Vulcun pulls the plug on its $100,000 Hearthstone league
Vulcun Deckmasters, which launched last month, will see its first season come to a close on Friday with Gareth "Cipher" Rouse of Fade2Karma and top streamer Jeffrey "Trump" Shih fighting for the lion's share of the $50,000 prize. The news that the second season wasn't happening—first reported by GosuGamers and later confirmed on Vulcun's official blog—broke just before yesterday's semifinals.
Vulcun cited vague "overarching issues regarding Hearthstone" as the reason for the cancellation.
While the viewing numbers weren't bad, hovering around 30,000 to 40,000 per broadcast, the league was poorly promoted: Vulcun's official website contains no references to the league or Hearthstone at all. The first broadcasts also struggled with production issues. Though the company promised that fantasy Hearthstone was in development, it never materialized.
Vulcun also ran into controversy surrounding its running of the tournament itself. Danish player "herudra" raised concerns when the rules around tiebreakers appeared to have been changed either retroactively or without players being informed, allowing Archon's Jon "Orange" Westberg to advance ahead of him. Tournament admins admitted that the full rules around tiebreakers had not been made available to players.
The event also raises questions regarding Hearthstone World Championship point sanctioning. Deckmasters awarded 230 points by virtue of having 50 percent of the places filled with "open" qualifiers—though that qualification was only open to those who achieved the rank of Legend in game (less than 1 percent of Hearthstone's 30 million players). Blizzard has been consistently opaque regarding the criteria it is applying for tournaments. Questions have been raised, for instance, over how tournaments like the ESL Legendary Series S1 finals award points.
We may never know the real reason why Vulcun is getting out of Hearthstone almost as abruptly as it entered. But the company is not likely to be remembered too fondly in the future—if at all.
Image via Vulcun