Fans of StarCraft II and Warcraft III will have been buoyed by the news released earlier this week that ESL and DreamHack have come together to work out a totally new look for the forthcoming ESL Pro Tour and Reforged events for both of these popular esports games.
In addition, both Starcraft II and Warcraft III will return to online competition from June 2020, with the scheduled events planned to take teams up to the Masters Championship, scheduled to be held in 2021.
ESL Pro Tour Expanded
Those punters looking for a bet on StarCraft 2 or Warcraft III will be delighted to learn of the changes in store for the ESL Pro Tour. The new-look will see the competition played out online across three separate seasons for the remainder of 2020. Each season in the ESL Pro League will last five weeks for Stacraft 2, while it will last four weeks for Warcraft III.
These changes mean that there is going to be a considerable increase in the number of games contested in the tournament, with around 270% more broadcast content compared to how the tournament had originally been designed.
Alongside this increase, the grassroots level of the games will be boosted by an additional $36,000 in prize money, which has been guaranteed until the 31st January 2021 and this has come about due to the recent increase in viewers and participants in the recent ESL Open Cups.
Speaking about the changes, the Senior Product Manager at ESL, Shaun Clark stated:
“We are confident that this is the best design that Starcraft II and Warcraft III: Reforged can get in 2020, combining regional and global competition while providing a clear pathway to the Masters Championship of 2021.”
“As esports are global and inherently digital, we are uniquely positioned to continue this legac, hold our tournaments online, and even improve the format for players, fans and partners. By heavily increasing the broadcast hours of the ESL Pro Tour, we aim to deliver even more esports content than before to entertain and support the RTS communities.”
Qualification for the Masters Championship 2021
A ranking system will be used throughout the different season’s of the ESL Pro Tour to decide who manages to play their way through rankings and into the Masters Championship of 2021 to be played in Katowice, Poland. Points awarded to the competitors will be split regionally, with each region’s players competing to be one of their representatives at the IEM Katowice Masters in 2021.
Alongside these higher-level events, the weekly ESL Open Cups will remain open for amateur and grassroots level, with the enhanced prize pools as disclosed previously.
Looking for the Open Cups? We got you covered. Don't forget to our new day and starting hours 📅
— ESL StarCraft 2 (@ESLSC2) May 14, 2020
By organizing the tournaments in this way, DreamHack Esports Events and the ESL have left it possible for the tournaments to return to offline competition later in the year. If that is not possible, then the current design means that the qualifying competitions can run through until 2021.
The plan is for the original offline format to be reintroduced when it is safe for players, fans and employees.