- See also List of heroes.
Heroes are playable characters in Heroes of the Storm. Each hero starts the game with a set of powerful abilities and traits, and over the course of the battle players have the ability to customize their hero with unique talents and heroic abilities as they level up. Each hero has an assigned class, but some can be developed towards another class as they level up. Each hero has an ultimate ability they can choose.
Each hero has four classification attributes - Damage, Utility, Survivability (health and/or self-sustain), and Complexity - and fit one of four roles:
- Assassins: Assassins do a great deal of damage, and are classified in two categories: Physical (damage through Basic Attacks) and Spell (damage through Abilities). It is recommended that they try to kill enemy heroes and avoid counter-attacks.
- Warriors: Warriors are tough, and often have ways to stun or block the enemy. They should be used to protect one's allies. Warriors often are melee attackers. Warriors are classified in two categories: Tanks (high health and peeling abilities to protect their team) and Bruisers (not so resilient, but can deal more damage).
- Supports: Supports often buff or heal their allies. Keeping fellow heroes alive is their role.
- Specialists: Specialists have a variety of abilities. Many are good at taking down enemy towers, but others have powers that can change the flow of the game. They are considered "masters of uncoventional warfare".
Heroes level up as a team rather than individually. Customizable skins can be unlocked for heroes through loot boxes or purchasing with Shards / Gems. Hero colors and skins can be changed during selection.
Heroes engage in banter with each other that reflect their backstories. The majority of heroes are slightly altered from their host universe in terms of appearance, so they can be recognized as being of Heroes of the Storm in aesthetic, if not necessarily in origin.
When it comes to choosing heroes for inclusion, Blizzard uses the following processes and sources:
- Art: Some heroes are inspired from art. Stitches is an example—despite not being a major character storywise or offering unique gameplay, the artist wanted to include Stitches due to his physique, and how he would stand out in the game.
- Cinematics: If a hero has appeared in a cinematic, they are likely to appear in the game.
- Gameplay: Heroes that inspire the team in terms of unique gameplay potential are likely to be chosen. Abathur is an example of this.
For hero retrieval, Blizzard uses three teams—art, lore (cinematics), and gameplay. The three teams come together when deciding what the roster will be. Lore and fantasy are the main factors for choosing a hero. If the hero was playable in a former game, their abilities are usually based on their abilities in said game. Abilities are cut down if there are too many. It is harder to port heroes from older games than newer ones due to the simpler art assets used.
In some cases, a hero is chosen simply for being iconic in its host setting.
There is no set ratio for heroes in regards to which universe they come from. There is, and will be, more heroes from the Warcraft setting than other Blizzard settings due to the size of the Warcraft universe. However, the developers intend to try to split the hero roster along Blizzard's major universes. Blizzard intends to release a new hero every 3-4 weeks. There is no cap on the amount of heroes the game will feature. The process is refined enough that Blizzard can plan up to eight months ahead to stagger its release cycle.
Rotation and Purchase
- Every week a player can choose from five heroes that are freely available. Once a player accumulates enough experience and reaches level 12 an additional hero slot is unlocked. One final slot is unlocked at level 15 . Hero rotations are updated every Tuesday at 2:30 PST.
- A player can gain permanent access to a hero through purchase, using one of two forms of currency. The first is gold, which is earned by completing in-game objectives. Players unlock the ability to start earning gold at level 5, and are awarded more gold as they level up in various ways such as completing Daily Quests, which are unlocked at level 6. Heroes may also be purchased using real money with either a credit card or by purchasing a Blizzard battle.net point/gift card in stores.
- Prior to purchase, a hero may be used in the "Try Me" system. This system allows players test out individual heroes on a closed custom map. Minions, abilities, forts, and cooldowns can be toggled at will. This allows a player to get familiar with a hero before committing to purchase.
Skins and Tints
Each skin, including a hero’s starting skin, has at least two additional tints available, for a total selection of three or more available tints per skin. A hero’s original tint is immediately available, and each of the two additional tints can be unlocked for individual heroes through Hero Quests. The first unlockable tint is awarded after completing an individual hero’s second Hero Quest, and the second unlockable tint is awarded after completing an individual hero’s fourth Hero Quest. Additional skins can be purchased with real money. Additional skins will be made available through events, or they will be given to players who have completed their hero's sixth Hero Quest. Like a hero’s original color tint, each skin’s two additional tints can be unlocked for individual heroes through Hero Quests. Some skins will include new voiceovers, movement alterations, or extra effects on attacks. These aesthetic effects are purely cosmetic and do not affect game play in any other way.
Heroes may be controlled by artificial intelligence instead of players. In this case, AI's will follow a players pings, such as honing in on objectives or following a player's hero. If a player leaves the game, their hero is taken control of by an "elite AI." Currently this corresponds to higher difficulties. Through development it is intended that these AIs match the player's MMR at the time of their departure, and can perform actions such as skill shots.
Initially, when a player first played the game, they would only have a few heroes available to them at first. As one played matches, more heroes would be unlocked. When an individual had earned all of the heroes, they could begin unlocking cosmetic “prestige” items by winning games with specific heroes. Prestige items would include alternate weapons, crowns, and other accessories.
In 2014, creating a hero took about 1-2 months. 2-3 weeks were spent on character modelling and texturing. Afterwards, the model was animated over the period of about a week, though this could vary depending on the model's complexity. Around this time the hero would be handed off to the effects team, who would create artwork for the hero's abilities. The amount of time this took varied (e.g. a hero who utilizes summons would require more work). Over time various art reviews would occur. Once the hero neared completion, skins could start to be applied. As of 2018, the average hero development time is 6-9 months.
During early development, heroes would be buffed if fellow heroes were in the same game with them that were related in lore (e.g. two terran heroes from StarCraft would buff each other per their shared origin and species). The game quickly "warped" in testing around these interactions, and the buffs were dropped.
Phases of Hero Creation
- Paper Design: Lasts about two weeks, where a hero designer will work on coming up with the strengths and weaknesses of the character, their description and also the abilities that they will be using. During this time there's a lot of back and forth with the rest of the heroes development team, the design team particularly, to try to nail down what that kit is.
- Tech Design: Once the team is confident with the paper design, a technical designer will take it and turn it into a playable hero.
- AI Playtests: The hero is tested against AI opponents, to look for things like kit synergy problems and bugs. This phase allows balance opportunities.
- Design Playtests: These design play tests lasts for eight weeks for each hero. They are carried out every morning five days a week for two hours per day. They include hero designers, map designers, and balance designers.
- Dev Team Playtests: After the eight week period, a new four week period of testing begins, where the entire development team can play the new hero and send in their feedback.
September 16, 2016
After downloading the September 13, 2016 patch and logging into Heroes of the Storm, all players were able to add a new Hero to their collections for free:
- On login, players were able to pick one of the following three Heroes: Anub'arak, Thrall, or Tyrande.
- If any of those Heroes were already owned, they were replaced by Nazeebo, Sonya, or Uther on the selection screen.
- Players who already owned all six of these Heroes automatically received 4,000 Gold instead.
Warcraft movie promotion
- (Patch March 21, 2018) Note: Heroes can no longer cast Area-of-Effect abilities globally before the gates open.
- (Patch February 6, 2018) Note: Hero voice reactions are no longer audible when the Voices setting is disabled.
- (Patch November 29, 2017) Note: Fixed an issue causing Hero voiceover lines to be heard globally by both teams.
- (Patch March 14, 2017) Note: The color of the ring that appears under the player’s Hero has been changed from yellow to green.; Several Heroes have received new descriptions in the Hero Select screen.; Fixed an issue in which an excessive number of left-clicks were required in order to play certain Hero voiceover lines.
- (Patch December 14, 2016) Note: Heroes who are considered unrevealable will no longer shimmer like other stealthed heroes. After the unrevealable period ends, they will shimmer again.; Fixed an issue which caused certain Heroes’ Trait UI to block players from clicking to view Talent Tiers 10 through 20.
- (Patch November 15, 2016) Note: Fixed an issue that could prevent Heroes’ voiceover lines from playing properly after being clicked on.
- (Patch September 20, 2016) Note: Heroes that players already own will no longer be offered to them when they are prompted to choose a free Hero.
- (Patch September 13, 2016) Note: After downloading today’s patch and logging into Heroes of the Storm, all players will be able to add a new Hero to their collections for free.; All Heroes should now properly play voiceover lines when clicked repeatedly.; Heroes can no longer push captured Mercenaries by walking into them.
- (Patch August 9, 2016) Note: Collision: Heroes can no longer push Neutral and Enemy Mercenaries by walking into them.; Fixed an issue that could cause the player to lose selection of their Hero on death under certain circumstances.
- (Patch July 27, 2016) Note: Collision: Heroes can no longer be pushed by walking another Hero into them.; Collision: Heroes who are channeling an Ability can no longer be pushed when another Hero walks into them during the channel.
- (Patch July 12, 2016) Note: Fixed an issue which prevented Heroes from playing their “Pissed” voiceover lines after being repeatedly clicked.
- (Patch June 14, 2016) Note: Fixed an issue that caused Heroes to not play unique VO when healed.
- (Patch May 17, 2016) Note: Many Heroes have received updated Ability and Talent button art.
- (Patch April 19, 2016) Note: Issuing a “/dance” chat command while a Hero is moving will now properly pause the Hero’s movement, play the dance animation, and then resume the movement command.
- (Patch November 17, 2015) Note: Health and damage scaling for all Heroes, Battleground Events, Minions, and Mercenaries has been changed from flat, additive values to values that are multiplicative by percentage.
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