Blizzard’s infamous Loot Boxes are coming to Heroes of the Storm as the MOBA announces that it’s now entering the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 era. Gameplay-wise, Heroes of the Storm 2.0 means very little. It’s more of an acknowledgement of the various maps, characters, and balance changes that have been added to the game since launch. However, the storefront and meta progressions systems are being reworked entirely. Heroes of the Storm 2.0 is perhaps best considered a celebration, rather than a relaunch.

Starting today, with a major patch released to the newly designated Open Beta, Blizzard will be releasing assorted new content over the next month. Today’s patch includes an all new progression system which removes the current player level systems and replaces it with a level summing up all individual character levels. Character leveling will also change, with later levels being much faster to gain and the level 20 cap being removed. The goal is to make leveling less tedious while also rewarding players for investing time into their characters.

Instead of being rewarded with specific unlocks for character levels, all newly earned levels will now instead give out a Loot Box, or as Heroes calls them, Loot Chests. Loot Chests, like in Overwatch, will be packed with goodies of varying rarities going all the way up to Legendary Skins. Loot Chests can potentially include all currently unlockable content within Heroes, except event exclusive content. That includes skins, mounts, color variations, as well as newly announced content like banners, icons, sprays, voice lines, and emojis.

The new progression  system still allows players to unlock heroes with gold or skins with real money, now branded Gems. Also, if a loot box includes items you already have, you’ll earn a currency named Shards which can then be used to buy cosmetic items.

As for Blizzard’s next month of content plans, it starts with a new hero out today on the Open Beta. The new hero is based on Diablo II‘s Amazon and is named Cassia. From there, here’s the timeline:

  • 3/30: Reddit Q&A
  • 4/12: Heroes Timeline
  • 4/17: New Hero + New Battleground
  • 4/18: Launch Event
  • 4/19: Reddit Q&A
  • 4/20: New Bundles + New Program
  • 4/25: New Cinematic + Nexus Challenge + Event
  • 5/4: New Hero

Needless to say, Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm 2.0 plans are expansive.

While the Heroes of the Storm community is likely to embrace today’s announcement both for the abundance of new content and for the activity it’ll drive back into the game, Blizzard’s definitely got a not-so-secret motive. That motive is that Loot Boxes, or Loot Chests in Heroes‘ case, are insanely profitable. Overwatch may not be the best comparison, since it’s a hugely successful game apart from its Loot Boxes, but the wider industry is also shifting towards the gambling-based reward system. As long as both Blizzard and players are happy though, who can complain?

Heroes of the Storm is currently available exclusively on PC and is free to play.  The Heroes 2.0 update is currently available via the game’s Open Beta, previously the PTR but no longer requiring an additional download.

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