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Why Heroes of the Storm isn’t a MOBA but a ‘hero brawler’


We might still be working out precisely how Heroes of the Storm plays, but we’re under no illusion about where it’s come from. Inspired by the very same Warcraft mods that spawned Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends and, later, Dota 2, there seems little doubt all four belong to the same genre. So what’s this poxy ‘hero brawler’ we’ve heard referred to throughout BlizzCon, then? What’s wrong with ‘MOBA’?

“We fully feel like we’re making something a little bit different and a little bit new,” lead designer and StarCraft veteran Dustin Browder told Gamespot. While Heroes of the Storm is “certainly based on a lot of the games we played in WarCraft 3 and even in Brood War that were made by our fans”, Blizzard are trying to create something that’s “very, very quick, and can be played in about 20 minutes.”

According to Browder, Heroes of the Storm has enough distinguishing features for a useful police sketch.

“It’s very much about map objectives,” he explained. “It’s about taking over the battleground and engaging with those objectives, and it’s very much about playing with your team. It’s about team leveling. We start you with all of your abilities, so you’re using everything at once.

“It’s a little bit more action-orientated in that sense, a little less about the RPG components. It’s more about playing with these iconic heroes that you’ve seen over many many years inside our games,” he went on.

“So we felt like the hero brawler was a better name for the game we were making, but whatever anybody wants to call the game is totally cool. We just feel that [hero brawler] made a lot more sense.”

And once MOBA was out of the window, none of the other available options appealed.

“Coming from a bunch of guys that made real-time strategy, action real-time strategy didn’t make a lot of sense for this game,” finished Browder.

Righto. Surely if Warcraft was released today, it’d be a ‘minion puppeteerer’ rather than an RTS. But I do think by distinguishing themselves from the MOBA genre, Blizzard miss the chance to point out how they’re revolutionising it. Fortunately, we’ve done that for them.

Is the term MOBA important to you? It’s certainly no less silly than Blizzard’s alternative – but does it matter that things are placed in their established boxes?