Perhaps more than any other, the MOBA genre can be the hardest for beginners to grasp. Part of that is because of the hardcore, dedicated communities surrounding the genre's two most recognizable names: Dota 2 and League of Legends. So how does Blizzard's upcoming entry, Heroes of the Storm, hope to appeal to the novice?
For starters, only a small selection of heroes will be available at the beginning of Heroes of the Storm and they'll have noticeably fewer attacks to manage than the average MOBA character. Blizzard hopes that this will help educate newcomers, while also acknowledging that experienced MOBA players will be able to unlock stronger heroes quickly.
"[Beginning characters] may not even have four abilities, they may only have two [attacks] and two passives," Blizzard art director Sam "Samwise" Didier told Shacknews. "But also, the way we bring you into the game, you won't have a bunch of heroes to choose from. You may have one or two. After you play with them a while, you'll unlock a little more. Someone who is a stud at these types of games will chew through that, no problem. But for the people who aren't familiar with this genre, this is a nice way of letting them get into it and get used to what this game is."
Blizzard has also seen some of the team infighting that MOBA's can bring out and hopes to emphasize teamwork for Heroes of the Storm. Their approach will largely consist of team leveling, in which all players will level up at the same rate, regardless of how many kills a player has over the course of a session. Blizzard hopes that this removed pressure will lead to interesting teamwork combinations. For example, Abathur from StarCraft can stand in the background and cast spells to buff teammates without directly entering combat, but will still receive the same amount of XP as Arthas the Lich King, who got the majority of the kills. Didier hopes this will help build comradery, pointing out, "Why do you want to hate your teammates? You should hate the enemy."
Newcomers may also appreciate Heroes of the Storm for its brevity, as each session lasts roughly 20 minutes, though there is a timer setting for 25 minutes, for anyone hoping to go a little longer. As beginners play through the game more and more, Didier hopes they'll find the learning curve to be similar to other Blizzard titles.
"With any of our games, we have a nice starting zone area," concluded Didier. "World of Warcraft can be very intimidating, but you start off in your starting zone as a human Paladin and you're fighting wolves and cobalts and then you explore and get farther and farther. We want to do the same thing with [Heroes of the Storm], where it's easy to get into, but the hardcore players are just going to be able to take this to any extreme they want."