Most players know that Heroes of the Storm has a tutorial mode. These lessons trigger automatically when a player logs into the game for the first time. While these tutorials do a great job of teaching the basics, they only scratch the surface of what you can accomplish thru the use of hotkeys. Even experienced players are often surprised to learn that there are easier ways to accomplish certain actions. Let’s take a look at some of these shortcuts and how you can use them to become a better player.
Spacebar: This is one of the more basic hotkeys, and it is covered in the tutorial. However, since a large number of players skip the tutorial they never learn about this trick. Pressing Spacebar will center the camera on your Hero, and briefly, put a blue spotlight on you. Holding Spacebar will keep the camera centered on your Hero as you move, and keep the blue spotlight on your champion. This can be very useful when it comes to keeping track of your Hero during chaotic team fights.
Control + 1-6: This shortcut enables you to select your talents without having to use your mouse. Holding Control will bring up the talent menu, and allow you to use the number keys to quickly select the talent of your choice. The talents are listed vertically, and the numbers are assigned from top to bottom. Control + 1 will select the top talent. Control + 2 will select the second talent from the top, and so on. Selecting your talents with this method will allow you to use your mouse for other more important tasks, like movement or targeting enemies.
Control + F5-F8: This trick allows you to save specific camera locations and easily move between them. Pressing Control + F5 will create a shortcut to your current camera location and allow you to switch your view to that location anytime you hit F5. This is a great way to keep track of things like Objectives or turn in locations. It can also be a useful tool when playing Heroes such as Abathur or Lost Vikings, who require a tremendous amount of map awareness. You can store multiple camera locations by repeating the same process with Control + F6, F7, and F8, and if four camera locations aren’t enough you can use Control + Shift + F5-F8 store an additional four locations.
Shift: The Shift hotkey can be used to queue multiple actions in advance. A simple example involves mounting up, moving to drink from the fountain, and then returning to your previous location. Most people do this by hitting Z, then once their Hero finishes mounting they click on the fountain to move there and drink. Once their Hero has reached the fountain they then click the location they would like to return to. A much better alternative is to use the Shift hotkey. By holding the Shift key, you can line up several actions at once without having to wait for the previous action to be completed. So in this example, you would hold the Shift key and press Z, click on the fountain and click on where you want to return to. This method allows you to have all three actions line up before your Hero has even finished channeling the mount animation. It also eliminates any downtime between actions. The same principle can be applied to things like mounting up after turning in coins or gems. While you are channeling the turn in, simply hold Shift, press Z and click your destination and your Hero will mount up and ride there as soon as he is done channeling. The final example involves holding Shift and right clicking a series of points on the map in order to lay out a specific path for your Hero to follow. These are just a few examples of how you can use this feature. I encourage you to experiment in Training or an AI games to learn how else you can use this powerful tool.
Alt + ability: This is any easy way to target yourself with a spell, without having to select your Hero with the mouse. Not only can this be a faster than manually clicking your Hero, but it also prevents miss clicks if you are in a tightly congested area with other Heroes.
H: Pressing H holds your Hero in place. When used in combination with right clicks, this can be a very effective way to stutter step. If you are not familiar with stutter stepping, it means slightly repositioning your Hero in between each auto attack. While this can take some time to master, it is well worth the effort. The best way to practice is to take an auto attack heavy character like Raynor or Valla into a Training or AI game. Your goal should be to move your Hero slightly after each auto attack by using right click quickly followed by H. This might seem awkward at first, but once it becomes second nature it will be much more difficult for your enemies to hit you with skill shots. It also makes you look like a pro.
Ping AI Hero: There is nothing more frustrating that having a player on your team disconnect or go AFK. The AI will take control of their Hero after a period of inactivity, but even then you will be at a severe disadvantage having a bot on your team. Rather than let the AI have complete control, you can order the AI Hero to follow you by pinging on it. While this is still no substitute for a real player, at least the AI will now being assisting you, as opposed to wandering around on its own. Simply ping the AI Hero a second time to have it stop following you.
Rearranging Numeric Abilities: This is another great quality of life feature that many players are unaware of. By default, activatable talents such as Healing Ward, Cleanse, or Shrink Ray are assigned to a number key based on the order in which you select them. This can cause confusion since the same ability might be assigned to 3 on one Hero, but 1 on another. If you would like to change which number key an ability is assigned to, just drag and drop it to the desired key.
What separates the average player from the very good player isn’t that they are simply more skilled. Rather, it is that they get more out of ability that they do have, by being more efficient and avoiding wasted time. That is where these hotkey shortcuts can really make a difference. While it may not sound like much, being able to retreat and get in a few extra auto attacks by stutter stepping, or getting back to the lane a second or two sooner by using Shift to eliminate wasted time, can make a huge difference over the course of a game. Knowing about these shortcuts is great, but the real trick is incorporating them into your game. Get into the Nexus and start practicing!