Blizzard announces Heroes of the Storm eSports changes

Gaming / Mac / PC

Blizzard is taking a page from Riot Games’ eSports book and is looking to really compete for market share.

Earlier this week, Blizzard gave everyone a heads up that “major changes are coming to Heroes of the Storm eSports next year.” They say that their plans are for 2017 and beyond, but that they’re not ready to reveal the specifics of what they are going to do.

What they did share with us basically sounds like they’re creating a formal league. The four major regions in all of eSports (North America, Europe, China & Korea) will see their top 8 teams signed under contract and be given regular competition. One can assume that it will be a point/rank based system, where the teams are vying for the top spot during the season, that ultimately heads into a playoff bracket to determine a champion.

Blizzard is calling this new league the Heroes Global Championship. Teams in this program will not only compete against those in their region, but that they will also be given the opportunity to play internationally. Over the course of three international tournaments and one global, we will see teams go head to head that we wouldn’t normally see during the rest of the season. Think of it the same way as Major League Baseball’s inter-league play.

The HGC will hold local competitions in Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand to add more teams and talent into the mix. This feels very much like a minor league farm system, and a chance for fans and sponsors alike to be introduced to players they might not otherwise be exposed to.

The final piece Blizzard has given us is a “promotion and relegation system.” Running alongside with the season of the top teams, amateur teams will compete weekly in an open division with the ultimate prize of getting a chance to compete against some of the cellar-dwelling pro teams. This will happen two times a year.

All in all, this announcement feels like it has two components:

  1. Blizzard will finally start implementing the MLG format, infrastructure and processes that they purchased earlier this year
  2. Blizzard is taking a page from Riot Games’ eSports book and is looking to really compete for market share

What are your thoughts on this new league? Do you think Blizzard can catch up to and match what Riot is doing? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Blizzard
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