In one of the more bizarre Heroes of the Storm stories we’ve encountered in recent months, it appears that Blizzard are now facing a lawsuit for damages on the basis that their popular MOBA is “pay to win”. The claimant, Michael Briggs, filed his suit at The Superior Court of California earlier this week, on the basis that “Blizzard brazenly operate a pay to win policy in order to guarantee a win in Heroes of the Storm.” going to on to state that “For a competitive title, this is wholly inappropriate and encourages players who might not necessarily have financial security to pay in more.”

For anyone who has never played Heroes of the Storm, it sees two teams of five fight on a random Battleground. Every Battleground is made up of a series of lanes that house Towers and Castles. Structures must be defended by each team in order to protect their Core, with the first team to defeat the enemies Core deemed the winner. Many Battlegrounds also have additional objectives and it’s this component Mr Briggs seems to have the problem with.

“It’s not just the fact you have to pay in coins, but the fact the game directly encourages you to do so. Skill goes out the window in favor of paying in. Anyone who pays in less, loses the match. It’s just ridiculous.”

Players make coin offers to Captain Blackheart to bombard the enemy team. 

The Battleground in question that Mr Briggs has such a problem with is Blackheart’s Bay which sees players collect a series of coins that spawn. Once players have collected coins, they turn them into a pirate at the center of the map, known as Captain Blackheart. For an ever increasing number of coins, Captain Blackheart will launch a bombardment of cannon fire against the enemy team and their structures: hand him enough coins over and he’ll destroy their core.

Although Blackheart’s Bay (strictly speaking) could be considered pay to win, it would be misleading to suggest malice or financial gain on Blizzard’s part. Players can choose to pay their coins in or destroy structures the traditional MOBA method: with brute force. We put this to Mr Briggs.

“It’s much more than that. No one wants to destroy a tower themselves on Blackheart’s Bay. It’s all about coins and paying to win. If you can't get more coins and pay more than the opposing team, you’ll lose. It’s that simple. It sets a shocking tone for the genre and is poor play by Blizzard. I thought MOBA's were supposed to be fair.”

Despite Mr Briggs being indifferent towards the mechanics of the Battleground in question, he’s still intending to sue Blizzard for not only “a complete refund” on all his purchases but is also seeking unlimited damages for “stress and undue suffering as a result of continued losses.”

Having approached Blizzard for comment, their lead spokesman, Jimmy Raynor, was keen to answer. “He’s attempting to hit us hard and fast with an unfounded and wholly inaccurate case. We stand by Heroes of the Storm as a fair and accessible product that’s available to all and look forward to this case being dismissed.”

Out of interest, we asked Mr Briggs what his favorite Hero was. “Oh that’s easy - Nova of course.”

We’ll keep you updated with any further news on this case as it unfolds.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Heroes of the Storm Game Page.

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2017

About The Author

Lewis currently splits his time between Heroes of the Storm, Battlerite, and World of Warcraft, having covered MOBAs and MMOs for many years.