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- Warcraft 3: Reforged
One might make the argument that the tournament scene for Blizzard Entertainment’s RTS games has been a bit neglected lately. That won’t be an issue for much longer — Warcraft 3 esports will be making a return thanks to a partnership the California company has entered into with ESL and Dreamhack. What’s more, they’re also taking on esports duties for Starcraft 2.
Blizzard Entertainment, ESL, and Dreamhack have entered into a three-year agreement to create new ESL Pro Tour formats for both Warcraft 3: Reforged and Starcraft 2 according to a press release. Blizzard will be providing a prize pool of more than $1.8 million for the first season of Starcraft 2 and $200,000 for the first season of Warcraft 3: Reforged.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been pretty successful for ESL, and now they’ll be rounding out their offerings with arguably the most popular real-time strategy game of the last decade (Starcraft 2) and a strong contender for second place (Warcraft 3: Reforged). ESL promises to deliver a “compelling story” for fans to follow along with a format and casting style that should make it easy for newer fans of the genre to understand.
Previously, Blizzard handled Starcraft 2 esports themselves through the World Championship Series. This new format will replace Blizzard’s homegrown tournament series for Starcraft 2 for the next three years. Tournaments leading up to grand finals will be taking place on four continents.
The ESL and Dreamhack takeover will have another consequence for fans of RTS games — the world finals will no longer be a part of Blizzcon. Instead, they will be moved to Katowice, the site of past (and future) events run by ESL. This will also have another slightly less bad consequence — it could potentially free up floor space at Blizzcon for the company’s upcoming games Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4.
Warcraft 3 esports has been out of the spotlight for a long time now, but the release of the remaster means that it’s poised to make its return (at least for the next three years, anyway). Let’s hope we’ll finally see a Warcraft 4 someday to keep things going. For now, you can pre-order Warcraft 3: Reforged in advance of its January 28, 2019, release date.