So you’ve enjoyed Blizzard’s take on the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) genre enough to have reached level 30, which is an impressive feat in itself given the amount of experienced needed to get there. Now you’ve unlocked the ‘ranked play’ option and it’s time to put all you’ve learnt to the test. The game as you know it to this point is about to change somewhat so in order to help better prepare you for the Nexus, we’ve decided to put this little guide together from all of our experience.
If you’re new or still leveling in Heroes of the Storm, you can check out our extensive beginner’s guide here: 4-One Gaming Beginner’s Guide: Heroes of the Storm.
At this stage, it’s quite likely that you’ve played your fair share of the characters available on the roster, and more importantly learned which one of the four classes is best suited to your play style. Character selection is a little more important in ranked play, as teams need to cover the various roles within the game in order to be competitive, thankfully the character selection screen in ranked play is a little different. Players are put through the matchmaking process before selecting a character so you can see what role everyone is fulfilling before you actually get thrown into the arena. Good team setups will cover at least one of every role, Warrior, Support, Specialist and Assassin. Specialist isn’t as important as the other three, but the characters that fall under the role each have their own special party trick that can help to win matches. Sylvanas for example (ranged specialist) has the ability to disable minions and towers using her basic attacks and abilities. A great little ability when locking down lanes or pushing forward into enemy territory. At this stage, if you’re one of the last to pick, your main job is to cover any roles that haven’t been covered. Look at the characters on your team and make a choice accordingly. It may be that you’re forced to choose a role that you’d rather not play, for the greater benefit of the team. It’s always a good idea to practice all roles, just in case you’re required to play an alternate role.
Knowing characters and what talents to select is another important part of the selection process, if you’ve been playing the game for a while, chances are you’ve picked your favorites but it’s always good to have a backup selection just in case someone chooses your favorite Hero before your turn to choose has come around. If you need additional help with things like what talents to select, Heroesfire is a great community driven website where players share their experience. If you’re looking to learn more about a character before playing, we’d recommend heading here to learn about the characters you’re eager to play.
Given that you’re now level 30, it’s almost a given that you’ve had a good amount of experience on all of the games maps, success in any of the Heroes of the Storm game modes, is heavily reliant on focusing the alternative map objectives. If a single player isn’t doing their part to ensure your team is consistent in winning these objectives then it’s likely the team will fail as a whole, so make sure you’re familiar with all maps and what to do when objectives activate.
At this stage, you’ve probably noticed I’ve mentioned the word team a lot. That’s because ranked play is very much orientated around good solid team work and synergy. Heroes of the Storm is great in that the characters all tend to compliment one another brilliantly when chucked into a team of five. Going rogue can sometimes be acceptable when playing the ‘Quick Match’ game mode but generally MOBA’s are all about teamwork so make sure you’re supporting your team in your actions. Communication is important and the game has a great feature that allows teams to be in contact without using the chat. I would personally recommend that you learn this feature before you go into ranked play, and use ‘hotkeys’ to help you utilize it efficiently. On maps where gathering is required, don’t over extend especially when you’re carrying and avoid carrying large amounts of the materials needed altogether. Opposing team members will always target you in this instance and losing large amounts will not only affect the balance of the match, but will likely infuriate your team members, which is never a good thing. When objectives activate, you should always divert your attention and regroup with your team so you can push the objective as a single unit, taking out the enemy team is always a bonus at this stage as using the objective boosts without resistance from the enemy team will always result in a good solid push.
The leveling system in matches is also important, especially early on, it’s often easy to get lost in the heat of a match and ignore the need for leveling up your team. Early on, I’d recommend locking down lanes, this can be easily done by a single player, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the map to keep up to date with what your team members are doing. More importantly, don’t forget to keep your team informed on what going on, if you find yourself overwhelmed by an opposing player. Just ask for help, chances are someone will aid you. Your Hero will get considerably stronger as the match unfolds, so making sure you always stay ahead of the enemy team in terms of level is a must. If your team starts falling behind it’ll be quite difficult to restore the balance, but focus should be holding defensive lines at the gates to keep experience points flowing.
To conclude I’d just like to encourage people not to take ranked play too seriously, multiplayer gaming can be an incredibly competitive thing to be involved in and adding playlists where “ranking” is involved only adds to that need for success. Games are games and are meant to be enjoyed. Practice will always make perfect in this respect but frustrations can always run high leading to tension within the team. Verbal altercations are easy to get involved in, but we feel that this can often lead to abuse which is unacceptable in any instance. In the event player display this form of behavior we’d recommend just ignoring them and continuing with the game. We’ve encountered our fair share of ‘keyboard Warriors’ online and know how easy it is to respond. Having these players removed from the community is often far more satisfying so be sure to report any unnecessary altercations to help improve the world of online gaming.