Blizzard invited me, along with a few more of their closest friends, to campus on Monday, October 3rd to check out the latest feature coming to Heroes of the Storm: Brawls! You may recognize this as the Arena system that was unveiled last year at Blizzcon. Blizzard has been hard at work retooling, improving and iterating on what we played last year, and you will be able to try it for yourself very soon!
Here are some important things to know:
- Heroes Brawl goes up on the PTR, October 10th
- Heroes Brawl will be released on the live servers, October 17th
- The Brawl will change each week, on Thursday’s.
- Play at least three Brawls in a week to earn a portrait and 1000 gold
Heroes Brawl is more than just a new name for Arenas. The original idea has been fleshed out and new features have been added to make Heroes Brawl a deeper experience. There are three kinds of Heroes Brawl battlegrounds: standard battlegrounds with mutators, brand-new arenas, and single-lane battlegrounds. All made specifically for Heroes Brawl.
Unlike Arena at last year’s BlizzCon, where each game had a random map, each Brawl will have the same theme throughout the week. First things first, the chance for everyone to get the same hero is still in there. Blizzard said there is around a 5-6% chance for this to happen, but we experienced it twice in our play session. Once with Thrall and once with Sonya. There are some limitations here and you won’t see Cho’gall, Abathur, Azmodan, or supports in general in this scenario.
Blizzard wants to make sure the action is flowing quickly and is taking this to heart by lowering the cooldown for health fountains, increasing the mana & health they regenerate, and completely refilling the health and mana of Heroes when they use their hearthstone.
We were able to play four Brawls at the event and all of them provided some diverse and fun gameplay!
The first was Punisher Arena, which is a best two out of three and you get to select from three different heroes of the same role (i.e. warrior, support, etc.). This is a Diablo themed battleground, with Punishers spawning at different points around the map., The first team to score 100 points wins!. Killing enemy heroes will net you 4 points, and killing a Punisher will net you 10 points. Each game in the best of three rotates through different layouts in the Diablo tileset.
Lost Cavern is the battleground we all know as the ARAM (all random all middle) battleground. Now during the week that it is up you’ll be able to play true ARAM in this one lane battleground. The same rules as the current battleground apply here, no using your hearthstone and no regeneration back at home.
Hammer Time really starts pushing the fun aspect of what we could see Brawls bringing to Heroes. With this mutator everyone is given Sgt. Hammer (one side will be her standard skin, and the other is Sgt. Doomhammer. Hammer Time takes place on the Towers of Doom map because Blizzard quickly figured out that other battlegrounds allowed for some unintended and not so fun uses for Blunt Force Gun. This unique take on the map should be something to behold and is sure to bring a lot of laughs.
Sky Temple Arena was the final Brawl we were able to play and it included a modified version of Sky Temple in a best of three format (similar to the Punisher Arena). Each shot from the temple goes straight to your opponent’s Core. In the later rounds the map increases in size and allows for multiple temples to be active at once allowing for some diverse strategies!
We were also teased with a Garden Terror Brawl as well, but it was not available during our playtest. Overall the mode was very fun to play and each time we got what Blizzard is dubbing “crazy mode” where we all got the same hero; the room lit up with laughter. It’s exciting that Heroes Brawl is finally here and about to be in players hands very soon!