Blizzard have unveiled changes to their Heroes of the storm HGC event, with the second year sticking closely to a lot of the format and culture of this years inaugural year, although with a few tweaks.
Here are some of the big changes, which will take effect when the HGC returns for year two on January 26, 2018.
Improvements to the viewing experience
In the 2018 season all HGC matches will be livestreamed at 60fps in 1080p for the best possible viewing experience for spectators. Broadcasts for the NA and EU HGC matches will be streamed in several other languages on official Blizzard-owned channels throughout the year. Blizzard haven’t yet outlined the full language of streams that will be covered, but plans to release the full list in the future, obviously before the kickoff of the 2018 season.
Changes to the league structure
The league is getting a slight shakeup next year. It will feature 32 teams, evenly spread throughout the four HGC regions of China, Korea, Europe and North America. The eight teams in each region will battle for ten weeks ahead of the Mid-Season Brawl, running for another five weeks before breaking for the eastern teams to compete in the Eastern Clash while the western teams will come together in the Western Clash. This will then loop around for the second half of the year, capped off with the HGC finals which will likely take place at Blizzcon again.
One change will see winners of the Clash events securing an extra spot for their home region in the next Mid-Season Brawl or HGC event, meaning that if EU outfit Team Dignitas were to triumph over NA team Roll20, Europe would have one extra team competing at the next international event.
If you’re outside of the main HGC regions, there will be dedicated competitions that can get you a seat at the table for the Mid-Season Brawl or HGC Finals. This includes competitors from Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. This will mean competition to secure the Eastern Wild Card or Western Wild Card to earn a spot at the next global HGC global event.
Interestingly, these third party events for the regions not covered by the official HGC will be organised by local partners, meaning Blizzard are opening the door again for third party tournament providers to get involved with Heroes of the Storm.
More stringent rules on team ownership.
From 2018 moving forwards, the HGC will be requiring all of their teams to identify ownership that will be responsible for fielding a competitive roster, managing their teams operations and working within the HGC league office to ensure everything between the team and Blizzard goes smoothly.
This will mean better opportunities on both sides for marketing and league planning, which in turn, according to Blizzard’s pretty release, will allow players to focus their attention on gameplay and the pressures that come with being a professional Heroes of the Storm player.
This is an interesting development for fans of the HGC and seems to be Blizzard making further steps towards sustainability.