G4TV recently posted an interview with StarCraft 2 Game Director Dustin Browder and the Manager of Blizzard’s eSports Department Joong Kim. The discussion is entirely based on Blizzard’s future plans for their games regarding the eSports community. The main plans Blizzard has for StarCraft 2 are a more enhanced Battle.net and the soon to be introduced Grand Master’s League. Blizzard also said they highly support tournaments and plan to make the game easier to shoutcast, and to spread awareness on websites and Battle.net.
Another main topic of the interview is the how to increase the eSports community in not only StarCraft 2, but also in World of Warcraft. They explain that a big portion of the community gained is by shoutcasters that explain the game to newer users so it is easier to understand. This not only gets StarCraft 2 known, but also increases the audience and even players. To help out the shoutcasters, Blizzard is working on a new graphic part of the game where the casters can bring up information on the current players without a third-party device.
What are you focusing on regarding eSports right now?
Dustin: On the software side, our whole game, in many ways, is basically built around how important it is for us as an eSport. The whole game is designed bottom up as an eSport. We’re also doing a number of things; obviously as the service continues on Battle.net we want to try to get people to share more replays, be able to see more professional level games, and we recently introduced the Master’s League. We’re also going to be introducing the Grand Master’s League to call out visibility to the high end players that maybe aren’t competing professionally yet but are almost good enough to be able to do so, so we can all see who the top 200 players are, in any given region around the world.
We’re working on new leaderboards, and new call outs for the low end shoutcaster. For the guy that doesn’t have an entire production department at his back, to create graphics for him, to show who the players are in a game and in order to show what’s going on in the actual game. So we’ve got what we call our sort of Madden style; stats popping up on the screen, graphically pleasing, so it’s easier for the little guy to learn how to be a shoutcaster, to put his stuff up on YouTube and be able to show it off to other fans.
Plans for World of Warcraft were also mentioned towards the end of the interview. Blizzard announced plans to host a World of Warcraft tournament, and also a StarCraft 2 tournament via Battle.net. Their main focus for World of Warcraft is also to work on the observer’s camera, making the game easier to hold tournaments run by organizations. Joong also said that MLG does plan to support World of Warcraft, but Blizzard has yet to plan out the season with them.
Have there been steps made to continue World of Warcraft arena as an eSport?
Joong: We do plan on having a WoW tournament this year. We will continue to make improvements on the observer and the camera, and hopefully make it easier for the organizations that we do partner with to run tournaments.
Do you think that WoW is going to fade out in the eSports scene now that MLG isn’t focusing on it anymore?
Joong: MLG does plan on offering World of Warcraft stuff. Due to the technical difficulties we have with World of WarCraft we just haven’t had a chance to plan their WoW season out with them just yet.
Overall, Blizzard does express interest in the eSports community, and will continue to pump out updates that will satisfy the community. To read the full length interview click here.