Photo via Blizzard (Licensed)

Will it be enough to halt the decline of the game's esports scene?
Heroes of the Storm esports will change dramatically in 2017, with the current global championship circuit being replaced with online regional leagues, similar to the structure of the LCS.

The four major regions, the Americas, Europe, Korea, and China, will each have a league for their top eight teams. These teams will receive contracts and salaries directly from Blizzard, much in the way that Riot Games contracts League of Legends players for its leagues.

Alongside these regional leagues and the global finals, three more international events will take place throughout the year. Teams from other regions like Taiwan and Southeast Asia will also take part in these through local qualifying events. 

Below the eight team leagues there will be open leagues for up-and-coming and amateur teams, and promotion and relegation between the two divisions.

Qualifiers for the league will begin in November, with more information on prize pool and format likely to be revealed at BlizzCon the same month. 

Though these leagues are an objective improvement for the Americas and Europe, Korea and China have already operated Blizzard-sponsored offline leagues. Some negative reactions have already been voiced to the prospect of those regions being forced to move their competition online.

Heroes of the Storm esports has had a tough year, with major organizations like Natus Vincere, Cloud9, Virtus Pro, and compLexity opting to get out of the game. But with Blizzard paying salaries, and guaranteed exposure for the teams that take part, this league system may entice some of these organizations to re-enter the scene.

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