Once Activision Blizzard announced that they would no longer be supporting the competitive Heroes of the Storm scene, Ian “workhorse” Anderson, the founder of HeroesHearth went to work. His goal, aside from growing his platform dedicated to entertaining and educating the community close to his heart, was to help establish a way for the competitive scene to not completely die off due to the game developer’s decision.
Essentially the day after the announcement everybody in the scene, from big orgs to small groups to individuals that wanted to do something, all were trying to think of solutions. Honestly, I spent nine or 10 days, about eight or nine hours each of those days, on the phone, Discord or talking to people with ideas and goals. I was just trying to figure out what's the best way to do something on a scale that would suit a lot of the, for lack of a better word, pain or loss we were all feeling and honor what was done. Let's set something up so that it can exist long-term.
HeroesHearth, alongside fellow Heroes of the Storm esports organization, Tempo Storm, announced on Wednesday their first attempt at creating an independent tournament that can, hopefully in the long-run, fill the void in the communities’ heart.
The “Toasty & Gladman Heroes Invitational,” funded partially by two of the scene’s most financially generous individuals, will take place during the weekend of February 9-10 and feature popular former professional players within North America.
With an initial prize pool of $5,000, Anderson hopes that additional sponsor dollars and community funds will make the pot large enough to pull viewers and make the event worth everyone’s time.
This first tournament is essentially a prove-it tournament. Can we put on a show that people want to watch? Can the production be a high enough quality so that people are into it?
The follow-up is: Will people show up? If we build it, will they come? That is the ultimate question.
If people tune in and the viewership is strong and people are happy with what is going on, that gives the group that is putting all this on the ability to go to sponsors and partners and say, ‘Hey, look at all these eyeballs in this passionate community.’ We think there's a lot of value here and hopefully we will get sponsorship support so we can hopefully pay for a big prize pools or pay for base part-time salary things so things get easier.
Anderson also wants to add that this tournament is, just like his company, for the community and not financial exploitation of a fanbase to fill his pockets.
Nobody is making money on this. The reality is that I love running HeroesHearth but I don't make any money doing it. I actually lose a lot of money doing it but it is because I love this game and I love this idea galvanizing the community in a particular and fun way in this tournament hopefully into a circuit will be a really fun part of that.
As far as whether this event will be a one-off or the beginning of a long-term tournament circuit, that’s up to the community and their support. Since the Heroes Global Championship (HGC) ended a month ago, HeroesHearth’s web traffic has continued to grow, showing signs that the game may not be as “dead” as social media platforms may lead you to believe.
HGC only got ten or twelve thousand views sometimes more per game that is incredible viewership still. Outside of the top 10 games that exist, it is still a really popular game. If you compare Heroes to Battlerite or Atlas or any game that is comparable viewership-wise it is still a big game. It is just a matter of is the community wanting to come together to make all the dots connect and that is what we are going to learn.
Throughout 2018, the HGC held a strong concurrent viewership on Twitch over a three-day period. If the Toasty & Gladman Heroes Invitational can pull anything near that, Anderson would consider the event a raving success.
If we were getting viewership close to what HGC did, I would be popping champagne and high-fiving everybody. The average HGC game got, what, 10,000 to 12,000 viewers? If we got anywhere near that, that would just be bonkerstown and that would be a great measuring stick for success in general. But for me, success comes from: Does it honor the community? Does it honor how great the game is? Does make people happy? All right, that is a success. If it can all be paid for and no one is losing their shirt, yay, we did it.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.