Blizzard Entertainment is a video game company that specializes in high quality, fun, and addicting games. Founded in 1991 (then named "Silicon & Synapse, Inc") by three college graduates, Blizzard released marginally successful ports and two games called "Rock N Roll Racing" and "The Lost Vikings." Then, in 1994, when they released "Warcraft: Orcs and Humans," the first title in what would be arguably their largest franchise.
Since then, the company has created three additional franchises (Diablo, Starcraft, and Overwatch), and even a live-action movie (called Warcraft). Every year, the company holds an annual convention, called Blizzcon, where thousands compete in these games to potentially earn thousands of dollars (kind of like Fair Go Casino Online - but not really).
And just last week, professional Hearthstone player "Liooon" took home the grand prize of $200,000, making her the first woman ever to do so.
Blizzcon Tournaments, How They Work
The Blizzcon Hearthstone tournament is a multi-stage event since the format was changed from last year's. The Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions had sixteen players each break up into divisions and compete against each other in their respective competitive seasons. Season #1 from May to July, with Season #2 from August to October.
The players play against all the other players in their division twice, done via a system known as "Double Round Robin" (Everyone plays against a random player, twice, and the results are tracked).
After that, the players are broken up into groups of 3-4 as part of the "Duel Tournament" stage, and from there, only two advance to the Single Elimination Stage.
This stage has players battle it out and determine the overall winners for the region. The winners from the three regions then move on to the Hearthstone Global Finals. Since there are two seasons, six players end up going to the Finals, although two additional players from China's Open Series Playoffs also advance to the finals, making eight players total.
In the Global Finals, the eight champions play in two duel tournaments, leaving only four players standing to compete in the final Single Elimination bracket. All matches are best-of-three, except for the finals and the semi-finals, which are a best-of-five.
Liooon, World Champion
In the Grand Finals, Liooon faced off against America's champion, Bloodyface, in a remarkably one-sided affair, where she won three-to-nil, officially making Liooon the first woman ever to become the Hearthstone World Champion!
"Liooon", known in real life as Xiaomeng Li, was born in the Xinjiang province of China. Her parents divorced at the age of nine, and she lived with her mother until college, where she eventually fell in love with Hearthstone.
"Being qualified for the Hearthstone Global Finals is by far the highest finish I’ve achieved in my Hearthstone career," Liooon said, according to an article on Blizzard's official website, "This is my first time to be able to get global attention as a representative of China. This is the best way to strike back at those people who doubted me only because I am a girl. It proves that girls can be strong pro players, just as guys do.”
"I'm a grinder," she continues, "I’m always chasing higher ladder rank!"
She finished her statement by saying that, "If you want to [become an eSports champion], and you believe in yourself, you should just forget your gender and just go for it!"
In the semi-finals, Liooon defeated "Casie" in a 3-2 match, and Bloodyface defeated "Leaoh" 3-2. Casie and Leaoh each took home fifty-thousand dollars in the end.
Meanwhile, the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth players ("Surrender", "Fenomeno", "PNC", and "tom60229" respectively) each took home twenty-five thousand dollars.
Image via: Blizzcon