Glossary of Terms

Last updated on May 05, 2015 at 09:00 by Damien 17 comments

Table of Contents



On this page, we are maintaining a list of all the Heroes of the Storm terminology that we use in our guides, which we consider requires additional explanation. In some cases, the terms may be totally unknown to some of our readers, while in other cases they may have a different meaning than their wording may imply.



Terms Explanations
Ability Chain (aka Wombo Combo) Consciously using two or more Abilities in quick succession, often in a synergistic manner.
Area of Effect A characteristic of certain Abilities and effects that may impact two or more targets, as opposed to one only. Often abbreviated as AoE. Ability effects that chain or spread may also be considered area of effect if they affect several targets.
Armor Armor is a numerical representation of a given Hero's ability to mitigate damage. Each point of Armor is equal to a 1% reduction in damage. Specific types of Armor exist; Physical Armor works against Basic Attacks, whereas Spell Armor works Ability-based damage. Damage that is based on a % of a given Hero's Health cannot mitigated by any form of Armor.
Assassin A Hero class whose main purpose is to inflict damage, particularly to opposing Heroes.
Backline The physical position that is farthest away from the deployment of the opposing team in the context of a team fight. The backline is generally composed of fragile ranged Heroes that deal damage or support while under the protection of more resilient Heroes.
Body Blocking A technique that allows a Hero to interfere with another Hero's ability to move about. The technique exploits the fact that two given entities can not simultaneously occupy the same physical space, and is generally performed by moving in a zigzag pattern while actively trying to stand in the way of one's intended target.
Boss A very strong Mercenary Camp that usually requires the concerted effort of several team members to claim or counter.
Bruiser An unofficial Hero class used to describe resilient Assassins or Warriors with high damage outputs. Sonya is a classic example of a Bruiser.
Buff General term that refers to any positive effect with a duration. Effects that improve one's damage output, prevent damage, or increase movement speed examples of buffs.
Bullying Harassing an opposing Hero in a laning context. The term is usually employed when it is difficult for the bullied Hero to efficiently retaliate. The main goal of bullying is to force an opponent away from their lane so that they miss out on Experience, are unable to protect Structures, or can not regenerate their Health or Mana in a timely manner before fighting over a Map Objective.
Burst Composition A configuration of Hero choices that aims to quickly kill a determinate target to generate a crushing advantage during team fighting scenarios.
Channeled Ability A type of Ability that requires a certain determined period of focus from the caster to bear fruit. Channeled Abilities can be interrupted by knockbacks, silences, stuns, death, or under other specific conditions before they are successfully cast.
Charged Ability A type of Ability that can be used more than once incurring its normal Cooldown. Charges are displayed by a small number at the bottom of any given Charged Ability's icon.
Choke Point A narrow passage which makes freely moving difficult for groups of Heroes. They generally force teams to adopt suboptimal formations, making them ideal ambush locations.
Collision The invisible sphere of game space that is occupied by objects and terrain. It is primarily used to determine unit pathing and Ability hits.
Committing The concept of the performing any given task without hesitation or withdrawal, irregardless of the consequences. Particularly important to team compositions (such as burst, sieging, or snowball compositions) that rely on specific team-wide contributions to secure advantages. May also be done out of pure desperation.
Crowd Control Category of negative effects that impair the control of attacks, Abilities, and/or movement of affected units. Effects that root, silence, stun, or reduce movement speed are all examples of crowd control.
Debuff General term that refers to any negative effect with a duration. Effects that crowd control, deal damage over time, or reveal are all examples of debuffs.
Diving Highly focused aggression of specific targets or strategic points of contention.
Drafting Refers to the pre-match phase where the individual members of two opposing teams take turns to choose the Heroes that will be featured (picks and bans) in the upcoming match.
Duel Isolated one-on-one combat situations. Heroes that that excel in such situations are known as duelists.
Facechecking The often detrimental act of walking into terrain obscured by Fog of War (particularly Bushes and Vents) without preemptively scouting for enemy presence.
Flanking Attacking any Hero or strategic point from an unexpected angle. It is typically accomplished through the help of Bushes, Stealth, or long-range gap-closers.
Focus fire Concentrating the damage output of several Heroes upon a determinate target in order to quickly destroy it.
Follow up Immediately using an Ability or attacking after an allied Hero has used an Ability of their own, taking advantage of whatever their Ability first accomplished. Very important to combo-oriented team compositions.
Frames The short time window of immunity to crowd control that occurs when using certain displacement Abilities. Also known as I-frames and Unstoppable frames.
Frontline The physical position that is closest to the deployment of the opposing team in the context of a team fight. The frontline is generally composed of resilient or mobile melee Heroes that deal damage or protect fragile backling Heroes.
Ganking Moving around the battlefield with the specific intent of taking down one or more opposing Heroes. Generally seeks to exploit a numeric advantage or an element of surprise.
Gap-closer A type of Ability that allows a Hero to quickly approach, and sometimes escape from, an enemy Hero.
Global Abilities A type of Ability that may be cast from (and to) anywhere on the battlefield.
Hard engage The aggressive behaviour of forcing an opposing group of Heroes to fight back against your own, lest they must suffer casualties or give up a certain strategic advantage. Typically achieved through the use of crowd control.
Healer A Support Hero that is able to reliably restore the lost Health of allies.
Initiate Starting a fight with members of the opposing team. Generally done by a Warrior, through crowd control or gap closers.
Interrupting Forcefully canceling a Hero's channeled Ability or action. Typically achieved through crowd control or through specific actions that may have their own interruption clauses.
Juking Feinting; dodging an Ability or causing a pursuing enemy to chase in the wrong direction.
Jungle The areas of a MOBA map that are not part of its lanes. Jungles often contain strong neutral units that may be defeated for rewards. Playable characters who are proficient at clearing neutral units in these areas are sometimes referred to as 'Junglers'
Kiting Retreating from pursuing enemy Heros while attacking in such a way that they are unable to effectively retaliate. Generally performed by ranged Heroes, particularly those with access to movement reduction effects, against melee Heroes.
Laning Occupying a specific lane. Generally performed to acquire Experience or to exert Map pressure.
Learning Curve The unspecified amount of time it takes for an average Player to be able to reliably exploit the core mechanics of a Hero, and how difficult the learning of these mechanics will be. Varies broadly between different Heroes and individual Player experience.
Line-of-sight An entity's unobstructed circular field of view within which enemies can be seen. Environment, walls, and certain effects can hinder one's line of sight.
Map Awareness A given Player's ability to predict and respond to enemy movement around the battlefield. Closely linked to active use of the Minimap.
Non-Heroic Refers to something that does not originate from a Hero. All Minions, Mercenaries, and Structures are non-heroic. Summoned creatures are not non-Heroic, yet not quite Heroic either, in that they fit neither categories.
Objective-trading The delicate process of exchanging a Map Objective for something else. Allowing your opponents to claim a Tribute on Cursed Hollow while destroying a Fort or Keep is an example of Objective trading; the opposing team gains a Tribute whereas your team gains additional Experience and a Structural advantage.
Out of Combat The game state that a given Hero is in when it is not currently dealing or receiving damage. Many such effects become active after a certain specified period of time, when relevant.
Overextending Highly detrimental behaviour where a given Player is positioned out of the effective support range of other teammates, making them easy to take down for the opponent.
Overhealing The inefficient behaviour of restoring more Health than necessary to fully refill a given target's Health pool.
Overkilling The inefficient behaviour of dealing more damage than necessary to take down a given target.
Peeling Protecting an allied hero from enemy aggression. Typically accomplished through crowd control or simply retaliating.
Game phase The natural stages that occur as matches progress towards their finality. The major game phases are the early (Hero level 1-9), mid (Hero level 10-19), and late (Hero level 20+) game phases. They dictate both individual Player and team-wide behaviors as Map Objectives grow in importance and as relative Hero power levels increase.
Poke A given Hero's aptitude to reliably damage other Heroes from a distance without having to commit to a fight.
Poke Composition A configuration of Hero choices that aims to deal a significant amount of damage from a long range before the opposing team can retaliate.
Positioning Any given Hero's potential physical location on the battlefield. Positioning is a key skill to master in Heroes of the Storm, and directly impacts one's overall performance as a Player. Different Heroes have widely different positional needs, and these needs are themselves greatly influenced by team compositions.
Pressuring The undertaking of activities which aim to force a specific response from opponents. Simple examples of pressuring include attacking important Structures or contesting key Map Objectives.
Proc Short for programmed random occurence. Refers to any effect that activates or triggers under a certain given condition.
Pushing Continuing one's advance forward in a lane, thoroughly relieving it of opposing Minions, Structures, and Mercenaries.
Player vs Environment Refers to any combat situation involving enemies that are not Player-controlled. Minions, Mercenaries, and Structures are all examples of computer-controlled enemies. Often abbreviated as PvE.
Player vs Player Refers to any combat situation involving enemies that are Player-controlled. Heroes, the Dragon Knight, the Garden Terror, and certain summons are all examples of Player-controlled enemies.
Roaming Continually traveling between lanes in order to catch players that are isolated, low on resources, or otherwise positioned in such a way that they are easy to take down.
Rotating Moving from one point of the battlefield to another in order to achieve a certain goal.
Self-sustain A given Hero's aptitude to reliably refill their own Health pool over a short period of time.
Semi-channeled A type of Ability that occurs over time, allowing the casting Hero to perform other actions while it is active, such as moving, attacking, or using other Abilities. However, if the casting Hero is polymorphed, silenced, stunned, or otherwise interrupted while the Ability is still in progress, the Ability's effects cease prematurely.
Setup Creating an opportunity for one's teammates to follow up. Typically achieved through crowd control.
Shoving Urgently clearing a given lane of Minions in order to quickly reach opposing Structures.
Sieging Attacking opposing Structures with the intent of razing them.
Single target A characteristic of certain Abilities and effects that only impact a single entity.
Skillshot Abilities that require an input direction to be used. Due to their projectile-like nature, skillshots are susceptible to miss moving targets.
Skirmish An unimportant encounter between few Heroes that does not generally lead to any deaths.
Slow A type of debuff which reduces the speed at which affected targets can move.
Snowballing Building advantages as the result of previously gained advantages. The term itself is based upon the imagery of a snowball rolling down a hill, becoming bigger and more difficult to stop as a result of its own exponentially growing size and weight.
Soaking An activity during which Players seek to remain near Minions in order to acquire Experience (XP) from their deaths.
Specialist A Hero class sporting obvious strengths and weaknesses. Specialists often excel sieging and dealing area of effect damage to opposing Heroes, a strength that usually comes at the cost of mobility. In general, their playstyles differ broadly from that of other Heroes.
Split-Pushing Involving a single Hero in a pushing activity while the rest of their team is contesting an Objective or otherwise distracting the opposition. The goal of split pushing is generally to simultaneously threaten two strategic points at once, forcing opponents to make brash decisions.
Squishy Fragile; refers to Heroes that are ill-equipped to take much damage before being taken out.
Stealth An effect which makes an affected Hero untargetable, nearly transparent in appearance, and invisible on the Minimap. Most instances of Stealth are lost upon dealing or taking damage, being Revealed, or channeling.
Stutter-stepping A technique that involves rapidly moving during the short time window between consecutive Basic Attacks. Typically done to maximise Basic Attack and movement uptime by eliminating inactivity. Also known as orb walking.
Support A Hero class whose main purpose is to assist and/or empower allied Heroes with a wide variety of beneficial Abilities.
Tank An unofficial Hero class used to describe a Hero with the ability to sustain large amounts of damage. Tanks generally possess several means of controlling opponents, but deal little damage of their own.
Trading Broad concept involving the forceful exchange of one thing for another. Two Heroes damaging eachother, two team destroying eachother's Structures, or Heroic Abilities being used by both sides are all examples of trades.
Unstoppable A unique effect that temporarily makes the affected Hero immune to all forms of crowd control.
Uptime The theoretical amount of time that a Player efficiently spends attacking another Player when realistically possible.
Useful damage Inflicted damage that directly contributes to Hero kills or forces opponents away from points of contention.
Vulnerable A unique effect that causes the affected target take 25% more damage from all sources. Vulnerable is generally the bi-product of Abilities or Talents, and lasts between 2 and 5 seconds.
Waveclear A given Hero's aptitude to efficiently destroy a large number of Minions in lane.
Win condition The potential best-case scenario occurence for a given team composition. May specifically refer to team fighting, or more broadly, to winning any given match. Killing every opposing Assassin(s) and Specialist(s) is a very common example of a late game match win condition.
Winmore A characteristic of Abilities or Talents that further improve an already advantageous situation, without necessarily contributing to creating an advantage in the first place. In other words, winmore effects allow one to win more when they are already winning, without helping one win when they are in a stalemate or losing.
Zoning Preventing an opposing Hero from performing certain activities in a given area through highly aggresive behaviour.