Heroes of the Storm Enters Closed Beta
Blizzard's highly anticipated MOBA has now entered closed beta, beginning first with the Americas and Europe. To sign up for the closed beta, be sure that you are opted in through your Battle.net account. Heroes of the Storm features your favorite characters from throughout the Blizzard universe, accumulating from over 20 years of game development. Along with this announcement are the most recent build's patch notes and a new walkthrough video. The press release, which was sent out today, said that other areas should expect closed beta to open up for them today, as well, expanding beyond the Americas and Europe. Due to the slight confusion I feel looking at these dates, I'm not going to talk dates in any certainty. What I can say for certain, is that while I haven't had a hand on the client personally, I hear the game is great fun.
Highlights for this build, from the press release:
- New Battleground—Sky Temple, a new desert-themed Battleground, challenges players to fight for control of ancient Temples. Once captured, these Temples fire devastating beams of energy toward enemy structures.
- New Hero—Thrall, Warchief of the Horde, is the newest melee assassin to join the Nexus, bringing fearsome abilities, including Chain Lightning, Windfury, and Earthquake.
- Hero League—This new Ranked Play mode enables players (who are level 30 and own at least 10 Heroes) to queue up alone or in a party of up to five for ranked, competitive matches against other players of similar skill and party size.
- Draft Mode—Utilize this mode to build a competitive team composition, counter your opponent’s picks, and dominate the Battleground objectives.
Sky Temple is the new three lane battleground available this build, which can be accessed in all game modes. It features three temples to capture, hold and defend as an objective to win. Not all temples are active at all times, though, which will keep the game highly mobile. When a temple is active and has been captured, guardians will spawn from it, giving the battleground another element of depth. Each lane has its own temple in the center of it, which begin to become active after 90 seconds into the game.
Orc extraordinaire, Thrall, has decided to take some time out from being the Horde's Warchief and leaving Orgrimmar every once in awhile to join other heroes in the storm. As the latest hero, Thrall brings the melee assassin game to the Nexus. Thrall's trait is called Frostwolf Resilience, which will grant chances to heal yourself by casting abilities on enemies. Those abilities include Chain Lightning, Feral Spirit, and Windfury. Thrall also has two heroic abilities, Earthquake and Sundering. I wonder if Earthquake will be visible to friendlies beyond Thrall in Heroes of the Storm. Need some pro-tips for commanding Thrall in the battlefield? Thrall has a dedicated page, full of tips like:
- “Feral Spirit” [W] does not root minions, only enemy Heroes. Use the ability to help push waves of minions while simultaneously harassing your enemies.
- “Windfury” [E] can provide up to three stacks of Frostwolf Resilience when all the auto attacks are used in a timely manner.
- “Chain Lightning” [Q] will bounce to three enemies. If there are no secondary enemies for the lightning to bounce to, it will only hit the primary target once.
In addition to new shiny things, there were massive updates, fixes, and changes to both the UI and art assets. Art mostly went to Heroes, mounts and skins to add in variations. The two main points in UI changes are that Versus Mode has been renamed to Quick Match and that daily quests can now be done in Practice Mode. Hero League, the first type of ranked gameplay, is introduced this patch. If you're level 30 or higher, you can either solo queue for Hero League, or team up with a group of friends at any number to be matched against enemies of similar skill. In each match, first teams enter a Draft Mode for hero selection. A coin toss determines which team picks first, and then selection round robins until everyone has chosen a hero. Each player is ranked individually, beginning at Rank 50, and losing enough games (and therefore points) can result in rank demotion. This, however, will not demote below Rank 50.
For more details on the full patch notes, please see the corresponding blog with all of the details.