Over the weekend, Heroes of the Storm enjoyed a concurrent viewership peak of over 11,500 Twitch spectators for the Tespa Collegiate Series—the highest viewership of a HotS event since Blizzard proclaimed that it would no longer provide monetary support to the competitive scene in December.
Following Blizzard’s announcement, pundits throughout the world of esports declared that the company had sounded the death knell for HotS’ major esports dreams. In the history of esports, few titles have survived without considerable developer support.
Though Tespa is headquartered within Blizzard’s offices in Irvine, California, the collegiate esports organization broke with its host company by holding the Heroes of the Storm Tespa Collegiate Series, a spiritual successor to Blizzard’s discontinued annual Heroes of the Dorm event. Featuring teams from a number of United States universities and commentary by Chris “Bahamut” Oniciu, Josh “JHow” Howard, and Ben “Cattlepillar” Bunk, last weekend’s event kicked off an eight-week run of Heroes of the Storm events that will be capped off by a series of playoffs in mid-to-late April.
The prizes of this year’s event aren’t quite as impressive as past events’ rewards—members of the winning team get a $500 scholarship and an ASUS laptop with a $2,000 market price—but the enthusiastic reaction that the Tespa Collegiate Series received from both players and spectators shows that HotS devotees are in it for the gameplay, not the money. The Heroes of the Storm esports scene isn’t dead yet.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment