Hands On: Heroes Of The Storm

‘Hero brawler’. That’s what Blizzard would like you to call their all-star lane pushing videogame, Heroes of the Storm. In marketing terms it’s better than referencing your competitors by saying Dota-like or LoL-a-like (sidenote: no-one says LoL-a-like and this is a crying shame). More importantly, it’s better than the emotionally dead and uselessly expansive MOBA. It gives you the flavour of the game you’re about to play. The phrase ‘hero brawler’ contains something of the rambunctiousness you’ll find infecting lanes, infiltrating the weird scrubland that the genre’s traditional vocabulary dubs ‘jungle’ and venturing into haunted mineshafts.

The game sees you pick a hero from the Blizzard-iverse (that’s also not a term people use but slightly more understandably than LoL-a-like) and engage in a 5v5 magic punch up. It’s the same basic format you’ll find in Dota 2, or League of Legends or SMITE but just in case those games haven’t crossed your radar, here’s the basic thrust:

You shove your way down the three lanes that lead from your base to the enemy’s. On the way there are buildings, heroes and little minions all of whom are trying to hold you off or push you back the way you came. Eventually one side manages to do enough shoving that they get to the other team’s base and finds and destroys their amazing mystical doodad. In Dota this doodad is either a giant marble made of lava or a twinkly bonsai tree. In SMITE it’s a slayable pet giant. In LoL it’s a building called a Nexus. For Heroes of the Storm it’s a palace.

‘Why the hell am I trying to knock over a palace?’ you might wonder. StarCraft’s Jim Raynor wonders much the same during the tutorial and is told by tutorial-giver Uther not to think about it too hard. Without wanting to sound like an elitest jackass, that’s the phrase which seems to underpin the whole game. Heroes of the Storm is in technical alpha at the moment so there’s plenty of scope for tweaking, rebalancing and goodness knows what. What is unlikely to change is that the emphasis here is on allowing people to dive in and have fun without getting overwhelmed by the stats, facts and items which usually litter the genre.

You pick a character who looks cool and whose description gives you an idea of their role and difficulty, then you get to play them. I picked Stitches because my idea of cool is having a gaping maw in my tummy and looking completely ridiculous atop a steed. This approach to being cool is also why I find it useful to have a Hook ability to yank potential friends back towards me as they flee. The game as it stands doesn’t require you to look at an enemy team and try to counter-pick any hero selection, nor does it demand you balance a lineup yourself if playing solo, although you can try to if playing as a group. Once you’re in-game your hero has immediate access to all their core skills bar their ultimate ability. As you level up you’ll adapt your hero to the specifics of the match by picking from selections of talent upgrades which are all pretty easy to understand.

The same desire for accessibility also means no items. In other corners of the genre buying the right item at the right time can give your character an edge, adding mobility, building magic resistance, giving health regen – whatever you need. But with so many options it’s often easier to dick it up than to achieve optimal retail success, especially as a newcomer. Heroes of the Storm deals with this by taking items out of the equation entirely and making your main question ‘how many people and buildings are on this bit of the board and how can I change that number so it works in my favour?’

If you’re playing as red and you see there are more blue units on a lane you can expect that the lane push into your territory and start threatening your little protective forts. This is a Bad Thing. But wait! There are ways to redress the balance. The most basic is scooting up there yourself to add more heroes to the brawl. “Hello, my name is Stitches. You killed my Lich King. Prepare to die.”

If you’re not sure you can make good on those threats you can head into the jungle to beat up mercenary camps. Smacking them enough will recruit them to fight for your side and they waddle off to the nearest lane in order to punch foes and buildings. Useful for keeping other lanes pushed while you deal with trouble elsewhere or for stacking the odds in your current fighting area. Alternatively you can just use the opportunity to apply pressure on another lane. “Hello, my name is Stitches,” you say. “You killed my Lich King. Prepare to not see me at all on account of me staying on the other side of the map and trying to chow down on this here tower which seems like a safer option, all things considered. Maybe try not to notice that I’m doing that until it’s too late and I’m galloping away at speed too, cheers.”

The map itself feels smaller than other MOBA maps (although that might be due to speedier travel when using mounts) so however you decide to tackle the problem you’ll be able to get where you’re needed quickly. More skillful players can obviously build their heroes more efficiently, make optimal use of ability combinations and position their characters to deal maximum damage while staying out of harm’s way themselves. They will end up with an advantage as a result. But in my time with the game, the key to victory was mainly in keeping an eye on the ebbs and flows of bodies around the map and applying more people-volume where you wanted to push. It’s not skill-less by any means but it doesn’t require such an in-depth knowledge of all the mechanics at play at any given time.

I think this body-watch approach is due in no small part to the game’s leveling system. Each member of your team contributes to a shared XP pot. Individual contributions will vary but the entire team will always be the same level. As a result you don’t get characters who snowball and can take entire teams down on their own, nor do you end up with underleveled weaklings who can be targeted for easy gains. The difference in levels between teams didn’t tend to be more than two or three in my games so the easiest way to stack the odds in our favour was with the more bodies approach. Well, more bodies or the map rewards.

Each map will have a map-specific reward which offers one side a boost. There are haunted mines where you can collect skulls in order to raise a golem to fight for you. There’s a Dragon Knight your team can resurrect and use to smash up enemy buildings and punt heroes into the air. There are doubloons to collect for a pirate captain so he’ll train his ship’s cannons onto enemy buildings. One map even offers to curse the enemy team if you collect enough tributes, reducing their minions’ health and causing their towers to stop firing.

These objectives can be entertaining interruptions to the laning tug-of-war. They’re also a way to tap into a different type of tactical thinking which might come more naturally to non-MOBA players. You’ll need to work out how to protect teammates who are smashing money chests or paying ghostly pirates. If you want to go questing for skulls in a separate underground zone you’ll need to figure out how to keep lanes pushed out — perhaps making use of the mercenary camps or dividing up your team.

The system is not always great though. I found myself preferring the Dragon Shire objective because it requires your team to capture and hold two points on the map while a hero from your team stands at a third point to become the aforementioned dragon knight. The dragon knight is a pretty powerful unit and you can use him to pummel the enemy forts which guard the way to their palace. The transformation only lasts a few minutes and can be ended earlier by defeating the knight, at which point the player reverts to their usual hero form. At all points your team is being asked to think about what they’re doing, to work together and to choose their targets.

By contrast, in Blackheart’s Bay the reward for collecting coins and delivering them safely is that cannons will be trained on the enemy buildings. They do a great deal of damage which is lovely but it means that only the initial part of the challenge is about choices you make in the game. The way the cannons apply damage directly to structures means that the player ceases to be part of that action. You’re not aiming and firing the cannons, nor even selecting the targets. You are simply not involved. When your team gets a few of these cannon rewards in a row it’s harder to feel ownership of a victory that comes on the back of them. When you’re on the receiving end, your loss can feel bullshit.

I think the biggest problem I have with Heroes of the Storm as a whole relates to the Blackheart reward in particular. The game is fun, it’s hard to fuck it up too badly, and I didn’t feel any of the “OH GOD WHAT DOES ALL THIS TEXT MEAN WHAT ARE THESE ITEMS WHY AM I DEAD” dread which traditionally accompanies my first match with a new hero in a new game. But these benefits are largely related to the way the game tries to negate ego and come with disadvantages.

The team levelling sees XP being shared across the whole team. As I said earlier it means particular characters can’t snowball and that less skilled players won’t find themselves getting more and more irrelevant and killable as time goes on. It also means that skill doesn’t have a direct correlation with individual XP. The lows are less catastrophic which is good for newcomers or players who want to just run around as their favoured Blizzard character. But the highs which come from excelling are less euphoric. When you’re doing well your own leveling is slowed and skewed downward by the other players on your team.

I’ve been at both ends of that XP contribution spectrum and both times found it hard not to feel either constricted or slightly detached from the game. I wanted to feel like my contribution mattered and sometimes that didn’t happen. The feeling has less of a chance to build as the games run to about 20-25 minutes rather than the 45-plus you can spend in Dota but it was still a sour note. The lack of in-game chat doesn’t make it easier either. I felt far more connected when playing with a friend as we talked on Skype and co-ordinated attacks and used ability combinations, both of which we wouldn’t have been able to do using in-game text or map pings.

An unexpected positive takeaway from the experience involved the aforementioned Warcraft character, Stitches. To give him a proper explanation beyond “I think he’s cool”, he’s a melee warrior who can hook opponents toward him from far away. He can also slam down a cone of damage, leave a trail of putrid bile in his wake or imprison an enemy in his stomach and wander off with them for a few seconds like some gross compulsory monster taxi. He’s not a million miles away from Dota 2’s Pudge, a character I’ve always been interested in but had never tried given I usually play different roles.

Having taken Stitches for a spin a few times in HotS and had an excellent time I booted up Dota and insta-picked Pudge. After 45 minutes of being flamed by a particularly angry Bloodseeker we had scored a win and I had more kills than deaths to my name. It wasn’t the best Dota I’ve ever played and is probably not the result Blizzard was hoping for, but feeling able to try something new was the direct result of trying similar skills out in a more experimental-friendly atmosphere.

Blizzard is trying to build a game that’s fun and accessible but that isn’t devoid of tactical thinking. It’s as if they’ve taken the Olympic-sized swimming pool which is your hardcore MOBA, shrunk it to half the size and lobbed in a blow-up tropical island, a bunch of floaty toys and a water slide. It’s never going to give you a purist swimming experience. That would be silly – you’d bash into all manner of weird flotsam. You’re far better off working out where to stand in order to shove someone else off said island and produce the most satisfying sploosh.

Judging by snippets from the in-game global chat Blizzard will have their work cut out in terms of messaging this concept, particularly to players used to Dota, LoL and their brethren. But at least they’re experimenting and it’s a genre which will benefit from the variety.


  1. RedViv says:

    I looked, and behold, a black horse; and she who sat on it wore a green froggy one-piece, but a giant maw was set beneath its fuzzy green layers.

    I think this is the first that I have seen my particular worries addressed, that the reduction in the gameplay might lead to detachment from the feeling of progress for the individual players.

  2. Randomer says:

    The Penny Arcade guys described it as “Dota or LoL without all the fiddly bits”. That sounds amazing.

    • Tiberius says:

      Heroes is designed as a MOBA for people that hate other MOBAs. It gets rid of all the bullshit, and is built so that there are 75% less reasons to rage at teammates. Blizzard has specifically said that they want to make a game that is fun and does not attract the standard shitty MOBA crowd.

      League and DotA players do not like this game. They complain and complain, but forget: This game is specifically designed to be fun FOR EVERYONE BUT THEM.

      • zachdidit says:

        You sound pretty apprehensive for someone who’s supposed to be better than us “shitty dota players”

        • Phendron says:

          Guy never said he was better than MOBA-diehards, just highlighting the fact that they are overrepresented with hateful, egotistical and uncompromising individuals. Don’t treat it as a personal attack, just get back in queue.

          • zachdidit says:

            I don’t agree with pointing the finger and overhyping the amount of toxic players by a person who’s coming off really toxic. Playing for 3 years with around 4.0k MMR I can say that I get way more commutative teammates than toxic ones. Sure, you get a guy one in every 10 games who’s just an absolute jerkhead. But you mute him and you’re back in your zen place.

          • subedii says:

            Speaking as someone who only dabbles in DOTA 2, I concur, the toxicity of the community is WAY overstated and these days seems like more of a method of bashing the game’s playerbase.

            Yeah I see idiot ragers. But with anyone getting toxic and swearing at everyone, you can just report him for doing that and then they’re stuck in low priority away from everyone else (and he’s confirmed as such, you even get a popup message saying so and giving you an extra report. It’s good feedback to know that reporting toxic players has an actual effect). I feel the report system in general has been a pretty big help in that regard.

            Maybe I’m just thick skinned after years of DoW 2 (bad matchmaking situation owing to smaller community, combined with droppers and ragers and no report system). It says a lot that whilst I personally prefer the gameplay of DoW2, I’d still prefer to actually play Dota 2, because the entire infrastructure built around it makes everything a lot more convenient.

      • Moraven says:

        Too late, there is already a lot of toxic players in the Alpha.

        With how popular Dota and LoL, it must be fun for everyone. I seen people who do not care about the complexities and depth and have fun to an extent with the game. Not fun when someone yells are you the entire game because of your build, blame you for losing (maybe it was you since your build was poor and you could not preform as well).

        I expect Heroes to have the same amount of toxic players. At least you have less things to “screw up” on, for better or worse. And for those that want to get deeper into the game, do not have to worry item builds nor item buying during the game. Which will have some appeal to people who casually play Dota/LoL already.

        All in all, Blizzard has a huge audience and this will appeal the most to Starcraft, WoW and Diablo players, who will give it a try. Hopefully they add the Lost Vikings as characters.

        • Vandelay says:

          I do wonder whether the toxicity is an unavoidable problem when you create a team based game that has some emphasis on competition. You do rely on your teammates, so their mistakes will be of detriment to you too. There is also the common human failing of being unable to notice ones own errors and passing the blame onto those around you (we probably have all done this in a multiplayer game, even if we are capable of not vocalising it.) This is made worse in a game like DOTA, when you stuck are with people for 45-60 minutes (I would actually argue a far bigger issue with DOTA is that people are often bad winners, doing things like slaughtering the enemy in a team fight and then deciding to run away instead of continuing to push, so that they can drag the game out for longer.)

          However, I think the problem is exaggerate somewhat. If you play 3 or 4 games, you are likely to have at least 1 dickhead on your team at some point. You could say the same for any game of course, but few other games take themselves as seriously, so most people don’t care enough to get annoyed. Personally, and I have said before to annoyance of DOTA players, but I would very much welcome a team surrender vote option. You can keep it confined to unranked modes and require certain conditions to be met before it becomes available, such as there needs to be a 20 kill difference between the teams or the average team levels being vastly different, but I think allowing people a way to easily move on and forget about a game that has gone bad would definitely avoid some of the rage that it can induce in people.

          Also, I would question how much interest this game would have with traditional Blizzard fans. Diablo players love to play with their character builds, selecting appropriate skills and studying their items, so that they can compliment their character. Starcraft players would be looking for something with a little more complexity if they were coming at it from an esports perspective or they might find the single unit control uninteresting. I can’t think of reasons why World of Warcraft player would be put off, but at the same time I can’t think of any real cross over in terms of gameplay.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            In League at least, imo the problem comes from the ranking system, everybody is obsessed with it. Its a matchmaking system that should put everybody at their correct level and then matchmake them based on that to give balanced games. Unless you are talking about the top 1% nobody should really care what their ranking is, its only important as far as matching you with equally skilled people.

            As you mentioned, people overestimate their ability at these games. Also known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.
            link to en.wikipedia.org

            Couple this with an unhealthy obsession for their ranking and they see themselves as being unfairly low. At this point they have convinced themselves they are way better than their ranking, the only thing holding them back then ofc is their teammates. This manifests a horrible attitude in a lot of people of blaming their team whilst not seeing their mistakes which only gets worse as time goes on. When in reality of course the way to improve is to do the opposite, work on stopping the mistakes and don’t blame teammates which you will probably never be queue’d with again.

      • Bull0 says:

        Sounds good to me!

  3. TwwIX says:

    Gee, how innovative of them! What’s next? A survival game?

    • Matt says:

      You seem to have confused Blizzard’s current MO of “take an existing genre and polish it to a diamond sheen” with “innovate”

      • Stupoider says:

        Diablo 3? Diamond sheen?


        • Xerophyte says:

          Diablo 3 is stable, complete, beautiful and overall gives every indication of being exactly the game its creators envisioned. That they didn’t envision a game that’s all that interesting is a different matter.

          I would fault it many things, especially pre-expanion, but lack of polish is definitely not one of those things.

          • Bull0 says:

            Beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder. For me, it’s not nearly as attractive as it should be, given how totally backwards it is in every meaningful way.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Diablo 3 did exactly what they wanted it to do. It’s gameplay was incredibly polished (and simplified) compared to all other entries in the genre, it’s itemization was perfectly tuned (to be just good enough to keep players, and shitty enough to keep them buying on the auction house) and from a technical standpoint it, like all Blizzard games, does a ton of visual work with style instead of hardware, while being barely buggy.

        • Lemming says:

          To be fair, it’s rather moreish on the PS3.

          To be brutally honest, they’ve got a lot to answer for with the original PC version.

          • Slazer says:

            They used the Loot 2.0 and the Adventure mode to answer for it. Even without RoS it is now better than the console port

      • TwwIX says:

        You can shine a turd but it’s still a turd.

  4. Dwarph says:

    I still havent managed to enjoy a proper top down moba. I’ve become slightly addicted to awesomenauts (which is worth a look, some deceptive depth behind its 90s cartoon charms).
    Might give HOTS a go eventually

    • Matt_W says:

      Blizzard really likes that acronym, apparently. Is HOTS Heroes of the Storm or Heart of the Swarm?

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        It’s Hearth of the Stone.

        • Bull0 says:

          Annoyingly, Hearthstone’s full title is “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft”. So we’ve got Heroes of Warcraft and Heroes of the Storm… but Heroes of the Storm prominently features many Heroes of Warcraft.

          Definitely seems like they’re phoning in the MOBA title. It isn’t worse than “Blizzard All-Stars”, though, so that’s something.

        • bv728 says:

          My understanding is the name change came in after testers starting calling Blizzard ALL-Stars “Balls”, so they had to swing a new one fast.

      • Dwarph says:

        screw it ill try all the hots

      • Nevard says:

        One of their April Fool’s jokes was an announcement that they were renaming the SCII Protoss Expansion to Herald of the Stars

  5. Commander Gun says:

    “The same desire for accessibility also means no items.”

    Yay! This actually got my attention. I was (and probably am) a slow learner and hated all those items in other Moba games. Here’s to simplicity and fun :)

    • satsui says:

      I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s more simple. As the author said, it’s much more strategic at a team level rather than individual level. So while your focus is not on your character and whether or not you fuck up getting right items, your focus is more on “how can I help my team?”

      I’m in the alpha test and there are some games you’re thinking, “okay.. game is over and I’m screwed.” But you can turn the game around in most levels, except Haunted Mines. Again, it’s alpha so it’s not a huge concern. Unlike DoTA and LoL where the game is pretty much determined by the time someone reaches level 10, HoTS provides those extra layers and mercenary camps to really change the game if you’re behind.

  6. Awesumo says:

    Well if you like MoBa games, but you find yourself not wanting to take it too seriously and end up playing ARAM (all random all mid) most of the time – then this is the game for you…. Or you could play smite instead.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      This is exactly my feeling on this game. I play a mixture of ARAMs and regular games depending on my mood. Sometimes I just cannot be arsed with a regular game, I want something quicker to get going without all the stress (and accompanying flaming twat teammates) of the competitive game mode. I refuse to believe I am alone with this feeling and I can see myself loading up HotS instead of playing ARAMs whilst still playing games of LoL/Dota/whatever when I’m in the mood for it.

  7. Noburu says:

    So basically its completely dumbed down for retards.

    • Surlywombat says:

      Oh dear.

    • Moraven says:

      Only because the article tries to portray it as such with floaty toys and a water slide and not being “purist”. I guess lane farming for 20+ minutes a game, having items is purist and your own exp is purist, then so be it. /shrug

      Its being its own game that is accessible with a lot of depth. Like any Blizzard game.

      • zachdidit says:

        I’d argue about the depth bit. Hearthstone is a simplified card game that doesn’t really go all that deep as say a Magic The Gathering. WoW is a simpified MMO that even in its early days didn’t go as deep as an EverQuest or Dark Age of Camelot in terms of mechanics. Same applies with HOTS. Not saying that’s a bad thing.

        Their strategy of accessibility has done wonders for them over the years and while most of these games aren’t for me, I do respect them for making something others can enjoy.

        • Moraven says:

          I agree. It will never have as much depth as those games as you mentioned. Blizzard games do tend to have a bit of depth tho if you start digging. On the surface it does not seem like it but once you get into it, there is a lot more to it then it seems.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Hearthstone is probably the only Blizzard game where the whole too simplified criticism really applies. It’s just incredibly shallow – which is doubly bad because Blizzard has a physical CCG that has proper depth while also being better than Magic, which is now guaranteed to never go digital because it’d compete with Hearthstone.

          • Moraven says:

            I give Hearthstone a year to see how it ends up with new cards. Magic today is not the same as it was when it was first released. It has gone through a few rule changes and seen a lot of new card mechanics.

            The first new set of cards is based on Deathrattle, a current mechanic. Hopefully they will not be afraid to branch out and add new mechanics.

        • xao says:

          Everquest is a bad example, as WoW was a significantly deeper and more complex game than EQ. Verant tried to make EQ seem deep by hiding information from the players, but once it’s systems were winkled out, they were remarkably simple.

          • zachdidit says:

            I found raids in Everquest to be more complex than just about everything WoW threw at me. The aggro management, bard spell twisting(or was that pallies? Too many games too many years), necro mana batteries. I always felt like I was asked more of during an EQ raid than in WoW. But that’s entirely personal opinion.

            I really just wanted to get my point off that Blizzard does a great job of simplifying things but to do so you’ve got to sacrifice depth.

        • Bull0 says:

          Yeah, if it isn’t as deep as MTG it isn’t deep. That makes sense.

          • zachdidit says:

            The number strategies available in games like MTG, Hex, SoulForge, Scrolls, and the might n magic: duel of the champions all outstripe hearthstone. At any given moment I’m running a lot more predictions and potential actions in my head than hearthstone has ever asked of me. This isn’t a bad thing. And that doesn’t mean Hearthstone is a simple game. I still play it and enjoy it when I want to chill. It just isn’t that deep when compared to a lot of other games.

    • AngelTear says:

      So basically it’s very much simplified, for people who don’t want to sink dozens of hours just learning the most basics aspects of the game

      There, fixed.
      You must be a LoL/Dota player. I can tell by your choice of words.

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        I think it’s a real shame that you’re probably right.
        I’ve played DotA 2 for over 1,200 hours (a truly terrifying thought) and I hate every match when someone starts acting out. I’ve often wondered what drives people to become so aggressive, rude, and abusive to complete strangers because of a stupid video game. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the reason…

        • Tom OBedlam says:

          That’s only people in stage one of playing, as you progress you act aggressively, rudely and abusively to people you’ve known for years.

    • misterT0AST says:

      You can tell a player of these games from miles away thanks to their good manners.

  8. Horg says:

    ”Blizzard will have their work cut out in terms of messaging this concept, particularly to players used to Dota, LoL and their brethren”

    As a DotA player I can confidently say there is nothing for me here. HotS is not going to be pulling people away from the more complex DotA derivatives in any significant number. It will primarily be aimed towards people who bounced off the complexity of other similar titles.

    It makes me wonder how many people will actually be interested in what is essentially the shell of DotA without the guts. If you take out the ”fiddly bits”, as some other sites are calling them, what you are left with is basically a poor mans RTS. I suspect that if HotS didn’t have Blizzard behind it then it wouldn’t be getting much attention at all.

    • Moraven says:

      Focusing on map objectives and fights vs lane farming, last hitting, denying items. I know that is what some people like about Dota. Having complexity for complexity sake is not always a good thing. LoL brought some nice changes to the Dota games. Still 5-10 minutes of laning at the start is boring as hell, maybe a gank or 2. Then back to laning another 5 minutes.

      • Merkoth says:

        I find weird that you speak of those things like they’re universally bad. You don’t like them? That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean they’re inherently bad…

        • Moraven says:

          Nor is it bad to remove them…

          I say the biggest gain of not having the complexity is not having to resort to builds to learn the 2-3 ways to construct your champion. Which people like and love since they can try something new. But almost always it comes down to those 2-3 “useful” builds that if you do not use, you get laughed at by teammates and blamed for losing the game. Its not complex once you know the 1000 combinations not to use.

          I meant not to say it is always a bad thing, but people will automatically say its a bad thing to remove it, the game not being “purist” to the genre and its not a real moba.

      • AngelTear says:

        Besides the fact that I would argue that laning is not as boring as you make it sound, there’s ample room for making plays and outplays, and roaming, killing your opponent, it’s more than just last-hitting…

        Anyway, beside that, pretty much all form of pleasure, from sexual pleasure to the enjoyment of a game, are enhanced by complexity and difficulty. Many other factors come into play here, but if you remove things lack of patience or time restraints, a success that comes after a challenge always feels better than an easy win; it’s more cathartic, more exhilarating.

        In the complex environment of Dota/LoL, the one outplay, the one unusual but spot-on piece of equipment or map movement feel so much more amazing precisely because it’s such a complex situation to read. If it was easy, much of the awe would be lost. Dark Souls is built around the same theory. An easy Dark Souls wouldn’t feel the same.

        • Moraven says:

          In itself, laning is like its own little arena instance with harass, zoning, parry, reposte, force them to go heal while you get free reign. In the micro sense it is exciting but in the macro its the same ole thing for years on years on years.

          Maybe Heroes will end up like that. I don’t know. I know most if not all my games are played differently on the macro scale. People always like to teamfight on Blackheart at the vision tower. Maybe that will always happen. But you are in the action, it could be an exciting micro instance that is not focused on last hitting or pushing lanes. They happen sometimes in LoL/Dota when lv 1 team jungle happens. They just don’t happen enough. And once they are done, you are back into your laning phase. At that point in Heroes a map objective is probably up. Or you can choose to lane, or go kill mercenary camps. Or go for a gank. Unless your whole team is ganking, you do not lose a lot of exp.

          But for all I know it might become the same and end up playing LoL more again. Curling Veigar instakill never gets old.

        • The Random One says:

          ” Anyway, beside that, pretty.much all form of pleasure, from sexual pleasure to the enjoyment of a game, are enhanced by complexity and difficulty.”

          For you, perhaps. I often like my games easy; I seldom like my sexual pleasure complex or difficult; and as to the pleasure of eating I’ll refuse to eat fish because I’m too lazy to look out for bones.

          If your experience was universal there wouldn’t be daytime TV.

          • AngelTear says:

            That’s why I said that there are a lot of factors in play. But, in a “pure” environment, whatever that even means, I hope my meaning gets across, a delayed orgasm is always better than a rushed one (which is why foreplay exists). It’s not my experience, it’s an accepted fact of human psychology, at least that’s what I have understood.

            Easy pleasure always feels like shallow pleasure, at least shallower than pleasure coming after a proper build-up, anticipation etc. It’s why water tastes amazing when you’re extremely thirsty.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            I ended up here through the comments sidebar, so I’m kind of stumbling into the conversation, but I feel an immediate need to argue against this notion.

            To follow the water analogy, while there’s some truth to what you say that doesn’t make it worth being dehydrated.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Some people enjoy an asphyxia-wank, I’m sure its quite difficult to do but I think you wouldn’t find the majority of people enjoying it compared to something more “mainstream”. This is regularly the way with difficult video games too. Sooner or later add too much complexity and something becomes frustrating rather than enjoyable. Similar to the way that the majority of people probably would hate trying 90% of the karma sutra and would be more relieved than enthralled that it was over.
            True what you say about the delayed orgasm but everybody has different limits. There is a point when long becomes too long. I’m guessing most people would generally be rather put off by the idea of hours of tantric sex a’la Sting and would probably be bored to tears by the end of it and just wishing for it to end. At this point the experience, due to increased length or complexity has diminished and is no longer a superior experience.

            Lastly I could play hour long, close games of LoL or Dota endlessly. The problem that these games have, is due to their complexity, they create unbalanced and incredibly unenjoyable experiences more than they create pleasurable ones. Couple this with flaming little dipshits who think they are “hardcore” and in no way does the complexity of the game improve the experience in a lot of situations, and for a lot of people.

            “a success that comes after a challenge always feels better than an easy win”
            This is true but difficulty of the game makes absolutely zero difference on this. Football is an incredibly simple game, complexity doesn’t enhance the experience for players, close competition does this, which you can find in any competitive game. All the added memory tests and nonsense going on in Dota do not make the game any closer by default, if anything they serve to allow more imbalanced games which most people agree are much less fun.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      As I posted above, there are times (and lots of them) when I just cannot be bothered with a full game of LoL or Dota though, even though I really like those games, if my concentration is low, I’m too tired, drunk, hungover, whatever.
      Yes there are some people who can just spam the standard game in LoL or Dota over and over again and never get bored. However I think there are a lot of people that feel the same way as me, that I need to be in the right mood to fully enjoy the more complex game mode and sometimes I cba with that. HotS could be a good go-to in those situations the same way that lots of people in LoL will play ARAMs when they can’t be bothered with Summoners Rift.

      • zachdidit says:

        I’m with this guy. Though I live and breathe Dota most of the time, there are times that I just can’t handle a game. I absolutely refuse to play when I’m tired or hungover. And sometimes, I just really don’t feel like being stressed out. It’s those times I’ll play something simpler like Smite.

        • Horg says:

          The reason I bring up this point is that if i’m in the same situation of not wanting to play a full game of DotA, I go and play something else that isn’t DotA. I defiantly do not want simplified DotA for my non DotA gaming time. I would have thought something like PoE, Deearbleax 3, Borderlands 2, or something slower paced like a TBS or CCG would be more suitable. Basically more relaxed gaming that doesn’t really cut out complexity. If you pull the complex elements out of the DotA framework it just seems like a really bad game concept to me.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            OFC some people will definitely share your opinion and its perfectly valid. I do think the popularity of the ARAM game mode (queue times for that thing are minuscule) shows that there is a market for a more simplified game mode where people can just go in and do some fighting without the focus on last hitting and the like. HotS to me looks like a nice middle ground in this sense as there is still a fair amount of teamplay and objective control required.

            My viewpoint though comes from someone who plays lots of different games all the time, rather than someone who primarily plays LoL/Dota and then other games when he can’t be bothered with that. Sometimes I fancy a bit of top down “hero brawling” *cringe* without wanting to concentrate super hard or play a 40+ minute game. Hence why I play quite a lot of ARAMs, therefore I definitely see the appeal of this.

          • Vandelay says:

            I am with you here. I was initially interested in HotS, but they don’t seem to have replaced the removed idiosyncrasies of DOTA with anything else. I assumed that the objectives would add some new flavour, but it sounds as if they are more of a distraction instead of a shift of focus. They just seem to have taken DOTA and removed the bits that people find complex (and to be honest, a lot of complexity that people complain about is actually more to do with the strange way that DOTA goes about poorly explaining things or piss poor UI rather than them being actually difficult to understand once properly explained. None of these things will ever be changed though.)

            Which is a shame, as I think that there are plenty of things that could be done with the basic DOTA formula that have not been touched upon yet and a strong focus on objective based gameplay could have been very interesting.

            Instead, having dipped a toe into Smite, I think that will likely be my game of choice to play when I want to play a MOBA that isn’t DOTA, as it actually offers something different.

    • Oasx says:

      For you the ”fiddly bits” are what makes the game good, for others it is the reason they have no interest in Dota. To give an example, i think the last hits mechanic is incredibly dumb, it is the perfect example of the game saying it doesn’t want me as a player.
      I am not saying that the ”fiddly bits” are bad, i understand the point of them, and they make for a better competitive game. That is just not a game i want to play, i don’t want to think about builds or having to worry about being the weak link on my team, and hearing my team mates telling me how much i suck.
      I want to have a fun game, that isn’t going to stress me out too much, i don’t know whether HoTS is that, but i know for sure that Dota isn’t.

  9. Moraven says:

    4 Current Maps:

    Blackheart – 3 lanes, with the top 2 lanes closer together. Focus on gold gathering and turning in coins to Blackheart to fire cannons from his ghost ship on your oponents base. I like this map a lot since a lot of the action is not in the lanes but on gathering coins and controlling the turn in point. You could win without ever directly attacking a tower.

    Dragon Shrine – 3 lanes. Top and Bottom control point for shrine in middle. Controlling the points allows you to become a Dragon Knight in the middle. The Dragon lasts 60 seconds or hp to 0. He does additional damage to structures. He can drop a flame cone and boot enemy heroes 1/4 across the map.

    Curse – 3 lanes, 6 mercenary camps. Map objective is a control point that spawns every minute or so. Once you gather 3, you curse the other team. Their towers do not fire, are at 50% hp and minions are at 1 hp for 60 seconds. The most fun I have is when a fight lasts forever contesting for one of the curse points.

    Undead Mines – 2 lanes, 2 mercenary camps on each side with one in the middle. When the mines activate you can go and collect skulls from easy mobs. More skulls = bigger Golem that you rise up. Going to the mines is not always the best idea.

    Heroes will have a map editor and hopefully a map rotation for each Season like in Starcraft, keeping things fresh and interesting. And not playing the same map for the past 15 years like in Dota.

    • Stupoider says:

      People have been playing the same map for 15 years because it works, and it’s pretty much perfectly balanced.

      I’ve been unimpressed by the HOTS maps, they’re all dull and symmetrical. Of course, it’s probably easier to balance for HOTS when there’s little room for experimentation and varied meta-games.

      Takes a special kind of player to look at a map that has been getting continuous play for the past 15 years and think that it’s terrible. We’ll see the map/rotation stats once HOTS is released.

      • Moraven says:

        Its the difference between balance via maps or balance through champions.

        Dota/LoL balance by introducing new champions, buffing unused camps then tweaking small things on the map.

        Starcraft Brood War evolved by the maps being made. SC2 is half and half right now. Maps and they are still tweaking units.

        You can have more than one balanced map, which will change up the dynamics a bit it might make underused champions more usable. I pick different talents for my hero in Heroes depending on the map.

        Counterstrike got stale for me also since its the same maps over and over again in the main rotations. Dust just needs to retire for a year or 2.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yeah evolving metagame has a lot to do with keeping those games fresh. If Dota/LoL don’t change anything mechanics wise for a year then it will get stale and people will get bored. Constant small tweaks to champions, items, jungle camps etc mean that players are constantly having to learn and relearn and things that worked 6 months ago will not work as well anymore. Not saying the map isn’t good because it is and allows them enough scope for these constant little tweaks which keep the game fresh.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      “… keeping things fresh and interesting. And not playing the same map for the past 15 years like in Dota.”

      Professional sports would like a word with you.

      A map editor is a welcome addition to the genre, but I won’t criticize dota for having one map any more than I would criticize basketball or chess. You have your rules, scoring and objectives, while the players and heroes are the variables.

  10. SwiftAusterity says:

    The hook here is the fact that the games are targeted at 8-20 minutes each. The early bits of pre-smash laning are lopped off and you basically just get right into wombocomboing people and after a few scant minutes doing the stage-specific stuff like starting the ship bombardment or making the golems.

    I love DOTA but as an adult with a family and a job I don’t have the 40+ minutes of uninterrupted time to play a match nevermind having to endure 60+ minutes of what eventually devolves into a bunch of kids insulting each other even if they’re actually winning because they missed a single hook or weren’t carrying a tp scroll at any particular moment.

    I played the original HOTS (which was just an sc2 map) and I’ve played the current HOTS (last Novemember) and honestly the game is pretty damn solid and fun and games can be over within 10-15 minutes easy. I and other random people at Blizzcon steamrolled a game in 7 minutes on one occasion.

    “Steamrolling” in DotA2 takes upwards of 30 minutes easy.

    They’re also balancing more towards DotA style heroes as opposed to the “nerf everyone until they’re equal” LoL design style. Some of them might be “dps but with a different animation” but a good number of the heroes are seriously disruptive and change the game meta like Abatheur.

    This isn’t necessarily “DOTA for noobs” it’s also “DOTA for people who don’t have hours of free time every night with no interruptions” which is something that you only appreciate once you start having responsibilities in your life.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      “This isn’t necessarily “DOTA for noobs” it’s also “DOTA for people who don’t have hours of free time every night with no interruptions” which is something that you only appreciate once you start having responsibilities in your life.”

      As a married guy in his early 30s, this is appealing; as a dota player, this is unappealing.

      I am torn.

    • Nevard says:

      The aim to balance matches to end at around the 20 minute mark is honestly 100% the most attractive prospect of this game to me

      I like dota, but staying razor focused for 45 minute stretches tires me out incredibly quickly.

    • Thrippy says:

      Sorry to say that I’m seeing matches between evenly matched veteran teams running 28-34 minutes with increasing frequency. To me, this can be exhausting trying to sustain a goodly pace for that long.

      I’m interested to see how Blizzard intervenes to shorten matches that, I agree, were intended to be short.

  11. Merkoth says:

    So a MOBA for those who… don’t like MOBAs. I’m not sure I’m following…

    • Moraven says:

      Well you always have the rage quitters and haters on your team…

      Moba for those wanting quicker games and it is easier to jump into.

      You essentially have to look up hero guides for LoL and Dota for the 2-3 workable builds. Otherwise you gimp your hero. To be fair, there are some crap talents right now in Heroes. But you do not get gimped to hard by picking them and sometimes they work better with other talents.

      • Merkoth says:

        Again, you seem to have very strong opinions. Most MOBAs feature “recommended builds”, for both skills and items that might not be perfect but will most certainly help you in “not gimping” your character. Once you get a grip of the game, you can take care of that if you want, or just keep using the defaults. Heck, Smite will even upgrade skills and buy items automatically for you if you want…

        • Moraven says:

          Those help you get into the the game and you are at less risk if you follow that, but that only takes you so far. The moment you make your own ladder instead of following some guide that takes you higher, you gimp yourself. Smite auto skill level is nice if it does it right. Another thign in Dota and LoL is that there is usually only 2 ways to level up abilities, depending on your lane and playstyle. Heroes dropping ability level up is a nice change.

          I have thousands of hours in original Dota and LoL and like them a lot. Having moved onto LoL I never could get back into Dota again and worry about denying.

          I do like the changes Riot has made to LoL with support getting shared gold.

          • Merkoth says:

            I guess we can only agree to disagree. I’m not a LoL player, so I can’t speak about it, but at least in Smite and DOTA 2 I find it very, very hard to believe that there are only 2 or 3 viable builds and that’s the only defining factor in the game. Yes, if you’re gonna get serious about those games then sure, farming, item building and skill leveling are important, but it isn’t like you can’t just play for fun and do whatever you want.

            From my point of view, it looks like you take your MOBAs too seriously for your own good and then blame the game for doing so, feeling relieved when a game removes those elements you seem to overly care about…

            In any case, I’m glad you found a game that suits you :)

          • Moraven says:

            Only Dota and LoL, so I do not know all of Smite’s changes to the genre.

            Unless its with a group of friends, doing whatever you like and play for fun is hard due to the toxic nature of the community and the F2P reward system giving you more for winning. Dota 2 you do not even have currency to worry about winning in unranked, but people deeply care about winning.

            The hell you get in LoL if you go 2 top, 2 mid, 2 jungle, support with a “non-support” champ. I think the most grief I seen people get in Heroes right now is lack of map awareness. Which as the author states, not having in game voice chat hurts. Although most Mobas do lack that feature. Right now I feel like I can play how I want and hope that stays true.

            As long as we can agree to disagree with a smile and have a beer afterwards, I am ok with that. :)

    • DatonKallandor says:

      A MOBA for those who don’t like the legacy bullshit in other MOBAs like Last Hitting, Denying or buying-items-because-that’s-what-was-in-original-DotA. It’s odd that it’s coming from Blizzard, who are pretty much the poster child for enshrining legacy bullshit as stuff you can’t change (see all the ridiculous things SC2 inherited from SC that were clearly bugs but was kept because the “pro gamers” got used to abusing it).

      They’re still keeping the crappy legacy MOBA controls, so I guess there’s still some bad stuff carrying over. They could have gone fully into the proper future by marrying a traditional MOBA game structure with the pure skill controls and combat mechanics of Bloodline Champions. They only went halfway, giving you all abilities from the start and removing items, but kept some levelling and the terrible pseudo RTS controls and “click-guaranteed-hit” abilities.

      • Premium User Badge

        Malarious says:

        Items aren’t some crazy bizarre holdover — it’s an integral part of the genre and responsible for a great deal of decision making. You can very easily lose a game of Dota if your item choices are retarded, but similarly, if you capitalize on your opponent’s poor item builds, you can actually secure significant advantages for yourself, even if you might be mechanically worse at the game. Items are even more important than choosing what to level up for many heroes. HoTS is a casual game for casual players and offers virtually no depth whatsoever, and that’s fine. It can’t compete with Dota or LoL in its current state, but it is getting people who are otherwise disinterested in MOBAs trying it out, which is better than nothing.

        • Static says:

          “, if you capitalize on your opponent’s poor item builds, you can actually secure significant advantages for yourself, even if you might be mechanically worse at the game. ”

          I’m confused… if you ask me being able to capitalize on your opponents poor item builds makes you mechanically better at the game. Not worse. How does this logic work?

          • AngelTear says:

            Knowing items is not mechanics, it’s strategy, or maybe game knowledge. Mechanics is your ability to hit or juke skillshots, position well, perform combos etc at the “finger level”, much akin to one’s ability to aim fast in an FPS as opposed to being smart about the map.

            p.s.: @Malarious Stop calling people, or things people do, retarded. Please.

          • Static says:


        • DatonKallandor says:

          DotA has items because Warcraft 3 had items. That’s the extent of it. It’s the same reason DotA has damage bands instead of fixed damage per attack for it’s autoattacks. It’s because Warcraft 3 worked that way. It’s pointless randomness and pointless randomness is bad – which is one of the reasons DotA 2 is slowly but surely reducing the random factors and switching their random number generators to pseudo-random instead.

      • Lemming says:

        I don’t think its that odd that its coming from Blizzard given the history. They ignored the original at their peril, Valve got there first and rather than sticking to formula (which lets be honest, they would’ve done), they’ve thought ‘fuck it, we may as well try something different’.

        However, yes it’s odd in the sense of where we began with this genre.

    • lowprices says:

      It sounds like a MOBA for people who would quite like to play MOBAs but don’t have the time or inclination to scale the near-vertical learning curve that most of them come with.

      It has my attention.

      • Merkoth says:

        Now the time thing is something I can certainly relate to! I have skipped many a game simply because I couldn’t afford a 40+ minutes DOTA 2 game. Having 10-15 mins games sounds very nice indeed.

        • Moraven says:

          That is one thing I liked about LoL ARAM and Domination. Revamped 3v3 map is a lot better, but the balance of champions is around Summoner’s rift for the most part. The different items help a little bit but some champs are near useless.

          Some Heroes matches do go 20+ minutes. I should track how long games go and how close they were. Not sure what the longest game has been.

    • Lemming says:

      Well X-wing vs TIE Fighter was possibly conceived as a flight-sim for people who don’t like flight-sims and look what happened there.

    • 5parrowhawk says:

      That’s sort of been Blizzard’s thing in recent years, though. WoW was a MMO for people who didn’t like MMOs – it leaned heavily on the idea that quests were ubiquitous, which brought in people who wanted more fluff and narrative with their collect-10-bear-behinds, and used the Warcraft name to sell to people who liked the RTS but wouldn’t otherwise go for an MMO. Hearthstone is Magic for people who don’t like Magic – I’ve a friend who despises the monetization strategies behind regular CCGs but has become quite fond of Hearthstone.
      And Diablo III is an ARPG for people who don’t like ARPGs… and want to see them all fail horribly. (I kid, I kid.)

  12. Heliocentric says:

    I used to play WC3 DOTA and found the items dickish nonsense, especially when generally ideal play revolved around getting certain classes certain items and gifting gold was a key part of tipping the battle early.

    Bravo to Blizzard and solving a 20 year old problem.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      They didn’t solve it. In typical Blizzard fashion they simply took a solution someone else already came up with. Bloodline Champions did the “no items” “all abilities from the start” MOBA first.

    • Moraven says:

      Blizzard All-Stars had items I recall and was a more direct dota clone before they changed everything around and focused on talents, maps and team exp.

    • Xocrates says:

      I still find the Awesomenauts approach the best one I’ve seen regarding items (i.e. items are actually your skills level ups, and are therefore suited specifically for your character and playstyle)

      From what I’ve seen so far (which admittedly, hasn’t been much) I’m not convinced by Blizzards approach. Talents being irreversible and exclusive means that “optimum builds” will emerge quickly, and/or not following them will either make you weaker or a target of abuse.

      This is far from my only concern about the game, but it really is hard to judge without getting a hands on.

      • Moraven says:

        Right now there are bad talents and some heroes have optimal builds, much like optimal item/rune/talent builds in LoL/Dota.

        Zeratul is a good example of 1-2 optimal builds.

        I like Gazlowe since he has a good mix up and style on how he can be played. He is a “specialist” class vs, assassin, tank, support. Witch Doctor is the same way and is also a specialist.

  13. The Random One says:

    I think a Hero Brawler should be something like Smash Bros. The war continues!

    • zachdidit says:

      Blizzard. Y U NO DO DIS!? My God, I’d play the ever living crap out of a PC smash bros.

  14. zachdidit says:

    I came here expecting my fellow DOTA neckbeards to be the most hostile commentators. I was mistaken.

    As a DOTA player, I don’t expect to play this game very much. But I enjoy and respect the fact that a lot of people are going to enjoy it.

    • satsui says:

      I love DoTA, but two things I hate are the length of each game and a rough start almost guarantees your team a loss. The game is decided within 10 minutes and the next 20-40 minutes is just riding the wave.

      • dmoe says:

        If you think that’s how Dota works, you havent played long enough or haven’t at all and are making it up. Because a game isn’t decided after 10 minutes. At the 10 min mark teams are just about breaking out of their lanes. And since some of the last couple of big patches. Dota 2 games start to peak at around the 20-25 min mark. So you don’t have those long-winded games you used to have unless both teams actually turtle away pushes and make them last closer to 45 or even 60 min. Which happens but it’s very rare and has been for a while now. Again, this is also not including turnarounds and the patented Dota comeback.

        The usual “standard” Dota 2 game is at about the 30-40 marks. But 20-27 min games are fairly common too.

  15. Nevard says:

    One of the most interesting effects of shared team exp that the article didn’t touch on is what it lets them do with heroes. As there’s no gold or items and other people can do your grinding for you, you can design characters that actually never have to be in lane at all.

    Their first dramatic example of this is the character of Abathur: He does somewhere between 0 and 3 damage with his melee swings, has almost no health or defences and isn’t able to mount, however he will periodically spawn an extra couple of zerg-themed creeps in the lane he’s nearest, can plant mines from long range (and talent them to be able to be placed globally anywhere he has vision) and most importantly, has an ability that places him into a cocoon and attaches a bit of you like a symbiote to an allied player, giving them a shield and allowing you to cast spells from their location. His ultimate creates a fully functioning copy of whatever hero you’re possessing at the time.
    People have joked about heroes who never leave the base, like Spawn Karthus in LoL, but here’s a hero designed explicitly to do just that, hiding behind your towers at all times and supporting the team with global-ranged abilities.

    Two more they showed off at PAX were Zagara (another zerg) and Murky (the Murloc). Zagara mainly focuses on planting creep tumours that function very similarly to the ones in real Starcraft (as HOTS is built in the starcraft engine, they even have the same model) to grant map-wide vision and buffs to creeps. She can dig semi-permanent tunnels which people can use to traverse the map quickly, and spawn minions as if you’re actually playing an RTS game.

    Murky the Murloc is a hero about which I’m pretty sure they said, “When we were coming up with this one, we decided what we really wanted to do was make a hero that sucked.” Murky has barely any more stats than Abathur, with trivial health and damage output, but can lay an egg in a secluded area of the map which respawns him three seconds after death (granting dramatically reduced exp bonus compared to killing any other hero) meaning he can almost immediately run back and return to annoying whatever hero killed him, as if you are literally playing as a level 5 Murloc Tiderunner from Goldshire.

    I’m very interested in seeing what other weird heroes they come up with that couldn’t ever possibly work in DotA or LoL.

    • Commander Gun says:

      Sounds good, though as long there is a character which can stealh and stab people in the back, i’m happy :)

    • Perjoss says:

      Nice! some really interesting ideas, I love the idea of playing support as I’ve been playing healer classes in pretty much any game for the last 15 years or so, with a little bit of tanking here and there.

  16. bleeters says:

    Be that as it may, part of me died inside when I saw Illidan riding a rainbow unicorn.

  17. Snafoo says:

    However fun it may or may not be to play, watching paint dry is ever so slightly more interesting than watching a HotS match.
    I guess the casual approach could mean they aren’t bothered with anything E-sport-like, although that is usually a pretty staple ingredient for this type of game.
    If they can be successful without it, more power to them, but it would be a first.

  18. Perjoss says:

    I really couldn’t give a damn about these so called ‘toxic players’ I’m not about to let some angry negative person spoil my fun online. If people don’t like how rubbish I am they can leave the game and go find another match. Sorry I know that might sound a bit selfish but everyone has the right to log in and try to have a bit of fun.

    I’m hoping they might have some kind of league system in play with good match making, so people that are not as experienced will usually be placed in matches with other gamers that are also *gasp* not as experienced, I know it sounds crazy, but its amazing how few games developers neglect the importance of good match making.

    I’m rubbish and I want to play against other rubbish players so we can have a laugh at how rubbish we all are, I don’t think that’s too much to ask, maybe it is.

  19. Groove says:

    “gross compulsory monster taxi”

    I’m saddned that there are so many comments and none of them seem to be discussing the wonderful metaphors.