Blizzard's newly minted MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, is making the jump from streaming video to cable television. Yesterday, ESPN announced that it would broadcast an upcoming eSports tournament on one of its network channels.
Heroes of the Dorm is a Blizzard-run tournament that will take place at the end of the month. Students from the United States and Canada will match up via Blizzard's Battle.net servers over several weeks. And the winning team will be given $25,000 per year in tuition reimbursement for the rest of their college careers.
Winning the tournament would give five gamers a leg up on those annoying student loans, but the event itself is a major step forward for eSports. These days, its not unusual for ESPN to televise major events like the League of Legends World Championship and Major League Gaming's Call of Duty tournaments. But college-level events are uncommon. In fact, Heroes of the Dorm will be ESPN's inaugural voyage into collegiate eSports.
If you're thinking about signing up for the tournament, here's what you need to know. Registration is already underway and ends on March 26th. You'll need between five and seven people to complete your roster, and they all need to attend the same college (though, only five will be eligible for the tuition reimbursement).
The first round of qualifiers will be held on March 28th and 29th. Whoever makes it through the qualifiers will be entered in the tournament, which starts on April 11th and ends on the 19th. The last four teams will have their matches televised on ESPN.
So, get a haircut. Don't embarrass your mother on live television.
Heroes of the Storm is currently in BETA, and it will remain that way throughout the tournament. According to the legal documentation on the event's website, players are expected to keep the game up to date as Blizzard releases patches during the competition.
Obviously, this tournament is a big part of Blizzard's marketing strategy for Heroes of the Storm. League of Legends and DOTA 2 are the biggest games on the planet right now, and Heroes of the Storm is a direct competitor. So, establishing the game as a major contender in the world of eSports is a good move on Blizzard's part.
Plus, as much as I would love to believe that the folks at Blizzard are offering tuition reimbursement because they want to support student education, I can't help but notice that they scheduled the event during the middle of the school year. In fact, it's only a few weeks before finals.
I'm on to you, Blizzard.
If you're still confused, check out this video: