Heroes of the Storm is a complexed game. With over 60 Heroes and 12 Battlegrounds, there is no such thing as a definitive strategy. To succeed you have to not only be able to outthink your opponents, but you have to be able to outplay them as well. Whether you are a new player drawn in by the recent For Azeroth promotion or a veteran who has been around since Technical Alpha there is always something new to learn. With that in mind, here are five things that you may not know that can make you a better Heroes of the Storm player.
You can ping AI teammates to get them to follow you
Unfortunately, disconnects are a part of any online game and Heroes is no exception. A storm might have knocked out their internet or maybe they just realized their Hot Pocket was done. Whatever the reason, the computer will take over control of a Hero anytime a player disconnects or has a prolonged period of inactivity. While the AI has greatly improved over the years it is still no substitute for a real player. If you would rather not take your chances on the AI making the right decisions it is possible to order the AI Hero to follow a specific player. To do this simply hold your cursor over the AI Hero and hit the G key. This will command that Hero to follow you until further notice. To release the Hero simply repeat the process.
While this tip is fairly well known it is still quite common to see players who are content to just leave the computer to its own devices. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask a specific person to take control of the AI Hero if you are not the right choice for the job. Which player takes control of the Hero can make a big difference, which is why it is so important that everyone knows how to do this. If you are playing Zeratul you probably don’t want that computer Lt. Morales following you around. Similarly, if you are playing Muradin you probably don’t want Chromie right on your heels every time you jump into a fight.
You can use SHIFT to queue actions
Heroes of the Storm is built on the Starcraft engine which means that many of the special commands from Starcraft also work in Heroes. One powerful example is the SHIFT command. Using the SHIFT command allows you to essentially create a to-do list of future actions. For a basic example, let’s say you want to turn in Gems on Tomb of the Spider Queen and then mount up. Clicking on the turn in location will cause your Hero to move there and channel to turn in the Gems. While your Hero is still moving toward the turn in location you can hold SHIFT and press the Z key, causing your Hero to immediately mount up once he finishes turning in the gems. Now say you are low on health and want to hearth back after turning in, you would just hold SHIFT and hit B instead. There are countless ways that you can use SHIFT commands to increase your efficiency. For example, if you want to move from the top lane to the bottom lane you don’t have to count on the auto pathing to get you there. You can hold SHIFT and make a series of left clicks to choose the exact path you would like to take. This allows you to follow the patch of your choosing while still being free to look around the mini-map, check the TAB screen, or type in chat. If at any point you decide you want to break from these queued commands all you have to do is take a direct action like left clicking on the map or using an ability. The next time you think to yourself, “I am going to do A and then I’m going to do B” experiment and see if you can automate those actions by using the SHIFT command.
You can press CTRL + 1-5 to select your Talents
With so many critical tasks such as target selection and movement being controlled by your mouse, being able to do things without using your mouse can be a huge advantage. Imagine for a moment that you are in a chaotic team fight right as your team hits Level 10. You want to pick your Heroic, but you are also busy dodging skill shots and chasing down that low health Malfurion. You could try to quickly move your mouse across the screen to pick your Heroic hoping that isn’t the exact moment that Li-Ming pulls the trigger on an Arcane Orb/Magic Missile combo or you could keep your cursor in the area of the fight and use the CTRL command instead.
Talents are numbered from the top down, so in this particular example if you wanted to choose Crystal Aegis you could do so by holding down the CTRL key and pressing 2. This shortcut can be used on any Talent tier and for any Hero. Just like manually selecting your talents this process is permanent so be sure you have the right number before using this command.
You can use CTRL + F5-F8 to create specific camera locks
Having good map awareness is an incredibly beneficial skill to have. Map awareness is more than just keeping an eye on the mini-map, you also need to be able to quickly and efficiently move your camera around the battleground to get detailed information. Fortunately, there is a tool that can make this much easier. Holding the CTRL key and pressing F5-F8 will save your current camera location to that F-key. Anytime you press that particular F-key it will return your camera to that location.
For example, say you are playing on Blackheart’s Bay and you want to be able to keep track of the turn in location. Center your camera on Blackheart, hold CTRL and press F5. The next time you want to check on the turn in all you have to do is hit F5 and your camera will snap there. Say you also want to keep track of the Boss. You could center your camera on the boss, hold CTRL and press F6 to make another save for that location. This is a great way to keep track of turn in points, different lanes, or even your Core as you get into the late game. If you fall in love with this feature and want to create more than four camera locations you can also use CTRL + SHIFT + F5-F8 to create four additional slots, which you would access by hitting SHIFT F5-F8. Keep in mind these camera saves do not carry over so you will need to set them up each game.
You can set customizable Quick Cast options for each Hero
Depending on your gaming background, you might look at Quick Cast as a feature that you can’t live without or you may see it as something super complicated that only the pros use. The reality is that almost everyone regardless of skill could benefit from some use of Quick Casting. This is a feature that has evolved heavily since the early days of the game. Where it was once an all or nothing type setting that applied to all Heroes and all Abilities, it is now 100% customizable. You can use different settings for different Heroes, and even different settings for different Abilities on the same Hero. Unlike these other tips, Quick Casting isn’t something that can be properly summarized in a paragraph so I will direct you to this article that I wrote on the subject last year. Everything in that article is still current and like the title says, it may be the best feature that you aren’t using so if you haven’t tried Quick Cast I strongly urge you to give it a shot.
There are a lot of ways to outplay your opponents. You can have better mechanical skills, you can have a better strategic understanding of the game, or you can just be more efficient. Of all of these being more efficient is by far the easiest to accomplish. Using these tips can help give you that extra little edge over your opponents. While a few seconds here and there many not sound like much, over the course of a game you might be talking about enough time to offset an entire death timer.