The World of Warcraft professional esports scene will undergo a structural revamp and receive higher prize-pools in 2018.
In an official WoW esports live stream, Blizzard Esports Manager Jeramy McIntyre and Community Manager Josh Allen revealed the big plans for how World of Warcraft esports will be presented this year.
The biggest news is the 2018 WoW Arena World Championship will now be supported with “a full calendar of tournaments around the world”, ensuring only the best players and teams make it to the final stage, which now offers contestants a share of a US$280,000 prize pool.
While details on the new regional tournaments in Asia-Pacific, China and Latin America are coming later in the year, the first European and North American Seasonal Finals were announced. Four teams each from Europe and North America will battle it out in both events to win a share of the $100,000 prize-pool, and a coveted spot at the 2018 World Championship.
The WoW Arena Cups will now be spread more evenly throughout the year, with nine cups held in each region (18 total) and the first of the three Arena Cup seasons will commence on January 31.
Arena Cups now offer both cash prizes and AWC Points, and the team with the most points from each season will be invited to that season’s Finals events, whereas the best overall teams of the year from each supported region will be invited to play at the Arena World Championship.
Arena Cups will also get a boost in prize-pools: Blizzard is putting up US $10,000 (previously $6,000) in prizes for the winners for all 18 events.
The Mythic Dungeon Invitational is also making a comeback this year, with events running for Asia Pacific, Americas, China and Europe. Each region will have their own weekend of broadcasts, as the best teams of five battle through the Proving Grounds and Time Trials to earn a spot in their Regional Finals and ultimately the Global Finals.
The new format will be double elimination and the Mythic Keystone level will be more dynamic to reward participants who clear dungeons quicker or survive the harder ones. Two teams from each region will make it to the Global Finals, to make eight global teams who will compete on stage at a Blizzard-organized live event.
While World of WarCraft isn’t exactly Blizzard’s primary focus when it comes to esports these days – that honour goes to the Overwatch League, which smashed viewership records last week – it’s great to see the game is still receiving support for the smaller, but equally passionate competitive community.
Official dates and venues for both the Seasonal Finals and the Arena Cups are to be announced at a later date – you can watch the official WoW esport roadmap video embedded below.