Heroes of the Storm: What is Rotation?

A little while ago, I was writing a series of posts intended to introduce folks to the online game, Heroes of the Storm. While watching some video of competitive matches doing research, I came across commentators (yes, these matches get live commentary from real folks on-site) throwing some mysterious terms around.

Now, I may never be a competitive Heroes of the Storm player, but some cool folks I know are, and I’d like to be able to keep up with what the’re on about. So for my your personal benefit, let me try to demystify these terms. For starters: Rotation.

Rotation: This Ain’t Your Father’s Grocery

From my days working fresh produce at Coles, I know that rotation is what you’re doing when you move the slightly older produce to the front and put the newer fruit and veg behind it (taking the overripe stuff off for disposal, of course). But the players of Heroes of the Storm aren’t re-arranging greens, they’re running around beating the crap out of each other (and the landscape). So how come the commentators will comment on how well teams are rotation-ing?

A Refresher on Laning and XP

Well, rotation plays into the idea of laning, which I went into in one of those original posts. Each player-controlled character, or “hero,” not only needs to be beating stuff up, it needs to be earning precious experience points (xp) for its team so they can get access to the heavy-hitting talents more quickly than the opposing team. In the early stages, the best way to get experience points is to hang around in each arena’s two to three lanes while the little computer-controlled lines of minions while they beat the crap out of each other; as the opposing team’s minions bite the dust, you earn xp. You don’t even have to do any crap-beating yourself.

The trick, William Potter, is that you only need one hero near a minion barney to earn the experience points when an opposing minion shuffles off to Buffalo. The basic principle means that, of a team of five players, you have one player looking after each lane while two others roam, nab objectives, reinforce their buddies if things get hairy and be nuisances.

Except…

How Rotation Lets You Concentrate Your Team

According to one guide on Heroes of the Storm tactics (thank you, Xenterex), it’s possible for a single hero to get the xp for more than one lane. Think of the basic lane layout like an oval with a line connecting each of the oval’s sharp ends. As all minions move at the same speed, the minions in the middle lane are going to meet each other more quickly than the ones in the top and bottom lanes. If your team plays its cards right (through judicious applications of violence, naturally), it could be possible for one hero on a team to be able to soak up the precious, precious xp from the middle lane then dash off to do the same from the top or bottom lane. This allows his four team mates to bring some concentrated barney to the opposing team’s fortifications in the lane that the lone hero isn’t looking after.

Of course, this leaves one hero sitting out vulnerable to concentrated assault from the other side attempting to use rotation in their favour. But in the words of the great Mark Addy: “I didn’t say it weren’t a gamble!”

Follow GM Radio Rob!