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Free Game Weekly: Wrath of Heroes

The multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre can be a bit intimidating. The most famous ones, such as DOTA or League of Legends, require you to have a good grasp of some arcane and technical rules and mechanics. If you’ve never played before and you try to jump right in to  a match in either title, you’re likely to not only lose the match, but get yelled at for being the reason your team lost. At Origin, we offer our own take on the genre with another selection from our free-to-play library: Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes.

Like other MOBAs, Wrath of Heroes plays like a faster (more action-paced, in fact) real time strategy game. There’s no base-building, and no  economy or multiple unit control like in traditional RTS titles; you focus on controlling one Hero during a session. Each session hosts three six-player teams (18 Heroes total during a match) within a 15-minute scenario—the team to either reach 250 points first or to simply have the highest score when the clock runs out wins. Scenarios run the gamut from “slay all your enemies” to “find and capture all the relics on the map.”

The   gameplay itself is pretty straightforward; if you’ve played any massively multiplayer games like Star Wars: The Old Republic or Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (in fact, Wrath of Heroes comes from the same developers of the latter), then you have a leg up. Each Hero has five distinct Abilities with varying effects and cooldowns, and both your Hero and its Abilities get further shaped by passive effects, potions, synergies, and Perks (much like in an MMORPG). Heroes range from traditional fantasy types like Conrad (a cleric who specializes in healing and support) to more distinct designs like Serkhet (a giant scorpion skeleton thing—seriously).

At the end of each scenario, you earn a sum of gold that can be spent on items, skins to customize your Heroes’ looks, and Heroes themselves (more on that in a bit). You can earn gold by participating in matches, or purchase valuable gems with real-world currency. For your lineup of Heroes, you have three options: Owned, Free, and Rentable. Owned are Heroes that you have permanently unlocked and can play with or customize to your heart’s content. Free Heroes are exactly what you’d think: Heroes that are free for all players to play with and customize with tactics, abilities, and perks. The catch is that they’re temporarily free, and the selection of free Heroes changes every week. Rentable Heroes fall in between, in that you can play as them during a scenario for a small bit of gold—an option in case you don’t own a specific Hero yet, and want to try one out that’s not part of the Free roster during that particular week. Free and Rentable Heroes offer a good way to sample the varied Hero roster before committing (both in-game and real-world) credits to owning a Hero and customizing him/her to your liking.

The way Wrath of Heroes pulls from both the MOBA and MMORPG genres—combining fast online arena gameplay with persistent character customization and large teams duking it out—alone makes it an interesting game to check out. That, plus the fact that each match only takes 15 minutes or less, makes Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes a pretty good “quick break at work or home” game that you can check out for free now.