Proper positioning is an important part of Heroes of the Storm, but it is often overlooked by both new and experienced players alike. Players are often careless about where they position themselves, which results in many a dead hero. These deaths could be prevented by simply paying a little more attention to what is going on around you. Here are a few things to think about when you decide where to stand, what route to take, or when you might be in danger.
The first consideration when it comes to proper positioning should be safety. This is especially important in the early game, when you are often in a lane by yourself.
Be sure to position yourself in a way that prevents you from easily being caught off-guard by the enemy. For example, if you are in the bottom lane you generally want to be on the low side of the lane. Since danger is likely to come from the middle lane, this prevents enemies from coming up behind you, and it also gives you a few extra seconds to react if necessary. You should also consider what enemy heroes you are facing when you decide where to position yourself. If you are facing a Stitches or Nova, it is a good idea to stand in the middle of your minions, as this will make it much more difficult for them to hit you with a Hook or Snipe. If you are facing a Jaina or Kael’thas, you probably do not want to stand by your minions, as it would make you susceptible to AOE attacks.
Another key aspect to being safe is leaving yourself an escape route in the event that you need it. A great example is when you are defending against the golem on Haunted Mines. If you are attacking the golem from the lane outside your walls, you are going to have to run through the golem to get to safety. Since the golem can stun and root you, this isn’t a good plan. In this case, the fact that you chose a unsafe position initially is made worse by the fact that you do not have a good path to escape.
Everyone knows that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one, but that doesn’t stop some players from doing their best statue impressions while attacking. This not only makes you more vulnerable, but it also marks you as a weak player, and the other team is more likely to focus on you. Ideally, you should adjust your position slightly between each auto attack. This is called stutter stepping, and it allows you to be add movement to your game without sacrificing your damage output. Good stutter stepping is an art form, but even bad stutter stepping is better than standing still. If you are facing a team with stealth Heroes, it is a good idea to re-position yourself regularly. This not only makes it more difficult for the stealth Hero to get a jump on you, but the more they have to move the more likely you are to see that tell tale shimmer that will give away their location.
Many players could also benefit from giving more consideration to the routes they take when traveling to objectives and team fights. The most direct path is often not the safest. It is usually worth taking a little extra time to ensure that your entire team arrives from the same direction, as opposed to everyone simply trying to get there as quickly as possible from a variety of directions. When you arrive together, the tank can engage first and your team can more easily focus on a single target. By arriving separately, you increase the chances that you will be killed or forced to retreat from the fight. Either way, the enemy team will have the advantage by having your team outnumbered. If you are the first to arrive at the objective, do not rush in! Simply try to harass and delay the enemy until the rest of your team can arrive. I am sure we have all been in games with that guy who rushes in alone, gets blown up, and then complains that no one had his back. Not only has he not prevented the enemy team from getting the objective, he has also made it less likely that the rest of you can prevent it either.
Map awareness is one of the things that separates really good players from new to intermediate players. Do you know where the enemy is? Does the enemy know where you are? These two questions take on an increased importance as the game goes on.
If you don’t know where the enemy is, how do you know where to position yourself? If you don’t know where the enemy is, how do you know if you should continue to push that lane or if it is time to fall back? When you don’t know where the enemy is, you should probably assume that they are coming for you. This doesn’t mean that you should stop what you are doing and run scared, but it does mean that you should give some thought to what you would do in the event that they do show up. If you can’t come up with a good answer to that question, it is probably time to pull back.
Remember, you show up on the enemy’s map if you are within range of any of their minions or structures. If they know where you are, they also know what you are doing, and they will be able to react to it. I regularly see players who overextend while pushing a lane, oblivious to the fact that the enemy knows their location and can easily trap them. These are often the same players who brag about how great their siege numbers are, even though they have died twice as much as anyone else on the team.
The best example of the importance of map awareness may be when a team tries to take a boss, despite the fact that the enemy knows their location. There is no faster way to throw a game than to wipe on a boss and have it stolen by the opposing team. Before attempting to take a boss you should ask yourself, does the enemy team know what we are up to and can they do anything to stop us? If the answer is yes, then you probably want to skip the boss or at the very least be ready to retreat at the first sign of trouble. The best time to take a boss is when several enemy Heroes are dead or when they have some other threat that they are forced to deal with.
Heroes of the Storm is one of those games that is easy to learn but hard to master. Paying a little extra attention to your positioning is one way to take your game to the next level. Hopefully, this article has given you some good ideas, but don’t stop here. Continue to look at ways to make the most of your positioning and to punish your enemies who don’t do the same. Good luck and have fun!