Heroes of the Storm

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This article is about the Blizzard Entertainment video game. For the Finnish role-playing game formerly titled Heroes of the Storm, see Age of the Tempest.
Heroes of the Storm
Heroes of the Storm logo.png
Developer(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher(s) Blizzard Entertainment
Composer(s) Glenn Stafford
Jason Hayes
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s) June 2, 2015[1]
Genre(s) Multiplayer online battle arena
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Heroes of the Storm (Originally titled Blizzard DOTA and later changed to Blizzard All-Stars) is a multiplayer online battle arena developed by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and OS X. The game features heroes from Blizzard's franchises including Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft. The game uses both free-to-play and freemium models and is supported by micropayments, which can be used to purchase heroes, visual alterations for the heroes in the game and mounts.[2][3] Blizzard does not call the game a "multiplayer online battle arena" or an "action real-time strategy" because they feel it is something different with a broader playstyle; they refer to it as an online "Hero Brawler".[4]

The game entered closed beta on January 13, 2015, and the full version of the game was released on June 2, 2015.[5]

Gameplay[edit]

Heroes of the Storm revolves around online 5-versus-5 matches, operated through Blizzard's online gaming service Battle.net. Players can choose from three game modes, which include playing with/against computer-controlled heroes or other players. When players first start the game, they may play 5 heroes provided by the free hero rotation, a methodically selected list that changes weekly, but by using gold, the in-game source of wealth, or through microtransactions, they can gain permanent access to a hero. Two additional heroes are available to players who have reached level 15. As of July 2015, there are currently 39 heroes in the game divided into 4 separate roles.[6] Of the currently released maps, 6 of the 8 have the standard 3 main lanes where players can fight, while the others have only two main lanes, but a separate objective-based area.[7] Killing enemy/neutral units and the opposing side's heroes grants experience points, which are shared with the entire team. When a certain experience threshold is reached for a team, each hero on that team levels up, acquiring slightly amplified statuses and gaining a talent point upon reaching levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 20. Talent points allow players to customize their hero's abilities and generally result in large increase in power, especially for levels 10 and 20. This leveling system emphasizes the importance of teamwork, since a player's action can affect the whole team. Players can also mount different creatures, such as horses or unicorns, to increase their movement speed, automatically unmounting when dealing/receiving damage or using an ability. Minions at neutral camps can be defeated to gain mercenaries that fight for the player. Each map has a different side-objective that will help either team deal significant damage to the other.

Game modes[edit]

In non-draft modes, players choose their heroes in a party before entering the game or knowing what map they are playing. In draft modes, teams cannot play the same heroes as the opposing team. However, they can base their decision around the map that is announced during the draft period.

  • Tutorials - The tutorials are composed of three scripted 'levels' that are aimed at new players with the intent of teaching them movement, use of abilities and other basic controls. The player controls Jim Raynor, who is teleported from the StarCraft universe into the Nexus, receiving instructions from Uther Lightbringer from the Warcraft series.
  • Training - A reduced XP mode that a player can only play without a party versus five AI opponents set at an easy difficulty.
  • Versus A.I. - Players face off against five AI opponents. Before beginning, the player can choose to have human controlled or AI allies. Like in StarCraft II, the AI gets increasingly harder as the player wins matches.
  • Quick Match - This mode sets two teams of five human controlled characters against each other on one of the seven maps in Player Versus Player style combat. These teams are selected based on the player's past performance (a somewhat hidden statistic not available in-game) to create a level playing field, as well as the roles of heroes chosen. For example, if a player queues without other party members as a Support, they are extremely unlikely to be matched with four other Support teammates.
  • Hero League - Draft mode. As players compete in these matches they will be awarded ranked points which will progress their League Rank within their community and begin to place them in more challenging match ups. League Ranks reset at the end of each competitive season[citation needed]. Hero League is unlocked on level 30. Each rank represents 2% of players in the league.
  • Team League - Draft mode. Players who choose to play competitively as a team can use the Team Ranked Match to be matched with other five man teams in their region. The League Rank gained by these teams are assigned separate to the ranks gained within Hero League. Team League is unlocked on level 40 and 10 Heroes as well. Each rank represents 2% of players in the league.
  • Custom Games - Often used for tournament play, players can create a lobby and make a predetermined matchup of up to five players versus five players, with the ability to choose the map, whether or not it's a draft mode, and add AI controlled characters and up to two observers.

Matchmaking[edit]

As players win or lose their fights while playing Heroes of the Storm a hidden formula, called Matchmaking Rating (MMR), is applied so that the players will always be matched with other players of equal skill. MMR uses the Elo formula with proprietary adjustments.

Development[edit]

As a part of the arcade feature for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, a custom map called "Blizzard DOTA" was announced alongside several other mods of Blizzard Entertainment at BlizzCon 2010.[8] At that time, the map was developed to showcase the modding abilities that were to be added to StarCraft II.[9] In 2011, however, development of Blizzard DOTA was rebooted and demoed at BlizzCon 2011.[10][11] In comparison to the previous iteration previewed at BlizzCon 2010, the gameplay was described as "fast" and "streamlined."[12][13]

Following the announcement of Dota 2 by Valve Corporation, Rob Pardo, the executive vice president of Blizzard Entertainment, expressed concern at Valve using and trademarking a name that originated from within the Warcraft III community. Following a failed trademark injunction on the part of Riot Games, Blizzard acquired Riot's subsidiary, DotA-Allstars, LLC., the original company that represented the servicing of Defense of the Ancients. Subsequently, Blizzard filed an opposition against Valve for claiming the DotA trademark.[14] On May 11, 2012, Blizzard and Valve announced that the dispute had been settled, with Valve retaining the commercial franchising rights to the term "Dota", while Blizzard would change the name of Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars.[15]

In June 2012, Dustin Browder, the director of StarCraft II, stated that Blizzard All-Stars did not have a release date, but that it would definitely be after the release of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm.[3] In an interview in January 2013, he noted that parts of the game were "starting to feel really good", with "a really tight multiplayer experience", but that there was no way to project a timeline on it, since it was not complete enough to run a company-wide internal alpha test.[16] In February 2013, the Activision Blizzard fourth quarter 2012 earnings report listed Blizzard All-Stars as one of the areas of continued investment for Blizzard throughout 2013.[17] Dustin Browder commented in March 2013 that a few artists had transitioned from the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm team, to work on Blizzard All-Stars for the time being along with the few designers on the team.[18]

In August 2013, Blizzard president Mike Morhaime said that the game had reached a significant internal testing milestone, and was going into wider internal testing. Describing it as an "action real-time strategy" game, he said that Blizzard was looking to put their own spin on the genre and challenge some of the existing design paradigms. The Blizzard All-Stars team was expanded in May 2013, from some of the resources who were reallocated when Blizzard's Titan project was rebooted and the team downsized.[19] On October 17, 2013, the name of the game was changed to Heroes of the Storm.[20]

Heroes of the Storm entered a technical alpha testing phase on March 13, 2014,[21] which went offline on September 22, 2014.[22] The technical alpha went back online on October 7, 2014 for North America, Latin America, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The servers for Europe, Korea, China and Taiwan went online in the following weeks.[23] The technical alpha continued until the beginning of the closed beta. Closed beta testing started on January 13, 2015.[5] As of February 2015, over 9 million players had signed up for eligibility to receive an invite to beta testing.[24] The open beta of the game began on May 19, 2015, and the full version of the game was released on June 2, 2015.[1]

Promotions[edit]

While the game was in Alpha testing, Blizzard ran a promotion as part of the pre-order for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, which unlocked Valla as a free hero.[25] To mark the release of Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard had crossovers implemented between Blizzard games. Players who reached account level 12 in Heroes of the Storm received the Heroes of the Storm themed card back in Hearthstone and after winning 100 play mode matches in Hearthstone received the Hearthstone Card mount in Heroes of the Storm.[26] Players who reached account level 20 in Heroes of the Storm received a Grave Golem pet in World of Warcraft and after reaching level 100 in World of Warcraft received an Ironside Dire Wolf mount in Heroes of the Storm.[27] Players who purchase the StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void deluxe or collector's editions will receive a Void Seeker mount and purchasing any edition of Legacy will unlock an upcoming StarCraft Warrior Hero.[28]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.14%[30]
Metacritic 86/100[29]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 9.5/10[31]
Game Revolution 4.5/5 stars[32]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[33]
IGN 6.5/10[34]
PC Gamer (US) 84/100[35]
Polygon 7.5/10[36]
The Escapist[37] 4/5 stars

Heroes of the Storm received generally favorable reviews upon release. Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating in the 0–100 range, calculated an average score of 88 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews", based on 20 reviews.[29] GameRankings assigned it an average review score of 85.14% based on 11 reviews.[30]

IGN awarded it 6.5 out of 10, saying "Heroes of the Storm is a flawed, varied MOBA with terrific team fighting and poor objectives."[34]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Blizzard’s Worlds Collide When Heroes of the Storm Launches June 2 - Everyone’s invited to join the battle for the Nexus when open beta testing begins on May 19". April 20, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015. 
  2. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (January 22, 2013). "Blizzard "actively working" on Blizzard All-Stars, so what's the hold up?". Eurogamer.net. Archived from the original on May 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Browder, Dustin (June 15, 2012). Dustin Browder Interview - MLG Anaheim 2012. Interview with StarCraft: Legacy - KDraconis. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Gaston, Martin (November 9, 2013). "Blizzard explains why it doesn't call Heroes of the Storm a MOBA". GameSpot. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Heroes Closed Beta Announced at BlizzCon 2014". Blizzard Entertainment. November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Heroes". Blizzard Entertainment. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Battlegrounds". Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Funk, John (October 22, 2010). "BlizzCon 2010: Hands-On Blizzard DotA, Left 2 Die, Starjeweled". The Escapist Magazine. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Blizzard DotA - BlizzCon 2010 - Matt Gotcher, StarCraft II Level Designer". YouTube.com. October 23, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (August 22, 2011). "Blizzard DOTA "completely rebooted"". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ "StarCraft II – Blizzard All Stars & Mod Tools Panel". Blizzard Entertainment. October 22, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ McCurley, Mathew (October 21, 2011). "Hands-on with Blizzard DOTA: Tweaking the genre it created". Joystiq.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Leif (October 23, 2011). "BlizzCon 2011: Blizzard DOTA Impressions". GameSpy. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ Plunkett, Luke (February 10, 2012). "Blizzard and Valve go to War Over DOTA Name". Kotaku. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ Reilly, Jim (May 11, 2012). "Valve, Blizzard Reach DOTA Trademark Agreement". Game Informer. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. 
  16. ^ "January 17 Dustin Browder Interview". Starcraft Legacy. January 17, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  17. ^ Bramblet, Matthew (February 7, 2013). "Activision Blizzard Q4 2012 Earnings Report". diablo.somepage.com. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Reddit AMA Full Transcript - Dustin Browder, Alan Dabiri, David Kim". Blizzard Entertainment. March 6, 2013. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ Bramblet, Matthew (August 1, 2013). "Diablo III Announcement Coming at Gamescon - Activision Blizzard Q2 2013 earnings report details the Blizzard All-Star progress and 'Project Titan' revamp". Diablo Somepage. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ Narcisse, Evan (October 17, 2013). "Blizzard’s Diablo/Starcraft/WoW Crossover Has a New Name". Kotaku. 
  21. ^ "The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is Now LIVE!". Blizzard Entertainment. March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Final Phase of Technical Alpha Coming". Blizzard Entertainment. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  23. ^ "Technical Alpha is Back Online!". Blizzard Entertainment. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "Activision Blizzard (ATVI) Earnings Report: Q4 2014 Conference Call Transcript". TheStreet.com. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  25. ^ "REAPER OF SOULS™—PRE-ORDER LOOT REVEALED". Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "New Heroes of the Storm Themed Card Back, Hearthstone Mount in Heroes of the Storm". Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Heroes of the Storm Patch Notes". June 2, 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "PRE-PURCHASE STARCRAFT II: LEGACY OF THE VOID AND PLAY THE “WHISPERS OF OBLIVION” PROLOGUE TODAY". Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "Heroes of the Storm". Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b "Heroes of the Storm". Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  31. ^ Carter, Chris (June 2, 2015). "Review: Heroes of the Storm". Destructoid. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  32. ^ Leack, Jonathan (June 2, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  33. ^ Sullivan, Lucas (June 3, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm Review". GamesRadar. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  34. ^ a b Dyer, Mitch (June 2, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm Review". IGN. Retrieved June 6, 2015. 
  35. ^ Thursten, Chris (June 3, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm". PC Gamer. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  36. ^ Gies, Arthur (June 2, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm Review: Into The Breach". Polygon. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  37. ^ Miozzi, CJ (June 2, 2015). "Heroes of the Storm Review - Totally Not A MOBA". The Escapist. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 

External links[edit]