Heroes of the Storm: Tips & Tricks

heroes-of-the-storm 2.0
You don't have to be stuck in bronze forever!

So, you wanna play a MOBA? Heroes of the Storm (HotS) is a great place to start, with enough exciting maps, heroes, and objectives to keep every game entertaining. But now that you’re here, you may find yourself bumping up against the tiers of Hero League, frustrated and bemused, not sure how to breakthrough against an enemy team that always seems to have the jump on you.

Whether you’re just learning, or have been struggling to climb the ranked ladder, these tips will help you gain confidence and take your gameplay to the next level.

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 brought changes to the laning phase, stealth, minions camps and more

Soak the Lanes

One of the most important parts of any Heroes of the Storm game is gaining experience points to level up. As your team levels up, your heroes will become more powerful and unlock stronger abilities and talents. Earn reliable experience by clearing the minions that spawn from the enemy core on each lane of the battlefield, a.k.a. “soak the lane”.

Reaching higher levels fast is the most effective way to gain an advantage, and soaking lanes is the most reliable way to level up.  

Trying to chase down a big kill on an enemy hero is enticing but, making sure your team has a hero in each lane of the battleground is a fool-proof way to gain experience. As you push the lane you may also have the chance to move up with your own wave of minions and take out enemy structures for a larger chunk of experience points.

Since the release of Heroes 2.0, it’s even more important to soak the lanes. Because towers no longer run out of ammunition, you’ll miss out on any experience from minions that die to your own towers while you’re off trying to get the jump on an enemy hero.

Make Use of Minions

The area between lanes is a no-man’s land filled with mercenary camps that spawn powerful minions. If you defeat the minions at the camp they will fight for you, pushing down the nearest lane to help take out enemy structures. It takes some time and teamwork to defeat the camps, but it is well worth it.

Try to convert several camps in a short time to build up a powerful wave for you to push alongside. Time a minion wave to push while the map objective is active to gain extra value. Your opponents are forced to choose between clearing the minions or focusing on the objective. It’s a win-win! Don’t forget, when a minion enters the range of a tower or other structure the tower will fire at the minions first. This leaves your team free to take out structures or focus on getting a kill.

If you don’t claim the camps on your side of the battleground first, beware- the enemy team can claim your camps to gain an advantage against you.

Be the Best Assassin/Warrior/Support/Specialist You Can Be!

Hero roles in Heroes of the Storm

Playing your role properly can make or break your game play.

Every hero is designed to play a specific role on the team. While this may seem obvious, learn or review the different roles and how to play them to make sure you are using your hero to the greatest advantage.   

Pay attention to the other heroes on your team and try to build a successful team composition. A team without a support hero to heal during team fights, or a warrior to hold the front line and absorb damage will struggle to keep up. Sadly, we can’t all play assassins- having a strong support or warrior hero in your back pocket can make a big difference in your success. And who doesn’t love being an unsung hero?

Most people prefer one or two of these roles, playing primarily heroes that fall under those roles. Tired of making silly mistakes in positioning or initiation? Become intimately familiar with your preferred role- embody your role- learn how to work with your teammates and not get caught out.

Master Hotkeys

Hotkeys refer to enormously helpful keyboard shortcuts that allow you to quickly select talents, set pings, queue actions, and more. Don’t know where to start? Here are a few of the most important.

When your team levels up and it’s time to choose a new talent, instead of clicking on your hero’s portrait, press Ctrl to pop up the talent menu + the number key (1-5) that correspond, top to bottom, with the talent you’re choosing. If you hit Level 10 in the middle of a team fight, you need to be able to lock in and use your ultimate as fast as possible. This method will save you precious nanoseconds and mouse clicks.

Use Shift to queue multiple actions. For example, hold Shift before tapping Z to mount up and right clicking on the spot you’d like to travel to. Your hero will mount up fully, then immediately follow your move command. No more accidentally canceling the ‘Mount’ action by right clicking too soon!

Communicating with your team through pings is a quick way to coordinate taking camps, setting up kills, or warning of danger. Hold the Alt key and click on a camp or an enemy to tell your team you’re ready to attack. After pressing Alt you can also click and hold to bring up a pin-wheel of ping options, such as warning your teammates about an area, or calling for assistance. 

Mastering hotkeys can turn an okay player into a good player, and a good player into a great player. To set your hotkeys click the options gear on the bottom left of the Heroes of the Storm home screen, select Hotkeys, then Advanced, and Expand All to see all your options.
Feeling overwhelmed? Try mastering one thing at a time or practicing against AI.

Customizing your hotkeys can give you optimal comfort on each hero you play.

Set Your Abilities to Quick Cast

Your default hero settings require you to select an ability with its’ keyboard button, and use a mouse click to cast it. Because team fights are decided by milliseconds, the faster you can cast an ability the better. The Quick Cast is a setting that allows you to instantly cast abilities with the press of a button, targeted on the location of your mouse reticle. You can set Quick Cast through the Hotkeys option of the Settings gear on the home screen.

If you’re not yet familiar enough with ability ranges to use Quick Cast, try transitioning to Cast on Release. With Cast on Release, pressing an ability button will pull up the targeting overlay, allowing you to aim precisely, before releasing the button to cast your ability. You can customize the cast option on each hero and ability in the game and may find you prefer a mix of Quick Cast, Cast on Release or Click to Cast, based on your play style.

Learn how to Stutter Step

Most of the heroes in Heroes of the Storm cannot perform an auto attack while moving. Unfortunately, standing still for more than a second or two is a great way to get rooted, stunned, or killed. To take your play to the next level, learn how to move small distances in the animations between auto attacks.   

Master the stutter step to attack more efficiently, while at the same time moving to a stronger position.

The Mini-Map Matters

Remembering to check your mini-map often, and learning how to do it quickly, will make a big difference in your personal play. The mini-map shows you pings from your teammates, enemies that are visible to your team and assets (such as structures and minions), and the location of any current objectives.

Train yourself to glance at the mini-map every few seconds to gain map awareness. In Heroes of the Storm, information is an advantage, and the mini-map is a great way to keep tabs on camps, and enemy movement. Tunnel vision is your enemy.

Learn Target Priority

Winning team fights is one of the most important parts of any Heroes of the Storm game and can change the tide of the game. So, how do you make sense of the chaos that descends when abilities are flying and health bars falling?

Target priority gives focus to a fight and helps your team quickly eliminate the highest value enemy. A good rule of thumb is to focus on squishy enemy assassins who can pump large amounts of damage into your team. Alternatively, dive on a backline support hero to limit the enemy team’s sustainability.

If you are facing an enemy hero with a strong lock-down ability, such as E.T.C.’s Moshpit, try to save a stun to interrupt the ability, and watch your positioning. Clumping together as a team makes you very susceptible to crowd control.

Zarya and Tracer vs. E.T.C.

Having strong target priority will help your team decisively win team fights.

Learn from the Pros

As your team levels up throughout the game, you’ll have the chance to choose new abilities or talents. These choices can make a big difference in how well your hero plays. Some hero builds will change depending on what map you are playing, or what heroes you are playing against.

Many professional players post their favorite hero builds and explain the advantage of each choice. You can also find the specific pro hero-builds for every game at the official HGC Webpage. A little research can go a long way to improving your game. 

Be a Team Player 

At the end of the day, Heroes of the Storm is a team game. If you aren’t working with your team, you’ll have a hard time winning games. Working on the tips listed above will help improve your team play as well. Feeling overwhelmed? Focus on one thing at a time, until they become second nature.

For your best Heroes of the Storm experience focus on fulfilling your heroes team role. Work with your team to gain experience from clearing the lanes and coordinate to claim mercenary camps or get important kills. Most importantly, stay positive.

The fastest way to disrupt your team and throw a game is by harassing teammates or blaming others when things go wrong. We’re all here to have a good time, so be encouraging and have fun.

Working well as a team is the best way to improve your game.

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Race- Human; Class- Warrior Princess; Traits- Curiousity, Excitability, Optimism; Skills- gaming, story telling, baking, napping.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: Pro-gaming
Currently Playing: Hearthstone, Overwatch, Fortnite, Heroes of the Storm
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Heroes of the Storm, Child of Light

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