With the purchase of Activision-Blizzard looming every closer, one fact remains: Microsoft should revive Heroes of the Storm, and here’s why.
Despite months of litigation, leaked memos, and scuttlebutt, it appears the end is near. According to a report today from The Verge, Microsoft is looking to close the book on its long-attempted purchase of Activision-Blizzard next week. And while that closing depends on the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, it puts the reality of Xbox and Blizzard joining together one step closer. And, if we're being real, that leaves only one thing on my mind. Microsoft, please bring back Heroes of the Storm.
Yes, in the realm of possibilities that involve the merging of two gigantic names in our industry there's a lot of potential. However, as a longtime (and long suffering) fan of Blizzard's once-premiere attempt at the MOBA, I'm going to be a bit selfish. With a massive gap forming in the genre and the potential to put some shine on new franchises, bringing back the shelved Heroes of the Storm couldn't come at a better time.
After all, haven't you always wanted to see a team up between Master Chief and Illidan Stormrage?
No? Well, too bad!
Microsoft, Heroes of the Storm, and you
Released into beta almost a decade ago, Heroes of the Storm found immediate success. Maybe it was the fact that MOBAs were the hot thing in 2013. Perhaps it was the sheer star power potential of Blizzard's collective games. Regardless, the idea felt like a fever dream and a potential smash hit. Utilizing a simplified take on the genre that focused more on collaboration and less on building up a "carry" on your team, HOTS found its niche quickly.
And from personal experience, this focus on teamwork and a faster MOBA experience is the thing that keeps me playing Heroes of the Storm even today. Maybe it's my increasing age, but I simply don't have time to spend on 40+ minutes for a single match.
Meanwhile, HOTS is over here with a streamlined genre experience that also features my favorite IPs. Surely that is something still attractive to Microsoft and a potential Heroes of the Storm revival, even now.
After all, the MOBA space is vastly different now than it was ten years prior. Most notably, every company and their mother isn't trying to squeeze their own take on the genre out the door. Think of the League of Legends and DOTA clones spewing out of the pipeline back then. From DC comics to Lord of the Rings, every publisher attempted to capitalize on the MOBA boom.
However, when the dust settled only three remained. The two aforementioned paragons of the genre and Heroes of the Storm.
If ever there was a time to strike, it's now when those two games have a captive audience. It's near impossible as a new player to pick either LoL or DOTA up--of which I speak from experience.
And, hey: What better way to spark new audience interest than the potential of IP collaboration?
A 'Storm' or all seasons
I'll be honest, this idea is prefaced on the fact that a Microsoft iteration of Heroes of the Storm means tons of new characters. After all, the house of XBox has spilled its coffers aplenty in the search for new IPs. Just off the top of my head that includes Halo, Fallout, DOOM, Gears of War, Elder Scrolls, Rare, and more.
And as a long-time Heroes of the Storm player, all I can think of is the potential for roster expansion from each of those franchises. That interest is also a potential bandaid on one of the biggest issues for the XBox brand. Too often people don't think about the variety of first-party franchises when it comes to Microsoft. And that's mostly because of the publisher's inability to utilize those characters and universes without taking big risks.
However, there's no risk involved with an established and once-popular game like Heroes of the Storm. It's a tried-and-true formula that would be served well by an injection of new worlds and familiar faces. Also, real talk: Would you say no to the potential matchups? Give me DOOM Guy and D.VA teaming up against Azmodan, Diablo, and the Cyberdemon.
Get Blinx, The Time Cat up in this thing and have him quip lines with Murky. Get silly! The Microsoft brand could use some levity and joy, so why not with Heroes of the Storm?
The world could use more 'Heroes'
This may come as a surprise to those that don't follow along, but Heroes of the Storm still has a loyal player base. I can load up the game right now in 2023 and still get Quick Play matches in mere minutes. Despite being placed into "maintenance mode" in July 2022, the game still holds strong. More to the point, that audience is starving for new content and updates.
Given that the MOBA scene features less competition than ten years ago, now could be the perfect time to resurrect HOTS.
So, why not do that by creating the biggest crossover of all time? Microsoft, do the right thing and bring back Heroes of the Storm. After all, I spent all that money on loot boxes just to get a rideable sheep that looks like Illidan Stormrage. Shouldn't I be given the chance to use it?
Stay tuned to esports.gg for esports news and HOTS information (hopefully).