Why you should be concerned about Heroes of the Storm and its meaning for the future of Blizzard
If you’ve played any sort of Blizzard games in the past, you’ve likely at least heard something about Heroes of the Storm. The game is Blizzard’s foray into the MOBA genre and features a lot of characters from different games that they own like Overwatch and Diablo. As much as I myself have played the game and enjoyed it, I’ll admit that to a lot of people it can be regarded as outclassed by its competitors and due to that, is one of Blizzard’s weakest games as far as stats go. Besides that though, it remains a Blizzard IP that is still worked on and played by many to this day
Having been paying attention to gaming news recently, you’ve likely also heard about some of the things its been going through. A letter from the new President of Blizzard J. Allen Brack and Ray Gresko detailed that they were going to be moving many developers from HotS to other projects and that the two big esports events (“Heroes of the Dorm” and “Heroes Global Championship”) would not be returning in 2019. To anyone, this would come as no surprise due to the state the game was already in and I’ll admit that I wasn’t shocked by it, but there’s something much deeper going on here that we need to stand up and realize, which could very well change this beloved company into something much less fortunate.
Let’s start from the beginning, way back when it was announced that Activision and Blizzard would be merging together to form a single company under its current official name of Activision Blizzard. Without a doubt, this announcement brought much skepticism from the community due to the past actions of Activision such as the greedy business practices of the Call of Duty franchise and Destiny franchise, bringing them down to a shell of what they were or could have been. The community moved on though, having accepted that they could potentially not interfere and that everything would be ok. Everything was going ok as well, all that seemed to be different was some new games being added to the Battle.net launcher (being Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Destiny 2). It wasn’t until Blizzcon 2018 (Blizzard’s yearly convention) that people seriously began to realize and look into their actions.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past month and a half, you’ve likely heard of the disastrous reveal of Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s first foray until the mobile genre. Understandably, people were quite upset about this as they’d been waiting for Diablo 4 for quite some time now only to be met with a mobile game that would likely be nowhere near as good. This brought the community into an uproar which has since calmed but the damage has already done, and it appears to be a turning point of Blizzard’s history into something we’ve likely seen before. A lot of people likely see this as the beginning of the end for Blizzard. That, of course, wasn’t where the story stopped, as they weren’t going to be the only franchise taking a massive hit.
As you saw from the start of this article, Blizzard recently did some damage to one of their lowest profiting and played IPs, Heroes of the Storm. This damage is being felt in the community both emotionally and financially. Unbeknownst to many, the e-sport event cancellation news was given to the players that would’ve participated or profited from the event at the same time as the rest of the community. This did and still is heavily damaging the livelihood of those who depended on the money coming in or the scholarships. It’s quite a scary time for these folks, especially coming so close to Christmas time and being told you’re out of work now of all times can be disastrous. Did Blizzard do anything to compensate these people? No. It’s a really sad story, and you can find the article up at the following link.
These recent developments are a sign of much worse things to come from the company. It’s scary thinking that just two years ago, Blizzard was alive and thriving coming up with their new flagship franchise Overwatch, but today we stand to watch a massive shift in company philosophy from being a studio from and for the players, to a company in it for the money. I’m quite scared to see where we’ll be a year from now or even several years from now, as this massive shift is only going to show more and more as time goes on. I believe Blizzard will be in a much worse state than its ever been, not from financial but from support and praise of the company. Much fewer people will praise them, and soon they’ll be less like Blizzard, and more like Activision. No amount of community backlash will be able to stop this, as Activision already has brought the financial group from a background function to a fundamental part of all business decisions, being in some recent meetings according to a related Kotaku article from Jason Schrier.
Whatever happens now, the community will have to sit here and watch the blizzard unfold.