Tldr at the end.
My first initiative as Blizzard CEO — to call Nintendo and work out a deal to get their skins in HotS — received a lot of responses and I spoke to Shuntaro and we’re gonna be rolling that out with many of your suggestions incorporated (Mariodin anyone?). Thank you all for that.
In my first board meeting as CEO, I laid out my top three priorities to the Board: HotS HotS and more HotS. They promptly informed me that they would not increase the funding of HotS under any circumstances and blathered nonsense about how it’s just a “love letter”. I said they had lost their way and that they think only of money. I said that we are a company for the gamers, by the gamers. They laughed and re-lit their cigars and so the time was ripe for me to unleash my second initiative as CEO — my no-increase-to-budget reforms to make HotS thrive (MNITBRTMHS for short):
*nothing is free. As the greatest ceo of all time once said: time is money friend. These changes carefully involve no increase to budget, however.
Reform #1: De-regulation —— HotS has imposed a lot of unpopular rule changes. Many of them came from a good place, but once it is clear that it is not what most gamers want, then we have got to adjust. Here at Blizzard, our gamers are not just customers, they are everything. And if they say Masters want to play with other Masters, then we’re rescinding that restriction. In fact we’re gonna seek public comment on virtually all of our restrictions and remove any that are notably unpopular. Another unpopular change is that people are forced into “extended” qm searches; we will allow players to select if they only want to queue for a qm game that has a tank and healer.
Reform #2: Open Borders —— We’ve got to know our audience. MOBA players love statistics. No more secrets, folks. Blizzard is going to actively open up public access to game statistics. Where practical we will partner with major third-parties already existing, like heroesprofile, to create digestible information that can be accessed in detail and in game. There will be charts.
Reform #3: Let the People Vote! —— Voting feels good. We’re going to have a lot more voting. After every game, there is going to be a lot of votes you can cast. The nonsensical current awards system is going to be completely replaced with players voting to give players various awards, including MVP. We will be erring on the side of too much voting and will include many topics to see how gamers like them, such as voting for the best player in each role (ie “Best Tank”, “Best Healer”). All of your awards will be reviewable in game in your profile. We will also automatically include the polls that only sometimes appear now, like “How was your team’s teamwork?” You will also be allowed to rate your teammates individually, like they’re Uber drivers or a used lamp on eBay. You will be able to give your teammates 1-5 stars for “Overall” as well as “Sportsmanship/Civility”. Why the latter? Because the reporting system is broken but we don’t have the manpower to fix it. So we’re adopting uber’s approach. If someone gets below a 2 star average in sportsmanship/civility, they will begin receiving notifications of such that they need to improve or they may be blocked from games. If it is not improved, they will be blocked from ranked until they improve their rating in QM.
Reform #4: Let the people brawl! Brawling is popular, quick and fun. Queue times are a few seconds. We’re going to make a distinct effort to embrace it. We will have a designated brawling event. Nothing fancy, no need for original artwork and skins, just call it the season of the brawl. We will also put blizzards seal of approval on a single-elimination tournament where teams will compete to be the brawling champion. The top 8 teams will be invited to Blizzard HQ to play out the tournament in a double elimination streamed tourney. Speaking of which….
Reform #5: The Spirit of Competition Blizzard will be crowning a champion of HotS. We do not have the money to give them a prize. Their prize is glory. We also don’t have time for fancy HGC seasons. Instead, we will sanction certain third-parties, like Nexus Gaming Series and Heroes Lounge, to coordinate amateur tournaments that will eventually whittle the competition down to 16 teams globally. They will be invited to Blizzcon. They will get one of the stages. We will offer only what we can to the casters, likely just free access to blizzcon and a big thank you. And we will make this happen. I’ll take it out of my salary if I have to. There will be a tournament of champions. And there will be a champion.
Reform #6: Free Advertising Popular streamers and viral videos will now be advertised free of charge in the battle net loader. This ones pretty obvious. I think we all know about the toy event and Deathwing by now 🤦♂️, use that loader to build the community. We also want to advertise these things on the main screen of HotS but that may present design challenges. I’ll be speaking with the team about it.
Reform #7: Free Money We are going to enable people to donate to HotS. This is a no-brainer. If people want to give us their money monthly for nothing but an in-game thank you and maybe a border or something, by golly we’re gonna let em. People don’t play this game for profit, it’s passion that has kept this game going despite my predecessor’s efforts to kill it.
Reform #8: Re-calibrate We must embrace the new cadence of HotS. It is time for HotS to strive for perfecting what it has, rather than growing relentlessly. Balance patches will now be weekly and much smaller and more conservative. We are tinkerers, seeking to improve the game incrementally. Once a patch is released, we immediately seek feedback from the players as to what the next patch should include. This feedback is our primary source of direction for changes. Similarly, when we go bold, we want to prioritize the much more manageable task of reworking flawed characters rather than making totally new characters because the latter is an enormous undertaking and there is ample room to improve with what we have. When we do make new characters, ALL of them will be from Blizzard lore. No more Nexus characters for the foreseeable future. We have too many lore characters that people are requesting constantly to waste time reinventing the wheel. We will aim for 2-3 new characters per year. Quality over quantity.
Reform #9: HotS is not a “Classic” yet Can’t even believe I have to reform this but needless to say we will stop categorizing HotS as a classic game.
I have many more reforms I’d like to implement but we can’t bite off too much at a time. It’s important to not just change things, but also give time for gamer feedback and adjustments. And while these changes don’t increase the budget, some of them will take time. And frankly I’m CEO now and can’t spend all day writing posts on reddit— case in point, reforged called and asked if I could spare a minute, something about being a complete and total disaster, so I’ve gotta go sort that out too. In the meantime these are changes we can make without squeezing any more money out of the Board (I’ve got some reforms for them too smh). We believe that under proper leadership, HotS has the potential to be greater than its ever been. These changes are a step in that direction. The days of managing HotS’ decline are over. HotS’ and Blizzard’s best days are yet to come!
TLDR: I’m ceo. We’re making HotS changes without increasing budget. Revert rule changes like masters partying, share stats, add post-game voting, embrace brawling, have a national championship sanctioned by Blizzard, advertise streamers on the loader, allow monthly subscribers for people who want to donate, focus on balance patches and character reworks more than new heroes, and stop categorizing hots as a classic game. Oh and HotS’ best days are yet to come!
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