ArenaNet and ESL have announced the ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League, a new competitive PvP tournament that will offer $400,000 in cash prizes.
“The prize pool, which will be offered over the course of two seasons, is both the largest ever for Guild Wars 2 competitive play and represents one of the biggest cash prizes ever offered by ESL in Pro League competition,” the developer revealed. The tournament is open to all Guild Wars 2 players, including those who are playing for free, and kicks off in November with open qualifiers, with the first season culminating in a Season Finals LAN event at ESL studios.
The ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League will replace the World Tournament Series as the game’s major PvP championship, and also marks the end of the weekly ESL Go4GuildWars2 Cups. At the end of the planned two seasons, ArenaNet will host a World Championship event.
“We’re seeing massive growth in players joining Guild Wars 2 and competitive play is the fastest growing segment in the game,” said Colin Johanson, Game Director at ArenaNet. “Working with ESL to develop this tournament is a natural next step for us, inviting more players from this growing community to come take their shot at being elite. Guild Wars 2 Pro League is the result of our vision to create a tournament system where the majority of our player community can participate and are given a clear path to improve their skills, form teams and qualify, giving them a real shot at fame, glory, and big cash prizes.”
Guild Wars 2‘s Heart of Thorns expansion will introduce new PvP Leagues that will offer new and up-and-coming players help as they progress their skills, set goals and earn in-game rewards. There will also be a new Guild Challenger League that will act as a feeder system for the Pro League. At the end of each season, the top teams from the Guild Challenger League will face off against the bottom teams from the Pro League, with the winning team taking a spot in the next season.
“ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 recently enjoyed record numbers for players participating in PvP competition, and we are confident that the ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League will help further foster this growth,” added Sebastian Weishaar, Senior VP of International Business at ESL. “At ESL, we’re very excited for what lies in store for the ever-evolving game and look forward to enjoying its high-level competition both online and in our Burbank and Cologne studios.”
The first season kicks off with qualifiers in mid-November. The qualifiers will take the form of an open tournament that will determine four of the eight teams who will compete in the ESL Pro League. The other four teams will include a mix of World Tournament Series Finalists and the highest ranking teams from the final round of the October Go4GuildWars2 Cups. Once decided, eight teams from each region will compete over two seven week seasons for the chance to compete in the finals for the $400,000 prize pool.
Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns launches October 23rd, 2015.