It's pretty clear to most people that Blizzard are betting large on Overwatch this year, given the amount they've talked not only about their plans for competitive play but also in the hints they've left about the other ways they could expand the universe.
But Blizzard isn't giving up on Heroes of the Storm, either. They're doubling down, in fact, announcing a massive expansion in the prize pool for the Esports aspect of the free-to-play MOBA.
In an announcement on Battle.net, Blizzard announced a global championship circuit for Heroes of the Storm. The tour will feature the best teams from Taiwan, the US, Latin America, South Korea, Europe, China, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and will run across three seasons.
The total prize pool throughout the year will be US$4 million, but the important part for locals will be the US$20,000 on offer from February 7. That's when the Spring Regional (yes, the Spring Regional for a country in the southern hemisphere) starts for Australians and New Zealanders. Preliminary qualifiers will be held online with ESL to run an offline event in Sydney at a later date.
It's a nice start to the year for the local Heroes scene who was waiting nervously — even suspiciously — for Blizzard to commit more weight behind local tournaments. US$20,000 for a single season will certainly be a nice boost, although I'm not sure it would be as effective as a smaller, most consistent spread of money that kept teams practising throughout the year.
More details about the event will be announced in due time and, when that is, we'll keep you posted.