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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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Uncommon Patron

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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