A new era has begun for Blizzard Entertainment’s free-to-play MOBA Heroes of the Storm with the introduction of a huge update and the return of the Nexus Challenge. As of April 25th, the game has been completely transformed to include new heroes, new battlegrounds, new methods of progression and hero customisation, a wealth of new cosmetic items to be unlocked via the new loot box system (similar to the system in Overwatch) – and much, much more. If you’ve ever wanted to try it out, now may be the time, as there is so much new content to dig into and try – so let’s get right into what has been introduced.

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 kicks off with the introduction of limited-time-only Mega Bundles, lasting until May 22nd, which offer new players and old hands alike the opportunity to obtain 20 new heroes completely free of charge. There are four bundles available, each costing 100 Gems, but there’s a catch: you can only buy one, and once bought, the other bundles are locked and cannot be obtained. 100 free gems are awarded to players who log into Heroes of the Storm between April 25th and May 22nd, so it is using these that you can obtain your bundle of choice.

There are four categories of bundle available: Assassin, Flex, Support & Specialist, and Tanks & Bruisers. Each of these has their own perks and individual heroes, so make sure to evaluate your choices carefully before taking the plunge and purchasing one. Blizzard Entertainment offers this helpful quiz and information page for the bundles available, so if in doubt, take a look there first.

Now, onto new content. New to Heroes of the Storm‘s hero roster comes Overwatch‘s Genji Shimada, the youngest son of the Shimada Clan. Previously cut down by his older brother Hanzo, he was left for dead and survived only due to the efforts of Dr. Angela Zeigler (Mercy), who saved his life by transforming his body into one almost entirely cybernetic.

As time passed and Genji became increasingly conflicted about what he had become, he finally found peace after receiving spiritual tuition from the omnic monk Zenyatta, who taught him harmony and understanding. Genji now fights for what’s right on his own terms, using his swords and shuriken to help those in need.

Overwatch players will be familiar with his fighting abilities, which include his cyber agility, shuriken throws, deflection and swift strike, but for those who are not, you can find a detailed breakdown of each of his abilities in the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 launch notes. With high agility, powerful attacks and a strong final attack in the form of his Dragonblade, Genji looks to be already proving popular in the Nexus.

Tying in with Genji’s arrival to the hero roster, also new to Heroes of the Storm is a new battleground – Hanamura. The home of the Shimada Clan and an all-round idyllic village with its cherry blossom trees and stunning architecture, Hanamura is under attack yet again in this new challenge titled ‘Hanamura Showdown’. It is up to you as your hero of choice to defend it by delivering payloads and destroying the enemy fortresses, and just remember – you don’t ever have to fight alone!

To aid players in finding games on Hanamura, the playable selection of battlegrounds has been limited until May 15th to the following: Hanamura, Braxis Holdout, Cursed Hollow, Infernal Shrines, Sky Temple, Towers of Doom. Following May 15th the pool will be updated but remain restricted to continue to allow players to play on each battleground more frequently.

Perhaps one of the most substantial changes to Heroes of the Storm, however, is its new progression system. Starting with player level progression, it is no longer capped at 40 and is now the sum of all Hero levels earned beyond 1 (i.e. if you have five heroes at level five, your player level will be 20). Player progression badges in the profile, score screen and quest log will display player levels up to 99, with various changes being implemented to show more detailed progression – such as, much like in Overwatch, every 100 levels the progression badge will be reset and the badge will be upgraded to feature more ornate and intricate artwork.

Additionally, individual hero levels are no longer capped, with the previous restriction of 20 being lifted. However, to compensate for this change the XP and playing requirements per level have been slightly increased, most notably for the first few levels of play per hero. Every time a player increases a hero’s level, though, their player level will now be adjusted accordingly, meaning progression will be very quickly reflected on profiles and in game match-making efforts.

Another major change is the introduction of Loot Chests to Heroes of the Storm, closely resembling the Loot Boxes of Overwatch. Containing random assortments of heroes, skins, mounts and even more cosmetic and in-game items such as sprays, voice lines, banners and emojis, these chests are not only awarded for levelling up as a player, but also for levelling individual heroes, completing missions and taking part in events.

There are three kinds of chest available to earn – common, rare and epic – and all of these are guaranteed to award at least one item of that chest’s rarity level or higher, with standard chests having the chance to contain rare, epic or legendary items regardless of this mechanic. If you can’t wait to earn these chests in-game, they are also available to buy through the in-game loot page, so it’s definitely worth taking a look if there are particular items that have taken your fancy.

 

 

 

 

Above: Common, Rare and Epic Loot Chest Designs

To complement the new rewards system, the in-game shop has been transformed into an even more conclusive gallery titled the ‘Collection’. Players can use this to browse through the Heroes and cosmetic items that they own, and unlock any they don’t through the use of either in-game currencies or real money. Tabs at the top of the Collection allow quick and easy access to the various item categories, and hovering over a particular hero or item reveals the purchasing options available for it.

In terms of in-game currency, changes have also been made. Gems have replaced real money as the primary currency in Heroes of the Storm, being used to purchase heroes, bundles, loot chests, stimpacks and featured items. Gems can be earned through normal gameplay but can also be purchased in the newly-established Gem Shop using real money. Gold, the existing in-game currency, can still be earned through hero progression, match completion, daily quests and brawls, and is now used to purchase heroes and loot chest re-rolls.

We have covered the most significant changes to the game here, but for the full list of updates to Heroes of the Storm and its interface, you can read the full launch notes which can be found here.

Get ready, fans of both Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch – it’s the return of the Nexus Challenge! To tie in with the launch of 2.0, Blizzard Entertainment has brought back the popular Nexus Challenge quest chain which previously awarded Overwatch players on every platform with the Oni Genji skin, player icon and sprays amongst other rewards throughout both games.

This time, a new quest will begin each week, offering in-game rewards for both Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. It is possible to do one quest per week, or in the final week all four quest lines at once, so you can choose the playstyle that suits you. Below we have listed the objectives for each week of the challenge, and we wish you luck if you choose to attempt it – but remember to complete all quests by May 22nd or you won’t receive your rewards!

A detailed description of the Nexus Challenge 2.0 can be found here.

Quest 1: April 25th Onwards
– Complete 5 Games with a friend in Versus A.I., Quick Match, Unranked, or Ranked
– Overwatch rewards: Oni Genji Skin, Oni Player Icon, Oni Spray.~
– Heroes of the Storm Rewards: Orochi Hovercycle mount, Oni Genji Banner, Oni Portrait, Oni Spray.

Quest 2: May 2nd Onwards
– Complete 5 more games with a friend in Quick Match, Unranked, or Ranked.
– Overwatch rewards: Officer D.Va Skin.
– Heroes of the Storm rewards: Busan Police Hovercycle mount.

Quest 3: May 9th Onwards
– Complete 5 more games with a friend in Quick Match, Unranked, or Ranked.
– Overwatch rewards: Officer D.Va Player Icon, Officer D.Va spray.
– Heroes of the Storm rewards: Overwatch Nexagon mount, Officer D.Va Banner, Officer D.Va Portrait, Officer D.Va spray.

Quest 4: May 16th Onwards
– Complete 5 more games with a friend in Quick Match, Unranked, or Ranked.
– Overwatch rewards: 10 Loot Boxes.
– Heroes of the Storm rewards: 10 Loot Chests (one of which is Rare).

The return of the Nexus Challenge has many positive implications for players of both Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch, demonstrating Blizzard Entertainment’s investment in all of its titles and its dedication to providing the best experience for its players. We at Quillstreak will keep you updated with any further developments in the Nexus, and we hope at least one of those Loot Crates gives you something epic.

Try Something New

Georgina Howlett
20-year-old aspiring author and journalist, regularly found fleeing into the night in search of Pokémon. Soon starting my third year of an English Literature degree at Newcastle University. If I'm not writing I'm yelling at useless people on Overwatch and Splatoon 2. Nintendo Switch ID: 0203-3480-8054
http://www.twitter.com/howlettwrites

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