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The genre that encompasses games such as Dota and League of Legends sprouted from Defense of the Ancients, a fan-developed mod designed within the framework of Warcraft 3. It seemed fitting, then, that Warcraft creator Blizzard Entertainment would announce a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, of its own during BlizzCon 2010.
A fully-fledged MOBA, the project bore many names and assumed multiple forms throughout its relatively brief lifecycle. It first appeared manifested as Blizzard DOTA, then adopted the title of Blizzard All-Stars due to a legal dispute, before the developer settled on Heroes of the Storm. But the name arguably mattered little overall, especially since players had made their preferences known by the time Blizzard tried cutting itself a piece of the battle arena pie.
A couple delays and a production overhaul meant Heroes of the Storm wouldn’t arrive until roughly five years after stealing the spotlight at BlizzCon in 2010. When its servers finally came online, Valve and Riot Games had cornered the market with Dota and League of Legends, respectively, leaving barely any room for another property to muscle its way inside. Still, Blizzard made an attempt, and succeeded to some degree.
Heroes of the Storm challenged the familiar design paradigms of battle arenas, which allowed the Warcraft studio to carve out a unique space. Professional and collegiate-level Esports leagues even spawned from the endeavor, yet Heroes never quite reached the heights of its competitors. As a result, the game’s few successes did nothing to stave off its early trip to the graveyard of discontinued online services.
This is the tragedy of Heroes of the Storm.
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