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The game that arguably started it all is going through a pretty big change. This week ESL and Dreamhack announced a three year deal with Blizzard that would see the Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged esports scenes swap homes.
Over the course of the deal a total of $4.6 Million will be awarded to winners. Blizzard will be contributing $1.8 Million per year to the new pro tour with over $200,000 going toward the first season.
Historically, the World Finals of competitive Starcraft would be held at the yearly Blizzcon in Anaheim, California. As ESL and Dreamhack take over both scenes for Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged we’ll see the creation of the ESL Pro Tour for both games. This will involve multiple tournaments throughout the year on over four different continents with the finals culminating at IEM Katowice.
There won’t be too much of a change in rankings and qualifications for Starcraft II as ESL and Dreamhack keep the format from previous model. The first season will consist of seven tournaments including the next two years at Katowice.
For Warcraft III: Reforged, which is set to release later this month on January 28th, ESL and Dreamhack will be creating the ESL Pro Tour Warcraft III: Reforged. There will be a total of four tournaments through 2020 that end in the Championship event. They also plan on having weekly ESL Open Cups that will allow for amateurs to place.
Robbie’s Thoughts: Overall this is a good thing. There may be some bitterness with some people seeing a scene that has been squarely in Blizzard’s court move to different hands. However, ESL and Dreamhack have a proven track record of success in the esports scene and putting Starcraft and Warcraft with them and all the other titles they support can’t do any harm to those scenes. On Blizzard’s side, if they’re having trouble running these scenes or feel like they’re losing steam it’s much better they pass it off than just burn it to the ground like they with Heroes of the Storm.