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World of Tanks to get dedicated league, $2.5m prize pool

Fame and fortune await. That, or defeat and death.

It’s
been some time coming, but World of Tanks will finally have its own
pro-gaming league, with developer Wargaming presenting a $2.5m prize
pool for the debut season, scheduled to begin in the first quarter of
2013. Since we’re already mid-way through February, that means some time
in the next six weeks. The league will consist of regular regional
tournaments and playoffs, climaxing in an end-of-season grand final.

Wargaming,
who have separate World of Tanks servers for Europe, North America,
China, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea and southeast Asia, want to bring an
international flavour to the league and “bridge the gap between World
of Tanks' gaming communities, previously separated by geographic
boundaries,” according to a statement on their North American site. Well, really they’ve been separated by Wargaming’s own server segregation.

In the past, Wargaming’s tournament initiatives have been very modest affairs when compared to such events as The International or League of Legend’s closely curated pro gaming events. While these were offering seven figure prize pools, when World of Tanks went to the World Cyber Games
last year, a mere $49,000 was up for grabs. A prize pool of $2.5m lifts
Wargaming to the same level. “We have now reached the point where we
can focus significant effort on advancing World of Tanks on to the
global eSports scene,” said Jonghyuk Baak, Wargaming ‘s Global eSports
Director.

That
point might have been somewhere around the 50 million user mark, the
game’s user base, though it’s worth noting that both World of Warplanes
and World of Warships are also set for release in 2013. Wargaming may
well have plans for launching esports initiatives with those soon after,
giving Mr Baak a lot of eSports to direct.

It’s
particularly interesting that Wargaming mention crossing geographic
boundaries, because their servers are currently very distinct, don’t
allow players to transfer accounts between them, sometimes run different
versions of the game and often host different events. Even today,
Wargaming have posted this announcement, which has a global flavour, on their North American and Russian sites, but on their European site they have a regional announcement instead, covering the European World of Tanks Pro League and giving an insight into how it works.

Still,
for me this is long overdue. I’ll be looking forward to some serious
World of Tanks pro gaming, and I think it could make a fine spectator
sport.

Thanks to VG24/7.

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