Blizzard announced their ambitious plans for the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series yesterday. The scheme involves pulling the world's biggest StarCraft 2 tournaments and leagues into an overarching structure where players are given a global ranking, and compete against each other to be crowned super-mega-planetary-ultra champion. It's an exciting plan - aiming to unify the myriad StarCraft 2 leagues and pull them into a central storyline easy to follow for fans and enticing to new viewers - but it's also a bit confusing. I had the chance to speak to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime and Executive VP of Global Publishing, Itzik Ben-Bassat to answer a few questions. Click on for WCS 2013 clarifications, and the Blizzard boss's projections for the eSporting future.
If, like the fiery Butcher above, you're a bit vexed at the prolonged absence of PvP within Diablo 3, this spot of news probably won't sate your wrath. During a press conference held at Blizzard's Battle.net World Championship in Shanghai last weekend (via Gaming Blend), CEO Mike Morhaime revealed the studio holds "no plans" to bring the hack-and-crawl RPG into competitive tournament play.
Blizzard co-founder and president Mike Morhaime has posted a lengthy statement on Diablo 3 on the Battle.net forums to explain some of the reasoning behind Diablo 3's always-online requirement and the real money auction house
Morhaime seems keen to tackle "the perception that the online requirement is nothing but an ineffective form of copy protection that has already been cracked." He mentions that Blizzard haven't yet encountered any functioning cracks, but suggests that security isn't the main purpose of the online-only requirement.
"I fully understand the desire to play Diablo III offline; however, Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design," he says.
For the first time, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Saturday played host to a panel on eSports to discuss what they are, why they are enjoying such a tremendous period of growth, and what the future holds for them. Developer, team owner, caster, and league manager were represented by Blizzard's Mike Morhaime, Evil Geniuses' Alex Garfield, Sean "Day" Plott, and the MLG's Sundance DiGiovanni, respectively. As Plott put it, "The numbers are becoming astoundingly big," and the proliferation of streaming technology alongside the rise of StarCraft 2 promises to change eSports indelibly.
"[The MLG is] ten years old," DiGiovanni said. "The people who know our organization, they have a strong attachment to a number of titles that we've run in the past. But we've never been in a position where we had the right title, the right technology, and a global audience base at the same time. Now we do."
WoW: Cataclysm is due to launch in China on July 12. Netease will be responsible for the launch.
Other regions have been enjoying the most recent expansion for the past seven months, but Blizzard have only just got around to preparing the content for China-based players. We doubt they're complaining though - Wrath of the Lich King took almost two years to appear in their territory.
Blizzard co-founder, Mike Morhaime is predictably happy about the announcement, saying: “We’ve always appreciated Chinese gamers’ passion and support for World of Warcraft, and we’re excited that they’ll soon be able to enjoy all of the great new content this expansion has to offer.”
WoW patch 4.2 is due to launch soon. See the first footage of it here and read the extensive patch notes here.
Blizzard CEO, Mike Morhaime has discussed the existence of an upcoming MMO while talking to the press in Vegas.