When Activision Blizzard announced on Thursday that they would no longer support competitive Heroes of the Storm at the amateur, collegiate or professional level going forward, a can of worms was opened.
A decision based on budget cuts and the reallocation of resources, the backlash from the Blizzard community has been harsh, with players left feeling betrayed by the company and concerned for the future of the title.
It's difficult to imagine sitting at home relaxing and learning you've lost your job via Twitter unless you've experienced it yourself. That's the harsh reality for hundreds of individuals within the Heroes of the Storm community over the past 24 hours. According to sources, Blizzard notified only a few individuals earlier in the day prior to the press release going public.
Even then, a few individuals with knowledge of the situation were told recently by Blizzard representatives that there was nothing to worry about when it came to the future of the competitive scene.
They were either mislead or the decision by executives was not known by the rest of the company.
Regardless of how many individuals knew about the announcement prior to it going public, those who relied on the competitive Heroes of the Storm scene's existence are now left high and dry by the company who created and ended it.
Anyone who follows those within the Heroes of the Storm community on social media or regularly visits the official /r/heroesofthestorm subReddit has seen the wide range of emotions that have followed as a result of the announcement. On Reddit alone, dozens upon dozens of posts regarding the abandonment of the Heroes Global Championship (HGC) circuit received hundreds or thousands of upvotes, contrary to the “dead game” meme that was associated with the game for many years.
The top posts within the last 24 hours are some of the most upvoted in the Reddit page’s history. “Press F to pay respects to all HGC pro players,” “Pls, can we get a refund for 1 year stimpack?” “Goodbye HotS…” “Blizzard, you just lost a customer” are just a few of the posts with thousands of comments echoing similar sentiments as the community feels left behind by Blizzard yet again.
But while fans may be outraged at the loss of their favorite entertainment, for those whose careers depended on Heroes of the Storm esports, the HGC's cancellation holds dire consequences.
Twitter’s reaction was very similar to Reddit’s. But as numerous professional players had thousands of followers, a face behind the message, and were more personal as they had become unemployed, some were more prepared for the moment than others.
A few former pro players declared they were moving on to other titles to try their luck there. Others, who have dedicated the last few years to mastering their craft in Heroes, were left wondering, “what’s next for me?”
While the removal of the professional circuit may only directly impact a very, very small percentage of the Heroes of the Storm player base, Blizzard announced that some developers of the game will be moving on to other projects, a sign that the game itself may suffer greatly as well.
It’s uncertain what the long-term impact this decision by Activision Blizzard will have on the future of the title but if it’s anything like the reaction the community had in the first 24 hours, the company may have created more problems than they fixed.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.