The Heroes of the Storm Technical Alpha is live! You can watch streams of the game over here!
Also, Blizzard has posted an article helping players install and access the game.
We’ve invited a limited amount of US-based players, including testers opted-in via Battle.net, friends and family members of Blizzard employees, as well as a number of international press sites and community contributors, to participate in this very early Technical Alpha testing phase. If you haven’t received an invitation to the Tech Alpha yet, make sure you’ve elected to participate in Heroes of the Storm testing by opting in on your Battle.net account’s Beta Profile Settings page. By doing so, you’ll give yourself the best chance at gaining testing access as our needs evolve and we expand the pool of invited players in the weeks and months to come.
Blizzard has just posted a lot of info regarding Heroes of the Storm on Battle.net. Their article explains various parts of the game, such as how to purchase heroes, how to purchase skins, the experience and level progression, and more.
To summarize the information on this article, there are several ways to choose a hero to play. There's a weekly rotation of free heroes, all of which are available to play, without cost, for that particular week. However, if you wish to purchase a hero so that they are available permanently, you can do so with gold. Gold is a currency which can be earned by completing in-game goals, daily quests, and gaining player levels. In addition, you may test drive any of the heroes in the game by going to the shop and trying them out. This allows players to buy heroes after knowing what they do, instead of being forced to make a blind purchase.
Skins and mounts are purchased with real money, although there are some interesting exceptions. There may be quests in the future which allow you to unlock skins or mounts, and there are also several tints for each skin (including the default skin for each hero) that allows you to look different, no matter your monetary investment into the game. There are also going to be mounts that are exclusive to players who have made a real-money purchase during the alpha and beta phases for the game.
By playing more and more matches, you will gain experience for player levels. Getting higher levels means unlocking different features for the game, such as an extra hero in the free weekly rotation, or Hero Quests, or hero skins. Hero Quests are quests for each hero that can be played once reaching level 10. There are three Hero Quests for each hero at level 10, and three more at level 20 that can be completed for experience and unspecified customization options for that hero.
To check out the full article, you can click here. Hopefully, the technical alpha will be on its way very soon!
There are a few posts on the Battle.net forums related to upcoming balance updates, most notable of which is a modified release schedule. Due to current ongoing tournaments, Blizzard has decided to push back the balance update's release for Europe only:
As David Kim mentioned in his recent forum post, we’ll be moving forward with a new balance update this week. However, we realized that our original release schedule for Friday, February 28 would offer WCS Europe Premier League Group F competitors just a few short hours to practice with the new changes. Instead, we’re going to slightly alter our release schedule by holding off on the balance update for the European Battle.net region until after the Group F broadcast concludes on Saturday, March 1.
With tournaments on-going across the globe, there’s never a perfect time to roll out a balance update, but we want to make sure our target dates will have the least amount of impact possible on upcoming events. Once again, this schedule change will only affect Europe and we are still planning to release the update for all other Battle.net regions on Friday, February 28.
David Kim also posted about the upcoming balance update, explaining some of the changes that will be coming :
Widow Mine splash damage increased from 40 to 40 +40 shields We’ve seen a little confusion surrounding this change and we’d like to clarify that it does not change the Widow Mine’s single target damage. As for the splash damage, this is how it’ll work:
• Up to 1.25 radius, splash damage will increase from 40 to 40 +40 vs. shields. • From 1.25 to 1.5 radius, splash damage will increase from 20 to 20 +20 vs. shields. • From 1.5 to 1.75 radius, splash damage will increase from 10 to 10 +10 vs. shields.
Hydralisk attack delay decreased from .83 to .75 We believe this change is good for all three match ups after testing. In ZvP, it seems to make a significant difference even though it’s turning out to be not as big as we initially thought before we started testing.
Mothership Core vision decreased from 14 to 9 After testing, this change is turning out to be quite a bit of a nerf for Protoss in terms of early scouting. It also makes the army vs. army case a bit weaker for Protoss in terms of the vision the Mothership Core provides, especially when vision is critically needed, such as during Feedback vs. EMP battles.
The winners for the 2013 Blizzard Stream Awards have been announced! With a ton of award categories and thus a ton of winners, the list is simply too large to put here. So, to see all of the winners and runners-up of the 2013 Blizzard Stream Awards, click here.
A new balance test map is out, titled "Frost LE (2.1.0 Balance v1.0)". The changes it has are:
Photon Overcharge duration decreased from 60 to 50 seconds.
Time Warp energy cost increased from 75 to 100.
Resonance Coil ground weapon damage increased from 30 to 30 + 30 vs. Structures.
Starting energy increased from 50 to 75.
The Moebius Reactor upgrade has been removed from the Ghost Academy.
Cost decreased from 100/50 to 100/25.
New to this call of action is the balance test extension mod. You can access this mod by selecting a map in the Custom Games menu, clicking the Create with Mod button, and selecting the Blizzard mod "Balance Test Mod". This way, you can test the changes on any map you desire.
You can also see the reasoning behind these changes here.