Just months after its release, Heroes of the Storm has quickly climbed its way into the conversation of games that could challenge current eSports royalty League of Legends, Counter Strike and Dota 2 for future eyeballs and earnings.
Blizzard’s attempt at a MOBA has been met with mixed results since its release it June, but there is no denying the team brawler is here to stay after hitting the MSI Masters Gaming Arena stage at PAX Prime in Seattle over the weekend for the first-ever international tournament, which included a $50,000 prize pool, making it the third most lucrative event in the game’s short history.
Once titled Blizzard All-Stars for mixes characters and content from multiple franchises under the Blizzard banner (Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft), HotS has received both praise and backlash for being a simplified, more team-oriented MOBA.
Prize money positioning
With the conclusion of the MSI tournament, HotS officially crossed over the million-dollar mark in prize money won by professional players to date.
A mark good for 21st overall as of now, but could be closer to the top 15 by November, with $500,000 on the line at Worlds during BlizzCon, including $200,000 to the winner, part of more than $1.2 million to be doled out by the developer during the inaugural season ending in Anaheim.
A total purse five times as high as that from the HWC China Championship in August, which currently holds the top spot at just over $100,000.
The North American (9/20) and European (10/4) Championships will also offer $100,000, with Korea (10/3) set for $90,000 and Taiwan (10/04) topping out at $50,000.
Not all fun and games for competitors
While the MGA event set the global stage for things to come, there are still some kinks to be worked out.
The tournament was supposed to host teams from five regions, but both Chinese teams were unable to attend after hitting a snag with their visas, which opened the door for the Korean team to take home the winner’s share of $30,000 after sweeping North America in the finals.
Eight of the top 10 grossing players are from China.
Fanfare so far
HotS hit more than nine million accounts during beta testing in February and as of the end of July sat at number nine on Raptr’s list of most-played PC games for the month, coming in tied with SMITE, another MOBA trying to carve out space on the heels of League of Legends and Dota 2.
Both games saw a slight drop from June.
One of four Blizzard titles in the top 15 most viewed, HotS checked in at number thirteen on Twitch’s top 20 most-watched games for July.
SMITE did not make the list.
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