The interview was made in the Polish language here and this my rough translation of it. I tried to do my best. Also, I'm not a guy who made the interview.
Question: Were you surprised about the decision to stop financing HGC?
Answer: Yes, a lot. We were assured many times that any form of "Heroes Esports" will remain supported. Maybe not as HGC because we predicted that with Activision Blizzard stocks going down there will be cuttings in the budget. HGC had a really limited budget after all compared to other games and e-sport leagues made by Riot or Valve. So I had a feeling that HGC financing will be lower but I did not expect Blizzard to totally cut it off.
Q: What do you think is the reason behind this unexpected decision made by Blizzard?
A: For me, it is a surprise and I don't know any reasons for it. We received an e-mail in a copy-paste form where they thank us for all cooperation. "It was nice, good luck in your life". I guess there are a few reasons behind it. When you watch other e-sports leagues like League of Legends, Dota 2 or CS:GO, you can come into the conclusion that Blizzard wasted potential of HGC. I don't know much about all those business stuff, but I'm faithful e-sports follower. You can easily notice that every other league has found its own system of monetization. Either by creating cosmetics or other virtual stuff.
Q: I guess you mean "The International" for example?
A: "The International" is the most basic example. Valve is the master when it comes to it. In the case of "CS: GO" they created boxes with decorative elements of teams, from which some of the money goes directly to the teams. In HGC there was only one form of monetization related to Twitch which was not really beneficial for teams. People could support their teams through the BlizzHeroes channel. But only 33% of the money reached the players. The rest was divided between Blizzard and Twitch. This was totally unnecessary because you could implement such thing in-game. Players received cosmetic awards anyway. This way both Blizzard and Teams could earn so much more.
Q: In the past year you achieved a lot as a player by playing for Team Zealots and Leftovers. Three times second place in HGC tournaments. Did you spend a lot of your time practising?
A: In January 2017, so when HGC appeared, I said to myself that I'm not going to do anything else than professional play. The "Blizzard salary", tournament prizes which were still a salary from the law perspective, were enough to focus on gaming as a full-time job. By that time I practised 8-12 hours a day. I hoped that it would last much longer, even considering a change of HGC format. Anyway, this relates not only to me because almost every single HGC player went full time on it. Only a few players had other things to do outside of league because we were assured that HGC is a long-term project. This sounds beautiful in corpo-language.
Q: Who assured you that HGC is still going to be a thing in incoming years?
A: People who were in charge of the league. I don't want to point my finger on specific names, but even when we were on Blizzcon, we were talking to those people because we wanted to know all the details. Mainly because after a really good season Leftovers received good sponsorship offers that we needed to consider. But it is hard to negotiate anything if there is no news about the incoming year and what can we offer as a team. We didn't know at what tournaments are we going to show up or what are our long-term plans. First of all, we were a team of five that played together and had a really good time doing it.
Q: Are you going to invest more of your time in HotS e-sports or any other games?
A: Right now my main focus is Christmas and trying to do not think about all this stuff. Week of such intensive thinking brings nothing and it is unnecessary stress. It is better to focus on what is important – family and relations with other people, not about what is going to happen next. If it comes to Blizzard games, I really don't like the direction where the company is heading to. Blizzard stops creating PC games and is interested in the mobile market. Take a look at job offers on their website. I'm really sceptical about Heroes of the Storm and all the Blizzard news in general. I think that when it comes to this particular company, Activision influence was not good for its image. If anything, I will be trying my luck in games of other producers such as Valve or Riot.
Q: Do you think that other Blizzard games can share the fate of HotS?
A: Whole gaming market is on downfall right now, but it is Activision Blizzard that noted the biggest fall. I think during Blizzcon, Blizzard pointed it out to the players very well that they are not interested in PC games anymore. In exchange for that, they will focus on the mobile market where you can find more money. I'm sceptical to that. As long as any of current games will bring them the income they will try to keep up that game alive, but any irresponsible decisions similar to those made in Heroes of the Storm, will have a similar finale. They will shut down any support and then say: "It was nice, but time to focus on the mobile market". So what is happening inside the company is very uncertain. If Blizzard decides to switch their audience, then other games will feel it as well.
Q: Do you think that polish Starcraft II players can nervous about their future?
A: This is the game that will always handle itself, just look at South Korea and the whole Starcraft culture. Starcraft II community is also very active so I think that our (polish) best players like Elazer, Nerchio or MaNa have nothing to fear because as long as Starcraft II lives, they are secured. Heroes of the Storm was always a niche game and this is probably the main reason for HGC cancel. Remember that Starcraft is also an individual game so it requires a smaller budget when it comes to e-sports. You just place 5x less money and you have a similar outcome. So when it comes to Stacraft II I'm more than sure that this game will live for a long. Even if Blizzard falls at some point, this game will prevail.
Q: From the Blizzard letter, we have learned that people working on HotS are moved to other projects. Do you think that players can still hope for future updates?
A: This is a hard question because of the lack of more specific information. I can only speculate. I used to play Diablo 3 and still remember this moment where a similar statement was released and – let's don't fool ourselves – from that moment Diablo 3 content was stopped. A reliable source of mine told me that devs were transferred on to mobile projects. I think that something is going to keep happening but it is hard to say for now. Personally, I'm sceptical to that, because not once or twice I saw similar statements from other game producers. It always ended up on a situation where one character was released every three months and that's it. It's logical that fewer workers = less content, less content = no new players. In effect, HotS will finally become a dead game just as Diablo 3.
Interviewer: Thanks for the talk and wish you Merry Christmas.
Edit: Some formatting issues.
© Post "An interview with Mopsio about current events" for game Heroes of the Storm.
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