After five years playing League of Legends’ fantastic and balanced system, Blizzard has built a competitor that not only brings MOBA back to its Blizzard roots, but beats League of Legends in many ways. Changing some core principles to the MOBA standard, Heroes of the Storm takes much of the stress out of the fight that League of Legends holds, resulting in a better game with less frustration.
Building on the core standards which define MOBA, both League of Legends and Heroes of the Storm bring you into a five-on-five fight across a multiple lane combat zone. At the focus of each game, your goal is to burst through the enemy team’s minions, player controlled champions and fortifications. Reach and destroy the enemy team’s “Nexus” and raise your hands in victory, though the similarities end here.
The core principles of each game change what it means to play in these MOBA titles, and in this variance you’ll find Heroes takes the cake. If you’re a fan of MOBA game play, you know what it means to earn “creep score”, and killing the small minions in League of Legends and Heroes shows the first major difference. In Heroes of the Storm, being in the range of a minion when it dies allots you the experience for that minion – that’s all. You don’t HAVE to kill the minion in Heroes, while in League of Legends you’ll HAVE to do so if you want to earn some gold. This brings us to the second principle difference between the titles.
Heroes of the Storm allows players to choose between which skills they want to enhance, rather than buy their way into power. In League of Legends, leveling up throughout a match means two things: Choosing if you need the skill assigned to the “QWER” keys, then choosing the power the skill has by leveling skills up further. With Heroes of the Storm, nearly all of these skills are enabled at level one, but leveling up allows you to modify skills’ functions rather than just their power. By placing the value of your character in the character’s skills, Heroes of the Storm eliminates the need for compensating with items. This both simplifies the game, as well as simplifying the goals and reducing the frustrations. If you want to focus on destroying towers and minions in League of Legends, you’ll have to kill creeps to buy items designed to destroy a tower faster, on top of managing the abilities that can either make you reach your destination faster, or hit a tower harder. Reduce this down to picking a skill when you hit level [X] and you’ll see why Heroes can be much less stressful while keeping the same levels of fun.
As MOBA matches make their way into the later elements of their games, it’s time for the “team fight” to break out. Usually occurring as part of the natural flow, good teams simply have a feeling as to when they should start working as a fully grouped unit. Ending the “lane phase”, this is where Heroes can separate itself yet again. While in League of Legends players have been working toward their individual success for the later success of the team, this means that when entering the team fighting phase there can be a weak link. Heroes of the Storm eliminates this weakness by pooling a team’s experience, leaving all players at the same level when entering the team fight. Combining this with the elimination of a kill counter and Heroes of the Storm may have beaten any of the anger-inducing features that will make your rage in League.
If you’re keeping up, you might see what will make League of Legends fall short with the full release of Heroes – it’s simply more aggravating to play League. Whether it’s a result of missing out on the last-hits to minions, purchasing the wrong items, or being under-leveled, when you get back with your team in League of Legends there are plenty of ways that teammates can be frustrated with each other. While Heroes simplifies the formula, they also mitigate a single player’s individual mistakes and gives everyone a chance to redeem themselves in the later parts of any match. Sure, everyone is going to have a preference, and proficient players in League might say that Heroes of the Storm is for “noobs”, but at the end of the day we’ll enjoy it for the lack of rage. Better players in League of Legends will enjoy not raging on their team mates. Lesser players will enjoy Heroes for the lack of people raging on them. It’s an all around win for the players, MOBAs and of course Blizzard Entertainment.