Pick any competitive game and you can bet there’s a slew of people that want to be the best at it. Games like Heroes of the Storm have so many moving pieces that it can be hard to learn and master everything.
Putting work in can be unrewarding if you don’t have the right technique, so here these are the five habits I like to remind current, returning, or new Heroes of the Storm players about so that they can win more.
1. Don’t try to win. Just try not to lose
A lot of players are swept up in the idea that you need to make the top five plays every match. Chasing your opponents for “clutch” kills or rushing back in to save teammates doesn’t always make for a good game; the more you avoid putting yourself or teammates into ultra high risk/reward situations — the more often you’ll win. Things like: learning to go back to the Spawn Well frequently, not jumping into a pile of enemies to save a teammate who’s in too deep, and not pushing into towers if the enemy team has Stealth or is just not on the map.
Try and focus on whatever the “safest play” is. If you’re ahead, and just took down a fort, communicate with your teams that you should back off. Maybe it’s a good time to back off and take a Mercenary camp while it won’t be contested.
It’s natural to want to be the all-star. But, at any point, just stop and ask yourself, “Is this probably going to get me killed?” If the answer is yes, than it’s probably a good idea to do something else. There are time to take risks, for sure. However, you’ll be much happier when coordinating those risks with teammates rather than rushing headlong into battle.
2. Value your life over all things
Sure, the statement sounds like some kind self-help comment, but it also applies to Heroes of the Storm regarding the “try not to lose” mentality. Many people don’t really consider how a game like Heroes of the Storm or any other MOBA is about resources – very similar to their real-time strategy roots. And, there is one resource that is more valuable than any other: You being alive!
Whenever you die you lose four things for your team: vision, experience, lane presence and a body. Players will commonly say things like, “Well we traded,” or “Worth it.” However, I would argue that in 80% of all situations where your teammate or you go down, whatever you achieved is not worth the death. It would have been better to recall, switch-up the strategy and try again. For example, on Dragon Shire people will die at the Shrines to avoid letting opponents get a dragon or to assure that your team gets a dragon. This is great in the late game, but I would recommend avoiding it in the early game. If it looks like you’re going to die defending a shrine, or the dragon itself, just back up. You’re more useful in fighting the dragon after the enemy team grabs it than you will be adding three seconds to your team’s chances of getting the Dragon Knight under control.
This applies much less to Murky or Leoric who have quick resurrections because of their passive trait. However, giving the enemy team experience can add up quickly. Even when playing the “death” characters make sure you’re not dying needlessly.
3. Become more flexible with your talent choices
When you go into a match it’s good practice to have an idea of what picks you want to make regarding talents. Knowing what build you intend to play, based on your play style and team, should make a great template (or you can pick a popular build off of Hotslogs if you’re new to a character). Don’t get caught in the trap of using the same talents every time, though.
It’s an easy mistake. Once you start using a build and winning with it you may be hard-pressed to switch to a talent that you’ve had less success with. Most characters will have a list of talent choices that can make your gameplay more specific to your team or to your enemy team. When you’re able to make those adjustments you can usually add that extra ten percent chance that you needed to squeak out a win.
Let’s say you’re playing Malfurion and you are your team’s dedicated healer. Through most of the talent tree you’re going to want to pick up healing talents. This naturally allows you to be more effective at keeping your team healthy, thus fulfilling your primary intentions. At level 7 you would want to pick up Enduring Growth to boost your Regrowth’s overall healing. But if you’re facing an enemy team that has a strong Specialist pushing a lane, you’ll want to deviate and pick up M.U.L.E. It will mitigate a large amount of their pushing, and prevent your team from giving up unnecessary experience to the enemy team when you aren’t able to deal with them appropriately.
I’m a strong believer that every Hero has a “Best Build,” but always consider how a different talent choice can impact your team. Do they have a lot of spell damage? Make sure everyone is picking up their spell shields. Is the enemy locking your allies down with crowd control? Pick up a cleanse, or a cleanse alternative.
4. Become more aware of your mini map
A long team-fight or a suspenseful chase out of the enemy tower range can really absorb your attention. But during the downtime where you are attacking minions, grabbing mercenary camps, rotating lanes, or recovering from a death you should be peeking at your mini map. You don’t’ have to analyze what everyone is doing at all times but it’s good to have an idea of where each portrait is running around. Practice looking down at the mini map before and after every fight. Just a quick count of how many portraits you see. If you see all 10 than you have complete awareness of both teams.
Once you’ve gotten the proper information you can make more informed plays and more informed plays lead to more take downs and fewer deaths.
You can also click on your map for pings and to jump to other areas of the game and watch teammates. In addition, every time a mercenary camp is picked – friendly or otherwise – you can see it flash on the map. It will give you a clear idea of where members of the enemy team are without having to waste precious lane-time or fort security by having a member of the team roam through the jungles for vision.
5. Watch professional games
If you’re at the point in the game where you’re actively trying to get better it’s a good idea to listen to someone who knows about the game. At first, you may not learn much but when you see how a Jaina goes alone into a situation without enough information she gets killed; or how two well-oiled teams make similarly mirrored decisions (going for the boss at the same time on opposite sides of the map) it should give you good ideas of how a game is paced. It can also teach you the language of the game: ganks, laning, bursted-down, caught-out, and diving for example.
Best of all you get to absorb this information passively. You can sit back with some food and watch an hour of this game very easily. There’s an old saying in the arts (or at least those who practice the arts): Practice is pointless unless you practice correctly. Many people believe that jumping onto a new character or a new map or just jamming games will make them better players. You may get lucky and pick up some things from informed teammates or you may naturally (or luckily) know how to make the right plays. But the common knowledge that separates players from the Bronze Leagues and Diamond Leagues is sound decision making more than anything else. In my opinion, if you wanted to learn that by playing games it would probably take thirty to forty games to understand why things work the way they do; (acquiring camps, for example. Or tricks during a certain objective) or you can watch a single hour-long game series in order to obtain the same information. Like most things in life, it’s much easier to see the solutions when you’re not knee-deep in the problems. Don’t be afraid to enjoy kicking back and watching some e-sports.
I would suggest KhaldorTV from YouTube. He’s the best caster, and he showcases professional matches and interesting amatuer matches, alike.
So, to all you Heroes of the Storm players on the comeup: GOOD LUCK! This game is challenging, but if you want to get better the resources are always available to you! Just keep playing and keep improving. Maybe we’ll see each other at Rank One some day.