World of Warcraft is to go e-sports, in an official PVP tournament with a $200,000 cashpot. Terrifying, but entirely understandable - there are, after all, tens of thousands of elves and orcs and gnomes and trolls who've effectively spent the last three years in training for this day. Rocky Bal-Shaman, your time is now.
Not unsurprisingly, it involves players spending more money.
$20/£12 buys you a spot on a special Tournament server with access to a no-limits level 70 character builder. Then you and two chums (the deal is 3v3 arena matches) set to it in a couple of regional qualifier rounds, hoping to make it through to the global championship.
Now, e-sports has always been a curious affair. While its stationary athletes' skills are certainly impressive, it's remained very much a niche endeavour, solely for the supremely dedicated few. When you're talking World of Warcraft, it's a different matter - this is a game that's birthed more ultra-competitive gamers into the world than any other. So is this a toe-dipping experiment or part of the grand design? It'll certainly be fascinating to hear how many entrants this tournament has - with those sign-up fees, Blizzard needs at least 10,000 players if it's to pay off the prize-pot. From a potential pool of 10 million, that's surely easy money.
More details here.