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Esports Q/A Recap: Nov 1

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The Q/A on reddit about Esports has concluded and here's a recap of all questions Blizzard has answered about HGC 2017.

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With the HGC being an online league, what will happen to prominent offline leagues such as super league and gold league?

This is a hot topic among the community because of how information was originally presented. To clarify, HGC North America and Europe will be online leagues but Korea and China will have offline elements. Announcements in those regions will come at a later time.

Can we expect an official prediction league (like HotD bracket challenges) or should I start making one? :)

We've talked about this and have ideas of potentially doing it at some of the offline events but we will see... no promises! Feel free to jump in and take this one :p

Crowdfunding. It's awesome. We want more of it.

Can we expect to see more stuff that directly supports teams (or prize pools), like those sweet MVP and Tempest mounts?

We agree! The winners mount was an awesome addition to the program this year and we are actively exploring new ways to do this that involves more teams than just the winner.

In the latest episode of TownHall Heroes, Bakery suggested that instead of having Eastern and Western clash, it would be way cooler to have the clashing regions rotate, so in Spring it would be EU vs NA and the next one could be EU vs KR and NA vs CN. It would benefit the teams which could more frequently encounter teams from different regions. Is it something you considered for 2017 and is it possible that this format will be introduced in 2018 (or even phase two in 2017)?

Bakery brought this up to me as well and I loved the suggestion. We will not be changing how they work in 2017 but we will keep this in mind in the future!

Is the roster instability that plagues the NA and EU regions something on the eSports teams radar of things to attempt to stabilize? I understand that social issues amongst teams is not an easy problem to diagnose and solve (as well as some may argue it is not Blizzard's job to worry about internal team politics) but have you considered anything to incentivize teams to not think that "cutting off the arm" is the only solution if they scrape their elbow in one tournament? Roster change caps or something?

We are aware of the roster volatility that occurred this year. One of the main points we're looking to hit for 2017 is consistency and the most direct way we can do that is by being more rigid with our roster locks. For the 2017 season there will only be one period, in the middle of the year, where teams are allowed to change their rosters.

Do you plan to implement more stats easily available for esport ? And make it available to casters live so we can have a more in-depth analysis than just "Kyocha is probably the best Tracer player in the world" ?

Would be so great to know who land the most storm bolt, who deals the most damage, who stuns the most on average...

This is absolutely something we're looking to level up and are working to do so with the tools currently at our disposal. One of the best things a league provides is constant data that we can pull from to really let our players shine.

Will teams that don't make it into the top3 in their region play in any offline tournament at all next year?

Not in HGC, no.

Will there be rule changes concerning firstpick/ban or Map pick?

Yes.

Will first ban / map bans be more public in HGC 2017? 

In 2016, I had no idea why the map was chosen, or how which team got first pick. I couldn't figure out if loser got first pick. Or if loser got choice of first pick or map choice. Or if there were map bans before hand? The announcers would be just be like "oh man and this map was their map pick!" like halfway through a game. And it was so confusing.

In Starcraft 2 the map bans are part of the pre-match ceremony. And it'd be nice to have more visibility in Heroes.

Yep. We will be addressing this next year and making it visible to the fans.

Is there any talk about limiting the map pool for pro teams for the whole season or parts of it?

We will be limiting the battleground pool heading into HGC 2017. The battleground pool will be set in phase 1(HGC start to Mid-Season Brawl) with the possibility of it changing for phase 2(Mid-Season Brawl to HGC Finals).

Will the limited battleground pool be in effect on public servers as well as HGC events?

It will only be for HGC.

Can you shed some more light on how the open division will work? And on how the teams from LATAM / ANZ / SEA / TW will qualify?

The Open Division will operate as a cup system with teams earning points based on their performance in each cup ultimately leading up to a playoff bracket that will decide which two teams from the Open Division will enter the Crucible. Open Division tournaments will have monetary compensation as well.

Latin America, Australia & New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan will operate as they did in the last year. Each region will have their own program that will provide teams to the Clashes, Mid-Season Brawl, and the HGC Finals.

What format will the weekly matches be in?

All League matches will be best of five.

Basically how will a typical week of HGC look for my favorite team?

Each team will play either once or twice a weekend. A typical weekend in HGC is two best of five matches a day, Friday - Sunday. For fans of HGC Europe and HGC North America there is going to be a lot to watch!

Now that HGC is going to be a formalized league. Will there be a way to watch the games in the client. Perhaps a tab with everything HGC including statistics, vods, and news?

We will have all of that information but it will be on a brand new website instead of in the client. We will continue to push HGC in the client through the Homescreen.

Will casts be in multiple languages?

We won't officially be providing multiple languages outside of what we already do but we will work with reputable community members to provide language streams if the demands are there. 

Will there be something we can buy in the in game shop to show our support and fandom for our favorite HGC team?

There won't be anything at the launch but it is something we are actively working on.

Any chance of posting game replay files online so that players can study the matches and learn from the pros?

Yes, though we are still deciding what cadence we should release these.

As a semi-casual spectator, I find it somewhat difficult to find rosters and dates for upcoming matches and ongoing tournaments. Even the new overview page is so much 'what' that it is hard to find the 'when', when that is the most important part of watching anything. Am I looking in the right place? Would you agree that the current scheduling information isn't quite accessible enough yet to filthy casuals like me?

Still, I love the game, and all the hard work Blizzard is putting into it. Great job to all. Have fun at Blizzcon.

We hear you. This was one, if not the loudest, piece of feedback from our viewers and players alike. We have something pretty awesome cooking in the oven. Stay tuned!

Could we expect more international tournaments outside of those planned ? Such as nexus games or Braxis Holdout/Warhead Junction showmatches. Can we expect more community events such as Bloodlust, do you guys contribute to these events or are they only community managed if that makes sense ?

One of the biggest pieces of feedback that we received from community tournament organizers was that it was very hard to organize a Heroes tournament because how scheduling was handled this year. We will be putting out the complete 2017 HGC schedule in January which will allow organizers the visibility needed to run Heroes events.

Off-season - what are the plans in 2017 for an off-season where players / teams can recharge, make roster changes, take time off / holidays etc.

You never miss a sport more than during the off-season when there are no games going on and you get excited anticipating the start of a season.

Completely agree on the excitement an off-season brings. The official off-season of HGC is November(after BlizzCon) to late January.

This year, summer and fall, european championship were thursday and friday, do you change european schedule for 2017 to have competition for weekends?

HGC League play will target Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Do you have any more details on the Open Division? Like when will the games be played and where to catch them?

There will be an official Open Division announcement later this year with all the details you are looking for.

What rules will you have in places regarding region lock? Is it still the 6 month residency prior to competition?

Our region lock rule for players is that they must reside inside the region that they wish to play in for at least 6 months prior to the day they are going to compete.

Is there a possibilty that teams in less important regions be able to participate on the league if the other teams don't perform well? Eg: Burning rage being able to participate in the NA league

There is not. There is no way to do this fairly with region residency requirements.

Be great to see national teams playing each other in EU, e.g. a Euro championship with teams from wales, England, France etc, any chance of this happening?

We have no plans on doing this right now for Heroes. Our Overwatch team is doing just this at BlizzCon with their World Cup tournament and its awesome. Go Seagull and USA!!!

Do you think the Open Division will supplant things like Chair League and Heroes Lounge? Or is the target player pool really only teams with professional aspirations, and not just "anyone who wants to play in a league"?

I believe the Open Division will supplement these community tournaments, not take away from them.

What was the overall idea to reduce global events from 3 to 2 (with global events I mean western vs eastern aka how BlizzCon and the mid season brawl would be).

Until this Friday(AA vs Dig), the number 1 ranked teams in North America and Europe have never faced off against each other even though we've had three Global Championships. The Clashes are designed to promote regional rivalries and we believe the benefits of this outweighs losing one global event.

As someone that is involved in heroes in his own way. Will replays of these events be publicly available? If so are you still planning to use hotslogs or will you create your own database were we can download these?

We will be releasing the replays but the rate of release and location are still being worked out.

You talked about compensations for the open division, is there any more info you can share, is it like top 8 gets prize money and are there any plans to show these matches too?

We will be releasing a full Open Division announcement later this year.

What are you most excited to see resulting from all the changes to the format?

Personally, I love the roster locks and ideas of more team presence in the game. Having that confident figure to root for will be great!

I want to see some superstars. Leagues offer consistent play for competitors that really lets them test their skills against others. Very excited to look at the HGC over time and see who has improved statistically!

Also, there have been a couple of times this year where I've thought, "man is one team better than this other team?" With the HGC we'll finally know!

How exactly will the compensation for teams work in the Pro Divison and will the announced minimum 100k from January to November be split evenly between Phase 1 (until May) and Phase 2 (until November)? In other words, if a team drops out in May, will it have accumulated the minimum of 50K?

You are correct. Teams will earn at least $100,000 for their participation from January-November but if they get relegated via the Crucible in June they will receive $50,000 and the new team will earn the remaining $50,000.

Are league matches Bo3 or Bo5?

Best of 5.

Is there any talk about timing patches along side International events? Since there is no tournament server, teams will obviously be challenged mid season to adjust to the drastic meta shifts which i think is a good thing and the mark of a great team, but i think this year some patches could of been held until the day after some of the offline events. Given there is so much preparation involved leading up to these big events i believe it's healthy to allow teams to show off how they can master the game in that period of time. 

Side note- I'm referring to major patches only, hoping to avoid something similar to what League of Legends did when they killed the lane swap meta before Worlds. I don't think anyone did a terrible job, it seemed to be a rare occurrence and I'm happy with how 2016 went overall.

Completely understand where you are coming from on this. We have a solution in place for this and will talk about it more at a later time.

Will there be a soccer style league system in the future I.E the EPL. If you place top three in the lower league you get promoted. If you place bottom three you get demoted. I think this well help the amateur scene and help the competitive scene grow as well.

We are aiming to do something very similar to this! The Crucibles serve this purpose. The bottom two teams in the league and the two teams that place highest in the Open Division Playoffs will face off to see who gets to see who will play in the second phase of HGC.

(Source)

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On 11/3/2016 at 4:11 PM, ghostdeini said:

I don't know about anyone else but I'm really excited to see all of the HGC 2017 changes implemented.  Very much looking forward to the future of competitive HotS.

Agreed. It may not be on the same level of LoL/DoTA yet, but I like HoTS as a game and I want to see it succeed!

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