Moba-style combat comes to the Blizzard universe in Heroes of the Storm, the free to play mmo developed by Blizzard Entertainment. Players assume the roles of epic characters from all the Blizzard franchises battling it out for team-based supremacy. Inspired by the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars, this online game is not considered a moba or action real-time strategy game, but instead, Blizzard calls it a hero brawler to distinguish it from the crowded marketplace.
Players choose famous characters that have served as an integral part of Blizzard games for up to twenty years. You can play as Arthas, Diablo, Raynor, Zetatul, and more. Each hero has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Overall, each hero has a specific role and there are four roles in Heroes of the Storm: assassin, warrior, support, and specialist. Assassins are able to dish out lots of damage, but can take very little themselves. Warriors are able to wade into combat, taking lots of damage but dishing it back out in return. Support heroes can help bolster their comrades by providing buffs or using their abilities to manipulate the ongoing battle. The specialist hero has a specialized, distinct role such as being a commander or being versed in sieges. Each hero is customizable in this mmo, with skins, heroic abilities, unique masteries, and combat styles.
While Heroes of the Storm shares some similarities with moba-style games, there are quite a few differences to make it stand apart. Players start with all their skills when they begin play. As your character levels, all their skills increase, which means that the player doesn't have to decide which skills to increase during the heat of battle. There are no items to be bought. Instead, the player gets to choose talents every so often as the character levels. These talents provide a great deal of customization for the character and offer plenty of builds. Some talents increase the max health of your character by a large amount while others may increase the range of his abilities.
The battles themselves are different from other moba mmo games. Gameplay is focused on objectives, not simply tower pushing. On one battleground, the players seek to offer up the most gold to a ghostly pirate captain. The team with the highest amount gets to have the pirate ship fire upon their enemy's positions. Another battleground has players gathering bones in an underground level in order to summon a golem that will attack the opposing team aboveground. The maps in Heroes of the Storm feature towns (friendly and enemy) that offer a protective guard tower and regeneration whilst also acting as a bulwark against the opposing team. Dotting the map as well are mercenary camps, where players can get them to fight on their side after subduing them. Finally, battles take only from 10 to 30 minutes to play, with 20 minutes being the norm.
All in all, Heroes of the Storm is a true hero brawler that distinguishes itself from the normal moba crowd. Negative aspects of moba-style games, such as last hitting, have been banished. Players share experience so your character will continue to accrue xp if your teammates defeat something, even if you're currently dead. As mighty heroes, you don't use wimpy teleport scrolls to move around the battleground. You travel in style using a variety of mounts. Using characters from over twenty years of Blizzard games, this action mmo looks to hook the rabid Blizzard fan base.
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