Blizzard has been subject of an exceptional amount of controversy over previous weeks since their ban of Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung following a call for the liberation of Hong Kong during a Hearthstone tournament. Since then, Blizzard has been the subject of criticism from the media, gamers, its own employees and even prominent politicians.
Now, the public outcry against Blizzard will hit very close to home. Fighting for the Future will be launching a massive protest on the opening day of Blizzard’s biggest event of the year, BlizzCon, under the Gamers for Freedom banner.
I’m not sure I could have picked a worse week to get back into the eSports weekend calendar. LPL is taking a short break so it’s a light schedule on the League of Legends front. Dota 2 is mostly qualifiers and small regional events. SC2 is all qualifiers. At least CS:GO and Hearthstone have a couple of big tournaments this weekend.
This weekend, the world of eSport descends on Jonkoping, Sweden. The little Swedish town becomes the home of competitive StarCraft, Dota, CS:GO, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm as it’s the host city of DreamHack Winter 2015. StarCraft II, Hearthstone and HOTS all have their own tournaments that started earlier today and will continue through to Saturday. Dota 2 and CS:GO have ongoing leagues that are concluding their seasons in Jonkoping.
It’s a quiet weekend in the world of eSports. There isn’t a lot happening outside of group stages in team leagues but you can certainly find some of that happening if you do some digging. Dota 2 takes the lion’s share of the attention with the conclusion of the first Dota 2 major, The Frankfurt Major. Friday sees the tournament go from five to three teams and Saturday sees the Lower Bracket Final and Grand Final to crown the first Dota 2 major champion.
Blizzard has a little eSports action themselves. BaseTradeTV is hosting a one-day SC2 TVT tournament on Saturday. Over in Hearthstone, the Collegiate Hearthstone Championship wraps up on Sunday.
Last weekend was the final stop on the road to BlizzCon. This weekend, the world of eSports has its eyes on Anaheim as Hearthstone, StarCraft and Heroes of the Storm have their World Championship finals at BlizzCon. There are some other regional events and qualifiers in other games happening but all the big money is at BlizzCon.
This is a big weekend in the world of eSports for two reasons.
The big reason is the 2015 League of Legends World Championship wraps up on Saturday with the Grand Final between SK Telecom and Koo Tigers. Worlds is one of the most watched sporting events in the world and two of Korea’s best going should be a pretty intense matchup even if we expect Faker and MaRin to cement their status as two of the best in the world.
On the other side of the world, the Road to BlizzCon nears its conclusion. Two rounds of 16 will take place at ESL’s studio in Burbank ahead of next weekend’s tournaments at BlizzCon. On Friday and Saturday, Hearthstone’s World Championship group stages will wrap up to set the stage for the playoffs in Anaheim. Sunday is all about StarCraft’s WCS Global Finals round of 16 where we’ll be watching to see how far the lone foreigner, French Protoss Lilbow, can go.
I don’t know about you but I was glued to Heroes of the Dorm last weekend. While I’m a fan of the shorter (15 to 25 minute) matches, it would seem that they work for TV even better. Unless broadcasters and publishers would compromise on split-screen ads or live reads or big ad banners during matches, HOTS may dominate the TV eSports scene in North America just through sheer sponsor-friendliness. That and because the matches were awesome.
I think I’ve mentioned it before but I had a provisional offer to be a League of Legends caster for a friend of a friend but that fell through when the organizers weren’t actually willing to put any money into their league (no money for prize pool, graphics, music or casters made it a failed venture before it launched). I think it worked out for the best because I’d much rather get in on the ground floor with HOTS eSports than League even if it’s at its peak. How does one become a MOBA caster anyway?
Anyway, there isn’t much HOTS this weekend. League has the LCK Spring Grand Final. Elsewhere, CS:GO and Hearthstone have some big championships being decided this weekend. More Dota 2 leagues work through the group stages. And Gfinity has some big names competing for a $10,000 prize pool and 1,800 WCS points at their Spring Masters II.
It’s a really busy weekend in the world of eSports. There are tournaments and leagues that are taking place and wrapping up all over the world. You name it and there’s a tournament this weekend. I think this might actually be the biggest weekend calendar that we’ve ever done.
Let’s go through the Cole’s Notes version of the calendar. DreamHack Bucharest has the Dota 2 StarSeries XII playoffs, PGL’s CS:GO Championship Series final four and tournaments for Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone. We have the LPL spring finals this weekend. Round 2 of the 2015 SC2 Proleague sees CJ Entus and Jin Air Green Wings do battle in the final. And Heroes of the Dorm wraps up Sunday night on ESPN3 and ESPN2. Yes, Blizzard got their first major Heroes of the Storm tournament on US cable television which is actually a massive deal.
I hope you’ve blocked off your weekend to watch some eSports. ESL is having their big IEM season finale event in Katowice this weekend. The highlight is probably the IEM World Championship of StarCraft II which sees the best in the world battle it out for ESL’s version of the world championship and a $68,000 payday. The folks at ESL have also pulled in some top talent for their League of Legends, CS:GO and Hearthstone tournaments.
It’s a quiet weekend in the world of eSports this weekend. Outside of the various top flight League of Legends professional leagues, not a lot is happening. There are a couple of Dota leagues ongoing and ESL is having another round of its weekly Hearthstone tournaments. The big non-LOL event of the weekend is the Round 1 Finals of the SC2 Proleague as SK Telecom T1 takes on Jin Air Green Wings. Okay, there’s some World Championship Series events too but that’s still just the group stages.