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"[GAME] Heroes of the Storm"

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Sun 22/05/16 at 06:23
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
I was surprised how much I've got into Heroes of the Storm (HotS) considering I have absolutely no experience in MOBA's and had no interest in others such as League of Legends in the past. I was told by a friend to give it a go, that the game was free and there wasn't much to lose. The game is free to play and features heroes from all of Blizzard's franchises pitted against each other in arena style lane combat. I'm dubious when the phrase F2P gets thrown around, because 90 percent of the time, there are hidden costs. Heroes of the Storm by most standards is free, with the only commodities in the game being heroes, skins, mounts and stimpacks.

Heroes are the characters you play, each of whom have a role - a warrior, a healer, a support and a specialist, all with different strengths and weaknesses. There are 52 of them right now, and that number is being added to monthly. The current heroes are also being constantly updated with Blizzard gathering feedback and data on every hero to adjust them accordingly for more balanced gameplay.

First, let me make it clear that there are two types of level in this game. A hero level and a player level. A player level is your account, you start at level 1 and can reach level 40 by playing and winning games. A hero level is specific to every hero on your account. Each hero has their own level, with every hero starting at 1 and completing at 20. The abilities for the hero remain the same throughout the entire process, so there are no game advantages to leveling heroes besides unlocking skins.

Skins are purely cosmetic and make absolutely no difference to gameplay besides visually. Master skins and colour variations for that hero are unlocked through leveling said hero, with a level 10 hero earning you the master skin. The skin can be bought with real money or in-game gold. So leveling a hero and unlocking their skin allows you to show other players your mastery of playing that hero.

In-game gold is earned through leveling your hero level or your player level to particular level milestones as well as completing daily quests. Daily quests are assigned, as you might expect, on a daily basis. These quests vary from tasks such as 'play as 3 warcraft heroes' or ' play 8 games', for which you'll be awarded various amounts of in-game gold. The grind for saving up gold is really not too difficult and if you enjoy the game enough, you'll be unlocking things rather steadily without even noticing. There are certainly cash-in opportunities, don't get me wrong. For example, a unicorn mount (which is the creature you ride in-game to move around the map faster) costs 14.99. This mount, like various other things in the game, cannot be bought with in-game gold. Again, this is purely cosmetic and makes no difference to the gameplay, so it is therefore not too negative a point. Mounts, as mentioned, allow you to move around the map faster. All mounts move the same speed, and are purely for quick tactical maneuvers.

The games themselves are 5 vs 5 and take place on a randomly assigned map. Each team has a core and the goal is to destroy the enemy's core in their base. However, the core is defended by forts and tower structures that must be destroyed before a real assault can begin. AI minions periodically spawn at each core at the same time and begin their routes to the enemies core. If they meet resistance along the way, they have to stand and fight, so it's important to clear each lane in the map for minions to make it through. Every so often, mercenary and siege camps become available to capture too. These camps feature stronger creatures that you can defeat, and if you do, they will move forward alongside your minions to help them get the upper hand.

Each team in the game starts with a level of 1, which means that every hero has access to level 1 talents. This is where different character builds comes in. Talents enhance the abilities that the hero has, and as the team levels, they are able to unlock more talents and make themselves stronger. At team levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20, a new talent is unlocked for all of that team's heroes.

Team levels are gained by destroying enemy structures, minions and mercenaries, so it's important early on to gather experience to get the upper hand and access your talents quicker than your opponents. Towards the latter part of the game, it's more about utilisation of your talents and skills to kill other players. As team level increases, so does the respawn time when you are killed. For example, a team of level 12 against a team of level 16 is probably going to be outmatched, because the team of level 16 will be 2 talents better off. However, the level 16 team have a much longer respawn timer if they do die. The level 12 team is able to get back into the action much quicker. This means that team levels are advantageous, but plenty of higher level teams have lost in the past from not playing well.

Now there are basically two modes in this game, your quick match and your ranked play. Quick match means you just get matched with whoever's ready to play and hope your team balance is fine (for example 5 healers against 5 warriors isn't going to go well, although the matchmaking system takes things like that into account). In ranked play, it's much more about organising which heroes everyone will play to get a balanced team. Teams can also ban 2 heroes from being chosen by the other team. For this reason, anyone who wants to play hero league (ranked) must have access to at least 14 level 5 heroes, to show that you can play various heroes.

The last thing I want to mention is stimpacks. Stimpacks are just boosters that are active for a certain period of time, either 7 or 30 days. They are one of the early rewards for low level players to help them grow and encourage them to play more, as they give a gold and experience boost at the end of every game while active and can help you level and unlock things a lot quicker. Sadly, stimpacks are only available to purchase with real money after that, so players can get a boost if they're willing to pay. There is an alternative however, as if you play with a person on your friend's list in a party, you both get a sufficient experience boost. If you do this and equip a stimpack as well, you get even more experience and gold!

In conclusion, I can't knock this game because it didn't cost me anything to download or play and I'm still having fun in it. Yes, you can moan all you like about the real money transactions, but Blizzard are a company and they want to make money which is fair enough. They still provide weekly updates to the game and change things around, sometimes drastically, to try and enhance the experience, and again, it's all for free with no obligation. Fun for free is always a good thing in my book.
Mon 23/05/16 at 14:36
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,536
Did wonder if you were still there. Hope is all going well.
Mon 23/05/16 at 10:12
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
DL wrote:
Nice to see you back Chris, where've you been then?

I've been on a long adventure!

No, I'm about to go into the third year of my degree and I'm currently living in Bournemouth. Can't remember the last time I was on this site...
Sun 22/05/16 at 09:40
Regular
"Feather edged ..."
Posts: 8,536
Nice to see you back Chris, where've you been then?
Sun 22/05/16 at 06:23
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
I was surprised how much I've got into Heroes of the Storm (HotS) considering I have absolutely no experience in MOBA's and had no interest in others such as League of Legends in the past. I was told by a friend to give it a go, that the game was free and there wasn't much to lose. The game is free to play and features heroes from all of Blizzard's franchises pitted against each other in arena style lane combat. I'm dubious when the phrase F2P gets thrown around, because 90 percent of the time, there are hidden costs. Heroes of the Storm by most standards is free, with the only commodities in the game being heroes, skins, mounts and stimpacks.

Heroes are the characters you play, each of whom have a role - a warrior, a healer, a support and a specialist, all with different strengths and weaknesses. There are 52 of them right now, and that number is being added to monthly. The current heroes are also being constantly updated with Blizzard gathering feedback and data on every hero to adjust them accordingly for more balanced gameplay.

First, let me make it clear that there are two types of level in this game. A hero level and a player level. A player level is your account, you start at level 1 and can reach level 40 by playing and winning games. A hero level is specific to every hero on your account. Each hero has their own level, with every hero starting at 1 and completing at 20. The abilities for the hero remain the same throughout the entire process, so there are no game advantages to leveling heroes besides unlocking skins.

Skins are purely cosmetic and make absolutely no difference to gameplay besides visually. Master skins and colour variations for that hero are unlocked through leveling said hero, with a level 10 hero earning you the master skin. The skin can be bought with real money or in-game gold. So leveling a hero and unlocking their skin allows you to show other players your mastery of playing that hero.

In-game gold is earned through leveling your hero level or your player level to particular level milestones as well as completing daily quests. Daily quests are assigned, as you might expect, on a daily basis. These quests vary from tasks such as 'play as 3 warcraft heroes' or ' play 8 games', for which you'll be awarded various amounts of in-game gold. The grind for saving up gold is really not too difficult and if you enjoy the game enough, you'll be unlocking things rather steadily without even noticing. There are certainly cash-in opportunities, don't get me wrong. For example, a unicorn mount (which is the creature you ride in-game to move around the map faster) costs 14.99. This mount, like various other things in the game, cannot be bought with in-game gold. Again, this is purely cosmetic and makes no difference to the gameplay, so it is therefore not too negative a point. Mounts, as mentioned, allow you to move around the map faster. All mounts move the same speed, and are purely for quick tactical maneuvers.

The games themselves are 5 vs 5 and take place on a randomly assigned map. Each team has a core and the goal is to destroy the enemy's core in their base. However, the core is defended by forts and tower structures that must be destroyed before a real assault can begin. AI minions periodically spawn at each core at the same time and begin their routes to the enemies core. If they meet resistance along the way, they have to stand and fight, so it's important to clear each lane in the map for minions to make it through. Every so often, mercenary and siege camps become available to capture too. These camps feature stronger creatures that you can defeat, and if you do, they will move forward alongside your minions to help them get the upper hand.

Each team in the game starts with a level of 1, which means that every hero has access to level 1 talents. This is where different character builds comes in. Talents enhance the abilities that the hero has, and as the team levels, they are able to unlock more talents and make themselves stronger. At team levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20, a new talent is unlocked for all of that team's heroes.

Team levels are gained by destroying enemy structures, minions and mercenaries, so it's important early on to gather experience to get the upper hand and access your talents quicker than your opponents. Towards the latter part of the game, it's more about utilisation of your talents and skills to kill other players. As team level increases, so does the respawn time when you are killed. For example, a team of level 12 against a team of level 16 is probably going to be outmatched, because the team of level 16 will be 2 talents better off. However, the level 16 team have a much longer respawn timer if they do die. The level 12 team is able to get back into the action much quicker. This means that team levels are advantageous, but plenty of higher level teams have lost in the past from not playing well.

Now there are basically two modes in this game, your quick match and your ranked play. Quick match means you just get matched with whoever's ready to play and hope your team balance is fine (for example 5 healers against 5 warriors isn't going to go well, although the matchmaking system takes things like that into account). In ranked play, it's much more about organising which heroes everyone will play to get a balanced team. Teams can also ban 2 heroes from being chosen by the other team. For this reason, anyone who wants to play hero league (ranked) must have access to at least 14 level 5 heroes, to show that you can play various heroes.

The last thing I want to mention is stimpacks. Stimpacks are just boosters that are active for a certain period of time, either 7 or 30 days. They are one of the early rewards for low level players to help them grow and encourage them to play more, as they give a gold and experience boost at the end of every game while active and can help you level and unlock things a lot quicker. Sadly, stimpacks are only available to purchase with real money after that, so players can get a boost if they're willing to pay. There is an alternative however, as if you play with a person on your friend's list in a party, you both get a sufficient experience boost. If you do this and equip a stimpack as well, you get even more experience and gold!

In conclusion, I can't knock this game because it didn't cost me anything to download or play and I'm still having fun in it. Yes, you can moan all you like about the real money transactions, but Blizzard are a company and they want to make money which is fair enough. They still provide weekly updates to the game and change things around, sometimes drastically, to try and enhance the experience, and again, it's all for free with no obligation. Fun for free is always a good thing in my book.

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