Heroes of the Storm – Another Unreleased Game Selling Access?

It is mildly interesting… and somewhat amusing to me at least… that in the midst of a lot of navel gazing about selling early access to online games caused by the state of H1Z1 and its entry into the field (along with the long, long Landmark early access experience) that Blizzard should choose this week to pop onto the stage and offer an early access package of their own.

I’m not sure Blizzard as a company was even aware of H1Z1, much less the minor stir it caused, though I am sure the devs in the company were.

Anyway, if you play any Blizzard games you probably know by now, via email or the big ad on the front of the Battle.net launcher, that Heroes of the Storm, having finally settled on a name, has a Founder’s Pack available for $40.

Heroes of the Storm is very purple

Heroes of the Storm is very purple

When viewed from the right angle, it is more of the same, selling early access to a game that will eventually be free to play.  We have seen this deal in a lot of games over the last few years.  It just so happens that at this very moment there is considerable ill will against selling early access, at least in our small corner of the web, due to SOE’s ideas on how far along a game should be before it starts demanding money in order to play.

Of course, if we are angry about people selling unfinished games, then Heroes of the Storm probably shouldn’t worry us too much.  People blogging about it describe a game that sounds pretty much ready to go, even by Blizzard standards.  That makes it almost the antithesis of the state of H1Z1 (or Landmark a year back) charging for early access.

In fact, the only criticism I have seen of Heroes of the Storm as a game… as opposed to the business model… has been that it is a dumbed down version of the MOBA genre.  Basically, the same criticism that got leveled at Hearthstone by fans of collectible cards games, as though, here in 2015, we hadn’t quite figured out what Blizzard’s standard play was.  They go for a different audience, people not in the hard core, which is probably why Hearthstone is the only CCG on Raptr’s most played list for December.

Three Blizzard titles on this list

Three Blizzard titles on this list

Of course, unlike CCGs, that list is dominated by Blizzard’s MOBA competition.  It will be interesting to see where Heroes of the Storm sits on that list, if it makes it to that list, six months after is launches.

As for the Founder’s Pack itself, it looks like very standard fare for the launch of a free to play game.  You get some heroes, some skins, a bit of the in-game currency, and a special item that will mark you as a founder.  Here it is a mount.  In World of Tanks a couple years back, it was a special edition tank.  The only difference is that they Heroes of the Storm beta isn’t open yet, and may never be, so if you want in before launch you need to pony up $40 for the Founder’s Pack for one last item, beta access.

I can wait.

But I am not big on the MOBA genre in any case.  It has the same problem that the RTS genre does for me, in that every battle becomes a repeat of the last.  My issue, not the genres, so it was unlikely I would be buying the Founder’s Pack in any case.

I did think about it though, when I saw it included a mount, on the off chance that it might also be a mount in World of Warcraft.  We all have our price.  But the mount is just in HotS.  And with that I stopped even toying with the idea of the Founder’s Pack.

I will likely still give it a try.  And I am still holding out hope for a mount of some sort.  That is, after all, how Blizzard got me to download and play Hearthstone.

5 thoughts on “Heroes of the Storm – Another Unreleased Game Selling Access?

  1. SynCaine

    I’ll be very interested to see how well this does, because as you noted, unlike HS this game isn’t launching into a void, and it isn’t 2003 like they had for WoW with SOE handing the crowd thanks to EQ2 being EQ2. LoL, DoTA2, and even SMITE are legit games run by companies not populated by Smed-clowns.

    Plus at least with LoL, Riot already beat Blizzard to the ‘dumbed down’ version of a previous success (DoTA1), doing it in pretty much vanilla WoW style (easier to enter, still depth at the top).

    Also basically agree with Rohan about selling access here. Why not? This isn’t an persistent world MMO where when you started is much of a factor.

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  2. Asmiroth

    I think gate 1 is a stress test and the next pack will be cross-game bonuses. Hard to think of the last time Blizz sold something that didn’t cross franchises, so this one seem more like a toe in the pool.

    Oddly, the price point isn’t a deal on the skins. If you were IN beta before, this is the same price offered. So beta access is a perk I guess.

    It is funny as all heck to see this happen smack after SoE though. It’s rare that the industry builds it’s own argument and we can just sit back.

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  3. Matt

    Have to say I’m disappointed, but then Blizzard has been trending more towards these types of schemes. I’m a little confused about Heroes anyway. It may be just that I don’t much care for these types of games, but even LoL players that prefer Heroes might stick with the path of sunk costs. I mean, who wants to start that grind all over again? LoL’s utter domination of the genre makes this something like releasing an MMO in the face of WoW.

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  4. Isey

    Randomly I was accepted to Alpha for HOTS and I didn’t even know until I installed the Battle.net desktop on my Surface Pro. I spent a couple nights with it and it’s really clean and crisp, has fun characters, smooth game play, and is very much Blizzard. I still prefer LoL due to the prior time commitment I have sunk into the game but HOTS is a decent change and distraction. I think it will be successful, settling in behind Dota 2 / LOL as the less complicated, fun choice of Moba for Blizzard fans.

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  5. Green Armadillo

    There was a datamined HotS mount (in HotS) that appeared to be tied to playing Draenor. This has yet to be implemented.

    It seems like an odd missed opportunity NOT to implement cross promotion in Blizzard’s stable. Giving WoW subscribers gold in Hearthstone and HotS costs Blizzard nothing if the player doesn’t take the bait, and only funny money that they don’t owe an IP holder for because it’s their product if the player buys in. Seems like a small price for brand loyalty and introducing their other titles to potential new customers.

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