Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard’s latest project, and it’s recently entered the Open Beta stage.
The game enters into the genre of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and faces fierce competition, but its amazing characters from Blizzard’s other games and certain unique features make it a fresh and exhilarating experience.
Heroes of the Storm Tips
There are plenty of new things going on in Heroes of the Storm, which sets it apart from other MOBA games. This guide will help you understand all the basics of the game, be it gameplay, mechanics, or the environment itself.
Heroes of the Storm is in open beta testing, which means everyone can try it out, as long as they have a Battle.Net account. Head to the Battle.net Store and download the Beta installer.
Once you’ve installed Heroes of the Storm, you’ll have several options after a ‘Tutorial’ on the main menu. There isn’t just one single mode to try out in the game, and if you’re not a regular MOBA player, it’s not recommended to jump into PvP matches straight away.
Instead, try playing in Practice Mode for a few games with different Heroes till you get the hang of the game and find the character you want to start off with.
Here are all the modes on offer in HotS:
Practice mode pits you with and against AI, where you can learn how to play with new Heroes and familiarize yourself with the environment.
You can play with five other players against a team of AI controlled opponents in this mode.
Quick Match Mode
This is a standard 5v5 PvP mode through which you can learn to play with others and earn XP.
Hero League Mode
Competitive mode that requires Level 30 or higher, and at least 10 Heroes unlocked.
Team League is a competitive team mode, and it requires a five player team. The other requirements to play in this mode are the same as Hero League Mode.
Custom Mode is likely to be used in LAN tournaments, and pits your own custom set of players. You get to choose your own battlegrounds and enemies as well.
In Heroes of the Storm, the characters you choose are categorized in different classes.
There are four classes in the game: Assassin, Warrior, Support, and Specialist. There isn’t much classification in most MOBA games, but in HotS it is fairly easy to devise strategies and specific roles due to the class structure.
Assassins deal tons of damage and are what MOBA players commonly call as “Carries”. They are generally lacking in hit points, and majority of them are ranged. However, they have very high damage, and often get stronger as the game progresses. An example of an Assassin in HoTS is Starcraft 2’s Kerrigan.
Warriors are highly damaging characters that can act as tanks because of their resilience. They generally tend to deal high damage and make the frontal force in a team skirmish. MOBA players generally class them as tanks or “Solo Top” characters – one that will play alone in the upper-most lane on the battlefield. An example of a Warrior is Diablo.
Support characters are selfless, and their main purpose is to aid the entire team. Specifically though, Supports are usually paired with an Assassin or Specialist, and are experts in assisting with healing, buffs, and other crowd-control abilities. An example of a support is Malfurion.
Specialists are unique characters that specialize in a very specific role, and are thus characterized separately from the other three classes. They come in forms of Siege Commanders like Azmodan from Diablo III, and are experts in destroying Towers and turning the tides of the battle.
Hero Skills and Talents
Each Hero in Heroes of the Storm is directly taken from Blizzard’s other major titles (World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft), and almost all of them retain unique skills that made them what they are in those games.
At the start, every Hero starts off with 4 abilities, consisting of three basic abilities and one passive ability.
All of the skills are available from the start of the game, and can be customized using talents. Each level gained increases the Hero’s stats, and reaching levels 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20 will grant access to new talents.
At level 10, heroes will also receive an ultimate ability which is chosen by the player. This way, your Hero is constantly evolving during battle, and the emphasis on leveling becomes extremely important.
The Battle Arena
Unlike majority of the MOBA games, in Heroes of the Storm there is no such thing as individual experience.
Instead, experience is shared across the entire team. This means that last-hitting and assists don’t matter that much individually, and there is heavier emphasis on team-play instead of individual glory.
Instead, whenever a minion or enemy is slain, the entire team gains experience, so long as there is at least one hero near you. When your team gains a certain amount of experience, they level up, and as detailed in the Hero section of this guide, this allows you to acquire new talents and upgrade your abilities, making you stronger.
It is recommended to split up into the various lanes at the start because of this experience mechanic. Two lanes can be solo (top and mid), while the lower lane has two Heroes – an Assassin and a Support.
The 5th Hero can roam around at the beginning and attempt to gank (ambush) opponent Heroes with his/her teammates on different lanes.
Getting around in Heroes of the Storm is done through your regular clicking, but there is also an additional system called ‘Mount’. While riding a Mount, the Hero receives a 40% boost to their speed, allowing them to get around the battle arena much faster.
Mounts are of two types: you either summon a creature that you mount on and ride it, or you transform into a creature and run faster. The type of mount is unique for each Hero – some will summon stags while others will turn into wolves.
Note that you cannot attack or use an ability while on a mount, and taking damage will result in you dismounting. Using any attack or ability will also dismount you immediately.
Forts are fortified positions placed on the three lanes that make up the core of the battle arena. Each team has its own set of forts, and each fort is comprised of various structures, such as towers, healing fountains, gates, and castles.
Every fort is fortified with multiple Towers, which are the defensive mechanism for that fort. These towers attack enemy units and Heroes that come within a certain range to them. There are two towers defending a gate, and on tower that defends the castle.
Castles are the central structures in a Fort, and are the primary source of the minions spawning at that specific lane. Destroying a castle can give you great tactical benefits as it allows you to easily overwhelm the respective gate.
Gates are simple structures that progress the enemy progression through a fort. In order to pass through an enemy fort and get to their base, destroying at least one gate is necessary. Gates are semi-permeable – they allow friendlies to pass through them freely, but prevent opponents from passing through unless they are destroyed.
Gates don’t have any abilities to attack, but they are usually flanked by two towers.
Every fort has a Healing Fountain that grants a substantial amount of HP and Mana recovery when a Hero stands near it.
In addition to opponent enemies and minions, there are several neutral monsters in ‘Mercenary Camps’ in the battle arena that can be used to your advantage. These are usually large enemies that require a team effort to defeat.
Once defeated, they will aid you in your fight against the opponent team, and will also restore some HP of nearby friendly Heroes. This can greatly turn the tides of battle, especially if you succeed in defeating a rather vicious monster (or set of monsters).
Siege Giants are large mercenary monsters that have a terrifying ranged attack. Once defeated, they are extremely helpful in taking down enemy towers and gates. Siege Giants are relatively easy to defeat with a team, or even a well-leveled solo Hero.
Knights are four units of powerful melee monsters with lots of resilience. They are fantastic at taking down enemy minions and tanking against opponent Heroes. They are generally difficult to take down and require a collective team effort to be defeated.
The three-headed Grave Golem is the most powerful neutral monster in several of the battle arenas. They are large, tanky, and very high damaging units that are excellent for completely dominating a lane or aiding in team skirmishes.
They can also prove to be vital in pushing through forts and overwhelming opponent Heroes. Grave Golems require a high-leveled team effort to be defeated.
The entire point of the game is to destroy the enemy core. All three lanes connect the two team bases, and the objective of the game is to destroy the enemy forts in order to gain access to the enemy base.
Once you gain access to the base, you will need to destroy the Core in order to win the match immediately.
In addition to the Battle Arena and the main game, you can further customize your experience through Hero Skins and other options.
Heroes don’t only level inside the battle arena. There is also a leveling outside the arena, and it indicates the amount of experience you have with a specific Hero. You can acquire Hero Levels by playing with a specific Hero in Versus and Cooperative Mods.
Every Hero you acquire starts with Level 1, but the more you play, the Hero level upgrades, capping at Level 10. At each level, there is a certain award for the Hero.
- Level 1: Default Level
- Level 2: Second Heroic Ability
- Level 3: Six Additional Talents
- Level 4: All Remaining Talents
- Level 5: 500 Gold
- Level 6: Hero Portrait/Mount Variation 1
- Level 7: Skin Variation 1
- Level 8: Skin Variation 2
- Level 9: Hero Master Portrait/Mount Variation 2
- Level 10: Master Skin Unlocked
The final level is where you get the Hero Master Skin. Although purely cosmetic in nature, this unique skin symbolizes your experience and overall skill with a specific Hero.
When playing in competitive modes, having a Master Skin with a specific Hero is a true representation of power and skill with that Hero, and can help intimidate your opponents greatly.
Note that Master Skins aren’t the only way to alter the appearance of your Hero. There are many other skins available for your Hero which can be purchased that will help you stand out from your friends and opponents.