Heroes Of The Storm: One month playing a ‘MOBA’

Yeah, I know. Blizzard says that it is not a MOBA but a “Hero Brawler” even when we probably don’t know what it is just yet. I’ve never been a big fan of MOBAs although I played the mods at Starcraft and then Warcraft III, many time ago. The big odd of this kind of games is play with people that doesn’t know how to play its character or does a worst performance than the rest of the team resulting on a loss. Which also is an advantage when you do a proper team with your friends, which can be incredibly fun.

Blizzard DOTA

For this blog post I gonna start with some history of what a MOBA is and highlight which are the differences between Heroes Of The Storm and the rest of the other games that fall in the category of this genre. MOBAs are characterized for being a kind of game where two teams fight in teams to destroy other enemies with help of weak units that we call minions.

So we know now that MOBAs are based on Blizzard games, at least at the begin,  when IceFrog created his map at Warcraft III and got many attention, then Riot Games released League of Legends at 2009, the same year IceFrog was hired by Steam.

2010: Heroes of Newerth was released and Steam secured the rights for DotA: Allstars, also announced Dota 2.

blizzard-allstars

2012: Blizzard announced Blizzard DOTA, and got into a dispute with Steam for the rights, as they bought DotA-Allstars, LLC. But still Steam owned DOTA trademark and they changed the name to Blizzard Allstars and at last to Heroes Of The Storm.

There are other games in the business besides League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and Dota 2, like Smite, but this are the most relevant ones.

Generic MOBA Map
Generic MOBA Map

 

Now lets talk about the specifics of Heroes of the Storm.

Here we can spot the first difference between Heroes Of The Storm with other MOBAs, some maps are not like this and don’t even share the same secondary objectives which is get mercenaries and use the map mechanics like coins, skulls, seeds depending on the map.

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Talents instead of shop is an interesting thing to mention, in other games you can equip your character with all the stuff you need at the current game, to adapt the character to this exact game. But still, is a mess for a new player to know all the items, know which are the correct ones using a item shop that is way to big and that makes you lose time in-game.

The talents are granted at level 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20 (as far I can remember right now) and this ones can adapt your character to the current situation, increasing  healing, attack and powering other abilities. Bribes for the mercenaries too.

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As there is no store, there is no gold. So what the minions drop? Experience. The experience is not given to the last hit but to the player (team) that is closer to the dying minion. The level is for all the team, not individual. Some characters are better killing minions, other can stun big groups of other heroes and others which are good at hunting your enemies, almost always, is your choice using talents.

Another difference with another games like this is that is more team oriented as it encourages the players to stick and work together to get the objectives (mercenaries, pay for map mechanics, breaking walls).

The characters are some that the ones that play Blizzard games know, Jim Raynor and Kerrigan of Starcraft, Thrall and Arthas from World of Warcraft, Tyrael and Diablo of Diablo, this with a lot of other characters that will make the game more enjoyable.

After about 100 matches in this last 30 days I can say that I’m very excited about the game and it’s final release, my win ratio has been around 50% so is quiiiiite okay. I wish I could blame my team mates but well, it’s teamwork and it depends on everyone.

My favorite map is by far Cursed Hollow and Haunted Mines where the turn around is always a possibility using map mechanics and the character I been using the most is Jim Raynor. Sadly, I can’t play Hero league just yet as I need a couple more of Heroes but I’m hoping to play it later this week and get rid of bad players which no  experience at all. If anyone is interested on seeing this game, go ahead and look for streams at Twitch and if it happens that my channel is online, subscribe!

Heroes of the Storm

GG.

Starcraft 2 – #1 – Micromanagement

After many months after I said that I would talk about Starcraft, finally, I found a right topic to start, micromanagement.

starcraft2_scr121

What is micromanagement?

Micromanagement relies on getting more juice from your units, which means doing more for less and doing it better. The most important things may be: getting information from your enemy ground, correct unit placement and little but highly mobile engagements with few units avoiding his army. And of course, micromanagement on a battle.

Scouting

Scouting is the most important thing on the game since your strategy will be based on how to defeat your opponent strategy (which means that is also very important to avoid being scouted).

An example of scouting could be looking into your Protoss enemy ground and see a very early Twilight Council, a heavy gas production, a low gate count and probably Chrono Boost on Cybernetics Core. Based on that, anyone should know that getting detection should be a priority. Dark Templars are coming. This early game scouting is essential but you need to do it throughout the whole game to reveal your enemy strategy and act in consequence.

I took this little list from Liquidpedia that describes what an early scout can reveal by seeing just the basics.

  • Proxy: Lack of buildings in base.
  • Cheese: Lack of workers and more unit-producing structures.
  • Double gas: Would indicate a fast tech build.
  • No gas: Usually indicates a fast expand.
  • Structures: The type of unit producing structures will give an indication of what build or what units the opponent will use
  • Placement – the placement of the buildings can indicate if the opponent will turtle or play aggressively.

Scouting will reveal what your opponent haves now and what he will have on the next 5 minutes, at least, as long you know how to read this. This will allow you to get a counter or doing a timing attack.

Each race have a different approach of how to scout on mid/late game more effectively and cheaper. Terrans do buildings, Zergs do overseers and changelings and Protoss have observers and hallucinated phoenixes.

Positioning

While scouting focus on knowing your enemy, positioning is more about how your own army must engage your enemy. This is hard, as your enemy will try to avoid awkward grounds where is possible to set up a concave, this heavily depend on which match are your playing and the map. This video will give you an idea of how important positioning is and how to deal with it on TvT for example.

Positioning can be approached using different techniques depending on your unit composition and how to use ranged units as BroodLords, Tempests and Tanks and also having enough of other units to tank damage and by using terrain. You can also put units as this ones on unreachable places for your enemy. Other terrain techniques are used with units like High Templars, so they can use storm from places without visibility for the enemy while his army goes by. There is a full article about this on Liquidpedia that is a must-read.

Engagement micro

This is more about keeping your units alive and attacking for more time, so they can be repaired/healed/recharged for the next engagement. This can be done on big fights and little ones to get more juice from each unit. An usual kind of micro could be the stalker blink or something very usual (at least for me) wait until the enemy targets the colossus and bring it back, so all enemy units try to get my colossus while his units are being attacked by the rest of the army.

How to get better at micro?

There are lots of games at arcade such as Starcraft Micro Tournament that can be play with your friends and Starcraft Master that allows you to learn the basics and also gives you a new avatar.

Source: Liquidpedia

Revisiting an old game, for the sake of the old times

Many years ago me and some friends used to play this game that taught us too much, gave us interest to do lots of stuff (developing things as websites, servers, scripting, etc.). So we decided to play it a little to remember those times, so here I’ll show you some screenshots I took from Dennis and I adventures. Sadly our friend Fofito wasn’t online to come to the adventure but I’m quite sure he and others will be available later.

desert
Here me and DennisTT met some great people that helped us to make the desert quest, without killing us (maybe because is a non-PvP server). So we got a nice reward.
jabonzote
Swimming a little bit on Thais south shore
riding
Then we lured some minotaurs and bring our donkeys to Noah’s Ark
dragon
… and even killed a dangerous Dragon
jabonzote
Then we went to the Thais Lighthouse to look the beautiful blue sea, and then traveled to Fibula and other places that bring us back to 2004.