Friday, June 19, 2015

Heroes of the Storm: Some of my tips for new players starting out and thoughts on the game (Updated with Impressions)

I don't usually write about Multiplayer Online Battler Arena (MOBA) because I try to keep this blog focused on Card games and puzzles. However, there is a cross-promotion of sorts between Heroes of the Storm (HotS) and Hearthstone to get an exclusive card back for Hearthstone. You need to reach level 12 for the HotS account in order to score the card back for the corresponding Hearthstone account and there are definitely some tips you can research a bit in order to try to reach it faster. HotS is currently in open beta so everyone can start playing the game now.

Some of the most important tips are from Skill for fast account levelling. Generally, you want to to play Quickmatches and party up with friends for the bonus experience. When you start the game, there is an option to find party at the main screen. Be sure to friend the party members for the bonus. If you are willing to spend money, then getting a stimpack will make the process even faster. In addition, you can get a Wonder Billie mount (Edit#3: and icon portrait) if you make any purchase during the HotS beta, which is right now.

The other important tip is to actually use stronger Heroes so you'll have a easier way of winning; you can find various Heroes tier list ranking if you google but I'm sticking to currently. They have one specially for Quickmatch and is up-to-date as the meta may change with patch changes. There are free heroes rotation each week but if the higher tier heroes are not available, it might be a good idea to use the gold you earn to get some of the good picks permanently. I've gotten Valla and E.T.C. as they are of the cheapest and highest tier while covering Assassin and Tank roles. I plan to get Sylvanas for the Specialist roles and Brightwing for the Support roles next even if there are cheaper ones as I like their skills. When purchasing Heroes with gold, it'll be good to research on the existing bundles and any starter pack to see if the hero you want is found in the bundle. Although they require buying with money, I'll personally get them last in case I want to start spending money later. has a nice article on farming gold while Polygon has an interesting strategy on the use of Daily Quests to maximise gold gain. (You might be able to apply it to Hearthstone too!) Edit#2: Alternatively, you can try out heroes during the free week before deciding if you like their play-style or difficulty before making any purchase. Edit#4: You can also try out the hero in a shop to get a feel of the abilities but in a limited setting against an A.I. so it's better to make a decision after playing the hero in a free rotation. It is a good way to find out more about new heroes before you get match up against them. On the subject of tier list, is another site with one. Interestingly, the site divides the heroes into 3 classes; tanks, damage dealers and supports, which is probably quite accurate as well and less confusing to Blizzard's class names.

I don't have much tips to provide on gameplay as I'm new and maybe just an average player in MOBA games. If you are coming from League of Legends, I think it is not difficult to adapt to this new game. One thing to note is that I think there is a heavy emphasis placed on the map objectives, especially Sky Temple's lasers are really devastating. If your opponent team just focused on lane and reacting slow or not bothering with the map objectives, they will pretty much lose if your team go for them. Edit: One way of improving will be to watch other people play on Twitch or if you see a good player during your matches, check out the replay to see how they play and learn from them. Edit#2: More tips on the game from as well as a nice guide from there on general strategy (good to read!). There's also an option to remove Allied Chat in in Options>Social, which is great because some teammates can get really toxic and mean! I always wanted this option in League of Legends.

Overall, I find the game refreshing and interesting. It's nice to be able to play as some of the characters from other Blizzard games, like Diablo, and while the game has heroes with similar skills to League of Legend skills, there are definitely some unique ones like The Lost Viking, where you effectively control 3 characters. The issue with having so many free-to-play games is time. They all require a lot of time commitment and daily playing if you do not use money. It's always nice to have choices but I'm guessing most players will settle down on a few games out of the crowd. At the moment, HotS is still fresh with a lot of heroes to explore so I'll definitely be playing for a while, even after reaching level 12.

Update: Impressions on the game after playing

I actually stopped playing after one week. In comparison, I played League of Legends (LoL) way longer than that and still do occasionally but I don't see myself going back to HotS. One of the reasons is probably the repetitive nature of HotS games. After playing enough times, every game seems about the same; the maps always play out a certain way and things get uninteresting quickly.

The game also encourages you to play each hero and level them up to get certain rewards but I find it adding to the overall "grind". You grind for your profile level as well as each individual heroes which makes it feel like there are a lot of stuff to do but the repetitive maps makes me not want to do it.

At level 10, you also get a free "Stimpack", the game's levelling boost, which you can also buy with money, to help you gain exp/gold faster and the way it works is that it last for days. If you want to maximise the gains from it, you probably want to play as much as possible within the duration. It is suppose to reduce the grinding but by playing a lot during the duration, I got tired of the game even quicker which was pretty ironic.

I thought the huge roster of heroes will keep me interested but it turns out the game maps are just as important in attracting me to play. To compare HotS to LoL, HotS is basically like the short casual mobile games while LoL is like a full console game. I think HotS will be more interesting if it had the  standard MOBA map with the towers, barracks etc. Anyway, I've got the Hearthstone card back which was what I came for initially and it looks great!