Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler, starring popular Blizzard characters from across the various Blizzard universes. Basically, Dota with Blizzard heroes.
It is being developed for PC and Mac with no release date in sight, but a beta period planned for the first half of 2014. Sign up here: http://www.heroesofthestorm.com/en-us
Each hero will develop during the course of the battle in the familiar MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) fashion, with classic roles of front-line tank, high-damage, support, and everything in between.
So how is Blizzard going to differentiate its game from the MOBA crowd? Aside from the fan-favourite heroes, Blizzard says they will have a versatile multiple-choice talent system, and a selection of different and interesting battlegrounds to fight on. The target game time of 20 minutes.
Each battleground has a strategic element to it that can affect the ebb and floe of the match.
In Blackheart’s Bay for example, a ghostly pirate ship has taken up residence in the center. Treasure chests of gold coins spawn periodically on either side of the battleground. You can collect these coins or steal them from enemy players to pay tribute to Blackheart. Pay enough bounty and he’ll train the ship’s cannons on enemy fortifications for terrible, terrible damage.
The Cursed Hollow battleground offers a different challenge. Here, the fickle Raven Lord holds sway. During the fight, tribute totems will spawn periodically — collect enough of them and the Raven Lord will curse the opposing team, disabling their towers and weakening their minions for a period of time.
Many of the battlegrounds share environmental features, such as forts, which are along the battle-lanes between each team’s base. Each fort includes structures such as gates to prevent enemy movement and healing fountains for health and mana regeneration, in addition to a protective guard tower. Capturable watchtowers also mark important positions on many battlegrounds, offering vision on key areas.
The Blizzard Heroes
There are 18 heroes planned for the launch of the game, with more to be released over time.
Each hero offers different strengths and weaknesses depending on their role. Warriors such as Diablo can dive right into a melee, soaking up damage and dealing it back. Assassins like Kerrigan deal tremendous damage and can pick off unsuspecting enemies, but must choose their battles carefully, as they can dish more than they can take. Support heroes like Uther can swing the tide of battle, assisting with healing, buffs, or other abilities to manipulate the battle in the favor of allies. Other types include the siege and commander heroes, which are more specialized roles that bring different strengths as you build a team.
Blizzard has said that players will be able to unlock heroes and other content just by playing the game. Cosmetic upgrades like skins, equipment, and mounts will be available. New heroes will also be released over time, along with new battlegrounds.
Blizzard hasn’t settled on a pricing model yet, hinting that new heroes, battlegrounds (probably free), and even talent options for existing heroes could be available as unlockable content.