Blizzard is cutting back on Heroes of the Storm - shrinking the game's team and cancelling its big esports events.
Staff will be moved to other internal projects, Blizzard said in a blog post today. There's no word on how many people will be left working on the MOBA.
Blizzard said it was a hard choice - repeatedly, using the phrases "very difficult decision", "tough choice", and "we don't make these decisions lightly" - but the game's staff were now needed elsewhere.
Crikey! I remember spending whole days in Alterac Valley in World of Warcraft, and now the beloved old PvP battleground is being turned into a new map for Heroes of the Storm.
Blizzard has announced that this year's BlizzCon will take place on November 2nd and November 3rd, with tickets scheduled to go on sale in May.
BlizzCon 2018 will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center, California, and will feature the usual array of developer panels, Q&A sessions, cosplay, and contests. Attendees will also receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing "a cache of loot based on their favourite Blizzard games".
Tickets for the two-day event cost $199 USD and will be released in two batches. The first batch goes on sale at 7 pm PT on May 9th (that's 3am on May 10th in the UK), and the second will be made available on May 12th at 10 am PT/6pm in the UK. You can buy them here.
Here's a turn-up for the books: Diablo's Deckard Cain is the next playable character in Blizzard's MOBA Heroes of the Storm.
UPDATE: It's official - Hanzo and Alexstrasza are coming to Heroes of the Storm. Alexstrasza can transform into a dragon, and Hanzo can be a nimble scout assassin.
The BlizzCon 2017 opening ceremony - the place for this year's major Blizzard announcements - will take place Friday, 3rd November at 6pm GMT. And as always we'll be both in the audience there and in our office here covering it live.
I surprised myself, deep into the process of writing this article, with the realisation that Heroes of the Storm had become my favourite contemporary Blizzard game. I tested the theory: I worked through each menu item in Battle.net (sorry, 'Blizzard App') and spent a few hours with all of them. My best StarCraft years are behind me, and I'll probably never have time for World of Warcraft again. I've seen all that I'm likely to see in Diablo 3, Hearthstone's randomness frustrates, and Overwatch's longevity is bound up in having friends who play regularly - mine no longer do. And there at the bottom of the list was Heroes of the Storm, a game with the dubious distinction of being the only game on Blizzard App that did not redefine its genre.
Close on the trail of Heroes of the Storm's progression-overhauling 2.0 update, Overwatch's enduringly popular cyborg ninja is the latest new hero to join the roster of Blizzard's allstar MOBA.
Blizzard has announced Heroes of the Storm 2.0, an update for the free-to-play MOBA that introduces a new reward system, new currencies, new items and a new hero.
Both per-hero and account level caps are being removed and experience curves flattened out to offer much faster leveling overall. Every time you level up, you'll receive a loot chest which has a chance to contain any item in the game - including new heroes, although these will be rare. At specific intervals - every 10 hero levels, for example - players will also receive special chests with guaranteed rare drops for that hero.
"The progression system was one of the areas where we really felt that we could do better," senior game producer Tony Hsu said. "One of the things you encounter with progression, is it feels good until you hit the level cap.
Blizzard has decided to do away with the name Battle.net and simply call the platform Blizzard. It was a bit old fashioned.
Imagine if they don't actually reveal Sombra.
A 28-year-old man who threatened Blizzard employees with violence after his Heroes of the Storm account was silenced has been arrested, charged and may face jail time, the Justice Department has announced (via Polygon)
Blizzard game servers were overloaded and brought down by a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack overnight that hacker group Lizard Squad appears to have claimed responsibility for.
Pseudo-British Overwatch hero, Tracer will be playable in Heroes of the Storm a whole two weeks prior to the launch of Overwatch's open beta.
Heroes of the Storm players who pre-purchase a digital copy of the Overwatch: Origins Edition on PC will unlock Tracer from the 19th April, with everyone else being able to purchase her from the 26th.
Although Overwatch is currently running an invite-only beta, it doesn't expand to an open beta until the 3rd May.
Two new Diablo-themed character have been announced for Heroes of the Storm this morning: Li Ming (representing the Wizard class from Diablo 3) and Xul, the fan-favourite Necromancer from Diablo 2.
Overwatch on console! New Hearthstone Adventure! Warcraft movie trailer debut! No Diablo. Sad face.
A new reporting system is to be introduced with the next patch for Heroes of the Storm, in an effort to curb abusive behaviour from the more negatively excitable members of the player community.
Blizzard has hidden a playable Duck Hunt Easter egg in Heroes of the Storm.
Gamescom is a beautiful, hot, noisy mess of a show and an utter delight to visit. Sadly, not everyone can go - and this year, that includes me. But thankfully, we packed Chris Bratt off to tour the show with a camera in hand to capture just what attending the world's biggest gaming show is like.
Blizzard has announced a new Heroes of the Storm battleground during its media briefing at Gamescom this morning.
As the name suggests, Infernal Shrines features a trio of shrines which summon skeletons over time. The first team that manages to kill 30 of these crusty old creatures will enjoy the benefits of a summoned character called a Punisher. The Punisher comes in a handful of flavours, and has a taste for stunning, then obliterating enemy Heroes.
On the subject of Heroes, two new playable characters were revealed for the game as well. Rexxar, Warcraft's Hunter extraordinaire, is a ranged Warrior who brings the benefit of a beast into battle. His pet Misha doesn't require any micro-management on the player's part, and will generally attack whatever they happen to be getting stuck into.
Heroes of the Storm's Eternal Conflict expansion, announced recently and due for release on June 30th, represents the start of a series of content updates for the game that are focused on the Diablo universe.
Two new Diablo 3 characters headed to Heroes were discussed at last night's PC Gaming Show: Leoric, the Skeleton King boss who features in the first Act, and the playable melee-orientated Monk class. The loot-spitting Treasure Goblins are also being added in due course, giving players the chance to hunt them down for bonus gold during the early, preparatory stages of the match.
Like every over character in Heroes of the Storm, Leoric gains access to two Heroic Abilities as he levels up in each fight. The first of these is called Entomb, and allows you to throw a walled area at your opponent, trapping them temporarily as you march towards them. This can be useful for finishing off a straggler who's attempting to flee, or if you just want to isolate a priority target for your team to get stuck into.
Blizzard's Heroes of the Storm may only have just come out of beta, but there's already a new content expansion planned for the company's modern-day MOBA. Themed around the Diablo universe, Eternal Conflict introduces a new map to the game - Battlefield of Eternity - as well as two new characters.
The new battleground features a central combat arena with two surrounding lanes. Once spawned, each team will have to defend their own Immortal character, while at the same time attempt to take down the opposing team's. The victorious Immortal then commences to march along towards the losing team's defences, smashing anything in its path to pieces.
Johanna, the female fighter from Diablo 3's Crusader class, was released last Tuesday with the game's official launch, but the next content drop will also add The Butcher to the roster of Heroes. In Diablo 3 he's one of the meatier monsters you face off against as you make your way through the main story. In Heroes of the Storm he's an Assassin class character, one capable of dishing out sustained damage by gobbling up what's left of his previous victims. Nice.
There are games you don't have time for, and games you make time for. Then there's the kind of game Blizzard makes, which becomes a routine. Millions of World of Warcraft players, past and present, could speak for hours of their travels in Azeroth. Starcraft players act like it's a religion. Hearthstone's disarming charm hides a monster that Daily Quests you into coy submission and devours half-hour chunks over and again.
Add Heroes of the Storm to the list. Since gaining beta access around six months ago, Heroes of the Storm has become a part of my day. At lunchtime I play a few matches with a chum, at night I find time for more, and in-between I keep an eye on the subreddit and forums and YouTube. A lot of games feel brilliant for a week or two, and then afterwards you'll never touch them again. I can't stop playing Heroes of the Storm.
When any game cuts into your Monster Hunting and Counter-Striking, it's time to pay attention. Before we get onto the higher-level design of Heroes of the Storm, it's worth pausing over how good Blizzard is at the basic elements of a competitive game, such as hitting something. The heroes here are beefy 3D models that, pirouetted through clicks and lashing out with buttons, positively slam into enemy minions and heroes. Even the basic attacks have a heft distinct from whatever the current stats are, along with booming bespoke sound effects, and innumerable visual flourishes.
Heroes of the Storm has finally launched! Brilliant. Top stuff. That's really great news.
Blizzard has explained its decision to stub out Tychus' cigar in Heroes of the Storm.
Heroes of the Storm, the new MOBA starring characters from Blizzard's game franchises, has shifted from closed beta to open beta status ahead of its expected 2nd June launch.
To celebrate, Blizzard has released a new trailer which looks a lot like this:
Christian sat down with game director Dustin Browder back in January to find out what will make Heroes of the Storm different to the other MOBA titles jostling for attention. "One of our goals in this game is to have it keep reinventing itself for years and years and years," Browder explained. "We have this goal, I'll tell guys: Look, I want you to imagine yourself sitting in the same chair five years from now. Is it still fun?"
The number of people who subscribe to massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft fell to 7.1 million, Blizzard said - but the success of Hearthstone and Diablo is helping make up for it.
Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena game Heroes of the Storm will be released this summer, 2nd June.
It's in closed beta at the moment - we're currently giving away keys - but open beta will begin 19th May.
The target player roster for launch is "more than 30 heroes", and there will be seven Battlegrounds. In HOTS these maps are better thought of as unique levels with themes and mechanics rather than as mere scene changes.
UPDATE 28TH APRIL: All the keys have been sent out, so if you entered, check the email address you supplied. Hope you got one.
ORIGINAL STORY: One MOBA to rule them all but will it be Heroes of the Storm by Blizzard?
The game is still in development but you can join the closed beta by bagging a key in our giveaway this weekend. We've got 1800 keys so you stand a pretty good chance.
Blizzard's in-closed-beta multiplayer online battle arena Heroes of the Storm has been updated.
One of the first games Blizzard ever made was a co-operative platformer called The Lost Vikings. I played it on the SNES 100 years ago in 1992.
Dustin Browder is the game director of Blizzard's new MOBA, Heroes of the Storm. He is also a rush character, I think, but one with a very short charge and practically no cooldown. Maybe he's been making multiplayer games for too long; who knows? Regardless of the reasoning, I suspect he has internalised his own hotbar, and his special ability involves getting so enthused about a topic that he starts to have a dialogue with himself. Seriously. He plays both sides.
UPDATE 23RD JANUARY: Time's up. Thousands of you have put your name down for a key and we're sorting through them now, via magical and fair robot means, to pick our lucky recipients. Keep an eye on your inbox over the next couple of hours.
ORIGINAL STORY 21ST JANUARY: Warcraft 3 was the game that started it all, this MOBA stuff, this multiplayer online battle arena stuff. Not sure Blizzard intended to inspire a mod that spawned a genre that propelled eSports to new heights, but it did. And now the company that inadvertently started it all will wade back in with Heroes of the Storm. But will it be The One?
Now you can make your own mind up by bagging one of 1000 beta keys we're giving away. We're running a sweepstake, so to be in with a chance of getting one, enter your email address below (we won't use it for anything else) and we'll distribute you a key on Friday, 23rd January. If you're a lucky one, that is. And note that all keys are for European regions only.
You can now buy access to Blizzard's free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) Heroes of the Storm by purchasing a £29.99 Founder's Pack.
Blizzard's free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Heroes of the Storm enters closed beta this evening with a raft of improvements.
The technical alpha version of the game goes offline this morning in order for Blizzard to apply a new patch. HotS is expected to come back online in closed beta form around 7pm UK time.
In the video, below, Blizzard's Kevin "Cloaken" Johnson runs through the update. There's a new and improved tutorial, which should help newcomers get into the game. But the headline addition for players familiar with HotS is ranked play, which arrives as part of the hero league (you need a level 30 account to take part). And the new draft mode means players can take turns picking and counter-picking heroes before a match begins.
Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's first foray into the hyper-competitive world of the Mutliplayer Online Battle Arena [MOBA], will enter closed beta on January 13th 2015.
The news was revealed during the opening ceremony for the company's annual BlizzCon fan convention in Anaheim, California.
In addition to the closed beta date, Blizzard also revealed a number of new characters and cosmetic skins for the game.
Blizzard will wipe Heroes of the Storm accounts one last time before the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game enters the final phase of technical alpha.
World of Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft maker Blizzard Entertainment is challenging itself to create more diverse heroes and video game content.
MOBAs - or "online team brawlers", as Blizzard likes to call them, because every developer seems to feel the need to invent its own blanket term for these games - are the biggest games in the world, with one big problem. League of Legends and Dota 2 are fast-paced, skilful competitive games with great tactical depth, gigantic followings and a thriving eSports scene that can turn young players into stars. But they're not very nice places to be, especially for newcomers.
I can't figure out whether my favourite Blizzard game is Heart of the Swarm, Heroes of the Storm or Hearth of the Stone. Or maybe I just can't figure out exactly which one's which.
Despite Blizzard's bluster about avoiding the term 'MOBA' and wanting to make something different, the alpha of Heroes of the Storm still leans heavily on staples of the genre: two teams of five use the unique traits and skills of their heroes to repeatedly bash each other to death while gradually knocking down defensive structures. The complexities that bubble up in-between add the texture that makes MOBAs fascinating, but the core remains compelling and easy to understand: infinitely spawning waves of opposing AI 'creep' armies meet in the middle of the map to fight each other, but won't make any progress without help from players; destroy the defences that stop your AI guys from getting to the other side, and you've won. Peek beneath all the sorcery and blood, and you're basically playing American football.
Just how good will Blizzard's multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game Heroes of the Storm be?
If you pre-purchase Diablo 3 expansion Reaper of Souls you'll get a character for upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard has announced.
One of Blizzard's key developers has apologised for what he has admitted was a poor response to a question about "over-sexualised character designs" and vowed to listen to feedback.
Heroes of the Storm is a MOBA/ARTS/LMG/WHATEVER that existing MOBA/ARTS/LMG/WHATEVER fans are going to hate - and that's okay. The obvious comparison is to look at it and Dota in much the same way as Hearthstone vs. Magic: The Gathering. Actually play it though, and it quickly becomes clear that the better comparison is to see it as Super Smash Bros versus Street Fighter 2 - if only because it's going to be far easier to pick a character because they're your favourite. That's not to say there isn't scope for high level play, just that it's something to work up to rather than an immediate slap in the face.
Beta sign-ups for Heroes of the Storm go live this evening, Blizzard has announced.
Game director Dustin Browder took to the stage at BlizzCon to re-unveil the multiplayer online battle arena - but didn't announce a release window.
We saw a brief gameplay trailer showing battlegrounds, described as worlds with their own characters and ways to play.
Action role-playing game Diablo 3 has sold over 14 million copies, Blizzard Entertainment has announced.
Blizzard has announced a new name for Blizzard All-Stars, and that name is Heroes of the Storm.
Blizzard's Project Titan probably won't be a subscription MMO, the company has said.
Blizzard has been silent on Blizzard All-Stars, its MOBA first revealed at BlizzCon 2010, for months now.