The newest patch for Heroes of the Storm goes live on the PTR this week, and it’s got the usual assortment of bug fixes, hero changes, numerical tweaks, and so on. It also has this doozy:
Loot chests are no longer available for Gem purchase
That’s right, once this patch goes live, players will no longer be able to purchase loot chests with real-money currency, a.k.a. Gems. Chests can still be obtained in-game. You can read about that, and the rest of the patch notes, on the HotS site.
There’s no reasoning given for the change, but I can think of one possibility. Often, when a game goes into “maintenance mode,” real-money purchases are limited or disabled entirely. Considering Blizzard’s recent de-emphasis of HotS, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out this is the first step toward maintenance mode — or potentially something worse.
On the other hand, actual development hasn’t stopped, with a new hero being teased recently, but it’s equally possible that it was in development before the recent troubles and will at least be seen through to completion. Whatever the case, I wouldn’t cheer Blizzard’s sudden generosity just yet.