In addition to Race to World First, which Blizzard is following but not directly supporting, and Mythic Dungeon International, there has been recent growth in terms of PvE esports in Blizzard Games. The Great Push was a ten-day tournament that saw over 10,000 players compete to see who could complete the highest number of keystones. Also at stake was the albeit rather manageable sum of $20,000 in prize money.

The esports website Dot Esports has now conducted an interview with Adrian "Healingstat" Archer-Lock, Associate Product Manager at Blizzard. Among other things, it was about further events of this kind, but also about the victory of Echo, with which Blizzard is not particularly happy. The most important information of the interview can be found here in the summary:

Challenges and lessons learned

  • Blizzard was very pleased with the event and the crowds and has already decided to host another unique event later this year.
  • These one-off events are currently only planned for dungeons, but they are looking at other possibilities for the future. They have a lot of ideas for MDI, but they can't do them all without damaging the competitive nature of MDI. One-off events like this are much better for that.
  • Having all the teams on the air at the same time was a big challenge for the team at Blizzard. However, they are happy with how the viewer numbers on Twitch or YouTube have developed. The fact that multiple perspectives were offered and viewers could discuss different strategies was also very satisfying.

Player Effort and Breaks

  • Blizzard was very aware of how much time players were investing in preparation. As a result, the decision was made to have a condensed qualifying period of only two weeks, which was also adjusted to accommodate the different time zones. The aim was to ensure that all teams and regions had an equal chance.
  • Many players rush straight back into training after the MDI or other tournaments in LoL and Co. and thus have no breaks. Blizzard wanted to prevent this. Therefore they introduced the "rest mode", which gave the players a break after five hours of continuous play.
  • This was also the reason why they announced the affixes only at very short notice at the beginning of the broadcast. Players were expected to adjust and implement their strategy in real time, rather than being able to practice it for hours beforehand.

Prize money, MDI and AWC

  • MDI and AWC will combine to pay out about a million dollars in prize money this year.
  • The second MDI of Shadowlands will take place in a shorter time frame. To that end, the format will also be adjusted slightly so that the season doesn't go on as long as the past one.

Echo, the controversial winner

  • Echo's victory in the Great Push was controversial and Blizzard is not very happy with it. In the future, when players use controversial tactics (editor's note: that could be construed as an exploit), they are supposed to submit a recording and have Blizzard sign off on that strategy.
  • The admins were aware of the plague drill mob exploit, but not the misdirection part.
  • Blizzard's philosophy is to not make rash decisions. They prefer to look at things carefully and then decide. With MDI, they just let teams replay the match when in doubt. But with The Great Push, it's a lot more difficult because it has a bigger impact on the rest of the tournament.

More events like this

  • Blizzard has already confirmed that there will be another one-off event in the fourth quarter of 2021.
  • This is intended to shorten the offseason between MDIs and AWCs.
  • While this event will take a different approach, it will borrow some things from The Great Push. Possibly we'll see something like The Last Man Standing or something like that.

You can find the full interview on the DoT Esports website.

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