I stink at League of Legends. Unlike other players who
- don’t know that they stink (and I’m not sure how they could possibly remain ignorant because the community is too willing to tell you.)
- are under the delusion that they can get better (and that may be)
- don’t care (this is most likely as I have both heard of and seen LoL trolls in action)
I know that I’m terrible, operate under the impression that I have almost no chance of getting better, and while I don’ t care that I’m bad, I also don’t have the time or energy to troll an entire community. League of Legends just seems like one of those games that has been swallowed by the esports scene. You either play it to “Go Pro, Bro”, spectate the championships, or don’t care one way or the other. I am absolutely fine being in the last camp.
So, why did I just spend an entire paragraph and number list talking about how much I don’t care about League of Legends? Well, after stinking up the joint in that game, I did what most LoL burnouts do these days, I loaded Blizzards offering into the not-MoBA *wink, wink* genre, Heroes of the Storm. As with most of Blizzard’s games these days, it gave players a noob friendly experience that more or less replicates the gameplay of the more established game. They call it removing unnecessary elements to make the games more fun. I call it stealing, or copyright infringement, at least.
Okay, I’ll ease up on the random Blizzard hate. Because, I honestly like Heroes of the Storm. Unlike League of Legends, I found a mode in HotS that allows you to play solo with bots to practice strategy. As an added bonus, the mode allows for the completion of quests to gain gold and buy more heroes. For a hopeless anti-social noob like me, that’s perfect. Sure, it gets boring beating the AI all the time and occasionally I will venture into PvP mode. It doesn’t last long because my incompetence shows very quickly. However, unlike LoL (again), there isn’t a heap of abuse that awaits new or bad players. Instead, other players are decent and many more than you’ll ever find in LoL are actually helpful.
Now, why am I digging up ancient history with LoL and HotS? I haven’t played either in months and don’t really miss my time in game. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Blizzard was advertising Heroes of the Storm 2.0. Instead of making some snarky comment about releasing unfinished beta as a completed game, I will keep an open mind and see what’s the big deal.
Upon logging in, there’s a huge splash screen announcing that they are officially out of beta. Er, I mean, they’ve retooled the whole game and are now calling it the 2.0 version! Then, you get some of the goodies that await you like player level, 3 (!) different kinds of currency, and two other things that obviously weren’t that impressive that I felt the need to remember them minutes later. Oh, and lookie here! Loot chests! Woo hoo! Opening stuff is fun! In all seriousness, this feels like the loot chests from Deulyst and contains most of the same kinds of loot like emoji, “spray” (whatever the hell those are), and skins for the heroes. All in all, I got some pretty decent stuff, including a legendary skin. I will give it to Blizzard. They know how to get you on that treadmill.
The gameplay remains largely untouched, as far as I can see. I’m sure they’ve done some “Blizzard balance” ™ on certain heroes and powers, but it still revolves around defeating your enemies, collecting various bonuses depending on the map you play, and killing the opposing base by whatever means necessary. You can still play strictly AI games (though I didn’t have the patience to finish out the game and see if they still offer quest completion that way) so that’s a nice way to ease back into things.
Similar to LoL and many other multiplayer games these days, the esports scene has infiltrated HotS and there are competitive games. So, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to get into the game as it is intended to be played. However, if I’m bored some days and fed up with the other games that I usually play, I might fire it up and play a few games with the bots. They are entertaining enough for limited interaction.
And, now, even as I’m writing this, I go exploring and find that they have several modes that are not competitive in nature. Quick Match, Unranked, and Brawl are all modes for the filthy casual like me. So, I fired up a Brawl match to see what it was all about and I got matched up against a single other player with bots filling in the rest of the team. That seems to have been a one time occurrence and the second game was with actual players. There wasn’t any of the abuse of League of Legends, we came back to win a very close match, and I actually had fun.
Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives and I will most likely be trying to rotate Heroes of the Storm into my daily routine. One of my Hearthstone accounts might suffer for it, but that’s a risk that I’m willing to take. Damn you, Blizzard. Just when I think I’m almost out, you pull me right back in.