Sep 23 2016 - 8:55 pm

Blizzard replace Heroes of the Storm circuit with online LCS-style league for 2017

Heroes of the Storm esports will change dramatically in 2017, with the current global championship circuit being replaced with online regional leagues, similar to the structure of the LCS
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Heroes of the Storm esports will change dramatically in 2017, with the current global championship circuit being replaced with online regional leagues, similar to the structure of the LCS.

The four major regions, the Americas, Europe, Korea, and China, will each have a league for their top eight teams. These teams will receive contracts and salaries directly from Blizzard, much in the way that Riot Games contracts League of Legends players for its leagues.

Alongside these regional leagues and the global finals, three more international events will take place throughout the year. Teams from other regions like Taiwan and Southeast Asia will also take part in these through local qualifying events. 

Below the eight team leagues there will be open leagues for up-and-coming and amateur teams, and promotion and relegation between the two divisions.

Qualifiers for the league will begin in November, with more information on prize pool and format likely to be revealed at BlizzCon the same month. 

Though these leagues are an objective improvement for the Americas and Europe, Korea and China have already operated Blizzard-sponsored offline leagues. Some negative reactions have already been voiced to the prospect of those regions being forced to move their competition online.

Heroes of the Storm esports has had a tough year, with major organizations like Natus Vincere, Cloud9, Virtus Pro, and compLexity opting to get out of the game. But with Blizzard paying salaries, and guaranteed exposure for the teams that take part, this league system may entice some of these organizations to re-enter the scene.

Jan 22 2017 - 9:12 pm

Hearthstone's NA vs CN event ends in controversy

The Chinese players were coasting to victory, but their final win provoked minor outrage.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

China's best Hearthstone players turned back a team of the best North America had to offer—but the event did not end without controversy.

In the final game of the event series, China's "Lvge" made a play that seemed to defy logic. He played Dirty Rat on turn two, risking pulling a hugely advantageous early Tomb Pillager or Gadgetzan Auctioneer for his opponent Keaton "Chakki" Gill.

However, according to the American players the Chinese casters and Lvge's teammates were screaming to play the Rat when he picked the card up, and with no white noise in the player headsets Lvge could likely hear the noise and take the cue.

The play promoted a furious series of tweets from Tempo Storm founder and Team NA player Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk—though the tweets were later deleted.

Chakki and other players have also commented on the controversy, claiming that they raised the issue of players being able to hear the casters. The other members of each team were also watching the stream of the game, meaning they could see the hands of the opposing player.

There was little that could be done to address the controversy unless the admins immediately halted the game in progress, as the game was tournament point for the Chinese side.

Despite the controversial finish, team China had run away with the tournament to get into that position. Thanks to two wins by "OmegaZero" and "Lovelychook" over the two day event, Lvge was left with only Chakki left to beat.

China had also won the first of the three showpiece events, before Canada's Julien “Cydonia” Perrault had single-handedly won the second for team North America.

Today - 8:57 am

Cloud9 and FlyQuest soar in NA LCS openers

After a weekend of exciting games, two teams remain undefeated.
Callum Leslie
Weekend Editor, Dot Esports.
Photo via Riot Games

Cloud9 and FlyQuest found themselves on top of the NA LCS heap after the first weekend of play of 2017.

Cloud9, who dispatched TSM on the opening day in convincing fashion, secured a second win over Team Dignitas on day three.

The match was a close affair, impressing many fans who were unsure what to make of the new Dignitas lineup. Cloud were able to record a 2-1 victory with Dignitas winning game two in just 33 minutes, showing that this may well be a match we see down the road in the post-season.

Dignitas did manage to pick up a win on their return to the LCS, knocking off Pheonix1 2-1.

Cloud9's former sister team, now known as FlyQuest, turned heads on their debut with a pair of strong wins. After beating EnVyUs on day two, they faced a team who have made four playoffs in a row—Team Liquid.

It looked like experience would count for Liquid after they took FlyQuest apart in game one, but the rookie side rallied hard. After levelling the series, FlyQuest took the third game in a lightning fast 25 minutes. In the final two games they kept Liquid to just six kills in each.

TSM rebounded from their loss to Cloud9 with a thrilling victory over Immortals. After two gruelling 50+ minute games, in which both teams topped 90,000 gold, the teams were locked at 1-1. Game three saw a much more assured TSM performance, cleaning up the objectives and taking a decisive win inside 40 minutes.

Counter Logic Gaming also opened their account for 2017, winning against EnVyUs 2-0. That loss and the loss to FlyQuest leaves EnVyUs struggling at the bottom of the table alongside Echo Fox, who were unsuccessful against both Pheonix1 and Immortals.