Recently, Blizzard announced changes on their official website to Heroes of the Storm’s development. Several developers are moving to other Blizzard projects, such as Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. Diversion of team members to other projects comes after a “better than expected” Q3 2018 for Blizzard/King/Activision. The multi-universe crossover MOBA features characters from multiple Blizzard properties, including World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.
In addition to reducing Heroes of the Storm’s development team, Blizzard also announced the cancellation of its HGC for 2019. The loss of the Heroes Global Championship represents a major blow to the game’s competitive scene. Other regularly scheduled events, such as Heroes of the Dorm, will not return next year, either. Whether the sudden cancellation is subject to some kind of legal action is up in the air. Professional players appear to have been given no notice before the announcement, and those who won promotion to the major leagues are notably impacted by this.
Player reactions on the official forums range from confusion to speculation, to disappointment, to outrage at the cuts to the development team. Several posts exclaim that this signals a death knell for the game. Production Director Kaéo Milker attempted to address some of these concerns in a forum post to mixed reception from its users.
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.
The announcement comes after the release of Heroes of the Storm‘s first original character, Orphea, announced early last month. What the news means for the planned updates for next year involving Quick Matches and experience gain is uncertain.
User Necron responded with a well-liked comment:
I’ll play this game until it dies, so you guys better have some fun stuff in store for the future. Thanks for making a game that I’ve enjoyed for almost 4 years.
Talespinner seemed to echo the sentiment:
This post really confirms my that management screwed over the development team just as much as it did the players, the pros, the entire community: even you guys seem to have not known about any of this until it already happened. I’ll try to support the development team, but I don’t think I can ever forgive Blizzard for doing this to the game and its developers.
Fortunately, even the darkest clouds have silver linings. The news post claims that plans exist to continue updating Heroes of the Storm with new heroes, events, and content. With the smaller team, however, their development roadmap is making a few detours to ensure long-term sustainability. The sudden news, however, leaves a bitter taste in the community’s mouths at the end of the year.