Heroes of the Storm First Impressions

For the past week, I’ve been playing
Heroes of the Storm
and feel like sharing my initial impressions. Last night, I only just managed to reach level 10 and complete the first set of Hero Quests for Pudge Stitches. So my experience covers most aspects of the game, but not yet all of the characters at a high level of play.

For the past year or so, I’ve been playing Dota2 quite a bit, and probably watch more Dota2 than I do television (probably 2 matches a day). So most of my impressions of HotS is colored in terms of Dota2 characters. Take for example Pudge Stitches, who is a tanky melee type with the ability to hook enemies and draw them in. Pudge Stitches really shines early game where he can usually draw first blood by baiting an enemy into hook range and pulling them in between both defending towers. Most players misjudge the range of Hook, and I’ve even found myself hooking people off screen. I particularly love laying down a thick gooey layer of Putrid Bile and Hooking people into it then Devouring their heads. Num num. Pudge Stitches is also the first character I’ve found that the mirror matchup is actually fun, not like the stupid fest that is Raynor on Raynor or Nova on Nova. Probably because the survivability one on one is more heavily dependent on the progression of damage vs healing. More time and experience may prove that you can do similar things with other builds, but Pudge Stitches has been the first of the heroes I’ve played that it was clear and obvious how important the build was.

Gazlowe is another hero that I’ve become particularly fond of because he’s part Tinker part Dark Seer (two of my favorite Dota2 characters to play). While he lacks the mobility of a Tinker with BoTs, his turrets perform much the same function as March, but with less range. Probably his best ability is the Grav-O-Bomb 3000, which works like a Dark Seer’s vacuum ability and can be combo’d with Xplodium Charge to deal some of the best burst damage in the game. When used to pull enemies into a turret trap, Gazlowe can be great fun but requires a lot of planning, map awareness, and running away to pull off.

Probably my least favorite character I’ve played the most is Tyrael. I would classify him as an Ember Spirit without the stun, range, and burst damage. Basically, his gimic is he can throw out a sword remnant and then teleport to it doing more damage. But to do maximum burst damage you must time the teleport exactly 4 seconds after you’ve cast Righteousness which will do some additional short-range burst damage. The effect of which is much the same as trying to throw out 3 remnants and then connecting, but possibly giving your opponent more time to dodge the effect. He also blows up on death, but I have yet to see anyone actually die because Tyrael pops. If El’Druin’s range were greater or the duration longer, the ability would be more useful as it seems largely useless for closing gaps or running away.

E.T.C. is another character which demonstrates everything that feels off about HotS at this point. He’s incredibly tanky, in fact every character feels incredibly tanky, and outside of a 3 on 1, any fight feels like a couple of Sumo wrestlers going at it with goose feathers. E.T.C. carries an axe that must be made entirely of baby duck down as even at level 20 he hits like a infant. Sure minions can’t possibly bring him down, but he takes so long to kill anything, the games over before he’s cleared a lane. And while Mosh Pit is wonderfully entertaining, it is also totally useless. A 4 second AOE channeled stun which does no damage with a 2 minute cool down is probably the worst ultimate in the game. It might be worth it if he had abilities that were AOE DoTs, but he’s got none of those. But even with Death Metal, you still need someone else to pepper them, making E.T.C. an incredibly expensive support.