Sometimes I don’t think I have enough talent to play better.
I never want to ever hear any of you say, quote, “If only I had half the talent _____ has.” You know why, even if you had half of _____’s talent you still wouldn’t be any good? It’s because you don’t have the dedication and determination necessary to improve as evinced by your current state of affairs.
Talent is not some mystical blessing Odin bequeaths upon a select few of us. Talent, real talent, is born from the blood, sweat and tears of endless hours devoted to bettering a skill. This is why pro players spend all day practicing. The reason they are so good is because they spend hours upon hours working to get better at what they do. Some might be more gifted but that means nothing if the gift is not honed through discipline.
Now let’s switch to what practice represents. For the most part, practice simply means putting in the time to perfect aspects of your gameplay. As a beginner, what you do is hazy. You realize this so you start to define certain parts. Little by little the entire culmination of your play style is defined and defined and defined until what was once a dull haze has become a beautiful masterpiece.
How you practice is really up to you. Every single person is different. I personally enjoy jumping around from hero to hero. I’ll play one obsessively until I find what I consider to be my perfect build, get bored with them and switch to another. Eventually, I get drawn back to that first hero, but I return with new information gathered from my time spent in other roles. One of the more notable discoveries I made was between tank and assassin. I first started assassin because, well, damage is friggin’ sweet. I automatically assumed their role was to run around a lot and be as fast as humanly possible. Then it was on to tanks. Here I was forced to slow down, stand firm and trust my teammates. When I finally did go back to assassin, I realized the importance of only flitting about when necessary, otherwise I opened myself up to a whole host of unwanted attention. Plus, the less flitting, the more mana and fewer missed opportunities because I blew a special on creeps.
If, however, you still can’t quite seem to get better, it’s time to turn to outside expert eyes.
I play a lot but just can’t seem to get better. What can I do?
If you want to play decently, play to have fun. If you want to play the best, practice. But even practice runs into its own constraints. You will eventually hit a wall. At those moments, you know you need to change things but aren’t sure what to do or how to even go about doing so. After all, it’s not your hero’s fault they play poorly. If you’re set on getting better, seek out a coach/trainer/mentor.
Word of warning – choose this person or these people very carefully. I’m no statistician but the top of my head is arbitrarily claiming that at least 75% of the “coaches” out there are hacks. As space is limited and I’m not being paid to write a fully researched, cited and formatted dissertation on the subject of what defines a hack, let’s switch to Heroes clickbait: Three Ways to Spot a Hack versus a Coach/Trainer/Mentor.
Only a hack deals in absolutes.
While we can lightheartedly jest that even saying that is an absolute, what I’m really trying to envelope is the idea behind the memorable phrasing. The point is a great instructor will never tell you things have to be done in a certain way at a certain time and with a certain hero. If this were the case, can you please explain to me why gameplay is continually evolving? It’s because great players break the “meta” that Heroes is never played the same way every game. It’s the same reason one fish’s genes thought it would be ballin’ to grow some rudimentary legs. Sure, it wasn’t meta, but it led to our total dominance of the planet.
Great teachers build on your strengths.
This is not to say they ignore your weaknesses. This is to say they teach you how to improve using your innate talents. Let’s say you’re awesome at Nova because you are creative with her double and are all over the map taking pot shots at lone fools. The hack would keep this strictly locked to when you play Nova. The mentor would teach you how to use this trickery with other heroes. Fostering this talent as opposed to oppressing it leaves your mind open to perform its own feats of critical reasoning and analysis. There are, after all, no rules governing Heroes. Why, then, would you let a “teacher” limit your potential?
Teachers have explanations.
Hacks are textbook readers and definition enthusiasts. They wrongly assume that being able to quote numbers and attack names is the same as knowing how to use this info in battle. They are all talk, no action. Coaches, however, see what is wrong and understand gameplay so well that they can explain what the problem is and how that relates to every other problem you’re having. Furthermore, they are always able to explain themselves when you ask the all-important question, “why?” If the person you picked up can’t answer that, they’re a hack.
If you happen to play a great game with or against a formidable opponent, don’t be afraid to send them a whisper asking for guidance. Most people are decent human beings who would be flattered by the compliment. Remember, asking for help goes a long way.
Ask DrmDestryr is your weekly Q&A/advice column for Heroes of the Storm. Have a question for DrmDestryr? E-mail her your mental musings at firstname.lastname@example.org or send happy twoughts her way @DrmDestryr.