When Activision (wearing Blizzard’s skinned face as a mask) announced the abrupt cancelation of all Heroes of the Storm-related eSports, and a severe reduction of their development team, people assumed (not unfairly) that the game was basically on its deathbed. However, surprising everyone, the game is still chugging on: with a few new heroes having been announced and released since the news dropped, and the game maintaining a healthy enough player base to keep queue times low and games more-or-less balanced.
Of course, it’s also been getting patched, and the latest one, which was released on the public beta on March 18, is actually a really interesting one: on top of adding a new event and quest chain and expanding hero roles, it’s also getting rid of the game’s paid loot boxes.
Don’t misunderstand: the loot boxes aren’t going anywhere. It’s just now you can’t pay for them with gems, the game’s premium currency. Now you can only buy them with the in-game currency, Gold, which you earn in matches. It’ll set you back about 3000 gold per chest, though, which is a fairly hefty sum.
The reason for this change is, bluntly, a mystery. While sometimes developers explain the logic behind their changes, Blizzard doesn’t offer an explanation for this move. Typically games will de-monetize themselves before they shut down for good, but I’d find it really hard to believe that’s the case here, because if Blizzard was planning to shut down Heroes of the Storm, we’d know. At least, we’d know if they had half a brain to put together.
Otherwise, it’s fairly standard patch fare. They’ve expanded the breakdown of characters to tanks, bruisers, supports, healers, melee assassins and ranged assassins, to better clarify what each character actually does, and the next event is a weird mix of dragon gangs and cyberpunk.
Just another day in the Storm, I guess.