Just before playing my games of Heroes today, I played a game of Dota 2. I figured that I would be done with Dota after quitting AHGL, but we still talk about it at the office, and I had a hankering. We lost, but it was fun. It was surprisingly easy to switch back into it.
After that, I played 2 quick match games of Heroes, both with Tyrande. Just like in Dota, I like to play supports. Unlike Dota, I don’t seem to die very much. In the first game that we lost, I think I died maybe 3 times and started the game with a killing streak. In the second, game, I didn’t die at all. I think the targets in the game must be different. I’m used to (and totally fine with) being bursted down or throwing my body in the way to let one of our carries survive. I guess that happens less in Heroes since all team experience is shared and there are no prime targets. Strange.
It took me a game to figure out Tyrande. In the first game, I forgot to cast my owl out of combat, I forgot to cast my target in combat, and I was reluctant to use my Starfall. Most of those got sorted out in the second game as I was better able to use my owl to finish kills during chases. The learning curve for individual heroes seems shorter than the period for leveling them up, which is nice. I think the next thing for my Tyrande play would be doing a better job with global Starfall and using the Owl to impact the map as a whole and provide better vision even when I’m not physically in the area.
Another odd thing in the game is that mana doesn’t seem to really matter. This is not to say that I don’t get low: I really think I do a good job casting abilities off cooldown. It just seems like there’s way more mana lying around in wells and regeneration globes than I actually need, so I can cast everything on cooldown. It’s more fun to cast abilities than not (see Dota), but it also means that I never take the talents to save mana.
One thing I need to figure out is the different stages of the game. So far, the gameplay has stayed roughly the same early, middle, and late. Push down towers. Push more towers. Take camps and map objectives when you have space. I guess the boss camps aren’t really doable early. Teamfighting seems less important early than just covering lanes, but not really. I think that the emphasis on action from the beginning of the game (removing the laning phase) makes the game go much faster, but it did take away an obvious distinction for me.
Anyways, the game continues to be fun. I like to say that the differences between MOBA games are overstated and that they’re all really the same game, but I can see how Heroes and the 2nd generation of MOBAs is really trying to get away from the original DotA formula from WarCraft 3. I’ll try to put more thought into that in future posts.