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Blizzard puts a smidge of 'Overwatch' in 'Heroes of the Storm'

Hello, Loot Chests!

Blizzard Entertainment
Blizzard Entertainment
Stefanie Fogel
Stefanie Fogel|@stefaniefogel|March 29, 2017 4:40 PM

Blizzard is working hard to overhaul its free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) Heroes of the Storm. The studio has announced some big changes are coming in the game's 2.0 update, including a new reward system similar to Blizzard's hugely popular online shooter, Overwatch.

"This is the next stage in the game's growth," Heroes of the Storm Game Director Alan Dabiri said in a developer update posted on YouTube today. "Heroes 2.0 reflects everything we've been building towards since launch, as well as our current design philosophy and a bunch of extensive plans for future content."

Previously, players earned in-game gold or cosmetic character skins by reaching certain milestone levels. Now, they'll receive a Loot Chest every time they level up. As in Overwatch, the chests will be separated into three categories -- Common, Rare and Epic -- and each type is guaranteed to award at least one item of that rarity or higher. Additionally, players will get hero-specific chests for every 10 levels they gain with a particular character. Impatient players who don't want to wait for level-ups can always buy chests through the game menu.

Of course, if you're going to have Loot Chests, they need to have loot in them. Blizzard is also adding more cosmetic items to the game, including sprays, emojis, portraits and voice lines. Shards, also gained through chests and duplicate items, allow you to craft specific cosmetics to add to your collection.

The 2.0 update's other big change is to Heroes of the Storm's progression system. Before, it was too easy to gain early levels, and later levels felt like a slog. The patch changes all of that by slightly increasing the experience needed during the first few levels, then reducing the amount needed to progress later by approximately 75 to 80 percent. Blizzard is also removing the Player and Hero Level caps. Your Player Level will now be the sum of all Hero levels, so whenever you gain a new Hero level, your overall Player Level will increase too.

"Uncapping progression helps us accomplish our goals to make progression more frequent and more meaningful," Blizzard said in a Battle.net post.

Blizzard is holding a month-long beta to test the changes. They will go live on April 25th.

Blizzard puts a smidge of 'Overwatch' in 'Heroes of the Storm'