Sounds like HOTS is going on Blizzard's back burner

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#1 Posted by Rorie (5882 posts) -

When the headline for your article has a big ol' ellipses at the end, that can't be good news.

Over the past several years, the work of evaluating our development processes and making hard decisions has led to new games and other products that we’re proud of. We now have more live games and unannounced projects than at any point in the company’s history. We’re also at a point where we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects. As a result, we’ve made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams, and we’re excited to see the passion, knowledge, and experience that they’ll bring to those projects. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to make tough choices like this. Games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Overwatch, and more would not exist had we not made similar decisions in the past.

Despite the change, Heroes of the Storm remains our love letter to Blizzard’s worlds and characters. We’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change. Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability. We’re so grateful for the support the community has shown from the beginning, and the development team will continue to support Heroes with the same passion, dedication, and creativity that has made the game such a unique experience.

We’ve also evaluated our plans around Heroes esports—after looking at all of our priorities and options in light of the change with the game, the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm will not return in 2019. This was another very difficult decision for us to make. The love that the community has for these programs is deeply felt by everyone who works on them, but we ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.

While we don’t make these decisions lightly, we do look to the future excited about what the decisions will mean for our other live games and all the projects we have in the works. We appreciate all of our hard-working developers and everyone in the Blizzard community, and look forward to sharing many more epic gaming experiences with you in the future.

It's hard to tell how big of a deal this is but it sure sounds like Blizz does not seem like HOTS is going to be a key part of their business going forward. It's always seemed like no one talks about it compared to DOTA and LOL and I guess it'll stay that way if they're cutting their support for it.

Staff
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#2 Posted by jacksukeru (6791 posts) -

A shame, I´d still be playing it if I had the means to. What´s already there, at least last I saw it, was great though.

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#3 Posted by Slag (8161 posts) -

Never felt HotS understood what makes MOBAs fun to play. It certainly addressed some of DOTA and LoL's problems (like game length), but it also never got the core appeal of those games either.

I'd much rather play a great game with some major flaws, than a flawless game that's at best mediocre.

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#4 Edited by cloudymusic (2134 posts) -

As I began to have less and less free time to play MOBAs, HotS still managed to remain fun for me because matches were so quick and cut out so much of the downtime. It wasn't to everyone's tastes, I'm sure, but I'll be a little sad if this is indeed the beginning of the end for the game.

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#5 Edited by doctordonkey (1856 posts) -

I played HotS for about a year and a half, starting during the tail-end of beta. It was the best feeling MOBA to play out of the three I tried (it, LoL and DOTA). Blizzard makes really tight, great controlling games, with fantastic sound design and visceral impact. However, around the time I stopped playing, it had some significant issues with all of its matchmaking modes, and was generally bad at teaching people how to actually play the game. The HotS 2.0 monetization restructure also made it feel terrible to spend money on.

This is yet another move very indicative of Activision demanding a reevaluation of Blizzard's franchises. HotS has never had the player base in-game, or viewership on Twitch, to justify the amount of time and money they put into it. This is clearly a case of executives cracking down on this thing. The game has essentially been Diablo 3'd.

Man, I feel like I'm falling out with Blizzard in a huge way. They were my #1 developer with a bullet for a long time, back when I started playing Warcraft 3, and then WoW in 2005. Past few years though, they have really gotten away from what made me absolutely adore all their games. WoW is declining is a massive way, even worse than WoD. Blizz-con this year was mostly terrible, barring Warcraft 3 remastered and WoW classic. Who the hell knows when Diablo 4 is coming out, or what it even is. Meanwhile, they are seemingly turning a focus onto mobile gaming, something their main fanbase does not give a shit about.

Hopefully they turn things around in the next few years. Every franchise they currently have is seeing a decline, even Overwatch, and it really shows.

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#6 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

Best MOBA, straight up. So much fun to actually play.

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#7 Posted by csl316 (15014 posts) -

It seemed like a good alternative to the other games so that kinda sucks. I always felt like it was more fun, anyway. Maybe Warcraft III remastered will become the got- if you're looking for your DOTA fix.

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#8 Posted by A_Cute_Squirtle (897 posts) -

I know DOTA wasn't developed by Blizzard, but there is something really strange about seeing them fail in an arena--ahem, no pun intended--where one of the two biggest names originated inside their product.

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#9 Posted by soulcake (2821 posts) -

I am glad HoTS now stands for heart of the swarm.

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#10 Edited by Tennmuerti (9465 posts) -

I've played the game on and off casually for several years as a comfort food kind of thing, my take on the game kinda soured after the introduction of lootboxes with 90% deliberate garbage bloat in them, instead of just paying for the cosmetics you wanted outright. But I still kept playing for a good while even tho the economy of it clearly became more exploitative.

Unfortunately on the back of that came a lot of map changes that kind of homogenized the whole game more and more. And heroes reworks that more often then not did not appeal on personal level. And then there were the new characters. I've noticed more and more that after getting the next new character I simply dropped them after a few games, they just did not appeal and failed to hold my interest. To the point where eventually it just became unreasonable to buy new heroes if i wasn't going to play them. Which lead to the obvious dropping of the game on my part in the first half of this year.

Honestly they also I felt like just burned out releasing as many new heroes as they did at a kind of breakneck pace, and I feel their overall quality and mechanical diversity suffered as a result.

The biggest tell in this news is not so much that they are moving some dev people (and blah blah PR messaging that it will kept getting new stuff), as it's that they are going to be closing the book on their main e-sports events. Not because HoTS is amazing esport or anything but because a very significant portion of the HoTS streamers come from that scene, they are either pro or semi pro player current or retired or whatever. There are a few entertaining personalities that do not play professionally, I'd even say the best ones are such; but there is a huge chunk of this games streamers from that esports scene; so if Blizzard is stopping further support of that, well, those people are going to start scattering; and less people streaming is going to significantly impact HoTs numbers and longevity I feel as it's not that massive of a player base to begin with.

And not just that, an address like that itself will start streamers abandoning ship and reevaluating what they spend their time on instead of HoTS, people gotta live. many of them were already scraping by, with some moving away. If Blizzard themselves aren't making enough money on the game to keep it fully spun up as before, why would other subsidiaries right. And multiplayer viewer based games like HoTS these days are so significantly based on how many are watching them, which also drives more people to keep playing them. It's a vicious spiral that I feel like Blizzard just sped up by x10 with a post like that.

So I guess what I'm saying is: RIP

(actually a similar reason I dropped Hearthstone too, overly aggressive, random nature, driven monetisation scheme; coupled afterwards to not feeling the games direction, kinda just gives the perfect excuse to quit then and there)

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#11 Posted by SkinnerSweet (138 posts) -

This sucks, I've played this game a ton (almost lvl 1100) and it's a shame they're moving devs away from this game.

What's worse is the HGC (their escorts scene), apparently they told some teams HGC was on for 2019, at blizzcon, then went completely radio silent to the point where some of the pros had to go to twitter to ask Blizz if they had a job or not next year and Blizzard waited until the last second that they cancelled the whole esports scene.

Just a real shitty handling of the situation and caps off a year of Activisions influence taking over Blizzard.

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#12 Posted by deactivated-5d1d502761653 (305 posts) -

The premise to create an more accessible MOBA sounds a bit like catering to casual Ironman triathletes.

I think it's a fairly small audience in comparison. People being into MOBA's usually are REALLY into MOBA's and play LOL and/or DOTA2.

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#13 Posted by deckard (365 posts) -

Ah yes, everyone knows the way to set something up "for long-term sustainability" is to take away time and resources.

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#14 Posted by deactivated-5d1d502761653 (305 posts) -

@deckard said:

Ah yes, everyone knows the way to set something up "for long-term sustainability" is to take away time and resources.

Well if you "put your best talent on mobile titles" something's got to give I guess ;)

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#15 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3903 posts) -

The worst part of this story is sort of being glanced over.

All the pro players - who where salaried by Blizzard - and the casters and the crew who ran the professional scene, the HGC, are all out of a job now and all found out via the public announcement. Pro players have emails from two days prior telling them that HGC 2019 was going ahead, people moved to new locations to join teams, peoples lives depended on the HGC and Blizzard just unceremoniously fired them all.

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#16 Posted by BabyChooChoo (7093 posts) -

Glad to see Blizzard continuing to fuck up as the year comes to a close. Shifting resources away from HotS is whatever. I don't think anyone is surprised there. It's the way Blizzard just sorta dropped their esports scene out of nowhere, seemingly screwing everyone involved over in the process. It's not like they walked into the office one morning and made this decision on the spot. This was the result of months of deliberation and they strung everyone along right up until the end. It's fucked.

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#17 Edited by curiosus (171 posts) -

HotS is really fun, but massively mismanaged. They spent so much time on monetization the core gameplay never got polished properly and stuff has been slowly and surely sliding away. They could have saved the game if they really cared to but Blizzard seems to have bowed to Activision nonsense that if something isn't immediately and instantly making returns its time to kill it because who bothers investing in their game development and future profitability? Better to gouge people by increasing shallow monetization and addiction mechanics while preparing to axe the whole thing entirely.

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#18 Posted by zombie2011 (5601 posts) -

Glad to see Blizzard continuing to fuck up as the year comes to a close. Shifting resources away from HotS is whatever. I don't think anyone is surprised there. It's the way Blizzard just sorta dropped their esports scene out of nowhere, seemingly screwing everyone involved over in the process. It's not like they walked into the office one morning and made this decision on the spot. This was the result of months of deliberation and they strung everyone along right up until the end. It's fucked.

Lol not sure what job experience you have but this is how the world works. Private discussions are had among management and once they come to a solution that is when everyone else finds out.

Doesn't matter if it's Blizzard dropping E-sports from HotS, GM closing a plant or even a franchisee closing a Taco Bell. Just because you work for or with the company in question doesn't mean you are entitled to know everything while decisions are still being made.

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#19 Edited by BabyChooChoo (7093 posts) -
@zombie2011 said:
@babychoochoo said:

Glad to see Blizzard continuing to fuck up as the year comes to a close. Shifting resources away from HotS is whatever. I don't think anyone is surprised there. It's the way Blizzard just sorta dropped their esports scene out of nowhere, seemingly screwing everyone involved over in the process. It's not like they walked into the office one morning and made this decision on the spot. This was the result of months of deliberation and they strung everyone along right up until the end. It's fucked.

Lol not sure what job experience you have but this is how the world works. Private discussions are had among management and once they come to a solution that is when everyone else finds out.

Doesn't matter if it's Blizzard dropping E-sports from HotS, GM closing a plant or even a franchisee closing a Taco Bell. Just because you work for or with the company in question doesn't mean you are entitled to know everything while decisions are still being made.

Lol fuck me for feeling sorry for these people, amirite?

I mean, sure, Blizzard led all these people on essentially telling them they would all be employed in 2019, but fuck em, welcome to the real world, bitches!