Heroes of the Storm gets its first competitive league

Heroes of the Storm may only be in alpha, but it’s already growing a robust esports scene

Heroes of the Storm may only be in alpha, but it’s already growing a robust esports scene.

Blizzard’s next generation multiplayer online battle arena, which places popular characters from its massive gaming franchises like Kerrigan, Diablo, and Malfurion Stormrage against each other on League of Legends-like battlefields, lacks much of the structure required to support competitive play. But it’s already had its first tournament, and now is getting its first full league—the Heroes Premiere League.

The Premier League, organized by community website Nexus Champ, pits the top eight teams from each of two regions, North America and Europe, against each in other in regular weekly matches beginning on Sep. 11. You can find the full schedule here.

In making good on their “premiere” moniker, the league will feature matches with the “Nexus Champ Pre Game show” and “Curse Gaming Post Game Show”, where community figures and players will analyze the draft phase, team strategies, and interview players after the matches. Broadcasts will be uploaded to YouTube one week after the games, with some matches receiving live streaming commentary.

Some of the top teams include Symbiote Gaming, featuring Taylor “Arthelon” Edur, a former challenger level League of Legends players on Determined Gaming (now Complexity), and Team Snowflake, which features former StarCraft 2 professionals Greg “IdrA” Fields and Jacob “LzGaMeR” Winstead.

The league is an impressive endeavour considering the competitive features that are currently available in the alpha build of the game. While the gameplay and art looks polished, many game systems almost required for competitive play are not yet available.

Custom games, for instance, are not available, meaning two teams hoping to play a match must sync up their queue times and pray to face each other. Draft mode, a staple of the MOBA genre, is currently unavailable, meaning teams must run a manual pick and ban phase in chat before a game. Other features, like spectator modes, are grandfathered in from the StarCraft engine on which the game is based. It’s hardly an ideal situation for the players and teams involved, but that’s the level of passion Heroes seems to instill in its players.

Image via Blizzard