Blizzard has announced big changes for this year’s StarCraft 2 World Championship Series, including a whopping prize pool of $1.6 million.
At a press conference in South Korea, as reported by Gamespot, Blizzard announced the championship series will be split into three equal, parallel streams in North America, Europe and South Korea.
In South Korea, GomTV and OnGameNet will host the league, while Major League Gaming handles North America and the Electronic Sports League will host the European side. Players will need to select and commit to a single region at the start of the series, although they are free to compete in non-WCS events in any region.
There will be three seasons over the course of the year, with regional and seasonal final events, and a unified global ranking system which draws on points award at each event. At the end of the three seasons, the top 16 players will compete in the BlizzCon Global Finals for the title of World Champion.
Each regional season will run for eight to ten weeks, with matches on weekdays so competitors can travel to external events on weekends. Non-WCS events will also give points, but how much has not been determined.
The whole competition will be livestreamed at 720p, via Twitch to western viewers, and next year there will be four seasons.
In an interview, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said the changes chould make the whole system easier to understand, and also avoid scheduling conflicts where players sometimes had to choose between different qualifiers.
“It’s very hard to follow, to really know what the relative importance of winning various things are. I think it really falls to us, to Blizzard, we’re really the only company in position to work with everybody, to help create a single storyline in the ecosystem,” he said.
This is not an empty claim – Blizzard has managed to get rival Korean eSports leagues OGN and GomTV working together for the first time.
Hit the link above for more details on how the World Championship Series is structured in all territories, and Morhaime’s reasoning for the changes.