I remember a time when MMORPGs were among the most popular video games around and perhaps you remember it as well. That time is gone now and there’s a new sheriff in town that goes by the name of MOBA. Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Smite, and the newcomer Heroes of the Storm are what most people seem to be playing these days, or if they’re not playing them, they’ve at least heard a lot about them. Although I’ve started with League of Legends a few years ago, my MOBA of choice became Dota 2 after a while and I never looked back. That is, until Heroes of the Storm came out.
Blizzard’s take on the genre is certainly an interesting one and it seems to attract more and people people despite the fact that it’s arguably the most simplistic MOBA there is. Actually, that might be it’s main selling point in a way. After spending a couple of years in the frustrating and nerve-wracking world of Dota 2, finding something as lighthearted as Heroes of the Storm is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. Now, please don’t think of this as me saying that Heroes of the Storm is a very easy game, but after playing Valve’s MOBA for an extended period of time you’ll likely find that most other games seem like child’s play by comparison. Having said that, there’s definitely more to Heroes of the Storm than meets the eye and you can rest assured knowing that Blizzard are sticking to their guns when it comes to gameplay depth and addictive fun.
There are plenty of differences between Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm, but there are some noticeable similarities as well. When it comes to playable heroes you will find that some from one game closely resemble some from the other one, although (with some exceptions) they’re similar only from a visual stand point. Examples of this include Pudge/Stiches, Puck/Brightwing, and Tinker/Gazlowe to name just a few. It’s not surprising to see these similarities given that Dota 2 features the heroes from the original Defense of the Ancients, which in turn were modeled after Warcraft 3 heroes and units. However, the similarities stop when you move away from the Warcraft universe because Heroes of the Storm also includes well known characters from the Starcraft and Diablo universes, something that Dota 2 doesn’t have.
It’s also worth pointing out that Heroes of the Storm let’s you play as some of the most famous characters in gaming, such as Illidan, Arthas, Kerrigan, Zeratul, Diablo, and many more, while Dota 2’s heroes will not be familiar to you if you haven’t played the game or its predecessor before. On the flipside, there’s currently much more variety in Dota 2, with its hero count coming in at 110 while Heroes of the Storm can only boast with 35, for now at least.
In principle, the two titles have identical main objectives – destroy buildings to get to the main building and then destroy that as well to win. Pretty simple. However, there’s a plethora of other things that need to be taken into consideration and each game does things just a little bit differently than the other one. For example, in Dota 2 you need to take into account very important things such as farming, jungling, last hitting, purchasing items, not feeding, and many more. Granted, feeding could pose a problem in Heroes of the Storm as well, but its impact on the game is far less noticeable because of the core gameplay mechanics. Above all, Heroes of the Storm is based on good team play and coordination. This of course also applies to other MOBAs, but here you will find this principle in virtually every aspect of the game.
An experienced Dota 2 player can make all the difference in the world and sometimes win a game almost single-handedly. Not in Heroes of the Storm though. In Blizzard’s game you can’t afford the luxury of relying on your overfed carry to win the game for you while you’re wandering around placing wards and upgrading your fancy courier. Blizzard went for equality when they decided that the whole team should gain experience and level up at exactly the same time. Basically, everyone benefits from the experience gained by everyone else in this game and it seems to work great. You won’t feel the Dota 2 badassery of having a six slotted Faceless Void tearing up noobs left and right, but Heroes of the Storm compensates by allowing you to feel equal to your team mates at all times even when their skill is clearly superior to your own.
Another aspect that streamlines the experience even more is the lack of gold and items in Heroes of the Storm. This is something that you’ll need to get used to, but you’ll eventually come to understand why Blizzard developed the game like this. As mentioned, Heroes of the Storm is less difficult and less complex than Dota 2, but Blizzard didn’t remove traditional MOBA mechanics in order to make it like that. Rather, the lack of gathering gold and purchasing items comes as a direct result of the whole “all are equal” philosophy that they were going for. Even if you always have the same level as your team mates, equipping various items would potentially make you far stronger than the others and there’s no room for that here.
Truth be told, I prefer Dota 2 and the hassle of gathering gold coupled with the constant fear of being ganked and losing a large part of it. I just feels more rewarding than hitting level 4 and picking a talent. Aside from being able to make you considerably more powerful, some of the items in Dota 2 can also essentially give you some new abilities to work with. Need Blink? Buy a Blink Dagger. Need Silence? Buy an Orchid. At the end of the day it’s all about customization and making your Slark stand out from the thousands of other Slarks, you know? Coming up with a gimmicky build that uses all sorts of shenanigans to surprise your opponents will definitely make them remember you for days to come.
Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm also allows you to have builds, although of a different variety. Since there are no items at all in the game, you’ll need to create your winning build using the talents given to you. Every few levels you’ll get the option of choosing one of several talents and you’ll have to carefully asses your team mates, enemies, and even the map (yes, there are multiple maps here) if you want to make the best possible choice. Overall, there’s arguably less variety in Heroes of the Storm when it comes to this particular aspect, but let’s be honest, in Dota 2 you’ll often buy pretty much the same items in most matches if you think that your go-to build is solid enough. I have no problem with either of these systems since it’s up to the player to make the best use of all the tools given by the game, but I do have to criticize Heroes of the Storm for giving you a ridiculously low amount of options to choose from when you’re playing a certain hero for the first time.
Specifically, for some reason Blizzard thinks that it’s a good idea to lock some of the talents (often the best ones) right off the bat and will only grant you access to them once you have gained a few levels with the hero. Now, I’m not talking about levels during a match, but rather about hero levels that you acquire by gaining certain amounts of experience when completing matches. I mean, that’s all fine and dandy, but it essentially makes Heroes of the Storm very unfair for new players. Say you’ve heard some good things about Illidan and you want to take him out for a spin for the first time in order to test out some cool builds. Well though luck because you’ll need to be at least level 4 before you receive access to all of his talents. I know, right? This progression system is very helpful for gradually introducing you to a hero, but it also gives you a disadvantage when playing against people with all the talents available to them. By comparison, Dota 2 doesn’t have this, nor does it have a hero progression system for that matter. You do have a player progression system in both games however.
Since I’ve mentioned heroes again, I also need to point out another major difference and one of the most noticeable ones in my opinion. As mentioned, there are currently 110 playable heroes in Dota 2 and the great thing about them is that you can play each and everyone of them whenever you feel like it. This is a feature that really makes Dota 2 stand out from the crowd considering that most other MOBAs have some sort of rotation system and heroes that need to be purchased either with in-game currency or real money before they can be played. Heroes of the Storm falls into this category as well, with most of the existing heroes being locked the first time you boot the game.
Personally, I’ve never liked this system and that’s why I prefer Dota 2 as opposed to other MOBAs, but in Heroes of the Storm it’s actually pretty easy to unlock heroes without having to spend a dime. Aside from getting a small amount of gold after every match, you get larger amounts as you gain player levels, when you bump any hero up to level 5, or by doing the daily quests. In short, there’s plenty of ways to gain gold here and the heroes themselves are pretty cheap all things considered, so Blizzard’s business model is pretty fair at the end of the day.
As it’s more often than not the case with free to play games, Blizzard and Valve have come up with ways of monetizing their titles. After all, developers have to put food on their table, too. On one hand, you have Heroes of the Storm with the traditional pay a few bucks for this skin, mount, pack, xp boost, or hero, which is pretty much the go-to business model for these types of games. But on the other hand, Valve have managed to implement a system that not only allows you to play all the heroes for free straight from the word go, but also allows you to acquire most of the purchasable items for free if you don’t mind dabbling in a bit of trading. Although Dota 2 features something akin to full skins for some hero, most of the cosmetic stuff is part of an item set and you can get the pieces individually from the marketplace.
Naturally, you can get full sets and any other purchasable items as well from there. Be ready to spend a lot of time learning the prices and hunting down the best offers though because other Dota 2 players are not too keen on giving away the best stuff for cheap. But that only adds to the appeal of the game in many ways. I don’t know about you, but there was a time when I was spending much more time trading Dota 2 items than playing the actual game and to this day I regret nothing. Heroes of the Storm doesn’t feature a trading system, but I probably wouldn’t be doing any trading there even if it did because trading some hero skin for another one is far from being as interesting as spending several hours trading for various pieces of a certain set just to eventually complete it and moving on to the next. Ah, those were the days.
But back to the present now and heading towards the end of this article. There are undoubtedly plenty of differences between Dota 2 and Heroes of the Storm, and there are two in particular I wanted to finish off with since they can really make someone decide to switch from one game to the other. First off, map selection. Dota 2 only has a single map and that’s absolutely fine since that’s all it needs. The game already offers a lot of variety, so having multiple maps wouldn’t really add much. Heroes of the Storm on the other hand has several maps and they each come with a unique set of objectives. This is one of the game’s most important features if you ask me, especially since each map is more awesome than the last.
The other important difference is time. Dota 2 is a game that will eat up a large portion of your time and sanity if you let it, with each match potentially lasting for an hour or more and each bitter defeat leaving burning questions in the back of your mind: “should I finally uninstall the game? Am I a Russian?” Meanwhile, a Heroes of the Storm game usually only last between 15 and 20 minutes and losing is not really a big deal since you were probably playing just for fun anyway. All in all, the stakes are no very high in Heroes of the Storm, but the victory isn’t particularly sweet either. Do you stand up and perform the chicken dance after winning a difficult game of Heroes of the Storm while shouting to the world: “I feel so alive!”? Thought so.
There’s plenty of reasons to do that or something similar after winning a Dota 2 match where you were brutally bashed by all your team for having 0/8/2 and only a pair of boots at the 10 minute mark, but you still somehow won against all odds and were able to bm your opponents at the very end with a well earned “gg ez noobs”. And yet despite all of that, these days I find myself perfecting my Zeratul build in Heroes of the Storm and dreaming about the day when I can get my Dota 2 mmr above the shameful 3100 I currently hold. I’m not sure if I’m just learning to be a better MOBA player or if I’m in it for the long run, but right now Heroes of the Storm just seems like a more appealing game than Dota 2.
Blizzard, you cold mistress, it seems I’ve fallen into your web once more, and with Overwatch and Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void looming on the horizon, I’m afraid I won’t see the light of day again any time soon. Don’t worry Valve, I still love you, but for now I think we should see other people.
5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster
After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.
First time available on modern hardware
As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.
The visuals look better than ever
Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.
Quality of life improvements
While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.
The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.
The game is awesome
While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?
10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019
2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.
A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.
It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.
The Outer Worlds
Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.
If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.
Pokemon Sword & Shield
At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.
If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.
id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.
5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference
Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.
New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020
We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…
Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett
The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.
Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves
It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.
FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced
This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.
Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West
It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”
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