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Heroes of the Storm

Blizzard rumoured to be modelling Heroes of the Storm's free-to-play on LoL

Beta signups for Heroes of the Storm opened in November.

Go to the cupboard, grab the salt, and empty a semicircle of the white stuff onto the desk in front of you. Now let your hands rest gently atop the grains, and pinch down, hard. Taiwanese whispers suggest that Blizzard’s planned payment model for their new MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, will be more League of Legends than Dota 2.

Taiwanese site GNN covered a press event with Diablo 3 director Josh Mosqueira in Korea last week. Imminent Diablo expansion Reaper of Souls was the talk of the day, naturally enough - but the site also reportedly learned the basics of Heroes of the Storm’s free-to-play system.

The translated article states that Blizzard are developing a LoL-style payment model for their MOBA - featuring free heroes rotated each week, with purchases made for permanent access to individual heroes.

It’s not the only way to run a successful MOBA. Valve make their money in Dota 2 via an in-game store, which sells equipment, tools, couriers, announcers and tournament items - and allow players access to all of their heroes for free.

Now: here come the caveats. Automatic internet translations aren’t famed for their nuance - and as fansite BlizzPro point out, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Blizzard to apply a different payment model in East Asia to the West.

But they’ll need to work out something. This and Hearthstone are Blizzard’s first fully free-to-play games. Though the first 20 levels of World of Warcraft and the first five missions of StarCraft 2’s single player campaign have long been free to try, they ultimately lead to strict, steep payment gates. Blizzard will have to design something leaner - something flexible enough to let players pay exactly how much they want and no more - for Heroes of the Storm.

GNN also write that players who’ve pre-purchased Reaper of Souls will get free access to a Demon Hunter hero once Heroes of the Storm is launched. Will that be you?

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Dog Pants's picture
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That kind of business model does make more sense than Dota's here. Selling purely on cosmetics is great from a customer point of view, but by being completely avoidable it's reliant on sheer numbers to make money. LoL's less generous model is more likely to turn a profit for a new game with a smaller playerbase, although given other concerns about lack of complexity it might also prove to be another reason for players to not stick around.

I wasn't very familiar with the subtleties of MOBAs when I played LoL so it didn't occur to me at the time, but with a limited character pool how do people assemble a balanced team? Are there always enough options to have a choice of roles?

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MrJoose's picture
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LoL's system is *less* generous, but its still plenty. I played for a good long time without spending a penny.

Its been a while since I played, but if I remember right the free character selection always provided everything you needed for a balanced team. It was never "here is your selection of 10 tanks. Enjoy your inevitable failure".

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