I am writing this to shed some light to those who may not know how MOBAs operate from a person who had never played a MOBA before the wonderful Heroes of the Storm (HotS). It is lengthy but, I believe, the information is potent and important.
tl;dr: Sucked at this game, watched my replays, developed situational awareness as well as game mechanic awareness, learned to communicate effectively and concisely, and dealt with toxicity appropriately.
Competitive Background: CS:GO, Source, 1.6, and other various FPS games.
Prior MOBA experience: A very limited amount of League of Legends (LoL)
Bring in HotS. I had played a considerable amount of Starcraft 2, made it into low diamond and had a blast playing that game, so I decided it might be fun to try this new game out. I sat and waited for months upon months trying to get a key, no key, founder’s pack, and viola. Time to play. I was a little shocked I wanted to play this game so bad, but the videos I watched on gameplay and other things had me hooked. The game did not disappoint. However I sucked tremendously and did not know where to turn for improvement.
My current record for Hero League: 50-53. I am by no means an expert yet but I feel like I play rather consistently. These are the steps i personally followed. I feel like this guide could be important to a crowd that may not know where to begin on how to improve.
- Watch Your Replays: One of the biggest things behind getting better at my FPS games was taking the time to hone in on how I was losing. Watching yourself is a painful exercise but one of the most important things you can do. There was a recent post on here about getting the boss during your curse, I had teams that did this consistently, I joined in on the case thinking yea this has got to be the best thing to do, but when the other team spread out effectively, they killed our minions from doing any damage. Most of the time when you get the boss right after the curse, it’s a waste of a curse. I found that a lot of the reason why I was losing on cursed hollow was because of the wasting of a curse by suggesting we get the boss right after the 3rd tribute.
- Dealing with toxicity: I felt a great deal of this throughout getting to level 40. Understand that you may not be as good as you think you are, but also understand your teammate who is being toxic may not be as good as you think they are. This is something I cannot speak a lot about other than the statement I have already made. I am still learning on how to effectively judge other players and replay watching is helping with that as well. But it is best to remain distanced from the toxicity yourself. If you want to suggest something try to do so in a positive manner.
- Communicate: This is crucial. Finding the balance between toxicity and communication can be difficult because teams sometimes just do not get it and I am sure we have all been there. Try not to excessively ping, but do so within the appropriate means. If danger is there, ping danger, if you are on the way, ping it. But if facing a full team and there are only 2 heroes left on your team, don’t spam that you need assistance in turning in all your coins on Blackhearts Bay, it probably will end in more trouble than it is worth. In short; be concise, positive, and be aware of the situation your team is in.
- Understand Game Mechanics. Garden Terror: collect seeds. Dragon Shire: capture the Shires. Blackhearts Bay: collect the coins. Cursed Hollow: collect the Tributes. Haunted Mines: collect the skulls. Sky Temple: get the temples. So much easier said than done, but understand that these objectives can make or break your team. This is where your own judgment will start to develop over the amount of time you play which leads me to my final piece of advice…
- Development of your own Situational Awareness. Although the crux at winning most of these maps is understand the mechanics, but that sometimes is not enough. A 5 team push into the core may be more important than getting down into the mines to get all the skulls. In this game talk them over to yourself and start writing them down. As you start developing these theories and situations look for alternatives. Map awareness is important here. Developing within these situations will also tell you where the enemy team might be.
I know a lot of you will probably view this as wrong or a replication of other guides/sources but I looked through the search bar and did not find anything that looks at this game from a non-LoL or other MOBA point of view and hope this can help someone with limited knowledge on the subject or genre. I am not trying to claim to be an expert, but rather a person with a differing point-of-view. These are the basic insights I have gathered over the month and a half of playing. I still am finding that this game, and genre, has more to offer than I originally thought and I am enjoying it more than ever.