Heroes of the Storm was revealed in full today during BlizzCon 2013, and along with a cinematic trailer and gameplay preview, Blizzard has released a set of screenshots for the MOBA as well as a developer interview with game director Dustin Browder, senior game producer Kaeo Milker, and senior art director Samwise Didier
Heroes of the Storm is a free-to-play online team brawler, which allows players to build and customize heroes from across every Blizzard universe and then team up with friends to engage in fast-paced mayhem across varied battlegrounds that “impact strategy and change the way you play the game.”
In each match, players can select from an array of Blizzard heroes and join a team to battle against enemy players, with the ultimate goal of destroying the enemy base. The target game match time is 20 minutes.
Each hero starts the game with a set of abilities and traits, and over the course of the battle you’ll have the ability to customize your hero with other talents and heroic abilities. While each hero has certain core strengths, the talents a player selects can greatly change the way their hero fights. Support heroes like Uther for example, can be played as almost a pure healer, or can take on more of a damage dealing role.
Talent options will be varied and players can use different heroic abilities. Arthas, for example, can choose the ability to call Sindragosa, a giant frost wyrm, to do a strafing run. Or he can raise an army of the undead to swarm the enemy.
The game also offers a selection of different battlegrounds to fight on. Each battleground has a special secret that can affect the overall strategy of the match. In Blackheart’s Bay for example, a ghostly pirate ship has taken up residence in the center. Treasure chests of gold coins spawn periodically on either side of the battleground. You can collect these coins or steal them from enemy players to pay tribute to Blackheart.
Pay enough bounty and he’ll train the ship’s cannons on enemy fortifications for terrible, terrible damage. The Cursed Hollow battleground offers a different challenge. Here, the fickle Raven Lord holds sway. During the fight, tribute totems will spawn periodically — collect enough of them and the Raven Lord will curse the opposing team, disabling their towers and weakening their minions for a period of time.
Many of the battlegrounds share environmental features, like forts, which are sprinkled along the pathways between each team’s base. Each fort includes structures such as gates to prevent enemy movement and healing fountains for health and mana regeneration, in addition to a protective guard tower. Capturable watchtowers also mark important positions on many battlegrounds, offering vision on key areas.
In the game, 18 heroes are available in the demo of Heroes of the Storm, but this is just the first group of characters as many more will be added over time from Azeroth, Sanctuary, and the Koprulu Sector.
“Each hero offers different strengths and weaknesses depending on their role,” said Blizzard. “Warriors such as Diablo can dive right into a melee, soaking up damage and dealing it back. Assassins like Kerrigan deal tremendous damage and can pick off unsuspecting enemies, but must choose their battles carefully, as they can dish more than they can take. Support heroes like Uther can swing the tide of battle, assisting with healing, buffs, or other abilities to manipulate the battle in the favor of allies.
“Other types include the siege and commander heroes, which are more specialized roles that bring different strengths as you build a team.”
More details about how the business model works will be discussed in the future, but players will be able to unlock heroes and other content just by playing the game. Cosmetic upgrades like skins, equipment, and mounts will be available. New heroes will also be released over time, along with new battlegrounds, though battlegrounds will probably be freely available to all players.
It’s also possible that additional talent options for existing heroes could be available as unlockable content.
Specific plans for post-launch support will also be announced at a later date along with a release date.
Heroes of the Storm beta sign ups are live, and you can sign up here through Battle.net.