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Heroes of the Storm Closed Beta

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After almost a year of Alpha testing, Blizzard's unique entry into the MOBA genre is entering its official Closed Beta on January 13. The game's evolution from a Starcraft II mod to a full-blown additional Blizzard franchise (albeit running on the same SC2 engine) has been exciting to follow, and the updates coming with the Beta test suggest Blizzard is going to invest in the competitive side of this game quite heavily.

 

For a quick overview of the highlights coming in the Beta update, you can watch this short video from Blizzard:

 

 

As the game's testing has progressed, each iteration has shown that Blizzard is learning lessons and taking feedback from the community on what will ensure the most enjoyable player experience. Above and beyond simple things like balance fixes, changes, the introduction of the new ranked and draft features, or previous feature additions like the observer and replay functionality, continue to demonstrate Blizzard's commitment to making the Heroes platform effective.

 

Probably the most significant of these changes was the August 2014 announcement that Blizzard was removing the Artifact system from Heroes and expediting the talent unlock system substantially. There are still complaints about the current implementation of talent gating, to be sure, but Blizzard taking such a positive stance on what was clearly a feature that drove players from elsewhere in the Blizzard gaming community or MOBA genre away was really phenomenal.

 

If you're not already, you should definitely sign up for the Closed Beta! A ton of new players will be granted access to the game during this testing phase.

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I like a lot of the Hero changes from alpha, but I still think a few of the heroes need tweaking (such as nova and zeratul) either due to them being too overpowered for hybrid classes, or just simply being able to do far too much damage with a high level of survivability/mobility. I hope during this beta we see more changes to numbers than we do to skills, but I'll definitely be trying out Thrall, and seeing what changes come to my heroes.

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I don't think there's any doubt in anyone's mind that there will be lots of new heroes being added as the beta progresses; Blizzard has barely scratched the surface of their available roster of characters.

 

My hope is that they can add Heroes that engender even further variety in playstyles to further complement the inherent distinction from one game to the next based on maps, etc. - characters like Abathur, as an example, show me that the developers are prepared to try some clever and unique things out as the game evolves (pun intended?).

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