poniedziałek, 13 października 2014

Will HotS succed - an in-depth look and a comparison to LoL

I would like to start off by saying that I have been playing League of Legends for over 4 years now. I started playing back in 2010 when season 1 was about to end (and managed to reach gold in one week just before rewards were distributed). Recently I haven't been playing the game as much but my peek division in ranked was Diamond 2 so you could say that I know a thing or two.

Before you say that comparing the two is pointless - no it's not. As of right now, League is the most played game in the world and it pretty much defined the moba genre thus comparing it to HotS is completely natural and pivotal in determining its success.

I managed to get my hands on the technical alpha of Heroes about a week ago or so and been playing pretty much non stop. While the game has its issues and still needs quite a bit of work, I feel like Blizzard is taking the right direction with it because most important of all, the game is VERY fun to play. With that being said, fun does not necessarily mean simplistic. I saw many people complain that HotS is a casual game, far easier than LoL or DotA 2, that takes no skill whatsoever. That is far from true, it is a typical 'easy to get into and hard to master' type of game (and such games are the most successful ones if done right). I will elaborate on the matter in detail shortly.

Will this game be an e-sport? I've heard that question asked so many times. Blizzard is open to the idea and will let the players decide. I personally believe that this game will most definitely be an e-sport and will become as huge as DotA 2 or perhaps with time, even as huge as LoL. Whether I am right or not remains to be seen. Look at Hearthstone though - Blizzard was unsure of how well it would do, they knew that it might hit off and become quite popular but the game has surpassed everybody's expectations. Why is that so?

One needs to define what a game needs in order to be considered an e-sport. Yes, the game has to be competitive and potentially quite complex at a higher level of play - but it also needs to be easy to get into. Lets face it, top tier diamond/master/challenger players that play the game from 6 to 16 hours per day make up only a small portion of playerbase in LoL. Same goes for Hearthstone Legends or any higher ranked/pro players in any game for that matter. These players are a mere 1% or even less than that. LoL's main revenue comes from casuals that play the game just to have fun because they are THE majority. That is why games that strive to become an e-sport need to cater to the masses. If a game is easy to play and hard to master, these casuals might enjoy watching pros compete which would not be the case if the game was highly complex and hard/frustrating to get into. Remember, there is a big difference between a game being purely casual/simplistic and acessible (with potential depth)

Now, lets get into the gameplay of HotS. As I have stated before, the game is extremely fun to play. It is also very innovative and in respect to LoL, very much different. I belive that this is a good thing, innovation is good and besides, lets face it - some people are getting tired of playing the same game with one 5v5 map for 4 years (me being one of them).The first thing that you will notice is that unlike in LoL, you start the game with 4 abilities (by default Q,W,E and D). This adds a lot of dynamic and opens up the possibility of team fighting at very early levels. Later on as you level up in-game, you can choose between 6 abilities every 3 levels. Upon reaching level 10, you can choose between two ultimate abilities (by default R) - given that the XP is shared between all players in the team, reaching level 10 first will give you an immense advantage and will most likely force a team fight. The game is centered around fightning for objectives all over the map, farming lanes is secondary (there is no such thing as last hitting thus pushing the waves of cs onto towers is not necessarily a good idea simply because your opponent can stand behind his tower/gate and soak the xp for free). On the other hand, freezing a lane is not always a best idea either because it allows your opponent to roam around the map or take mercenaries camp (jungle monsters of sort, the difference being that after defeating them they will fight for your team and push one of the lanes). Map awarness and predictive power are absolutely crucial, even more so than in LoL (knowing where your opponent is and being able to anticipate his moves is going to give you a HUGE advantage). I don't understand why some people bash this game claiming that it is too easy. In my personal opinion, at higher level of play, this game is going to require more coordination and teamplay than both LoL and DotA. In LoL, the amount of potential strategies is in reality very limited – when picking a team comp, you can either focus on mid game power spike or heavy late game/wombo combo team fighting.

After the horrid laning phase (which FYI I was never a big fan of) ends, you can either contest for objectives such as blue/red buffs or dragon (and later on – baron). If your team is behind, you may try to split push and outrotate your opponent – that is pretty much it. The worst thing about League is that if you lose the said lanining phase and/or fall behind in mid game team fights, you can very often determine the victor. It is very hard to come back with gold defict of 5k+, even if you outplay the enemy team (depending on the stage of the game that is). What I love about HotS is that you can make a come back very easily if you outplay your opponent. Because of lack of items in the game, you can't get ahead so much and have to constantly stay focused on the objectives and keep on playing equally good throughout the entire match. This opens up the possibility of miraculous turn arounds that are going to be very entertaining to watch. Also, from what little I played, I can see countless more potential strategies to win. In other MOBAs you can carry your teammates to victory by farming on your own and winning your lane - in HotS, such a thing will be impossible. Without constant, proper coordination with your team, you are bound to lose. The next big difference are maps – unlike in LoL, there are FIVE different 5v5 maps (and more are continuously added and I assume that we are bound to see at least one more map before the game is released). The maps feel same in a way but each require a different approach and strategy. In League, I never understood the point of introducing game modes such as dominion or the howling abyss (or even twisted treeline). I suppose that it is fun to play these different game modes from time to time but if you compare the amount of games played on summoner's rift to the other two, the latter is insubstantial. Wouldn't it be better for Riot to focus on classic 5v5 game mode and introduce one or two different variations of summoners rift? I understand that balancing is an issue here but one that can be overcome if resources were not wasted on all the other game modes. I really dig the idea of 5 different game modes and love Blizzard's approach.

While I very much enjoyed playing LoL for all these years, the time has come to turn over a new leaf and try something fresh. I gave League a go yesterday and after spending some time in HotS, I must say that the latter is so much more fun to play that I doubt that I am going to play another LoL game any time soon. I saw every Season 4 World Championship match and I admit that watching LoL at highest level of play is still a very fun experience – that is why I can't contain my excitment when I think of all that is ahead of us with Heroes of the Storm.

2 komentarze:

  1. ur going to play heroes?:) awesome man, I really hope that you will stream want to see you in action really enjoyed ur d3 stream in my opinion one of best diablo streams ever equally good as kripparians back in the day

  2. Well said, I gave lol a go recently and it feels so slow and boring after playing hots.