I initially stumbled upon this idea, well really by myself, but it was here.
So this thread is here to educate both the inexperienced, and for the experienced to help better the community. Right now, I obviously do not have the time to invest to make a complete guide for all HA maps, and all strategies that I have encountered or formulated, nor how to concoct them on the fly. I cannot even really list all of the current flavors ins and outs right now. (Which wouldn't be too hard, since its just paragon"way.")
I wanted to go ahead and get this started though, I'll have Parker update this post with information as I write it, so it will be easy for people to find. Everyone feel free to contribute your own personal knowledge here as well, but do try to keep it all in good taste and actually on topic. I may not be a mod here, but I don't want a bunch of crazy discussions going on in this thread about builds and strategies and such. If you have information on a map that isn't posted, then feel free to post what you know, same for strategies (non-build specific) and current flavor builds. Well, here I'll just go ahead and kick this thing off:
Heroes Ascent - This is currently a 6 verses 6 Player verses Player Tournament style game type. Upon making a party you will enter an area basically like where you formed the party, but on the other side of the guards. You will notice that there are Zaishen down below, in front of the lava. The objective here is to annihilate them as quickly as possible. Your timer will start counting once you pass a certain point approaching them, which is fairly close to where the darker cement area you start on ends. A good tip for getting the best time you can, is hopefully having a couple interrupts in your build so you can prevent them from resurrecting their fallen comrades.
Once you have defeated the Zaishen you will meet a Ghostly Hero, a big transparent green lumberjack guy that looks quite a bit like Big Al from Tool Time (Home Improvement.) This Hero will be one of your most important NPC's through out the rest of the maps so get to know him. He's quite a nasty lil interrupter, and used to capture alters and relics. If you kill an enemy Ghostly Hero you will generally be awarded with a morale boost, this gives you +10% of whatever your current morale is. By this point with the Zaishen dead you will have a Morale Boost (or not, if you were slow - but thats okay if you didn't get any morale.) A countdown timer will put you into a match. The matches are set up where you start at the lowest tier and work your way up to the highest, competing for favor of your gods to, and honor for your region to win the Hall of Heroes. By beating each map you will be awarded with fame, which adds up torward rank (much like titles, in fact they are titles) every 3 ranks there is a new "emote," that you will then have. You will activate this emote by typing "/rank," or "/fame."
The ranks go as follows:
- Hero: Rank 1 (25 fame) [No Emote]
- Fierce Hero: Rank 2 (75 fame) [No Emote]
- Mighty Hero: Rank 3 (180 fame) [Deer Emote]
- Deadly Hero: Rank 4 (360 fame) [Deer Emote]
- Terrifying Hero: Rank 5 (600 fame) [Deer Emote]
- Conquering Hero: Rank 6 (1,000 fame) [Wolf Emote]
- Subjugating Hero: Rank 7 (1,680 fame) [Wolf Emote]
- Vanquishing Hero: Rank 8 (2,800 fame) [Wolf Emote]
- Renowned Hero: Rank 9 (4,665 fame) [Tiger Emote]
- Illustrious Hero: Rank 10 (7,750 fame) [Tiger Emote]
- Eminent Hero: Rank 11 (12,960 fame) [Tiger Emote]
- Kings Hero: Rank 12 (21,600 fame) [Phoenix Emote]
- Emperors Hero: Rank 13 (36,000 fame) [Phoenix Emote]
- Balthazars Hero: Rank 14 (60,000) fame) [Phoenix Emote]
The fame awarded per each map/consecutive win is as follows:
- 1st Consecutive Victory: 1 fame
- 2nd Consecutive Victory: 2 fame
- 3rd Consecutive Victory: 3 fame
- 4th Consecutive Victory: 4 fame
- 5th Consecutive Victory: 6 fame
- 6th Consecutive Victory: 8 fame
- 7th Consecutive Victory: 12 fame
- 8th Consecutive Victory: 16 fame
- 9th Consecutive Victory: 20 fame
- 10th Consecutive Victory: 24 fame
- 11th Consecutive Victory: 28 fame
- 12th Consecutive Victory: 32 fame
- 13th Consecutive Victory: 36 fame
- 14th Consecutive Victory: 40 fame
- 15+ Consecutive Victories: 40 fame
Now, these are the maps, in order (if you do not skip) that you will be placed on:
The Underworld: This map is pretty straight forward, you and an opposing team are started on separate ends of a map. The goal here is simply to kill the opposing team, there is no time goal you're going for. There is a bridge overlooking the middle which you may find useful to formulate a strategy around. If you are a spike, you could run up on top of the bridge and spike those that come near, or as any kind of a build you could run around the two underpasses as a means of kiting, and buying time. For example, if your build is set up with poor hex removal and your Monks are having a hard time healing, you should take a couple of goes with your entire team around the bridge, making the other team chase you so they can temporarily get any more hexes off on you, the ones on you will wear off and your Monks and anyone else on your team can recover some much needed energy.
Broken Tower: This map is basically set up with the goal in mind that you need to be controlling the central alter when the timer hits 0:00, if you are then you win. If not, even if you killed everyone else on the map then you lose. Though, note: If you kill everyone else, you should be victorious regardless of the countdown. There are 3 Resurrection Orbs on this map, they respawn periodically and can be used for reviving your Ghostly Hero if he should die; this is the only way you can resurrect your ghostly. It is also used for reviving a large area of your own team if need be. Your team, while controlling the central alter will be awarded a morale boost and resurrected every 2 minutes.
Scarred Earth: This is the map everyone hates. If you get really lucky it may be a lot like Underworld was, but chances are its going to be 4 teams. The objective is the same as Underworld, you kill the opposing team; however, there is a catch on this one. When you are victorious over your team there is another team that was fighting, just like you were. You will either have to wait for them to finish (you can run out past where your closed door prevented you from going and finding what door they are at) or they will probably be waiting for you. Depending on their build, or yours it could be to your advantage to fight them either in your area, the big middle area (between all of the towers) or in their base. Thats for you to decide when you get there. For this map, if its possible I would suggest letting your hero die before you get done fighting the first team; however, make sure if you do this that the other team is not given an advantage of now having many resurrection signets. If they want to kill your hero before they have scored any kills (this means that they have their sigs) then let them kill it. If they've used a couple, then its probably best to try to keep it alive if possible. Don't worry if it does die though, it will just make your match a little longer.
Unholy Temples: This map will be your first "relic run," the objective here is to capture the other team's relic (its in their base) and return it to your Ghostly Hero, who resurrects at your shrine every 2 minutes. To return a relic to him you simply have it in hand and talk to him, like you would any NPC. Do not drop it in front of him, the other team will pick it up. You click the Ghostly Hero to return it, I can't stress that enough. After you do this once you should understand the concept of it. Your entire team will also resurrect every two minutes as well, along with your hero. Now, theres quite a few basic strategies here. Some people prefer to fight on top of the bridge, some below, some like to set up 4-man body blocks and have 2 people run relics, some like to kill the other team then run, and some like to just try to run completely. This entirely depends on your build and theirs. Now most of those things are pretty common knowledge on how to do, except 4-man body blocks. To do this, you will position 2 members of your party on either entrance to the down-ramp-inlet to where your relic is stored. You will stand equally spaced apart, the same distance from either wall as you are from each other. This should make it impossible for someone to run past you as long as you are both alive. You do this on both sides and they cannot get a relic as long as you are alive. Some teams have a strategy to capture a relic and not let the other team capture one (or while they're ahead) and then block with their entire team (2:2 & 2 inside healing) and others may do this from the beginning. Body blocking is an essential part of this map. Not just for preventing the other team from picking up your relic, but for slowing them down or out right preventing them from getting it all the way back to their side. You can run in front of them equally spaced out like you were before and force them to have to go around you, if you practice enough you can play as a wall, and as they try to move around you, you move. They will be stuck in the same place for quite awhile and be getting frustrated. It is useful if your team has snares, such as a cripple or slowing hexes as it is usually hard to block like this with people moving at full relic speed (which is I believe 10% slower than normal) or with speed buffs. So if you have one, thats great. If not, then still try. If all else fails, you could try to kill the runner if possible and RETURN your relic (this puts it back where it originally was in your base automatically, they get no points and they'll have to start all over getting your relic). If someone on their team is getting frustrated cause you are blocking them particularly well, or it is happening to you, it is a very common strategy to "pass the relic," this is very literal. What you/they do is have a countdown on vent usually, such as "I need to pass." (their team will confirm and someone, or multiple people will set up to be in range to pick it up immediately), they will then count down slowly "Dropping in 3.....2.....1...." the relic hits the ground on 0, and your team mate should have it picked up, at this point they are not body blocked and can successfully make a run for it. This match is also on a timer, so beware. The team with the highest points at the end wins, if your points are the same then it is the team who capped last, this is usually referred to as "capping over." If you get 3 relics up on the opposing team at any point, you will win as well. Either of these are the victory conditions, if you annihilate the opposing team you will not win, like the other maps. They will resurrect every two minutes and you will have to kill them again, if you have not captured a relic at the end of the time then the game will end in a draw. You will both lose and go back to town.
Dark Chambers: This one is another pretty basic map, its annihilation just like Underworld except one small difference. You now have a Priest in addition to your Ghostly Hero. This guy doesn't move and he's pretty useless except for maybe a heal area every now and then; however, as long as he is alive your team will be resurrected at his location every 2 minutes. Some teams have a strategy to keep their Priest alive, others prefer to do what is called "Priest swapping," this simply means both teams run straight for the other team's Priest and kill it so they can just fight and get it over with. Sometimes you will encounter a team, or you may wish to do this yourself, that pulls a "fake swap," this means you make it look like you want to priest trade (another name for it), but you stop at the last second and attack them instead. This usually has the advantage that you can fight them and they will lose focus eventually, when this happens you can send a player off to go gank (kill) their Priest. After this occurs, it is appropriate that you could go and fight around your Priest so that your Monks, or other designated healers (if you have any) can keep it alive. Some teams choose to leave their Ghostly behind in the start, hoping the other team will kill it so they cannot get the morale boost later on, others take it with them assuming surely the other team isn't that stupid. (cause yes, this is a very stupid move.) There are a few gates and such, they are operated by the levers (which look kinda like big buttons), you run over top of them (possibly click as well, I don't recall) and the gate will open. It closes after a certain time later, perhaps 15 seconds or so. You can use these as positioning help, by separating the opposing team from each other or any number of other strategies with them. If you are facing a team that has projectile attacks (e.g. arrows, spears, lightning orbs) you can see these big golden dragons on either side of the main bridge. You can actually hide 1-3 people inside of them, or you could place spirits there if your build had them. This is a very cheap tactic, but if it is absolutely down to that and you morally do not mind doing so, this can be used as a huge strategic advantage, especially against teams such as Ranger Spike where their sole damage output is projectiles.
Courtyard: This is another alter map. The point, once again is to be controlling the central alter when the timer hits 0:00, or killing everyone else. As long as your Priest is alive your team and Ghostly Hero will resurrect at his location. If your Priest is dead, make damn sure that your Hero does not die, if he does and you have not claimed the alter then you have pretty much lost and may as well resign right there. In saying such, it is also a good tactic to kill the other team's Priests at some point, then their heroes. If this is done then it doesn't really matter what they do to you (if you have the alter), they can kill your entire team, but when the timer hits 0:00 you win. No Priest + No Ghost + No Alter = lose. If your Priest is killed, thats okay. If you control the alter you'll resurrect every two minutes anyways, including your Ghostly Hero and Priest. It doesn't matter if your Priest dies once resurrected either, just as long as you have the Alter then you're fine. Do not let your hero die - this is crucial. There are gates here too, they function the same way, you should get familiar with the map. Some builds can interrupt enemy ghostlies from a very far, safe distance. You should be preventing the enemy ghostlies from capping the alter while you do not have it, or while you are trying to claim it. If your Ghostly Hero dies while you control the alter and no other team claims, at every 2 minute marker he will resurrect on the alter and try to reclaim it. This is important, he needs to reclaim it. If he is alive, but does not reclaim it, then another team's ghostly can. So do not just think that since he is alive again that everything is okay. Make sure he actually caps. If he doesn't thats sometimes alright too, depending on the time remaining, just kill their ghostly and allow yours to recap. You'll obviously have to possibly kill who is interrupting yours, or kill their healers to kill their ghostly, etc. You'll figure out some strategies on the fly pretty easily. One strategy is to stay back the entire match at your Priest and allow the other two teams to duke it out if they're that dumb, then rush in at 2 minutes and cap, after you do this then just hold the alter and you win. Its not too hard if you only have to heal for 2 minutes, most teams may not go to an extreme of waiting all the way back, it is very common for all 3 teams to sit around waiting for close to 2 minutes just slightly outside their gates before they cap. Its your digression when you cap, though I suggest for the love of your Monks that you do it around that time as well, so your Monks don't have to undergo stress therapy afterwords.
Sacred Temples: Same exact thing goes as Unholy Temples. This is another relic run, the only difference now is there is a gate in the middle and it is slightly harder to body block your relic. Theres a few invisible walls along the passages to the right or left of the large gateway passage, so if you can figure out where they are, you can use those to your advantage in bodyblocking. Your ghost will res every 2 minutes, so will you. Same rules apply as they did before. The gate in the middle, you'll probably want control over. You can open it for your team and close it on the other team, sometimes you will want to not mess with the gate and fight the long way around (left), which is really your decision. Can't really think of anything else to tell you at the moment, this is the last real map you have until you get to HoH, so try hard. :P
The Vault: This means you are the next team in line to enter the Hall of Heroes, you should see a countdown timer shortly after the newest match is won. All it is, is a big fancy waiting room. Feel free to turn on the elevator music and explore around a bit, nothings going to jump out and try to kill you - I promise.
Hall of Heroes: Here it is, the big deal. What you've been playing up to this entire team. Once you get up to this map, every map after this until you lose will be this map. This is an alter holding match just like courtyard. The only difference is there are no gates and there are no Priests. You & your hero auto res at your base every 2 minutes regardless of their not being a priest though. But be careful because there is only 6 minutes, losing time running back to the alter could lose you the match. If your Hero dies after 2 minutes and you don't have the alter then you lost. If you arn't controlling it at the end, then you lost. If you kill everyone else and don't have the alter then you lost. Get it? You have to control that alter when the timer is 0:00, nothing else matters. You can do this by any means you want, but you have to do that to win, that is the only way of winning. Theres a hall win every ~8 minutes. The match timer is 6 minutes, there is one minute before and one minute after. (pre-match, and post-match) There isn't too much big advice I can give, use what you've learned up to this point, try not to let your Ghost die, interrupt as much as possible if he does and hope you win. When you win the infamous "chest" appears on the alter (yep, thats where this thing everyones been talking about is, you won't see it till after the match is over, in that minute I was talking about) upon opening it there will drop 2 Celestial Sigils and a few gold items. When the next match starts your hero will start out holding the alter if you were the victor, and at the end of each match your team's name will be spammed across the entire game for winning the Hall of Heroes.
Alright, thats all for now. I'll try to put up more strategies with pictures and such later when I have more time. I havn't tombed enough in NF to be able to explain the new meta, so feel free anyone to go ahead and try to explain that, and what everything is used for and why its used. I'll explain later how to make a build, if I can find my original post about build making.