StarCraft 2 Retires WCS, Esports Now Led By ESL And DreamHack

Big changes happening on the esports scene.
Big changes happening on the esports scene. Blizzard

StarCraft II esports have been the standard when it comes to competition and community in the esports world for almost a decade. However, there is still a lot more coming as Blizzard has partnered with ESL and DreamHack to come up with a brand-new competitive circuit for the next three years.

In a statement, Blizzard revealed that the World Championship Series (WCS) is now going to be retired. This follows seven years of amazing competition, culminating in Park “Dark” Ryung Woo’s win at last November’s BlizzCon. The WCS App has already been shut down as of December 31, 2019, with the site to be taken down as well sometime in early 2020.

There’s no question that WCS has played a large and has meant much for a lot of people in the StarCraft II community. Those not familiar to the SC2 esports, the WCS is a series of events organized by Blizzard. The series starts with the WCS Circuit and WCS Korea and ends with the Global Finals.

Not to worry though, as Blizzard said with ESL and DreamHack, the esports competition is going to turn into something new.

Replacing the WCS are the ESL StarCraft II Pro Tour and the DreamHack SC2 Masters. These two are going to be the new SC2 esports circuits moving forward. Overall, there’s going to be a total of six international tournaments per year: four with Dreamhack and two with ESL. There’s also going to be weekly tournaments that feed to the ESL events.

Blizzard is currently working to finalize its Korea plans for 2020 and beyond. However, the global finals are going to be moved to the new IEM Katowice World Championship for 2021. Still, one of the goals of this new plan is to ensure that the fans get more chances to enjoy StarCraft II in person. This is because the StarCraft community has always enjoyed meeting in person at esports competitions.

There’s no question that the SC2 competitive community is truly unique. The people are passionate, creative, and more importantly, loyal. Blizzard hopes to continue this with ESL and DreamHack. With DreamHack and ESL taking over the esports, Blizzard is now going to serve as an overall support network for the new system. For the next three years, Blizzard is the one that’s providing the prizes estimated to be at least $1.2 million each year.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the release of StarCraft II, the 2020-2021 ESL/DreamHack circuit is set to have a combined prize pool of at least $1.9 million. The IEM Katowice, for example, is going to have a prize pool of $400,000 for this year, clearly larger than the $250,000 pool last year.

Indeed, a lot of new things are happening in the StarCraft II scene. What about you? What are most excited about?

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