Heroes of the Storm tips and tricks for team play
Now that the open beta for Heroes of the Storm is well underway, matchmaking is being flooded with new blood. While it’s very exciting to see more people pick up the game, their lack of experience has ruffled some feathers among the veteran alpha and beta players. I don’t particularly understand what would compel someone to spam chat with mean, even hateful things in quick match, an unranked play mode intended for all players, but don’t worry — I’m here to help!
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to run through the tutorials and learn the ropes from Uther. If not, I’d highly recommend doing so; you now receive 1,000 gold for completing all of them! That being said there are a few, more nuanced concepts that the Lightbringer neglects to mention. It’s okay Uther, I’ll pick up your slack.
In Heroes, vision refers to any area a team can see that is not obscured by the fog of war. This may seem fairly straightforward, but there are a few facets of vision that you need to know.
Friendly heroes, buildings, minions, and summons/spawns all grant vision. When one of these things is killed or destroyed, your team will lose vision of that area. Units like Zagara’s Creep Tumors, Sgt. Hammer’s Spider Mines, and the ubiquitous Healing Ward all grant vision as well. These stationary units can be placed in bushes to nullify an enemy’s ability to hide in them. Objectives like shrines and temples, as well as special areas called “watch towers” grant vision while your team controls them. And while towers, gates, forts, and keeps are all prime targets to take down when pushing a lane, keep in mind that the walls surrounding these areas grant vision as well!
Vision is crucial for targeted abilities and lining up skill shots. For example, Illidan’s Dive is great not only for chasing down enemies but for escaping a gank as well. Either way, Illidan needs vision of his intended target (whether that be a player or a wall) to use it; not having this sight could mean the difference between life and death for both parties. Some abilities, like Diablo’s Shadow Charge and Abathur’s Deep Tunnel, will actually cancel if you lose vision of the target or area before the casting animation has gone off.
Most importantly, vision provides vital intel on enemy movements that can, if used correctly, secure wins. Talents, traits, and abilities such as Tassadar’s Oracle, Tyrande’s Sentinel, and the talent Clairvoyance won’t make your hero more powerful or less squishy, but they do give you and your team information that you otherwise would not have. Knowing there are two heroes lying in wait in the bushes near an objective could save your team and change the tempo of the game. As the saying goes, knowledge is power!
Whether you’re laning or hunting for a team fight, managing your minimap is an important skill to develop. As we’ll see, the minimap provides much more information than simple topography. Here are some tips on how to use it to your advantage.
Keep tabs on the positions of both friendly and enemy heroes. Much like with vision, knowing where everyone is at all times is one of the most important pieces of information you can have in a match. Seeing where you can push, where you’ll likely get ganked, where to defend, how many enemy heroes are at an objective — I simply cannot overstate how important this knowledge is.
Of course, you can glean just as much information from the enemy heroes that you can’t see. If you have multiple teammates dead and you don’t see the enemy team killing your minions or destroying your structures, it’s safe to assume they’re clearing camps or taking objectives. If you walk into a team fight 5 vs. 3 in your favor but they have a Nova and a Zeratul on their team, you can count on those sneaky characters making their way to your back line to take down your squishiest heroes.
The icons for objectives and camps will change depending on which team controls or captures it. Heroes makes it quite obvious when a bruiser, siege, or boss camp is taken, or when a temple or shrine changes hands, but unique areas like doubloon camps on Blackheart’s Bay and skeleton groups on Haunted Mines will change their map state as well. In seeing these camps fade from the map, you can conclude that at least one member of the opposing team is there clearing it out.
It’s also noteworthy when objectives spawn and you don’t see those areas being taken. In the Garden of Terror, for example, if your team is taking the bottom terror and a quick glance at the map shows that the top adds and terror are still up, you might want to keep an eye out for a gank squad heading your way!
Interacting with the minimap is just a click away! As I went over in a previous post, learning how to communicate via pings is a great thing to learn in Heroes. Not only that, but traveling by clicking an area on the minimap is quite handy in certain situations. That being said, I have found myself in a few pickles because of this. Whether it’s running to an area before my mount cast is finished, accidentally clicking on the minimap during a team fight and walking right into a CC, or cruising right by a minion wave or enemy hero while I’m scoping out my destination — sometimes you just want to kick the minimap to the curb. Thankfully, Blizzard implemented a “Right-Click Through Minimap” option in the settings to alleviate tribulations such as these.
Finally we arrive at what is quite possibly my favorite mechanic in Heroes, body blocking. Everything in the game, from heroes and minions to buildings and bosses, has an element of collision to it. If you’ve been playing games like World of Warcraft where you can run through other players and (most) NPCs, this could be a big change for you. It may be a hard adjustment and you might tempted to tell your Azmodan teammate to move his large demonic butt, but trust me when I say that mastering the ins and outs of body blocking will be more than worth it.
Body blocking is available in both offensive and defensive flavors. If you’re trying to kill an enemy hero, getting in front of them and cutting them off from their escape will keep them in range long enough to get some more shots off and, hopefully, bring them down. Similarly, if you see an ally trying to flee and the enemy team looks like they want to get in position to block them, you can defensively body block by putting yourself between your ally and their pursuers.
You don’t have to be a big, beefy bruiser to body block. Of course, as a warrior one of your biggest jobs is to manage the positioning for your team and keep enemies from getting at the squishies in your back line, but sometimes an assassin taking even one hit for an ally will turn a potential team domination into a successful retreat. For example, in this amazing gif Illidan saves his brother Malfurion’s life by using The Hunt to intercept the last shot of Nova’s Triple Tap. Almost makes Malfurion forget that whole betrayal business.
Stick your enemies between a rock and a hard place. Blocking your enemies into some of the narrower map elements like the crates on Blackheart’s Bay or hedges on Garden of Terror severely limits their ability to dodge skillshots or run for the nearest healing fountain. Just keep in mind that many heroes such as Muradin, Illidan, Zeratul, and a few others have abilities that allow them to get out of such jams, so take care when engaging theses players because it may be you who gets trapped!
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