World of Warcraft eSports Leagues
World of Warcraft may not be one of the most current eSports games, but it is certainly one of the biggest. Released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, it the fourth installment of the popular franchise, and takes place in the world of Azeroth. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is set four years after the events of Warcraft III. This was the game that led to the development of Dota 2 and League of Legends, which have gone on to dominate the competitive eSports industry.
Popularity and Game Details
World of Warcraft (WoW) peaked in popularity around 2012, and by 2016, it became the world’s most popular game by player count. It also set a Guinness World Record for having the most subscribers, with over 100 million accounts created since its release. The basic game details involved 2 fractions namely the Alliance and the Horde. Each fraction (team) has a number of races to choose from with unique abilities and strengths. Most competitive matches are played as a death match where the aim is to eliminate the opposing team.
Since Blizzard have chosen to put their focus and the majority of their tournament funds into their big game (StarCraft II), WoW currently only has one main league and three major tournament types. The biggest and the most prestigious tournament is the Arena World Championship. This is where all the action takes place and where the majority of the eSports bets will be placed.
The Warcraft World Championship culminates in the Finals, which is where teams would ideally like to end up if they make it through the qualifying rounds. To get there, they must first compete in the Arena Cups. As the name suggests, these are live arena events where teams compete in a three versus three (3v3) format. Cups are ideal for online and mobile eSports betting as they are open to teams of all skills and levels.
North America and Europe were the first to play Arena Cups, with 3 Cups per region spanning over 3 seasons. Each cup sees teams compete in a 3v3 format with a one-life only single elimination format. Cup Winners receive the lion’s share of the prize cup winnings of $10K. They also book themselves a spot in the Area World Championship Finals. In 2018, teams from Latin America, China and Asia-pacific also compete in cups to earn their spot at the Finals.
Warcraft World Championship Finals
The Warcraft season culminates with 12 teams competing at the World Championship finals. These are the teams that performed the best in the Cups in their respective regions. The finals take place at Blizzcon, which also hosts other major industry events. The Finals are also played in a 3x3 format with the winner taking the title of World Champions and the major share of the $280,000 prize pool. This season, Method Orange defeated The Gosu Crew to take their inaugural World Championship victory.
Mythic Dungeon Invitational
While most World of Warcraft matches are played in the “Player vs Plyer” format, one tournament is slightly different. Blizzard introduced a new tournament at Blizzcon entitled the Mythic Dungeon Invitational. This tournament sees teams compete in a player versus environment (PVE) format, which is exciting for mobile eSports betting enthusiasts.
For of the WoW tournament, the best PVE teams are invited to compete on stage live at Blizzcon. Teams race against time in dungeons of Kul Tiras and Zandalar in a best of 3 format with a single elimination matches. The team that proves the most proficient in the dungeons takes the glory and the title of Azeroth MDI Champion.