Heroes Of The Storm Swaps Arena For Brawl

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm [official site] is one of those games that I enjoy when I do boot it up but I tend to forget it even exists until I get an email about it. For me it’s fun to dip into, but it doesn’t stick beyond that. Today’s reminder was the info that the game is getting Heroes Brawl mode as a kind of evolution of the arena mode which I… don’t remember playing.

So what is Heroes Brawl, other than a reminder of how HotS is definitely a hero brawler and not a MOBA?

As a UK resident, the music In The Hall Of The Mountain King is irrevocably tied to adverts for the theme park Alton Towers so Blizzard’s trailer just makes me wonder whether Alton Towers now has a Warcraft/Starcraft/Overwatch mashup rollercoaster.

“Heroes Brawl evolved from what was Arena Mode, and now delivers an experience where players battle on unique battlegrounds with surreal twists and with custom rulesets that turn everything you thought you knew about the game on its head.”

The missive goes on to clarify that this means:

The rules of Heroes Brawl change every week. One week you may be playing a brawl where everyone is Nova and Snipe instakills heroes; the next week you may be playing as normal teams but on a map that only has one lane; your picks may be restricted only to spellcaster heroes to see who is the best spellslinger of all time… There are many, many Heroes Brawl variations, each one more unhinged than the last. Here are a few examples:

Hammer Time

Hover tanks for everyone! All players on each team are Sgt. Hammers – with thrusters are permanently engaged! The cores are invulnerable so it’s all about capturing towers to win!

Punisher Arena

Rack up points by killing enemy heroes and Punishers. The first team to score 100 points wins!

Lost Cavern

A standard map, except there is only one lane. How will you fare when the enemy is in your face at all times?

Heroes of the Storm

What I’m getting from this is that Blizzard is bringing HotS in line with its other competitive games which each have a “Brawl” in the form of a weekly event that changes the parameters of the game and provides novelty without being a full game mode and introducing problems like fragmenting the player base or weird queue times or whatever else. I’m guessing they just want a consistent brand experience for players (YES I KNOW), hence the naming following the concept around from game to game.

Heroes of the Storm

The mode will have dedicated battlegrounds, some new and some with modifiers added and some which have been changed to be single-lane maps. Blizzard are incentivising players to keep coming back to the mode via the medium of collectible portraits and gold (1,000g if you complete three brawls of that week’s flavour).

Brawl will arrive on the public test realm on 10 October and move to the main client during the week of 17 October.


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  1. Freud says:

    It looks brilliant. HotS games generally are faster than Dota/LoL, lasting around 20 minutes, but this should play even faster.

    • -Spooky- says:

      Try “Battlerite”. Just combat, no grinding.

      • Freud says:

        I played Bloodline Champions and it was quite grindy (or expensive) and the gameplay became a bit monotone after a while with just arena play. Fun at the beginning though.

        I’d much rather have a good moba with a side dish of arena.

  2. Nahadoth says:

    You don’t remember playing Arena mode because it has never been released. ;) They announced it last Blizzcon for a spring release IIRC but it has been postponed and apparently, eventually evolved into this.

    • Senthir says:

      Arena Mode was playable at Blizzcon last year(Alongside Cho’Gall) and it was honestly not very good. It was a cool idea that just didn’t work because of the awkward paradigm differences in champions. Some were just incredibly good at the Arena mode, most were absolutely not. Some were absolutely overpowered nonsense, but only if one OTHER specific champion was on your team, and if one of you died the other became garbage right quick. You could also get multiple copies of the garbage characters on your team, while your enemy team got multiple copies of the great characters.

      It ended up only being fun if you got one of a handful of champions, and woe upon you if the other team got them and you did not.

      It led to people throwing themselves to their doom just to reroll to another character, and granted that was at the relatively small Blizzcon audience and not indicative of what it would have been live, but it quickly brought up issues that I’m sure they realized they needed to address. And it looks like they addressed it by removing it, which is fine by me to be honest.

  3. stringerdell says:

    Havent played HoTS for a while but it does sound fun. And who doesnt love a consistent brand experience!

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