Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard reinvents the MOBA in a star-studded, moreish masterclass of design.

Spotlight

Video: What does the future hold for Heroes of the Storm?

"At this point the team is growing, not shrinking."

Blizzard versus the hostility of MOBAs

"We will keep attacking this problem until it's gone."

Key events

Blizzard announces November dates for this year's BlizzCon

Blizzard has announced that this year's BlizzCon will take place on November 2nd and November 3rd, with tickets scheduled to go on sale in May.

BlizzCon 2018 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, and will feature the usual array of developer panels, Q&A sessions, cosplay, and contests. Attendees will also receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing "a cache of loot based on their favourite Blizzard games".

Tickets for the two-day event cost $199 USD and will be released in two batches. The first batch goes on sale at 7 pm PT on May 9th (that's 3am on May 10th in the UK), and the second will be made available on May 12th at 10 am PT/6pm in the UK. You can buy them here.

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Does Heroes of the Storm need saving?

In defence of Blizzard's least impactful game.

I surprised myself, deep into the process of writing this article, with the realisation that Heroes of the Storm had become my favourite contemporary Blizzard game. I tested the theory: I worked through each menu item in Battle.net (sorry, 'Blizzard App') and spent a few hours with all of them. My best StarCraft years are behind me, and I'll probably never have time for World of Warcraft again. I've seen all that I'm likely to see in Diablo 3, Hearthstone's randomness frustrates, and Overwatch's longevity is bound up in having friends who play regularly - mine no longer do. And there at the bottom of the list was Heroes of the Storm, a game with the dubious distinction of being the only game on Blizzard App that did not redefine its genre.

Heroes of the Storm's 2.0 update adds loot boxes and a familiar face from Diablo 2

Blizzard has announced Heroes of the Storm 2.0, an update for the free-to-play MOBA that introduces a new reward system, new currencies, new items and a new hero.

Both per-hero and account level caps are being removed and experience curves flattened out to offer much faster leveling overall. Every time you level up, you'll receive a loot chest which has a chance to contain any item in the game - including new heroes, although these will be rare. At specific intervals - every 10 hero levels, for example - players will also receive special chests with guaranteed rare drops for that hero.

"The progression system was one of the areas where we really felt that we could do better," senior game producer Tony Hsu said. "One of the things you encounter with progression, is it feels good until you hit the level cap.

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You can play Tracer in Heroes of the Storm before the Overwatch open beta

Pseudo-British Overwatch hero, Tracer will be playable in Heroes of the Storm a whole two weeks prior to the launch of Overwatch's open beta.

Heroes of the Storm players who pre-purchase a digital copy of the Overwatch: Origins Edition on PC will unlock Tracer from the 19th April, with everyone else being able to purchase her from the 26th.

Although Overwatch is currently running an invite-only beta, it doesn't expand to an open beta until the 3rd May.

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BlizzCon 2015 live report

Overwatch on console! New Hearthstone Adventure! Warcraft movie trailer debut! No Diablo. Sad face.

Overwatch on console! New Hearthstone Adventure! Warcraft movie trailer debut! No Diablo. Sad face.

New player reporting tools headed to Heroes of the Storm

Silence penalties designed to reduce toxic behaviour in Blizzard's MOBA.

A new reporting system is to be introduced with the next patch for Heroes of the Storm, in an effort to curb abusive behaviour from the more negatively excitable members of the player community.

Gamescom is a beautiful, hot, noisy mess of a show and an utter delight to visit. Sadly, not everyone can go - and this year, that includes me. But thankfully, we packed Chris Bratt off to tour the show with a camera in hand to capture just what attending the world's biggest gaming show is like.

Blizzard announces Infernal Shrines map for Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard announces Infernal Shrines map for Heroes of the Storm

New Heroes Rexxar and Artanis are on their way too.

Blizzard has announced a new Heroes of the Storm battleground during its media briefing at Gamescom this morning.

As the name suggests, Infernal Shrines features a trio of shrines which summon skeletons over time. The first team that manages to kill 30 of these crusty old creatures will enjoy the benefits of a summoned character called a Punisher. The Punisher comes in a handful of flavours, and has a taste for stunning, then obliterating enemy Heroes.

On the subject of Heroes, two new playable characters were revealed for the game as well. Rexxar, Warcraft's Hunter extraordinaire, is a ranged Warrior who brings the benefit of a beast into battle. His pet Misha doesn't require any micro-management on the player's part, and will generally attack whatever they happen to be getting stuck into.

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Diablo 3's Skeleton King and Monk announced for Heroes of the Storm

Diablo 3's Skeleton King and Monk announced for Heroes of the Storm

New characters lead a focus on Diablo-themed expansions.

Heroes of the Storm's Eternal Conflict expansion, announced recently and due for release on June 30th, represents the start of a series of content updates for the game that are focused on the Diablo universe.

Two new Diablo 3 characters headed to Heroes were discussed at last night's PC Gaming Show: Leoric, the Skeleton King boss who features in the first Act, and the playable melee-orientated Monk class. The loot-spitting Treasure Goblins are also being added in due course, giving players the chance to hunt them down for bonus gold during the early, preparatory stages of the match.

Like every over character in Heroes of the Storm, Leoric gains access to two Heroic Abilities as he levels up in each fight. The first of these is called Entomb, and allows you to throw a walled area at your opponent, trapping them temporarily as you march towards them. This can be useful for finishing off a straggler who's attempting to flee, or if you just want to isolate a priority target for your team to get stuck into.

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Blizzard announces Eternal Conflict expansion for Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard announces Eternal Conflict expansion for Heroes of the Storm

Take a butcher's at the upcoming new content.

Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm may only have just come out of beta, but there's already a new content expansion planned for the company's modern-day MOBA. Themed around the Diablo universe, Eternal Conflict introduces a new map to the game - Battlefield of Eternity - as well as two new characters.

The new battleground features a central combat arena with two surrounding lanes. Once spawned, each team will have to defend their own Immortal character, while at the same time attempt to take down the opposing team's. The victorious Immortal then commences to march along towards the losing team's defences, smashing anything in its path to pieces.

Johanna, the female fighter from Diablo 3's Crusader class, was released last Tuesday with the game's official launch, but the next content drop will also add The Butcher to the roster of Heroes. In Diablo 3 he's one of the meatier monsters you face off against as you make your way through the main story. In Heroes of the Storm he's an Assassin class character, one capable of dishing out sustained damage by gobbling up what's left of his previous victims. Nice.

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Heroes of the Storm review

There are games you don't have time for, and games you make time for. Then there's the kind of game Blizzard makes, which becomes a routine. Millions of World of Warcraft players, past and present, could speak for hours of their travels in Azeroth. Starcraft players act like it's a religion. Hearthstone's disarming charm hides a monster that Daily Quests you into coy submission and devours half-hour chunks over and again.

Add Heroes of the Storm to the list. Since gaining beta access around six months ago, Heroes of the Storm has become a part of my day. At lunchtime I play a few matches with a chum, at night I find time for more, and in-between I keep an eye on the subreddit and forums and YouTube. A lot of games feel brilliant for a week or two, and then afterwards you'll never touch them again. I can't stop playing Heroes of the Storm.

When any game cuts into your Monster Hunting and Counter-Striking, it's time to pay attention. Before we get onto the higher-level design of Heroes of the Storm, it's worth pausing over how good Blizzard is at the basic elements of a competitive game, such as hitting something. The heroes here are beefy 3D models that, pirouetted through clicks and lashing out with buttons, positively slam into enemy minions and heroes. Even the basic attacks have a heft distinct from whatever the current stats are, along with booming bespoke sound effects, and innumerable visual flourishes.

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Heroes of the Storm enters open beta

Heroes of the Storm enters open beta

Blizzard celebrates with a new trailer.

Heroes of the Storm, the new MOBA starring characters from Blizzard's game franchises, has shifted from closed beta to open beta status ahead of its expected 2nd June launch.

To celebrate, Blizzard has released a new trailer which looks a lot like this:

Christian sat down with game director Dustin Browder back in January to find out what will make Heroes of the Storm different to the other MOBA titles jostling for attention. "One of our goals in this game is to have it keep reinventing itself for years and years and years," Browder explained. "We have this goal, I'll tell guys: Look, I want you to imagine yourself sitting in the same chair five years from now. Is it still fun?"

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Heroes of the Storm gets release and open beta dates

Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes of the Storm will be released this summer, 2nd June.

It's in closed beta at the moment - we're currently giving away keys - but open beta will begin 19th May.

The target player roster for launch is "more than 30 heroes", and there will be seven Battlegrounds. In HOTS these maps are better thought of as unique levels with themes and mechanics rather than as mere scene changes.

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Loads more European Heroes of the Storm beta keys

Loads more European Heroes of the Storm beta keys

UPDATE: The keys have been sent out.

UPDATE 28TH APRIL: All the keys have been sent out, so if you entered, check the email address you supplied. Hope you got one.

ORIGINAL STORY: One MOBA to rule them all but will it be Heroes of the Storm by Blizzard?

The game is still in development but you can join the closed beta by bagging a key in our giveaway this weekend. We've got 1800 keys so you stand a pretty good chance.

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Riding the meta in Heroes of the Storm

"This game will not be nailed down..."

Dustin Browder is the game director of Blizzard's new MOBA, Heroes of the Storm. He is also a rush character, I think, but one with a very short charge and practically no cooldown. Maybe he's been making multiplayer games for too long; who knows? Regardless of the reasoning, I suspect he has internalised his own hotbar, and his special ability involves getting so enthused about a topic that he starts to have a dialogue with himself. Seriously. He plays both sides.

Heroes of the Storm European beta key giveaway

Heroes of the Storm European beta key giveaway

UPDATE: Time's up. We're sending them out any minute now.

UPDATE 23RD JANUARY: Time's up. Thousands of you have put your name down for a key and we're sorting through them now, via magical and fair robot means, to pick our lucky recipients. Keep an eye on your inbox over the next couple of hours.

ORIGINAL STORY 21ST JANUARY: Warcraft 3 was the game that started it all, this MOBA stuff, this multiplayer online battle arena stuff. Not sure Blizzard intended to inspire a mod that spawned a genre that propelled eSports to new heights, but it did. And now the company that inadvertently started it all will wade back in with Heroes of the Storm. But will it be The One?

Now you can make your own mind up by bagging one of 1000 beta keys we're giving away. We're running a sweepstake, so to be in with a chance of getting one, enter your email address below (we won't use it for anything else) and we'll distribute you a key on Friday, 23rd January. If you're a lucky one, that is. And note that all keys are for European regions only.

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

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.

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Heroes of the Storm closed beta date announced

Heroes of the Storm closed beta date announced

New characters, skins and game modes revealed for the upcoming MOBA.

Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's first foray into the hyper-competitive world of the Mutliplayer Online Battle Arena [MOBA], will enter closed beta on January 13th 2015.

The news was revealed during the opening ceremony for the company's annual BlizzCon fan convention in Anaheim, California.

In addition to the closed beta date, Blizzard also revealed a number of new characters and cosmetic skins for the game.

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Blizzard versus the hostility of MOBAs

"We will keep attacking this problem until it's gone."

MOBAs - or "online team brawlers", as Blizzard likes to call them, because every developer seems to feel the need to invent its own blanket term for these games - are the biggest games in the world, with one big problem. League of Legends and Dota 2 are fast-paced, skilful competitive games with great tactical depth, gigantic followings and a thriving eSports scene that can turn young players into stars. But they're not very nice places to be, especially for newcomers.

VideoVideo: Let's play Heroes of the Storm

Matt Lees powers through Blizzard's new MOBA.

I can't figure out whether my favourite Blizzard game is Heart of the Swarm, Heroes of the Storm or Hearth of the Stone. Or maybe I just can't figure out exactly which one's which.

Heroes of the Storm: Blizzard's long road to reinventing the wheel

Familiar faces can't disguise an identity crisis.

Despite Blizzard's bluster about avoiding the term 'MOBA' and wanting to make something different, the alpha of Heroes of the Storm still leans heavily on staples of the genre: two teams of five use the unique traits and skills of their heroes to repeatedly bash each other to death while gradually knocking down defensive structures. The complexities that bubble up in-between add the texture that makes MOBAs fascinating, but the core remains compelling and easy to understand: infinitely spawning waves of opposing AI 'creep' armies meet in the middle of the map to fight each other, but won't make any progress without help from players; destroy the defences that stop your AI guys from getting to the other side, and you've won. Peek beneath all the sorcery and blood, and you're basically playing American football.

Why Heroes of the Storm is the MOBA that you'll love or hate

Blizzard's move for accessibility is a boon for those new to the genre - but how will it go down with existing MOBA diehards?

Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA/ARTS/LMG/WHATEVER that existing MOBA/ARTS/LMG/WHATEVER fans are going to hate - and that's okay. The obvious comparison is to look at it and Dota in much the same way as Hearthstone vs. Magic: The Gathering. Actually play it though, and it quickly becomes clear that the better comparison is to see it as Super Smash Bros versus Street Fighter 2 - if only because it's going to be far easier to pick a character because they're your favourite. That's not to say there isn't scope for high level play, just that it's something to work up to rather than an immediate slap in the face.

Beta sign-ups for Heroes of the Storm go live

Beta sign-ups for Heroes of the Storm go live

Blizzard re-unveils its MOBA.

Beta sign-ups for Heroes of the Storm go live this evening, Blizzard has announced.

Game director Dustin Browder took to the stage at BlizzCon to re-unveil the multiplayer online battle arena - but didn't announce a release window.

We saw a brief gameplay trailer showing battlegrounds, described as worlds with their own characters and ways to play.

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