Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm 2.0 month-long celebration continues, today announcing the addition of Overwatch‘s Genji and an all-new Hanamura-themed Battleground. Both additions have been made live on Heroes of the Storm‘s new Open Beta server and will be released in the coming weeks. Genji is of course the same sword and shuriken-wielding ninja Overwatch fans either main or hate. Hanamura, however, has been transformed into a payload map with several unique new Heroes of the Storm features.
The Hanamura Battleground will be an especially exciting addition to Heroes of the Storm. It shakes up the standard gameplay of the MOBA in a way that previous Battlegrounds have only scratched the surface of it. Hanamura tasks teams to each deliver their respective payload, which moves much like a payload does in Overwatch. Standard features like forts and mercenary camps remain, but each provide unique boons unlike other Battlegrounds provide. There’s still the tug and pull of creep waves and leveling, but Hanamura’s layered with actual Overwatch gameplay in ways previous Battlegrounds have struggled thematically.
Genji, however, has remained true to his Overwatch origins in very authentic ways. Obviously it isn’t a perfect recreation, but all of the core abilities are there. Genji can leap, toss shuriken linearly or in a wide arc, deflect, dash, and summon his Dragonblade to do massive damage. He remains the harass/assassin, the harassassin, that he is in Overwatch. Poking down opponents with shuriken or hard-engaging with dashes and leaps, only to escape at low health and beg fo healing, Genji mains will be pleased with what Blizzard’s delivered.
While Genji and Hanamura are cooking on Heroes of the Storm‘s Open Beta server, the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 overhaul will be going live — as soon as tomorrow. According to the official Blizzard schedule for April’s content releases, April 18 marks the launch of Heroes of the Storm 2.0‘s launch. That’s not an end to the festivities though. On April 20 new bundles and a new “program” will be made available; on April 25 a new cinematic, nexus challenge, and event will launch; and finally a third hero will be announced on May 4.
Heroes of the Storm 2.0, for those who haven’t heard, introduces an entirely new progression system built around Loot Chests, basically Overwatch Loot boxes. Loot Chests will be unlocked every level that’s gained on a character, though unlike Overwatch the Heroes’ Loot Chests have rarities themselves since cosmetic content is structured in a different way. Still, the new system will almost certainly lead to more skins being available to players for free and everyone wins that way.
Heroes of the Storm is available to play for free on PC right now. Expect Genji and the Hanamura map to go live within the next week or several, likely separate. Heroes of the Storm 2.0 is expected to launch tomorrow.