Heroes of the Storm

Hot Take: Gimmick Characters make Storm League unfun to play. This game need’s Hearthstone’s Wild vs Standard game formats or more bans.

HeroesoftheStorm 5 - Hot Take: Gimmick Characters make Storm League unfun to play. This game need's Hearthstone's Wild vs Standard game formats or more bans.


This post is going to be shedding my opinion on one of the faults in the game's design. One of the things that I hate most about this game in 2020 is something that I used to love in 2015; the gimmick characters.

As a former Blizzard Fanboy I loved Heroes of the Storm bringing all the characters that were my childhood together into my favorite genre of video games. I came over from League of Legends and one of the things I loved to tell people about in this game was Abathur. I thought it was so unique and cool that Blizzard stepped outside of the box to create a character that interacts with the map without directly being in the battlefield. I used to thing it was such incredible design, and that League of Legends' character designs were boring.

In 2020, I absolutely hate the character design, and this goes for all the gimmick characters (Abathur, TLV, Murky, Samuro, Gazlowe to an extent, Cho'gall, newly Deathwing, Rexxar). Over the years I've played diamond+ level HotS, dabbling in Grandmaster a few times in the past, and playing at this high level made me realize how god awful these character designs are. I'll try to break down my gripes with these characters as best as I can.

  1. They're unfun to play against. These characters are almost designed to feel awful to play against. When they're picked at draft you go from playing a fun game of HOTS to playing babysit the {Murky/TLV/Gazlowe/Zagara}. Which wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't for the next point:

  2. Most are unpunishable. Abathur simply isn't on the map for you to kill at all unless he makes a mistake. Samuro just presses his D button. Murky just respawns in 5 seconds, TLV just uses Play Again!. You get virtually nothing from killing them, just a trivial amount of xp that doesn't make up for what they're generating in the grand scheme of things. Designs like these wouldn't fly in League of Legends, and the proof of that lies with their "Abathur clone" Yuumi. Yuumi is physically in the battle field and she attaches herself to an ally in the same way abathur's hat works using her W. In the past, her W would be a free escape right onto another ally. The community hated it, so they changed it to make it so that if she was CC'd using her W it puts it on cooldown and she's a sitting duck. Essentially, they made her punishable, and I really wish Blizzard would do the same for these gimmick characters, so you didn't feel at the mercy of the player making a mistake. Don't get me started on Murky/Abathur 1v5ing your team on a 20 second death timer.

  3. Some change the way the game is played entirely. When an Abathur, Murky, TLV, Cho'gall are picked, for better or worse for your team, the game is changing. You now have to focus solely on these characters. Stop Murky from proxying your fort to death, get f*cked by Erik (TLV) while you desperately try to catch up on soak while the enemies 4 man push a lane against 3, draft an entire team comp vs Cho'gall or DW… Hell, even drafting an Abathur on your team means you now have to draft a comp that works with it. You have to play entirely around this one person. These characters take the focus away from HOTS and focus in on that one person. This games the game more stressful and angering to play.

  4. They're too polarizing in terms of balance. They're either sh*t or they're too OP. Cho'gall is an example. If he's made good, he's WAY too good, so the only people who can play him at a high level are people who one trick him. Deathwing is currently perma eating a ban slot because he's too strong in the right hands. Gazlowe is another one where if he's made as good as other melee assassins, he's too damn good, so he has to be a meme level character.

  5. They're polarizing in terms of player performance Most of these characters are considered terrible in the hands of 99% of the playerbase, but there's always that one guy who has mastered this meme character to make the game f*cking terrible for everyone else in that game with it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, they ruin games when people who can't play this game in gold/silver/plat/bronze who play these characters are mess up their team because no one knows how to play with that. These characters either win hard or lose hard. It's not good for a competitive game mode.

  6. There's not enough bans to get rid of them. In diamond+ you run into the same folks often. If I play a game with hypothetically "Wraith" who 2 tricks TLV and Zagara, I can ban 2 of those memes, but now the OP busted picks are open for grabs. It's a lose/lose where you either have to deal with OP things or deal with gimmick gameplay.

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels this way, but I know I've bottled this up for a while, and finally releasing it. In my opinion, Blizzard should come up with one of two solutions, and maybe you agree, maybe you think I'm a dumbass, but:

  • Create a Wild vs Standard game format difference the way Hearthstone does. In Hearthstone, certain cards aren't available for Standard play due to limitations & rules they set, whereas Wild is any card goes. It would be nice if they made a ruleset against gimmick characters in the competitive game mode (storm league) so they don't ruin games and let unranked draft take the role of the "wild" anything goes draft.

  • Adopt League of Legends ban system of double blind draft. In League of Legends, every player gets 1 ban. The catch is that the ban phase is done all at once, revealing all 10 bans at once, and any duplicate bans won't grant extra bans. So if both teams ban Deathwing/Xul, they won't know until bans are revealed. That way you can have enough bans to get rid of any potential gimmick player while also not getting rimmed cause now they have Deathwing.

That's all I got, boys. Signing out. Can't wait to log in to play some hots tomorrow and get taken on the one stop Lost Vikings pound town train like it's been all week (At least 20 games have been TLV, save me, please).

Bonus clip of
CooperativeIcyKleeWOOP - Hot Take: Gimmick Characters make Storm League unfun to play. This game need's Hearthstone's Wild vs Standard game formats or more bans.

gazlowe tearing down 2 forts with no minions in less than a minute with no minions during a boss fight. << This ain't fun to play against.

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