Into the Nexus: A Beginner's Guide to Heroes of the Storm and Quick In-game Leveling

Some tips for beginners to Heroes of the Storm as well as some ways to gain more XP than your opponents in-game.

Blizzard’s entry into the MOBA arena, Heroes of the Storm, has some systems in place which helped differentiate it from other MOBAs, but which also may not be as clear to newer players either. The purpose of this guide is to offer players with some tips for newcomers and some ways to ensure you gain levels on your opponents!

The Team XP System

In HoS, teams share a pool of experience, and heroes gain levels simultaneously, ensuring the entire team is the same level. This encourages greater cooperation and teamwork but can also lead to teams falling behind in XP. In order to gain XP from minions, you simply need to be in the same area as them when they are slain (the same area seems to be about half the distance of the screen). XP is also gained from destroying enemy forts and towers as well as slaying enemy players.

Forts grant 800 XP when destroyed and towers grant 400 XP.
Destroying fountains, gates, and walls does NOT grant any XP.

Silly Uther! 

Never leave your lane!

I know this sounds like common sense, but I have played a number of games where teammates will abandon a lane and leave the enemy unopposed to push. This is bad for two reasons: your enemy will be met with no resistance to pushing and your team will lose XP.

If you are not in your lane soaking up XP but an enemy is, your team can quickly fall behind in levels. As such, in the early game, it is a good idea to keep a lane presence until your team starts ganking and taking objectives.

Comeback XP is real and relevant

In most MOBAs, once a team begins to snowball, and one hero becomes powerful, there is not a lot you can do to oppose them. Heroes of the Storm has a system in place to slightly circumvent this issue: the Underdog bonus.

If your team is behind your opponent’s in levels, your team will get a bonus every time an enemy is vanquished until the levels are equal. How much XP is granted is determined on the level difference between the two teams and caps at a four-level difference.

This also works the other way as well; a team ahead in the XP department will gain less XP for hero kills.

Objective, Objective, Objective!

Objectives are arguably the most important part of HoS. While kills help, securing the objectives of each map will sway the tides of battle more in your favor more than simply eliminating the opposing team. Securing objectives does seem to grant some XP, I have yet to find any concrete amounts or confirmation of this.

However, even if objectives do not grant XP, they should still be a priority. Since team fights often happen around objectives, you are bound to gain XP.

Mercenary Camps

Mercenary camps are highly sought after since they make your creep presence more formidable and are capable of pushing entire lanes when left unattended. There are three types of camps at the present: siege, bruiser, and boss.

Siege giant camps are great for attacking towers, forts, and other enemy structures.

The knights (bruisers) rip their way through the minion crowd with ease.

The boss will demolish anything that is foolish enough to stand in its path, minions, structures, or even enemy heroes. Capturing a camp also seems to grant XP, and it appears the amount of XP gained depends on how long a match has been played.

Nabbing these camps also ensures you have an advantage over your enemies and have constant lane pressure.  

Beware Higher Level Opponents

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid fighting players higher than you unless you have a teammate or two as backup. Higher level enemies have access to more abilities and can have a distinct advantage in a fight.

You should be extra vigilant of engaging heroes who are level 10 or 20, especially if you are a lower level. By having access to their heroic abilities, these opponents are significantly more powerful. Be smart and engage with teammates when possible. 

Leveling Outside a Match

Your performance in a match and the amount of XP earned in-game will determine the amount of XP you gain after as well. In this match, my 16, 055 in-game XP netted me 87,413 experience towards my player level. About 5.44x the in-game amount of XP for this specific game.


A look at experience points scorecards.

There is some complicated equation for determining exactly how much XP you receive, but the gist remains the same: the better you play and more in-game XP you earn, the more you are rewarded afterward.

Even if your team is not playing so well, you can still gain a ludicrous amount of XP towards your player and hero levels!


  • As long as you are in the same area as a minion when they die, you will receive XP.
  • Forts grant 800 XP when destroyed and towers grant 400 XP.
  • Destroying fountains, gates, and walls does NOT grant any XP.
  • Killing enemy heroes nets XP determined by team levels.
  • NEVER leave your lane in the early game.
  • Killing a player of higher level will grant bonus XP determined the difference in your player levels
  • Killing a player of a lower level than you will earn less XP.
  • Objectives may or may not grant XP, but can sway the battle in your favor.
  • Mercenary camps grant XP determined by the length of the match and camp captured.
  • Mercenary camps keep pressure on your opponents’ lanes.
  • Avoid players of a higher level than you if you are alone.
  • Never engage a player who has their heroic ability and you do not.
  • In-game performance affects the amount of XP earned for your player level.
  • Never give up! Never surrender!  

There you have it! Some tips for beginners and some ways to gain an XP advantage over your foes! If you have any useful advice, please share in the comments below for other players!

If you want information on how to level your player account quickly, check Danielle’s guide here!

Robert has written two useful guides for tips on how to spend your gold as well as a handy, dandy map guide! Check them out too!  

Published Jun. 11th 2015
  • GameSkinny Staff
    The underdog XP bonus really seems like it does *work* on leveling. I've played a ton of games lately that swing pretty hard in one direction or another at the start but still end up nail-biting at the end. It certainly makes every match a bit more dramatic.
  • The Soapbox Lord
    Featured Contributor
    It definitely gives incentive to play no matter how poorly your team may be doing. Things always stay interesting!

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