Blizzard has just unveiled new details regarding the Hearthstone Championship Tour for the upcoming year, and one of the big changes is the introduction of the Hearthstone Masters system, which is meant to "recognise top players based on the consistency of their performance," according to the press release.
As a part of this system, there will be three teirs, and rewards will be in place for eligible players increase at each level. Each tier, represented by one to three stars, will offer tournament appearance bonuses, invitations to HCT playoffs and online tournaments, and special memorabilia as well.
Qualification has also been changed, as each HCT season will now have a point target that'll be made clear before the season begins, and all players who earn that total will qualify for the playoff. You can earn points from events in all regions, and then use these to compete in playoffs based on the respective country.
The Hearthstone Competitive Points will also be changed in terms of the amounts awarded for ladder finishes in tournaments, as starting in January a player's three best ladder finishes per HCT season (with each consisting of up to four in-game seasons) will count towards the total of points. "This should help to avoid players being at a disadvantage if competing in an event that occurs toward the end of a month, while rival players are trying to reach the highest possible ladder rank," the press release adds.
What's more is that the amount of international tournaments are being increased via Tour Stops, which take high-level Hearthstone around the world, offering increased points and prizes. In terms of the HCT seasons, though, these are as follows:
· Season 1 - January, February, March
· Season 2 - April, May, June, July
· Season 3 - August, September, October, November
And lastly, starting in Season 2 Blizzard will also be awarding cash incentives to plays from the top 10 teams per season. Teams will be able to choose three players to represent them, with choices set for a full season, and at the end of this the top 10 teams will receive a cash prize based on the combined seasonal point total of all three players.
Could this be the best year ever for Hearthstone esports?