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Heroes of the Storm's closed beta starts worldwide today. Players throughout the world will get the opportunity to try out Blizzard's answer to Dota 2 and League of Legends.
Blizzard occasionally gives away tester keys through special promotions. Allegedly they'll begin selling Founder's Packs that guarantee beta access as well. However, your best chance at an invite is to opt into Heroes of the Storm's beta through your Battle.net account. On the Beta Profile page of your account, you'll see a list of several Blizzard games. Simply check the box next to Heres of the Storm and then hit save. You'll be asked to share your system specs as well if you've never done so before.
"As always, be extra mindful of shady characters who wish to steal your login credentials through phishing attempts, which are often disguised by falsified emails and websites," Blizzard said yesterday. "What’s more, Alpha and Beta keys are not necessary and are not currently being given out during this phase of testing. Please be warned that any key generators or other offers for a key are most certainly suspicious."
"The best way to ensure an invite is the real deal is to avoid clicking any links. Instead, log in to your Battle.net account and check the Summary section to see if a Heroes of the Storm license has been added to your account."
Heroes of the Storm's alpha test launched last March. Over time, Blizzard has been slowly adding more and more people to the test. Presumably they've got a wave of invites being sent out to mark the launch of beta today. Everyone who participated in the alpha is automatically able to join the beta as well.
Blizzard has been making major changes to Heroes of the Storm throughout the alpha. They've added several playable characters since launch, including Anub'arak and Azmodan. Other additions include a new progression system, replays and custom games.
The transition from alpha to beta is accompanied by other major additions. For starters, players can now play their matches as Thrall. He's a melee Assassin who uses the power of the elements to heal himself or speed up his attacks. He can also call down lightning on his enemies or root them using a feral spirit. Both of his possible ultimate abilities will shatter the earth beneath his enemies.
A new Battleground has been added to the rotation as well. Sky Temple is a 3-lane map modeled after the Uldum zone in World of Warcraft. Players can capture temples at the center of each lane and use them to blast their enemies' defenses with energy beams. However, the energy weapon will only fire while a player is present. To complicate matters, an NPC Guardian will spawn and try to kill whoever captures the site.
The last major change accompanied the closed beta's launch is Hero League. This is the first Ranked Play mode introduced to Heroes of the Storm. Players with level 30 or higher who own at least 10 heroes (the weekly free rotation doesn't count) will be able to queue up for Hero League matches. They'll be matched against other players with a comparable skill level. Teams will take turns picking their heroes, with the order determined by a coin toss.
"We hope you enjoy the recent changes we’ve made to Heroes of the Storm," Blizzard said in their beta launch announcement. "We have even more features and content in store, and future game updates will bring further improvements, iteration, and refinement to them over the months ahead."