Video Game Review: Heroes of the Storm

Details: Released in 2015. For PC only. Requires an internet connection. Don’t know how many hours I’ve played since Blizzard doesn’t show that information. My player profile is level sixteen.

I’ve played games in the genre of Heroes of the Storm for a long time. I first started over a decade ago with the first Dota game which was just a used map settings map in Warcraft III. The next game I tried out was League of Legends. I went into this game hoping for something new, some new twist on the mechanics established in Dota. What I found was an inferior clone of Dota. While League of Legends was still better than Heroes of Newerth (which was almost an exact clone of Dota), League of Legends introduced some new ideas, relabeled some existing ideas, and took out a lot of the mechanics established in Dota. In League of Legends, I did not find a new experience nor did I find progress. I found a money-grubbing Dota clone with less strategy, less complexity, and what was overall a lesser game.

Now, years later, I’ve replayed League of Legends and, though there’s some progress, League of Legends still strikes me as an inferior game to what is now known as Dota 2. Furthermore, it fails to push the genre into new territory and offer an improvement or at least a distinction from what Dota is. However, where League of Legends fails, Heroes of the Storm succeeds. Heroes of the Storm is a sufficiently different experience so as to fill a need in this genre of video games that is not filled by any other game.

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Video Game Review: League of Legends

Details: Released in 2009 but is updated and patched periodically. For the PC. Free to play, though it will take time or real money to unlock everything. Don’t know how many hours I’ve played, but I’m level thirty and I’ve unlocked around twenty heroes. They don’t display hours played.

I’ve played League of Legends before and I decided to return to it to refresh my memory. In general, it’s a similar game to Dota 2. However, if you’ve invested the requisite hundred hours in either game, the two games are obviously different. This review will mostly be a comparison between the two games.

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Video Game Review: Dota 2

Details: Initially released in 2013, but constantly updated and patched. I have almost 1600 hours clocked into this game. You can play for free through Steam platform on the PC. Current patch is 7.06c. Internet connection is required.

A while back I wrote a lengthy post on Dota 2, but I never gave it a review. A few years have passed and I think it’s about time I gave it a score. Given the constant patches coming out, I’ll try to go a little into the current state of the game. I also plan to write reviews for the other MOBA’s where I’ll go into what differentiate each game from the others, but since this is the first MOBA review, I won’t really do too much of that here.

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Discussion: My Thoughts On DOTA 2 – Not a Review, Just a Recommendation

There are few things as painful as playing an hours-long game of Dota only to lose at the very end.

For those who don’t know what Dota is, it is a video game that is free to play on the PC. The only things that require money in this game are vanity costumes which serve no purpose other than to look cool.

The game centers on two teams of five players trying to destroy the bases of the enemy team. Each player controls a character, known as a “hero,” and pushes lanes with waves of computer controlled units, known as “creeps.”

Here’s IGN’s review which may better explain the concept.

Over the last couple of years, Dota 2 (and games that belong to the MOBA genre generally) have skyrocketed in popularity and are played by millions of players in almost every time zone at all times. More recently, Dota 2 hosted the highest paying video game tournament of all time with a first place prize pool of ten million dollars (USD), largely funded by fans. It was an impressive feat.

In regards to my personal experience with the game…

If I include the very first iteration of Dota, which came out around a decade ago, I have played some form of Dota for over the last ten years. Countries rise and fall, as do buildings, corporations, and relationships, but this game has remained constant. Actually, this game has grown ever stronger.

In my opinion, the appeal of Dota 2 can be expressed in two main points.

First, this game is hella’ deep. There are so many damn aspects to this game that it is overwhelming for most new players, and likely what turns them away. After ten years of playing this game, there are still things for me to master and things at which I suck at. Even now, professional gamers (people who make their living winning video game tournaments) are still constantly learning and adapting, especially considering that new rules and characters are periodically implemented.

Secondly, this game is free. The only cost of entry is owning a computer that can run the game, which most computers are capable of. In contrast to Dota, League of Legends (the most popular MOBA game currently) requires money or an inordinate amount of time playing the game to unlock characters to play, among other things. Dota drops all of the game on you from the beginning, resisting the urge to construct artificial roadblocks to try and squeeze money out of the player.

Furthermore, there is a third reason. I don’t consider this reason as one of the main two reasons because it is irrational. It is irrational… how incredibly fun this game can be.

The reason this is irrational is because there are few games as painful as this game. I’ve screamed racial epitaphs because of this game. I’ve lost FRIENDS because of this game. This game has taught me a kind of anger I have not felt in any other situation. The closest feeling of anger akin to what I’ve felt in Dota¬†would probably be the feeling of anger I’ve felt driving through bad traffic.

But I keep playing. I keep playing this game because when it is fun, it is so. Damn. FUN.

It is SO damn fun during those moments, those few fleeting moments, when you’re dominating the other team, and they are angry and yelling at you worse than an angry Samuel L. Jackson, but it doesn’t matter, because you are so powerful they have no chance whatsoever. And you crush them.

Or when you’re getting slaughtered by the other team for the last hour, and somehow, by some miracle, you and your team turn the game around and make the comeback to end all comebacks!

Or when you are playing with some people and… you just mesh. You all just understand each other and this game. You think it, they do it. They need it, you provide it. And you understand the magnificent miracle that is… teamwork. You realize that there are some things in life you can’t do yourself and you learn how great it is to have someone reliable in your life when you need them… to win at Dota.

Dota… a true microcosm of life. Fierce competition. Cooperation. Joy. Malice. Hatred. All of these things are present. However, there is one more thing I want to communicate.

For the most part, I do not recommend anyone play this game. I do not recommend anyone play games of this genre. And more specifically, I do not recommend anyone play this game with ME.

Because no matter how fun this game is, no matter how great those great moments are, they are buried under an even greater number of bad moments that torture the mind and soul.

It is said that human beings define the world based on what something isn’t. For example, something is hot based on how not cold it is, and vice versa.

I only know the joys of Dota because of how awful this game can be. I know the true joys of cooperation and team work because Dota has taught me the true pain of relying on someone who fails you. Someone who then curses at you. Someone who is an incompetent idiot.

Dota is joy. Dota is pain.

And while I would not recommend this game to 99.99999% of people, there is a small minority to whom I would recommend this game.

I would recommend this game to those who are willing to try their best. And by “best,” I mean their absolute, play-dota-or-kill-yourself best.

I’m referring to people who have the time and energy to invest all they are into this game and its mechanics. People who can spend hours watching professionals play in hopes of gleaning some strategy or method to improve their own tactics. People of tenacity and grit. People who will not give up no matter how much the other players start to resemble trash.

In conclusion, Dota 2 is a game whose fun is only meant for the chosen few. The few who can push past the racial slurs, name calling, and verbal hurt inflicted by the toxic Dota 2 community. The few who can learn and memorize the characters and the many tactics associated with the game. The few who can and do sacrifice time spent in the real world for time in this cruel, violent, and harsh game.

Dota 2 is difficult. If you are strong, if you are smart, then I recommend you play this game. If you are weak, if you are stupid, then walk away.

Walk away and live your life, because there is no place for you in Dota 2.