Heroes of the Storm is in Open Beta now, so this is the big chance to get the Graves battle pet.

I’m not sure if it’s going to still be available after the “official” release June 2, so if you want the pet it’s time to get grinding!

The Good News

You don’t have to spend any real money.  You get a “starter” Hero and if you got the Diablo III RoS CE you’ll have Valla unlocked.

You can also try out whatever the “weekly free” Heroes are in rotation, so you have lots of options for Heroes.

When you get your account to Level 10, you get a free Stimpack that increases your experience and gold.

Make sure you go through the tutorials (extra gold) and play some games against the AI until you get your Hero to about level 4 or 5 to unlock their abilities.

Once your Hero is Level 4, it’s time to jump into Quick Matches and let the grind begin!

If you have any experience with LoL or Dota2, this will probably be easy for you.

I don’t have any experience with these types of games, so I’m writing as a Noob based on my own HoTS adventure.

The Bad News

You need to get your Account (Player) to level 20 for the pet.

This is an Epic Grind in the true Blizzard tradition.

You do get experience from game losses, but of course not as much as if you won a match.

Just like WoW leveling, the higher the level, the more experience you need to get to the next level.

This is why the Stimpack is important at level 10 because it gives you 7 days extra experience/gold.  Note that the 7 days is “real time” and doesn’t stop when you log out of the game or during server maintenance.

You will lose – A LOT.

Queue time is fast – usually less than a minute.

Average game time per match for me was around 23 minutes for a Quick Match game.

Do yourself a favor and turn off chat unless you enjoy raging babies because you’ll see a lot of them.

Noob Advice from a Complete Noob

Don’t get discouraged by losses.  Keep your eye on the prize – the goal isn’t getting into Tournament matches, the primary goal is getting experience to get to level 20.

Don't worry - it gets worse!

Don’t worry – it gets worse!

The secondary goal is to win matches for the greater experience.  Playing games against the AI before jumping into Quick Matches (against real players) will get you familiar with the different map objectives.

Don’t just run around killing stuff – keep an eye on your mini-map.  Map objectives are important, and if you luck out with a team of decent players someone will direct the match by “pinging” your mini-map.

Winning is highly dependent on team play, so don’t go “rogue.”

You’ll just die, and the more you die, the longer you wait for a rez – sometimes more than a minute, and this can sometimes be the difference between a win and a loss.

Heroes to Play

Heroes have difficulty levels attached to them.  Look through the “free rotation” heroes and pick something “Easy” to play some AI matches.  I’d suggest sticking with one hero for a few games until you get comfortable with basic game play and the talent system.

As your hero levels up in the game, you will get to pick talents that change the way your hero plays.  Pick a talent as soon as the game tells you a talent is available – don’t wait!

There are “optimal” talent builds for each hero at the HoTS forums and other websites if you want some build suggestions.

I found that by about Player level 10 or 12, I was comfortable enough with the maps (but still a noob!) to try a few different heroes to keep it from getting completely mind-numbing.

I actually spent about $4.99 on a Starter bundle (77% off) to get a few Heroes (Muradin, Malfurion and Raynor) and a Stimpack because I didn’t know that you got a free Stimpack at level 10….yeah.

Player Level Rewards

Player Level Rewards

But it gave me some extra heroes to try, and I actually had a blast playing Muradin.

I also had a surprising amount of fun playing the Specialist Nazeebo who happened to be in the free rotation.

So once you know the maps and objectives, try out some different heroes in the free rotation – you never know what might turn out to be fun!

And trust me, making it fun will guarantee your head won’t explode from losing 15 matches in a row at 23 minutes each.

I made it to just into level 19 last night, so I’m guessing I need about 8 more games with losses, or maybe 4 with wins to the next level.

With an average game time of 23 minutes, well…you do the math.