So while I should be spending a lot more time writing, I’ve spent way too much time playing Heroes of the Storm. According to Raptr, I’ve put in some 50 hours since closed beta started and have played near 400 games logged on my in-game profile. Suffice to say, I’ve seen a lot in my time playing HOTS.
Now, I’m not a very good gamer. HOTSlogs says that I’m a gold level player which allegedly means that I’m in the upper half of gamers. However, I have learned a bunch of things that new players should be mindful of before they get too far into the latest entry into the MOBA genre.
Apart from free-to-play mobile tower defence games, I’m not sure there’s a more crowded genre in gaming than MOBA. At the top of the pile, you have League of Legends and Dota 2. Smite is probably the #3 MOBA though Heroes of Newerth would probably give it a run for its money. You’ve also got the like of Strife and Infinite Crisis too. There are probably plenty of other that I can throw in there but I don’t want a 1,000 word intro.
The problem is that while each game has its little intricacies, they all feel fairly similar at the end of the day. You play one member of a five-player team on a three-lane map with towers that you must power through in order to destroy the central structure of the enemy base.
Heroes of the Storm doesn’t completely revolutionize the basics of a MOBA. It’s still a five-on-five match to destroy the enemy team’s core. However, Blizzard has taken the standard Point A to Point B approach to MOBAs and turned it on its head. What results is the most unique MOBA on the market right now.
Have you heard of H1Z1? It’s the latest MMO from the artists formerly known as Sony Online Entertianment (now called Daybreak Games). While SOE’s MMOs are all free-to-play, H1Z1 has launched as an Early Access title on Steam for $20. That price gets you immediate access to the game along with a few other perks. By all accounts, it’s quite obvious that it’s in the alpha stages of development.
The problem most people are having is that it’s a triple-A company that have gone the early access route. SOE has a few popular MMOs on offer already and with their financial backing from Sony and now Columbus Nova, it’s not like they should need the funding from Early Access sales to complete and polish the game.
But H1Z1 is the popular example of Early Access gone wrong. They aren’t the only example out there right now. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I launched Battle.net and saw Heroes of the Storm waiting for me to click. The problem was that it wasn’t there to download. HOTS got a spot on my Battle.net launcher so I could spend $40 on the Founder’s Pack which includes immediate access to the game along with a few other perks.
So how is SOE and H1Z1 getting blasted for releasing an alpha of their game as early access while Blizzard is getting a pass for Heroes of the Storm?