Can HoTs Be Saved?
When Blizzard announced that they would make their own MOBA, everyone was quite hyped about it. Why wouldn’t people be, right? You get to play as all of the iconic Blizzard characters from all of their franchises in the most popular video game genre (at the time). While the game did have a lot of players on its launch, people slowly started to notice its flaws, which eventually led to the game’s death when Blizzard canceled their support for HoTs esports in 2019.
Since then, the game is still getting updates every month or two, and that is great, as it is enough to keep some of the players interested. There are also tournaments organized independently, without the help of Blizzard, and considering that the game still has players in 2022, it is definitely a sign that the game can be saved and revived. It just needs slight updates.
Lower the entry barrier
One of the biggest flaws that Heroes of the Storm has is its entry barrier. This usually reflects on the gameplay element, like with Dota 2, where it could take you months to learn the game before you can even think of playing competitively, but that is not the case with HoTs. Blizzard’s MOBA has a different entry barrier, and that is the fact that heroes are quite expensive.
Even when compared to the most popular MOBA that charges for its champions, League of Legends, HoTs still charges more for certain heroes, as the prices go from $2 to $10. Most heroes actually tend to aim closer towards the $10 price than the $2 one, and that is a huge issue.
We understand that Blizzard has to make money, but considering the state of the game, if they do not change the entry barrier, they are not going to have new players. Even the ones that played within the first two years who happen to return to the game in 2022 have an issue with this because most heroes that are in the META are the expensive ones.
Of course, players can farm out gold and purchase the heroes for free, but it takes a really long time to play a small pool of heroes in order to unlock the few ones you would need to play competitively. Blizzard should lower the entry barrier, at least temporarily but lowering both the gold required to purchase heroes, as well as the real money cost if they want to bring some life back into the game.
There are already some incredible cosmetics in the game that will certainly make Blizzard some money, and if people can actually purchase cosmetics instead of having to purchase heroes, to begin with, their revenue is probably going to increase.
Give free content to new players
As a League of Legends player, I was personally wondering how Riot Games was going to handle the entry barrier for new players when the game had about 100 champions in the game. Farming them out like I did when the game had 30 champions was no longer that easy, but Riot came with a great solution, and that is to give new players free content.
As players level up their account, they would get to choose from a small pool of champions every few levels, they would get Blue Essence (equivalent to HoTs gold) to purchase heroes, and they would also get some free cosmetics that are for new accounts only.
HoTs already has a system like this, where players are rewarded loot boxes as they level up, but LoL also has Hextech chests, which work similarly. What HoTs needs is that choice when players level up along with the random rewards, let players unlock the content on their account that will make them want to invest more time into the game instead of rewarding them with a hero they do not care about the slightest, or even worse, a sound quote or a banner.
The leveling system for older players is fine, and it could maybe use some minor changes, but for those who are new to the game, Blizzard needs to give them more content so they can stay interested in playing the game.
Twitch prime content
Another way that Blizzard could give out free content is through Twitch Prime, as lots of F2P games tend to have some kind of reward by using this service. Apex Legends will give out free skins, Valorant will give out some free sprays, Legends of Runeterra will give out free cards, and League of Legends Twitch Prime capsule gives just about everything that the game has to offer, from free champion and skin shards to emotes, Riot Points, and an experience boost.
Blizzard recently started giving out free things through Twitch Prime for Overwatch and Hearthstone, and we honestly do not know why they did not include HoTs to the list, as giving a bundle as LoL does with their prime capsule would definitely bring new players to the game, or at least make older players return and give the game another chance.
Return of esports support
Now this one might be the hardest change to receive from Blizzard, but getting some kind of big event would definitely get people interested. Honestly, the best way they could fix their support with esports can start off with a single event, but a big one, something like The International in Dota 2.
The prize pool could be made out of in-game purchases throughout the year and let everyone have a chance to compete for it. No qualifications, no entry fee required, just one big tournament with a gigantic prize pool. Big rewards often get players interested, and even if it’s a single event in the year, it will get players to play and practice throughout the whole year.
By combining all of the suggested changes, HoTs would certainly rise back from their current position and become the competitive MOBA that it has the potential for. Considering that Activision Blizzard will be acquired by Microsoft next year, we HoTs fans might have to wait that out in order to see some big changes happen to the game, but until then, let us hope Blizzard will at least start moving gears towards those changes by implementing one of the changes we mentioned in this article.