I haven’t gotten into any long term commitments when it comes to online gaming lately. Actually, it’s been that way for a few years. Needing to be online at a certain time of day, on particular days, multiple days a week, and having to play for a few hours just doesn’t fit in my lifestyle. Now, I’m not saying that I have no time in my life for fun things – I certainly do! However, I don’t want to dedicate all my free time to it, and I certainly don’t want to schedule it. I already have a job, thanks.
So, when Blizzard announced it’s new MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, I really didn’t pay it much attention. For those who may not know, MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Typically there are two teams of a set number of players per team with each player choosing a character. Each character has a set of skills and abilities to use, and the object is to defeat the other team in a battle, also known as PvP (Player vs Player) gaming.
It’s been my experience that the MOBA and PvP crowd tends to get very dedicated and picky. I tried playing League of Legends (another MOBA) a few years ago and I had a terrible experience. The players would just yell and curse at their teammates, offer no strategy but complain when things don’t go their way, etc. Essentially, I was playing with immature people who had elitist attitudes and were unwilling to assist any type of new player. I decided right then and there that MOBAs aren’t for me.
Fast forward to last Friday night. I’m in the mood to play a game, but I’m not really feeling any of the games I own. So I start browsing online and seeing what games have come out recently. I see Heroes of the Storm and notice that it’s free to play. I remember how League of Legends had a single player mode that allowed me to play the game up to a certain level before forcing me into a multiplayer game. Blizzard likely put in something similar, so I decide to download it and waste a little time. I get a gaming fix, don’t deal with any multiplayer BS, and do it for free!
I log in and see that they have a few characters to play for free and I start hopping between them all. Right from the get-go I liked how they chose characters from their entire Blizzard universe. The three major franchises: Diablo, Starcraft, and Warcraft were all being represented by iconic characters in those games. I’ve always been a fan of Blizzard games since the original Warcraft days, so this was exciting for me.
After a few hours of playing I decide ‘heck with it’ and queue up for a Quick Match. This means that 4 random people are going to be placed on my team. While I love Blizzard, I will say that in my opinion, their fan base has many whiny and vocal people in it. So I’m bracing myself for what disaster may lay ahead in this match. Teams are created, maps selected, and the match is loaded! And then…silence.
That’s right, silence. People went to their places on the maps and just started playing. Now, silence isn’t great since communication is important in these games, but I’d rather deal with silence than some elitist foul mouth berating teammates. We lost that game, and I was fine with that. First, because it’s a game and has no meaning or impact on my life. Second, it was stress free! So, I queue up for another, then another…then another.
To my surprise, I was having a great time. Out of all the time I spent playing that game this past weekend, there were only two games where someone starting cursing out the team and just being a jerk. In both instances, someone quickly piped up and told them to beat it. Not only did that offer me some hope for the community, but I feel that type of response is needed. Not just in MOBAs, but any online game.
Needless to say, it was with great surprise that I found myself enjoying this new game, and perhaps MOBA will be a genre that finds a nice place in my heart. Until then, I will continue to give this game a chance and hope that the positive experience I had this weekend wasn’t a fluke.