“It’s sort of a culmination of everything that has happened in the game since launch. We have reached the point where we feel like the game is different enough that calling it 2.0 makes sense.” That’s Heroes of the Storm Lead Game Designer Travis McGeathy talking about the recent 2.0 announcement, which represents a plethora of changes coming to the game later this month. Most significantly, the popular (don’t call it a) MOBA will have its progression system overhauled, but it will now boast Loot Chests, an Overwatch-themed battleground and introduce numerous cosmetic items designed to cement the fact that you’re playing a game that celebrates all things Blizzard.
The 2.0 moniker is also a branding opportunity, of course – a convenient shorthand to drive new interest in the game and reclaim lapsed players. After all, Heroes of the Storm has seen many changes from the initial beta period until now. “There has actually been a couple of points over the past year where the community has called what we’ve done Heroes 2.0,” Travis tells me. “It’s a live game and we’re constantly improving it over time. We launched with a ranked version, which many refer to as the second version of the game, but we weren’t happy with it so we redid it. The progression update we’re talking about here is very similar. The progression system that went out the door was fine for the time, but we’ve kind of grown beyond that.” Timing, of course, is key and with the changes coming to the game, plus the introduction of new heroes from Diablo (Cassia, the Javazon from Diablo II) and Overwatch (ninja extraordinaire Genji), and new locations to battle in — adding ‘2.0’ feels right.