Inspired by the Defense of the Ancients custom scenario for Blizzard's 2002 real-time strategy game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Heroes of the Storm brings various heroes from the universes of Blizzard's other game franchises (primarily Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Overwatch) into five-on-five combat as they gain new abilities, destroy fortifications, contest map objectives, and stem the tides of AI-controlled creeps.
The game distinguishes itself from other similar Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games by streamlining most of the traditional but clunky game mechanics. Instead of in-game currency and an inventory system, players gain new "talents" (adding a special characteristic chosen from one-time talent pools) by leveling up as a team. Games are considerably faster-paced, with all players being more effective from the start (as they start with all of their basic abilities, have toggle-able faster-moving "mounts", and use a shared team-based experience counter). Each of the many maps also have battleground-specific objectives to capture, allowing well-organized teams to help devastate enemy buildings.
Like League of Legends, the game features a weekly free-to-play rotation, granting free access to only a limited amount of Heroes to choose from. Players can unlock Heroes permanently with in-game Gold (earned by playing the game) or through microtransactions. Microtransactions can also allow players to purchase alternate outfits for their Heroes (sometimes affecting their voice lines, animations, and ability effects), alternate mounts, and "Stimpacks" (granting a time-limited boost of earned Gold and player XP).
Heroes of the Storm was initially revealed at BlizzCon 2010 under the name "Blizzard DOTA" as a simple StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty mod to showcase its modding features. Over time, the game was rebooted into a standalone game and was renamed twice (once to "Blizzard All-Stars" and once to the current name). It went into a technical alpha starting on March 13, 2014, into closed beta on January 13, 2015, and into open beta on May 19, 2015. The game continues to get regular updates, including new playable characters, battlegrounds, and alternate outfits for existing characters.
Building Your Hero
Every hero starts with 3 abilities and a (sometimes activatable) trait. On top of this Heroes grow through the Talent system. Basically when a team hits levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 20 each hero gets to choose a talent from a list of 3-5 talents. At every tier Talent choices are mutually exclusive. Some change how your basic abilities work like Hammer Time which allows Falstad to stun enemies slowed by his hammer ability by auto attacking them. Some change how your traits work like Kerrigan's Aggresive Defense talent which gives her twice the shields she'd otherwise get from her trait. Some are somewhat generic stat boosts under certain circumstances like Giant Killer which offers extra damage vs enemy heroes. Some are basically extra activatable abilities which map to the number keys such as Sprint which is a speed boost.
Through talents Blizzard is able to offer options to build each character that make sense and aren't (ideally) terribly overpowered. With the talent system one Hero can have a talent that'd be overpowered on another Hero.
In the original release, most talents were initially locked for each Hero to avoid overwhelming players with choices. This gating was lifted for each Hero once they reach a specific Hero Level and was lifted for all Heroes once players reached Player Level 25. It was later removed completely, allowing all talents from the start.
Hall of Storms
The Hall of Storms is located at the back of each teams base. Heroes standing in the Hall of Storms heal and regain mana very quickly. Heroes are also able to mount up instantly.
Healing Fountains give Heroes a large amount of health over time allowing them to stay in lane for longer.
Walls block units from entering enemy territory near Keeps. Teleportation and many other movement based abilities can still pass though the walls however.
Gates like walls block units, but only units from the opposing team. Creeps and Heroes can pass through gates on their own side of the map. Gates also block vision for enemy heroes.
Towers defend lanes, 2 are attached to each wall and gate while another sits behind each keep. They have relatively low ammo that recharges over time.
Keeps defend the lanes behind the walls. Keeps have a lot of ammo and health as well as giving a large amount of XP when destroyed.
The Core is the main objective of Heroes of the Storm, destroying it causes the game to end. The core can defend itself and has infinite ammo.
Watchtowers give a team sight in a large radius after standing on them for a short period.
The initial release of the game included 37 Heroes in its roster, with additional Heroes added on a near-monthly basis. As of the release of Hogger, there are currently 89 Heroes in the roster (90 if counting Cho and Gall separately).
Each Hero in the game is put into one of six roles: two damage-dealing roles (Ranged Assassin and Melee Assassin), two damage-tanking roles (Bruiser and Tank), and two supportive roles (Healer and Support). Prior to March 26, 2019, it was four roles (Assassin, Warrior, Support, and Specialist).
The game features a weekly free-to-play rotation of 10 playable Heroes. Each rotation always features one of each of the three major franchises and one of each role. The 7th-10th heroes are locked until the player reaches level 5, 7, 12, and 15 respectively. To celebrate certain events, Blizzard has sometimes made the entire roster free-to-play during a rotation.
While Ranged Assassins are generally fragile, they can deal out powerful damage at a safe distance.
- Azmodan is the demon Lord of Sin. He's really good at pushing lanes with summoned demons and chipping away at static defenses with his super long range Globe of Annihilation. He also can channel an energy beam that's quite powerful if enemies stay in range.
- Cassia is an Amazon Warmatron. She was added on April 4, 2017.
- Chromie is a gnome and the guise of the bronze dragon Chronomu, a warden of the timeflow of Azeroth. She was added on May 17, 2016.
- Falstad is a dwarven gryphon rider and the High Thane of the Wildhammer clan. Always mounted on his gryphon, his ability to mount up is replaced by the ability to take flight towards anywhere in the battlefield.
- Gall is one-half of the powerful ogre-mage (and Chieftain of the Twilight's Hammer clan) known as Cho'gall. Unlike other Heroes, Cho'gall is controlled by two separate players, with Gall serving as the stationary spellcaster. While he cannot move on his own, he has an assortment of powerful dark spells (including the ability to detonate Cho's Rune Bomb for deadly damage), does not require Mana, and is immune to both Stun and Silence. He was added on November 17, 2015 (only unlockable in certain circumstances) and was officially released on January 12, 2016. He can be selected for free only if another player in the party owns the duo and picks Cho.
- Genji is a Japanese ninja, rebuilt from the brink of death as a cyborg by Overwatch. He was added on April 25, 2017.
- Greymane is the worgen king of Gilneas. A cursed shapeshifter, Greymane widdles down enemies at range as a human and then shapeshift dashes in for the kill with his Darkflight ability! As a melee assassin in wolf form he's strong but lacks the sustain pure melee assassins have. While a wolf he can dash away from the fight with his Disengage ability, becoming human in the process. He was added on January 12, 2016.
- Hanzo is a Japanese assassin and former heir to the Shimada clan's criminal empire. He was added on December 12, 2017.
- Jaina is a human archmage and is considered to be the most powerful sorceress alive. Every ability she has chills enemies and gives her crits on further ability hits. As a result she can get a lot of damage out chaining abilities together.
- Junkrat is an Australian demolitionist and explosives-obsessed criminal. He was added on October 17, 2017.
- Kael'thas is a blood elf blood mage and the former crown prince of Quel'thalas. He can use his green orbs to power up any of his 3 basic abilities every 6 seconds giving him larger flamestrikes, free living bombs or whirlwinds that stun 3 instead of 1. He is, however, very squishy.
- Li-Ming is a rebellious wizard, armed with a variety of powerful magical abilities (all of which reset their cooldowns instantly, including her ultimate abilities, once she takes down an enemy). She's tricky to get a hold of due to her short cooldown short ranged teleport which allows her to dodge enemy skillshots with ease. She was added on February 2, 2016.
- Lunara is a dryad and the first daughter of the night elf demigod Cenarius. Due to her fawn body, she cannot use a mount (instead gaining faster overall movement speed). Her attacks apply damage over time which she can stack up to three times per target. She's an elusive and dangerous damage dealer, poisoning foes while being able to get away cleanly with her poison and with her wisps which scout for her. She was added on December 15, 2015.
- Nazeebo is a heretical witch doctor where every attack and ability that harms enemies also poisons them over time. Every attack he makes poisons. He also can summon frogs, throw out spiders and cause a ring of zombies to arise, hopefully entrapping foes in the process.
- Nova is a terran ghost of the Dominion. She's permanently invisible when out of combat and can get a lot of damage out of her sniping focused kit. Be aware when she's in play, she could be anywhere.
- Orphea is the daughter of the Raven Lord, using her dark powers to protect the innocent. She was the first Hero made exclusively for Heroes of the Storm and was added on November 13, 2018.
- Raynor is a terran marine and the commander of the renegade group Raynor's Raiders. He's got a skillshot that pushes enemies away from him and the ability to inspire friendly minions. One of his heroics, calling in the Hyperion, is quite noteworthy.
- Sgt. Hammer is a terran siege tank operator who pilots her tank in battle. She can siege up to get a whole hell of a lot of range and splash damage in exchange for mobility. She can lay down mines and do a shot that knocks back foes to try to prevent enemies from closing the distance as well. Instead of a mount she can make her tank go super fast for 5 seconds every 30 seconds.
- Sylvanas is a banshee ranger and queen of the Forsaken. Every basic attack and ability she does stuns towers, minions and mercs. On top of that she's got an ability she can use to fire extra shots at enemies even while moving. She has limited ammo for that ability which she can replenish by killing minions. She also can send out some ghosts and teleport to where they are.
- Tassadar, known as the Savior of the Templar, is a protoss high templar with the ability to sense cloaked enemies. Along with an increased vision radius, he can shield himself or his allies, become invulnerable, and throw down damaging Psionic Storms for area-of-effect damage.
- Tracer is a British adventurer who can control her own time and space at will. Unlike other Heroes, she can use her Basic Attacks while moving, at the cost of a limited magazine size (requiring her to reload, either automatically or manually as an ability). She does not use Mana, can perform a powerful melee attack as an ability, dash around the battlefield using regenerating Blink "charges", and instantly "recall" back in time (restoring ammo and removing debuffs). Also unlike other Heroes, she starts with a Heroic ability from the beginning: a timed sticky bomb that is upgradable at Level 10 and can only be regenerated by performing attacks. She is free for those who own Overwatch: Origins Edition, was added for those who pre-ordered Origins Edition on April 19, 2016, and was officially released on April 26, 2016.
- Tychus is a terran marine and notorious outlaw, armed with a gigantic gatling gun. It takes a few shots to wind up to full speed but once its going it goes. He can slide into action and move in shoot with his abilities. Very dangerous.
- Valla is a vengeful demon hunter, armed with a pair of crossbows. She gains attack power and movement speed as she attacks with her crossbows and can vault after heroes or back to safety she needs to. She was made free for those who pre-ordered Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.
- Zagara is the broodmother of the zerg Swarm. She creates fields of creep which gives her increased movement speed and health regen while she's on it. Each of her abilities spawns zerg units, from a line of banelings which roll out quickly to a Hydralisk that chases down a targeted enemy dealing significant damage to them while they're in its range. One of Zagara's ultimates allows her to make Nydus Worms which allow her to travel from one Worm to any other instantly
Melee Assassins can deal powerful damage at close range, but are not as survivable as Tanks and Bruisers.
- The Butcher is a sadistic demon who consumes fresh meat from deceased enemies (both minion and Hero) to gain bonus attack damage. He can chase you down with his Ruthless Onslaught, do massive damage with his cleavers and heal himself in the process with his lifestealing Butcher's Brand. He was added on June 30, 2015.
- Illidan, betrayer of the night elves, is the leader of the cursed Demon Hunters. He has no mana so the only limits on his very aggressive kit is their cooldowns and every attack he does reduces those and heal him.
- Kerrigan is a corrupted terran ghost, ruling over the zerg as the Queen of Blades. She leaps into battle, gaining shields as she deals damage, stunning foes with impaling blades or pulling them in with primal grasp.
- Maiev is a night elf Warden. She was added on February 6, 2018.
- Murky is a baby murloc who's focused more on annoying enemies than eliminating them. He's a hero who's supposed to die a lot. Basically he can lay an egg and while that egg stands he can respawn quickly at it immediately getting back into the action.
- Qhira is a bounty hunter who seeks the survivors of her doomed realm of Iresia. She was added on August 6, 2019 and is an original character for the game.
- Samuro is an orc blademaster and the last to bear the banner of the Burning Blade. He was added on October 18, 2016.
- Zeratul is a protoss dark templar and the Dark Prelate. Like Nova he's permanently stealthed. He blinks around the battlegrounds and carves into fools with his blades. Again, beware when he's in play.
Bruisers can absorb a lot of damage, but are generally not as powerful as Assassins.
- Artanis is a protoss high templar and the Hierarch of the Daelaam. When he's below half health he automatically shields himself. He reduces the cooldown on this shield significantly by attacking enemies. He can also swap places with foes and call down destruction from the Spear of Adun, the Protoss Flagship, anywhere on the battleground. He is free for those who own Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void, was added for those who pre-ordered Legacy of the Void on October 20, 2015, and was officially released on October 27, 2015.
- Chen is a pandaren brewmaster. He can restore his brew (which he uses instead of mana) by drinking deeply of it during combat. While drinking he gains a shield. After drinking he's got a lot of options for fighting foes.
- Deathwing is one of the five Dragon Aspects and the leader of the black dragonflight. He was added on December 3, 2019.
- Dehaka is a primal zerg and one of the last pack leaders of his type, focused on gathering "essence" for his survival. When he kills Heroes or is nearby the death of enemy minions, he collects essence, which he can use to heal himself. He has the ability to drag enemies with him using his tongue and has the ability to burrow for a short time to avoid burst damage. He cannot use any mounts, and can instead teleport to any bush/vent on the map by burrowing. He was added on March 29, 2016.
- Gazlowe is a goblin tinkerer and the leader of Ratchet. Fighting with a mechanical exoskeleton carried on his back, he lays down turrets and bombs and can charge up a laser for big damage.
- Imperius is the Archangel of Valor and the head of the Angiris Council. He was added on January 8, 2019.
- Leoric is the former king of Khanduras, resurrected into the hellish Skeleton King. With his Undying trait he can walk the battlefield after death applying slows to enemies and hastening his return. When he returns he returns where his wraith stands. He was added on July 21, 2015.
- Malthael is the unholy Aspect of Death and the former Archangel of Wisdom. He was added on June 13, 2017.
- Ragnaros is the master of fire elementals and ruler of the Firelands. He was added on December 14, 2016.
- Rexxar is a half-orc half-ogre beastmaster and Champion of the Horde, who works in tandem with his loyal bear companion Misha. The two work as a team, both attacking the same target. Rexxar with thrown axes, Misha with her claws. Rexxar will be very sad if Misha dies. He was added on September 8, 2015.
- Sonya is a wandering barbarian and a Child of Bul-Kathos. She uses fury instead of mana and builds it up by attacking foes. She leaps, she does a spinning attack, she hookshots to people.
- Thrall is an orc shaman and Warchief of the Horde, armed with the melee weapon Doomhammer. He's great at wading in and doing damage. Every 5th ability hit he does heals him, and several of his abilities do multiple hits.
- Xul is a cryptic necromancer focused on controlling the undead. When an enemy minion dies near him, he automatically raises a skeleton warrior to temporarily help in pushing the lane. He also has the ability to grow temporary bone armor to shield himself, the ability to increase the effectiveness of his Basic Attacks (making massive AOE swings that apply an attack speed decrease to his foes), the ability to root enemies in their place with his Bone Prison, and a reverse skillshot with a summoned scythe. He was added on March 1, 2016.
Tanks do not have as much damage output as Bruisers or Assassins, but can block and absorb a lot of damage.
- Anub'arak is a crypt lord and the Traitor King of Azjol-Nerub. Every ability he does spawns a beetle. He burrows to get the jump on his foes, hardens his carapace to tank hits and can stun enemies with spikes from the ground.
- Arthas is a corrupted human prince, ruling over the damned as the death knight Lich King. Every forty seconds he can empower the cursed sword Frostmourne to do double damage for one hit and restore some mana. He's very dangerous up close and can root enemies with ice.
- Blaze is a terran firebat armed with dual flamethrowers on each of his gauntlets. He was added on January 9, 2018.
- Cho is one-half of the powerful ogre-mage (and Chieftain of the Twilight's Hammer clan) known as Cho'gall. Unlike other Heroes, Cho'gall is a very beefy Hero controlled by two separate players, with Cho controlling the movement and melee combat. Does not use Mana for abilities. He was added on November 17, 2015 (only unlockable in certain circumstances) and was officially released on January 12, 2016. He can be selected for free only if another player in the party owns the duo and picks Gall.
- Diablo is the demon Lord of Terror. He collects skulls from minions so he can respawn instantly upon death. He also does wrestling moves to displace enemies. He was made free for a limited time for those who own Diablo III.
- E.T.C. is a tauren Rock God and the mascot for Blizzard's real-life band Elite Tauren Chieftain. Every ability he does, including a stunning powerslide, a healing guitar solo, and a knockback blast, inspires nearby allies and temporary grants them more attacking speed. His Heroic abilities include Mosh Pit, which stuns nearby enemies, and Stage Dive, which allows him to leap to any location on the map (while dealing heavy damage and slowing nearby enemies).
- Johanna is a crusader of Zakarum, constantly seeking an apprentice. She can become unstoppable at any time for 5 seconds and has a lot of tools to slow, stun and displace enemies.
- Mei is a Chinese climatologist with snow-based abilities from her climate-manipulation gadgets. She was added on June 23, 2020.
- Muradin is a dwarven warrior and Thane of the Bronzebeard Clan. When out of combat he regenerates health quickly. He can stun dudes, slow dudes, and make great big leaps. One of his heroics Avatar can give him even more survivability.
- Stitches, known as the Terror of Darkshire, is a large, twisted Abomination with terrifying weaponry. With his hook, he can grab enemies and pull them towards him, then proceed to either slam down with his cleaver or take a huge bite out of enemies (the latter which restores health). When he is damaged, he leaves a gas cloud that poisons nearby enemies.
- Tyrael is the Archangel of Justice and member of the powerful Angiris Council. With the sword El'Druin, he can throw it at a distance, then teleport to it (allowing him to quickly enter or escape combat). He can also shield himself (along with nearby allies) and damage enemies in an arc-shaped blast (while increasing the speed of allies in the blast). On his death, he leaves a controllable spirit that explodes after a few seconds, dealing heavy damage to nearby enemies.
While Healers are neither as tough or deadly as the other units, they have unique healing capabilities.
- Alexstrasza is the red Dragon Aspect and the safeguard of all living creatures of Azeroth. She was added on November 14, 2017.
- Ana is a founding member of Overwatch and an accomplished sniper from Egypt. She was added on September 26, 2017.
- Anduin is a human priest and the King of Stormwind. He was added on April 30, 2019.
- Auriel is the Archangel of Hope and member of the powerful Angiris Council. She was added on August 9, 2016.
- Brightwing is a playful faerie dragon who automatically sends out a pulse of healing to nearby allies every four seconds. Instead of using a mount, she can teleport to an allied Hero from anywhere in the map. Her abilities include an area-of-effect arcane projectile (dealing more damage near the center), the ability to temporarily increase an ally's movement speed (while giving them resistance to basic attacks), and the ability to turn an enemy into a harmless animal for a few seconds.
- Deckard is the last living member of the ancient magi Horadrim. He was added on April 24, 2018.
- Kharazim is a monk of Ivgorod, able to build himself into either a powerful healer or deadly assassin throughout the match. His first talent determines the special trait of his third consecutive basic attack, whether to heal a nearby ally, restore his mana, or deal extra damage. He can also use abilities to burst-heal nearby allies, dash to another unit (dealing damage to enemies along the way), and power-up his next basic attack. He was added on August 18, 2015.
- Li Li is a pandaren adventurer who heals allies by throwing her Healing Brew, which automatically targets the ally with the lowest health within range. In addition, she can summon a cloud serpent on an ally to attack enemies and can throw a cloud of Blinding Wind at enemies to temporarily make their basic attacks worthless. When she takes damage, she temporarily gains movement speed.
- Lt. Morales is a terran combat medic with a very strong and consistent single-target healing capability with her Healing Beam. She can also use Displacement Grenades to knock enemies away and can temporarily shield an ally. When out of combat, her health automatically regenerates faster than usual. She was added on October 6, 2015.
- Malfurion is a powerful night elf archdruid with both a standard healing ability and the ability to regenerate an ally's Mana. He can also summon roots at an area to entangle enemies and has a weak Moonfire attack to reveal hidden enemies.
- Rehgar is a former orc gladiator and the Shaman of the Earthen Ring. Instead of mounting, he transforms into a faster wolf spirit (granting him more speed and an extra damage boost on his lunging attack). He also has a healing ability that chains between allies, a totem that slows down enemies, and a lightning shield that damages nearby enemies.
- Stukov is an infested terran vice-admiral and a leader of multiple zerg forces. He was added on July 11, 2017.
- Tyrande is a night elf hunter and the High Priestess of the goddess Elune. She can mark enemies for death with Hunter's Mark (leaving them temporarily vulnerable and decloaked), heal allies and herself simultaneously, stun enemies in a target area, and send out a owl to traverse the battleground (giving her team vision).
- Uther, known as the Lightbringer, is a human paladin and the founder of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Along with a standard (yet powerful) healing ability, he has a projectile that heals allies and harms enemies and can use his Hammer of Justice to stun nearby enemies. Once he dies, he leaves a controllable spirit that can use a less-powerful version of his standard healing ability for eight seconds.
- Whitemane is a human priestess and the High Inquisitor of the Scarlet Crusade. She was added on August 7, 2018.
While not as specific with their role, Supports provide unique benefits for their teammates (including shielding and teleportation).
- Abathur is a zerg "evolution master", spinning sequences to evolve the Swarm. Instead of fighting directly (which he's very weak at), he stays behind and spawns additional minions while riding shotgun on any other hero anywhere on the map, giving them shields and attacking from them if needed. He jumps around from ally to ally doing what he can remotely while his physical form spawns dudes who push lanes.
- The Lost Vikings are a trio of vikings (from the game series of the same name) that one player controls (either separately or as a group). Olaf the Stout has a lot of health and can charge into combat with his shield, Baleog the Fierce throws a powerful sword that deals area-of-effect damage, and Erik the Swift moves fast while dealing ranged damage with his slingshot. They do not use Mana and start with no abilities (instead gaining choices throughout the talent tree). They increase automatic health regeneration with Regeneration Globes, have lowered respawn times, and do not use mounts (instead gaining a temporary speed boost by running).
- Zarya is one of Earth's strongest women and a soldier of the Russian Defense Force. She was added on September 27, 2016.
Each battleground in Heroes of the Storm includes 2-3 lanes dotted with groups of fortifications (including walls, gates, towers, healing fountains, and keeps). Towers and Keeps have strong turrets (Keeps especially- they'll slow your move speed and attack speed if they hit you), however they'll target minions first and will need to reload ammo if pushed hard. At the far end of each team's base is the Core, the destruction of which is each team's ultimate goal.
In between the lanes are "jungle" areas where Mercenary Camps lie. Mercenaries are neutral minions who can help push lanes if they are defeated and the camp is captured. Some battlegrounds also include watchtowers (which can show a large area when captured). All battlegrounds include blind areas, or "bushes", which conceal everyone inside.
Unique with all battlegrounds are special Objectives, requiring teams to perform a special location-based objective (from capturing shrines to collecting and turning in dubloons) to grant the team a significant advantage (either by bombarding fortifications or granting a special ally).
Set in a bright, colorful medieval-fantasy landscape, this storybook realm has some dark secrets hidden within.
- Dragon Shire: A three-lane map where two shrines (the Sun Shrine and Moon Shrine, located near the top and bottom lanes of the map) can be controlled (in a Control Point scenario). If both shrines are controlled by a team and a teammate successfully channels the Dragon Knight statue near the center lane, that teammate is granted the power of the Lady of Thorns, and transforms into the hulkish Dragon Knight.
- Garden of Terror: A three-lane map with a day-night cycle. At night, visibility is reduced and special neutral minions, known as shamblers, come out. As the shamblers are defeated, they drop seeds, which can be collected for the team. Nighttime ends when all shamblers are defeated. After a team collects 100 seeds, the Spore Queen summons a Garden Terror for the team. A teammate who channels the tanky Garden Terror before its timer runs out becomes it, having the ability to both polymorph enemy heroes and disable enemy structures.
Reminiscent of Ancient Egypt, these battlegrounds are set both above (Sky Temple) and below (Tomb of the Spider Queen) the desert sands of this realm.
- Sky Temple: A three-lane map with special temple areas outside of each lane. At certain points of the game, one or more temples can be activated by standing on it with a Hero. As teams fight for control of each temple (in a King of the Hill scenario), they must also fight special neutral minions, called Guardians. As a team maintains control of the temple, the Snake God Ka uses the temple's power to heavily damage the enemy team's fortifications.
- Tomb of the Spider Queen: A three-lane map and the smallest battleground in the regular game, this map features spider minions that drops gems for the enemy team upon their death. Heroes can only collect gems dropped by their enemy minions and can attempt to relinquish them at two altars between the lanes. Heroes who die drop their gems; and unless these gems are picked up by their teammates, these gems can disappear over time. If a team relinquishes enough gems, the Spider Queen Neithis spawns special minions, called Webweavers, for that team that push all three lanes simultaneously.
Set in a nautical seaside medieval-fantasy landscape, this realm is hosted by the evil ghost pirate Blackheart.
- Blackheart's Bay: A three-lane map where heroes can collect dubloons by both attacking treasure chests that spawn in the map and destroying mercenary camps (including special camps that only give dubloons). At the center of the map is Blackheart and his ship, where heroes can bargain with their dubloons. Heroes drop their dubloons when they die, which can be picked up by both teammates and enemies. If a team bargains with enough dubloons, Blackheart enters his ship and bombards the enemy team's fortifications.
Set in a dark, twisted medieval-fantasy landscape, this gothic horror realm is where two realm lords attempt to gain control: the Raven Lord and the Grave Keeper.
- Cursed Hollow: A three-lane map where special "tributes" spawn periodically at one of six predetermined spots in the map. Players must channel the tribute for several seconds to capture it for their team (at which they can be interrupted by attacks). Every time a team collects three tributes, their enemy is cursed by the Raven Lord (who temporarily disables enemy towers and keeps and makes enemy creeps much easier to kill). There are two Watchtowers on the map.
- Haunted Mines: A two-lane map with an additional underground layer (the mines) that can be accessed at certain points in the middle of the map. At certain points of the game, Heroes must enter the mines to gather skulls of undead miners. After 100 skulls are collected, the Grave Keeper gives each team an AI-controlled Grave Golem to help them push down a lane. The amount of skulls each team collects determines the strength of their Grave Golem. Currently, the map is disabled in the rotation and can only be accessed in custom games. There are two Watch Towers on the map.
- Towers of Doom: A three-lane map where bases can not be sieged. Instead, players fight to take control of both Bell Towers (replacing Keeps) and Altars (which rise throughout the battlefield at certain times). As a team activates an Altar, the enemy Core will take damage (dependent on how many Bell Towers that team controls). Mercenary Camps are replaced with Sapper Camps, which kamikaze on Bell Towers (dealing some damage to the Core instead if the Bell Tower is controlled when they arrive). The replacement Boss, the Headless Horseman, damages the enemy Core when defeated. If all six Bell Towers are captured, the enemy Core slowly takes damage. After 12 minutes, a tunnel opens up between each base and the center of the battlefield. Added on November 24, 2015.
Realms Based on Other Games
- Alterac Pass: A three-lane map where instead of Cores, each side has a General that fights alongside his defenders (Vanndar Stormpike for the Alliance, Drek'Thar for the Horde). Heroes can also infiltrate enemy Prison Camps to break out special Cavalry units. Added on June 12, 2018.
- Braxis Holdout: A two-lane map with special holding cells located at the top and bottom of the playfield. Once two beacons near the lanes activate, players can capture each beacon by standing on it with a Hero. Once both beacons are captured by a team, their holding cell becomes filled with Zerg infantry (that, unlike other AI-controlled minions, focus on enemy Heroes). Once a holding cell is filled, the cells of both teams are opened and waves of Zerg are unleashed. Added on September 13, 2016.
- Warhead Junction: A three-lane map where players can collect Warheads spawned periodically throughout the map and use them to devastate enemy fortifications. Added on September 27, 2016.
- Hanamura Temple: A two-lane map where teams can escort the neutral Payload (an automated vehicle that move in a certain path when teammates stand near it uncontested) along their designated path to deal heavy damage to enemy Structures. Added on April 25, 2017.
- Volskaya Foundry: A three-lane map where teams can capture roaming Control Points (by standing on them uncontested for a short time) to spawn the Triglav Protector: a mech vehicle that can be controlled by two Heroes (one as the pilot and one as the gunner). There are also several conveyor belts that can be used to boost mobility or force enemies out of position. Added on September 26, 2017.
Set in the Diablo universe, this dark fantasy realm details the epic struggle between the High Heavens (led by the Immortal Ilarian) and the Burning Hells (led by the Immortal Beloth). These battlegrounds are unique in that each side has their own unique appearance for architecture and minions.
- Battlefield of Eternity: A two-lane map with a large area in the center as the staging ground for the regular fight between each side's Immortal. Players can attack the enemy's Immortal while protecting their own, and the Immortal that remains will help push (as an AI-controlled boss) in the enemy's strongest lane. The remaining health of the Immortal during the initial fight is converted to shields. Added on July 21, 2015.
- Infernal Shrines: A three-lane map where special shrines can be activated throughout the match, releasing neutral minions (Guardians) to defeat. When one team has defeated enough Guardians, an AI-controlled demonic boss, known as a Punisher, is summoned to help push in the enemy's strongest lane (prioritizing killing enemy Heroes over damaging structures). There are three shrines, each including their own unique type of Punisher spawned (Arcane, Frozen, or Mortar). Added on August 18, 2015.
One-lane maps designed for the ARAM (All-Random All-Mid) game mode, for those who prefer constant teamfights. Hearthstones, Starting Area Heals, and special Battleground Objectives are disabled. Regeneration Globes are scattered throughout the map. Cores have no regenerating shields. All players start as a random hero.
While early versions stuck true to the name and had players as a random hero, it was later changed to the "Shuffle Pick" system, where players pick from a group of three random Heroes at the beginning of the match. In rare occasions, multiple players can pick the same Hero. Some Heroes, such as Cho'gall, cannot be picked in ARAM.
The mode was originally part of Heroes Brawl mode, and was later made into its own mode on September 2020.
- Lost Cavern: Based on Tomb of the Spider Queen. First used for Brawl Mode on November 4, 2016. Unlike other Brawls, this map was added previously (on March 17, 2016) as a permanent addition to the Custom Game mode (without the random aspect). Unlike the other single-lane maps, Lost Cavern includes no Mercenary Camps.
- Silver City: Based on Battlefield of Eternity and Infernal Shrines. First used on December 30, 2016.
- Braxis Outpost: Based on Braxis Holdout. First used on February 24, 2017.
- Industrial District: Based on Volskaya Foundry. First used on January 12, 2018.
Special maps used for the Heroes Brawl game mode, which are either unique single-lane arenas (with unique objectives) or standard maps with mutators (unique gameplay modifiers). This was later discontinued in September 2020.
The game uses a "Shuffle Pick" system for all Arena maps and most Mutators, in which players pick from a group of three random Heroes of a certain class at the beginning of each round. In rare occasions, all players start off as the same Hero.
Best of three rounds. Teams do not have Minions, Towers, or an attackable Core, and players instead focus on a specific objective in a one-lane map.
- Punisher Arena: Based on Infernal Shrines. Each team always has a Punisher of a random type, who alternates between attacking the other Punisher and attacking other heroes. Teams earn 4 points for each Hero killed and 10 points for each Punisher killed. First team to 100 points wins the round. First used on October 18, 2016.
- Temple Arena: Based on Sky Temple. Teams must destroy their enemy's Core by taking control of temples scattered throughout the map. Each round uses a different map layout with new temple locations and amount of temples. First used on November 11, 2016.
- Blackheart's Revenge: Based on Blackheart's Bay. The left team (led by Blackheart) must attack the enemy Core by escorting Blackheart's large slow-moving ship to it. The right team (led by the Commodore) must attack Blackheart's ship by collecting cannonballs scattered throughout the map and using cannons against the ship. Unlike other Arenas, this brawl only has one map layout and is only one round. First used on November 18, 2016.
- Garden Arena: Based on Garden of Terror. Teams must destroy their enemy's Core by collecting seeds from shamblers. Each round uses a different map layout with new shambler locations. First used on December 9, 2016.
- Checkpoint: Hanamura: Based on Hanamura Temple. One team must push their Payload towards the enemy's base, while the other must defend from it. Talents and level system disabled. First used on May 5, 2017.
- Trial Grounds: Based on Volskaya Foundry. Teams must eliminate all opposing Heroes. Each round has a random objective (most of which are from other Battlegrounds) that are used after one minute passes. First used on December 29, 2017.
- Tutorial includes three gameplay segments where the player, as Raynor, learns all the basics of the game (from movement, to objectives, to the use of abilities and talents). Completing these segments for the first time gives the player bonus Gold.
- Veteran Introduction is similar to Tutorial, only it's shorter and intended for veterans of other MOBAs. Added on June 14, 2016.
- Training Mode puts the player into a standard 5v5 fight where all allies and enemies are Beginner AI. The match starts with a cinematic overview of the battleground, detailing their unique objectives. Players earn a small amount of experience after the match, but they do not earn anything towards their Gold or their Daily Quests.
- Versus A.I. is a co-operative 5v5 mode where the enemy team consists of five AI players (of varying difficulty, depending on the AI difficulty chosen from the party leaders). Difficulty levels include Beginner, Recruit, Adept, Veteran, and Elite. Players can team up with other human players or fill in the remaining ally slots with AI of the same difficulty. Slight decrease on earned Gold and player XP.
- Quick Match is the standard unranked 5v5 mode. It tries to find a team of similar make (e.g. if 3 players on one team are in a party it tries to find another team with 3 members in a party).
- Unranked Draft is the draft unranked 5v5 mode. Players use a draft mode of selecting Heroes, where each team takes turns selecting a player's Hero to use. At certain points in the draft, teams can ban the use of specific Heroes in the match (forcing the other team to alter their intended composition). Unlike standard modes, both teams can not choose the same Hero. Added on June 14, 2016.
- Ranked Mode is the draft ranked 5v5 mode that is separated into two leagues: Hero League and Team League, dependent on how many players are partied up. Hero League is only available to solo or two-player parties (where they will be ranked individually), while Team League requires players to create a consistent ranked team and have a full party to fight.
- Brawl is an unranked 5v5 mode, similar to Quick Match mode, which takes place in a weekly rotation of Brawl Maps (similar to Weekly Brawls in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Overwatch). Added on October 18, 2016.
- Custom Game is a lobby-based system that allows the party to choose the teams (for up to 10 players, including AI, in 5v5), the map, and the hero selection model (Standard and Draft). The primary mode for tournament play, the game allows up to six spectators (all of which have a special HUD).
Heroes of the Dorm
In 2015 Blizzard made Heroes' first official push into eSports with Heroes of the Dorm. It was a collegiate league where over 100 teams from various North American colleges threw down for the grand prize: College tuition for all 5 members of the winning team. The tournament was streamed by ESPN live on ESPN3 and then, during the finals, on ESPN2 on the actual TV channel.
The event has become a yearly event through March/April.
Heroes World Championships
During the back half of 2015 Blizzard started holding official tournaments to qualify for an international tournament at Blizzcon. Teams started qualifying by placing in Opens for Regional Championships as early as June. From the Regional Championships 8 teams qualified for Blizzcon from all over the world.
Unlike the first Heroes of the Dorm which preceded it, which used no bans, Road to Blizzcon used bans. In fact, it introduced the Mid-Ban format. This was new to the scene which had been using 1 ban drafts up to that point. After its invention Mid-Bans have become the prevailing draft type in competitive and have been added to the ranked modes in game.
After the first Heroes World Championship the events it was made into a seasonal tournament with Spring, Summer and Fall Heroes World Championships held around the world.
A competitive league featuring over 500 teams of various skill levels, Chair League is the most prominent non-professional league. It offers a structure outside of matchmaking where full teams of various skills can partake in weekly matches which matter. Many of the matches are casted.
Free to Play Elements
To buy Heroes without money and some vanity cosmetic items you'll need gold. The newer a hero is the higher they'll be priced. This is especially true when they're brand new since for the first two weeks they're 5000 gold more expensive than normal. There are several ways to earn gold by playing the game regularly.
- Play matches. AI games are worth less gold than non-AI games, but it's a small number either way.
- Do Daily Quests. Each day you get a daily quest. You can hold up to three of these before you fill up and can't get anymore. Daily quests are along the lines of "play 2 as a StarCraft hero" or "Play 3 as a Support" and are worth a lot more than the matches themselves are.
- Level up your heroes. At levels 5, 9, 15 and 20 you get a bunch of gold. The grind to 5 is very short, the grind to 9 takes time, the grind to 15 or 20 takes devotion. When leveling up heroes it's important to note that there's a 50% XP Boost while playing with friends.
- Do event quests! Currently, during the Eternal Conflict expansion, often a Treasure Goblin appears while the game is starting. Killing atleast one a day nets 100 gold a day
- Level up your account. This only applies if you haven't hit the maximum account level of 40.
Cash Money Options
For those with cash Heroes can be bought with cash instead of gold. The prices range from 2 dollars to 10 dollars normally. Additionally there are skins and mounts that are not available for purchase with gold. Depending on the amount of work put into each skin (e.g. Custom Ability Work, Custom Summon Work, Custom Mount, new Voice Acting, etc) skins can be priced upwards of 15 dollars.
There are also bundles (with flexible pricing if individual heroes are already owned) that allow you to get multiple heroes and skins for a bundled price. Additionally every week 1 Hero and 2 Skins/Mounts go on sale for roughly half off. Finally Heroes offers Stimpacks that boost XP/Gold Gain for a period of time.
There's also Expansions. An expansion lasts around 3 or 4 months during which all the content (heroes, maps, skins and mounts) matches the theme of the expansion. So far there's been one Expansion, the Eternal Conflict, which was Diablo themed. Other expansions will likely come eventually.