Heroes Global Championship to feature leagues with relegation, more international events in 2017

by Josh Bury Sep 22 2016
Thumbnail image courtesy of Jakub Petrowicz / theScore esports / Blizzard Entertainment

The Heroes of the Storm Global Championship will feature online leagues with relegation, as well as more events featuring international competition in 2017.

Blizzard's announcement Thursday confirmed that North America, Europe, China and Korea will have a consistent online league format, where "players on the top eight teams in each region will be contracted and guaranteed both compensation and regular competition."

The exact nature of that contracted compensation is not clear, but there is a similar league system in Riot Games' League of Legends, which provides players in their primary leagues with a guaranteed minimum income.

The bottom two teams from those four leagues will face relegation twice a year. Meanwhile, up-and-coming teams will battle in an Open Division for the right to challenge those two teams for their spots in the league.

Qualifiers for the new HGC leagues will begin in November, but no exact dates were provided in Blizzard's announcement.

The league system will also feature three international events, with one of those an entirely global affair, as well as some sort of HGC finals event.

The announcement says that teams from the minor regions — Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Australia/New Zealand — will participate in "local competitions that feed into these international events as well."

The move is a departure from the current system, which is built around three global championships, more akin to Dota 2's Majors than a consistent league structure. To get to those HGC events, teams first had to qualify through a regional championship or, in the case of Korea and China, a league which acted as a substitute.

Heroes, however, is no stranger to league systems. ESL ran several seasons of a Heroes of the Storm Major League for both North America and Europe in 2015, though those were plagued with roster changes and, as a result of the rules, forfeits. In Asia, China's Gold Series Heroes League and Korea's Superleague have been the primary competitions in their respective regions for some time.

BlizzCon, which is the site of the Fall Global Championship under the current HGC system, will take place from Nov. 4-5.

Josh "Gauntlet" Bury is a winotaur. You can find him on Twitter.