MOBA Blizzard All-Stars working on free-to-play business model with micro-transactions
Remember Blizzard All-Stars? You might remember it being called Blizzard DOTA, but it's not called that anymore. That's not the point -- the point is that we haven't really heard much about the MOBA with you favorite Blizzard characters in quite a while. I don't consider "coming soonish" on their website to be an official update on the game. Thankfully someone from Blizzard decided to shed some light on Blizzard All-Star's status.
Speaking with Eurogamer last week, StarCraft 2 production director Chris Sigaty said that Blizzard is "actively working" on the game, but they're working to deliver a business model that's free-to-play supported by micro-transaction -- something Blizzard hasn't tried yet.
We're actively working on it. That I can confirm. A lot of the stuff that's remaining right now that we need to focus on are the systems necessary to pull off a game with a different business model than StarCraft 2. StarCraft 2 is a box. We intend to do something different with the business model in Blizzard All-Stars, something more closely resembling the other types of games in that genre, the MOBA-style games that are out there today, and being able to sell smaller amounts of things to players, the things they want.
One needs to look no further than Riot Games' League of Legends for a successful business model. With League of Legends, it's entirely free to play with the option to purchase Riot Points with real-life money. RP allows you to buy champions and different skins (costumes) for those champions. In no way do Riot Points have a 'pay-to-win' effect. You get Influence Points (IP) after playing every match, which you can use to buy champions, as well. Really, skins are the only thing that require RP, but they are in no way necessary to the game. So you could play forever for free.
Blizzard All-Stars is looking to be a stand-alone game. It was intended for release on or near the expansion Heart of the Swarm for StarCraft 2. Now, while Sigaty refused to go into specifics, he said, "We'll go into more details about that in the future but I suspect you will not have to have StarCraft 2 to play Blizzard All-Stars. We're definitely emphasizing it as its own product in the future."
A recurring problem with Blizzard -- at least for me -- is that they repeatedly do things like this. Their games get stuck in development for years after building hype. One of two things happen: either the hype grows to impossible-to-reach heights and we end up disappointed with the final product (Diablo III), or it takes to long to come out and better things come out before it. I'd rather see them not rush it and get everything right, but how hard can it be to just charge for skins for their Blizzard characters from Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft?