Thanks to the multiple lawsuits and allegations, WoW has hit an all-time low. Will there still be a future for its competitive esports scene?
When considering Blizzard’s reputation, it’s easy to paint the future of WoW’s competitive scene as murky. The allegations, lawsuits, sexual harassment – Blizzard stamped their name on just about every scandal in the playbook, and with the state of California on their trail, we may be seeing the downfall of the company very soon. However, things took a turn (hopefully for the better) when Microsoft announced that they had acquired Activision Blizzard. Whether people like it or not, World of Warcraft is still one of the most popular MMORPGs in the world; the only reason why the game bombed so hard was due to internal happenings inside the company. The esport scene for the MMO is relatively small compared to other popular games in other genres like League of Legends and Valorant – could this be the signal that competitive esports is ending for WoW? Or is there hope for the future?
How the Esports Scene Came to Be in World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft initially launched with barely any PvP elements, but Blizzard was quick on its feet to add a PvP Honor system – the first being Battlegrounds, and then the Arena. While Battlegrounds allows player teams to fight each other for WoW TBC gold, it was the introduction of Arena that paved the way for a more serious competitive system. As the name suggests, Arena sends player teams to a separate combat arena where they would fight each other in 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5. Years after that, the Arena system kept expanding with new maps, separate seasons, and the introduction of leaderboards. It got so big that in 2017, the biggest competitive World of Warcraft expansion arrived with a Mythic Dungeon Invitational tournament (the name was later changed to Mythic Dungeon International).
Thanks to the relatively stable viewership and yearly tournaments, World of Warcraft has an established esports scene, however, it’s nowhere near the biggest esports games in terms of prize pools and views. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this is about to change. Why can’t a game that has millions of active players farming TBC Classic gold manage to develop a larger esports scene?
Well, if you do follow the latest WoW news and check on the official forums religiously, two issues are the culprits for the underdeveloped competitive scene. For one, many casual players are dissatisfied with the game. World of Warcraft has faced a lot of criticism recently; the storyline wasn’t received well, and ever since the Battle for Azeroth expansion, it felt like everything else was going downhill for the MMO. This then leads to the second issue, which is that only a few of these players watch WoW esports or are interested in it in the first place. After all, more dissatisfaction means less interest in tournaments.
Even if World of Warcraft sees a massive player count, that still doesn’t guarantee that WoW esports will become popular. The main reason is the nature of the game: World of Warcraft is an MMORPG, and as such, it’s not specifically designed for esports. This has several implications, with the first being that many WoW players are in it for the lore, role-playing, and high-fantasy scenery: not for the competition. This means that Blizzard can’t afford to prioritize esports over content for casual players. If they do, they’ll no doubt face backlashes and, ultimately, lose a lot of money.
Reinvigorating the WoW Esports Scene
The esports scene for WoW may not be out for the count just yet, especially when Blizzard is taking the effort to reinvigorate it. The WoW TBC Classic Arena Tournament is back in 2022, with two regions and 16 teams fighting to become TBC Arena champions. World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Classic is having a lot of success as it’s the best expansion of all time for a lot of WoW players (yes, even better than the Wrath of the Lich King). One of the essential features that were introduced in the expansion is the arena PvP system, where players can queue up and fight other players in the arena and gain rating points to obtain unique seasonal mounts and a Gladiator title.
This event shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, considering that everyone was a huge fan of the classic tournament last year. The format was a 3v3 as always since it’s the most played format. The WoW TBC Classic Arena Tournament for this year featured 16 teams from North America and Europe who fought for the incredible prize pool of $100k. Notable WoW Arena pros also made an appearance in the event as well, including Josef “Chas” Stoianov and Marcel “Wealthyman” Rodriguez.
One look at its history shows that the esports in World of Warcraft is a steady one, even if it’s not as grandiose compared to other online multiplayer games out there. Regarding growth though, it looks like WoW faces too many issues to reach a breakthrough anytime soon. Even if there weren’t any lawsuits or a new MMO in town, WoW esports would still be held back by the fact that its player base isn’t happy with how the game is progressing. Given that most players are too busy farming WoW TBC gold and TBC items these days, it’s going to take some time before we see a boom in WoW’s competitive esports.
What do you think about the current state of World of Warcraft’s competitive esports? Let us know down below!