Heroes of the Storm: Beta Beginnings

May 8, 2015 | | Say something

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I’m always excited when I get into a beta.

It’s really hard to get into a game that you weren’t around for from the beginning (which is why I haven’t started Hearthstone streaming yet, even though my average has improved considerably in arena.) The exclusivity makes streaming it a little more attractive, and getting the early leap gives a bit of a knowledge/experience boost.

Of course, I suck at MOBA format games, so…

…That’s actually a huge reason I was interested in playing this. Ratsmah showed it on his stream a couple weeks in a row and his emphasizing that it’s very casual had a lot to do with why I was eager to try it. League of Legends is entirely too hardcore and serious-business for me. I’m trying to have fun. It’s been a long time since I’ve played vidya, ya know?

Quick list of attracting factors to me:

  • I’m already using the Battle.net client to play Hearthstone anyway, and Diablo has apparently gone to shit. Starcraft has that skill ceiling way up in the clouds, and to hell with paying a monthly fee for any game, as far as I’m concerned.
  • I happen to really like a lot of the IPs that Blizzard has. Before I saw any of the gameplay, my first inkling that I might be interested in playing this was when the Lost Vikings were announced. Hell. Yes.
    • This game combines two feels for me that are good feels: Gauntlet Legends, and Super Smash Brothers Melee. Multiple IPs converging on a top-down battlefield. It’s justĀ  very cozy.
    • Incidentally, if they went for this feel intentionally, I think targeting college gamers was a stellar marketing decision.
  • Casual mode. I downloaded the game with the intent of being casual scum and THAT IS A MODE YOU CAN CHOOSE. I felt pandered to immediately. Fantastic.
  • Game seems to reward team play. Not necessarily communication, I don’t have to talk to anyone, which is good. But not focusing so much on one member being the best makes me feel less like I’m the reason my team loses. Not that I’ve lost yet… I haven’t played any human opponents yet.


Nova and Diablo are the best representations of Casual.

Nova and Diablo are the best representations of Casual.

Like I was doing in League, I immediately tried out each of the free rotation characters, in this order:

  1. Raynor
  2. Tyrael
  3. Rehgar
  4. Valla
  5. Malfurion
  6. Nova

Also like in League, I played my first practice match as Raynor, as he was the tutorial character. After playing everyone else, I noticed that he’s a very versatile hero. The Mario, essentially. I like him because I do enjoy flexibility in my play, but I can see myself getting bored of him pretty quickly as well for the same reason.

Tyrael was just hard for me to play. I was never good with the tanky (Barbarian and Valkyrie) type characters in Gauntlet and Tyrael really demonstrated how much a melee puss I am. I really dig his character design the most though. Something about not having a visible face among all these expressive designs really speaks to me. I feel that way about superhero teams as well: Dr. Fate and The Question are among my favorite supporting heroes in the DC Universe.

Rehgar was unbelievably fun. I haven’t played a support character that I enjoyed since Star Wars Galaxies, even though many times (League excluded) supports were often my favored class because it was a shortcut to making new friends. Everybody likes a free heal. I liked his “mount,” a lot, also.

Valla disappointed me. I didn’t realize HotS was so unlike LoL mechanically that the ranged assassin class were not going to be the baddest of asses. I assumed since Raynor was The Mario that having high expectations for his damage output… but I couldn’t outperform my !noobRay with Valla. I really liked her character design, but after struggling to get her to do what I wanted… It was a bad first date. I’ll probably still hit it for the money, but man. Gross.

Malfurion felt like Rehgar Round 2, sans fun. Once I could summon treants with the crowd control move, things got a little better… but I felt like he was spread a little too thin, in trying to be useful for everything but never really hitting the mark on any one. From what I remember of WoW druids, though, this is appropriate. Second to bottom for me.

After playing Valla, and knowing that Nova is a Ranged Assassin too, I was expecting lame bullshit instead of cleaning house. This time my expectations were met. I liked her more than Valla on pretty much every level, and had more fun playing her than Malfurion. But her lack of… cone attacks… was frustrating. (Apparently in this game, Crowd Control = gimping things, and AoE doesn’t quite describe the type of attack I want either. Think shotgun blast. IRL Crowd Control.) I feel like if I got really good with my manual-aim shots with Raynor, I could “graduate” to Nova. I’m not super thrilled with Nova’s character design though. I feel like a shitty Samus. I already don’t like Samus.

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So, now, in order of preference:

  1. Rehgar
  2. Raynor
  3. Tyrael
  4. Malfurion
  5. Nova
  6. Valla

I’m going to use the previous list, and play each hero repeatedly in Practice until I’ve leveled them all to 5. Hopefully I’ll have more-developed opinions on each hero before the next rotation comes around.

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