to get all the skulls or whatever the current objective is, that being said, not having to last hit and not having to be a pro at farming also means that every little bit of monster killed helps, and you don't lose gold or anything when you get killed by the other team.

I think that HotS has the potential to become a hit like Heartstone is currently becoming. The real test will be about its staying power and how much LOMA players it can attract for other entrenched games with their dedicated userbases. 

AuthorJérémie Tessier