Activision Blizzard kicked their esports plans for World of Warcraft into overdrive by announcing their 2020 roadmap for Arena World Championship (AWC) and Mythic Dungeon International (MDI), which will see higher prize pools and increased development commitment from Blizzard.
Shortly after announcing their US $160 million deal with YouTube Gaming, Activision Blizzard unveiled their plans for World of Warcraft (WoW) competitive scene, which will see further development of its two main competitions in AWC and MDI.
Earlier this week, Activision Blizzard made a media-rights deal with Youtube, which is said to be valued at around $160 million over three years, according to several sources. Google and Activision Blizzard announced their new partnership in January with before the start of the inaugural season of Call of Duty League (CDL).
With the new $160 million deal, YouTube Gaming will get exclusive streaming rights for Call of Duty, Overwatch and Hearthstone. The exact breakdown of how much each property contributed to the pay-out is not known, yet there are rumours claiming the deal for Overwatch League alone is valued at $90 million.
The deal also includes a large number of incentive clauses, mostly directed to ad sales and viewership targes. This is so that the money that will come from the league and other teams could go up considerably. The clauses are unknown to the public, however, as stated by reliable sources all of them are achievable, which is also why most of the teams involved in that esports have been excited with the YouTube deal.
While the deal with YouTube was a massive leap forward for Activision Blizzard and its esports titles, the prominent developer and publisher of some of the most popular video games took another step forward with the announcement of the expansion of its World of Warcraft esports scene in 2020.
Arena World Championship 2020
As revealed by Activision Blizzard, the registration for 2020 online qualification cups will open sometime in spring. There will be a total of eight online Arena Cups; four in each region, each with $10,000 prize pool and AWC Points. The team which will accumulate the most Arena points after the four North American and European cups conclude will get a pass into the Battle for Azeroth Finals - the culminating LAN Tournament which will feature four of the best WoW Arena teams (four from NA and four from EU), who will compete for the lion's share of $500,000 prize pool - the largest AWC prize pool in history.
The registration is open for anyone who wishes to test his skill against the best PvP players in the world. While the registration is open for anyone, players who wish to compete have to meet all the requirements stated in the official AWC rules. The first competitive week will begin on May 22 and May 23 in EU and NA respectively.
The Arena World Championship will start up once more following the release of the newest WoW expansion - Shadowlands- The first AWC Tournament Series in Shadowlands will host two competitive seasons with online cups and two in-person tournaments, including Mid-Series LAN tournament and Finals event, which will take place in Summer.
The Mythic Dungeon International 2020
The fourth year of the Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) will see a significant boost in the prize pool, from $100,000 to $300,000. As it's the case with AWC, the teams will be divided into two divisions - North America and Europe, before the best eight teams will get a pass into the MDI LAN Finals.
With a 300% boost in prize pools, MDI is expected to draw in more people, who will look to compete against the best in the new dungeons, which will offer new challenges. While still in its early stages, the PvE side of WoW esports is slowly gaining more audience, mostly thanks to Method and Limit - two of the best teams in the world, who play a pivotal role in the growing popularity of MDI.
The 2020 MDI will see some format changes, the biggest one being made to the divisions. While there will still be two divisions, they won't be separated strictly by West and East.
The European and Asian division will include players from Taiwan, China, Korean, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The Americas division, on the other side, will include players from New Zealand, Australia and the Americas. The teams will compete in the divisions based on where the majority of their players come from.
What's more, the MDI season will be considered as a standalone event with their own LAN final in a bid to continue growing its popularity and appeal to the general public. This will also provide WoW teams with the ability to quickly iterate on changes and upgrades.
The Open Cups for MDI will begin on April 11, 2020, for Europe & Asia, while the American Open Cup is slated to take off a week later.
The future of competitive WoW seems to be bright, seeing how Activision Blizzard are implementing the needed changes to help the esports scene grow. There are also some rumours, suggesting that the esports event will move away from BlizzCon and find a new venue, in a bid to keep BlizzCon as a showcase for their future projects, while keeping the competitive side of their prized MMORPG separate. As it stands now, Blizzard have yet to unveil the venues for this years' AWC and MDI, with more information, said to be available soon.
Written by KrajnikT
Tit Krajnik (KrajnikT) is an esports writer for onlineesports.com, where he reports news, features and writes other content related to the players, teams, industry and the esports scene as a whole.
He has previously worked as a news and betting-related articles writer in the "traditional" sports scene but later opted to turn his attention to esports, where he managed to combine his love for video games and the growing esports industry with his work.
Krajnik has started his journey as an esports writer by covering Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends, which he also played since its launch, but later broaden his skill-set to include other major esports titles including Dota 2, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rainbow 6 Siege and Call of Duty.