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Heroes of the Storm

is an upcoming multiplayer online battle arena video game developed by Blizzard Entertainment for Microsoft Windows and OS X. The basis of the game is the combination of... read more

8.5

PTR - First Impressions

Author: Dmytro Voloshyn
26-Jun-2015

Category: Preview

Read about first ever Heroes of the Storm Public Test Realm! Get to know how new map feels, and what PTR brings to HOTS. Discover positive and negative sides of Test Realm, and personal opinion about the PTR approach and direction.

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Contents

Utter Uther Disappointment
The Light in the end of a tunnel!

Final Thoughts


Utter Uther Disappointment

I mean, really? Even Li Li got some buffs, many abilities changed to have daze effects instead of stuns, and also her Blinding Winds ability got buffed. And what Uther got? He got nothing! Oh, wait. He has Protective Shield! WOW, that’s amazing! But wait, the Protective Shield got changed. It now grants 15% of max health as a shield, meaning it’s kinda useless for saving your carries. Let’s do simple calculations to get the general idea. At level 10 Protective Shield granted 535 HP, and on level 20 it granted 885 HP. Now let’s look at Valla. She has 1690 HP at level 10, meaning that 15% shield will grant 253 HP, or 2790 HP at level 20, meaning that shield will grant 418 HP! That’s ridiculous! The Protective Shield is now twice less effective than it was before! That is, of course, when we are talking about saving our carries! Values are less dramatic when we are talking about Warriors, and are even beneficial to Muradin, but not everyone has Avatar you know!

Other than that, I was disappointed by the fact that all the heroes available for the selection are talent gated, and there are no new heroes on PTR! You start with level 1 account, and you can only play game modes that are available to level one acc, meaning no Hero League or Team League, and grind your account level to receive the rewards, unlock game modes and E.T.C. Bright side is all the heroes, and mounts, and skins, you bought at the live servers, are available, as well as heroes from Free Rotation of the current week. To balance this awesome feature comes out PTR shop! Actually, it doesn’t because it is disabled on the PTR servers! Spend your gold on the Master Skins! Oh, wait…


The Light in the end of a tunnel!

I got the Treasure Goblin in my first game, sadly he dropped no legendaries! Also, the map was Battlefields of Eternity! I assume the drop rates Goblin spawn rates and map order are rigged! New map feels very interesting. I was afraid that it would be like Haunted Mines, but it’s not. The space between lanes is greater, and overall map direction leans more towards rotations and ganks. Battlefields has more hiding, juking and trap places. 

Map also has 4 mercenary camps. Two siege camps are situated below bottom and above top lanes. Hard camps are both between lanes, each near the opposing sides. In the middle of the battlefield Immortals are situated. By the way, merc camps disappear once you’ve captured Immortal, but are available while both teams are fighting them. 

The Boss fights are the most interesting part of the map! As soon as they spawn they start attacking each other from the distance. The Immortals are immune to attacks of each other. Each team can attack only Boss of the opposing team. And here is where interesting strategic moves can come into play.

You can bring different approaches to the Immortal encounter. You can try killing enemy Boss faster, or split your team to damage enemy Boss and defend your own. Also, you can trap, wipe or bait enemy team to secure advantageous position. And then kill enemy Immortal, as fast as you can, while receiving least amount of damage on your Immortal. Once HP of any Boss reaches its half, Immortals change their position on the battlefield and continue their clash.

During the encounter, they will spawn some zoning abilities that will push heroes away, and stun them. Right at the time one of the Bosses is defeated, the other Boss will emerge victorious, and start gathering shields based on the amount of HP left after the encounter. 

After shields are gathered, Immortal will leap towards less destroyed lane, and will start pushing it with ranged attacks. As shield will go down by the enemy attacks, or towers, or time, Boss will switch to melee siege. During the siege process, Immortal will spawn same zoning abilities from the encounter.

Unlike on Haunted Mines, there is only one Boss after the event is finished. Also, damage output feels higher compared to Bosses of Haunted Mines, and survivability feels much lower. The first Immortal taken, by either side, dies very quickly from towers and minions, but the more game progresses the more damage, shields and HP Boss has. Same goes for the encounters.
I’m not entirely sure, but it seems like the more HP and shields Immortal has, the more damage he does.

Also an interesting thing i wanted to mention is many heroes have their model size adjusted in-game. Overall most of the Assassins look smaller than before, same goes heroes that have to be smaller lore wise. For example Li Li is much smaller now, as is Valla, Nova, and Sylvanas.
Another interesting stuff I’ve noticed is the so called daze effect spells doesn’t interrupt spell casting of the abilities while they displace you. I’m talking not only about channeling of the ability like Strafe, but also about the ability to cast some spells while hero is being displaced! Sadly, i couldn’t exploit this finding to its full extent due to high ping on the PTR servers.

Once the enemy Core is killed, it will drop some Legendary and Set items! Sadly, you can’t pick them up, or transfer to your Diablo 3 character!


Final Thoughts


The addition of the PTR to Heroes of the Storm is definitely a good thing. The MOBA type of games, with tons of balancing and bug issues, become more enjoyable when additional testing is done. Blizzard has PTR servers for all their games, so it was just a matter of time when the PTR will appear for the Heroes.
Unlike other PTR servers, HOTS PTR seems a bit under polished. You definitely notice the lack of player freedom, and ability to actually test a lot of thing you want to. Part of it comes from the talent gating, the other part from accounts being level 1. Despite the transfer of your unlocked heroes, and skins, and mounts, for some reason, developers decided not to transfer your account progress. Resulting in talent gated heroes, and locked Hero League and Team League modes. Also, inability to test new heroes is very disappointing.


As it is first Heroes of the Storm PTR it’s understandable that some things may not be polished to full extent, and some decisions can be not that great. In past, Blizzard showed good communication with the community. They definitely listen to the community, and try to adjust the game, so the game direction is pleasant for the players and the developers. Heck, they even removed huge part of the content, back in Alpha, based on the negative feedback. (The rune system that was looking similar to League of Legends) 

So, generally speaking, I’m happy with the addition of the PTR. Yeah, you encounter issues with ping, talents and level 1 acc, but the ability to try the upcoming content week before its release is always great, and i think the downsides of the current PTR will be fixed, by the developers, in the next iterations of the Test Realm!



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