Blizzard downsized its Heroes of the Storm team at the end of last year, putting an end to the game’s stint as an esport. Shifting its focus, the developer is now overhauling the MOBA to expand on hero roles and do away with those pesky, controversial loot boxes.
Loot boxes, loot crates and, as Blizzard dubs them in Heroes of the Storm (HotS), loot chests have long been controversial for their likeness to gambling. This is because they randomise the loot they contain and are often sold for premium currency, costing real-world money. In the MOBA, loot chests are purchasable with gems, granting the player alternate skins, banners, emojis, voice lines, sprays, and a variety of other items.
In the latest HotS patch, currently being trialled on the Public Test Realm, loot chests can no longer be purchased with the premium currency, gems. Instead, they will continue to be naturally earned every 25 levels and be purchasable with in-game currency, gold.
“As the roster and breadth of mechanics for ‘Heroes of the Storm’ has continued to expand, the existing roles have grown limited in accurately describing each individual hero,” Blizzard explained in a blog post. “To give both new and existing players a clearer idea of what kind of kit to expect during hero select, we are expanding hero roles to include new descriptions and replace those that were less clear in the past.”
Heroes have been divided into Tank, Bruiser, Support, Healer, Melee Assassin and Ranged Assassin roles. Tanks are built to absorb attacks and block an enemy’s retreat. Bruisers are tough but meant for damage. The Support role is meant for bugs and boons, while Healers are intended to give health boosts. Melee Assassins take care of high close-quarters damage and, as expected, Ranged Assassins are glass cannons that attack from a distance.
Players can jump into the Public Test Realm to try out these changes for themselves until March 25. From there, it’s uncertain when the tweaks will make it into the live build.
KitGuru Says: Overall, it seems as though Heroes of the Storm both prospered and suffered due to its level of accessibility in comparison to other MOBAs. It allowed most players to jump in, but struggled finding a sustainable competitive edge. Still, these definitely sound like positive changes in order to breathe new life into the game.