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The Future of Heroes of the Storm

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Here's a message from Production Director Kaéo Milker about the future of Heroes.

Yesterday, Blizzard announced there would be no officially supported Heroes Esports events in 2019, because the game apparently doesn't bring in the desired revenue. As a result, Heroes will be set up for long-term sustainability, resulting in less content and a decreased cadence.

Kaéo Milker, the game's Production Director, told the community in his latest message that an all-star team of developers are still going to develop the game and support it in the future. The team has a unique opportunity to rething things and reprioritize. They're still committed to regular Hero reworks, themed events, and new Heroes, because they want to keep the game dynamic and fun.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

Yesterday, we announced a difficult decision—the HGC will not be returning in 2019 and we’ll be transitioning some Heroes of the Storm developers to our other game teams. While our extended Blizzard family working on World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and our unannounced projects will be getting an influx of much-needed, extremely talented Heroes devs to help them achieve their goals, it also means that we’ll need to change the cadence of support for Heroes going forward.

So, I’m sad. I’m sad because I love this team and this game that we’ve built together, with all of you, and this past year has been such a great one for Heroes of the Storm. The HGC had its best year yet and I was so looking forward to the 2019 season. On the game side, we’ve had a steady stream of some of the most sought-after heroes, amazing themed events, and impactful reworks. We also made meaningful progress on improving core systems and features across the game. We truly hit our stride in 2018, so I’m disappointed that some of the exciting plans we had for 2019 will have to change.

But all is not lost. The team that remains dedicated to Heroes of the Storm is a veritable Who’s Who of developers who have been driving every facet of the game from the very beginning—from people you know and have seen speak publicly about the game for years, to those who have poured their hearts into it from behind the scenes. In short, we’re continuing to develop the game with an incredible team that has the experience and passion required to support Heroes of the Storm well into the future.

The Heroes of the Storm team and I also have a unique opportunity to rethink things and reprioritize. Because now more than ever, our charge is to focus on taking care of you, our players, and to channel all our energy into keeping the game dynamic and fun. This means we’re still committed to regular hero reworks, themed events, and even new heroes. We’re setting our sights on the new goals and timelines for what we want to do with the game from here on out and we’re eager to share those plans as soon as they’re finalized.

So, I’m also excited. I’m excited for my teammates to bring their hard-won experience from making this game to the other teams at Blizzard to help their games be even better. And I’m especially excited for Heroes of the Storm to continue evolving with a renewed focus and purity of purpose.

Thank you for joining us on the journey so far, and please bear with us through these changes. Your feedback is as critical as ever, and continues to guide our priorities and decisions while helping us be better along the way.

Thank you,
Kaéo

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Well as grave as it sounds at first, I think the absence of e-sport can be a big opportunity for HotS. I also play League of Legends and while the focus on e-sports gets bigger and bigger, the everyday gameplay is suffering. So fingers crossed that they will play this out well.

Edited by Thundertree
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Not a big deal imo. Not that the servers are closing and the tournaments will just transfer towards locally organized by organizations. WC3 is living like this for a damn decade and hasn't only not died, but sees resurgence in interest, which even led to remaster now. 

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25 minutes ago, Thundertree said:

Well as grave as it sounds at first, I think the absence of e-sport can be a big opportunity for HotS. I also play League of Legends and while the focus on e-sports gets bigger and bigger, the everyday gameplay is suffering. So fingers crossed that they will play this out well.

I think you may be on to something here.

Lots of people I talk to have been complaining about the homogenization of heroes, and its likely a result of chasing the esports dragon.  

Freeing themselves from those constraints may make some hero designs more wild and fun, at the cost of balance of course.

This announcement still sounds like damage control.  But we'll see.

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27 minutes ago, shanghaied said:

I think you may be on to something here.

Lots of people I talk to have been complaining about the homogenization of heroes, and its likely a result of chasing the esports dragon.  

Freeing themselves from those constraints may make some hero designs more wild and fun, at the cost of balance of course.

This announcement still sounds like damage control.  But we'll see.

Ehr, it's perfectly possible to make wild heroes that are completely balanced. Just accept that they will kinda suck in unorganized play (ie; Tassadar levels of winrate).

Otherwise I agree, except that I don't have much hope for the future either.

Edited by Aasgier
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Chasing the e-sport white whale is a hill I've seen so many projects die on. The factors that make a game a "successful e-sport" that are almost completely out of your control vastly outnumber the ones that are in your control. I feel bad for the people who enjoyed watching HoTS over the years, but I am truly hopeful and encouraged that this shift will allow Blizzard to re-focus on making the game great for their audience, without being pulled in conflicting directions by the "pro scene" and the restrictions demanded by a full schedule of events.

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As I wrote on the other post (and you guys pointed here), it might be even easier to create and balance gameplay without "official pro players".

This sounds bad, but I won't lose my trust on the HotS dev team. My trust on Blizzard as a whole, tho...

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I'm honestly not surprised by this turn of events. I, personally, may not have watched a lot of competitive matches, but I could tell that that particular scene was not as robust as they were making it out to be. And I don't really think that's a bad thing, in the long run. Now they'll have a dedicated team to ensure that the game is maintained and balanced for the future. Without the competitive aspect of the game, we'll likely see more unique changes happening to the game, as the developers who are staying on will have more creative freedom to do more interesting changes, without fear of repercussion from higher ups.

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I would never have played at a high enough competitive level for this to directly impact me as a player, but I will still miss having those references to aspire to.

This change worries me because it pushes away the highest skill tier of players from Heroes, overall lowering the skill level of the game.

With Heroes only ever having held a foothold in the MOBA genre, will the new competitive reality be enough for those who remain to retain an interest and ensure a healthy long-term community?

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IMO HotS was never Esport material.

It was much too focused on "noobs" - which was a good thing and the correct decision!

I played several years ago thousands games of Dota.

But I enjoyed HotS for quite a few games - because it was noob friendly: No outleveleing, no itemsystem, no denying.

If you want an extremly high skill depended game you had Dota and LoL.

Both great games. Blizzard had to do something different in HotS.

And they did the only thing that was sensible: Make it a little easier. No items, no outleveling.

Sure, in HotS the better team will win. But if don't play as good as the others you are not "raped" like in Dota.

In Dota if you are outskilled you get very soon outleveled and outgeared -> You are fucked extremly bad.

As I sadi, a very good decision of Blizzard!

However: It was a decision that made the game much less interesting for "pro" gamer. For Esport, Dota / LoL are much more interesting then HotS.

Is this a bad thing? IMO: No. Who cares if the game is big in Esport? Does that make the game more interesting to play? Do I have more fun playing it? For me: No. And I guess that is true for most player.

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I don't think most people are raging about HGC being cancelled, but about HOW BLIZZARD TREAT THOSE PRO PLAYERS AND CASTERS WHO ARE MAKING A LIVING ON HGC, especially when we have some of the best casters in the world.

Those Hearthstone and Overwatch 'Pros', be careful. Blizzard will suddenly make you unemployed without any notice in advance when they decide that they aren't earning enough money from the pro scene.

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49 minutes ago, ShadowerDerek said:

I don't think most people are raging about HGC being cancelled, but about HOW BLIZZARD TREAT THOSE PRO PLAYERS AND CASTERS WHO ARE MAKING A LIVING ON HGC, especially when we have some of the best casters in the world.

Those Hearthstone and Overwatch 'Pros', be careful. Blizzard will suddenly make you unemployed without any notice in advance when they decide that they aren't earning enough money from the pro scene.

Would this not be the same of any games? if not even worse? Not sure how they could do it better either as if they give notice to the pro gamers "hey we don't know yet but we might not do next year" it would create a worse reaction! here they only say "we don't do that next year". that's more than "no notice", isn't it?!

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20 minutes ago, Slam said:

Would this not be the same of any games? if not even worse? Not sure how they could do it better either as if they give notice to the pro gamers "hey we don't know yet but we might not do next year" it would create a worse reaction! here they only say "we don't do that next year". that's more than "no notice", isn't it?!

So you think "Hey, we're firing you. Get the hell outta here right here right now!" is better than "Hey, we're going to fire you in a month. Go find a new job before you lose your income." ?

If you don't understand what I mean, go take a look on Reddit. Aside from those "Hots is ded LUL", a bunch of people are actually feeling sad for those beloved pro players and casters about them losing their job (and dream) without any mental preparation.

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It severly reduces trust between Blizzard and these pros and commentators. The way it was handled was apallingly bad, weeks of "radio silence", some people from the inside assuring everything is okay and then sudden announcement, when pros learned about it at the same time as other people. It causes a concern for those playing or commentating other games, if they might get same treatment at some point, without prior notice. Starcraft 2 seems most likely to be next (even if this year has been pretty good, who knows with their crazy demands for revenue), probably not a complete shutdown, but some budget cuts wouldn't surprise anyone at this point.

Maybe without pros, they will focus on more casual-friendly balance changes for HotS, but everything with longer queues and infrequent releases of new heroes and maps will lose players over time. They would better announce new hero soon.

Edited by Arcling
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22 hours ago, Dejo93 said:

Press F to pay respects

Respect went right off the window for a long time now. A ban system was never implemented and after this it never will. Matchmaking just gave up after some point. And now heroes will come everey who knows when, to play in a bad matchmaking "pray for good setup" in order to have a chance of enjoying your match, and bad behaviours will not be punished.

They officially left the game to die.

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2 hours ago, Kurosu said:

Respect went right off the window for a long time now. A ban system was never implemented and after this it never will. Matchmaking just gave up after some point. And now heroes will come everey who knows when, to play in a bad matchmaking "pray for good setup" in order to have a chance of enjoying your match, and bad behaviours will not be punished. 

They officially left the game to die.

They....do have a ban system? What do you mean?

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2 hours ago, Kurosu said:

Respect went right off the window for a long time now. A ban system was never implemented and after this it never will. Matchmaking just gave up after some point. And now heroes will come everey who knows when, to play in a bad matchmaking "pray for good setup" in order to have a chance of enjoying your match, and bad behaviours will not be punished.

They officially left the game to die.

Finally at least someone sane in this unending stream of clueless posts. Thank you.

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      Bruiser
      Chen

      Base Keg Smash [W] Brew cost increased from 20 to 30 New functionality: Smash Chen's keg, dealing damage, drenching affected enemies in Brew for 3 seconds, and Slowing them by 10% for 1.5 seconds. After 1.5 seconds, the Slow is increased to 40% for 1.5 seconds. After being used, this ability becomes Breath of Fire. Breath of Fire [W] This ability has been moved to the W button, and is available after Keg Smash has been used Cooldown reduced from 5 seconds to 1.5 seconds Impact damage reduced from 96 to 85 Periodic damage increased from 32 to 55 Brew cost reduced from 30 to 10 Adjusted functionality: Using Breath of Fire on Brew-soaked enemy causes them to be Ignited, dealing damage over 3 seconds and adding 1.5 seconds to the duration of the Slow from Keg Smash. After being used or after 6 seconds, this ability becomes Keg Smash New Ability: Stagger [E] Damage taken over the next 3 seconds is prevented. Once this effect ends, Chen receives 75% of the damage taken over 5 seconds. 18-second CD Fortifying Brew [Trait] No longer grants 25 Brew instantly Brew regeneration increased from 30 to 50 per second Cooldown increased from 5 to 7 seconds Channel time reduced from 5 to 4 seconds Shield amount decreased from 196 to 180 per second This reduces the total shields for fully drinking from 588 to 540 Shield duration increased from 2 to 4 seconds Talents
      Level 1 Stormstout Secret Recipe [Passive] Moved from Level 20 Healing increased from 1.5% to 2% of Chen’s maximum health New Talent: Eye of the Tiger [Passive] Adjusted functionality - Quest: Increase Regeneration Globe Healing duration by 100%. Reward: After collecting 15 Regeneration Globes, 50% of the Shield from Fortifying Brew persists indefinitely after drinking Level 4 Keg Toss [W] Removed Withering Flames [W] Moved from Level 13 Duration increased from 3 to 4 seconds Accumulating Flame [W] Moved from Level 1 New functionality: Increase Ignited damage by 25% and Basic Attacks against enemy Heroes who are Ignited increase its duration by .75 seconds Level 7 Bolder Flavor [Trait] Removed Elusive Brawler [Active] Moved from Level 1 Additional functionality: While active, also grants Chen 30% Movement Speed New Talent: Gift of the Ox [E] Increase Stagger’s duration by .5 seconds, and reduce the amount of damage taken over time to 60% of damage taken Level 10 Wandering Keg [R1] Movement speed bonus increased from 60% to 70% Knockback duration increased by ~28% Knockback speed increased by ~53% Storm, Earth, Fire [R2] Spirit Health reduced from 75% of Chen's Health to 70% Each ability can only be cast once. The final ability that is cast is empowered. Storm [Q] New functionality: The spirits gain a shield for 400 over 3 seconds. If this is the final ability cast, the shield amount is increased to 750 with no limited duration, and the duration of Storm Earth Fire is increased by 5 seconds. Earth [W] New functionality: Fire and Earth leap to the target location, dealing 32 damage and slowing enemies in a large area by 70% for 1.5 seconds. If this is the final ability cast, increase the damage dealt by 300% and the leap instead roots enemy Heroes hit for 1.75 seconds. Earth Ability range increased from 7 to 9 Earth Unit basic attack Slow reduced from 2 seconds to 1.75 seconds Earth Unit attack period increased from 2 to 1.5 Fire [E] New functionality: Increase the attack speed and attack damage of the spirits by 50% for 5 seconds. If this is the final ability cast, increase the attack speed and attack damage bonus to 75% and the spirits gain 50% movement speed for its duration Level 13 Ring of Fire [W] Moved from Level 4 Adjusted functionality: After Igniting an enemy, burst into flames, dealing damage to nearby enemies Duration increased from 3 to 5 seconds Damage increased from 52 to 60 Enough to Share [Trait] Moved from Level 16 Additional functionality: Duration increased from 2 to 4 seconds Allied Shield amount increased from 27 to 70 Additional functionality: Now also instantly Shields Chen for 180 Pressure Point [Q] Adjusted functionality: Flying Kick Slows the target enemy for 35% for 1 second, or by 70% if Chen has Shields from Fortifying Brew A Touch of Honey [W] New functionality: Increase the Slow from Keg Smash by 10% and its duration by .5 seconds Level 16 Another Round [W] Removed New Talent: Celerity [E] Basic Attacks against Slowed, Rooted, or Stunned enemy Heroes reduce the cooldown of Stagger by 1.5 seconds and grant Chen 15 Armor for 3 seconds New Talent: Combo Strikes [Trait] Every 3rd Basic Attack against the same target deals 75% bonus damage. While Chen has Shields from Fortifying Brew and for 2 seconds after, he gains 50% Attack Speed Flying Leap [Q] Additional Functionality: Reduce the cooldown of Flying Leap by .5 seconds each time an enemy Hero takes damage from being Ignited Level 20 Purifying Brew [Trait] Moved from Level 7 New functionality: Casting Fortifying Brew grants Chen Unstoppable for 1.5 seconds New Talent: Energizing Brew [Trait] If Chen fully completes his cast of Fortifying Brew, then he gains 20% maximum Health and 20% increased damage for 25 seconds Untapped Potential [R1] Armor bonus increased from 60 to 75 Armor bonus now lasts for 3 seconds after Wandering Keg expires Movement Speed increased from 100% to 125% Elemental Conduit [R2] New functionality: Increase the spirits’ Health to 100% of Chen’s maximum Health and all of their abilities are empowered Developer Comment: The new Chen has finally arrived! We had a blast tinkering with him, and look forward to seeing him unleashed to his full potential in your hands. When taking a look at how to best change him, we primarily focused on adding more opportunities for Chen to make plays and for his opponents to interact with him. Some of his power has been taken out of Fortifying Brew and put into his new ability, Stagger, as well as into his talents. While he may take a bit of time to master, proper management of Chen’s cooldowns should result in a formidable hero that will make a great addition to any team.
      Bug Fixes
      General
      Heroes, Abilities, & Talents
      FIXED: Tassadar displays the 'Support' role icon, and is not selected as a valid healer pick when both sides are given a Healer in Shuffle Pick. FIXED: Mercenary Camp captures will show Score Credit Tracking to always match the amount of experience that is being awarded.  FIXED: Minions on Tomb of the Spider Queen no longer gain an extra minute of scaling at the start of the game. FIXED: Players will get credit for capturing a Mercenary Camp if you are within an extra 5 radius of the capture point (and on the same team) FIXED: TargetUnit Abilities that can be placed on allies no longer appear invisible to enemy Heroes hit by their area. FIXED: Respec on Try Me Mode map now respawns the player Hero to properly reset all Talents and Quests that Hero had chosen. Jaina: Jaina's Water Elemental mimic damage from Wintermute now correctly reflects the tooltip and Balance Update. 50% of Jaina's Basic Frostbolt and Cone of Cold damage is mimicked by the Water Elemental. D.Va: D.Va's Mech is no longer immune to friendly abilities. Chromie: Here and There no longer requires Chromie to have vision of her target location, or the clone she is swapping with.  Sylvanas: Minions who are Possessed now properly remove all friendly damaging abilities that were applied before they were Possessed.  Raynor: Raynor's Hyperion Splat now properly matches both its warning splat and its targeting guide. Anub’arak: Cocoon is no longer disjointed by teleports. Cocoon will now redirect, similarly to pyroblast, and fall off if the teleport is far enough away. The long-awaited Chen rework is here with a new MechaStorm II event coming to the Nexus next week.
    • By Stan
      This week's free Hero rotation includes Ana, D.Va, Hanzo, Leoric, and Medivh.
      Free-to-Play Hero Rotation: June 18, 2019
      Raynor Muradin Sonya Nazeebo Uther Jaina Zeratul Ana Tyrael Brightwing D.Va (Slot unlocked at Player Level 5) Hanzo (Slot unlocked at Player Level 10) Leoric (Slot unlocked at Player Level 15) Medivh (Slot unlocked at Player Level 20) (Source)
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