Within the last week, players learned that in addition to the loot crates being given for previously earned Hero levels, every player would have access to one of three “mega bundles” of 20 heroes for free. These bundles give access to either 20 assassins, 20 supports and specialists, or 20 warriors to help players round out their Hero collections in preparation for the new progression system, increasing the raw number of loot crates gained in the early days of Heroes 2.0. Long-term Heroes of the Storm players were treated to up to 55 Epic crates and 10 Veteran chests. Due to the random nature of loot crates, reward quality will vary:
Snowholmes (Main Tank): “I opened about 200 chest on the release day over two accounts and have everything that I want for my main and so much stuff on my second account. I really love the Lootbox System and Heroes 2.0.”
Neffi (Support): “The prime evil Diablo skin and the Kerrigan cheerleader skin.”
The big news of the day, however, was the cinematic titled “Hanamura Showdown,” which continued the Blizzard tradition of impressive cinematics to accompany big changes to their popular titles. The main announcement to this cinematic was the inclusion of D.Va from Overwatch as the next Hero, but also serves to show the not-previously-informed that Hanamura and Genji are now available in Heroes of the Storm. So far, all we know about D.Va is that she will be a Warrior, but if her translation from Overwatch to Heroes of the Storm is as seamless as the rest have been, we can presume much about her kit.
Neffi: I fear that she is another supportive character such as Zarya. I believe she is going to be shielding as well and I do not like that the current meta drifts into this duo support, shield meta. I would love if she was a full tank with and if she has the ability to throw away her machine.
Snowholmes: I really hope she will be a solo tank Warrior but i don’t have high hopes for this. Her Heroic will be hard to balance I guess and the mechanic of leaving the mech will be interesting. I think she will be a second tank bruiser style warrior.
Now that we have 5 Overwatch characters, are they a viable team? We don’t know the details on D.Va, but if something is missing how do you think it could be remedied using existing Overwatch heroes?
Snowholmes: I don’t think the Overwatch Heroes will be a good Team. None of them have good waveclear, which is really important in this game. Which Overwatch Hero could have some waveclear? Well, maybe Reinhardt with his hammer swings. Other from that I don’t think they will have good waveclear at all.
Neffi: If I was to choose one I would probably go for Mei. An Ice Mage with Roots and Barriers. That would be cool
After the dust had settled on the big news of the day, the rest of the show matches between FNATIC and Team Dignitas were displayed (the matches had been recorded previously but were casted live). HGC casting duo Trikslyr and Khaldor’s commentary was enhanced in the first game by guest-starring developers, who were on hand to answer hard-hitting questions that arose during the game. Our own team answered some tough questions on the map and Genji while it was still in the PTR beta phase. The team together had not played much on the PTR, as Nera mentioned: “As a team we concentrate on the live builds, since we have to play on them in tournaments and our other matches, so I haven’t had the time to test [Hanamura and Genji] so far.”
Were there any big surprises in the show match on Hanamura? Team comps, strategies, or map good strategy that wasn’t readily apparent in the last week of it being available?
Snowholmes: I think it’s a bit early to see the “best” strategies for this map. It is so new and with all the mechanics it needs some time to get a real feeling for it. Bribe and Vikings might be very strong here.
Neffi: They relied on Heroes who can easily escort the payload to its destination (Vikings) and of course they showed Genji and the reworked Uther and Cassia. So nothing too far fetched.
What are your early opinions of Genji? Have you played him in Overwatch, and how does his kit transfer over to the MOBA format? What talents or builds have you seen so far that seem strong?
Kitara (Ranged Assassin): Genji could be really powerful, but only in the right hands. He is not easy to play and even harder to master. I played him a few times in Overwatch but I wasn’t really good with him. His kit is almost the same in Heroes which is nice to get more Overwatch players into the game. I tried a few builds on the PTR and this one seems the best to me. Genji seems like Illidan to me because of his mobility and the damage he deals. In my opinion, Illidan players will have lots of fun with Genji.
Nera (Flex): He looks fun to play and obviously annoying to play against. So lets see if we can come up with some fun strategies to make him work. His kit seems well transferred though and I really dislike playing him in Overwatch to be honest. Just like Hanzo.
Flom (Team Manager): Genji is a super mobile finisher. He doesn’t have that huge DPS output by himself, but finishing escaping targets is his superiority! And he is awesome fun to play. I played him also in Overwatch and he’s pretty similar to play! I have a favored build, thou I dunno if it’s “the one” build. Without support you are relying on escape skills. You can dive hard, but then you need to secure the kill, fast, to escape the fight again.
Snowholmes: I really think he has an interesting kit. I played him a few matches on the Heroes 2.0 Beta Server and have to say his mobility is actually insane. Genji is more like Illidan. He has great mobility and nice pressure on the backline. With his protection he can survive some time in the backline before he just jumps out again.
Genji is almost always combined with Ana in Overwatch because of her Nano Boost Ultimate, which is similar to Lt. Morales’ Stim Drone. Do you expect to see that combination in Heroes of the Storm, or will Genji be more enabled by other supports, and why?
Snowholmes: I don’t think that Morales is a good support for Genji. She just cant reach him if he goes deep into the backline or she would be horribly out of position. I think Rehgar, Kharazim or the new Uther would fit more to his play style
Kitara: Stim drone on Genji could be great but Lt.Morales would have a hard time following to heal him. A better support for him could be Lucio because of his movement speed. Also Rehgar could follow him into the battle.
Flom: I don’t think that Morales will be such a good partner for him. He’s going to dive deep into the enemies and Morales cannot follow him, shouldn’t follow him at least. She could stim him but then he’s on his own. I tend more to Zarya/Tassadar who can support him with shields and giving him some time to escape the fight again.
Nera: I have no clue what the Ana Ultimate does in numbers. But I don’t really think we will see this combination in Heroes. Morales has basically no mobility at all, so she will have a hard time to keep up with the speed of Genji. We most likely will see him paired with Malfurion, Rehgar, or even Uther as he got an awesome rework.
Turning to Hanamura, what do you think of all the new unique mechanics? Might it be too complicated to drop on new players? Will it be entertaining in the pro scene, or will it be avoided whenever possible for being too gimmicky?
Snowholmes: The new mechanics are interesting for sure. But to be honest, I think we have so much maps in the pool that there should be a rotation at least for Hero and Team leagues. We have 13 maps in the current map pool with Hanamura. I think the core health is a bit low on Hanamura. If you take in consideration that if you drop a fort the next payload deals 2 core damage.
Kitara: Hanamura is a very unique map. I don’t think it will be seen in competitive play because it focuses too much on 2v2’s or 3v3’s at defending or pushing the payloads. The map could be really hard to play for new players because you have to have too many things in mind at the same time. Pushing Payloads, defending payloads, pushing lanes, doing camps, etc.
Nera: The map really looks complicated and we wont see that map anytime soon in the pro scene I believe. It will be a tricky map to play and will allow a lot of strategies but I don’t really think that we will see the map in the next few months too often.
Flom: I really like the new map with it’s very own mechanics and more complex content. However, I do think it’s very complicated for new players to get into it because of the multiple things you can make. Veteran players shouldn’t have those problems but I think it will be difficult to make some good plays in Ranked. I also think it’s too fancy for the pro scene at first, but after having some time to play it, I’m looking forward to some really nice plays by the pros.
Aside from your expectations about the map, what are your experiences with Hanamura so far? Is it fun to play casually? Without giving away any specifics, has the team come up with any pocket comps or strategies yet?
Kitara: We don’t have any strategies yet because we only played the map in quick match. The map is very hard to play and you can’t win just by winning one fight in the late game. I had one match where we had a 2 level lead and at level 16 the opposite team wiped us completely. They could not do anything though, because we still had 4 points on our core. We ended up coming back, pushed our payload and won.
Snowholmes: The map has so much to look out for. You have to move your payload, soak the lanes, defend the enemy payload, watch out for a sneaky boss and all the new camps. If you played the map on the Beta Server, it was just pure chaos. Everyone tried to move/defend the payload not soaking lanes. It was just like a brawl.
The two newest Battlegrounds, Braxis Holdout and Warhead Junction, have received flak from the community. Dignitas’ Bakery recently tweeted…
Do you agree with that opinion? Do you think Hanamura will continue this trend or reverse it?
Kitara: I seriously disagree with Bakery. I think Braxis Holdout is by far the best map in the game. Its fun to play and there are lots of possible strategies to consider when going into the draft. We even played a no tank comp with double support and Zarya and won. Also pick off strategies work good here. Warhead Junction is another story. I don’t like the map because its a little too big and the nukes have too much impact.
Snowholmes: To be honest I only agree on Warhead. This map is just such a pain to play, I really like Braxis though. It is a map that suits us as team because of the dedicated solo laner you need to have and I think Jenna is a great solo laner almost always winning her lane. As mentioned before I think Hanamura is too chaotic at the moment and needs a bit of fine tuning but there are new mechanics and I like new mechanics.
In preparation for D.Va’s entrance to the Nexus, a new Nexus Challenge has been introduced as well. Every week, a new quest to play 5 non-custom games with a friend becomes available, but each new quest is gated by the completion of the one before it. Every quest is available through May 22, with the final one running from May 15-22, meaning the first quest can be completed any time before the 22nd, but the second quest only after May 1 and the first has been completed, and so on. Rewards are split between new Heroes of the Storm cosmetics and Overwatch ones, all centered around Genji and D.Va. The final week’s reward is 10 loot crates in each game, 20 in total.
Between Genji, Hanamura, all of the loot crates to open, all of the new cosmetic items to pour through and synergize, the constant balance patches we’ve grown used to (including a number of Hero changes that went unmentioned in this article), D.Va’s eventual release, and the Nexus Challenge 2.0, expect to see less experienced players in the coming weeks. So enjoy all the new stuff, be willing to show people the ropes, and have fun in the Nexus!