So you’ve downloaded and installed Heroes of the Storm, completed or skipped the tutorials and have queued into your first match. Congratulations and welcome to the family. Whether or not you’ve played other MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) before, it shouldn’t take long to fall into Heroes. It carries on Blizzard’s mantra from their other games of easy to learn, difficult to master.
So what do you do now? Well, that’s an uneven question. If you did play other MOBAs then I’m sure you’re doing just fine. But if you haven’t or are feeling unsure then step right up because you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to assume you know the basics of the game such as how talents work and why/how you push lanes. If you don’t know those answers please for your own good go back and do the tutorial. It can be done quite quickly, it does a better job of explaining than I could here, and I believe it still rewards some gold should you complete all of them. Go now. Do it!
Still here? OK, let’s talk about the perfect game. This theoretical-match realistically won’t ever happen, but it does give you an idea of how and when things should be done. In the perfect game, you will always have all lanes soaked (meaning filled in with a Hero or something equivalent), and you will nearly all collapse on the Battlefields unique objective once active. After you’ve won the objective you’ll then fall back to laning unless it’s possible to have Heroes or Mercenaries push with the Battlefield objective that you’ve just won. You will always have some of your team grouped when sniping or punishing other Heroes and overall you will simply win because of your experience lead and ability to dominate in lanes and the objective. That’s it. But it takes time, patience and experience to learn what you’ll need to do and when.
So let’s start with laning. It’s what you should be doing at least half the time within each game. As a general rule of thumb, if you don’t know what you should be doing then consider laning. Even if it’s the wrong decision it is still beneficial to your team to do so. Laning is the backbone of any and all games. It is ultimately what will win the game with yourself, your teammates and your minions. If nothing is going on (eg. team fights, objectives, merc camps) then you should be laning. Not only does it keep up that constant flow of experience to your team but it puts pressure on the enemy team to defend their lanes. Especially if you’re not just trading minion for minion but actually getting down towers, forts and keeps.
Next is mercenary (merc) camps. This is a little bit more tricky to judge when you should do it, as it depends on a few factors. What time is it in the game? Can you solo it, or do you need an extra Hero or two to help you out? What is the time investment for you to do this? What’s going on as you do it? Is the objective up or does your team need you in a fight? As you can see, the answer can ramp up quite quickly but there are some general guidelines you can follow. One of the best times to get a merc camp is right before, during or after a Battlefield objective. This creates extra pressure whether the mercs are in the same lane or a different one from the objective as it forces the enemy team to split if they want to eliminate this extra threat. Merc camps provide free extra siege damage and possibly fewer enemy Heroes on the objective. Assuming they don’t peel off to deal with your merc camp(s) then that means your mercs will push in their respective lanes much harder than if it were just minions. This can often lead to a tower or two falling all because no one decided to deal with them. Even if you do end up losing the objective a merc camp pushing can often offset and sometimes even exceed the loss you suffered from failing to win the objective.
Lastly, I’d like to touch on split-laning. This is the idea of either one Hero being able to push multiple lanes at the same time, or your team splitting up and pushing multiple lanes. The idea behind this is to split the enemy up. You want to force them into an unfair situation where they need to decide to split evenly, gank the lane with the lower amount of Heroes, or pressure the lane that has the greatest threat (often the one with the most Heroes). This can be a very effective strategy as you have some options open to you and how you want to proceed based on what the enemy did. If you have a Hero advantage in a lane then you can opt to push harder as you *should* win any encounter you receive there. If they have a Hero advantage then you can instead not risk an engagement but simply do whatever you can to waste their time. As you effectively do nothing there, your other lanes will be pushing in more and more forcing them to either engage and secure a kill, or split back up and tackle those other lanes.
I’ve droned on a bit this time but long story short, laning and mercs are exceptionally powerful tools at your disposal. They should be used whenever possible and appropriate as they can provide that extra edge you need to win lanes, objectives, and matches. Learn if your Hero is well suited to this or not as it will dicate where you should be in any given Battlefield.