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Heroes of the Storm




Summary


Heroes of the Storm, also known as HOTS, is a 5v5 online battle arena for PC gamers that can be downloaded for free. Anyone over 10 years old could be fine playing the game if you are able to monitor them from time to time and turn off communication. They could easily enjoy the game against AI rather than online players and slowly develop their skills before going online against online players. In HOTS, teams must use a significant of strategy to compete for objectives and fight the other team to destroy their home base while protecting their own. Each character has a different set of skills and abilities that the player must choose from. The game is all about strategy, working together, and great dexterity to make the most of your skills against the other team.


Overall, the game is fun and quick, making it a great choice for kids who want to improve their problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination in a short amount of time. Most games will last between 15 and 35 minutes but you need to be aware that games cannot be paused if they are playing online otherwise, they may get a short ban from the game. We recommend that players be at least 12 years old because the game can be difficult as it requires a lot of knowledge of how the characters work and strategy.



Gameplay


Each game has 5 people on each team fighting against the enemy to push them into the enemy base and destroy it. This involves the characters fighting each other to gain an advantage using a variety of abilities and melee attacks. Even though there is no storyline in the game, it is a good way to improve your ability to think quickly and strategically without too much commitment to each game. While there is no story, each character has a significant amount of backstory which can be fun for children to learn about in the background and to introduce them to other Blizzard games such as Diablo, Overwatch 2, StarCraft, World of Warcraft, and other original Blizzard games. There are different maps that are rotated and there are a lot of characters to learn about, so the game can be fun for a long time.



Generally, the most popular type of gameplay is “Quick Match” which is a more relaxed type of gameplay as the game will randomly match you up against people online with a random map. Maps have either two or three lanes where players will attempt to push the lane all the way to the enemy base. Objectives will then appear and the team that obtains the objective will gain an advantage.



There is also a game mode called ARAM (All random all mid) where you and your team of 5 will get the opportunity to decide between three random characters. Your team and the enemy will all then battle it down in one lane. For more of a challenge, there are Ranked Matches which is the competitive scene that offer a great sense of challenge and reward. You will need to be aware that even though Hots can still be played, Blizzard announced in 2021 that they would no longer actively work on the game so there is not much new content available. However, the game is still active and there are still active servers at this stage.


Education


While there is no direct education, the game indirectly teaches you to react and think quickly while understanding multiple strategies to put into play. The characters require you to understand multiple abilities and upgrades which can heavily affect the success of your team. This requires you to read and understand the technical aspects while considering others. Each character has multiple talents which you will need to understand. Which talent is best? Well, this depends on things like the map and the enemy team characters so you are always thinking!



The map itself is a learning curve and teaches spatial awareness. As you have your main screen you also have a mini-map at the bottom corner of the screen. This is a huge advantage if you can juggle watching this and the main screen as you will understand where the enemy team is and what they could possibly be up to during the game!



There is also a component of leadership as you need to work within a team and make calls to overcome the enemy team. This helps to develop communication skills as at the end of the day teamwork requires good communication skills!


Violence/ Adult Themes


While the characters have to “fight” each other, there is little violence. Characters will generally use weapons (like swords or axes) to attack each other or magical abilities. There is no blood or gore and there is no element of someone being hurt or injured so it would not distress a child.



The characters and art style of the game are cartoonish and unrealistic. Some women wear clothes that are revealing, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. It is more similar to a Disney movie rather than something over-revealing.



Other characters can look more scary or gruesome, but due to the cartoonish nature, it is not overly concerning. I would compare this to the movie Nightmare Before Christmas which is a children’s classic movie.



Monetization


HOTs is free to play, but there are many different currencies that players can use to buy more heroes, boosts for their experience, and customizations. Currencies can be earned either through gameplay, completing quests, or purchasing with real-life money. While there is a monetization component, the games offer up to free characters that rotate frequently, so you do not need to spend money to purchase the characters, you can simply wait and earn some gold as you play.



There is a loot box system that can provide you with opportunities to get characters, skins, mounts, and emojis in the game. Each loot box with give you four prizes with an opportunity to get a regular, rare, super rare, or legendary prize. Loot boxes can be obtained through character leveling, in-game currency, or purchasing with real money.



It is important to be aware that the buyable items do not give any advantage to the players, so it is not a play-to-win system. In fact, it offers a goal for players to reach. Each player starts every game on the same level although some may be dressed up more fancy than others.


Safety


The game can be played against the computer, but most people play against real people to get the full experience. If the child is younger, we would suggest playing against the computer only.



In-game text chat and speech in-game is available. Generally, because it is a game that requires teamwork, it is recommended that the chat be available. You will need to be aware that the game can be competitive so there is a risk that players can say things which is inappropriate. However, players can be blocked or muted to stop this quickly, so this is always an option. There is also the option to filter mature language in the settings menu.



Tips and Tricks


In HOTs, there are specific roles you can play. These are generally; tank, support, healer ranged assassin, melee assassin, and bruiser. What suits your kid will depend on their play style. Get them to try out the tutorials on HOTs before going into a proper game so they have a feel for what role they like to play.


Also, if they are struggling to understand a character, try using the website https://www.icy-veins.com/heroes/ which have breakdowns of each character's abilities, talents, weakness, and strengths. This will surely get them on the right path!




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