There is no smoking in Heroes of the Storm

But I don't really care.  In StarCraft a main character is name Tychus, he smokes a cigar, its permanantly attached to his face.  That is except when he travels to the Nexus, apparently because there is no smoking there.  

The Nexus is the fictional world that connects all the worlds of the Blizzard games.  It is from Heroes of the Storm, a MOBA I've spoken about once or twice.  The ame is amazing, but when Tychus was released without a cigar players were upset.  Phil Gonzales drew the short straw and was sent out as the human sacrifice to the masses, he responded with this post on reddit.

Heroes of the Storm is a multi-region game with a teen rating. There are a magnitude of guidelines we have to be aware of. From a development standpoint we prioritize making Heroes and Skins as utilitarian as possible, if a single model can be used in all regions, that's a huge win for development.
In the case of Tychus' cigar there were regions where he wouldn't be allowed to smoke. We have two options:
  • Make 2 versions, one smoking, one non-smoking
  • Remove the Cigar
Making 2 versions means more data management, multiple duplicates of the asset (if we update an animation, it has to propagate to all versions) such as the the death ragdoll model, The facial animations, his morph into the Odin, and apply that process to every skin as well. This mountain of work affects multiple departments and has to be addressed every time we'd adjust Tychus.
Remove the cigar. Put the development time into more content instead of bloating the management of one character. This is a decision based on productivity. The appeal of Tychus should not hinge on a cigar anyways, and we have no issue with that aspect of his character.
These scenarios emerge frequently, and the cigar-removal was a impulsive fix because we want as many people as possible to experience the same content. Here are some other adventures:
  • Skelethur doesn't even show up in some regions because of guidelines about the depiction of human remains
  • There was a desire to localize Gazlowe's license plate to every region. That is a ton of time spent on a small detail that you become very disenchanted with. We got off the hook for that one, but I'd rather remove the plate and start work on the next hero instead of spending days on license plate management (his name is spelled differently in some countries, and he even has a completely different name in some regions).
  • Skulls and Blood. We have to do 'alternate' versions for anything with these elements. We have different versions of grave golems, Blackheart, etc.
It is a full time job managing those exceptions, and the less we have to manage, the more time we can spend making more game!

I don't care if he has a cigar, but then again I haven't played StarCraft (RTS are hard!)  Perhaps I would feel differently if I thought that it was essential to the character, but when I look at it all I can think is can he even get his hands to his face in that suit?  Do the ashes fall inside the helmet?  Reality aside, Gonzales, response is perfectly reasonable.  People still aren't really happy about it, but those people are never happy.