Impressions: Heroes Of The Storm Closed Beta

Among my many professional failings is the inability to comprehend MOBAs. I understand the basic mechanics and have tried to enjoy both of the major players: gave LoL a real go for a few weeks then got bored, gave up Dota 2 after seven bewildering hours I’ll never get back. My regret is never reaching or understanding the fun part that must be there. Then I played Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.

HOTS began as a Starcraft II custom gametype called Blizzard Dota, made internally and intended to showcase SCII’s arcade mode. At some point the SCII team decided to scrap this idea, and begin making a standalone game using the SC II engine. This team’s prior experience is in making a game they knew would be an eSport from day one. It’s a schooling that shines through in the visual clarity of HOTS’ chaotic battles, but also informs a major shift away from tenets of the genre.

The major difference between HOTS and Dota/LoL is the absence of gold and items – the former accrued to buy the latter. The advantage of such a system is the flexibility a large range of items offers across characters. The disadvantages are that it’s an arcane list of stuff to be memorised – a barrier to new players – and any one character can only use a small percentage of the items. So HOTS takes the core principle of flexible upgrade paths for each character, and builds a new system.

Talents are a set of four options, bespoke to each character’s abilities, that you choose from while levelling. At the start of the game (level 1) you choose the first, and then every third level until 20 choose another. Talents can buff existing abilities, add new ones, or give passive traits – and they offer both large swings in functionality and subtle tweaking.

Take as an example my main man Stitches. He’s kind of tanky, with decent damage and a bit of self-heal, but his main role is throwing out a big hook and reeling opposing heroes in for a pasting. Let’s not go through every upgrade choice you can make – his talent tree can be viewed here – but depending on the game Stitches can be made into something that suits it.

Stitches could go super-tanky: capable of blocking attacks, regenerating health, escaping stuns quicker and so on. Or we could focus on his hook. Make it longer, give it the ability to hook two heroes at once. Perhaps add a stun effect to the Slam ability to incapacitate new arrivals. You can choose the heroic ability Gorge, reel someone in and then instantly swallow them whole – and drop them off somewhere nice. A lot of Stitches players amp up his Slam move, eventually making it a wide (and frequent) AoE attack that poisons and stuns. You could even make a minion-focused Stitches that produces a slimy Retchling to tank for him. Point is that there are four options at each level, but the number of possible permutations in any hero’s talent tree is, for me at least, incalculable.

Global XP is another major change, with each team in HOTS sharing experience and levelling together – other MOBAs depend on your character getting last hits on enemy minions for individual XP. This instantly feels like a good move for a team-focused game. In other MOBAs a character can have a terrible start and then spend the rest of the match a couple of levels behind their team. The HOTS system emphasises team interdependence and adds simple timing windows – if you can unlock heroic abilities by hitting level 10, and then somehow kick off a team fight before your opponent hits level 10, you’re onto a winner.

Design decisions like global XP are not deviations for the sake of it, but illuminate the core principle behind HOTS’s take on the MOBA ruleset. Blizzard’s designers have made a game that encourages and rewards team play, where the individual moments (great as they are) never quite overshadow the importance of working together.

The most obvious example of this is the level design. First of all, HOTS has more than one map. Second, the maps are objective-based, typically featuring a creature that can somehow be commandeered, or a territorial war of some kind. The objectives are great fun to see play out, especially when you end up controlling a big beastie, but also powerful enough they can’t be ignored. Though the levels differ in the type of gameplay they lead to, the objectives all force both teams to try to do the same thing at the same time – bringing them together at regular intervals.

This is the flipside of emphasising team play – you get an awful lot of team fights. Not only does this make for more frequent action beats, but it also plays to Blizzard’s ever-present strengths in animation and feedback. The fights feel and look great to be a part of, even when you’re not doing so well – and on that note, the final touch to this style of play is found in the forgiving level curve.

The levelling curve in HOTS works thus: teams can gain an advantage, and there are crisis points, but overall both stay within touching distance. Yes if the opposing team gets four levels up, you’re done, but that just never happens – and I’ve been in teams three levels down that have somehow pulled it back. Point is, you can lose a fight in HOTS and it isn’t the end of the world. You can even lose a couple. Which encourages risk-taking, crazy plays, and the odd YOLO for when you just gotta get paid.

This incidentally deals with a long-standing MOBA problem – it’s often possible for a team to have an unassailable position, but for the game to take another twenty minutes to play out. HOTS never feels like that. Even when you’re taking a battering in HOTS there’s some way to change the momentum. You’ll lose plenty of games, but it almost never feels like you’re fighting a losing battle. HOTS is all-action, all of the time.

This raises a question about HOTS – is it, after all, a MOBA? I’ve outlined key aspects of Dota/LoL that, without exception, HOTS has chosen to move away from entirely or replace. You don’t have to memorise items or study up on heroes to have fun for half an hour. Even the perspective is different – where the competition goes up and down, HOTS goes left and right.

The correct answer, perhaps, is that current MOBA players are not the target market. The success of HOTS will not be measured by how it compares to Dota / LoL. It’s about whether Blizzard’s unique take on the principles behind MOBA games causes a shift in the mindset of players that don’t play MOBAs. It’s not trying to break the duopoly so much as break free.

Blizzard has eSports experience and deep pockets. With that kind of backing, who knows how high HOTS can fly? It’s impossible to know if, over time, its design will continue to surprise or quickly grow stale. What I do know is that HOTS still seems brilliant after a few weeks of play. I’m confident I’ll still be playing in a few months. And I don’t even like MOBAs.

41 Comments

  1. salejemaster says:

    I am a really old Dota, LoL, HoN player but I havent played in a while…I am really enjoying HotS its kind of a breath of fresh air!

  2. derbefrier says:

    Sounds like this could be pretty cool. Will keep an eye on it. the changes to the typical mechanics you see in the genre sound interesting.

  3. Xocrates says:

    “Yes if the opposing team gets four levels up, you’re done, but that just never happens”

    I’ve won and lost games with more than 5 levels difference.

    “it’s often possible for a team to have an unassailable position, but for the game to take another twenty minutes to play out. HOTS never feels like that”

    I strongly disagree. It’s quite often that a game starts steering on one direction and stays that way. Nearly every game I’ve played was clearly dominated by one team and whatever comebacks there were was due to the fact that the respawn timers are ridiculously long for how fast paced the game is.

    But worse than that, that can happen even when as far as you can tell no-one made any big mistakes. The game simply does not give you enough feedback on why you’re losing, and objectives are too powerful that falling even marginally behind at the wrong time can doom you. I’ve lost games where we didn’t even see the enemy team for half the match because they were going around collecting all the mercenaries and objectives while we HAD to defend from the NPC onslaught.

    • Moraven says:

      Not sure of MMR type of matchmaking is in yet. This can lead to some poorly balanced teams.

      Also the fact that most players are still pretty new to the game. Maybe even the genre, as very few communicate in game.

      I do wish the late game respawn was a little less, since it is about objectives that push the lanes for you.

      Last few days I have had some blow outs either way. and I have had a game where we lost when their core was at 2% and many others like it where it was close.

      • Xocrates says:

        I’ve played for a couple weeks in the alpha, and got back for the beta. So it’s not stricly a case of just a few days play.

        That said, before replying I actually went and made a couple games. The first one (on the mines map, which I hate but seem to get nearly every game) was essentially decided in the first couple minutes, with one team getting ahead and staying that way. The second one (on the new map) was fairly even in terms of levels and kills, but still very much one sided in terms of objectives.

        These games also made me recall what I felt was one of the base problems: The maps. Most of the maps are completely rubbish for the game’s mechanics and rules. Which makes the (forced) random map selection probably one of the largest reasons for me not liking the game.

        • Flopper says:

          I’ve had pretty much the opposite experience. I’ve been in games like in the article and been down 3 levels and thought it was a sure loss and we played the OBJ and ended up winning multiple times. I’ve also played games where we thought we were bullying the other team wrecking every team fight and they widdled away at the OBJ and ended up winning.

          There’s almost always room for a turn around.

          • Xocrates says:

            It depends on the map, but generally the reason you’re behind is because the other team was better at “playing the objective” – coming back against a team with objective/map control is really really hard. Whatever comebacks I’ve seen happen were largely due to either one team having a better team comp and out-scaling the other, or getting a few lucky picks in late game and abusing the long respawn timers.

      • socrate says:

        the matchmaking isnt the problem its really that the game just feel like the same as we’ve seen before but objective are just stupidly strong…in other dota game or moba(i hate that name) doing these thing will give you an advantage YES but it wont give you that big of an advantage…in HoTs its such a big advantage that ive yet to see a turn around in this game…ganking is next to useless also and apart from the objective if you do anything else you are bound to lose…blizz is getting worst and worst as a company that used to know what gamer wanted and this is just another proof of this….people that play casually the dota genre want to eventually have an impact in the game…you just never get that in this.

        People saying this is different btw are totally misleading if you want something that feel different play smite it is utterly different while not well balanced it is still a good game with a really different feel to the genre…this on the other hand feels the same way while making it so objectif are more important than in other dota…they keep pushing it out as more casual because there is no item and such but all i see is its simplified without all the special touch that make this genre so fun to begin with

        The truth also is that there is tons of casual in Dota 2,LoL and Smite…and i think this will never change and its good…because thats how these game grew up to such popularity there wasnt always the hardcore crowd like everyone says..

    • Kitsunin says:

      It sounds like the game state itself isn’t tipped utterly in one side’s favor, but rather that the sides were too unbalanced for the losing team to take advantage of any of their comeback possibilities.

      • Moraven says:

        Thanks for catching my point. :) Fairly sure there is no hidden MMR (Matchmaking Rank) that is there to arrange the most balance teams.

        We just got Hero, Draft mode, that seems Rank, but have not tried it yet.

      • Xocrates says:

        Due to the shared team experience, and the heavy focus on the map objectives, there are very very VERY few comeback possibilities at the best of time.

    • 2helix4u says:

      The main issue I have with HOTS that I wouldnt have with if I didnt play Mobas is the loss of items and gold combined with a total emphasis on objectives makes the game feel extremely shallow and theres a couple of obvious problems right away. In LoL while you’re dead you can buy items, plan your build, etc, in HOTS which if anything has longer ress times there is nothing to do but watch the map.

      If you’re losing objectives theres no dragon or baron to take, farming or basically any activity makes virtually no difference compared to bashing yourself against objectives. You can’t ignore your lane to go grind gold in the jungle or backdoor a tower for that new item that counters their team, or you sort of can but if theyr bringing gold to the pirates or feeding the troll or whatever the objective is they will win.

      Also unless its been changed each champ levels up outside the match which unlocks customisation options. This seems neat but immediately begins to suck because you have to play the same guy over and over and from the brginning they will have at max two somewhat different playstyles. This is compounded by the lack of items which means the characters role, damage, health is the same every time. Its not like you can deck raynor out with spell gear to amuse yourself, hes always ADC and his damage is always the same, youll never deal too much damage because neither you or the enemy can build good or badly.
      The point of Mobas is making yourself imbalanced against your opponents, Blizzard is pathologically phobic of imbalance and so made a game about completing minigames the fastest with static Moba characters.

    • bobbyk says:

      I have played a LOT of this game and have to say a common mistake people make is an over-reliance on objectives. The simple truth of the game is if you push core at a key moment in mid-late game, you win. Some heroes are-push centric and this usually weakens a team when it comes to key hero vs hero battles even if their pushes are winning. As long as you get a path of walls down and 1 inner fort down. in late-game if you can wipe the enemy team with at least 3 of your heroes standing you can destroy their core easy. Biggest mistakes teams make is being overconfident and getting wiped even if they’re winning by a wide margin. Wipe them while they do a boss for an easy win. You just need a team experienced enough to know when a key moment to strike is.

  4. coppernaut says:

    It’s a completely casual, semi-MOBA. I like Dota 2, but I could see a super casual game like HotS being fun.

    • Banyan says:

      As the writer states, this must be aimed at bringing in casual players who don’t play MOBAs. The hardcore players are already in LoL or Dota, and MOBA players looking for something different are in Smite. Heroes of the Storm has to pull new players into the genre based on its IP or slick mechanics, as I can’t see it attracting people who are already in the genre.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        I disagree, lots of LoL players play ARAM because it’s a quick easy alternative to a long drawn out game of last hitting, sometimes people just cannot be bothered with that. This is where Heroes comes into it’s own, a game where you get to fight almost instantly that is over relatively quickly and requires much less concentration than a full game of LoL/Dota. Only it’s a bit more varied than just “one lane with towers, go fight in the middle”.
        It will also attract new players because despite the similarities to other MOBAs, it’s also very different in a lot of ways.

    • killias2 says:

      It’s official: the term casual game no longer has meaning.

      • Flopper says:

        HAHA I was just thinking the same thing.

        It’s been far too abused by wanna be elitist nerds.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        It still has meaning, people just need to stop using it as a derogatory statement towards people and games because that is idiotic.

    • Cerzi says:

      I’ve been playing DOTA2 for over 3 years, with well over 3000 hours played. Since I got into the HOTS alpha, I haven’t played a single game of dota.

      Why is it the majority of DOTA players, when commenting on hots, can’t resist calling it dumbed down, or casual, or whatever? And then they get into the game and expect to be shit hot, not realizing it’s its own thing.

      For me, calling HOTS a moba (shudder) is inaccurate. Even Blizzard want to call it a Brawler. It doesn’t feel like dumbed down DOTA because it’s such a different beast. For me, it feels like they took Bloodline Champions and added creeps and objectives. It’s added complexity upon a raw brawler base, almost an isometric Smash Bros with extra features. Unlike Dota, its roots in the RTS genre are barely visible.

    • BlueTemplar says:

      I don’t see why wouldn’t you call it a MOBA (or an Aeon of Strife Styled Fortress Assault Game Going On Two Sides ) (/jk).
      It’s not because it’s designed to be more “casual” that it’s not one.
      Doom, Counter-Strike and Crysis are pretty different, but they’re still FPS
      Starcraft, Homeworld, Dungeon Keeper and Supreme Commander are even more so, but they’re all RTS.
      In comparison, we’re only now starting to see some diversity arrive to MOBAs, Smite as an example. This is not surprising as there were so few MOBAs until recently you could hardly call it a specific “genre” – it was just a “subgenre” of RTS.
      If HotS (hmm, there’s an acronym issue here, same as SC2:HotS) is not a MOBA, then in what other genre could you possibly put it?

  5. OpT1mUs says:

    The game is somewhat fun, but it’s too shallow for my tastes, and it’s gets old quick. Meh

  6. Artificial says:

    The opening paragraph sums up my exact reasons for not playing these games too. I’ve tried to get into LoL several times and Dota 2 a bit too. I end up reading all this stuff, that it says I should be doing, but I don’t exactly understand the benefit of doing it. I just don’t seem to ‘get’ it at all.

    The thing is though, I want to understand it, I don’t want the game dumbed down for me enough so I can play. Hearthstone did a similar thing and it felt incredibly shallow even to me and I’m a complete noob at anything TCG related.

    • Artiforg says:

      I guess MOBA’s are a like it or don’t like it type of game. I watched the first DOTA International and was instantly hooked but didn’t get my key for over a year later so had to make do with watching streams. To be honest I learnt very little from the streams and it took a long time for all the acronyms to make sense. When I finally got my key my lack of learning was clearly apparent as I made all the usual noob mistakes, but I found that I really enjoyed it despite it driving me mental as I got my arse handed to me over and over again. I’m now almost 2000 hours in and when I have a spare 30 minutes I’ll have a quick game. I’m not totally sure why it appeals to me as the games play out in the same way every time but it seems to push my enjoyment buttons.

      If you want to give it another go, let me know and I’ll try to help you understand the game a bit by playing some no pressure bot matches.

    • nearly says:

      I think the not particularly helpful solution is that you just need to spend time on it. Once you’ve got the basic mechanics down, it’s just a matter of learning the nuance, and as a beginner, you’ll be playing against people that are learning it too. It took me years to not be a noob in WoW, and comparatively, the couple of months (without watching any video guides or that sort of thing, which I’m sure for some are incredibly helpful) before I felt like I really understood what I was doing in Dota 2 was a short time. That was probably helped a little by watching The International when I really started to try and play in earnest, even though that was the year before they added the “noob stream” that explains mechanics as the games go along.

      Once you understand the rhythm of killing npcs, then killing players, then killing base (or just defending), then you gradually learn more and more about who you’re killing and who you’re killing with, and the many different ways to kill or be killed. After you start to understand strengths and weaknesses, you start to see where items and various strategies come into play. My biggest issue with Heroes of the Storm is that I don’t feel as though there’s much room for adjustment, as the upgrade paths feel too small to really amount to anything and yet too hodge-podge to really matter. My feeling is that I can’t adjust to what’s going on in the game, and you get locked out of things that could be very helpful when you’re not necessarily ready to make that decision (but some of that may just be unfamiliarity). I prefer to go to League of Legends for my “fun” stress-release games because I don’t really know what I’m buying or why and it’s interesting to kind of make it up as I go along and see what happens.

  7. Ivan says:

    I played a fair bit of this in Alpha and for the first few days I found it a really refreshing and enjoyable take on a genre I hate and had thought I’d never play again.

    But then after those few days, my desire to play basically eroded. The game feels incredibly lightweight in a way few other games do: at the current skill level in terms of PUG matchmaking, there is almost no feedback between playing well and playing poorly, and how those things combine into losing. For example:

    1) A team playing against a Murky who has no one dealing with the Murky (sometimes two people) can lose despite stomping every teamfight and objective.
    2) I’ve lost a game where we were methodically pushing and winning objectives/mercs for 10-12 minutes, but we lose one teamfight and the other team managed to destroy our Nexus, starting from the second “gate” in one lane, in one push during our respawn timer. I’ve also won a game where the exact opposite happened.
    3) On the mines/golem map, the map objective is actually weaker than just collecting all the mercs while the other team mines. It just feels weird.
    4) It definitely sands off the edges of RAAEEGGG about bad players/feeders/whatever (though tons of people still rage), but it also makes playing feel kind of pointless, because the gameplay itself is not quite deep enough to feel rewarding in and of itself (unlike, say, a shooter with a high technical skill requirement where you can still feel mechanically good even if your team is awful, except in this case you won’t feel good whether or not you’re winning).

    There was also that giant fiasco with runes or medallions or whatever, and while it was actually a landmark moment in tester outcry getting an entire system that Blizzard likely internally tested for weeks/months getting entirely gutted and removed, that didn’t exactly make me want to play more.

    • jonahcutter says:

      What did the runes/medallions do? Why did players object to them?

      • Ivan says:

        They were basically the rune system from LoL made manifest in HotS, but with a lot more impact than just marginal.

        As in, a player that had all the good/high-level (read: high-grindyness) runes was basically unkillable by a player that had none, at least early in the game.

        Players were upset that there was a ton of grinding added in a game where the reward system is awful (gold is awarded rarely, and often for things that you don’t want to do in the first place, like play a particular hero or class of hero… or a win a game, which isn’t even up to you), but more than that, I think the big issue was that before this system, the game was basically player/team skill only, with maybe a bit of netdecking from looking up best talent builds online or something. But this transformed it into schoolyard MtG where one kid spent $20 on a starter deck and another is playing with Power 9 cards or something, it completely upset any semblance of a level playing field by granting massive power and advantages to those who played more.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    Well, this sounds way more appealing than any other of the MOBA mire. Mechanics which encourage people to be decent human beings to each-other rather than selfish rageballs? Shocking!

    • tjeb says:

      Let’s hope it actually works :) I loved the gameplay of LoL, but the ragers completely turned me off it. And the much proclaimed ‘meta-game’ sucked as well if you’re like me and just want to play a couple of rounds every so often.

  9. Brosecutor says:

    So if this is to MOBAs what Hearthstone is to CCGs, I fully expect to sacrifice my firstborn to this game.

    What’s with Blizzard making fun games all of a sudden?

    • Xocrates says:

      “all of a sudden”?

      Most Blizzard games (including the ones you mention) have had questionable elements or decisions, but they’ve largely been very good at what they’ve done. The thing is most of them are for a different audience.

  10. malkav11 says:

    Blizzard is awfully good at making games and making them relatively accessible, at least at casual levels of play, so I am certainly willing to give Heroes of the Storm a look when it’s closer to official launch (more likely afterwards), but they’ll have to a) somehow deal with the toxicity of the communities that usually surround this genre (and the large number of toxic players to be found in multiplayer in every Blizzard game I’ve ever tried, too), and b) overcome the many core things I dislike about competitive multiplayer before I’m likely to actually enjoy myself long term. I doubt very much this will happen. Certainly no prior Blizzard game has managed this – not Starcraft or Warcraft III, not PvP in WoW, not Hearthstone. Hearthstone came closest by completely removing communication from the equation, but it still frequently felt one-sided and unfun.

  11. Kitsunin says:

    Dammit, I had thought it was open beta which was coming at this time.

  12. Senthir says:

    Having played pretty much the full run of MOBAs and MOBAlikes or whatever you want to call them, I feel like HOTS has created it’s own niche.

    It’s the one you play for fun, because it’s super forgiving and lets you relax.

    I’m not saying League of Legends isn’t fun, I play a LOT of league of legends and I have a lot of fun doing it. But the major difference between LoL and HOTs isn’t the experience, or gold, or items. The major difference is that HOTS is a relaxed game, and LoL is far more competitive. In League, coming back is really, really hard if you make too many mistakes. When you don’t get many last hits because they’re keeping you on the ropes, you can rest assured they’re going to do everything they can to keep that pressure on, furthering the divide between your power and theirs.

    Coming back in HOTS is a lot easier, if you’re not getting last hits because they’re keeping you on the ropes, no big deal. Just make sure you’re at least in XP range of the minions, don’t let them poke at your towers too much, and the other lanes that are having more success will make up the experience gap and stop the power divide. Catch the enemy team out of position and win a fight, then the Shrine objective comes up and you obliterate a solid 1/4th of their base after you were on the ropes just seconds before. Each tower your death laser destroys grants a pretty significant experience boost to your team, and suddenly you’re back in the game.

    There have been very, very few games of HOTS where I felt like someone on my team was dead weight, or felt that way myself. There have been many, many games of league where I felt like someone was dead weight, or I was myself.

  13. Voqar says:

    This game looks leagues better than the current MOBAs – more interesting maps and goals and more of a push towards team oriented objective-based play (with less gank-o-rama) as in, you’ll do goals or you’ll lose, which I think is good, so all the wanna be kill count chasers will be far less valuable.

    At least that’s the impression I got seeing footage of it months ago. I’m kind of surprised how slow this game is moving when it looked solid in footage months ago.

  14. MojaveMusic says:

    I’m pretty sure this is gonna be another Hearthstone thing where longtime fans of the genre it’s ostensibly in are going to hate its guts but it’s going to become reasonably popular anyway.

    Hell, maybe I’ll give it a try. I can’t stand MOBAs.

  15. RIDEBIRD says:

    Tried a couple of matches and I find myself disagreeing with just about everything in this post. You, as a single player, have close to no impact, and when a team begins rolling, it’s over. Ganks are meaningless, solo plays are meaningless due to the immense amount of HP on everything and generally you feel like you could AFK and have the same impact.

    In DOTA I get massive anxiety for being terrible, but at least me doing well or not doing well matters. I have a very hard time seeing how five players just barely working together in a deathball (are they taking inspiration of what they did to SC2 perhaps) would ever lose in standard matchmaking. Just somewhat point arrows in the same direction, go as five, win.

  16. bobbyk says:

    People say it’s casual but that’s doing it a disservice. That fact about hardcore MOBAs is you have to invest a lot of time learning the heroes and item builds. Item builds change all the time, even veteran players like me eventually find it a chore to keep up with all the changes. The talent system in HotS eliminates most of that and allows me to get acquinted with new heroes and hero changes must faster. It’s also pretty easy to figure out what talents work together, so you can’t build a character wrong unless you’re really a casual

  17. Xeraser says:

    As a long-time DotA (6 years on DotA, 2 on Dota 2) player, I can safely say that HotS is.. (After an entire month of playing)
    Full of bullshit. Let’s start with the Heroes:
    Some heroes are way too powerful (EX: Zeratul, Nova) while some are completely useless (EX: Tassadar, Illidan)
    The rooster is quite good tho.

    Matchmaking: Utterly shit. Even worse than Dota 2’s. Battles are one-sided 95% of the time, hero kills aren’t worth all that much EXP, respawn times are either way too long or way too short (To the point that killing heroes is almost useless since they’ll be back almost immediately, same thing with LoL), games don’t last long enough to allow for comebacks, comebacks are next to impossible, objectives don’t allow for comebacks and most importantly: There are no penalties for fucking up other than the respawn time increasing slightly.

    So yeah. Either stick to League of Lesbians or Defense of the Russians 2, No Fun Allowed of the Storms probably isn’t the next big thing.