Heroes of the Storm Could Be Syphoning MOBA Players

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So I’ve been a fan of Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard’s answer to DOTA and Leauge of Legends, for quite some time. I had figured the MOBA was having some trouble given that the game seems far more eager to give you goodies. But I came across something interesting the other day. It seems DOTA 2 is actually copying Heroes of the Storm and is adding talents.

Interesting, as the only other game that has talents is Heroes. They are also adding something similar to healing fountains as well. Of course, there are a lot of other additions the games are adding. One Reddit user summed it up well (all credit goes to him/her)

DOTA 2

  • talents
  • healing fountains

Paragon

  • mount system, but without mounts themself. Heroes are just moving faster with small channeling before entering fast mode.
  • many other stuff mixed from League and HotS

League of Legends

  • inbase gates
  • zzrot portal
  • Yorick rework is basically “Xul + Abathur + nazeebo” champion-hero design into one. Yet I still love him as specialist main from HotS.
  • empowered objectives since HotS was released: different dragons, including dragon for pushing (Earth dragon), Rift Herald, bigger Elder Dragon (aka boss)
  • one time there were some reworked or new champions with built-in speed-ups: Taliyah can move faster when near walls, Aurelion Sol similar way on his E. Also some global ultimates were added (Taliyah, Aurelion sol, Kled)
  • Hextech Crafting system is an answer to HotS leveling system: free skins, free champions, two more types of ingame currency. It worked in HotS and now greatly works in League: every week you can get chest which guaranteely gives you shard of champion or skin, which you can turn into real skin or champion for some essence (blue or orange).
  • chromas IP sale for limited time is another answer to HotS skin tints, and even now I see sometimes complains that these color alterations should be purchasable for IP (ingame currency like HotS gold, Influence Points), only because they do not add anything except changing color tint of skin. In HotS these “chromas” (tints actually) are free for leveling your hero.
  • Weekly rotating game mode was League answer to different maps in HotS (yet HotS went futher – we have Weekly Brawl now): Nexus Siege, Poro King, Ascension, and other maps are available every weekend

If Heroes was not a threat to these games, then why copy them. If Heroes of the Storm was such a non-issue, then it could easily be ignored and left alone to die. There are something these guys are worried about with Heroes. There are two possibilities I could surmise

  • People are leaving the MOBAs and not coming back: Heroes has a lot of quality of life improvements like shorter game times and mounts that make it hard to player other MOBAs. More modes and maps help as well. Heroes makes it hard to go back
  • New players are going to Heroes: Heroes is by far the easier game to get into. MOBAs often require you to have a MOBA mindset where Heroes doesn’t as much. It’s far easier to pick up as you go.

With Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch, I thought Blizzard was going directly after Valve. Heroes was a response to DOTA 2 and Overwatch was a response to Team Fortress 2. Overwatch had caught on. As a result, no one talks about TF2 anymore. Heroes hasn’t caught on as fast, and it may be that MOBAs have more of a niche. But now there may be a case for Heroes making inroads into other MOBAs. According to Newzoo.com, Heroes was the 14th most played game. DOTA 2 wasn’t even on the list.

If Heroes is truly making inroads, then I expect DOTA 2 to go first. DOTA 2 was always a niche game compared to Leauge of Legends. I expect that players will retreat upstream and most of the users will be competitive players who are concerned with their rank. League has a large casual player base so it will be some time before Heroes starts to make inroads there. Blizzard is focusing more on competitive play which could impact both games as this is the major component they have on Heroes.

It will be interesting to see how 2017 plays out for these games. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, for sure, but you usually won’t imitate something that isn’t successful. There may be something going on here.

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