Everything Blizzard did wrong about Heroes of the Storm
Everything Blizzard did wrong about Heroes of the Storm ⚡⚡⚡ Esports and gaming news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
You might have heard about the message from J. Allen Brack and Ray Gresko from Blizzard which says that the company is shutting down both Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm. On top of that, the company is pulling staff from the game to other unannounced projects.
I’ve never been a fanboy of the game but I genuinely like Heroes of the Storm and absolutely love playing it with my IRL friends. I truly believe it has (or at least had) a lot of potential to grow with its great appeal to casual gamers, diverse maps and, characters, taken from other games. Unfortunately, Blizzard decided to leave the game in a maintenance mode and abandon the esports teams who have been investing in the game. Especially heartbreaking to think about the players who practiced their hearts out to do better in the next season.
About a month ago I wrote how Activision influences Blizzard and how the games receive only generic content updates that don’t bring a lot of value and are meant to just milk money out of the players. I couldn’t imagine that the company would outright cancel the biggest tournament for one of its flagship games and leave the scene at the mercy of independent tournament organizers.
Let’s discuss what Blizzard did wrong about the game and why it’s in a such a poor state right now.
The message was unexpected for everyone
There are tons of players who bought early stimpacks not knowing that Blizzard is abandoning the game. The company should have at least stopped putting it on sales.
The pillars of the community and the pro players are in emergency mode, crushed by emotions and having to figure out what to do with their professional lives.
And here is a Korean HGC commentator, who has just found out he lost his job.
There was never enough space for the community tournaments
With Heroes Global Championship taking place constantly in multiple regions plus LAN events like Mid-Season Brawls there was absolutely no space for community tournaments to take place and grow in a meaningful way.
In the brief periods when I was trying to follow the HotS professional scene I was flabbergasted by the volumes of professional games played in short periods of time. Since they all happened inside the HGC circuit, there was nothing outside a Blizzard created tournament anyone could possibly follow.
Now that HGC is a thing of the past, there is not a single tournament organizer ready to carry the torch and keep HotS esports scene alive. With the current state of the things, it would be better for the game if Blizzard didn’t start HGC or at least did it with a lighter approach in the first place.
A good example of a tournament system where everything does not depend on one organizer is Valve Dota Pro Circuit which encourages tournament organizers by giving the participants opportunity to win DPC points on top of the prize pools.
Heroes of the Storm has the worst monetization system imaginable
In the Summer of 2017 Blizzard Introduced Heroes of the Storm 2.0 which essentially was a reboot of the game’s monetization system. The update included a ton of additional cosmetic content like sprays, banners, hero voice lines and other stuff, that made the game better but was much less valuable than the developers tried to present it.
Players were forced to use not at all confusing 3 types of in-game currency:
- one for buying heroes (obtained by playing and finishing daily quests)
- one for buying loot boxes, heroes, and stimpacks (obtained by spending real money)
- one for buying older cosmetic items (obtained by selling items from the inventory and by rolling multiples from loot boxes)
With each new patch Blizzard released a new set of skins and mounts that you could not purchase for any of the previously mentioned currencies. The only way to receive one of the new items is to get it from a loot box.
HotS players have been asking Blizzard to change the monetization system so they could give the game more money. There is absolutely no healthy reason to spend money if you want the newest skin or mount because all you can do is infinitely purchase loot boxes until you get a lucky roll.
This is probably not the end of HotS
Games like StarCraft: BroodWar and WarCraft 3 survived and even grew for decades without Blizzard moving a finger to support those games. As long as players remain interested in the game and keep playing it with friends, the meta will continue to evolve and it will be enjoyable for every party involved.
There will soon be announcements of new tournaments and new leagues and although they will be smaller than HGC, and the viewership numbers are going to dip, the game will not die.
There has already been a message from Heroes Production Director Kaéo Milker who said that the game will not be completely abandoned. Hopefully, it will mean, besides other things, an overhaul of the monetization system.