Blizzard announces new eSports program
Hearthstone Masters is designed to be “more sustainable, entertaining and accessible”
Blizzard is hoping that it can revolutionize Hearthstone and, perhaps, gain back some of its market share. It has announced a new program for Hearthstone called Hearthstone Masters, which it is billing as a way to make Hearthstone eSports “more sustainable, entertaining and accessible.”
Hearthstone Masters includes three tiers – Qualifiers, Masters Tour and Grandmasters. The Qualifiers tier encompasses an entry level to the new format and is open to all eligible players. There will be weekly tournaments held by Blizzard through Battlefly, in which players will have the opportunity to compete in as many as 30 weekly tournaments. If a player wins, he or she will be invited to participate in a corresponding Masters Tour qualifying event. There will be a leaderboard for the Masters Qualifiers, and the top four will move on to the Masters Tour.
The Masters Tour will be held at the LINQ hotel in Las Vegas. It is scheduled for June 14-16 and will feature both Swiss and elimination rounds with a prize pool of $250,000. The prize pool could grow even larger, as Blizzard expects in-game bundles to be sold that can add to the pot. The Masters Tours will move from Las Vegas to Asia and Europe, but those dates have yet to be announced. In addition to the Qualifiers, there is also the possibility to earn entry to the Masters Tour events through third-party tournaments, the China Gold Series or by earning enough Hearthstone Competitive points through the Year of the Raven game.
Not much has been released yet on the Grand Masters – more info will be distributed by Blizzard in the coming months.