This one is for any naysayers of Heroes Of The Storm’s health as an esport, since – at the very least – Blizzard hasn’t yet given up on its take on the MOBA genre.
The announcement of Heroes Of The Storm’s 2017 came via the official website, and detailed the new schedule as well as some of the teams already invited.
This new format with feature four regional leagues that are played through two Clashes – or seasons – with a spring season and a summer season, separated with tournaments throughout the course of the annual competition.
These leagues will feature the eight best teams in the the region, with every team playing two matches against every other team in ten weeks of competition.
The two seasons will be punctuated by the Mid-Season Brawl, a tournament that will feature the current best from each of the four regions while the second through to sixth placed teams will enter a playoff for the second, additional slot in the Mid-Season Brawl.
The summer season will then follow the Mid-Season Brawl, with more weeks of league play that culminated in the Finals for the Heroes Of The Storm Global Championship.
The four regions will all feature in the finals, while other teams representing Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Taiwan will also be entered into the tournament – though there are currently no details on how they will be seeded.
It’s very much akin to the format of League Of Legends regional Challenger Series that feeds into the World Championship at the end of each year.
In addition to this new format to the game, there will be official exhibition matches that will feature their own prize pool and – as Blizzard puts it – ‘bragging rights’.
Currently there are six teams across three of the four regions already invited into the 2017 Heroes Of The Storm competition, with the remaining six (or eight in China’s case) in each region being filled after a round of Open Qualifiers that will be hosted after this year’s BlizzCon.
The team’s already invited are: Denial eSports & Astral Authority (North American), Team Dignitas & Fnatic (Europe) and MVP Black & Ballistix (Korea).
With a much bigger prize pool available across the tournament and this newly reworked and much more prevalent league system, it’s clear Blizzard is looking to revitalise the esports side of its MOBA. And it could well work, too.