Playing since Alpha, took a break and came back with 2.0, never stopped. HotS is one of my favorite games ever and possibly the fav Blizz game. I've been an advocate of the game from the start, still am. I love the devs, love the designs, love everything.
A couple of years ago, I even DM'd a silly Nexus campaign with characters such as Butcher the Butcher; Marquis Arthas, the obvious vampire that never accepts it; the nefarious, adorable, inseparable trio of Stitches, Brightwing and Abathur etc.
I've also had the pleasure of interviewing Kaeo (and another dev whose name I can't recall now – sorry!) in Gamescom and ask them a question in the panel on 2019 BlizzCon.
Finally, I am sort of a pro-player too, which means I choose Carbot portraits only (that's how it works, right?)
Anyway, when the team reduction was announced, I was disappointed as everyone but I wasn't directly pessimistic. Honestly, I think I was equally sad for devs who had to stop working on this project – I'm sure many loved it (*looks at the sky, sends a kiss with two fingers, whispering "Kevin"*)
And honestly, while I won't say no to more heroes, I've been happy with the direction overall. The reworks, the Anomalies (sure, not all landed well but they weren't forced on us permanently), the crazy Deathwing… They've also communicated quite often.
In this process, many have left. Understandable, especially those who followed the esports part mostly or those who were part of it and felt almost betrayed. But some of us stayed, some joined and the community even started its own esports action.
But it's been strange lately.
- Hopefully, I've simply missed them, but to my knowledge, we haven't had an AMA for a while.
- There are plausible rumours about the team being discarded and/or moved to other projects.
- There are rumours about VV taking over.
- We know at least some devs moved (like AZJackson – who announced on twitter. for those who missed it, an anonymous replacement was also announced)
- HotS was not represented in BlizzConline at all. Like, not even one panel talking about the last year or something.
The only other game without a full panel was Starcraft II, which is now on actual maintenance mode (which is fair, after so many years of support).
And my fellow Nexians, this is the first time I'm actually concerned about the future of the game. I thought of a few situations (listed from worst to best):
A- WORST CASE SCENARIO – FULL MAINTENANCE MODE: HotS is going to go into maintenance mode. We may see some tech support but that's all. That's why they didn't want to have a panel – there is nothing to say about the future except false hope.
B- ALMOST MAINTENANCE MODE: Same as above, except we occasionally get some minor balance updates. Same as above about the panel.
C- SMALLER TEAM: The team has been shrunk further and we'll have the status quo ongoing, except even slower, meaning we'll see some reworks every 2/3 months and maybe a new hero every 6-10 months. They didn't want to have a panel because 1) HotS is not important anymore and 2) Devs can't spare ANY time.
D- NEW, SMALL TEAM: Same as above except the team is now being handed to VV and while some seniors might currently be there for a handover, they won't stay. So for the panel, in addition to above 3) With the transition, they couldn't spare time for a panel
E- NEW TEAM: Team hasn't necessarily shrunk but the game is being handed to VV. So, due the transition they didn't have time, plus they are possibly deciding the new strategy and want to communicate later.
F- BEST CASE SCENARIO: (SLIGHTLY) LARGER TEAM: Some team members might be moved around but others have joined from inside Blizz, new hires and VV. Same as above – they've been busy with the transition, they want to finalize their strategy before they communicate with us.
Now, to be honest, I'm not very optimistic because since the game was reduced due to a corporate decision, I expect that HotS needs to make money and it's not exactly a money-maker. I mean as a player, I love being able to access anything but as someone who worked in free-2-play sales, I've always been confused about how the game almost feels like it DOESN'T want me to pay. And with less skins, less heroes etc, many of us older players have literally nothing to spend even the shards on.
I've personally had terrible corporate decisions to deal with, so I'm not so optimistic. But then again – maybe the expectations were set with all that in perspective.
BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT I THINK.
I think what matters is the truth and we need to hear from the devs. Obviously, they can't share everything but there are many questions we need answers to. From the top of my head:
- What should we expect in terms of release cycles from now on?
- Has the team changed, can you tell us more about it?
- What is the speed of an unladen swallow?
- What's your stance on community esports and future official esports, even at smaller rate?
- Are we getting Blackthorne?
Or other questions. I don't mind in what shape or form it is, but as a dedicated, loyal fan of many years, I really hope to hear from the team and personally, I'd really like to hear the answers to questions 1-3.
Am I the only one who's concerned? Have I been missing communications? Give me some hope, Nexians!
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