A short statement after spending some time with Heroes of the Storm

, | Game reviews

Good evening. In light of the comments I made yesterday about MOBA players, I’ll be reading a short statement. I’m afraid I won’t be taking any questions afterwards.

After the jump, I clear my throat and refer to the prepared statement on the podium in front of me.

I am deeply sorry for any offense I caused yesterday when I implied that MOBA players are unable to multitask and that they are only capable of playing one character at a time. In my defense, I wasn’t aware at that time that playing the Lost Vikings in Heroes of the Storm meant playing three separate characters. But that doesn’t excuse my comment, and I apologize for the pain it may have caused to Lost Viking players and their families. Furthermore, I apologize for earlier drafts of the article that may have been leaked, in which I referred to MOBA players as “tools, “dimbulbs”, “half-witted wankers”, and “shrill martinets compensating for their own inadequacy by typing puerile and abusive comments in team chat”.

At the writing of that article, I didn’t realize that I would become a MOBA player myself. I didn’t realize that I would be playing Heroes of the Storm. Enthusiastically. I didn’t realize that I would be implicating myself with those comments and that some of them were unfair or didn’t apply to this particular game.

At the time I made my comments, I didn’t realize that Heroes of the Storm didn’t have any longterm upgrading hoo-ha like glyphs or sigils or concoctions to permanently upgrade your heroes proportional to your commitment to the longterm grind. Aside from whatever color or skin I choose, my Valla will always be the same as your Valla. You cannot win by out-catassing me. You can only win by being better than me. Which I see you have somehow accomplished, but that’s on me. I play Starcraft. I’ve had plenty of experience taking my licks from people who are better at micro.

At the time I made my comments, I also didn’t realize that not all MOBAs have a hundred characters, only ten of which are useful at any given time, and all of which are utter nonsense to me. I’m still a bit overwhelmed by all the characters in Heroes of the Storm, particularly when I see them on the field and even more particularly when they’re killing me with some crazy swirl of as yet unfamiliar spell effects. “Yep, this is a MOBA,” I think as I instantly die for no discernable reason. Oh, look, that’s my fifth death. The next closest player has only two deaths.

But I mostly didn’t realize that all these goofy names in Heroes of the Storm are mainly characters I already know. Look, there’s the zerg broodmother from Starcraft; a protoss from the protoss in Starcraft; three space marines from the space marines in Starcraft (why are there three?); the good hot sexy chick from Starcraft and the evil hot sexy chick from Starcraft; the lost Vikings from Lost Vikings; the guy who fell into a church in Diablo III; Diablo from Diablo I, II, and III; and all the classes from Diablo III, including my personal favorite, the witch doctor. As I’ve previously stated, time spent in Diablo III not playing a witch-doctor is time wasted. I didn’t realize that Blizzard would cater so well to my own predilections. But of course they would. They’ve been making games I’ve been playing for over twenty years. How could they not? Did I mention that my favorite character in Heroes of the Storm is the witch doctor? Or Nazeebo, as the game calls him for some reason. It’s a good thing I don’t play World of Warcraft anymore, or I might actually be inclined to play some of those other characters, like the orc, the tauren, the murlock, and the human. Oh, wait, come to think of it, those are all from the original Warcraft RTS, aren’t they? I guess I do know these guys. Hey, look, it’s Arthas. Hi, dude. I totally know you.

I also didn’t realize that when you’re playing Heroes of the Storm and you’re at the base at the beginning of the game — you know, where you spawn — there is no store. I may have previously made disparaging comments about how MOBA players love to shop for very specific and very esoteric doo-dads like a muttering homeless person picking over a table full of junk at a flea market. I didn’t know that when I played Heroes of the Storm, I wouldn’t have to learn some complicated formula about buying a suit of leather armor and then a suit of plate mail, and then combining it with a potion of hardiness that I would make from a red gem and a blue sigil, and then combining them all with an axe of hatred, which is made from a normal axe, a tonic of despisal, and a haft of loathing, each of which was made from stuff I barely have room for because I can only carry six things, so here I am with a haft of loathing, a tonic of despisal, a suit of leather armor, a suit of plate mail, and some blue thing that does fuck-all, so I don’t have room to buy the red gem, so I sold back the tonic of despisal to buy the red gem, but now I can’t buy the essence of interminable minutiae, the catalyst of boundless ennui, and the empty bottle I need to mix them in to make another tonic of despisal, so oops. I had even looked this stuff up on a wiki. I apologize to anyone on my team who saw I was carrying those things in my inventory and assumed incorrectly that I had no idea what I was doing. As I mentioned, I had looked this stuff up on a wiki.

I am also deeply sorry for any offense I caused when I suggested that MOBA players would get lost without lanes showing them how to get to the enemy base and for implying that they were only capable of playing on a single map. At the time of my comments, I didn’t realize that Heroes of the Storm had so many distinct maps, each with unique artwork, and each with unique gimmicks. Yeah, sure, the gimmicks consist of collecting things that trigger something that damages the enemy base, which you can do yourself by just going and doing it. But like Sins of a Dark Age, a decent but unspectacular MOBA that will probably wither in the shadow of this Blizzard juggernaut, Heroes of the Storm mixes up the action from the usual “are you laning or are you jungling?” split. There’s more to do than just following the lanes, even for those of us who wouldn’t dream of jungling, and each map has its own gameplay feel.

But mostly, I’m sorry for my misconception that all MOBA players are unsportsmanlike brats who latch onto an ostensibly team-based game full of esoteric gameplay mechanics that reward a me-first gameplay philosophy, which then leads to recriminations when someone doesn’t correctly game the me-first gameplay. I didn’t realize at the time that Heroes of the Storm was about shared experience. I mean that in a couple of senses, but mainly in the sense of experience points. I played several games before realizing that the numbers at the top weren’t the number of times some dumbass on our team — probably me trying a melee character — got killed. That is our level. Our level. The level of all of us. United. Five players, one level. We each earn experience that goes into a shared pool and determines our levels equally. Of course, it’s a matter of public record how much each player has contributed, so there are still bragging rights and maybe even recriminations. I also didn’t realize that the healing pools have separate cooldowns for each character. Drink freely! But just as games like Guild Wars 2 and Battlefield 4 have learned how to engineer social experiences based on cooperation and coexistence — even in competitive formats — Heroes of the Storm is about minimizing interplayer fuckery. That’s what it takes for me to play a MOBA. That’s why I’m playing Heroes of the Storm and that’s why I’m here before you today apologizing for my comments.

In fact, it seems to me the typical pattern of a Heroes of the Storm game is one of players eventually coming together. During the early game, we each split up among the different lanes. But by the time the endgame has rolled around — mercifully sooner than other MOBA endgames — whichever team most efficiently assembles a whirling zerg (or otherwise) ball of death will prevail. Yeah, we’re the heroes. But the ultimate emphasis is on that eponymous storm we come together to create.

Thank you.

[1. General Chat] n00bwrekker420: Do you have any comments about the IGN review?

I’m sorry, I don’t have any time for questions. Wait, what did the IGN review say?

[1. General Chat] n00bwrekker420: I didn’t read it, how the fuck should I know? But it was a 6.5.

A 6.5? Jeeze, that’s harsh. That’s like a 6.5 on the seven to nine scale.

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: why do u suck so bad?

As I said, I’m afraid I don’t have any time for questions. Thank you very much.

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: but u answered his question

No, no, I just wanted to ask him what the deal was with the IGN review that he was asking me about it. I don’t know why anyone would ask me. Go ask them.

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: then why do u suck so much at teh game?

Well, first of all, I disagree with the premise of your question. Heroes of the Storm just came out.

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: it’s been in beta for like forever dumbass

Look, it’s too early to be pointing fingers. And furthermore, I would like to say that I routinely earn the most xp for my team. When I’m playing with bots.

[1. General Chat] drathvader: Who’s your favorite hero?

As i stated in my prepared comment, that would be the witch doctor. Time spent playing Heroes of the Storm not playing–

[1. General Chat] n00bwrekker420: If you could fuck any one of these characters, which one would it be?

[1. General Chat] pu55ycowboy11: Li Li. He’d fuck Li Li.

[1. General Chat] tehrealslimeshady: I bet he’d fuck abathur.

[1. General Chat] BartKennedy94: I’d fuck Kerrigan!

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: shit yeah I’d fuck kerrigan

[1. General Chat] tehrealslimeshady: nova

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: shit yeah I wanna change my answer to nova

[1. General Chat] ThorIsAMan: sylvanas brah

[1. General Chat] pu55ycowboy11: Ha ha, he’d fuck Li Li.

I believe that question was directed at me. Which ones are Abathur and Sylvanas?

[1. General Chat] n00bwrekker420: Last night I was playing on Blackheart’s Bay with some dude who had like 20 doubloons and he wouldn’t turn them in. What a fucktard. We totally lost that game.

Yeah, that is kind of counterproductive. Wait, if you’re implying that was me, I want to assure everyone that wasn’t me. I turned in all my doubloons except for that one time where I didn’t notice how many I was carrying. But that’s why I was playing against bots so much. I wanted to make sure to learn the maps before I go online. And also the characters. I need to unlock my talents and learn what they do. There’s a lot to learn here. When you get into the inevitable endgame five vs five jumbles, how else are you going avoid just dying instantly? Particularly if you’re playing a melee character. It’s really important for all of us to practice, to make sure we can contribute to that shared experience at every level, to be in it for the cooperation instead of the advancement of some longterm grind, and to ultimately elevate the level of interaction in a MOBA.

[1. General Chat] DreemRuler: just stop sucking so bad dickgobbler

Well, I do appreciate being reminded that this is still a MOBA, after all. And even though it’s still a game within the parameters of its genre, at least its pushing those parameters in the right direction. If I’m going to play a MOBA, it’s going to be this one.

I’m afraid that’s all the time I have for today.

  • Heroes of the Storm

  • Rating:

  • PC
  • It's not League of Legends.
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