I’m fresh back from visiting the Heroes of the Storm Spring Media and Influencers Summit, and man oh man do they have a lot planned. The team at Blizzard considers it a big enough change to warrant calling this “Heroes 2.0”, and after seeing and experiencing what’s coming, I have to agree it’s justified.
The honeymoon is over. I came, I saw, I floundered, and after a few blissful months reimmersed in my old Azerothian stomping grounds, I’ve found myself completely sapped of the will to carry on.
Turns out I’m hardly alone in this. The forums and social media communities have been aflutter with a consternation regarding the current state of the game. There’s been weeping, gnashing of teeth – you know, all the usual stuff. So where’s it all coming from?
One of World of Warcraft: Legion’s signature features was the introduction of artifact weapons: powerful, lore-steeped items that would grow with players over the course of the expansion, gaining in power and abilities rather than simply being replaced with new drops over the course of the years-long campaign against the Burning Legion. With a weapon system introducing that level of permanence, the need for extensive customization follows, so each artifact weapon comes with a variety of unlockable skins in varying hues. Some feature straightforward unlock requirements: the completion of a quest or the fulfilling an achievement. But others are less straightforward, with even their very existence going undisclosed except to those with the data mining skills to find them.
Competitive gaming and eSports have emerged from their pupal shells as a burgeoning industry over the last few years, quickly carving out a space for themselves in the mainstream entertainment media. It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago when America was collectively baffled by Heroes of the Dorm, Heroes of the Storm’s collegiate level competition, debuting on ESPN2. Since that groundbreaking moment, eSports from around the world have progressed by leaps and bounds, with the market now attracting high profile investors like Mark Cuban who are ready to capitalize on the growing potential.
Curious to learn more about the emerging eSports phenomenon, I hopped in my truck and headed for this year’s Heroes of the Dorm finals in Seattle to answer the titular question: what are eSports like live?