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Massive Improvements Coming To Hearthstone Esports in 2018

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Blizzard announced a set of sweeping changes to the way the HCT Tour will be organized in 2018. The new "Masters System" promises to make it easier than ever for professional Hearthstone players to win prizes and make it out to international events.

Announced today on the official Hearthstone blog, the Hearthstone Masters System promises to make sweeping changes and improvements to Hearthstone's competitive tournament infrastructure:

Quote

In 2018 we are streamlining the Hearthstone Championship Tour to create more earning potential for competitors, improve qualification systems for established pros and aspiring competitors, increase staffing and infrastructure support for Playoffs, and hold more global Tour Stops!

- PlayHearthstone

The marquee change to the HCT circuit will be the addition of "Masters Tiers". The rolling total of a player's HCT points for the previous three seasons will determine a player's Masters Tier, and each tier will reward players with increasing benefits. A 3-Star Master, the highest tier, is able to receive a $2500 appearance bonus for attending up to three HCT events per season, which can add up to a $22,500 per year in appearance fees alone! All three tiers will also offer free invitations to monthly online tournaments with cash prizes, as well as "end-of-year commemorative swag", which I can only assume is sweet, exclusive card backs.

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Blizzard will also be changing the way that qualification works for HCT Playoff events. Players will automatically qualify for the HCT Playoffs by achieving a single-season HCT Point total. The point total for season one of 2018 is 45 points, but Blizzard noted that this may change based upon the season and region of competition. As part of these changes, HCT Points will now be rewarded for the top three ladder finishes a player posts in each season instead of being handed out each month.

Players will also be able to qualify for a season's playoffs through the brand new Hearthstone Challengers program, which appears to be a re-branding of the previous Tavern Hero system. Eight players will be able to qualify for the playoffs through the Hearthstone Challengers program each season, but the specific nature of these new qualifying tournaments has yet to be announced.

In addition to a promising an increased number of HCT tour stops, Blizzard will be giving out additional cash rewards to the top ten Hearthstone teams each season. Each team can lock-in three players per season, and the top ten HCT-point-earning teams on the season will take home a hefty prize. With the prizes for first and second place separated by $3000 per player, this should add a fresh and exciting element of team-focused drama to Hearthstone tournaments in 2018. 

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Though the long-term effects of today's announcement remain to be seen, Blizzard's message of increased commitment to competitive Hearthstone promises to be a massive step forward for the community. A notable increase to the number of competitive events and the size of cash payouts sends a tremendous vote of confidence to members of the competitive Hearthstone scene, and sets 2018 up to be the biggest year in Hearthstone history.

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31 minutes ago, Caldyrvan said:

You caught my attention with "Massive Improvements Coming To Hearthstone" and lost it at "Esports...". ... sorry ;)

Damn clickbait titles! :P

Looks good for the most part, though it does seem like a lot of points come from LANs, which aren't as accessible to players who don't have a team to cover their travel expenses.

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Yeah title is kinda misleading :)

Happy for the changes for esports though, but I would update the title to be honest.

EDIT: title is truncated in the homepage, didn't notice it initially :)

Edited by darquill

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1 hour ago, darquill said:

Yeah title is kinda misleading :)

Happy for the changes for esports though, but I would update the title to be honest.

The title is fine, it’s just that the front page doesn’t fit the full title.

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30 minutes ago, Bozonik said:

The title is fine, it’s just that the front page doesn’t fit the full title.

Yep. Looks right on the top banner, just not on the thumb nail in the list of articles. Seems completely unintentional.

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