Blizzard's new game, Heroes of the Storm, has officially launched and the massively multiplayer battle arena (MOBA) has released to much fanfare. The MOBA that brings characters from Blizzard's major franchises has already been through an extensive open beta program and was even featured on ESPN 2 in a Heroes of the Dorm scholarship tournament.
Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA that aims to compete with League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2). By combining the 5v5 top-down action with RPG, hero-building elements, Heroes of the Storm looks to appeal to both MOBA veterans and new players alike.
One of the major ways Heroes of the Storm differs from League and more "traditional" MOBA's is its lack of an item system. By taking out this incredibly daunting aspect of building a winning champion, Blizzard has opened Heroes up to a whole new audience. Now anybody can pick a hero and start playing. Where the meta-theory begins is Heroes of the Storm's hero leveling.
Instead of leveling items in a match, players level your hero to unlock different masteries, abilities, and combat styles that completely change how each hero performs in battle. This makes it so even if the hero composition isn't a great fit (which could be a killer in other MOBAs), in Heroes of the Storm, you can simply change the ability make-up of a hero to switch them from being mainly a tank to a damage-dealer, and so on.
Blizzard is adding some incentive to players who get into Heroes of the Storm during launch week. Blizzard will be giving players a special in-game portrait to those who play matches this first week, according to a GameSpot report. In addition, an experience boost will be in effect for the first three weeks of launch, giving those who dive in headfirst an edge over late-comers.
Heroes of the Storm is an example of a large brand trying to compete in a game genre its not been seen before. This doesn't always work, as evidenced by Turbine's Infinite Crisis MOBA. The DC Comics based will be shut down not even a year into it's official launch, according to a report on the game's official website. It's an example that not every MOBA can compete with the big-boys, but so far Heroes of the Storm seems to be gaining traction in the community. Hopefully, for Blizzard's sake, Heroes of the Storm will be as large of a success as the franchises it draws from.