Hanamura is the first Overwatch themed Battleground in Heroes of the Storm. Located in the Shimada Castle, this sprawling two-lane map features the game’s first payload mechanic and introduces a new take on mercenary camps. This gorgeous Battleground is more wide open than other maps and is more brightly lit.
Sun Tzu once said, “Victory usually goes to the army who has better-trained officers and men”. This guide will provide the knowledge you need to defeat your enemy on this new field of battle. Let the training begin!
Hanamura takes several familiar concepts and turns them into something uniquely its own. Like Towers of Doom, players cannot directly attack the enemy Core and must instead concentrate on controlling the Objective and Mercenary Camps in order to damage the Core.
The Objective of this map is to successful escort Payloads to their destinations, while simultaneously preventing the enemy from doing the same. When a Payload reaches its destination it will convert into a cannon and deal one point of damage to the enemy Core. The first Payload for each team will spawn 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the game. There are two possible routes for each team’s Payload to take, which can be seen below, and the path a Payload spawns on is randomly determined.
While the first two Objective phases spawn one Payload for each team at the same time, future Payload timings will vary based on when the previous Payload for that team reached its destination. Once a team successfully escorts their Payload to its destination a countdown will begin for the next Payload. Future Payloads could spawn on either path and it is possible for a team to have two Payloads active at the same time.
Heroes must be in the vicinity of a Payload in order for their Payload to advance. Payloads gain bonus movement speed when multiple Heroes are nearby, up to a maximum of three. The Payload will stop moving if an enemy moves within its vicinity, even if there are also friendly Heroes in range. If a Payload is left unattended it will stop moving and eventually start moving backward.
There is a display in the bottom right of the screen, near the mini-map, that shows the current Payload status. This display will show how many Payloads are active, how far along they are on their path, and how many Heroes are pushing with them.
As you can see in the above image, the Blue Team has one Payload active, which is near the start of its route, but no one is pushing it. The Red Team also has a Payload near the start of its route not being pushed, but they also have a second Payload that is farther along in its route that is being pushed by two Heroes. If a Payload were being contested the progress bar would turn yellow.
You can increase the amount of damage that a Payload does by capturing enemy Forts and Keeps. Destroying one of these enemy Structures will cause the next Payload to do one additional point of damage. Unlike Towers of Doom, this bonus damage does not apply to any other shots and the enemy team cannot retake their Structures. Once they are destroyed, they are destroyed for good.
Hanamura features a completely new take on the traditional merc camps. There are four different types of mercenary camps and each has its own unique mechanic. Instead of pushing a lane when captured, these camps will instead drop consumables that players can pick up and use via the (F) key. Camps on Hanamura tend to be more difficult than camps on other maps, but they also award significantly more experience.
This map shows the locations of the various mercenary camps. Now Let’s take a look at what each type of camp does.
(1) Fortification Camp
Capturing this camp allows players to pick up a Turret that can be placed anywhere on the map. In true Overwatch style, this Turret can even be placed atop a friendly Payload. It prioritizes Heroes and blocks pathing. Be warned, there is a short cast time when attempting to place this Turret so plan accordingly. Pro Tip: when capturing this camp be sure to kill omnic first because he will heal the turret.
(2) Recon Camp
Once defeated, these omnic ninjas will drop a Dragon Token. Using this token will cause 3 Dragon Spirits to rush forth and seek out the nearest enemies, revealing their location for 5 seconds.
(3) Support Camp
Once attacked, this hard-hitting omnic samurai will cast a heal on himself, making him a very formidable foe. Defeating this camp is worth the effort though as it will earn the player a Healing Pulse Token. This token can be used to provide a 35% heal and 23% mana return over 15 seconds to nearby Heroes. This is a powerful buff, but much like Tranquility, the over time nature of its effect means it is best used proactively not reactively. The range is also quite short and Heroes must be within range when the token is used to receive the buff.
(4) Mega Enforcer
This is the Hanamura equivalent of the Boss, but even more challenging. He will occasionally Gorge nearby Heroes and he also has an AOE ring ability that does pulsing damage around him. Defeating the Enforcer does one point of damage to the enemy Core.
It is still too soon to have a definitive strategy for Hanamura but initial impressions from the Beta show that Objective control and Merc Camps are the keys to success on this map.
The Objective is essentially a race. Every time you win the race by getting your Payload to the destination before your opponent you get a head start on the next race. Pushing the Payload is the number one priority. Delay the opponent when you can, but focus mostly on pushing your own Payload. It doesn’t matter if the opponent also turns in their Payload, as long as you consistently turn yours in first you are winning.
As a general rule, I prefer to have four Heroes push the Payload while one Hero tries to delay the enemy Payload. Notice I said delay, not stop. Trying to stop the enemy Payload when you’re outnumbered is a great way to end up dead and you’re not stopping anything when you’re dead. Just do what you can to slow them down while your team pushes your Payload, but don’t get yourself killed in the process. Since it only takes three Heroes to get the maximum speed boost you might wonder why not have three Heroes push and two defend? While the fourth Hero doesn’t make the Payload go any faster, it does make it much easier to fight off enemy defenders, which keeps the Payload from getting bogged down.
This is a very team fight focused map, but because there will usually be multiple Payloads up at the same time fights are more likely to be 3v2 or 2v1 than the traditional 5v5 team fights you see on other maps. This places extra importance on Heroes like Thrall or Sonja that have self-sustain and can out-duel other Heroes. It also places an emphasis on mobility as being able to rotate effectively around the map is very important. Heroes like Falstad and Dehaka go up in value as a result.
The consumables dropped by the mercenary camps on Hanamura are quite powerful. So much so that mercs on Hanamura have a higher priority than mercs on any other map. The Fortification Camp and Support Camp should be cleared as soon they spawn. The duration on the Turret is quite long and the sustain provided by the Healing Pulse Token can win team fights. Heroes like Illidan, Sonja, and Rexxar, that can efficiently solo camps are quite strong on this map. Bribe is also incredibly powerful, to the point of almost being broken, because it only takes one stack of Bride to capture the Support Camp and two to capture the Fortification Camp. This makes Murky, Falstad, Brightwing and even Nova great picks for this map. Keep in mind that what makes these tokens so powerful is their impact on team fights. If you are so caught up capturing merc camps that you are late to all of the team fights then you are defeating the purpose of capturing the camps in the first place.
Lane pushing is also another powerful strategy on Hanamura. With only 7 health on the Core, being able to do an extra point of damage with the next Payload by taking down a Fort or Keep is a big advantage. Payloads still take precedent so if you are going to be the lane pusher you have to know when it’s time to push and when it’s time to help with the Objective. Destroying both the Fort and Keep in a lane will cause Sappers to spawn. Just like Towers of Doom, these Sappers will do damage to the Core if they reach the end of the lane.
There are several interesting interactions between certain Heroes and the Payload.
For starters, Heroes can push or contest the Payload from stealth. If you are pushing the Payload and it suddenly stops for no apparent reason you know there is a stealthie in the area. When it comes to pushing the Payload, Rexxar and Misha count as two Heroes and all three Lost Vikings will count as three Heroes. Cho’Gall on the other hand only counts as one Hero.
The Payload itself has a collision mechanic. It is possible for one Payload to body block another and Payloads will push aside Heroes that are in their path.
Hanamura is an interesting map because it forces teams to split up and deviate from the popular 5-man death ball strategy that is the norm on most maps. With Objectives, Merc Camps, and Lane Pushing all being important strategies, versatile Heroes are a must. This isn’t a map where you can just merc or push lanes all game. You have to be able to contribute in multiple ways and you have to know when to push the Payload, when to defend the Payload, and when to grab a merc camp or push a Lane. Good decision making and proper rotations are needed to be successful on this Battleground. The mobile nature of the Objective and the staggered spawn timers make it so that you cannot be locked into a certain strategy. You have to be able to adapt and make decisions as the game progresses.
Hanamura is a very fast map. The team that gets ahead early has a decided advantage so picking an early game Hero like Dehaka, Ragnaros, Sonja, or Xul is a great way to ensure that your team is the one that grabs the early lead. Conversely, late game Heroes like Varian, The Butcher, and Nazeebo might not be the best picks on this map since it takes them so long to hit their power spikes.
Good luck, have fun, and I’ll see you in the Nexus!