I’m going to try this blogging thing again. This time, with a mission!
I’ve been in the Heroes of the Storm since the Technical Alpha. It’s been a blast to play, even for someone that’s never played a MOBA previously. Although I do have to admit that ladder anxiety has held me back from venturing into Hero League, that’s nothing that I haven’t experienced with other multiplayer games (either team-based raids in WoW or 1v1 competitive games in Hearthstone).
A little background: I’ve been playing for what’s felt like a good amount of time. I have about 320 games played, I’ve gotten Nazeebo to 10 and I have Jaina close by. I’ve been working a bit on a warrior and support, but I’m not sure that I’ve got the right temperament for either style.
I read up on a number of articles on what to expect. And while they were well-intentioned, they just were not hitting the mark on what to expect. For someone that’s never been through it, there’s something to be said for just jumping into that first game. So the only way through it, is… well… to go through it? Right? Ready?… Ready!
My first game, and I’m first pick on my team (the other team got to chose first overall). If you haven’t played Hero League before, you’ll see both teams listed on each side. The bottom-center list of heroes grey out those that you have not earned. (Wow, could they make that list better by simply not including the heroes that you do not have access to! Also, would be really great if they would include the role filters.) You pick a hero, and when it is your turn you lock them in. In the meantime, you can pick skins/mounts or refresh your memory as to how they work with the abilities and talents buttons. Also, you know where you are fighting ahead of time (this time at the Sky Temple), which is helpful in picking heroes. :)
I select Jaina, and give the team a quick “Hi all” before locking her in. While I have more games played as Nazeebo, he feels very situational, and Jaina is much more of a pick that will work better the the rest of the team. There was a little discussion as to who was going to pick Raynor.
So my first match started off with Jaina, Raynor, Tassadar, Johanna and Malfurion. This was against Zeratul, Murrain, Kharazim, Lt. Morales and good ole’ Kael’thas fighting at the Sky Temple.
The first time up was a loss, but I have to say that it was fun. Everyone was good natured, even when it was clear that we were losing the objectives. What stuck out about this game is how few people died. Everyone played very conservatively.
I didn’t want to be deterred from my first game, so I took a couple minutes to look up some builds and then headed back into the fray.
Again, I had an early pick and again went with Jaina. This time on Blackheart’s Bay, I was determined to pay little more attention to both team fights and to picking up coins. The last pick on our side was a Nazeebo player, and we got to trade a few comments back-and-forth.
We had a spunky LiLi player (which come to think of it, was very fitting) so seemed to be leading most of the charges and still jumping into mercenary camps and treasure boxes faster than anyone.
I got caught out of position once and paid the price for it, but otherwise we played a very tight game. Again, the games seemed to be going much shorter than the Quick Match games I have been playing recently, but both of these maps can run quick if only one side takes advantage of the map’s objectives.
I called it a night going 1-1 on might first evening in Hero League, but was back at it the next day. We get into the draft, I’m second pick again, and we’re headed for the Sky Temple. I select Jaina but the first pick also goes for her and locks her in before I can. We had some friendly banter in chat while I was quickly going over who to pick as a back-up.
I saw one person pre-select Muradin below me, with the other two planning to go damage. With time winding down, I settled on… Brightwing! Surprisingly there were no ill comments to my selection. One guy said that I must be confident playing her if I picked her this early in the draft.
The game starts with what could have been a huge toxic slide. Muradin jumps over the opposing wall and goes SPLAT about 15 seconds into the match. One person types “Reported!” into the chat log, while the rest of us laugh it off. First team fight comes up with Muradin, Jaina and me fighting at the center temple, getting the initial shots off before we are challenged. We score one kill but Muradin goes down chasing “the one that got away.” Fortunately Thrall was there to help us finish off the temple.
After that, we stayed together. We took out creeps to keep the xp up, mercs to keep the lane pressure and visibility, and rarely faced the entire other side in a fight. I was focusing on keeping shields on Muradin and Jaina (depending on who was in trouble), as well as hearthing back for mana with a quick teleport back to whoever was engaged.
The strategy worked, and I picked up my second Hero League win (2-1)! The thing that surprised folks was how often I was getting killing shots in, or how aggressive I was with the polymorphs.
One thing that I neglected to add in was that I seem to be placed mostly against players in the high-30’s (i.e. closer to 40). Given my skill, or lack thereof, it’s probably not a bad place for me to be. But we’ll see where I am in another 17 matches!
Thank you for reading this initial post. I’ll be posting updates when I can. I’ll be doing a few give-aways. The first will be a… wait for it… Jaina code. That will probably be given out over Twitter, but I will have a second drawing for those that give (positive) comments or questions below. :)