Blizzard unveils plans for World of Warcraft esports in 2021

Huge changes are coming to both PvP and PvE tournaments.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Blizzard showcased today what it has in store for World of Warcraft esports next year.

Starting from a foundation of what 2020 has offered, the tournament system will be adjusted worldwide to ensure that the best players in both PvP and PvE gameplay have lots of opportunities to show everyone what they’re made off.

Arena World Championship

With the launch of the 14th year of the Arena World Championship, Blizzard is expanding to two seasons of epic PvP competition. In 2021, the AWC will consist of two seasons culminating in the AWC: Shadowlands 2021 Grand Finals next fall. A $900,000 total prize pool will be up for grabs for the year.

Season one

Beginning today, teams in North America and Europe can sign up on GameBattles for the season one open cups. In addition to a $10,000 prize pool per cup, teams will be competing for points. The top eight point-earning teams from both North America and Europe will advance to the circuit following the conclusion of all four cups.

The circuit will consist of a four-week round robin and a $160,000 total prize pool. Following the circuit, the top-four teams from each region will earn their spots in the season one finals and a shot at the $200,000 prize pool.

Season two

Once the season one champions have been crowned, it’ll be time to set the stage for season two. Instead of another series of open cups, the top-six regional teams from the season one circuit will automatically advance to the season two circuit, while the remaining spots will be filled through an open relegation cup. The relegation cup will consist of the bottom two teams from the North American and European season one circuit, battling against an open field of competitors looking to secure a slot in season two.  The top-two teams from each region at the end of the cup will advance to the season two circuit.

Like in season one, the remaining teams in North America and Europe will be fighting for their share of the $160,000 total prize pool and one of the four regional slots in the finals. The final teams to advance will battle for the expanded $300,000 prize pool and to cement their names as the AWC: Shadowlands 2021 Grand Finals champions.

Mythic Dungeon International

Following the continued success of the Mythic Dungeon International, and with new dungeons in Shadowlands to challenge players, regional distinctions are being removed to create a truly global competition. The MDI in 2021 will consist of two standalone seasons—each concluding in an epic Global Finals—and one-off tournaments, providing players from around the world multiple chances to take home their share of over $750,000 in prizing.

Image via Blizzard

In 2021, China is being separated into its own program while players from the rest of the world will now compete in a distinct global MDI region across two seasons. Each season will consist of four cups, culminating in a Global Finals. To compete, teams will register for time frials, from which the top-eight global teams each week advance to an MDI Cup.

Teams will earn points based on how well they do, in addition to competing for a share of each cup’s $20,000 prize pool. At the end of four cups, the six teams with the most points will advance to the Global Finals. In addition to the top-six global teams, two more will join the Global Finals from a dedicated China MDI season. These eight teams will battle it out for their share of the $300,000 prize pool and title of MDI Global Champion.

The first MDI 2021 season begins on Jan. 14 and sign-ups are now open. You can head over to GameBattles to register.

New seasonal affix: Prideful

The first affix for Shadowlands’ first season is Prideful. While the Prideful affix is active, players will overflow with pride as they defeat non-boss enemies, eventually forming a Manifestation of Pride. Upon defeating this Manifestation, players will become greatly empowered, opening new strategies that will help their party defeat the challenges ahead.

One-off events

Beyond the two MDI seasons, 2021 will feature two one-off tournaments for players to tackle the dungeons of Shadowlands in unique ways. These tournaments will showcase different competitive formats and provide unique looks on competitive dungeon running.