“All microchips are,” prog rock band Kansas famously almost sang, “is dust in the wind.” Friend, we are gathered today to celebrate the retirement of another generation of hardware. Blizzard have removed support for 32-bit and DirectX 9 from Heroes Of The Storm, saying farewell to hardware that once powered PCs with such ha-ha-hilarious joke names as “Chipster”, “Siri”, “Crunch ALL The Frames”, and “Not Sure If Overclocked Or Just Loud”. Farewell, old friend. Enjoy your retirement in the cloud. Not that Heroes is free from nostalgia, as yesterday’s patch added Warcraft 3 wrong’un Mal’Ganis as a new character.
When Blizzard first announced the retirement plan in April, they said that “the vast majority of players in the Heroes community are now running the 64-bit version of the game, along with DirectX11 or higher.” 64-bit CPUs and Windows have been mainstream for a decade so there aren’t many still-living PCs that still will be blocked by this change, especially since Blizzard removed Windows XP and Vista support from their current games in 2017, but it’s a non-zero number. A few weird PCs owned by a few players (yes, I’ve seen some) are now unable to play without upgrading.
For a fair while, certain players preferred the 32-bit and DX9 clients because they found them more stable than the newer. Whether that’s fixed or not, I suppose the choice is gone now.
Blizzard didn’t explain why they removed support for these older technologies, but it’s likely that it just makes it easier for them. Needing to support a 32-bit version, for example, means they must build the game to play nicely with small amounts of RAM (32-bit is limited to
2GB 4GB), limiting what they can do. Building for a DX9 minimum also nudges a game’s tech in a certain direction. This doesn’t mean Heroes instantly becomes fancier now those old options are gone, but it does theoretically open more possibilities. Though Blizzard are likely mostly glad they have fewer hardware and software combinations to support, test, and troubleshoot.
As for Mal’Ganis, he’s a Warrior type with a passive lifesteal on attacks, a stunning slash, an AoE attack which armours him, a movement boost that can sleep enemies, and ultimate powers to turn into a swarm of hungry bats or swap his health percentages with an enemy.
See the October 16th patch notes for more on the update, and this video for more on Mal: