Not every character in Heroes of the Storm relies on mana to fuel their abilities. While it is by far the most common expendable resource in the game, and able to be recovered by regen orbs as well as time, there are several heroes that operate very differently from the rest in this regard. Characters such as Valeera, Morales, Zarya, and Auriel rely on a different resource called energy, one that cannot be as easily obtained as mana.
I bring up this topic because of late I have been either been paired with players who don’t understand their heroes, or have been accused of poor performance by players who don’t understand the restrictions of the hero I myself am playing. While there are a number of heroes who utilize energy—represented by a yellow or pink bar rather than mana’s typical aqua—the most visible when it comes to team participation are those that fall into the healer category.
Simply put, when a healer is out of mana or energy, they cannot heal—Brightwing and Lucio being specific exceptions, as their heals are not ability-based—while mana returns on its own, or can be fostered with the collection of regen orbs, energy is usually a much more valuable, and much more delicate, resource to be used. The heroes Sgt. Morales and Auriel use their energy to heal others, and careful management of that energy is key to a successful team engagement. It is very important for players other than the healers to understand the limitations and mechanics of energy generation as well, so they can play or set expectations accordingly.
Morales, a Terran medic from StarCraft, is a powerful single-target healer who can keep her patient alive through some very impressive sustained damage, but long bouts of support can leave her drained of energy, unable to even activate her healing beam. When Morales is out of energy, nothing can restore it but time spent not healing. If her four teammates dive into combat and she has to exhaust herself keeping everyone alive, she’ll have no opportunity to recover her energy and will quickly run the tank dry, leaving the team with no back-line support.
When playing alongside a supporting Morales, it is important to be cognizant not only of your own positioning and whether or not she has energy, but also the distribution of your teammates. As a single-target healer she has to be very judicious as to who and when gets healing, often prioritizing those still in the fight to those who have retreated. If someone has fully disengaged, they shouldn’t expect to be a healing priority because Morales’ healing energy is truly a limited resource.
Auriel, the archangel of hope from Diablo, also uses energy but operates in a very, very different way than Morales. Auriel generates energy by “crowning” or placing a special mark on a teammate. As that teammate deals damage, a portion thereof is added to her total. If there’s nobody around to do damage, Auriel is effectively neutered because she can’t generate energy.
What’s more, Auriel expends all of her energy each time she puts down a circle of healing, with a direct relationship between the amount of energy she had stored up and the amount of healing all friendly heroes within the circle receive. The only way she can successfully sustain a team through a long engagement is if she has crowned a powerful and ongoing damage dealer such as Valla or Quira; otherwise she’ll be done after her first area heal. Heroes like Li-Ming or Jaina can put out tremendous damage over a short period of time, but they are often poor long-term energy-generators for Auriel.
When supported by an Auriel, players can only expect to get healing if there is a strong damage-dealing hero actively engaged with the enemies, and if they are grouped tightly together. Having Auriel spend all of her energy to only heal one person is often a waste, since that same energy could go into healing all five of the team, were they grouped up properly.
In my opinion, the choice of healer informs the team’s strategy much more than that of its DPS or tank; making sure the team composition plays to the healer’s strengths is a key aspect of game organization and team success. A team relying on Lucio is going to have to play differently than one supported by Uther, and this goes doubly so for teams hoping to see a great performance out of energy-reliant healers like Morales or Auriel.
Header image taken from promotional material for Heroes of the Storm; designed, created, and maintained by Blizzard.