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Heroes of the StormJun 15, 2017 6:00 pm CT

Heroes of the Storm explains team leveling in its latest introductory guide

If you’re a new Heroes of the Storm player — playing for the first time for the Malthael’s Bargain event, perhaps — some mechanics might seem strange or unintuitive at first. Even if you’re coming from another MOBA like League of Legends or Dota 2, leveling and experience works in ways you might not expect. In Heroes of the Storm, all experience is shared and your team levels together. Securing the final blow on an enemy minion isn’t required for earning XP; you simply need to be in proximity of a minion upon its death.

These details and more are all laid out in the Heroes team’s latest Core Concepts guide. Even veteran players would benefit from reading it; I’ve been playing the game since its technical alpha test and still didn’t know precisely how mercenary XP works. (For the record: You get half of the XP for defeating a group of mercenaries and the other half when they’re actually captured.)

During my playtime, I’ve found Heroes of the Storm players often underestimate the importance of experience and leveling up. Leaving a lane completely empty is a huge detriment; if a minion wave dies without a player there to soak up its XP, that’s XP you’ve lost forever, whereas a fort, tower, or keep will always be there waiting for you. During those early stages of a game, if you can bully your opponent out of your lane, you can deny their ability to earn XP. However, you should be cautious: if you’re the one who gets bullied, or you get reckless trying to get a kill, you could be the one who ends up dead. That not only gives the opposing team XP from killing you, but they’ll still get all of their XP from their line while you aren’t getting any at all.

Falling behind in XP is the surest way to lose a game. If your opponents are higher level than you are, they have more damage and more health than you do. If they hit level 10 before you do, they have their Heroic abilities and you don’t. When they’ve become more powerful, it becomes easier for them to deny XP from you by bullying you out of a lane or away from objectives, increasing their lead. If you make earning experience a priority, as well as denying it from your enemies, you’ll fare much better than teams who abandon lanes altogether.

And remember: In the early stages of the game, you don’t need to secure a kill to gain the XP advantage. All you need to do is bully someone around — force them back to their healing well or, best case scenario, force them to hearth back to base to heal up. Push them out of range of your minions and you’re good to go.

If you’re a truly new player, you might want to look back on Heroes of the Storm‘s Battleground Basics guide, too. It’s a solid primer for beginner mechanics and terminology.

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