Heroes of the Storm's technical alpha test will be moving into its final phase soon. Blizzard revealed the full schedule for this transition an a reward for long-time testers.
The alpha test servers will be taken offline on September 29th. The game will remain unplayable for over a week while Blizzard switches over to new hardware.
"After we fully transition to production hardware, the final phase of the Technical Alpha for Heroes of the Storm will commence, and we will invite even more players from around the world to test the game," Blizzard said on the Heroes of the Storm website. "At this time we are targeting the game to be patched and playable again in North America, Latin America, South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand on October 7, and in Europe on October 9."
They declined to provide exact dates for Korea, Taiwan and China. However, they said those countries will receive the final alpha in a matter of weeks.
Blizzard wiped all players' accounts to prepare for the transition. Everyone's progression, gold, and shop purchases were reset. Real-money purchases, meanwhile, were refunded to players' Battle.net balance.
After the next major update to the alpha test, real-money and gold purchases will no longer be wiped. Anyone who spends real-money during any phase of Heroes of the Storm's alpha will get a colorful mount called Wonder Billie:
The final phase of Heroes of the Storm's alpha will see every player moved to their Battle.net home region. This means that you'll have access to your normal cross-game friends list. The downside is that the new friends list you created within earlier stages of the alpha will get wiped. Blizzard explained how to keep in touch with these friends with this forum post.
The new patch will bring several other changes as well. World of Warcraft's Anub'arak and Diablo 3's Azmodan will be added as playable characters. Custom games will be available once again. Players will be able to watch replays of their matches, enabling them to learn from their mistakes or simply relive their glory days.
"The matchmaking rating that we use to match players against equally skilled players will also be reset. As a result, there will be a short period of time initially where the new system will need to learn the skill of the players actively playing games, and since everyone will be starting fresh, matches could be a little less than optimal at first. Never fear: the new matchmaking system will quickly learn the skill of the players actively playing games and we’ll soon return to a period of harmony and balance where players will again be matched against players of similar skill."
The Heroes of the Storm alpha is currently limited to a small number of players. However, Blizzard is inviting more and more testers over time. You can get a chance at an invite by opting in through the Beta Profile Settings on your Battle.net account. Evidence suggests that Blizzard will be selling Founder's Packs with beta keys in time as well.
Heroes of the Storm, if you're not aware, is a MOBA in the same vein as Dota 2 or League of Legends. Players pick characters from Diablo, StarCraft or Warcraft and engage in team-based battles. The game is free-to-play with optional microtransactions. For example, players can spend money on alternate skins for their characters or mounts. In-game gold or real-money can be spent to permanently unlock characters; otherwise, players have to choose from a rotating cast of free characters.