The current system for the Hearthstone Championship Tour was not exactly the best. The pros voiced their complaints throughout the course of the year, and now the Hearthstone Esports team have made an official announcement for what to expect next year. It will definitely be a different kind of game as we look at Hearthstone Esports Major Changes in 2019.
Hearthstone Esports is now dividing the competition into three tiers of play. To get to the highest tier, players will have to qualify from the lowest tier and work their way up. This is much different from how competitive play works now. There is a pro scene, and then the Challenger scene with the chance of some pro tournament appearances.
The lowest tier is simply called the Qualifier tier. There will be hundreds of qualifiers throughout the year, and they will mostly be played online. They have also stated that they will not be region locked. So anyone from Asia-Pacific, Europe, or the Americas will be able to play. Winning any one of these Qualifier tournaments will grant the player entry to the next tier of competition.
Then the live global tournaments make up the second tier of competition. After winning a qualifier, players will have to travel to a select location in order to battle it out in person with other players. There will be a prize of $250,000 for each event. With Blizzard planning to commit $4,000,000 to Hearthstone Esports in 2019, there will be three of these live offline tournaments.
Finally, the top tier is the Premier Competition. This final tier is a seasonal round-robin online competition. It will be divided into regions, which are yet to be determined. Players will receive performance based cash prizes in this tier, and will be invited to all the tier two events.
New Competitive Format
The Hearthstone Esports team have stated that they do not want to use the Conquest format anymore. They are attempting to more accurately reflect the player experience on the ladder. This also means that they will not be using the Last Hero Standing format either.
This does bring up many concerns as many players believe the in-game experience isn’t necessarily indicative of skill. Players can queue up decks with any card inclusions and will not know what they are playing against.
The benefit of the current competitive format is that players know all of their opponent’s cards when playing against them. At the very least they know the opponents deck archetypes. This heavily influences your mulligan phase, and what cards you play at what stage of the game.
We can hope that the new format will still be able to accurately reflect the skill of the players. There are random elements to the game by default, but increasing the amount of luck required to win is never a good aspect of a competitive game being played for money.
Though they are shaking up a lot of the competitive tour, they are still going to recognize all of those players who worked hard to become Hearthstone Master tier players.
Three star masters will be invited to all three offline live tournaments, as well as two star masters. One star masters will be able to go to two offline tournaments of their choosing, and a new tier will be added for players with 120 HCT points. They will get an invite to go to any one offline tournament of their choosing.
There is still a lot left undecided or unannounced when it comes to the future of competitive Hearthstone. It puts us in suspense as the changes may or may not be what the pros desire. Hopefully we still get to see the best players win but with better benefits.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via their official website.