Heroes of the Storm Beta Blues

Although I love Heroes of the Storm and have spent a ridiculous amount of time in it since I was invited into the beta, it is still riddled with technical issues even this far into the beta. Normally, I’d shut up and write a message on the beta tech support forums, but it seems like most of my issues are shared with others, including most of my friends.

Frames Per Second

I have a pretty good rig and can play most games on their highest graphical qualities (GeForce GTX 970), but get ridiculously bad FPS drops at the strangest times during some matches of Heroes of the Storm, no matter what graphical quality I play on. I can play at a smooth 60 frames per second on extreme or a snails pace 5 fps on the lowest quality. My frames drop to rock bottom while sitting in the fountain alone, yet run just fine during a crazy team fight where everyone is throwing spells at each other. It just doesn’t seem to make much sense, but does completely ruin the experience for me. It seems like this issue isn’t new either, as one of the most popular threads on HOTS’ technical support forum is focused on this issue. This needs to be fixed before HOTS has any chance surviving as a released Blizzard product.

Loading Times

Heroes of the Storm has really good loading times, especially compared to how ridiculous they get in games like League of Legends. I suspect a lot of the game loads on start up, leaving very little for the game to load when a player’s queue pops, where as League’s queue client is separate from their game client. The only problem is that sometimes the load times are ridiculously long, without any clear reason. I suppose it could be limited to one person with a shitty connection, but it seems very strange when it does happen. If this is the case, I’d suggest Blizzard find a work around, perhaps allowing the rest of the players to load into the game and leave the lagging player to enter the game once they load, with a bot taking their place.

The Artificially Unintelligent

Blizzard is known for having at least competent AI and while a good player can still get his or her ass kicked by a team of Elite level bots, they are also incredibly stupid. HOTS is all about the objectives and having bots that blatantly don’t even try to achieve certain objectives (i.e. Blackheart Bay’s coins) and cling to each other like they’re some stupid multi-boxing World of Warcraft player. Their strategy is as predicable as is robotically possible. A good player can completely lock out an entire team of AI by running towards a control point to capture it, then immediately run away, rinse and repeat. The AI will see the player capturing the point, run towards him and then run back to their lane once they see him escaping. I concede that artificial intelligence in a game like HOTS is probably always going to suck, but a few changes will help make cooperative matches of Heroes even more fun: AI shouldn’t cling together like wet toilet paper and they should attempt to capture objectives, but not at all costs.

But It’s Beta!

Heroes of the Storm is the best ARTS/MOBA/AOS I’ve played since Desert of Exile (my second favorite game in the genre), but it is also still in beta. It needs a lot of work, but I respect Blizzard enough to know that it will get what it needs before release. Let’s do our jobs as beta testers to let Blizzard know the problems with my favorite new game.

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