There will be no Blizzard games at WCA 2017
The organizers failed to obtain licenses from Blizzard.
World Cyber Arena—the major multi-esports event in China—has cancelled all Blizzard esports disciplines, according to a breaking report from today.
This is the first year that WCA will not feature any Blizzard games at its grand finals since the circuit was founded in 2014. The inaugural year of the franchise featured Hearthstone and WarCraft 3—the latter still immensely popular in China—and later expanded to include StarCraft 2 in 2016.
WCA quickly became one of the highest paying circuits, especially for some Blizzard titles. The 2014 edition featured a $195,000 prize pool for Hearthstone, a number only rivaled by Blizzard’s own World Championship. In 2015, WCA upped the Hearthstone prize pool even more, awarding close to $220,000—just $30,000 short of the HWC World Finals. Even WarCraft 3 players competed for a good payday, with the 2014 and 2015 editions of the tournament featuring a prize pool of around $100,000.
For all the grand prize pools, WCA struggled to establish itself as a proper major and receive recognition and praise from the esports community. The tournaments featured questionable formats, including eight-man Best-of-3 round robin group stages for Hearthstone, and were often plagued by production issues.
According to WCA representative Frank Zhang, WCA’s reason for cutting ties with the Blizzard games stems from a failure to obtain esports license from the developing giant.
“We don’t know the reason, and due to time limitations we can’t wait for a response from Blizzard before our press conference on March 23,” Zhang told GosuGamers.
According to Zhang, this year’s authorization process has been significantly slower compared to last year’s and required WCA to submit extensive documentation, which still couldn’t secure a license for the esports organizer.
“We provided all documents which Blizzard requested and tried everything we could do but it didn’t work.”
“If we keep waiting for Blizzard to respond, this will put WCA into a dilemma situation,” Zhang added.
The press conference is expected to reveal more details on the 2017 WCA circuit and it remains to be seen whether it will feature major esports titles like Dota 2 and CS:GO, both of which were present at last year’s edition.
UPDATE 10:10 CET:
According to WCA, talks with Blizzard are to resume following heated reactions from the local Blizzard communities, particularly the WarCraft 3 players and casters.