Nearly two weeks ago, one of the most popular, beloved and talented former professional players in the history of Heroes of the Storm esports, Thomas “Ménè” Cailleux, had enough.
While streaming the game on Twitch, he began talking to his chat about his love for the title, regardless of the tough times it has been through lately, and, visibly frustrated, he began pleading for Blizzard to work with him, other former professional players and content creators to help improve the game.
His rant, which was immediately clipped and put on the Heroes of the Storm subReddit, has garnered nearly 12,000 viewers and was one of the top posts for that week.
His message though is one that has circulated throughout the pro scene for years: “Why hasn’t Blizzard worked with those who play the game at the highest level and have a deeper understanding of hero’s kits, battleground mechanics and what the game needs better than the vast majority of the player base? What is there to lose?”
Realistically, it’s a win-win for all parties. Blizzard has the opportunity to receive insight that they likely wouldn’t have otherwise or, at the very least, can put on the facade that they are listening and the community is heard. Even if nothing comes of it, it’s good public relations for the company and the pro players can say they tried.
That’s really all that Mene wants as well.
“Everyone has been saying there is no hope for the game and maybe there isn’t but at least I tried. I don't lose anything by talking about it so maybe I could win something for myself and the game,” said Mene to InvenGlobal recently.
Mene, well-known for his mechanical skills on mage heroes during his pro-playing days with Fnatic and Dignitas, has a few areas where Blizzard, if they decide to work with the community, can immediately improve the game. One starts with testing content before it’s even released:
“When they want to release a new hero or do a rework, what they could maybe do is give a couple of the ex-pros who want to work with Blizzard private access to the new hero or the new rework so we could try it before everyone and give them some feedback. For example, Imperius is a big disappointment compared to, you know, when Blizzard used to release a new hero they were always insanely broken pretty much. Even if the win-rate [on Imperius] is acceptable, every one of my stream says Imperius is pretty [bad] compared to other offlaners. So instead of jumping into the game with the new hero like that maybe we could try it before and if they don't change it that is fine but at least we tried it and gave feedback.”
Another idea Mene has doesn’t involve Blizzard working directly with former professional players but takes what works in another popular MOBA and simply implements it into HotS.
“I think they should have the ability like in League of Legends where you can choose your role [in drafts]. For example, ‘Assassin and Tank’ and you can only pick ‘Assassin and tTank’. You don't scam the other people in-draft. You don't go Support. You respect you’re pick and you have a balanced team comp. The problem is sometimes you have a team comp that makes zero sense and you either don't want to play the game or you troll because you have no chance and it is not fun to play.”
A more casual suggestion that Mene brainstormed tackles the different skins that are within the game for heroes to wear while fighting, crossing the map or being selected in the draft mode.
“I know if I work with them on skins I would make them money, for sure. Because I have insane ideas for skins. I'm someone that skins are important to me. I can't play the game with a pleb skin so, if I have to, I will just spend 10 Euros on a sweet skin. I know it doesn't impact the game but, for me, the aesthetics are important.”
Waste of time?
The reality is what Activision Blizzard threw the competitive Heroes of the Storm scene to the wayside in a manner that was not received well by the community. With their sights set on maximizing the profits in other unannounced projects and current popular games such as Overwatch, does Mene think Blizzard would bother entertaining the ideas of former pros, even if the ideas seem like a win-win for all involved?
“I don't think they care at all. I think their mindset about that is probably going to be like, ‘Why would we get your help? Why are we going to listen to you? It's not like we have anything to prove.” I know it could save the game but it is not going to change anything for Activision. Activision may say, ‘Even if you save the game, does it really matter?’ So maybe they just work to work and they don't have ambition.”
Whatever the reality of the situation may be within Activision Blizzard, Mene and numerous other former professional players and community members who still dedicate a hefty portion of their lives to playing Heroes of the Storm will remain lying-in-wait for an email or call for advice that may or may not ever come.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.