BlizzCon 2019 was something that Blizzard was expected go all-in on, but with only two days before the start of the convention, the World of Warcraft community is calling that into question based on controversy surrounding the prize pool for the WoW Arena World Championship and the Wow Mythic Dungeon International.
In a post made by Blizzard on March 19, the company announced that members of the WoW community could support WoW Esports by purchasing two new toys available in the Blizzard shop:
"For a limited time, every purchase of the Transmorpher Beacon or Lion’s Pride and Horde’s Might Fireworks, 25% of the proceeds will contribute toward the year’s finals LAN event prize pool for the Arena World Championship (AWC) and the Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) with a guaranteed minimum prize pool of $500,000 USD ($250,000 USD for each event.) Your support will help take the WoW esports prize pool to the next level."
On Monday, October 28th, Blizzard announced the total prize pool after proceeds from the aforementioned toys had assumedly been added on top of Blizzard's contributions:
"We’re happy to announce that because of your direct support, the combined prize pool for WoW Esports at BlizzCon 2019 will be $660,000! Each of our two WoW Esports programs, the World of Warcraft Arena World Championship and the Mythic Dungeon International Global Finals, will have a prize pool of $330,000 up for grabs. Thank you for making this the largest prize pool we’ve ever had for WoW Esports at BlizzCon and thank you for your continued support of WoW Esports."
Snutz sets things straight
The success of the toys and the community's rallying around the cause led to suspicions, and eventually, allegations against Blizzard for not contributing any of its own money to the prize pool and instead, relying solely on the proceeds from the toys released this past spring. A popular streamer named Zack, known more commonly as "Asmongold" came to the defense of Blizzard in a tweet quoting the original announcement made by Blizzard ahead of BlizzCon 2019.
"Attention people who are mad about Blizzard supposedly not contributing any money to the prize pools" This is a completely unfounded conclusion, there is no place that states that Blizz won't contribute if the pool is too big. Lets wait for more info," Asmongold urged. However, Kelvin "Snutz" Nguyen, a professional player for Cloud9, responded to Asmongold's tweet stating his account of what had taken place ahead of BlizzCon:
If one were to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, the wording of Blizzard's original post a could read as a $500,000 guaranteed prize pool should the proceeds from the toys not exceed that value. Still, that doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy the community. Asmongold himself made a video expressing his disappointment and calling on Blizzard to make the right choice and add its $500,000 the prize pool.
With BlizzCon less than two days away, it is unlikely that anything in the way of a formal announcement is made public before the beginning of the event. However, a lack of explanation or clarification from the side of Blizzard could turn the the company's 48-hour highlight into more fuel for the fire of unrest that is ablaze throughout the community.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.