With many Heroes of the Storm players and personalities quitting the game to focus on Overwatch and even some teams disbanding their HotS roster, Cloud9 joined the unhype train, announcing that they are disbanding their Heroes of the Storm lineup, who was actually one of the best in North America for almost a year, actually becoming the first ever Heroes of the Storm World Champions after sweeping Team Dignitas.
While the organisation didn’t extrapolate on their reasons for this decision, it was mention that the recent performance at NA Summer Regional might have had something to do with it. Aside from that, the owner of Cloud 9, Jack Etienne, and his management team might have seen where the winds are blowing and decided to get out of the scene before it fully died.
This announcement comes after the coach for one of the best teams in the world, MVP Black, said in an interview that the organisation is considering a move away from the game, citing frustrations with the lack of growth in the Competitive scene, as well as the new hero release speed. We can certainly understand that because it’s hard to justify continuing to play a game as a career, when there aren’t many sponsors to support you and tournaments to win in order to earn money, with no hope for improvement in sight.
Obviously, by disbanding their Heroes of the Storm team, Cloud9 put their players in a different position, having to decide what they want to do next. While there’s no info about the plans of Keiwan “k1pro” Itakura, John Paul “KingCaffeine” Lopez, Derek “DunkTrain” Arabian, and Benjamin “Cattlepillar” Bunk, Kun “iDream” Fang announced on twitter that he made the decision to pursue school instead of trying to find an opportunity to continue his pro gaming journey.
While it’s definitely to sad to witness what is turning out to be the collapse of an eSport, There’s not much to do, providing the developers of Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Entertainment, do not take drastic steps to improve the situation. In my opinion, it’s extremely unlikely that Blizzard will come to Competitive HotS’ rescue, as most of their attention is likely to be focused on their newest IP, Overwatch. The likelihood of something being done to save Heroes of the Storm is also lowered in part due to its free-to-play nature, promising less financial incentive to the company to attract new players over trying to capture as much of the market as possible with Overwatch, which is buy to play with a minor splash of mini-transactions for cosmetic improvements like skins.