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Heroes of the StormDec 21, 2018 2:00 pm CT

Heroes of the Storm community reacted with nostalgia and heartbreak over sudden HGC closure

It’s been a week since Blizzard announced the end of the Heroes of the Storm esports divisions and that has left the community with a lot of thoughts. We’ve seen everything from testimonials of how things got scaled back behind the scenes, heartfelt memories from group events, players switching to other games, and organizations closing their heroes divisions. I’ve grabbed the highlights that give a good idea of how the community has reacted to this sudden news.

Up first Artemis has a great thread with a lot of behind the scenes pictures of the HeroesHearth squad she managed at several events. There’s everything from Heroes of the Dorm to BlizzCons. HeroesHearth was my favorite team to cheer for. Khroen made it easy to love them and what they did — his enthusiasm for the game was infectious. Her whole thread is full of fans sharing their memories and photos. It really lets you see how strongly the community felt about the game and its players.

Khroen has a very good outlook on this in general “If you can’t change it, enjoy it.” He also talks about just how happy he was to be able to play a game that he was passionate about, and enjoyed. It was something that really showed in his performance. There is some swearing in the video so be careful watching it at work.

Michele Morrow helped to make the inaugural Heroes of the Dorm event huge success. It was the first esports event that I — and many other people who watched on ESPN2 — had ever watched, and I loved being able to see the coordinated plays that a team was able to make with Heroes. They were a far cry from my experience playing the game up until that point, and it was amazing to see how they made their characters work together.

Vipey reminded me of how traumatic watching the Pokemon movie was when I was a kid. Still brings a bit of a tear to my eye just thinking about this scene.

There’s been a lot of announcements of teams shutting down their Heroes squad and releasing the players from their contracts. But only one announcement includes clips of the team lip-synching to The Backstreet Boys. We’ll miss you Fnatic!

It wasn’t all happy memories though. Justing from Team Simplicity painted a grim picture of what behind the scenes was like for players. There were issues getting the cheered “bits” from Twitch distributed to the players, trouble getting pro players promoted on the Blizzard launcher, problems even getting a decent meal at an event, and lack of communication on the part of Blizzard. It looks like the writing was on the wall for a while.

MFPallytime has been making videos and streaming Heroes for almost as many years as the game has been active. I love watching his videos because they’re trying to be helpful and informative. He was in the middle of making a video for every character in Heroes when the news was announced. Happily, he chose to go on and finish out the whole cast, showing how they’ve changed over the last year, and talking about their updates. NSFW warning.

Heroes esports in 2019

As we look to the future for Heroes there are many organizations and individuals who aren’t interested in stopping. It may not be run by Blizzard but there are a few groups ready to step up and start putting events together. HeroesHearth, HeroesHype, and Heroes Lounge are all working on figuring out a way forward with professional level Heroes. I hope that these organizations are able to work together and find a way to not only bring professional-level events back but grow the community even more.

HeroesHype helped to make the HGC Open Division happen, and were running events even before the HGC was a thing at all. They’re not ready to give up and have just finished running a fun winter tournament. Knowing the work that they’ve put into every other event and tournament they’ve run, I’m quite looking forward to what they bring out in 2019.

Khaldor has been casting games for Heroes Lounge over the last couple of days. Some amazing games in their lowest bracket, all the way up to their most competitive. What Heroes Lounge doesn’t have is a pro division. They’ve been running the largest amateur tournaments, but starting at the end of January they’re going to run qualifiers for a pro tier of competition. In a little over a day they’ve got a crowd-funded prize pool that’s already raised more than $8,000 for the players.

What are your favorite memories of the HGC? Has there been a moment that compares with seeing Cloud9 pull out a Murky in the semifinals of BlizzCon 2015? Did you stumble on it by accident during an ESPN broadcast, or were you a diehard from the first game you played?

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