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A Basic Introduction to Heroes of the Storm

4 Jun 2019

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A Brief Background

Heroes of the Storm is a multiplayer online battle arena game (more commonly referred to as “MOBA”), published and developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game puts the players in charge of different heroes from several of Blizzard’s franchises. You’ll find familiar characters from Overwatch, Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft and The Lost Vikings.

The game was released in June, 2015 for Microsoft Windows and macOS. It’s a free game and it includes microtransactions that allows the players to purchase cosmetic items and new heroes. The cosmetic items available to purchase do not affect the gameplay in any way, so the game is not considered being a pay to win one. You can unlock all the heroes with the in-game currency that’s rewarded to you by simply just playing.

In Heroes of the Storm, two teams of five players each are matched against each other on a map with two separate bases with a “core” that needs to be defended at all cost. Before each game, every player individually has to choose a hero, to play from a roster of 86 different ones, all with a different set of abilities and skill sets. Heroes of the Storm comes with a wide range of different battlegrounds, all of them with unique gameplay and objectives to focus on.

By completing different objectives or killing enemy players you will be rewarded with experience which is used to level up your character, acquire new abilities or upgrading the ones you’ve already acquired. Keeping a good pace in leveling up your character is vital to win the game. When one team has pushed close enough to the enemy’s core and managed to destroy it, they will be victorious.

How to Play

Heroes of the Storm is similar to other MOBAs in that you need to push towards the enemies base and destroy their core to win. The teams consists of five players, all controlling different heroes that range from 6 different classes which define their role on the battlefield. The Tank characters can withstand a lot of damage.

The Bruiser characters are focused on high damage output and good survival. The Healer characters are equipped with abilities that allows them to restore health points to both themselves and allies. The Melee Assassin characters gets face close with their enemies for sudden and high damage.

There’s also the Ranged Assassins, but instead of dealing high damage up close, they deal damage from range. Last but not least, we have the support characters that provide different buffs and utilities for their team. Like in all MOBAs, it’s important for you to find a couple of characters that you are comfortable with, since you can’t be sure that you’ll get to play the same character in each game.

As mentioned above, the objectives for each map is different in Heroes of the Storm. But the main goal is always to push towards the enemy base to finally destroy their core. You can read about some of the different maps and their unique objectives below.

Cursed Hollow

Cursed Hollow is a 3-lane battleground that spawns tributes in 6 random locations in the centre of the map. The objective here is to collect 3 of them, and when your team has collected 3 tributes, the enemy team will be afflicted with a curse.

This curse weakens the enemy’s minions, and disables the fortifications’ ability to attack players. This allows the team without the curse to make an aggressive push towards the core of their enemies. This game mode creates high intensity around the tribute’s spawn points, as getting cursed could mean losing the game if the enemy team manages to push close to your core. On this map there are also several different mercenary camps that will assist you in battle if you kill them.

Blackheart’s Bay

On this map, the unique objective is to keep an eye out for chests that spawns on the map. These chests will award you with gold that can be turned into Blackheart, to have him use his ghost ship to rain destruction on your enemies fortifications. When the chests spawn, you’ll hear a sound playing and the mini-map will receive an icon on its location for both teams. So going for the chests will definitely include player-versus-player action.

Heroes of the Storm

If you manage to win the fight of the chest, you’ll also have to leave the coins to Blackheart, and while doing this you can be interrupted by other players. If you die, you’ll drop the coins you’ve acquired on the ground and the first player to walk on them will pick them up. To activate the ship and have Blackheart shoot at your enemies fortifications you have to turn in 10 coins, and for each turn this is done the amount of coins required increases by 2.

Haunted Mines

This map has two lanes, what’s more, it has a mine that will open up during different times of the game. When the mine has been opened, it’s very important for your team to enter the mines and kill the neutral minions that can be found there. When killing the minions, your team will gather skulls.

There’s a total of 100 skulls to be collected and when all skulls have been collected each team will spawn a powerful Golem in your base that will help your team to push the lanes towards the enemy base. The more skulls your team collected, the more powerful the spawned Golem will be. If the enemy team have managed to farm more skulls than your team, one counter attack for this is to try and go for the camps with mercenaries that will fight for you when defeated.

How to Watch

About a year after its release, Blizzard Entertainment announced the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (HGC). The best teams from over the world would compete in a seasonal format, and the top players would then face off each other in a Global Championship.

The Heroes of the Storm Global Championship were played annually, up until 2019 when Blizzard unfortunately announced that they would cancel the championships. Blizzard made the decision to downsize the team of developers that maintained the game, and instead move them over to new projects.

With this decision they unfortunately didn’t have enough resources to continue to host the HGC. This was to the demise of many people within the scene, since many made their livelihood from playing the game professionally. Even though the leagues have been cancelled, Blizzard is still supporting the game, with minor updates being seldom released. So if you want to play the game you can still do so, as the game still have a pretty solid player base.

If you still want to see how the game is played professionally, you can visit the official Blizzard website for VODs from old tournament and matches.

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