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Blizzard is taking the eSports leagues for Heroes of the Storm very seriously. They want their new MOBA to have a solid foundation within the global gaming community of professional electronic sports in the same way that StarCraft 2 is considered one of the biggest draws in the eSports community. To help with this the company has rolled out their plans for Heroes of the Storm in 2016.
The roadmap of competition is laid bare over on the official Heroes of the Storm website. Blizzard explains that there will be three major global championships taking place throughout 2016, one in spring, one in the summer and one in the fall. Qualifiers will be held in regional tournaments spaced out around the world, taking place in Australia/New Zealand, China, Europe, Korea, Latin America, North America, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan.
Blizzard will be working with eSports tournament organizers within each region to setup Heroes of the Storm events. In order to find the best of the best, each region will have their own specific tournaments and the teams will battle to be the top of their region before moving on to the global rounds.
So, for instance, South Korean teams will first have to face off against each other and whoever is left standing is who will move on toward the next leg of the qualifier. Blizzard also notes that they will organize tournaments according to the idiosyncrasies of each region, so the tournaments won't all have the exact same rules in each region.
The first series of tournaments will kick off in January of 2016 to prep for the spring championship, which will carry a prize pool of $500,000. According to the news post on the website, Blizzard is hoping to build a sustainable eSports community around Heroes of the Storm in the same way that they have established a strong community in StarCraft 2, and in the same way that Activision has fostered and established a strong, competitive eSports community for the Call of Duty franchise.
Heroes of the Storm has been one of the breakout hits of 2015, along with Blizzard's undeniably addictive Hearthstone, the latter of which is a card game that makes the company tens of millions of dollars each and every single month. Even that has a budding eSports community surrounding it, but Blizzard knows that Heroes of the Storm is the game that can rightfully compete head-to-head with arch rivals Riot Games and Valve in the MOBA sector. Right now both Dota 2 and League of Legends dominate the MOBA eSports arena, and Blizzard wants to get in on the pie.
One of the things that really separates Heroes of the Storm from other MOBAs is that it's very team oriented. Players don't individually level their characters during bouts in the game, instead players use a Socialist-style dynamic where all of the efforts of the team work toward the greater good of the team. Switching from player levels to team levels means that lone-wolfing it is no longer the order of the day because it means everyone has to do their part to push the team toward victory. It's an interesting dynamic.
You can learn more about the Heroes of the Storm eSports efforts by Blizzard by visiting the official website.