Blizzard kills Heroes of the Storm esports, downsizes dev team

Blizzard is shifting developers of its MOBA to other projects, a move that officially kills Heroes of the Storm esports in 2019.


Heroes of the Storm continues to receive regular updates, with the most recent one going out just a few days ago. However, it's hard to deny that Blizzard's MOBA hasn't had quite the same notoriety as the publisher's other major games. With that said, it looks like Blizzard is cutting ties with Heroes of the Storm esports altogether while also shifting resources away from the game itself.

"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," reads the full statement from Blizzard President J. Allen Brack and Vice President Ray Gresko. "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."

The axing of the esports division comes alongside the announcement that a chunk of the Heroes of the Storm team is being shifted to other projects. This doesn't seem to bode well for Heroes of the Storm's future, with Brack and Gresko citing Blizzard's growing catalog of games in development, in addition to the continuing development of games like Overwatch and World of Warcraft. However, the two insist that this move is aiming towards Heroes' long-term future, indicating that Blizzard will continue to update the game with new content on a regular basis.

"Despite the change, Heroes of the Storm remains our love letter to Blizzard’s worlds and characters," reads the statement. "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."

While the official company position is that Heroes of the Storm will continue on for the foreseeable future, an announcement like this may have some of the game's fans taking pause. In particular, this announcement comes just weeks after former Blizzard CEO and President Mike Morhaime stepped down from his position and put the company in Brack's hands. That this sort of drastic announcement came so soon into Brack's tenure will almost certainly not instill confidence in the Heroes of the Storm fanbase, with most of r/heroesofthestorm already expecting eventual doom.

For what it's worth, the Heroes of the Storm team did outline what's next for 2019 at BlizzCon, even discussing future plans during a Shacknews interview. Whether the team's 2019 plans will still come to fruition, act as the game's last gasp, or prove that this announcement is just a bump in the road remains to be seen.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 13, 2018 5:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Blizzard kills Heroes of the Storm esports, downsizes dev team

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 5:16 PM

      Awesome, the only Blizzard game I actually play or care about any more.

      I wonder how many more years they’re going to try to force Overwatch as an esport before giving up on that too.

      • reply
        December 13, 2018 8:03 PM

        Overwatch is doing great as an esport, they're not forcing anything on anyone. It's super fun to watch and has much more mainstream appeal than any MOBA including HotS.

        Still, this news sucks for HotS fans :(

        • reply
          December 13, 2018 8:06 PM

          OWL viewership was terrible and only got worse as it progressed.

          • reply
            December 13, 2018 8:17 PM

            Sure it was... and for season two they've signed 8 new franchises at $50 million a pop. Definitely on its last legs, lol

        • reply
          December 13, 2018 9:05 PM

          Overwatch and fun to watch don't even belong in the same sentence. That game is a zerg deathfest and impossible to follow along if you don't play.

          • reply
            December 13, 2018 9:55 PM

            I enjoy watching it, but you're right on the money: even if you've logged hundreds of hours in the game, it's often still not easy to follow how exactly how a fight progressed and why. There's a lot of abilities, cool downs, and ults to track outside of just positioning and how a fight is progressing, so many times you'll run into a situation where it takes a replay, or even a post game VOD review to figure out what choices were made and why.

          • reply
            December 14, 2018 3:25 AM

            I play a ton of Overwatch and find it horrible to spectate. The first person "ghost" style camera and relatively narrow FoV make it hard to follow and the pacing has too much down time followed by the round being decided in ten seconds of chaos.

        • reply
          December 13, 2018 9:50 PM

          It’s not fun to watch, at all.

      • reply
        December 13, 2018 8:27 PM

        Same here. looks like they're laying off a lot of the community team soon as well.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 5:23 PM

      Yeah this is a bummer, I suck at the game but it is my kind of MOBA.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 5:32 AM

        As in actually accessible?

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 9:25 AM

          Yes I love the shorter matches and the lack of last hitting and item shop. Learning talent builds for multiple heroes and roles is hard enough without that other stuff.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 5:24 PM

      rip hots : (

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 5:28 PM

      Well shit. I'm not that invested but still sucks

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 5:34 PM

      Disappointing :( There goes any hope for an actually decent reconnect system and global unlocks.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 6:00 PM

      I stopped playing after 2.0 (hated the changes) but it used to be such a good game. :( RIP

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 6:05 PM

      welp they are a public company. if someone is not pulling in the bucks, cancel it or downsize it.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 6:09 PM

      I've played this in and off for a while. TBH I almost always just play vs AI as I like to avoid all the try-hard salt from PvP matches.
      I like that I can knock out a couple of games in 30-40 minutes. Nice thing to unwind with at the end of the day.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 6:10 PM

      That's sad to hear. I liked it a lot and came back to play every now and then.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 8:08 PM

      This has essentially been the only game Ive played for the last 2 or 3 years. Saved so much money buying games because of it. I bought a switch recently so that's ended but still. I hope this doesn't hurt it too much. I almost bought a 360 day stim this week. Glad I didn't now.

      • reply
        December 13, 2018 10:40 PM

        Ditto. For a free game, I was always up for a round or two and to play for 30-60min. Easy to jump into.

    • Zek
      December 13, 2018 8:18 PM

      Ugghh, I expected the HGC cancellation but this reads like the beginning of the end for the game itself. It's not just the devs involved in competitive, the "cadence will change" on future updates. That really blows, this is clearly a result of the cost cutting efforts that have been rumored.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 8:40 PM

      Damn that really sucks. Been my favorite game for a long time and ive played since the alpha.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 9:12 PM


    • reply
      December 13, 2018 10:39 PM

      queues have been so long lately. Dunno if people are already leaving :(

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 11:28 PM

      That fucking sucks. I loved watching Hots. I also liked playing it, but I am moving to a different region and won't have my unlocks... I had almost all heroes and won't start from scratch.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 11:35 PM

      Sucks that Hots is dying, but some of the recent changes they made were awful. I'm pretty sure they fucked with the matchmaking system, because I had a 60% winrate that turned to something like 10% after the last patch.

      • reply
        December 13, 2018 11:57 PM

        Yea, I don't like to complain for complaining sakes, but it seems like they keep nerfing every character and making them too bland. I feel like the trend the last 6 months in QM is more so blow out battles, where 1 side has a terrible comp and gets destroyed. Close matches are maybe 10-20% of the time.

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 12:04 AM

          The past six months (or so) have indeed sucked ass... Sad that they are euthanising it, I thought it had awesome potential. Blizzard's new CEO seems to be going for the easy money.

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 12:20 AM

          My point is the direction and play of the game hasn’t been as fun the last year IMO and I will blame tweaks from the devs.

    • reply
      December 13, 2018 11:49 PM

      Damn. HotS is the only MOBA I really enjoy. All the others have really stupid, unintuitive game systems like kill-denying. Also, HotS matches are fun from the beginning to the very end, whereas in other MOBAs there's too much grinding at the start.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 12:00 AM

        Yeah the team fights in hots can be soooooooooo satisfying.

    • reply
      December 14, 2018 6:11 AM

      This is where I feel WoW is headed. BFA is shit.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 6:30 AM

        The reception of 8.1 is quite bad and rightfully so. So much ignoring of feedback, making things harder over a holiday break? Besides a raid not out till Jan the new content is all things that isn’t interesting and has already. Even panned. Seeing a very large amount of guilds blowing up.

        Blizzard is definitely out of touch and Blizzcon basically showed it.

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 7:29 AM


        • reply
          December 14, 2018 9:05 AM

          As far as I'm concerned BFA is a big step back in nearly every way. I miss my ele shaman :(

          • reply
            December 14, 2018 9:28 AM

            It’s quite bad besides he visuals and audio which are always top notch. They basically took Legion systems that were working and classes that were working and said fuck it let’s change things that are good for no reason.

            • reply
              December 14, 2018 9:41 AM

              I'm increasingly of a mind that they just have no clue what to do with the game anymore.

              This idea that they need to obliterate all progress and kill off all the cool ideas with each new expansion is baffling to me.

          • reply
            December 14, 2018 9:39 AM

            It’s really bad. I just hit Exalted with a few factions and have zero desire to keep playing that character now. I think I’m at 347 or 349 and don’t raid, so what the fuck is there to do?

    • reply
      December 14, 2018 6:35 AM

      They jumped in a saturated market, and I never found it fun to play or watch compared to dota.

      Valve and Riot have a good formula and it keeps people playing. Blizzard had to pull in new players to the moba genre because they weren't going to steal ones from the other mobas.

    • reply
      December 14, 2018 6:45 AM

      I never got into it but mainly because I always forget my battle net password.

    • reply
      December 14, 2018 6:48 AM

      Is this necessarily terrible news? I don't think this will affect regular casual players very much.
      Not every multiplayer game needs to be an Esports primetime.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 8:20 AM

        Pretty scummy to tell wall those pros the 2019 event for sure was happening just a month ago. Many moved or were in the process of moving. That and having a big sale before you basically get the game. Things like this means the game won’t be around much longer.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 10:04 AM

        It's super shitty to essentially fire everyone without so much as a heads up, and it's not like the game is going to pick up any steam after they basically said it's dead

    • reply
      December 14, 2018 8:53 AM

      I love HoTS and its the game I play the most right now and I'm not sure how to feel about this. I'm not sure what downsizing the team really means. If this just means they wont have as many events and fewer new champions thats not a big deal to me. If this means they are basically done and are just going to let it coast then I'm not so sure.

      • reply
        December 14, 2018 8:59 AM

        This is how you let a game coast till it eventually dies. I’ve seen it before in many other fields. They don’t just want to end it since it was an uproar so you slowly let it die.

        ATVIs stock has plummeted 50% in the past two months.

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 9:39 AM

          I thought Activision was untouchable with Blizzard cash rolling in but there are definitely cracks showing

        • reply
          December 14, 2018 9:52 AM

          Yeah, like Diablo 3. It will still be good, but people will just lose interest and the community will shrink more and more.

Hello, Meet Lola