With the recent news of Heroes of the Storm entering open beta on the 19th of May, we decided to provide you with a detailed guide for everyone coming from League of Legends to try the game. As a player who has been around since beta in both games, I will touch on how to go for Heroes in your first steps.
Although everyone else calls it a MOBA, Blizzard sought to create a game separate from that genre's true conventions. Thus, the Hero Brawler was born. Deemed by some as too casual, the game actually compensates for its low skill floor with an extremely high skill ceiling, making it perfect for both casual and competitive gamers. Without further ado let’s discuss what a League of Legends player needs to know coming into this.
In League of Legends you mainly have the action on the Summoner’s rift. It does have three more maps, but they are not as developed and fill other purposes in the game.
Playing on the same map has its pros and cons, but when coming into Heroes of the Storm you have to forget them. In Heroes the battlegrounds are seven, with more to come. Each has a unique primary objective that could lead you to victory, with a set of secondary ones that can sometimes help you compensate the loss of the primary one or power up the effect of winning it.
This comes with a huge set of possible strategies to win. In general a team cannot afford to give up the primary objective without paying too high of a cost. This diversity requires from you to have a more extensive knowledge of more scenarios in comparison to League as the timers of objectives as well as the objective mechanics on each map are vastly different.
My biggest problem facing this was that I could not just perform the same “cheese” and snowball every game, since I wasn’t playing on the same map every game.
There are currently 35 heroes in Heroes of the Storm. Of course this cannot match the diversity of more than a hundred League of Legends champions, but it is important to note that the Meta in
Heroes is not as cruel. All 35 heroes are playable on a high level, with each having some advantages depending on the map you are playing on.
The main types of Heroes are “Assassin”, which includes the Heroes equivalent of an “AD carry”, “Specialist” which is a hero that can push structures in haste and also sometimes has a lot of early game damage. Most of the specialists currently bring a totally different gaming experience with the only ones that are more intuitive and easier to pick up being Sylvanas Windrunner and Zagara.
A few good mentions would be Abathur, a hero that doesn’t directly fight, but instead can buff others from the safety of his base, and Lost Vikings – three heroes in one, extremely rewarding if mastered, requiring an amount of micro-ing skill.
The game also has “Warrior” – heroes that serve as “Bruisers” and “Tanks” and last but definitely not least “Support”. The “Support” class are a mash-up of massive heals, crowd controls and disables and are a force to be reckoned with, something that can’t always be said for the League
For starters the average game length is around 20 minutes, but it is so action packed that every minute counts so it ends up feeling like you played a lot longer. Experience here is shared, so it
is important not to miss out on it. Your whole team has the same level so making sure you take as much XP as the enemy team is essential. Keeping a person on every lane is the best way to do it, so
you have control of this resource that helps you for obtaining “talents” the item equivalent that I will discuss further.
As you lane you have a “healing fountain” behind every gate with which you can replenish both your mana and health. Since it is over-time replenishment you can also take it to be more beefy in the upcoming objective fight. The cooldown of this is 100 seconds.
It is important to note – this game also has a jungle, but defeating it is a lot more profitable/hard – the mercenaries you kill join your side and take a near lane starting to push it. There are two types of camps – Bruiser camp/Knights – units that have higher hp and go along your creep wave and the Siege camp – two Stone giants that throw stones outside of turret range.
Ignoring them when the enemy took them usually results in them pushing the lane they took pretty hard. In order to capture them you have to stand on a circle that appears on their spawn spot after you defeat them.
Making sure someone stays there is essential, since a cloaked enemy could have passed unnoticed and can take them for his team instead. On some maps you also have a boss – a powerful pushing unit
that goes straight to the enemy structures. The mechanics of taking him are the same.
Moving around is a lot more swift in Heroes, having the opportunity to run on a mount (or fly depending on your hero) around the map. The mount adds 40% move speed, which makes contesting and calling objectives a lot of fun. It is important to know that creeps will attack you on sight regardless if you are attacking them, so in many cases they can unmount you without you expecting it at first.
That mounting mechanic is the reason why a call can almost always go wrong (unless you wiped the whole enemy team). When suffering damage your hero is immediately unmounted with 3 sec cooldown to
Vision is also treated differently, wards do not exist, but there are some heroes in the game with spells that can serve as warding.
Turrets do not reveal invisible units, but invisible units are also not literally invisible, the mechanic is rather called “cloak” and while a hero is “cloaked” you can see the surface slightly flickering where he moves. That flickering is a lot bigger if the hero is on a mount.
This is pretty great since instead of destroying the invisibility mechanic, something that Riot did in Season 2 of League, Blizzard just gave it a good counter play.
In League of Legends we know that turrets hit you harder with every consecutive hit. This is not true for Heroes, where they slow you, and so diving has a lot different approach to it. Towers in Heroes also have ammunition, so pushing usually results into the tower eventually running of ammo and stopping its attacks altogether. After some time, if the tower is not destroyed it slowly replenishes its ammo.
Coming from towers, here is a main difference. In Heroes the first thing you need to push is a gate backed up by 2 towers. You can jump over the gate, but you cannot walk through it. The two towers also have two walls around them that block skillshots.
That also goes for the towers and gates – destructible terrain blocks skillshots in this game. For example if Nova uses her “Triple tap” (an ability similar to Caitlyn’s ult) and you hide behind a
gate/wall/tower, the ability will actually hit and deal damage to the building and not to you.
Behind the gates you have a Fort – a tower with a lot more ammo than usual towers, backed up by another tower. Assuming you push that you reach another gate similar to the first one and behind it you can find a Keep backed by a tower. By pushing the Keep you get a catapult in your creep wave, that hits building from outside the tower range.
Assuming you push all that, the enemy Core (equivalent of Nexus in League) is open. The Core is a lot less friendly, than the Nexus though - it attacks you and it doesn’t care if you are cloaked or not. Adding to that it has a big shield before you even do damage to it, so unless it is already really low, solo-ing it is not possible.
In the load screen of every battleground you have an explanation on what you need to do. None of them have any remotely close objective to League of Legends and all are very different from one another. For some possible strategies on those maps you can visit our guides where we suggest ways of playing.
- At Cursed Hollow tributes spawn sort of randomly around the map and getting three means your enemy team is cursed for around one minute with its creeps all falling to 1 hp and their structures
not firing. The map has two bosses – top and bot.
- At Gardens Terror you need to collect seeds from those little creeps as well as a Big seed boss every time they are announced to spawn. Getting 100 seeds gives your team the chance to take over
a powerful pushing machine – the Garden Terror and slay your enemies‘ defenses. The map has no bosses.
- Dragon shire leads to the same result – only this time your team has to take control of two shrines and then make this massive statue in the middle of the map come alive. The map has no
- At Blackheart’s Bay you collect doubloons – the currency which you need to pay with to this pirate standing to a ship. After you pay him he starts bombing your enemies’ structures. You get
doubloons from chests (the first spawning mid and bot at 0:50 sec) and from killing mercenary camps (two coins fall per camp). If you kill an enemy, his coins fall and you can pick them up. The map
has one boss.
- At Haunted Mines, the only two lane map, you have the mines opening after some time of laning and skull camps waiting for you there. Taking more skulls is important since a huge Golem spawns
for each team on the opposite lane and the skulls determine how strong he is. This map has no bosses.
- At Sky Temple, there are three temples. When they spawn you have to stand on them while their “guardians” punch you. This makes holding a temple alone rather hard. Standing on them means they
are going to hit enemy structures with beam-like attacks. After some time, the temple’s power is used and you can leave it as it lashes out on a final series of fast attacks on your enemy
structures. The map has one boss.
- At Tomb of the Spider Queen, gems fall from the spider creeps, and like in Blackheart’s bay you have to collect and pay, this time in order to get weavers and their aid in pushing. Here you also drop gems on death but they can only be picked up by allies. The map has one boss.
In Heroes you don’t have items, but you have a talent tree that you can choose form on levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20. Each hero has a unique tree corresponding to his abilities, with only a few talents that are universal for some types of heroes.
It might seem bizarre to a League player, but it is refreshing, one of the things I was getting frustrated in League was building the same things over and over, since the optimal builds were not different and rarely changed.
The talents can be used differently and can be chosen according to team comp and map, making this “build” diversity rather interesting.
The equivalent of IP in Heroes is gold. You earn 30 gold if you win and 20 if you lose, with the XP that you earn to level your hero and account up depending on the total XP your team farmed in the game.
That’s right – you level your hero out of the game – by leveling him you get access to all his possible talents, free skin recolors, that are valid for default and purchased skins, gold bonuses,
new profile avatars and at lvl 10 - an unlockable Master skin that you can only unlock with 10k gold.
The hero prices are 2k/4k/7k/10k. At first the grind seems big, but as a new player you can farm up to 30k gold only from bonuses of leveling your account, not counting the bonuses from leveling different heroes and fulfilling daily quests. Daily quests give you from 200 to 800 gold depending on what the quest is.
You also have an XP party bonus of 50% when playing with friends, which helps you get those hero bonuses faster. This makes the grind similar to the League one, and with the heroes being only 35 right now, a lot easier to unlock a majority.
For three months of play I've unlocked 20 heroes, and as a comparison for 7 years of League, 4 of them actively playing, I still have 10 champions that I have not unlocked.
Forget watching your replays on third-party services similar to op.gg or LoL replays, HoTS has a built-in replay system accessible from the client. This way you can easily watch your replays, if you are adamant on improving.
Other than that, you can access fun statistics about your most played heroes as well as your map win rate. With the game being in beta I expect a lot more improvements in the client, which overall feels like a breath of fresh air after struggling with the League of Legends one with all its stability issues and bugs.
“All” chat is disabled, so no mockery that appears in LoL. Still in the allies chat arguments can arise, but so far these are not common cases as the game is in beta. All heroes have interactions, thanking to each other for the heals, advising each other to use the healing fountain, literally calling an objective and even encouraging a come-back.
Added to that we have some specific lore interactions and some new ones, with Kerrigan exclaiming “What's up with all these bratty princes anyways?” after killing Arthas or Illidan and Malfurion having a little chat in the beginning of the game with Malfurion saying: “Nature abhors fel magic, you must realize this?” and Illidan replying “Oh get over yourself!”.
As you play you hear a lot more of those and that makes the game so fun that even the bitterest flamer has his mood improved.
Heroes of the Storm is a fresh MOBA alternative and the biggest mistake one can make is play a few games and deem it “too easy”. As in all other MOBAs you play your first few games with new players and none of you knows what he is doing.
In order to get the real grasp of the game you need to play more and as you play more Heroes has significantly more to offer with its strategic diversity and overall gameplay atmosphere.
How will Heroes fare after its release is up to future to tell, but with its current state it is a real contender for the “next big thing”.