I recently read an article about Heroes of the Storm that attempted to explain why the community was 'friendlier' than other MOBA's like League of Legends or DOTA (which you can find a link to at the bottom of the article), but I feel that there was much more depth and complexity to the situation than what they went into.
One of the major reasons that Heroes of the Storm is a friendlier game is because of the main principle that the game has across all of it's maps - an event or challenge that is triggered by time passing that your team works towards capturing to turn the tide of the game in your favour. Whether you need to capture two outposts to transform into the Dragon Knight, or simply kill a bunch of enemies until lazer beams shoot at your opponents, each map has a unique challenge that can only be beaten by your team as a whole. If you succeed, you succeed as a team and if you lose, you lose together. And to me, that is what makes it much friendlier; the inherent fact that your success or failure is not about individuals, it is about your team.
In games like League of Legends if one player keeps on dying, the other team can easily become much more powerful and would be able to crush your team because of the heavy snowball effect in those games. For reference, the snowball effect is the principle in gaming that states a team or player who gains an advantage early on in a game will become stronger at a faster rate than those who do not have an early advantage, increasing exponentially until they win. In Heroes of the Storm, there are so many environmental challenges that allow you to turn the tide of the battle, such that an early lead does not guarantee a victory by that team. Even if you have a player who is not on the same skill level as you, it is still possible to win the game through working together towards objectives.
Heroes of the Storm Innovation
The other thing that I feel separates HOTS from other MOBA's is the ability Blizzard has to innovate the characters and levels and make the game truly unique in the MOBA landscape. You look at MOBA heroes and they are generally the same between games, even including Smite which is played in a 3rd Person Perspective. Because of the ease of HOTS, from the reduced complexity and ease of learning, there is much more flexibility in their creation of characters, in one part due to the lack of intense competition. They have characters like Abathur who is barely able to fight on his own, but instead powers up other players though 'hats' and helps in zoning, never fighting on his own. Or like Cho'gall, a two-headed ogre who is played by two different players. One plays as the body, Cho, controlling where the two players go and dealing melee damage, while the other plays as Gall, who buffs the characters and casts long range spells. The characters are so diverse, with different play styles, different techniques and such flavour that couldn't be reached in a game like League of Legends where there is such a competitive metagame and a nerfing/buffing culture.
Heroes of the Storm can have fun.
What the game has that others do not is flexibility. But that is not because it was designed around a principle of being able to do anything, I believe this stems from the game being designed around the principle of play. That is, at its base, Heroes of the Storm is able to have fun. The focus isn't on who wins or loses, it is about playing the game. And how can you be toxic about failing? The only way to fail is not to play.
Inspiring article from Zam.com http://www.zam.com//article/150/the-game-design-philosophy-that-explains-why-hots-players-are-so-nice
A game designer, producer, production designer, writer and editor, Jason has dipped his toes into many creative fields, perhaps too many. He lives in Toronto, writing, making games and thinking about dogs. Follows Jason on Twitter at @jwestonwong.