Currently on PTR
Blizzard has unleashed a host of new changes onto the public test realm (PTR) for Heroes of the Storm, including a new character (Kharazim the Monk) and a new map (Infernal Shrines). I had a chance to take them both for a spin, and although Shrines hasn’t really blown me away, the Monk is a much-needed addition to the game, which is lacking supports currently.
His Q is a quick dash that comes with two charges right out of the gate, which allows you to move to either an enemy or an ally. He really reminds me of League of Legends‘ Lee Sin, in a good way, and his movement is compounded by the fact that you can build him early on with a health, power, or mana passive. His E is very flashy, buffing his auto-attacks momentarily with a flurry of punches and kicks. It’s easy to catch someone off-guard with this ability, then chase them down with your Q.
Alternatively, you can take his Seven-Sided Strike heroic, which is a classic “strike any number of enemies [x] amount of times in a circle,” you’ve seen since the original DOTA coupled with an invulnerability effect during its cast. The catch is that they can run out of the circle to avoid it, so you really have to aim it well, or have some form of crowd-control in place to guarantee every hit.
Kharazim is no slouch when it comes to healing too, as he can pick up a shield or healing totem almost immediately at level 4. Plus, his W is an area-of-effect (AOE) heal that also increases allied movement speed (and can be modified to eliminate slows, roots, blinds, and silences at level 14!), which can get your entire team out of a jam. Divine Heal is a crucial heroic ability if you decide to take it over Seven-Sided, as it saves a teammate from death if they perish within three seconds — like Rehgar’s full heal, timing is key.
I really like how aggressive Kharazim can be, and he’s more fun to play than some of the other hybrid supports in the game. Right now, the Monk is going to be tentatively released next week on August 19, but that’s subject to change. Additionally, Kharazim can only be purchased for real money on the PTR (which is slated to last one week), but that purchase will transfer over to the full game, says Blizzard.
Infernal Shrines is another Diablo map, and I have to say, it’s a bit too much of a copy and paste job thematically from Battlefield of Eternity, the other (excellent) two-lane Diablo stage that dropped a few months ago. The gist is that occasionally, shrines will activate at the top, middle, or bottom, which will spew out minions to kill — if you happen to control the shrine after they’re dead, you’ll get a boss-like reward in the form of a beast AI that charges that lane.
The AI is devastating, as each beast has a ton of health, and actually seeks out enemy Heroes, taking them down with targeted auto-attacks and more telegraphed abilities than any other boss in the game. Those moments are fleeting though, as you’re basically just playing another samey three-lane map. You can play Infernal Shrines now in the PTR, as it’s the only level that’s currently available on test servers. Blizzard notes that this map won’t arrive with the next major patch, but sometime after that.