Blizzcon took place this weekend and it brought a whole lot of new announcements and reveals for all of Blizzard’s titles. I of course had my eye on the MOBA side of things. Heroes of the Storm isn’t even out of Alpha, at least not yet anyways, but it will be receiving even more content in the coming months – new heroes, new battlegrounds, new competitive features, and finally, a move from Alpha to closed Beta
First up, here we have the new trailer showing off all this upcoming goodness…
There are four new heroes coming to the Nexus – Thrall, Jaina, The Lost Vikings (which are technically three different characters), and Sylvanas. If you’ve watched the trailer above, you would’ve seen the first three in action. Sylvanas will probably be added officially at a later stage. Here they are (via the Heroes of the Storm blog)
For those who don’t know, The Lost Vikings are characters from one of Blizzard’s very first games, released way back in 1992. They are the most interesting to me, as they require intense micro skills to be used effectively. Each of the three bearded fellows can be controlled individually. Expect to see people pushing a lane, capping mercenaries, and collecting coins/seeds/skulls/tributes at the same time. Even worse, expect a really good Vikings player to capture the Dragon Knight alone.
I’m quite happy to see these heroes. It is so odd seeing Thrall off his mount though. I expect him to be on that wolf permanently only because I spent so much time playing the Warcraft III campaign. I can’t wait for him and the others to be added to the game.
Two new battlegrounds were announced – Sky Temple and Tomb of the Spider Queen. A third, Diablo-Themed Battleground has also been mentioned. It’s only a concept at this stage.
Here they all are (via another Heroes of the Storm blog post)
Sky Temple is the latest map we’ve created for Heroes of the Storm, and it is one of the new worlds that the Nexus is taking players to. It’s an incredible floating city in the sky full of amazing vistas, flowing aqueducts, and lush oasis greenery inspired by ancient Egypt.
It’s also full of danger. Keeping with the style of Sky Temple’s theme, all of its minions, mercenaries, towers, and more have been artistically reimagined to fit into the Sky Temple universe. This exciting new Battleground is currently available for play in the Heroes of the Storm BlizzCon demo, and we look forward to sharing more information about this Battleground with you in the near future!
Tomb of the Spider Queen
During BlizzCon we also revealed a sneak peek of our first all interior Battleground, Tomb of the Spider Queen. This Battleground is still under development, but its grand halls and labyrinthine passages speak to a vast cavernous under-city which features regal structures, moody lighting, and a host of creepy corners… and spiders.
We know a lot of players have also been eager to see us bring worlds from classic Blizzard games to the Nexus, and we wanted to share an early glimpse at one of our initial concepts for an upcoming Diablo-Themed Battleground, which pits the legions of the High Heavens versus the forces of the Burning Hells!
One thing Heroes has been lacking is any form of official, ranked matchmaking. This will no longer be the case. Ranked play will be added at some stage, along with a new draft mode (via this OTHER Heroes of the Storm blog post)
That’s right; in a future patch, you’ll be able to find out how you and your friends stack up against the rest of the Heroes community by queuing up for competitive, ranked matches! With Ranked Play, you’ll be able to compete in two separate queues: Hero League and Team League. In Hero League, you can queue up as a solo player, or in a party of any size, and you’ll be given an individual ranking. Team League, however, requires a five player team, will allow you to create a dedicated, named team, and offers a separate ranking for each of your teams. In either league, winning games will help you soar to new heights in your attempts to ascend from Rank 50 to the coveted Rank 1.
The excitement doesn’t end there, because we’ll also be implementing Draft Mode, which is a crucial aspect of Ranked Play. Before a ranked game begins, your teammates and opponents will take turns picking and counter-picking Heroes in real-time to coordinate your team compositions. You’ll also know which Battleground you’ll be playing on ahead of time, so work closely with your allies to build the team that you’ll use to execute your strategy and crush the opposition. What’s more, we’re also adding Draft Mode as an optional way to kick off your Custom Games so you can play however you like outside of matchmaking.
This for me is the most exciting part. I’d love to see where exactly I sit in comparison to those around me. Heroes of the Storm for me has been a nice, casual MOBA. Guess I can kiss those days goodbye, as the proper, competitive side of the game is finally being added.
These are some really nice additions to the game. If you still don’t have access, fear not. Heroes of the Storm will be moving to closed beta on January 13 2015. Sure it’s closed, but it means more invites will be sent out, and it’s also that one step closer to the official release.
Last Updated: November 10, 2014