Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s take on the popular MOBA genre, has officially entered closed beta.
As we reported back at the start of November, the Warcraft developer was – and still is – planning on incorporating several new features when the game entered its beta phase, and true to their word, a new battleground, hero and game mode have been added to the game, as well as a ranked play mode called Hero League.
The new hero comes in the form of the shaman Thrall, son of Durotan and Warchief of the Horde, who you may recognize from one of our favorite games of 2014, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. He acts as a melee assassin within the Nexus, and has several unique abilities:
- Chain Lighting
- Blast three different enemies with lightning.
- Feral Spirit
- Release a fiery wolf spirit to burn enemies and root Heroes.
- Increase attack and movement speed.
- Frostwolf Resilience (Trait)
- Casting abilities on enemies grant charges which heal you.
- Earthquake (Heroic)
- Persistently slows enemies in a massive area.
- Sunder the earth in a line, damaging and stunning any enemy in its path.
Sky Temple is also the first new battleground to be implemented, which uses a desert theme which aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture thrown in. The idea is to challenge players to fight for control of ancient temples, which activate after 90 seconds of play. Once this is done, these temples are used to fire devastating beams of energy towards enemy structures, assisting players massively in securing a lead.
Hero League is a mode which enables players above level 30 – and who have at least ten playable Heroes – to queue up either alone or within a party of up to five people for ranked, competitive matches against other players of a similar skill level and party size. Draft Mode has also been implemented, which allows players to build up a team composition for competitive matches in order to be able to counter your opponent’s picks and organize Heroes do be able to dominate the Battleground objectives.
The majority of patch updates appear to come under the stature of graphical improvements, bug fixes and adaptation of the user interface. A few of the abilities pre-existing Heroes already have been adapted as well, in order to recognize and balance the game, which Blizzard have proved excellent at in the past. The full list of patch notes can be found here.
If you didn’t quite manage to get into MOBA’s when League of Legends and DOTA came about, Heroes of the Storm may be a great excuse for you to start. Brian had a hands-on with the game whilst it was still in alpha, and said: ““If you have ever been interested in a MOBA but were unwilling to grind your way through the steep barrier to entry, then Heroes of the Storm is a perfect introduction to the genre. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the more relaxed and casual gameplay that it brings to the table so far, and the lowered time investment needed suits our busy lifestyle.”