MMORPGS and E-sport events

Esports in World of Warcraft, what are the prospects?

Among the many universes developed in video games, some have achieved the feat of marking the childhood of several generations. In the pantheon of the most memorable sagas, we find Final Fantasy, Mario, Metal Gear, Star Wars, The Legend of Zelda, and many others. Warcraft and its universe are also part of it and have a special place in it.

Starting its history in 1994 as a stand-alone game with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, this franchise gave birth, ten years later, to an online game that revolutionized the industry: the MMORPG World Of Warcraft.

Based on a rich universe and a history that spans nearly 150,000 years, this pure product of the publisher Blizzard gives rise to many derivative products (film, other video games that take place in the same universe, novels, figurines, etc.).

Not content to export on so many different supports, the game even enters its name at the Guinness World Record as the most popular MMORPG: in 2008, 62% of MMORPGs players play at World Of Warcraft. In 2010, it reached the level of 12 million registered players.

Even if the game starts a certain decline from 2012, a solid heart of aficionados remains faithful to it. The number of subscribers is going up again from 2014, for the 10th anniversary of the license, going back above the ten million marks.

At a time when mastodonts such as League of Legends or Fortnite were still only projects in cartoons or at the beta stage, World Of Warcraft was thus a paragon of success.

After 2014, the game again began a slow decline, flirting even with the bar of three million subscribers. It will be necessary to wait until 2017 to see this figure grow and even double on the occasion of the release of the extension Battle For Azeroth.

WoW esports and BFA

WoW: Battle for Azeroth gives new interest to lovers of the universe imagined by Blizzard. Credits: Blizzard

Even if the number of subscribers has fluctuated greatly during the fourteen years of existence of the game, its commercial and popular success remains undeniable, even though the game has always remained paying (the monthly subscription now amounts to 12.99€). However these days you have multiple options when it comes to paying the subscription fee. You can use the in-game currency to acquire a 30 Day pass, or you could go at PokerVideoGratuit and use the amazing video poker promotion from Wild Sultan casino and pay for the whole year in a matter of seconds, depending on your luck, of course.

However, despite the commercial success of World Of Warcraft in its early years, the publisher of this great franchise seems to have missed the mark in the 2010s.

Indeed, at that time, publishers saw the marketing potential of eSport. They decide to set up their competitive circuits and become the main players.

Blizzard, already organizing its world of Warcraft competitions since the mid-2000s, does not align itself with the projects of its direct competitors and thus ends up seeing them surpass him.

To this end, a small step back should be taken

In 2011, League of Legends inaugurated its first World Championships in Jönköping. The finale pitted Fnatic against Against all Authority (AAA) for a total cash prize of $ 100,000. At that time, there were eleven and a half million monthly players in the game. It was the beginning of a great and long adventure that, eight years later, Riot Games will organize championships all over the world, counting in the participant’s football clubs, basketball clubs as well as the largest esports clubs in the world.

The Final Season 1 of the league of Legends worlds

For its part, also in 2011, Valve organized the first edition of the International in Cologne, with a staggering $ 1.6 million cash prize, on its defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2) game. Three years later, DotA 2 will surpass the symbolic bar of the ten million players.

This re-contextualization sheds light on two important players in the current eSport ecosystem who, within a few months, when World Of Warcraft knew its peak of popularity, launched their first major esports tournaments.

It is important to note that for comparison, Riot Games and Valve had, in 2011, on their respective games, bases of players that were roughly equivalent, if not less important than the MMORPG.

Blizzard tried his hand at eSport on World Of Warcraft at an early stage, and in the mid-2000s the publisher even became a pioneer in the field. However, after having been proactive and showing the way to the other players in the ecosystem, Blizzard subsequently shows a lack of action when new publishers invest the sector through new strategies.

Blizzard started organizing sports events at an early stage. The approach was very innovative at the time. In 2007, on the occasion of the BlizzCon, Blizzard set up an offline event bringing together the best 3v3 Arena teams, the equivalent of the first World Arena championships. He was one of the only publishers at the time who organized his tournaments. It was more common in the early days of eSport to call on third-party companies (ESL, ESWC) to take charge of the organization and management of competitive circuits.

Nor should we overlook the important role that the community could play in the creation of new sports products, how DotA 2 came to the fore is a perfect example. One could argue that this is always the case when one sees the considerable contribution it can make to an editor (artworks, skins, updates). Once again, DotA 2 offers us a recent example of the most interesting with the game Auto Chess, which was originally only a mode of the Valve product.

In 2008, the economic crisis hit the video game industry hard. This has a de facto direct impact on the development of eSport, forcing some players to revise their plans. Competition organizations are forced to cut their budgets: the WCG (World Cyber Gaming) announce the absence of a European edition for 2008.

This marks a halt to the competitive development of certain games, especially for those whose publisher used to abandon the operational part of their strategies to third parties. This was the case with many publishers at that time, with the notable exception of Blizzard. The tournaments on World Of Warcraft are therefore only slightly affected and remain as they are for a few years.