Blizzard details new HOTS cadence, shames toxic Overwatch pros, and pays over 100 Irish staff to leave

    
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Despite the recent news from Blizzard that Heroes of the Storm’s development cadence is being scaled back, with some of its developers being shifted to work on other projects, the latest update from Production Director Kaéo Milker seems more or less optimistic about the game’s future. “While our team is smaller,” Milker writes, “we’re a fully functional group of developers who can create the features and content we all want, in time.”

Over the next few months, the next HotS hero will be announced before he/she/it hits the PTR in the first week of January, “and that hero will be followed by a string of cool events and hero reworks en route to our next hero release.” Beyond that, however, things are less certain, Milker says that the team is “actively discussing” patch and content-update cadence as well as “reconsidering some very core areas of the game to identify more ways we can make Heroes even better for players.”

Meanwhile, in other Blizzard news, Eurogamer sources from Blizzard’s Cork, Ireland, office report that “over 100 people have decided to leave the company” as part of “a voluntary program that offers staff money to leave Blizzard.” The departures have reportedly put some stress on the remaining customer service representatives, but Blizzard assures players that they “should continue to expect the same award-winning level of service from Blizzard today as they have received in the past.”

“The employees who are choosing to leave the company later this month are taking advantage of a voluntary and longstanding program we offer in various locations around the world. This program, which has proven popular in the past, gives eligible staff the option to make the most of incentives while proactively pursuing other career opportunities. No one is required or encouraged to participate in this program, but for those who do, we work hard to make it generous.”

And last, but not least, Blizzard has been taking new steps to combat rule-breaking by Overwatch League pro players, this time by way of good ol’-fashioned public shaming. The studio has put together a “discipline tracker” that contains a list of all pro players who have violated the OWL’s code of conduct and the punishments meted out to them. Whether the threat of shame actually makes a difference in pro players’ behaviors remains to be seen, but somehow it seems unlikely.

Source: Heroes of the Storm forums, Eurogamer, Kotaku. Thanks, Carebear!
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Lateris

Blizzard, end of an era.

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Armsbend

Blizzard general disarray gets deeper and deeper. I suspect Blizzard will become a much different company than we are accustomed to in 2019. And none of the old guard is left around to stand in it’s way. If they don’t care – and they don’t seem to care – then I don’t care either. Good riddance and thanks for all the fish.

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Utakata

“Whether the threat of shame actually makes a difference in pro players’ behaviors remains to be seen, but somehow it seems unlikely.”

And in some ways encourages toxicity as well as adding more to it. Just *BTMFA!

*Note: A take on DTMFA, by replacing “Dump” with “Ban”. And NSFW if you look the rest up. >.<

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Blizzard assures players that they “should continue to expect the same award-winning level of service from Blizzard today as they have received in the past.”

Sigh. You can’t lose 100 people and do the same amount of work unless the people remaining are getting shafted. Unless, of course, Blizzard’s player base has shrunk so much that those 100 people were playing Mario Kart in their spare time.

100 people times a 40 hours week is 4000 hours x 50 weeks (vacation, etc.) is 200,000 hours. 200,000 hours less of customer service.

Tell me again how nothing will change.

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Nathan Aldana

yeah, thats always a flowry way of saying “our remaining employees work life balance just got infionitely worse”

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Dobablo

Brilliant. I can finally stand a chance of getting into those Mario Kart top 100.

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Danny Smith

Not that shocking. If they have indeed been ‘ordered by activision to drastically cut costs’ you go for the CS long before the people actually making products that could effect product output and revenue.

Xijit
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Xijit

Why fire 3 executives who sit on their ass 90% of the day, when you can fire 100 productive workers for the same impact on reducing payroll?

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Armsman

And Activison exerts control over a company that brings in more money per quarter than some small countries and proceeds to erode it’s profitability and start to turn it into yet another one of their bankrupt subsidiaries. WTG.

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rosieposie

Because they are not showing the mystical Growth that the investors want to see. Who cares if you just have massive loads of money? They want to have ALL the money.

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Bryan Correll

Whether the threat of shame actually makes a difference in pro players’ behaviors remains to be seen

I’m sure it will make a difference. Some of the biggest offenders will use it promote an image of being the ‘bad boys’ of gaming.

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Bruno Brito

Not to diss on the HotS devs. I know they’re trying their best but: The only people who fall for that PR, are the ones who want to. Now that HotS has no competitive scene, most of the changes already showed up to be player experience changes. They’re not buffing characters for balance, they’re nerfing the ones that make the game a bit of a chore.

Don’t expect anything strong with such a small team. We’ll have decent events and some heroes and such, but outside that, i don’t expect anything major. This game will just “trudge along” with other known “calm titles” like LoTRO, EQ2, etc etc. Games that don’t shutdown but don’t get the limelight either.

Just play DotA. I’m being honest here. I regret not investing in DotA as my main moba.

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Sorenthaz

At least without a competitive scene now it means they can experiment with more heavy changes, theoretically.

“reconsidering some very core areas of the game to identify more ways we can make Heroes even better for players.”

For example that could be taken in multiple ways. Some bad, some good, others neutral. But if they’re basically in an “f it, why not?” state of development then maybe they can actually take some real risks now and experiment more heavily to find something that could turn the game’s fortunes around in the long run.

’cause there are indeed issues with the core gameplay that made the game a joke among the other big MOBAs.

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Bruno Brito

I guess. But any change for the better would be made before. Shared exp is a terrible idea in a moba game based on minute reactions. No gold gain makes exp gain just stand in lane. HotS devolves into a teambrawler because of those two terrible mechanics. Altho lane pressure exists, the mobility creep makes the game extremely easy to rotate.

Honestly, just take off shared exp and we may see an exponencial increase in quality gaming.

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Matthäus Wey

Its really hard to figure out what’s really going on behind the scenes but for now it really seems this company is doomed to some degree…

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Jaymes Buckman

Just like how people seem doomed right before their 40th birthdays?

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Schmidt.Capela

Companies don’t age in the same way people do. A well managed company can be eternal. Nintendo, for example, is 129 years old.

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Jaymes Buckman

And they’ve had ups and downs too. Honestly, they’ve caught more criticism in the last decade and a half than Blizzard, but I still like them.