Ex-Blizzard Employees Discuss Heroes of the Storm Esports’ Abrupt End
Former Blizzard employees open up about the unexpected cancelation of Heroes of the Storm esports and the disconnect between internal departments.
It has been almost a year since Blizzard announced some sad news for Heroes of the Storm fans. Back in December 2018, it was announced that the Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm would not make its return. Blizzard also announced the development team behind the MOBA would be shifted to other teams. This did not mean Heroes of the Dorm was coming to an end, but it certainly seemed that it was no longer in Blizzard’s best interest to put as many resources into the game as they did. It is now November 2019, and we have some insight at what exactly was going on behind the scenes.
According to an article by Tim Rizzo from Inven Global in which Rizzo spoke with former Blizzard employees, there was some disconnect between the public relations and esports departments. This was during a time where organizations and players were prepping for the next season, so naturally, they would be emailing PR. However, the PR team didn’t really know what was going on with the HGC themselves.
“I was really trying to light a fire under their ass to be like, ‘Hey, you guys need to communicate with us because you’re not telling us anything and we need to say something,'” said one former Blizzard employee. “‘We’re waiting too long to say anything to our contract employees.'”
A different source told Inven Global they believed the HGC would continue for another year. They also thought that maybe 2020 would be the year where the budget for HotS would get cut.
“I was confident that we would have at least one more year of HGC. I knew that [executives] were really getting tight with the budget and we may not have one year beyond 2019,” said the source. “Maybe 2020 is when the budget towards it would be either extremely reduced or completely eliminated and reliant on the community but everybody was very confident we had 2019, especially going into BlizzCon.”
Eventually, Blizzard president, J. Allen Brack, and Blizzard executive, Ray Gresko, released a statement which announced the HGC’s cancelation, as well as developers from the game’s team shifting to other projects. While an email was reportedly sent out to the players, talent, and contractors, before the statement was issued publicly, many of these employees found out on social media. Even some Blizzard employees found out after the news was made public.
In my eyes, this was the beginning of Blizzard’s negative public image. While it seemed like everyone was in the dark for about the HGC, including Blizzard employees themselves, tons of people lost their jobs overnight. In addition to the infamous Diablo Immortal announcement and then Blitzchung’s suspension, it just was not a good look for the company. With all of these missteps, one can only hope that Blizzard can get out of this hole they have dug themselves into.