ArenaNet and ESL have announced the launch of an ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League. The tournament series is offering $400,000 in cash prizes over the course of two seasons-one of the largest cash prizes ever offered by ESL in a Pro League competition, as well as the largest ever for Guild Wars 2 competitive play.
The tournament is opening up competition opportunities to more players than ever before since it’s lowering the age (to 16 and over) and regional restrictions (all regions are now eligible), and because the core Guild Wars 2 game is now free for all users. Open qualifiers will be held in November.
ArenaNet says that the move is part of an ongoing expansion into competitive play, partly based on a record number of players participating in PvP.
“We’re seeing massive growth in players joining Guild Wars 2 and competitive play is the fastest growing segment in the game,” said ArenaNet’s Colin Johanson. “Working with ESL to develop this tournament is a natural next step for us, inviting more players from this growing community to come take their shot at being elite. Guild Wars 2 Pro League is the result of our vision to create a tournament system where the majority of our player community can participate and are given a clear path to improve their skills, form teams and qualify, giving them a real shot at fame, glory, and big cash prizes.”
Last year the Guild Wars 2 World Tournament Series became its first global competition, with teams from North America, Europe, and China competing for $150,000 over the course of three tournaments. The Pro League will replace the World Tournament Series as the Guild Wars 2 PvP championship-and it also marks the end of the weekly ESL Go4GuildWars2 Cups.
Guild Wars 2 first expansion, Heart of Thrones, will be released October 23 of this year. Heart of Thorns introduces a new PvP system called PvP Leagues. While the expansion is not free, the core game is, so you can try it out before you decide to dive into the newer content. The PvP League system will act as a feeder system into the Pro Leagues.