UK community reacts to HotS esports cancellation: 'Talented people put their heart and soul into the game only to have it ripped away from them overnight'

Blizzard Entertainment has swung the axe into the Heroes of the Storm (HotS) esports scene by announcing there will be no more Heroes Global Championship (HGC) or Heroes of the Dorm.
While the game will still be updated, some HotS developers are moving onto other teams within the company. It’s the latest piece of bad PR for Activision Blizzard following the Diablo mobile announcement and the WoW community expressing disappointment over Battle for Azeroth changes.
Esports News UK takes a look at how the scene reacted to the news.
British talent James “Bakery” Baker, biz dev manager and former team captain for Dignitas, one of the top teams in Heroes of the Storm esports, criticised Blizzard over the decision and felt for those affected.

Bakery’s former teammate and fellow Brit, Joshua “Snitch” Bennett, thanked the fans and said he felt sad for it to end this way.

Dignitas – the org grown by British manager Michael “Odee” O’Dell and later sold to the Philadelphia 76ers – had one of the most successful Heroes of the Storm esports teams.
Dignitas HotS won Intel Extreme Masters, ESL Regionals, Western Clashes in the HGC and more.

Dignitas said in a news post: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce our departure from Heroes of the Storm as an esport.
“In the end, Dignitas will finish as the second most successful Heroes of the Storm team of all time.
“Thank you Blizzard for giving our players the opportunity to compete globally at your prestigious events. Thank you to our incredible fans for the love you’ve shown Dignitas and our players over the years. Thank you for Zaelia, Snitch, Wubby, POILK, JayPL and nabby for the honor and prestige that you brought to Dignitas.”
 

“We are troubled by the way the announcement was made, namely the impolitic choice to use social media to share such a message that effectively ended the careers of hundreds of players, content creators, casters, production crews overnight.”
Method

 
Method, a UK-based organisation who also participated in HotS, said in a Twitlonger statement: “Like so many of you in the community, we were shocked and saddened at the announcement by Blizzard Entertainment that HGC and Heroes of the Dorm were being cancelled in 2019, and even more – the development team was being scaled down to what can only be assumed to be ‘just enough’ to keep the game running.
“We are troubled by the way the announcement was made; namely the impolitic choice to use social media to share such a message that effectively ended the careers of hundreds of players, content creators, casters, production crews overnight – and broke the hearts of countless fans.”
Orgs like Dignitas, Method and many others that played in HotS, have disbanded their HotS teams and setups in light of the news.
Other members of the esports industry and the UK community shared their views, including host Paul Chaloner and more:

 

“This was a very difficult decision for us to make. Ultimately feel this is the right decision versus moving forward in a way that would not meet the standards that players and fans have come to expect.”
Blizzard Entertainment

 
For more honest comments from gamers and the community, have a quick glance of the HotS subreddit right now.
HotS pros and others from the wider esports community also aired their thoughts:

 

“I could not imagine a more effective way to kill the game than to release the statement that they did. The Blizzard that I know and love would never abandon a game or an esport, and yet this press release told us that doing this is what made them special.”
James “Bakery” Baker, Dignitas

 

 

‘Blizzard is losing the love and respect of the community fast’

Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco pens his thoughts on the news.
I think Mike Morhaime’s departure as president of Blizzard back in October is incredibly telling.
Mike is a well-respected figure within the Blizzard fanbase and the wider games industry, and presented himself at conventions and Blizzcons as ‘one of us’, one of the gamers who understands what we want.
I think Mike likely saw the impending shitstorm and got out while he could. Since leaving, in my opinion we’ve seen Blizzard become more Activision-like than ever before. The Diablo mobile announcement, the awful, awful direction Blizzard is taking World of Warcraft with poor amounts of content and shitty cosmetic paid-for mounts, reports of pay cuts, making mobile titles out of all their IP (when historically they’ve been focused on the PC gaming community), and now this.
Blizzard is losing the love and respect of the community fast, and it needs to be incredibly mindful of this. Because if it continues on this path, in a year’s time I’m certain many fans will have left Blizzard behind. We all know respect and admiration in this industry is hard to gain but very easy to lose.
 

“I would love for other third-party organisers and pockets of the community to come together and make their own tournaments, get their own sponsors, make their own prize pools and help to keep HotS esports going.”

 
Onto the HotS news itself, yes it may make short-term business sense for Activision Blizzard to cull the esports scene, but the way it was handled reeked of Activision, of corporate spiel. Could they not have given the pros or at least the organisations a heads-up in advance and ask them to sign an NDA?
I feel for all of the players, orgs, managers, casters, coaches and other staff in this scene, who have effectively lost their jobs, their positions, their livelihoods overnight. It is an extremely shitty situation to be in and I wish all of them the best of luck in getting work in other areas as soon as they can.
I would love for other third-party organisers and pockets of the community to come together and make their own tournaments, get their own sponsors, make their own prize pools and help to keep HotS esports going. But that certainly won’t be easy and I am not naive enough to think this would be the same as the HGC and what came before.
I honestly think Blizzard need to hold a crisis meeting, if they haven’t already done so. If these upcoming mobile games they’re working on are anything short of incredible, their downwards spiral will probably continue.
As Jim Sterling said to esports talent playing in other Blizzard games: “Be fucking careful [working with Blizzard], because as we’ve just seen, they ain’t your friend .Look what could happen if things don’t go the way they want them to go. You could get right royally fucked.”
Merry Christmas.

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