As BlizzCon 2016 comes to an end, attendees both in person and online have an abundance of new information and enthusiasm to take with them into their everyday lives. The second day involved a lot of question-and-answer sessions for the different games, behind the scenes panels from departments that don’t always get to take front stage, and the eSports finals. It was those eSports events that provided much of the excitement of day two, particularly the championships that ended with upsets.
This year’s BlizzCon featured the first ever Overwatch World Cup. In a decisive win, South Korea beat Russia 4-0, earning the gold medal. Russia got silver with Sweden winning the bronze medal game over Finland. The line to get into the arena for Overwatch was capped with people waiting well over an hour for the hope to just get a seat inside for the World Cup.
The World of Warcraft Arena World Championships featured the only North American team to make to the finals of any of the games. Method NA met European Splyce for the championship, a best of seven match that took all seven games to crown a victor.
In the end, Splyce came out on top, besting Method in an exciting and stress-inducing game that left the crowd on the edge of their seats. Splyce won $250,000 for their efforts and a place in history as the two-time World Champions.
In Hearthstone, DrHippi was upset by 18-year-old Pavel 4-2. Neither had been expected to make it to the finals, giving BlizzCon an all European championship. While both looked confident and poised, Russian Pavel just proved to be too much for the player from Ukraine. Pavel’s victory netted him $250,000 in prize money and it appears he has a prosperous future in eSports.
StarCraft II Global Finals is usually the most popular of the eSports events at BlizzCon every year. This year was not an exception with huge crowds gathering to cheer on ByuN and Dark. Terran player ByuN ended up beating Zerg player Dark 4-2. As the confetti rained down, ByuN lifted that coveted trophy as cheers filled the Anaheim arena and took home a $200,000 prize.
Finally, in the Heroes of the Storm Finals, Korean Ballistix beat European Fnatic. While Ballistix seemed to be off to an easy victory, Fnatic wiped them in the third game, allowing the European team to come back and take the core. However, Ballistix won their third game in the best of five series immediately following in a deciding fashion, earning them $300,000.
All in all, BlizzCon 2016 proved that the future of eSports looks strong and, with the introduction of the Overwatch League in 2016, it seems all but certain that next year’s tournaments will be better than ever.