Heroes of the Storm is winding down. Blizzard is moving staff from Heroes of the Storm onto other projects. While the studio assures fans that they will continue to support the game by adding new heroes, and staging community events, the “cadence will change” from this point onward. Presumably, that operational pace will not be getting faster.
“Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability.”
With the resource changes, there’s bad news for competitive players. Blizzard will not be holding the Heroes Global Championship or the Heroes of the Dorm tournaments in 2019.
Blizzard is bringing big changes to Heroes of the Storm. The new initiative, dubbed Heroes of the Storm 2.0, features a new reward system with Overwatch-style loot chests, a new currency, more cosmetic items, and level caps are being removed. In the revamped MOBA, experience curves will be flattened to present a more consistent progression experience and rewards will comes at regular intervals. With every level, players will receive a loot chest which can contain skins, emotes, sprays, or even a new hero on a rare roll. (Of course, you will be able to purchase chests outright as well.) Duplicate goodies received from chests will break down into shards which can be crafted into other items. Players will earn gold through matches, but gems, the new currency, will be required for purchasing items in lieu of the real-world money pricing currently in use. With the 2.0 update, Cassia, the Amazon from Diablo 2 joins the Heroes of the Storm roster.
Beta testing for Heroes of the Storm 2.0 begins this week.
The Eternal Conflict updates for Heroes of the Storm is live, adding a new Diablo III-themed map into a newly stunted rotation. For the next week, the catalog of nine maps has been reduced to just four maps to make sure you see the new heaven vs. hell map more often. Be prepared to have your team run off after treasure goblins and waste their time killing fallen who are just going to be resurrected by their shaman. The Butcher is now available as the first of the three Diablo III-themed characters, to be followed shortly by the Skeleton King and then the monk. For some reason, you don’t see a lot of people cosplaying The Butcher.
Today’s update also changes a whole mess of things. For instance, if you thought you knew The Lost Vikings, Brightwing, Malfurion, or Rehgar, better check the patch notes. The healing column in the score screen, which was useless for anyone who didn’t use a healing support character, is now called the role column. It also shows how much damage your warrior soaked up.
The upcoming free-to-play game previously known as Blizzard All-Stars, and Blizzard DOTA before that, up-ends a few conventions of the genre. Eurogamer reports that Heroes of the Storm eschews longstanding MOBA mechanics in favor of more casual gameplay that should appeal to a wider audience. Last-hitting is gone and teams level up as a group so new players aren’t as much of a handicap as in other games. Shops and items are also out, in favor of a regular Blizzard skill tree that World of Warcraft players will be at home using. Chris Sigaty, Production Director on Heroes, explained the thinking behind the changes to the game.
“First of all, the core game de-emphasises a lot of the things that create rockstars, that we think leads to people getting into that toxic space, and reasons to be angry at people who simply don’t know things yet. We want to emphasise the team side of it – the feel that we’re all in it together. The other side that we think is going to have a big impact is game time – we’re trying to keep it around that magic 25 minutes. In a 45 minute or longer game, the frustration just builds and builds and builds.”
Heroes of the Storm is open for beta registration now.