Blizzard has announced some sizeable changes in its esports plans for Hearthstone for the coming year. More than $4 million in prizes will be given out at professional esports events for the game this year, although those events will vary in intensity and organization.
A large portion of the Blizzard Hearthstone system will be moving online. This will include a three-tier approach to esports competitions. Also, there will be some new changes over how the rankings points for esports teams would be organized. The changes are made to produce a careful plan for managing rankings and for finding the best competitors.
The first tier for Hearthstone competitions in 2019 will entail online qualifiers. Teams will have to register to compete in these events. The qualifications for these events will vary.
Live tournaments will make up the second tier. Qualifier winners will get into one of three live invitational tournaments. A $250,000 prize pool will be included in each of these tournaments. A few more invitational events will be planned in future years.
The third tier will be the Premier Competition level. The tournament circuit format will be replaced in favor of a round-robin system that features regional divisions. Blizzard will release future information on these competitive events, although they are expected to include the top teams from the invitationals.
Details on where any of these special events would be held at have not been released at this moment. It is expected that a vast majority of the system will be moved online. This would be done to sort out how more teams can participate in events and competitions.
Masters Point Changes
Some changes are being made to the Masters point system that Hearthstone uses for identifying the top players and teams. Players can get points through many competitive seasons, although those points will expire as the year ends.
Players who have at least 120 points can be invited to a live global tournament at the player’s choice of location. Those with 150 points can get to two tournaments. Again, the player can choose which tournaments one can participate in.
Players at 175 points will be invited to all three of the live tournaments. A $1,000 appearance bonus will be provided at each tournament.
The highest target is at 200 points. A $2,500 appearance bonus is provided here alongside admission to all the live tournaments.
People who are still trying to attain the highest rewards at this point will be given a grace period through March to continue to earn points. Those points will be moved into the new structure that Blizzard has planned out.
New Game Mode
The Conquest format that has been used in esports events in the past will be replaced with something new. The Conquest format had been used in the Hearthstone Championship Tour. Blizzard has not made an official announcement of what the new format would entail. The events are expected to be more competitive and entertaining, although many of the strategies that might be noticed in traditional Hearthstone games may still be noticed in this event.