World of Tanks has taken a massive step into eSports with the announcement of a Wargaming.net League North America (WGLNA), which will hold World of Tanks 7-on-7 tournaments throughout the rest of the year and will lead up to a $100,000 tournament at the end of the year.
However, an interesting wrinkle is that Hero Level Productions, the company that operates the North American StarLeague, is going to be producing the WGLNA… and according to Gamespot, Hero Level’s president, Russell Pfister, refused comment on what the WGLNA spells for the StarCraft 2 league. If NASL has been abandoned in favor of a World of Tanks league, it could be the first major StarCraft league to become a casualty of Blizzard’s WCS.
World of Tanks has a robust competitive scene and a huge playerbase, so it’s a natural fit for an eSport. If you feel like your World of Tanks game is competition-level, you can head over the the WGLNA website to register for Season 1. Registration ends on June 2nd, and the qualifiers begin on the 5th.
It’sclearly an exciting event for the World of Tanks community, but also a troubling one for the StarCraft community. Caster Shaun “Apollo” Clark remarked on Twitter:
— Shaun Clark (@ApolloSC2) May 28, 2013
Some consolidation was probably inevitable and even overdue in the pro StarCraft scene, but if NASL has ended in favor of a World of Tanks league, one contributing factor was the fact that it was excluded from Blizzard’s World Championship Series, and tournament organizers are no longer allowed to schedule their matches to overlap with WCS events.
John “TotalBiscuit” Bain wrote a lengthy post on TeamLiquid about this very issue in the wake of the somewhat-troubled “SHOUTcraft America” tournament. He pointed out that it’s incredibly hard to avoid scheduling conflicts with WCS, especially due to the frequency with which the WCS schedule is revised. But his postmortem of SHOUTcraft America indicates how difficult it has become to operate outside of the WCS these days.
I don’t want to bury NASL before it is dead, but given a StarCraft 2 scene that may be saturated with NASL-scale tournaments, and a WCS that’s made it hard to exist as an independent StarCraft 2 league, it would make complete sense for a shift to another game with a different partner.