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World of Warcraft has announced The Great Push, which is the game’s first competitive dungeon one-off tournament of 2021.
The Great Push will offer a new way for players to test their limits in the competitive scene. Instead of fighting for the best time against opponents, World of Warcraft teams will push keys as high as possible.
Blizzard’s new endeavor
Adrian Archer-Lock, the associate product manager and Mythic Dungeon International lead at Blizzard Entertainment, sat down for an interview to discuss this new approach to competitive World of Warcraft.
“We thought there was more opportunity to grow out the breadth of that,” he said, referring to the Mythic Dungeon International format, broadcast changes and competing regions. “And so last year, especially, we spent a lot of time thinking [about] the new expansion, with Shadowlands, and just in general—what could be some other fun opportunities with WoW esports to kind of expand that.”
He added how pushing keys was different compared to focusing on the top teams and other formats that were about speed-running.
“One thing we landed on that we liked in all of the different formats was that sense of progression,” Archer-Lock said. “It’s something that is really core to players in World of Warcraft.”
In addition to pushing the very limits of the game and taking down upper-tier end bosses, Blizzard wanted to draft an event for dungeons that include those same key aspects. The Great Push will be its first endeavor in that direction.
Journey to the top
The Great Push will begin with the Proving Grounds, which will occur between May 22 and 23.
Each participating team of five will receive two keystone combinations and push to the highest level of difficulty they can manage. From there, the top six teams from each qualifier will earn a spot in the main tournament.
Between May 28 and 30, they will then push keystones in various World of Warcraft dungeons from the Shadowlands expansion. The team with the highest overall score will be the champions of The Great Push and receive the lion’s share of a $20,000 prize pool.
Due to the worldwide pandemic, The Great Push will be happening online. Archer-Lock noted how it’s been tough on Blizzard’s side, especially last year. However, with the help of the broadcast team and the players, online tournaments saw improvements.
“I think the fact that we knew we were going to be online again this year was actually to our advantage in the sense that it allowed us to invest in making it the best possible product it could be,” he said.
How to enter The Great Push
Prerequisites will not be required to participate in the tournament. World of Warcraft teams who want to prove themselves can sign up for The Great Push until May 17.
“The Great Push is the first time we’re really taking a stab at this, but we’re already committed to doing a second one-off event later in the year, so we’ll for sure be observing what’s happening here with this event and seeing what are the things the community really likes,” Archer-Lock said.
More World of Warcraft esports
As World of Warcraft enthusiasts anticipate The Great Push, they can tune in to the Mythic Dungeon International Global Finals, which will run between April 23 and 25. A prize pool of $300,000 will be on the line.
“The thing with MDI that’s great is that because we are on the seasonal model, it means that every single time we do a season, we get feedback from the players, we get feedback from the audience [on] things we can improve,” Archer-Lock said.
He added how there were a ton of improvements with the broadcast and there will be more that Blizzard wants to do for Season 2.
The World of Warcraft Arena World Championship teams will also continue duking it out between April 10 and 11. The top six of the Season 1 Circuit will have a place in the Season 2 Circuit. After the completion of the Season 1 and 2 Circuits, the top teams will clash in the Arena World Championship 2021 Grand Finals.
Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!