Last year, Blizzard announced that it would be moving Heroes of the Storm towards “long-term sustainability.” Developers were moved onto new projects, release cadence was slowed down, and esports programs were cut. The downfall of HotS is one of Blizzard’s most public slip-ups of recent years – and co-founder and former president Mike Morhaime thinks it’s because the developer was late to the party.
Speaking to VG247, Morhaime – who stepped down as president last year before leaving the company in April – said that “one of my regrets is that we didn’t pursue Dota early enough.” The MOBA started life as a mod for Warcraft 3 before being picked up by Valve, but Morhaime says that the company was too heavily focused on World of Warcraft to react.
“The community was doing a great job supporting [Defence of the Ancients] and we didn’t want to disrupt that. And frankly we had our hands full trying to support the growth of World of Warcraft. We felt like focusing on Warcraft was the right call at the time.”
“If I could go back in time and say ‘why don’t we have a small team that’s focused on doing something with Dota?’ I’d love to try doing that a little bit earlier.” Morhaime even says that the mode could have been included alongside StarCraft 2.
By the time Heroes of the Storm released in 2015, Valve, alongside League of Legends developer Riot Games, had already seen off most of the MOBA competition, and the games were well-established as leading industry players. HotS was relatively well-received, but Morhaime says that he thinks its release was “probably too late.”