Blizzard, despite its massive reputation as the king of MMORPG games, has faced some heavy accusations on its project on Heroes of the Storm. People have called it “the DOTA for babies”, suggesting that it is casual and cannot compete against the likes of Valve’s award winning MOBA series and Riot Games’ ultra-popular League of Legends.
Dustin Browder, a Blizzard employee who left StarCraft 2 to work on Heroes of the Storm, certainly disagrees with these notions, defending HotS and stating that the game developer giant has faced similar criticism before, and has come out of it successfully.
In an interview with Polygon, Browder stated that other Blizzard games such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft had received similar accusations prior to their releases.
“Honestly, Hearthstone and World of Warcraft went through exactly this same thing,” he said. “When Hearthstone came out people said it’s baby’s first card game, it doesn’t have the depth of a card game like Magic or whatever. But I think we’re seeing a different tone. Certainly people who have enjoyed Hearthstone are finding a lot of depth.”
According to him, people also gave the same argument when WoW was released, because you never lost a level when you died, making it seem too easy.
“I remember there was a lot of frustration in the World of Warcraft community that everyone could hit level 60… And so there is a lot of conservative belief among some of the gamers out there, when they play games, they get a little conservative and they’ll tell you, ‘You can’t do that. It breaks it. It’s not going to work. it won’t be fun and it will not find an audience because it’s not what I’m expecting.”
In his (and his work’s) defense, Browder stated that players tend to judge a game from how easily they can merge with a system.
“There’s a big difference between casual and accessible. A lot of players will look at accessible and they’ll confuse it with casual,” Browder said. “And they’ll say, “Well, because I can get into it easily, it’s probably not very deep.'”
Browder states that one cannot find complexity in the same places in different games, even if they belong to the same genre, and in order to enjoy any competitive title one has to adapt to it accordingly, and find the complexity in the right areas.
“If you come looking for complexity in exactly the same places, you will be disappointed. If you come looking for complexity wherever it may be, I think you’re going to be surprised and have a great time.”
Blizzard seems to following a very similar pattern to what they have been for a while now, absorbing all the criticism and relentless pressure from gamers and journalists alike, and eventually coming out with a product that is fairly successful.
A limited Technical Alpha testing face for Heroes of Storm started on March 13 this year, and the game is still in its embryonic stages, so we can expect Blizzard to put in additional effort and fine-tweak it. Who knows, maybe in the near future it might overtake LoL as the most played and DOTA as the most famed MOBA game in history.