Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 19, 2015

Heroes of the Storm goes into Open Beta

This means everyone can now play. The perception is that Heroes is a very ‘casual’ game that is ‘very easy to learn’ and requires ‘no skill’. This isn’t the case. The game definitely has a skill ceiling, and it will take hundreds of games and months of play to ‘get good’ at the game.

Thankfully, you are reading Malstrom’s page. So if you follow these tips, you will NOT SUCK donkey balls at the game. Here we go:

Tip 1: Play the AI

Don’t be the idiot who goes to Quickmatch. Heroes is a very team based game. One retard on your team means defeat. A new player doesn’t understand the maps or the game’s dynamics. Stick to the AI.

The most important thing of AI games is to learn your hero’s mechanics. Every hero is a little different.

When to leave AI games

During an AI game, do you totally dominate and feel it is so easy? Then you might be ready for Quickmatch.

During an AI game, do you die? If you are dying at all, don’t go to Quickmatch. You aren’t ready. If you are dying to the AI, you aren’t ready for Humans.

Tip 2: Get all heroes to Level 5

Gold comes from four places in this game:

1) Leveling up your profile

2) Playing games (more with stim pack)

3) Leveling up your heroes

4) Doing daily quests

#1 is finite and will run out once you hit level 40 which happens fast.

#2 is a joke, even with a stim pack, as you won’t be getting much gold at all for playing games.

#4 is the most reliable way to get gold. Just do your dailies. Do them in AI games if you have to. Even if you are pissed off at the game and want a break, just do your dailies and go back on being on break. You’ll be wanting that daily quest gold.

#3 is that leveling heroes will give gold at certain levels. At level 5, you will get 500 gold.

While getting gold from leveling a hero to 5 is good, the real reason to do so is because it gives you experience with the hero. Heroes of the Storm is about heroes fighting other heroes. You cannot fight a hero decisively until you know how they work. Ignorance of their abilities will get you killed.

An even more important of leveling a hero to level 5 is for you to ‘shop around’ and ‘try out’ all the heroes. Every week, more than half a dozen heroes will be on free rotation. Keep trying new ones.

Don’t buy heroes when you start. You need to try them out first. I do not mean ‘Try Mode’ which is a distortion because Malfurion-bot heals you to make you think you are invincible. Level 5 makes you play enough games where you get a good sense of the character. Some heroes I started, I HATED. But when I got them to level 5, I found out how they worked well and LOVED them. Other heroes I liked well at first but hated once I got to level 5. First impressions are all wrong in this game.

When you have a hankering to play a hero (you already leveled up to 5) who isn’t on free rotation anymore, that is a sign for you to purchase that hero. Do you know why, dear reader? It is because of Tip 3 which is…

Tip 3: Play a hero you enjoy playing and stick with it

The purpose of the game is to have fun. When you are in Hero League and need to pick a character to round up the team composition, sure, you may not pick what you want. But that is a different environment and is about competitive play.

I recommend picking a character you like and sticking with the character as you level it up (instead of leveling tons of other characters not counting the new ones to level 5). The reason why is that by playing lots of games, the variable of your hero doesn’t change. You learn to deal with other variables such as your allies different heroes (or their incompetence), the enemy’s heroes, the different maps, and so on. Changing heroes is changing roles. You’re better off to stick with one for a while.

The heroes I recommend for newer players would be ones like Valla. Avoid more complicated heroes like The Lost Vikings, Illidan, Abathur, and Kael’thas. Some heroes, like Tassadar, say ‘Very Hard’ but are actually very easy to play.

Vallas are also the ‘easy, cheap, fun’ hero without stigma from other players. Nova players, which noobs love to play, have a ton of stigma against as does Gazelowes and Abathurs. If you choose one of those heroes, be aware that your allies will think you’re a noob-let.

For my own story, I fell in love with Jaina, and she was my first level 10. She just ‘clicked’ with me. This was before she became Tier 1 and most played in Hero League. I’m pretty good with her as I can consistently get 0 deaths in games along with doing great damage and team fight contributions. The enemy freaks out if you get to level 20 without any deaths. I had an Illidan chase me across the map despite his core being exploded because it was so important that I had to die. He didn’t catch me and his core blew up. hah!

My skill with other heroes vary. Some, I am very good with. A few, OK. Some, I am TERRIBLE at. Does this mean that I am good? That I suck? No. It just means I know where I am good at and where I am bad at.

Tip 4: Soak Lanes

Making kills and avoiding being kills is very important. But what is more important is that those two take a backseat to SOAKING versus FEEDING.

Soaking means you are GAINING EXPERIENCE.

Feeding means you are doing something that GAINS EXPERIENCE TO THE ENEMY TEAM.

What does this mean? Experience gain means going up in levels. Why does that matter? It matters because the higher level you are, the more powerful you are to lower level heroes, to minions, and to mercenary camps. Minions and Mercenary Camps do not level up so they just get weaker and weaker to your awesome-sauce. However, the enemy team does level up.

The larger the level gap between you and the enemy team means the easier it is to KILL or BE KILLED. If the enemy has a level or two on you, it is easier for them to kill you and it is easier for you to be killed.

Level gains also grant new talents. Never engage an enemy team if they are a talent ahead of you. The big milestone is Level 10 when the team gets ultimate abilities.

Also, deaths only matter in two ways:

1) A death removes the player from the battlefield temporarily.

2) A death gives the enemy team experience.

Early in the game, #1 is not applicable. The death timer will be a few seconds. Winning team fights at level 5 doesn’t mean much. It gives you some experience, but that is all.

#1 will make or break a game after level 15. When the death timer becomes 60 seconds or 80 seconds, a dead hero means the game suddenly becomes 4 vs 5. Because of this, in late game always stick together as a team. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t be that idiot who pushes a lane by himself and gets devoured by three to five level 20 heroes and then the game is lost because it becomes 5 vs 4 for a minute. What happens is that more allied heroes will die because of those numbers and it snowballs to the end of the game. And it was all caused because you were too exposed, died, and lost the game.

Divide it in two ways. Levels 1-10 to 10+

In Levels 1-10, SOAKING becomes more important than making kills. Every lane should have someone in it. Leave only to do objectives but come back. You only gain experience from minions when they die near you. You actually don’t have to kill them. This is why it is called ‘soak’ and not ‘lane clear’. Some heroes are not good at laning. Some heroes are. The point is to soak the experience. The Lost Vikings can split up as three and soak all three lanes if they want. They may just sit in a bush, but it will work.

After level 10+. soaking isn’t as important. However, it doesn’t become unimportant. Winning team fights become more important because of the rise in the death timer.

Also, go with the flow of the team. If you’re new, just follow someone else. Doing things on your own will almost always lead to your death or to problems. Doing things with the group will almost always lead to winning team fights and doing things right. Heroes of the Storm is not a game for individuals to shine. Sorry.

Tip 5: Look to Top Players for Talent Guides and Tier Guides

When you are new, it is better to trust someone who does nothing in their life but play Heroes of the Storm. The talent guides they put out can be used so you get a basis of how not to suck with that hero. Then, you can make your own choices about the talents and all. Some heroes only have one talent build to make that character viable (such as Chen).

I also recommend watching top level games or streams to see how the game is supposed to be played.

Remember that the most important skill in this game is not mechanics (like in Starcraft 2) or strategy but in teamwork. This is a team based game. Don’t be selfish and leave your ego at the door. If you are getting stomped, do not despair. Comebacks happen very frequently in this game.

The most common mistakes I see are…

….not soaking the lanes properly.

….dying constantly early on because someone didn’t master the mechanics of their hero in AI games first.

….not grouping up at the End Game and allowing yourself to be picked off. If you die at Endgame, you better bring an enemy hero with you or you are hurting your team big-time.


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