It took longer than I expected, but Blizzard has announced that Heroes of the Storm’s days are numbered. I’m sure all three current players are very disappointed.
The news is significant for one major reason; this is the first time Blizzard has ‘failed’ with a released title. Games like Ghost and Warcraft Adventures, titles that likely weren’t going to succeed, never made it out the door. HotS did, and now its being put out to pasture. Regardless of ‘why’, that’s a bad look PR-wise.
Which isn’t to suggest that is unexpected. Again, the surprise from my side is it took until 2018 to happen. Unlike in the past, HotS was coming into a genre that had established titles run by competent developers. This wasn’t WoW coming in and facing the launch-state dumpster fire that was EQ2, run by clownshoes SoE. It wasn’t even Diablo 3 launching into a genre that didn’t have major players (though one could argue Path of Exile has now firmly eclipsed D3 for top ARPG, another dark spot on Blizzard). No, this was a poorly-executed game, lacking the usual Blizzard polish, running face first into the two-headed monster of LoL and DOTA2, run by Riot and Valve respectively, and got chewed up.
It’s hard for anyone to stay at the top forever. Blizzard had an incredibly impressive run, starting in 1994 with Warcraft (Rock and Roll Racing in 1993 for the SNES was solid btw) and going until WotLK started the decline of WoW and, really, Blizzard itself in 2008. SC2 was fine but really a reskin of SC1. Diablo 3 was a launch disaster with the auction house. Hearthstone was never a number one mobile title, though it has done well-enough for what it is. HotS came after that. The only big title of note since 2008 has been Overwatch, and that title is a rebrand of the long-rumored and ultimately unmade Titan MMO. Add all the dumpster expansions to WoW since 2008, and yea, a fall from grace compared to shipping WC1, WC2, WC3, D1, D2, SC. The studio that once only released massive hits has only struck gold (relatively even then, with OW) for basically a decade.
I’m sure their next title, Diablo Immortal, will turn it all around though…
I am curious to see how Blizz deals with a game that wasn’t a hit in its genre. They have kept support up for old hits for years, even decades in the case of StarCraft. So what now for Heroes of the Storm?
I am also bummed because I had “HotS goes dormant” as a prediction, but it didn’t happen until after my Dec. 1 cutoff.
Q: Is this a game that wasn’t profitable, or simply not profitable “enough”. Is the market really so tight that only 2 games can exist?
Seems like a train wreck of a year for Blizzard. But how bout that new mount in WoW that just went on sale!
I’ve been out of the MOBA loop for a bit, but back when I was paying attention, even a title like Smite seemed to have more players than HotS, so its less a case of only two titles, and more that HotS just wasn’t good.
I’m guessing, but most likely HotS was losing money. I don’t think Blizzard would take the PR hit for ‘not profitable enough’. If it was profitable, I’d think they would quietly shift senior resources off, and replace them, rather than announce to the world that support is being cut.
I gotta remember to write a blog post about how virtual things purchased like pets and mounts, Hearthstone card packs, Hero skins, etc, are the new Beanie Babies.
You should, because I’m not sure I’d agree. Beanie Babies were a rock-solid investment, while skins are known and accepted throwaway fluff.
Can I interest you in two contractor bags of Beanie Babies? Perhaps a few Cabbage Patch Kids or Limited Edition Furskins?
Sorry no room right now as the pet rock collection is taking up a lot of space. Should sell ‘real soon’ though!
Oh cool. I have my pet rock collection next to the stack of Atari 2600 cartridges. 😃
I predicted from day one that HotS was going to fail, and like you I’m surprised it took this long. It was a garbage game compared to the other greats you mentioned (LoL, Dota 2).
I dunno, HotS was at least moderately fun and I played a little and didn’t hate it whereas LoL was just awful for me.
Granted, I seem to not like the genre in general, so a) I didn’t get over the initial hump and b) I’m a terrible player and c) I also didn’t stay long in HotS – but at least it was kinda fun.
I’m an LoL player since 2011, and actually was rooting for HotS to begin with. Then I played it and said this is trash and called it’s demise. It honestly took longer than I thought.
It’s not demise. Just scaled back so it’s not burning cash. eSports are expensive things and HGC had awesome production value compared to a lot of ‘bigger’ events. Unlike most of you, I love the game and still play regularly. Also play(ed) Smite, LoL, DoTA 2, Paragon, and more. Overall I felt Paragon and HoTS were by far the most fun. So I guess what do I know?
I play Smite as well as the different perspective is a nice change. I couldn’t get into dota2 or Paragon, but for a minute I tried every new MOBA that would come out but ultimately LoL is and always will be my favorite though I don’t play as much anymore. I do watch the pro play though, and their production value is nearing ESPN levels.
I was going to try HotS back when it first came out… my installation failed and I never tried again. I love me some Hearthstone though.
It would not surprise me to find they are pulling HotS to relaunch as a battle royale, due in 2024…
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