Report: Heroes of The Storm to Use LoL's Free Champion Model

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Report: Heroes of The Storm to Use LoL's Free Champion Model

Heroes of the Storm

The report suggests that Blizzard's Heroes of The Storm MOBA, will have a rotating suite of free champions, akin to League of Legends.

Heroes of The Storm, Blizzard's competitor to the MOBA market which is largely dominated by League of Legends and DoTA 2 will be free-to-play. This we already knew. What we didn't know, was the exact kind of free-to-play model it would use. Would it be like DoTA 2, where all champions are unlocked to use, and players can purchase cosmetic micro transactions, or like League of Legends, with a rotating suite of free champions that players can pay to unlock. Taiwanese website GNN News, claims it will be the later.

Diablo III's new game director Josh Mosquiera has been doing some press events in Korea as of late, and while, predictably, most of the talk has been surrounding Diablo III's upcoming expansion: Reaper of Souls, he has been letting some Heroes of The Storm information slip.

According to Blizzpro's translation of the GNN story, Mosquiera claimed that HoTS was indeed going with the rotating champion model, and that players who pre-ordered Reaper of Souls would get the Demon Hunter champion unlocked for free.

Blizzpro notes that this may simply be a translation error, but the fact that he specifically mentions that Reaper of Souls pre-order customers will get the champion unlocked, suggests that other champions will be "locked" at some point.

We've reached out to Blizzard for confirmation on the story.

What do you guys think? Would you rather Blizzard use LoL or DoTA's model? I'm not too fussed about it using the LoL model - so long as, like in LoL, there is a way to permanently unlock champions using the free in-game currency.

Source: GNN News (Chinese) via Blizzpro

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I haven't played DOTA2, but it seems pretty objective to say that having all champions unlocked is better than having a rotating fraction of champions unlocked.

That said, LoL's system seems like a better way to generate revenue without being too annoying to the player. It's also a decent way to expose new players to different champions instead of simply getting comfortable with one or two.

Steven Bogos:
Heroes of The Storm MBOA

predicatbly

The fact that you don't need to play a ton of games or pay to unlock heroes is one of the reasons I play Dota 2, not LoL.

On paper, I always thought DOTA2's system of everything unlocked at the start was SOOOO much better than LoL's rotational in-game payment model, but, in practice, I've found I enjoy League's system much more since while they do have payments, Dota is much more complex to begin with, as well as having around a hundred characters open at the start, it's very daunting finding one that you'll actually be able to play, much less do well with, and even now, after playing on and off for around a year or two, I can only say confidently that Bounty Hunter fits me, and even he's gotten incredibly boring to play.

Meanwhile League has a selection of champions every week, ranging in difficulty and annoyance, as well as being able to earn in-game currency to buy them with. So while it is a grind to not pay actual money on things in the game, there's a better sense of accomplishment and attachment to what you do end up paying for, and again, the only things you are forced to pay money for are cosmetics

Redryhno:
On paper, I always thought DOTA2's system of everything unlocked at the start was SOOOO much better than LoL's rotational in-game payment model, but, in practice, I've found I enjoy League's system much more since while they do have payments, Dota is much more complex to begin with, as well as having around a hundred characters open at the start, it's very daunting finding one that you'll actually be able to play, much less do well with, and even now, after playing on and off for around a year or two, I can only say confidently that Bounty Hunter fits me, and even he's gotten incredibly boring to play.

Meanwhile League has a selection of champions every week, ranging in difficulty and annoyance, as well as being able to earn in-game currency to buy them with. So while it is a grind to not pay actual money on things in the game, there's a better sense of accomplishment and attachment to what you do end up paying for, and again, the only things you are forced to pay money for are cosmetics

Honestly, back when it started, League's wasn't so bad, mostly because the price tiers were pretty well spread even. Currently it's top-heavy with the 6300 IP champs (though they have been reducing the prices for older champs) and there's just so damned many of them that I actually feel sorry for any new player that tries to unlock them all. Hell, I've got over 4000 games played and still haven't unlocked them all, though that's probably due to me buying runes to use in troll-builds...

I think the DotA system is better.
Well yes (@redryhno), it's more "complex", if every Hero is available, but even if you have to "struggle" to find a hero or "position" in the game that suits you, you can work with that then. In LoL it's like "ok, I found a hero that works for me ... oh damn, I can't pick it anymore ..." and you have to start new (or buy it ...).
One DotA-Pro-Player in particular came into the scene and was "hailed" for knowing only one Hero. While this sounds stupid, but in the start - and because he crushed nearly everything, if he got it - this hero was first-ban every time, a team played against him! That opened a spot for the rest of the team! Also he could work on other heroes; now he is one of the best accomplished players out there! Maybe he would have bought this hero, if it wasn't available, but that maybe we wouldn't see him now!

Also you say the bad word: "grind". I don't want to grind in a game! I grind games, when I'm so hooked with it, that I want to accomplish more than the average gamer. But I don't want to start out on that! That is no fun for me!

So if HotS is doing the same as LoL I'm disappointed ... Can't we make a deal? I will pay the normal price for the game (40-50 bucks) and I get the whole game and all heroes!? I have less problems with that, then paying nothing for the game ... if I don't really get a game but just parts of it!

Normally I'd say Dota2 has the better f2p model, but for a MOBA game a gradual unlock and reveal of champions helps with the difficulty curve. Also, unlike other games, MOBAS don't require you to have all the unlocks to be competitive.

In the end, as long as you can't buy power and champions are properly balanced and the unlocks happen at a reasonable pace, I'd have no problem with either system.

Good thing shitty Blizzard did not make Dota 2. It is important that everyone has access to the same hero pool if people wanna compete on even terms against each other. But I guess this game is concepted more towards silly fun than actual competition, so the model probably does not hurt it too much.

Redryhno:
On paper, I always thought DOTA2's system of everything unlocked at the start was SOOOO much better than LoL's rotational in-game payment model, but, in practice, I've found I enjoy League's system much more since while they do have payments, Dota is much more complex to begin with, as well as having around a hundred characters open at the start, it's very daunting finding one that you'll actually be able to play, much less do well with, and even now, after playing on and off for around a year or two, I can only say confidently that Bounty Hunter fits me, and even he's gotten incredibly boring to play.

Dota 2 also has a mode where only some easy/medium difficult heroes are available, if you are overwhelmed.

If you want to make money and bleed your potential consumers dry unlocking champs treating the game as a job you go with the LOL model.

If you want to make money from getting consumers to create the content for you with a focus on cosmetic items and keys you go with the DOTA 2 model.

Personally the DOTA 2 model is actually more consumer friendly for the fact that all content in terms of gameplay is unlocked. Everything else is cosmetic or optional. The LOL model reflects how terrible it actually is as the game ages and the cost of entry to be competitive as an average solo player is insanely high. I remember when I played since CLOSED BETA and I still didn't have every champion unlocked. The grind in that game is insane and the actual cost to unlock all of the champions is even more insane.

How'd you like to pay about 750-1000 dollars for all the champions in the game? Or 2k USD more for all the skins?

VladG:
Also, unlike other games, MOBAS don't require you to have all the unlocks to be competitive.

Say what? Then this MOBA is broken!

I just checked the hero list of DotA2 and tried to remember the pro-level-games of around the last 1-2 months (I watch a lot of those) and which heroes were never picked.
I came down to this list:

Strenght:
Omniknight, Huskar, Legion Commander, Earth Spirit, Phoenix, Spirit Breaker
6/40

Agility:
Drow Ranger, Phantom Lancer (damn, he was played a lot, but not lately), Troll Warlord, Blood Seeker, Phantom Assassin, Broodmother, Meepo, Terrorblade
8/34

Intelligence:
Ogre Magi, Skywrath Mage, Necrophos
3/37

I admit a few things:
1. some are really rare and I can remember only 1 time or so that they were played
2. some of the "missing" heroes are not even allowed in pro-play yet (Terrorblade i.e.)
3. could be that I'm wrong with 2-3 heroes

but to say that you only need a "few" of the heroes to be competitive is just plain wrong. If there is really few variations maybe these heroes are just broken and there needs some balance changes!

Geisterkarle:

VladG:
Also, unlike other games, MOBAS don't require you to have all the unlocks to be competitive.

Say what? Then this MOBA is broken!

I just checked the hero list of DotA2 and tried to remember the pro-level-games of around the last 1-2 months (I watch a lot of those) and which heroes were never picked.
I came down to this list:

Strenght:
Omniknight, Huskar, Legion Commander, Earth Spirit, Phoenix, Spirit Breaker
6/40

Agility:
Drow Ranger, Phantom Lancer (damn, he was played a lot, but not lately), Troll Warlord, Blood Seeker, Phantom Assassin, Broodmother, Meepo, Terrorblade
8/34

Intelligence:
Ogre Magi, Skywrath Mage, Necrophos
3/37

I admit a few things:
1. some are really rare and I can remember only 1 time or so that they were played
2. some of the "missing" heroes are not even allowed in pro-play yet (Terrorblade i.e.)
3. could be that I'm wrong with 2-3 heroes

but to say that you only need a "few" of the heroes to be competitive is just plain wrong. If there is really few variations maybe these heroes are just broken and there needs some balance changes!

I'm not talking about pro play, I'm talking about the 99.9% of players who aren't pros. No, you do NOT need to have everything unlocked to be competitive (and that means being able to play unhindered at whatever level you are). I am in the top 10-15% of LoL players. I sit on ~11k IP, which I could use to buy one of the many champions I do not own. Yet I have no intention of doing so, because I barely play half of the ones that I do own, and more importantly, I do not NEED any of the ones I don't own.

There are plenty of people who reach much higher levels of play using 1-2 champions ONLY. In fact, even in Dota2, someone mentioned above a pro player that initially played only ONE hero.

Even you, yourself noted that quite a few heroes are never played even in competitive scenes.

I stand by my statement: You do NOT need 100% unlocks to be competitive in a MOBA. The game is NOT broken when that is the case.

mindfaQ:
But I guess this game is concepted more towards silly fun than actual competition, so the model probably does not hurt it too much.

Erm, you do realise that LoL is consistently the most viewed game on Twitch (beating out Dota 2 by over 50k). It's also got not only the highest paying (millions), but most widely viewed competitive scene currently (tens of millions). No reason why the competitive scene won't be strong for HotS if Blizzard do a good job of it (track record says they will).

OT: The f2p model they use doesn't really bother me provided all gameplay elements are unlockable without paying. Definitely going to at least be giving this a shot because it is a Blizzard game after all and we all know how much quality they put into their titles.

Well thats a shame, oh well. hopefully they'll give the option to buy all the characters like Smite did.

If they do decide to go along with rotating rosters then I probably just won't bother with the game. Having the majority of characters locked away makes matches way too boring.

black_knight1337:
No reason why the competitive scene won't be strong for HotS if Blizzard do a good job of it (track record says they will).

I'm afraid Blizzard's track record is very bad when it comes to the competitive scene for their games. Starcraft's WCS was a fiasco, mostly because of very bad management and planning. That's not to say the game itself will be bad.

But as far as e-sports are concerned... I wouldn't hope for much.

black_knight1337:
Erm, you do realise that LoL is consistently the most viewed game on Twitch (beating out Dota 2 by over 50k). It's also got not only the highest paying (millions), but most widely viewed competitive scene currently (tens of millions). No reason why the competitive scene won't be strong for HotS if Blizzard do a good job of it (track record says they will).

Does not change the fact that this model only hurts customers and the competitive side of the game. Not that it matters much in LoL as champions are interchangeable and gameplay/tactics/strategy are generic, so if you know a few champions you know them all. That just goes hand in hand with LoL's avoid burden of knowledge design.

VladG:
I'm not talking about pro play, I'm talking about the 99.9% of players who aren't pros. No, you do NOT need to have everything unlocked to be competitive (and that means being able to play unhindered at whatever level you are).

Ok, we seem to have a different interpretation of what "competitive" means! For me, it IS pro-play!
Sure, if you play "for fun" you also want to win, but if I understand this correctly (I don't play LoL, I don't want to get eye cancer...):

Honestly, back when it started, League's wasn't so bad, mostly because the price tiers were pretty well spread even. Currently it's top-heavy with the 6300 IP champs

... there are heroes, that are more expensive than others and this is because they are ... better/stronger than others!? So correct my interpretation, but this means, that something is broken! Also if you start and want to get into (my) competitive play, you can't until you have all the important heroes (bought or grinded). But, ok, if you only need a hand full, because the others are just bad ...

Even you, yourself noted that quite a few heroes are never played even in competitive scenes.

Yes, but it sounds to me, that there is a much greater variety of heroes that are pro-level material in DotA2 than in LoL! And this is sad!

A world where LoL is not the easiest Moba on the market is a scary one to think about. I still remember how WoW changed everyone's expectations of the Genre and while TCGs are safe, I can see this game causing the others to adopt more causal features if it pulls a significant share of the market.

I really hope LoL and Dota 2 don't end up like Star Wars Galaxies and EQ2. Getting gutted to attract the new kids. Can only hope they pull a FFXI.

Basing this off of the twitch vids that I have seen of the game, btw.

When did this game go from a SC2 mod to a full standalone release?

Obviously DOTAs system is infinitely preferable, but this is Blizzard, it was always going to be pay to win.

I admittedly favor Dota 2's character model over LoL's, but still prefer the latter's gameplay. There is a great number of champions that I will likely never play, but just the ability to do so on a whim would be nice.

I prefer LoL's rotation model and the pacing in order to learn the game. Unlocking champions is also a fine way to keep you invested as well as making you feel that you've earned them (assuming you didn't just buy them). It also increases the chance that you will actually play all the champions you unlock and give you some insight to them, which in turn makes you a better player - Observing only does so much.

I don't feel either is a better choice, as much as just doing things differently. It's the same with the gameplay, some prefer denying, others prefer not having it. I'm just glad I have the option to choose.

As for Blizz' game, I don't trust that it'll be good as anything else but a diversion from other games. It might interest some of my friends who don't play other MOBA's and give us an option to play something new together, although I doubt it.

Rack:
Obviously DOTAs system is infinitely preferable, but this is Blizzard, it was always going to be pay to win.

I can understand if you "infinitely" prefer one method over the other, but tell me why you think so. I'd like to hear why an all-champion release would be a good choice apart from avoiding paying for champions. I'm not looking to debate the thinly veiled P2W option, just why you think it would be objectively better for the gameplay.

Geisterkarle:
... there are heroes, that are more expensive than others and this is because they are ... better/stronger than others!? So correct my interpretation, but this means, that something is broken! Also if you start and want to get into (my) competitive play, you can't until you have all the important heroes (bought or grinded). But, ok, if you only need a hand full, because the others are just bad ...

Wanted to address this. The more expensive Champions in LoL are the newer ones. Some of the most used champs are also the cheapest. It's also worth noting that LoL has a metagame leveling system, where you need your account to hit lvl 30 and have a certain number of champions before you can even play ranked. Needing to unlock a certain number of champions to play ranked isn't a big deal though, as in the time it takes to hit 30 you'll bank enough in-game currency(Influence Points or IP) to buy the required number of champions.(That number being exactly as many as you need so that if you have last pick and every ban and pick prior to you is a champion you own you still have one character left) Most longtime players have banked enough IP that they've bought everything(aside from cosmetics which require money), or at least can buy everything if they want to, and still have a ridiculous amounts of it stored. I haven't touched the game since November, but I'm sitting on more than enough IP to buy all the champions all over again. I've never spent any real money on LoL by the way.

It's funny seeing how people treat LoL now though, when it used to be damn near universally praised as a fair free to play model. Still is, and in fact they've continually made things even more fair with price reductions and other stuff.

Which is better depends wholely on how fast you gain the in-game currency, what else there is to spend in-game currency on, and whether or not there are massive differences in price tiers. I would have no problem with Blizzard's system assuming you get currency at a decent clip, there isn't a tier of heroes that are massively more expensive, and there's nothing else you absolutely NEED to buy with in-game money.

In my view League isn't exactly Pay to Win, but it's definitely Pay to have a definite and often decisive edge. Runepages are a major thing in League. The fact you have to buy them in IP is nice in theory for balance's sake, but if you're buying heroes with real money then you can bank your bank all your accumulated IP for runes. In essence using real money gives you an advantage even with the system that's supposedly fair.

Oh man, I'm loving the attempts at rationalizing LoL's hero system as if it's something "good". I'm especially loving the attempts at demonstrating why it's a "better" and a more "new player friendly" system than Dota 2's. It's like watching Stockholm Syndrome in progress, but without the need for hostages.

Hilarious. But, anyway....

I had only a little bit of interest in Heroes of the Storm. This news leaves me with almost none.

Well played Blizzard.

Well gotta say if your going copy someone might as well be the leader in the genera. Face it Dota players your game is not as popular as LoL and it never will be due to its very nature of being more challenging. Further more until reading this thread the fact that Dota was played competitively was unknown to me and I LOOK for Esport games on twitch.

Smilomaniac:

Rack:
Obviously DOTAs system is infinitely preferable, but this is Blizzard, it was always going to be pay to win.

I can understand if you "infinitely" prefer one method over the other, but tell me why you think so. I'd like to hear why an all-champion release would be a good choice apart from avoiding paying for champions. I'm not looking to debate the thinly veiled P2W option, just why you think it would be objectively better for the gameplay.

1) Pay to win. You might not want to argue it, but it's there. Someone who pays has more options than someone who doesn't and is therefore going to be at an advantage. This is kind of a big deal.

2) You can't play as who you want. For all you say that rotating champions gets you to play more characters which lets you improve your game being able to play as the character I enjoy is fairly important.

3) Stagnant metagame. As you get to higher ranks youy'll probably be playing against people who have spent thousands of hours/dollars and who have everything, but playing casually you'll be seeing the same classes over and over again.

When it comes to multiplayer games it breaks the cardinal sin of not having an even playing field. That's the way modern games are these days which is a tragedy but the one good thing DOTA did was eschew that.

Rack:

Smilomaniac:

Rack:
Obviously DOTAs system is infinitely preferable, but this is Blizzard, it was always going to be pay to win.

I can understand if you "infinitely" prefer one method over the other, but tell me why you think so. I'd like to hear why an all-champion release would be a good choice apart from avoiding paying for champions. I'm not looking to debate the thinly veiled P2W option, just why you think it would be objectively better for the gameplay.

1) Pay to win. You might not want to argue it, but it's there. Someone who pays has more options than someone who doesn't and is therefore going to be at an advantage. This is kind of a big deal.

2) You can't play as who you want. For all you say that rotating champions gets you to play more characters which lets you improve your game being able to play as the character I enjoy is fairly important.

3) Stagnant metagame. As you get to higher ranks youy'll probably be playing against people who have spent thousands of hours/dollars and who have everything, but playing casually you'll be seeing the same classes over and over again.

When it comes to multiplayer games it breaks the cardinal sin of not having an even playing field. That's the way modern games are these days which is a tragedy but the one good thing DOTA did was eschew that.

League of legends is not pay to win, if you believe that then you apparently have never played the game.

now on to your other two points that are at least a bit more reasonable.

2.you kind of contradict your third point as the fact that there is banning in LoL creates a better metagame and as to having a limited selection of champs, it forces you to learn new ones which is also good for the Meta.

3. I know quite a few plat league players and ill tell you right now they usually only play 4 champs regularly. Also if were talking pros all official league of legends events have all the champs unlocked from the start so that both sides can pick who they like.

now Dota has its place don't get me wrong but two things make it a really bad investment as a play model:
1.the reason they unlock all the characters is that the learning curb for play is like a brick wall right next to a cliff. Lets face it the fact that dota is a more challenging game is a bad thing.

2. notoriety. the fact that very few people know what dota is. I can tell my friends the game is like LoL and they'll know exactly what im talking about but I say its like dota and they have no clue. Remember when dota first showed its face it was a time when only those who were well off had a gaming computer and as such its player base is rather low.

There is nothing better about the LoL system compared to Dota's. Having everything unlocked lets you find what you like and play it. It doesn't make the game more difficult to pick up-- all you have to do is look or ask to find a handful of good, straightforward heroes. And once you find a hero or three that you like, you can just play them, rather than having to wait for them to rotate in or pay money/points to unlock them. And if any hero catches your eye for whatever reason, you're free to immediately try it out and see if you like it, rather than being forced either to wait for weeks or months for it to be in rotation, or to buy it without even being sure you'll end up liking it.

Rack:

1) Pay to win. You might not want to argue it, but it's there. Someone who pays has more options than someone who doesn't and is therefore going to be at an advantage. This is kind of a big deal.

2) You can't play as who you want. For all you say that rotating champions gets you to play more characters which lets you improve your game being able to play as the character I enjoy is fairly important.

3) Stagnant metagame. As you get to higher ranks youy'll probably be playing against people who have spent thousands of hours/dollars and who have everything, but playing casually you'll be seeing the same classes over and over again.

When it comes to multiplayer games it breaks the cardinal sin of not having an even playing field. That's the way modern games are these days which is a tragedy but the one good thing DOTA did was eschew that.

Thanks for the explanation, but I don't really see any objective reasons to why any of what you said should make the game better. I don't recognize any of what you're saying from the game, either.

What you're saying heavily relies on the game being unbalanced, which is very rarely the case. Occasionally, someone finds a broken playstyle after a new item or champion release and it gets fixed fairly soon. In the mean time, people ban those champions in draft. The playing field is quite even (to a fault) when you pass the level and rune requirements, which are part of the learning curve and before that happens, you've earned a few champions along the way, which you've hopefully unlocked because you enjoyed playing them.

I can understand why you want the whole collection and being able to find a champion that suits your playstyle, but I don't see how it's objectively better in any way other than avoiding investing time in it, which you have to anyway.
You might think that the P2W is a big deal, but it's really not. Experience and team work make all the difference, playing specific champions do not.
I've made a few extra accounts to play with friends who were starting out and I unlocked one of my favourite champions (Singed) fairly early on and wiped the floor in every game. Anyone can tell you that it's not a strong champion at all, he just fills a niche at best. So unless you naturally know what items to buy, what skills to level up during early/mid against who and how to actually play the game, having a specific champion won't help you.

Recently a friend of mine picked her champions based on how they look and nothing else. She's a hell of a lot better player than I've ever been with her picks. If someone can do that, it's not about the champions.

LoL has a much better system. Period. I've played both, and having every champ unlocked from the start has only turned me off the game, as I don't know which does which, or how each plays, meaning it's a complete grab-bag of if I can tell if a champ is for me or not. Compare to the rotational system which allows me to see
A) This champ is not for me.
B) That champ over there is free this week! He looks awesome! I'll try him.
as opposed to
A) This champ is not for me
B) But, all these are available, so I just play 10 games before I can START to figure out who's for me?

OT:
Wow, Blizzard is trying to rip off other games to make a lazy product. I'll alert the media.

Curious.
Last I heard, Blizzard were aiming to have all the champions unlocked at the start. This is... unfortunate.

Personally I think the LoL model is a better choice, especially for people who are newer to MOBA games. Having everything unlocked at the start can be overwhelming, whereas 10 champs of varying roles and difficulty makes things much more manageable for those learning. It makes you feel accomplished when you unlock a champion as well, and if you're unlocking champs you played while they were free then you essentially build up a roster of champs you know you enjoy rather than essentially throwing darts at a board and hoping you land on one you like.

Not a good move. LoL's model is good for a small studio that can't lose money at all. It will probably bite LoL's ass pretty soon. For a small company with an inferior client it's a way to survive. For a big company it's just unpleasantly greedy.
There are tons of ways to shape a learning curve without tying it to money. Blizzard has experience and resources to be better and a greedy monetization model looks cheap.

GladiatorUA:
Not a good move. LoL's model is good for a small studio that can't lose money at all. It will probably bite LoL's ass pretty soon. For a small company with an inferior client it's a way to survive. For a big company it's just unpleasantly greedy.
There are tons of ways to shape a learning curve without tying it to money. Blizzard has experience and resources to be better and a greedy monetization model looks cheap.

They could, absolutely.
But this is the same company selling lv 90 characters instead of making their game better, so, there you go.
"But grinding is boring! I have a job!"
"Ok, then pay us!"

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