Heroes of the Storm Beginners Guide
Welcome to Heroes of the Storm – Blizzard’s new game that mashes together their many franchises into one fun and chaotic game. With this guide, we will explain the basics of the game as well as ease you into your first games of Heroes by giving you a good basis of information on the many aspects of the game. This guide consists of two main types of info split into pieces – pieces with just factual information about the game and pieces that gives some tips and strategies for newer players to follow (these bits will be in italics). Keep this in mind when reading through this guide.
Heroes of the Storm is a session based hero brawler where the goal is simply to destroy the enemy’s base. At the start of a game, each player will pick a hero from a large pool consisting of many iconic characters from Blizzard’s IPs. Two teams of five players each will duke it out on the battlefield until one team is defeated. To destroy their enemies, the players will level up, choose talents, and make coordinated efforts to siege forts and kill enemy NPCs and players. Although that may seem simple, the game’s depth comes from the many mechanics and variety of different situations that occur with every single game.
Heroes of the Storm requires teamwork – at all times, you will be with four other players with a similar goal. With effective teamwork, games that might seem unwinnable can be turned around in your favor. Do not get frustrated if mistakes are being made within a team – just work together and get past it. Without allies, a single player cannot do anything against the enemy team – no person is a one man machine. The team is a lively machine with many moving parts – if one piece breaks, the rest can fall apart. Do your part in ensuring the team does not fall apart and try to work as a team and not as an individual. Taking a death for an important ally might be necessary, moving off from a kill if its unsafe might also be necessary – this game is about the choices made by a team, not by individuals.
In Heroes of the Storm, every player gets a hero to control. As it levels throughout the game, players can customize their heroes to their liking through a talent system. Experience and, by extension, levels are shared by the team – so long as there is a hero near a dying enemy, the whole team will gain experience for the death. With every level, heroes gain stats and their abilities get stronger. Some stats that scale per level are attack damage, attack speed, ability power, health, mana, and regeneration. Since leveling is a team effort, each hero will need to brave the lanes to ensure continual success in gathering as much experience as possible.
Every hero is classified with a role: warrior, assassin, support, or specialist. Warriors focus on getting into the centre of fights – using their survivability to their advantage. Assassins are usually quick and nimble, dealing heavy damage and surviving with quick thinking. Supports assist their allies through multitudes of helpful abilities and slowdowns enemies with debilitating effects. Specialists are a unique role; they play a special role in a team – even doing that, they do so in a unique way. Each hero has multiple abilities that help them shine within their role on a team. Every hero has a long-range movement ability – it usually is a mount that gives them bonus speed so long as they do not get damage or make any actions other than move. Then everyone gets a heroic trait – a usually passive ability that gives ties together their whole ability set. With that, each hero gets three more normal abilities – usually active, these abilities help define the hero and its playstyle. Finally, they get a choice of heroic abilities at level 10 – a unique and powerful addition to their ability set. Abilities usually have a specific mana cost, recharge time, and other aspects. As a non-combat extra, every hero has a hearthstone ability that after 5 seconds of channeling time will bring the hero back to the safe zone where everyone first spawned.
Alongside the steady increase of stats with every level, every three levels will give a choice of talents. Every talent can change a variety of things: bonus stats, special passives, ability modifications, or completely new abilities. The choices allow players to tailor the hero to their own liking and the specific situation in the game. Often choices can be personal preferences but more often they are all working in tandem – nicely coming together to create a coherent build. Killing enemy heroes is ideal, they provide an increased source of experience – the single resource within Heroes of the Storm that drives the progression of power but death will ultimately come. The higher the level, the higher the respawn time – death should be avoided. Heroes need to stay on the field at all costs (to collect experience, to provide manpower) – to help them with this, regeneration globes will drop from dying enemies randomly. If a hero runs over it, nearby allied heroes will gain a large bonus to health and mana regeneration for a short period of time.
In your first games, you will have access to a few heroes that are on rotation – these heroes are free for the week for all players to try out. Be sure to read each ability of the hero carefully, some heroes can be slightly more complicated than others. It is suggested that newer players stick to the heroes rated easier – it is not that they are weaker but they are simpler to be effective. After your first few games, you will be able to unlock a new hero with gold that you have accumulated – choose carefully, buying a hero is permanent and there isn’t a refund. Feel free to try out a hero you are interested in first with the “Try Me” feature to get a feel for the hero before buying. Here are some heroes I suggest for newer players:
- Raynor: He is a ranged damage dealing power house, his abilities are relatively simple to use and he has a powerful self-defense ability that can trigger automatically. On top of all that – his heroic abilities call down the assistance of powerful airships to decimate his enemies.
- Muradin: This tanky melee warrior will jump into the centre of the battle, smashing and stomping at his enemies. He can stand in the thick of battle without too much worry and his stuns allow him to be a fearsome warrior.
- Uther: As a melee support, Uther can provide powerful healing and protection to his allies. Don’t worry though, Uther can still hold his own within battle – using his holy abilities to stun and damage enemies.
These heroes are very cheap to unlock and provide a reasonable difficulty for newer players to learn the ropes of the game. If you’re playing alone, just pick whichever hero you fancy – the game’s matchmaking will find you other players and their heroes that fill well with you. If you’re playing with friends though, keep in mind that you want a moderately balanced team of different roles. At most, have two of each role on a single team – anymore and your team might have some serious weaknesses.
There are multiple maps available in Heroes of the Storm – even with this variation; there are similar aspects in every map that are integral to the game. Within every map, each team will have multiple outposts consisting of many different buildings as well as a main base. The base and its outposts of the two teams are linked by paths named lanes – paths where weak computer controlled characters (named creeps) move down to attack enemy outposts. Between the lanes, there are observatories and mercenary camps. Along with these, each map will have unique objectives. All of this come together to make each map unique and fun to play for many game sessions. Right as the game starts, decisions need to be made. There should be at least one hero in each lane in efforts to spread out strength as well as to gather the maximum amount of experience. Due to the fact that there are five players on a team, there will be uneven distribution of heroes between the lanes. Try to make good combos within each lane – a hero that needs more sustainability with a support or a tanky hero with a more fragile hero to protect them. Also be aware of movement between the lanes – you might want to be slightly closer the centre of the map to move to the other lanes quicker.
Each team has one main base, the castle being at the centre of it. The castle will attack enemy units that get close to it – prioritizing creeps before heroes unless an enemy hero has damaged a hero that is allied to the castle. The castle’s attack will slow the movement speed and the attack speed of the target it hits. The castle does not have ammo and can fire at enemies infinitely. The castle itself has quite a bit of health as well as a regenerating shield. If it is destroyed – then the team will lose. On the way to the castle, there are many outposts that have similar defensive capabilities. All buildings can be damaged by abilities unless otherwise specified. The outposts are built of many buildings – each an important aspect to take note of when playing. The outposts themselves will prevent creeps and enemy heroes from walking directly to the castle and destroy it.
At the centre of outpost there is a fort. These main defensive structures use its ammo to shoot at nearby hostile enemies. The forts have a total of 40 shots before they must start reloading – the ammo automatically regenerates every 10 seconds. Around the fort there are usually towers – these will also attack enemies but they have only a total of 20 shots. The defensive buildings will prioritize on creeps before heroes unless an enemy hero has recently damaged a hero that is allied with the building. The defensive buildings will usually deal more damage for their type if they are situated closer to the main castle. In front of every fort, there is a defensive line consisting of two towers, two walls, and a gate. The gates and walls give a physical barrier that enemies cannot past but they can be destroyed. The gate can be passed through by allied heroes but will block out enemy heroes. Both walls and gates can be passed through by certain movement abilities by both teams.
Beside each fort there is a single healing fountain. These can be activated by heroes by right clicking on them – in doing so, they will gain increased health and mana regeneration but the healing fountain will be unusable for a 100 seconds. Each outpost consists of one fort, three towers, one gate, and two walls. At no point, in time when the game is in play, are the buildings invulnerable meaning if a hero can physically reach any building – they can potentially deal damage to it. The progression of buildings within the lanes is a logical one though – the creeps will only follow the lanes and are unlikely to take long detours from their path. The buildings are an integral part of winning the game – or to be more clear, warding off the defeat. Pay attention to enemy aggression and pressure on each lane – if the enemies all suddenly group in one and start to put heavy pressure in that lane, respond. Defending your own structures is huge, losing too many towers or forts can mean a quick loss as the enemy gets unrestricted access to the heart of your base. Not only that, when the death of towers and forts – the creeps can automatically put pressure on lanes with or without enemy meddling. Towers and walls provide an extremely useful safe haven from enemy aggression – enemies will think twice before jumping in on your if you’re close to a fully stocked tower or fort. Healing wells can help keep you out in the battlefield – continuing to gather experience and fighting enemies. Forts themselves are huge defensive structures that can severely hamper the ability of enemies to destroy other structures. While defending your own structures is markedly important, the offense is just as important. Putting pressure in lanes and on forts can force enemies to take some focus off of other lanes and objectives. Some maps are even set up that there is a significant advantage to having your lane pushed up to the enemy tower. Not only that, if you creeps are at the enemy tower consistently – the towers will begin to run out of ammo, giving you free reign to fight, pillage, and destroy your enemies near those towers. At the end of the day, Heroes of the Storm is an objective based game. Focus on playing the objectives and not just for kills.
There are several types of mercenary camps that are similar in each map. These mercenary camps will scale in strength as the game progresses. At each camp there is an indicator for the level required on average to defeat the mercenary camps solo. This level is often higher than the team’s level – multiple heroes are often needed to defeat them quickly and safely. When a mercenary camp is defeated, the team that kills it will drop a regeneration globe and the camp becomes a capture point. Whichever team that can capture this point will gain the mercenary camp’s assistance temporarily. The mercenary camp will go to a designated lane and act as creeps to help push it forward and attempt to destroy some buildings. Mercenary camps will respawn in 3 minute 30 seconds after they are captured. One of the camps is the pairs of Siege Golems. These are the weakest mercenary camps against heroes but they are extremely powerful in destroying buildings with their lobbing siege attacks. The Siege Golem’s attacks have a very obvious animation and the projectile will not track the target it hits – this means that these mercenaries are unlikely to hit moving targets but against creeps and buildings, their long-range helps them push and successfully destroy outposts.
Another type of mercenary camps is the Knights and the Sorcerer. These camps consist of three Knights and a Sorcerer. The melee Knights will simply run up to enemies and attack them while the sorcerer stands behind them attacking with its ranged attack. While still neutral, the Sorcerer will cast a shield on the Knights to help their survival but when captured they instead have a large aura. This aura will grant nearby allies attack damage, ability power, and attack speed. These camps are extremely helpful in assisting a large pushing force with extra damage potential.
The strongest type of mercenary camps holds just a single Grave Golem. This monolithic creature has a powerful point-blank area of affect ability that, when it hits, will deal damage and stun enemies. The ability has a very obvious animation, it is quite easily dodged. This golem is extremely tanky and very capable in destroying buildings. Not only can it tank off quite a bit of damage from buildings and enemies, the damage from it is very powerful. With this in mind though, it is the hardest camp to take down – multiple heroes need to come together in order to capture it without risking death. Capturing this camp can almost always assure a couple of building kills if not completely destroying an outpost with some help from heroes. Mercenary camps are extremely helpful in destroying outposts due to their special abilities and stats. Not only do they provide experience but capturing them consistently can put huge amounts of pressure on enemy outposts. These camps are often a point of contention as both teams want to capture as many mercenaries as possible. Enemies will often swoop in to finish off a kill and kill the original capturer.
Mercenary camps are extremely powerful part of the game – overlooking them is a huge mistake. Make coordinated efforts with your team to capture mercenary camps whenever possible. The extra mercenaries in a lane can apply huge pressure on the heroes there and possibly force them to react heavily. But keep in mind though, when capturing mercenary camps – the team is pulled away from the lanes, other objectives, and experience in general. There needs to be a balance between working on mercenaries and continuing the progression of the team’s experience and level. The easier mercenary camps might only take one or two heroes – don’t over compensate for difficulty and massively handicap your own team.
Observatories and Map Specific Objectives
There is usually at least one observatory in every map. They start out neutral and can be captured by standing near them. When captured, they give clear vision of a large area around them. Even within vision obstructing terrain – patches of terrain that will hide a hero’s presence to enemies unless a hero on the opposite team is in the same patch of terrain or are otherwise revealed. There is a way to avoid being revealed by the observatories – stealth and invisibility can easily walk underneath its range without being detected. There are multiple maps in Heroes of the Storm, although they all have the same overall goal of destroying the enemy castle – there is usually a map specific objective that will help with the aforementioned goal of destruction. Whether it be capturing tributes to curse enemies or collecting doubloons to bribe a ghostly pirate – these objectives are usually devastating in effect and play on the map often revolves around the prevalence of them alongside the usual side objectives.
Map specific objectives are usually centred around many clashes; be aware of this, whenever you go to capture a point or fight for mercenaries – it is likely that you will meet the enemy team also going for the same objective. Bring allies, most objectives are essentially impossible to complete alone because of enemy interference, with some allies – not only can your team kill some of their players but also ensure successfully completing the objective over the enemy. As a general rule of thumb – whenever an objective comes up, players should prepare and move towards the objective to complete it as soon as possible. In doing so, the whole team should be able to get there in a timely fashion and hopefully clash and win over the enemy team in the engagement over the map objective. Keep your priorities straight, the objectives are almost always the highest priority.
Heroes of the Storm is a complicated game with many facets and concepts that layer one another to create what seems to be a simple game that quickly becomes much more complicated. With the basics covered, please check out the strategic beginners’ guide where we will cover more of the strategic elements within Heroes of the Storms. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy Heroes of the Storm.