Blizzard unveiled today that Overwatch’s Hanzo and World of Warcraft’s Alexstrasza are joining its multiplayer online battle arena Heroes of the Storm at the opening ceremony of its annual fan event BlizzCon in Anaheim, California. In addition to the two new heroes, Heroes of the Storm will also be getting a 2018 update that will include a new map and improvements to gameplay such as stealth and laneing.
Hanzo hails from Blizzard’s hit team shooter Overwatch, which now boasts over 35 million players. He’s an archer that can act as a ranged assassin. World of Warcraft’s Alexstrasza, also known as the Binder of Life and the Queen of the Dragons, can transform into a fire-breathing dragon. News of the two characters joining the Heroes of the Storm roster was leaked earlier today by a Chinese Heroes of the Storm website.
Heroes of the Storm debuted in 2015 and is Blizzard’s answer to hugely popular MOBAs like Dota 2 and League of Legends. However, it’s been having trouble keeping up with its competitors. It relaunched earlier this year with additional heroes in its roster as well as loot boxes in a bid to appeal to a broader audience. The game is already free to play, and the Heroes of the Storm 2.0 update added more free virtual rewards, such as bundles that give new players 20 heroes for free.
Though Heroes of the Storm isn’t as popular as the digital card game Hearthstone or Overwatch, Blizzard has still been pushing to raise its profile. It got its own official esports tournament this year with the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (HGC). And it was part of Blizzard’s partnership with Twitch, which would give the livestreaming platform exclusive rights to broadcast esports tournaments like the HGC, the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and Overwatch Premier Series.