Often undervalued, always unappreciated, Heroes of the Storm is dusting itself off and rising from the ashes with the aid of its loyal community.
For Blizzard fans, the premise of Heroes of the Storm seems too good to be true. Enter the Nexus, a dimension locked in eternal battle, and take on the iconic persona of almost any Blizzard character to duke it out in deadly 5v5 combat in a bid to destroy your enemy’s core.
From the moment players first began brawling in Heroes of the Storm in 2015, an exciting and dedicated community began to flourish and a competitive esports scene sprang to life soon after.
For years the game thrived, guided by a hugely passionate development team and a loyal fan base. At its height, the Heroes Global Championship (HGC) boasted a healthy $1,000,000 prize pool and the annual tournament ‘Heroes of the Dorm’ which supported university students and paid their tuition fees as part of their prize money, was televised by ESPN.
HotS was also blessed with regular updates which included new characters, skins, seasonal events and game modes, even creating its own anime shorts and expanding its lore through original stories and characters.
Unfortunately, however, the good times for HotS would not last.
Blizzard drastically cut the size of the Heroes of the Storm development team in 2018 whilst simultaneously disbanding all related competitive esports. This decision came at short notice to the dismay of the professional players, announcers, and personalities who relied on the game and the esports scene surrounding it to make a living.
With the community reeling from this sudden withdrawal and the ‘dead game’ memes piling ever higher, the situation looked bleak for HotS. A somber atmosphere now infiltrated proceedings and from 2019 to the end of 2020, the production of new content for the game slowed to a crawl as more of the passionate development team were cut loose or re-deployed to other Blizzard games.
The end of 2020, however, brought new hope courtesy of the game’s own community…
Enter the Community Clash League (CCL), a competitive tournament created by Heroes Hearth, a passionate group of HotS personalities, players and ex-pros. Blossoming into life to re-energise and re-establish support and demand for the game, CCL has been rapidly gaining momentum since its inception.
Starting from humble beginnings as the Celebrity Clash League and a largely community donated $3000 prize pool, CCL has now evolved to encompass a huge network of fans and players and at last count, a $40,000 total prize fund.
The clash sees a host of ex HGC pros and personalities split into teams to battle their way through group stages before entering an all-or-nothing knockout phase. This echoes the format of HGC tournaments of old but with a fresh, community-driven twist that aims to re-ignite the competitive soul of Heroes of the Storm.
Shortly to embark on its second official season, with more hype, more attention and more at stake than ever, CCL is kindling a flame beneath the game once more and the wider gaming world is starting to take notice. A recent Reddit post also charted the resurgence in the HotS Reddit community since the instigation of CCL and the effect it has had both in terms of enticing older players back to the game and encouraging new players to take an interest.
Since the dark days of 2018, HotS has not only survived but with the initiative of events and organizations like CCL and Heroes Hearth, has begun to regain its audience. Viewership figures for the last HGC tournament in 2018 peaked at around 65K whilst CCL now regularly attracts 30K+ views on Twitch alone.
The strength of any game’s community plays a huge part in its continued success and CCL along with the rest of HotS‘s loyal fan-base, allied with the remaining dedicated team of developers creating and implementing as much new content as they can, are currently keeping the game alive and pumping blood through its veins.
While the future of Heroes of the Storm may be uncertain, there’s one thing we can be certain of. The more ignored the game is (there was little to no HotS content featured at BlizzCon 2021 for example) the stronger its defiant core beats, booming to the tune of orcish war-drums, to remind Blizzard bosses and internet trolls alike, that Heroes of the Storm is far from dead and is forging a new life for itself.
CCL season 2 starts on May 1, 2021 and you can catch it live on Twitch, Youtube and Facebook.
You can learn more about the CCL, Heroes Hearth and Heroes of the Storm, right HERE.