Blizzard announces WoW global tournament

World of Warcraft moves into the eSports arena, and a $75,000 prize is up for grabs; entrants can instantly craft a level-70 character.

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If you say eSports, massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. However, Blizzard, the developer of WoW, has announced that it will be introducing a new tournament-style competition to the game.

The global tournaments will use the game's arena system and take place within special realms where gamers can instantly craft level-70 (the highest experience level currently attainable) characters with "epic equipment" to do battle with others online.

Starting in April, there will be two rounds of online qualifiers in Europe, South Korea, North America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Entry will cost £12 in Europe, 20,000 won in South Korea, $20 in North America, and NT$450 in the other three regions. The qualifiers will run for six weeks, and teams will play three-vs.-three matches, with the top four teams advancing to the regional finals. Winners of the regional finals will then vie for a slice of $27,000 in cash prizes, and the winners of the global championship will net themselves a $75,000 grand prize.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime commented, "eSports is one of the most exciting facets of online gaming today. We're pleased to expand World of Warcraft's tournament options for players who want to focus mainly on the competitive aspect of the game."

Gamers in Europe can find more details on the official Web site.

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