Heroes of the Storm: The Basics of the Game

In today’s episode of The Paid to Play Podcast, I announced a project I’m working on for the next sixty days: A how-to book for the online PC game, Heroes of the Storm. To give you an idea of what I’m doing, and as a kick-off for the project, here’s some initial wordage.

So what are the basics of Heroes of the Storm as a game?

The hero Raynor next to his Core in the Dragon Shire arena.
The hero Raynor next to his Core in the Dragon Shire battleground.

Well, on the face of it, the objective is simple. There’s a playing field, known within the game as a “battleground,” and two teams of five players each. At each end of the field is a statue, which the game calls a “core.” To win, you destroy the other team’s core.

How do you destroy the other team’s core? Well, you and your friends are armed. Each of you has control of one character (with a few exceptions), known as a “hero.” Your hero might have a gun, a sword, a magic spell, a crossbow, a set of claws or even fiery breath.

So, what complicates things? What’s to stop you and your team mates from just charging across the battleground and blowing / ripping up your opponents’ core?

For starters, there’s your opponents. Like any game, they’ll want to tie you up – okay, fine, blow you up – so that they can go for your core safely. Like you, each of your five opponents controls a hero each. And they’re just as armed as you.

For seconds, the core itself shoots back too.

The good news is, even if your opponents or their core do blow your hero up, you’re not out of the game permanently. In Heroes of the Storm, death is more like a time-out. A little while after your hero is blown up, it’ll re-appear fully healed at the entry point behind your core.

A fort behind the middle of the outer wall on Dragon Shire.
A fort behind the middle of the outer wall on Dragon Shire. Note the map in the bottom right corner

The bad news is that the battleground is divided up by two lots of walls. The walls are gated so you can get in and out of yours, but you can’t get through your opponents’ gates until you break them down. Oh, and there are cannons on either side of each gate, yours and theirs alike.

There’s more good news, though. Every so often, squads of nameless minions will appear near your core and start walking through the gates toward the opposing core. The gates in the walls divide the playing field up into pathways, or “lanes,” that the minions walk down, and whenever a fresh set of minions appears, a squad appears for each lane.

When they reach your opponent’s gates, the minions will start attacking, wearing the enemy’s defences down (taking fire from the cannons all the while). Of course, your opponents get minions of their own, and when they meet, the minions will fight. You can weigh in as you like; the more minions of yours that survive to assault your opponents’ walls, the better.

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This is what they call a “teamfight” – a knock-down, drag-out brawl between your heroes and your opponents’. Needless to say, this is when things get really hectic.

A given match isn’t limited by time, but it usually takes somewhere between fifteen and twenty minutes before one team destroys their opponent’s core. Your first few games might take up to forty minutes while you learn your way around.

There’s a lot more to the game than the above, things like gathering experience so that you can increase your hero’s power, recruiting mercenaries from camps in the battleground, and a unique objective that can help lay siege to your opponent’s walls (so long as they don’t get it first). Then there are hero rotation, increases to your personal experience level, earning gold and unlocking heroes, not to mention the Hero and .

But that’s the basics of Heroes of the Storm, and enough, I hope, that you don’t feel totally lost during your first game!

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And enough, with any luck, to help you get a lot of these: Destroyed enemy cores!

What are you doing?

What was your first experience of Heroes of the Storm (or Defence of the Ancients, DotA 2, League of Legends or any similar game) like? What were the first things you learned?