Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm enters closed beta with big improvements

Sky Temple! Thrall! Ranked Play! The Shop!

Blizzard's free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Heroes of the Storm enters closed beta this evening with a raft of improvements.

The technical alpha version of the game goes offline this morning in order for Blizzard to apply a new patch. HotS is expected to come back online in closed beta form around 7pm UK time.

In the video, below, Blizzard's Kevin "Cloaken" Johnson runs through the update. There's a new and improved tutorial, which should help newcomers get into the game. But the headline addition for players familiar with HotS is ranked play, which arrives as part of the hero league (you need a level 30 account to take part). And the new draft mode means players can take turns picking and counter-picking heroes before a match begins.

Elsewhere, Blizzard has added the Sky Temple map to the game, as well as a new hero: Thrall, the Warchief of the Horde. A number of established heroes have been reworked, including Li Li, Falstad and Abathur. Blizzard's art team has also worked to improve the many skins available for each character, so expect Pajama Abathur to stand out even more so on the battlefield.

And finally, the Shop has been updated to sell Stimpacks, which boost experience point and gold gain for set periods of time.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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