Overall Grade: 2.2 (Concerning)

Grade Summary:  This game takes a HUGE amount of time to play. There is also a large focus on paying in order to advance. This game is free to play and encourages you to pay to win.

In addition, Heroes of the Storm focuses on a dark premise – players will battle to the death and the total extermination of the other side.

Some people play as “good” guys, others as “bad”, but at the end of the day the goal is complete extermination of enemies. Each heroic character is drawn from an already existing game series and some of these other games involve themes not fit for younger gamers.

SCORES

  • Violence & Gore: 2
  • Sexuality: 3
  • Profanity: 2
  • Spirituality: 3
  • Length of Play: 1
  • Theme: 2

  Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS

 

Credit: Blizzard
Credit: Blizzard

Game Summary:   Heroes of the Storm is a genius idea: Take wildly popular characters form incredibly successful video games series and have them fight each other in a Massive Online Battle Arena (MOBA). Three of the most success MOBAs in the US are:

  • Legends (LoL)
  • Defense of the Ancients (DOTA II)
  • Smite

Heroes of the Storm attempts to separates itself because it has massive followings for famous and long-standing game series such as Warcraft (which includes World of Warcraft), Starcraft and Diablo. These characters all have specialties and focuses and players must work as a team in order to overcome the obstacles posed by their opponents. There is skill, a high amount of repetition, and a strong encouragement to use real-world money to help you advance.

 

SCORES IN DETAIL

Violence & Gore: 2

  • There is a lot of violence in the game. You kill a LOT of enemies and destroy a lot of things.
  • All of it is cartoon-stylized combat. There isn’t any blood to speak of and the pace of the game is much too hectic to notice.
  • Everyone killed in the game is some form of combatant. There isn’t any pillaging of unarmed civilians. It’s still killing, but not war crimes if that matters to you.

 

Sexuality: 3

  • The women who are remotely human in form are generally wearing armor that looks more fit for the beach than war. I don’t know why the men need so much more covering if they’re all heroes…
  • You can see a full list of the heroes here

    Credit: Blizzard
    Credit: Blizzard
  • There are some skins (alternate looks for characters), that are sexual in nature. The heroine Kerrigan, for example, can be made to look like a succubus (female demon who seduces men). This is a strong sexual reference but is not part of the game story.
  • The game does not have a storyline that includes any sexual references other than what is implied with the brazier-armor of the women. Seriously though, what if they take an arrow, or like a really sharp rock, to those massive sections of skin?

 

Profanity: 4 (the game itself) 2 (the people you’ll have to play with)

  • Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA, which means it must be played online against live opponents. Often this is with people you don’t know. There is frequently cursing and lewd comments made by both the winning and the losing side. There is a version where you can play with or vs. computer players (which would minimalize the swearing), but this is limited play. The game is intended to be played with and against live players.

Spirituality: 3

  • There is definitely spirituality, yet much of it is simply based on super powers, not on any specific religion or spiritual source.
  • There are some witch-doctors, undead characters and other spiritual seers.

 

Length of Play: 1

  • The time per game is low at 15 minutes per match. Yet you must play a lot of matches to level up.
  • 20-25 hours to reach level 20, or 9,925,000 There are 40 total levels, and to reach the top a player needs to earn 33,375,000 XP. So you’ve got to quadruple the points you’ve already earned in order to double the levels you’ve already got. That means you’ve got over 20 additional hours of play ahead of you…
  • Player vs. player rankings are going to reset every 3 months or so. Players have to keep playing if they want to keep their rankings up.
  • Heroes of the Storm allows you to earn gold and purchase items such as better characters, new abilities or new looks for current characters. Daniel Friedman of Polygon calculates that you can earn gold by:
    • Playing regular matches of Heroes of the Storm. This will bring you about 75 gold / hour of play.
    • Doing a special quest assigned by Blizzard such as
      • 200g: Play 2 games as a Warcraft hero
      • 300g: Play 3 games as a Support
      • 300g: Play 3 games as a Specialist
    • Gaining bonuses such as trying new characters: 500g each.
    • I’ll talk more about this in the DLC section.

 

Adult themes: 2

  • No plot, but significant time building the story for each character.
  • Characters are all taken from famous Blizzard games; some are quite mature in content (Diablo).
  • The dark back stories are a major selling point since each of these characters comes from a different, fully developed own game series:
  • Players must play in a dark world in a sort of blood-sport joining a battle royale to try and destroy the other side.
  • There are troubling quasi-biblical stories that are more fitting to mature audiences. Archangle Tyrael, who calls himself “Justice Itself!” is one example.
    • He comes from the game Diablo III where he has an argument with his leader in heaven, decides that leader is a coward, and is thrown down to earth.
    • In biblical terms this sounds a whole lot like Satan.
    • He tells his human companion that he chose to be on earth instead of his role in heaven, “because humanity is the only hope for this world.”  This is a troubling message since that’s the OPPOSITE of what Jesus did. He chose to be on earth BECAUSE HEAVEN IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR THIS WORLD.

 

DLC (Downloadable Content):  The Hard Truth

  • Heroes of the Storm is aiming to make a KILLING on paying for downloadable content and upgrades.
  • Blizzard wants to you spend your money.
  • As Dan Friedman, a writer for Polygon.com points out: The game is heavily skewed towards high-play time and monetary investment: “The most expensive tier of heroes is 10,000 gold…unlocking one of those guys will require either:
    • 28 daily quests
    • 133 hours of quick-match without including any daily quest rewards
    • or ten dollars in cash” (emphasis and bullets added)

Read that again! You could spend 133 HOURS or pay $10 for the same result. An awesome new character. Yes, that game is designed to be fun, but it’s also designed for smart gamers who realize their time at some point is intended to have fun, and fun is easier with new characters that are more awesome.

 

This review is based off of player feedback, in-person interviews and online research that includes Plugged-In, Trusted Reviews, Wikipedia, Guide2Games, and Common Sense Media.