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Heroes of the StormNov 7, 2017 6:00 pm CT

Heroes of the Storm changes new hero launch skins and bundles

With the launch of Alexastrasza, Heroes of the Storm will be changing how it handles bundles and skins for new heroes. Notably, hero launch skins — that is, the skins first available when a new hero is released — will only be available for purchase with gems. Even when a new hero’s launch bundle is retired, their launch skins will only be available in a Skin Pack. These Skin Packs will only be available for gems, and not included in Loot Chests at all.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Official Post)

When we launched Heroes 2.0, we made sweeping changes to our progression and reward systems that gave everyone the opportunity to snag all sorts of cosmetic items just by playing Heroes. Since that time, we’ve received a lot of positive feedback about those changes, but we’ve also heard from those of you who feel it’s now more difficult to acquire new items directly once they are no longer available for gem purchase.

We have listened to and absorbed all of this feedback, and today we’d like to share a few upcoming changes we’re making to Heroes’ launch bundles and launch skins that should offer greater control over how you acquire these items going forward.

Heroic Bundles and Gem-Only Skins

With our next patch, we want to give you the ability to buy a new Hero’s launch skins using gems whenever you’d like as a Skin Pack—even if that Hero’s limited-time launch bundle (a.k.a. their Heroic Bundle) has been removed from the Collection. For example, this means that once the upcoming Alexstrasza Heroic Bundle is removed during the week of November 27, a “Dark Queen” Alexstrasza Skin Pack will enter the Collection. That Skin Pack will then remain available for purchase using gems indefinitely.

In order to make this change, Hero launch skins starting with Alexstrasza will be classified as “gem-only” skins. Gem-only skins will not drop in Loot Chests and cannot be forged with Shards, but they will remain permanently available for purchase using gems. Skins that are gem-only will be clearly identified as such in the Collection UI, so they should be easy to differentiate from forgeable skins.

Finally, it’s worth noting that these changes will only apply to a new Hero’s launch bundle and skins. Any other skins that arrive with a Hero, like Alexstrasza’s “Dragon Aspect” skins, will still be forgeable using Shards, and can still be found in Loot Chests. Individual new Hero purchases are also staying the same: Once a Hero’s launch bundle is replaced by a Skin Pack, that Hero will remain purchasable indefinitely as an individual item using Gems or Gold, and will still be available in in Loot Chests.

Get ALL the Skins!

We’ve also received feedback from players who have been disappointed to find past Heroes’ launch skins split up between Loot Chests and direct purchase in the Collection. Thanks to your feedback, we’re going to adjust Heroic Bundles and Skin Packs to include all of a new Hero’s launch skins so you won’t need to rely on Loot Chests to collect them all!

Additionally, and as part of our excitement for the Heroes we announced at BlizzCon 2017, we’re going to give you a little more bang for your buck when you buy Alexstrasza’s and Hanzo’s Heroic Bundles or Skin Packs. Alexstrasza’s Heroic Bundle, for example will include Alexstrasza and all five of her “Dark Queen” gem-only skins for the same price as our previous Heroic Bundles, which typically contain the Hero and three launch skins. This means that you’ll receive two more skins than usual at no extra cost! Some future Heroes will join the Nexus with fewer launch skins, but you will still get all of them when you purchase the associated Heroic Bundle or Skin Pack.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think of these changes after they go live. Your feedback will help as we continue exploring new ways for Heroes players to pick up the items they want and discuss how we can make further improvements in the future.

We hope you have a blast trying out Alexstrasza, and until next time, we’ll see you in the Nexus!

Speaking personally, I take no issue with a free-to-play game monetizing itself however it needs to — or however it wants to. Players paying into the system is what allows such a game to be free for everyone else. That said, I find their messaging disingenuous. While Heroes of the Storm tries to make it sound as if this is being done as a favor, it seems clear they’re trying to reclaim a demographic of paying customers they lost in transition to Heroes 2.0. This Launch Skin change is aimed at those individuals who were happy to purchase skins outright, but turned out to be unwilling to pay money for random loot Loot Chests, or were content to get whatever skins came their way in the Loot Chests they earned for free through simply playing the game.

There’s a reason these skins are not being added to Loot Chests whatsoever: they cannot, under any circumstances, be earned without paying money.

Again, on a personal level, I don’t mind a F2P game utilizing whatever cosmetic monetization options are available to them. I’m even one of those individuals who has spent significantly less money on Heroes of the Storm since loot boxes made their way into the game — because with Loot Chests, I felt no need or compulsion to spend money. I simply find the marketing dishonest. They’re not doing their playerbase a favor. They’re facilitating the ability to spend money. Would their audience have reacted well to a more honest statement, though? Probably not.

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