With the multiplayer online battle arena being a dominant game genre thanks to titles like DOTA 2 and League of Legends, it is only natural that a PC-centric company like Blizzard Entertainment to take part with its upcoming game Heroes of the Storm. However, announcing your encroachment onto territory dominated by Riot Games (arguably) is a sign that Blizzard is really confident about its upcoming free-to-play venture.
According to an official announcement, Blizzard Entertainment and Chinese online tech company NetEase will be bringing Heroes of the Storm to mainland China. The publishing deal between the two companies will last for three years; it was made due to Chinese government law where foreign game companies need a Chinese partner to start pushing out games in the country.
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This marks the fourth game brought to China thanks to NetEase; previous games include World of Warcraft, StarCraft II and Hearthstone. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and NetEase CEO William Ding expressed joy in this expanded partnership. Ding said that the company is working closely with Blizzard to prepare for the game’s launch in China. Players in the country can check out the recently-live site for the game here.
We played a lot of Heroes of the Storm in its alpha state, and we love how it turned out so far. From its colorful cast members with varying skill-sets to its streamlined gameplay design and leveling-up structure, Blizzard has found a potentially great way to attract people put off by the genre’s hardcore mentality. This also means that Riot and Valve may have to step up their current game, since there’s a big player coming into the LoL/DOTA 2-savvy country.
Also, we have a hunch that the recently-announced hero Li Li will be a hit over there.