On Monday, Activision Blizzard announced the first-ever official esports competition for World of Warcraft Classic. The WoW Classic Summer Bowl will kick off on Wednesday, June 17 and run for three weeks as teams from Europe and North America compete for separate US $4,000 prize pools.
Ever since Blizzard relaunched WoW Classic servers at the end of August 2019, the prominent gaming company saw immense growth in revenue and won back some of the support they lost within the gaming community during the Blitzchung controversy last October.
Since August, Blizzard have remained mostly hands-off when it came to WoW Classic as a potential esports title. While many see it as a very unbalanced game that is unsuited to competitive play, there are plenty of gamers who view the situation differently.
In a bid to show WoW Classic can work as an esports game, prominent WoW streamer and content creator Tips Out organised the Classic Dueler’s League (CDL), which was succeeded by the Twitch Rivals-hosted WoW Classic battleground tournament. The latter featured a plethora of Twitch streamers and iconic figures from the WoW Classic community competing for a US $10,000 prize pool.
The success of the inaugural season of CDL ushered Tips Out to run a second season in May this year. The league further expanded with a European CDL tournament, which is set to enter the group stage on Sunday, June 14, leading to the CDL European Championship starting on Thursday, June 18.
The immense success of community-hosted WoW events grabbed the attention of Activision Blizzard, who decided to show their support for the Classic WoW community by creating the first-ever fully sanctioned WoW Classic player-versus-player tournament – the WoW Classic Summer Bowl.
The Summer Bowl will use WoW Classic’s recently implemented War Game feature, which allows individual players to group up and compete against other groups of players who accept their invite. The tournament will see two groups of 10 players battle in the Capture the Flag game mode on the iconic Warsong Gulch (WSG) battleground.
The tournament will be split into two stages for each region: qualifiers and finals. The qualifiers are open sign-ups, while the finals will feature only the top six teams from each of Europe and North America. The format and other details about the tournament have yet to be revealed and may depend on the number of entries.
The only requirements the teams need to meet before they can apply for the Summer Bowl is to have 10 players, all of whom have level 60 characters. There are no gear requirements, although we are likely to see most players fully decked out with the highest tier of equipment, as well as Grand Marshals and High Warlords with their Rank 14 gear – the highest level of PvP equipment and weapons available in the game.