Kotaku has a rather lengthy piece about an odd gaming plan from Blizzard that will be happening in a couple weeks. The short version: several U.S. playoff spots for the Hearthstone Spring Championship happening in Shanghai will be taking place in Buffalo Wild Wings locations. Let that sink in for a second… People who are playing for $250k and a trip to China to be in the big tournament have to play this game in a loud bar with crap wifi and an environment no one can control.
As mentioned in the story, this has happened before, with players complaining about not being able to concentrate on the game, having terrible wifi, and having being interrupted by the wait staff mid-game because they need to see how everything is going every two minutes. Blizzard doesn’t seem to have an issue with it, and in fact, are pleased with the playing condition as they meet the standard requirement for tournament play. So essentially, after you cut through all the red tape and hype garbage, the tournaments are being held in these locations as a cross-promotion thing that I’m sure is making each business money. Otherwise, they’d just hold them in small venues or gaming shops like everyone else does.
Personally, I find the whole thing ridiculous and the players should unite, refuse to play, and hold up the tournament until the venue is moved. Which I know you’re about to run to the comments section to tell me how wrong I am, but think about it for a second. Would you hold an Overwatch tournament at Applebees? Would you put a regional qualifier for League Of Legends in a Chuck E. Cheese? No! And if those players went through that, they’d refuse to play in that venue as well. Because it sounds ridiculous and wouldn’t be an adequate place to play or support that kind of tournament. So why subject Hearthstone players to that mess? Because the game is on an iPad? Come on, Blizzard! If you want people to recognize eSports as regular sports, you need to treat them as such. There’s no reason a music venue couldn’t have been rented out for a day to support these rounds. The entire ordeal just seems like a quick sponsorship grab that ends up being unfair to the players.
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