At the time of this writing, Valve has raised over $7 million to be paid out as prize money for one single eSports tournament, the DOTA 2 International Championships 2014. It has also been a $21 million payday for Valve for minimal work. They have done so by selling the "Compendium", a digital companion book to the tournament. If a player buys it, they can make predictions for the tournament for prizes, vote on two all-star teams, and get in-game items and boosts. This is in addition to the warm and fuzzy feeling you get every time you contribute to eSports. It costs $10, 25% of which goes to the tournament prize pool and 75% goes into Valve's pocket. Furthermore, it's only been out for a couple weeks now and will continue to sell until the end of July, when the tournament ends. Marketing level: Genius. (Sidenote: Did I buy one? Absolutely!)
Anyway, I've played it. I like it! My favorite things about it so far are the things that really make it different from other MOBAs. I like that the games are short. I like that the maps are varied. And I like that the heroes are recognizable to me. However, there are shortcomings, too. Lots of those.
On the flipside, however, each victory or defeat feels very insignificant. But my instincts aren't telling me it's because of the time commitment; it's just a matter of scale. A game of Heroes of the Storm does not feel grand or epic. It just feels like a quick little game. Maybe that's because it's a lot easier to tell if you're ahead or behind in HotS than it is in Starcraft or DOTA. But there's something going on there. And it's ruining it for me a bit.
see here). Many, many characters are like this. It's understandable given the game's history, but it's still always in the back on my mind. In Heroes of the Storm, I get to play as the ACTUAL characters! It is extremely satisfying. The selection is currently rather low. And it isn't helping that Blizzard has decided to go the LoL monetization route (pay to unlock heroes) rather than the amazingly-awesome-community-contribution-driven way of DOTA (all heroes unlocked, pay for community-made customizable cosmetics). That means you can't even play as whoever you like at any given time (although you can try all heroes once before you have to buy them) with the exception of a rotating "Free Heroes of the Week" deal. So, that kind of sucks. But that could always change with time. I hope it does.
All in all, I'm very glad I get to be in the Alpha and be part of the process. I am very optimistic, but Blizzard has a long way to go to get this game up to a caliber that will compete with League of Legends or DOTA. I'm going to keep an eye on it and keep playing when there's a new update, but in the meantime I'm sticking with DOTA 2 when I have a MOBA itch to scratch.
Unless I'm short on time, of course.
See the show below!