Its no surprise that Heroes of the Storm queues have been longer, match quality has been worse and there’s been a huge skill drain in the game since HGC was ended in November 2018. For a very long time, Blizzard has taken a top down approach to generating interest and a community around the game with their initiatives in HoTS 2.0 and HGC, while not giving enough support to amateur tournaments like the Heroes Lounge, Nexus Gaming Series or DGL / Heroes Draft. In my opinion, Heroes of the Storm is a great game, but it lacks key functionality and support to enlist playerbase enthusiasm in growing the community again.
A HoTS Map Editor
One of the reasons why Warcraft III, another Blizzard title published over 15 years ago, is and continues to be such a good game is because it is a prime example of how various grassroots community members can give a game’s life longevity and continue to breathe vitality and excitement long after the developers have stopped making it their main priority. Indeed the moba genre itself might have been born in Starcraft but it made its mark with DoTA as a custom game in Warcraft III. The tools Blizzard provided to the playerbase to create according to their own imagination, to be masters of their own space is a key functionality that Blizzard have stopped supporting in their games as of late. Unfortunately it feels and seems that older blizzard games sold players the universe but presently, now only sell a sandbox. Why does HoTS need to have 2 or 3 lanes? Why not 5? Why does every game need to be a 5 player game? Why not 10? Give players the tools they need to create and experiment within the HoTS engine to create their own fun.
Guilds or Clans
While this isn’t a standard feature in most mobas, HoTS is unique in that it is a team-based game. Adding Guilds or Clans will help create rivalries by factionalizing the game space, the same way Clan rivalries emerged in the Warcraft 3 space that made clan games impassioned and spirited. In addition, it will also make certain players emerge more prominently as HoTS allows multiple players to hold the same name (but different battletag). Having a clan tag attached to someone’s name will allow them to be more identifiable in the Nexus and create rivalry. In Warcraft 3, Blizzard also published clan rank which was an aggregate of player ranks from multiple Wc3 ladder clans. A similar system should be added in HoTS for clans or guilds to better promote grass-roots rivalries.
Custom Game Overhaul
Players should be able to play any hero, regardless of ownership, in custom game mode. There should absolutely not be a level requirement to participate in custom games. In addition, all brawl modes should be made available. There’s absolutely no reason why a level 2000 HoTS player on a European server should have to re-earn all their heroes if they want to play with their North American friends, and vice versa. Empower the community to create their own competitive mode and leagues without being sandboxed and constrained at every turn.
HoTS is a fantastic game that I’ll continue playing as long as I find it enjoyable, but that doesn’t change the fact that thousands of players have discontinued playing due to unpleasurable experiences or simply that other mobas are a lot more popular right now. Blizzard needs to flip the script and implement serious changes to the game; changes that will make HoTS stand out from the pack and have a proven track record of creating serious grassroots growth instead of trickle down growth from esports. There are already actors in the HoTS community that are struggling to keep this game alive, whether they are running amateur leagues or creating custom observer UIs for streamers like AhliObs. Empower them and remove the walls of the sandbox to truly make HoTS the best moba there is.
Edited by Abdel