It has been a long time since the first technical alpha and while cosmetically Heroes of the Storm Beta still looks similar, there has been much tweaking down under the hood. Yes, Blizzard fans are used to them taking a LONG time to release and tweak games (just look at Starcraft 2) but we all know it is worth it.
Heroes of the Storm Beta looks and feels no different from the earlier Technical Alpha, which is a testimony of the company’s commitment to quality before even releasing anything to the public. What you remember about the game in the alpha will still get you through the beta except for a few Heroes which have been tweaked. Some received a buff and some were nerfed quite badly. Nothing unusual if you follow the changes in Diablo 3 which had lots of Demon Hunters QQing.
Spending a good time with the beta since it was released, it is good to know that there are no more planned wipes which made me stop after the first one. I remember it being a painful wipe especially for characters I invested a good amount of gold and time into. Thankfully any real money spent was refunded back into my blizzard account and true to my playing habits (just look at the amount of mounts I bought in World of Warcraft). I was back buying more vanity items and heroes including Jaina Proudmoore from World of Warcraft while still thinking if Trall would make a good addition too.
With their latest release of the lunar festival bundle for Chen and Li Li, the Stormstout pair, it was clear Blizzard was not only happy to give players new skins but also a little extra. For Li Li, her summoned cloud serpent now takes the form of a kite while Chen’s wandering keg heroic ability also follows his lunar festival skin’s keg. Little touches from Blizzard that will go a long way (and into my credit card for the whole bundle).
The new Sky Temple map is also a nice addition to the current battlegrounds. Again, the art department at Blizzard did a wonderful job with the immersion right up to the creeps that both sides generate. In the previous maps, all creeps generated by both side are your similar footman, archer and mage. Here in Sky Temple, while still carrying out the same base job, they also receive a skin make over related to the whole feel of the battleground. Now if only Blizzard would update the other maps for this, I would be most thankful.
Heroes of the Storm players here in Singapore are also in for a treat as Asiasoft (who handles Blizzard games here) have a whole list of activities lined up to show their support for the community.
Kicking it off with the Heroes Gathering held on the 7th of Feb 2015, players not only got a chance to meet the faces behind the Battle.net IDs but also had a chance to face off in a mini competition where teams are selected by random. This proved to be entertaining even for a casual player like me to see what sort of tactics each side could come out with in a limited time while thanking the Nexus that I wasn’t selected as I would end up feeing free experience points with my limited skills.
The good people at Asiasoft also shared how they intended to organize more activities and gathering session for Heroes of the Storm gamers here including weekly meet ups, a competition and also an online community presence to allow gamers to share tips and strategies, find other players and form teams.
Overall it looks to be a promising future for Heroes of the Storm looking at the progress made into the beta stage and I do look forward to seeing how the community engagement will take off. Till then, it is back to deciding if I want to spend more gold on getting Trall or Uther (both my favorite Warcraft characters) or outright spend money on a bundle pack.
For more information, do head over to the Heroes of the Storm SEA website.
By Kenneth Wong
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