Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's entry into the MOBA world, never quite set the world on fire the way that Hearthstone and Overwatch did. And perhaps that's what Blizzard are hoping to rectify with their latest plans for changes to Heroes of the Storm.
Mainly focused on the game outside of gameplay, the patch completely overhauls the leveling system, introduces a whole new loot system, and add a ton of new items that players can use to customize their Heroes of the Storm experience. And as if that wasn't enough, Blizzard have also launched a new hero into the mix - the long awaited Amazon Warmatron, Cassia.
The largest change is the rework of the loot system and the addition of a ton of new items. Dubbed "Progression 2.0", players can now earn loot chests from gaining levels. Containing four items per chest, common loot chests are attained every level, while chests guaranteeing rare and epic loot drops can be expected every five and twenty-five levels respectively. Hero-specific chests are also earned and guarantee hero-specific items for every ten levels gained with that same hero. Interestingly, players can also pay gold to re-roll the result of a chest up to three times (though the cost increases with each re-roll). Current players can expect at least five free chests when logging into the new Heroes of the Storm, with more chests given to more experienced players.
Following the "Overwatch-ification" of the loot system, the item system has followed suit, adding hero-specific sprays and Dota 2-like chat emojis. Banners give players the ability to throw down a personal banner after destroying an enemy fort, clearing a mercenary camp, or taking a map objective. Finally, much like Dota 2 and other similar games, Heroes of the Storm players will be able to set customizable announcers and voice packs.
The leveling system outside the game has also been put under the surgeon's knife. Now tied to your cumulative hero level, your account level now serves as an overall snapshot into your accumulated achievements within Heroes of the Storm. Level caps have also been removed, with a Call of Duty-style prestige leveling system available after level 100. Leveling speed has also been altered; Heroes of the Storm previously suffered from early levels that sped by in a few games, while later levels often felt like they required marathon sessions. In response, the leveling curve has been smoothed out, with earlier levels now requiring more effort, and the later levels now requiring 70-80% less experience points.
Diablo's Amazon character will also be joining the fray with this update. Cassia, the Askvari Amazon Warmatron, is a ranged Assassin specializing in highly mobile attacks. Her passive, Avoidance, gives her a 65% reduction on all physical damage when moving, rewarding hyperactive clickers who move after every attack. Based around a celestial theme, Cassia's abilities lend themselves to a fast, hit-and-run combat philosophy. Blinding Light dazzles enemies with a flare of bright light, blinding them, and letting Cassia deal more damage to them with attacks and abilities. Lightning Fury is a thrown lightning spear that splits into two on impact, hitting enemies either side of her initial target. Fend is a flurry of pokes with her javelin, launching damage in a cone in front of Cassia - heroes beware, because Fend does additional damage to enemy heroes.
The first of Cassia's two ultimate abilities is somewhat akin to Lich's Chain Frost from Dota 2. Ball Lightning launches an orb of lightning that bounces between enemy heroes, causing damage each time it hits. Her second ultimate, Valkyrie, summons a legendary Valkyrie that charges towards Cassia, impaling and stunning the first enemy hero it hits, bringing them to Cassia's feet.
And it seems as if the surprises are nowhere near done - the main Heroes 2.0 page still has a host of locked, with reveal dates. Excitedly, we only have to wait until April 17th for a new hero, and another on May 5th. In addition, if you want to experience any of the changes ahead of time, you can access the Heroes of the Storm Beta by following the following instructions:
There are also a few important details that you should be aware of during the Heroes 2.0 Beta:
- Head to the Heroes of the Storm tab on your Blizzard launcher.
- Use the Region selector found above the “Play” button to switch to “Heroes 2.0 Beta.”
- Hit the big, blue “Install” button, and then log in to start playtesting!
- Real money cannot be used to buy Gems or make any other purchases in the Heroes 2.0 Beta.
- Instead, you’ll earn Gems by completing a Weekly Quest that will only be available during the Beta.
- Finally, any items unlocked or purchased during the Beta will not transfer to your live Heroes of the Storm account.