Barely a fortnight after Blizzard outlined plans to introduce a new 'artifacts' progression system to Heroes of the Storm, the functionality been removed. The controversial system was Heroes of the Storm's answer to League of Legends' Runes system, but thanks to a combination of community handwringing and balancing issues, it is now no more.
"Artifacts were designed to provide you with a meaningful way to spend gold, while also providing additional options to customize your heroes," a spokesperson from Blizzard wrote on Battle.net . "We wanted to test artifacts in the Alpha to find out if the system fulfilled those goals. As testing began, many of you voiced concerns around fairness issues, “correct build” issues, balance, new player tension, and other issues that made it clear that artifacts weren't working as intended. We agree—those issues started to outweigh the benefits of the system.
"As a result, we have decided to remove the artifact system from Heroes of the Storm with a patch scheduled for later today. We will explore different ways to give you fun and compelling options for spending gold, while avoiding the problems that the initial artifact system created. We don't have any updates on what our future systems may be, but we'll be sure to keep you informed and look forward to getting your feedback on alternate systems."
Blizzard has also readjusted its pre-Hero talent unlocks, allowing players to reach Hero level 4 quicker than before. "Unlocking all talents on a hero can be done in as few as three games with friends in versus mode. We hope this will achieve our goals for maintaining gradual talent exposure while lowering the barrier to entry substantially enough to be acceptable to the average player."
Heroes of the Storm is currently in its Technical Alpha period. The above changes are effective now if you're lucky enough to have access.