Heroes of The Storm Education Part 1: Keep it Simple, Stupid.

Feb 15, 2016

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Heroes of The Storm is a great game to play with friends. The emphasis on teamfighting, and the punishment that occurs if your team is unable to work cohesively makes the game significantly more enjoyable when played with friends. Heroes is also probably the most “new player friendly” of the big MOBAs. Even with all of that, it is still a MOBA at heart, and there is a certain barrier of entry for brand new players.

Recently, I’ve recruited quite a few of my friends to the game, and their experience ranges from years of MOBA experience to “I’ve never played a MOBA because I’ve heard the communities are toxic.” Now after having played a game for a while, you may forget what it’s like to be new, which makes it all the more difficult to teach someone to play. Today I’d like to go over some of the tools and strategies I’ve found to be particularly useful when teaching new players to play the game, and more importantly getting them to stick around, and build our community!

Who can tell me when you do or don’t engage Kael solo?

First and foremost, an age old adage, K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, Stupid.) Like I said earlier, MOBAs are a genre with an inherent complexity and barrier of entry, and as you become more experienced, you’ll forget this, aspects of the game that seem like second nature to you are daunting to a new player. This is especially true when teaching brand new players who haven’t played a MOBA before. Focus on game basics for the first few hours you are playing. Things like stutter-stepping, utilizing vision, and lane rotations can be saved once your new player is invested, and wanting to take their game to the next level. Let’s take a look at what a brand new player should know.

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The in-game tutorial for Heroes of The Storm is, put lightly, lacking. It’s the first thing a new player will do, and while it does give some great basic game mechanics, as far as playing the game goes, it doesn’t really offer a whole lot. While it is true that if you follow the tutorial through all of its phases, you will get put into a training game, but even there many basic aspects of the game are not addressed. Before jumping into your first game with a fresh player, understand some of the basics that they won’t know, and you will therefore be responsible for.

Lots of heroes to choose from, start simple!

  1. Their Hero
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Given that your new player will have only played Raynor up to this point, there is a very real possibility that they will be jumping into their first game with a hero they have never played (albeit Raynor is a fairly common attendee of the Free Week Heroes club.) Your job here is understanding the free week heroes, who they have access to, and the individual complexity level of said Heroes. Heroes like Li Li, Valla, or E.T.C. are great choices for a first time player, whereas suggesting a hero like Azmodan or Lt. Morales may be a bit much for them. Another important thing to remember is that many players will have Diablo, Valla, or Artanis for Free, depending on what other Blizzard games they own. I would not suggest letting them jump into their first game with Artanis. The second part of your job here is to ensure that you can give an adequate explanation of the Heroes abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Tooltips are not as helpful to new players as they are to seasoned players, and they may drastically misunderstand things about their hero’s abilities right out of the gate.

  1. Talents

If your student is coming from other MOBAs, they are likely familiar with the concept of a shop, wherein you spend gold to buy items to buff your character. Heroes, on the other hand, lacks a shop, and instead depends in unique talent trees for each Hero. This presents a unique issue for new players, that issue is that after getting to know a hero, when they try to learn a new one, they will have a brand new progression system to learn. For the first 1-3 heroes that your new player is going to learn, go ahead and get a cookie cutter talent build for them, and have them pick that in order to learn the character. Counter-picking talents based on enemy choices can wait until much, much later.

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  1. Map Objectives
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Another unique aspect of Heroes Vs. Other MOBAs is the focus on Map Objectives when it comes to actually winning a game. Granted, the new loading screens, as well as the voiceover that happens during a players first time on that map will do a lot of your heavy lifting when it comes to making your friends aware of the map objectives, it is still very much on you to remind them of each map’s unique objective. This is particularly true on Blackheart’s Bay and Tomb of the Spider Queen, where you are carrying the objective with you. Specifically, because new players are much more likely to provide the enemy team with an advantage if they get ganked at an inopportune time.

To me, these are the most basic building blocks a new player should be working with, and should give them a solid understanding of the basics of the game while playing their first handful of games, possibly against A.I. before even moving to Quick Match, depending on their level of experience. My final tip doesn’t really involve what your new player should know, but what you should know. And it is simply, do not criticize your friends play. If you’re teaching a new player, understand that you’re probably going to lose some Quick Match games, and if this sort of thing matters a lot to you, it may be best for you to create a smurf account, specifically for teaching.

Hopefully this article will help you next time you find yourself in the position of introducing a brand new player to Heroes of The Storm. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything, or share your own personal stories of teaching newbies!

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