Want some spicy BBQ wings and potentially inebriated baseball fans with your Hearthstone playoffs this spring? If so, you’re in luck!
On Thursday, Blizzard revealed the details for its spring playoffs for Hearthstone, taking place around the world later this month. Most are occurring in venues you’d expect — gaming centers (centres if you’re in Canada), conventions, hotels, and so on.
But in a “Huh?” move, five of the American events are taking place in Buffalo Wild Wings locations throughout the country, establishments better known for catering to fans of the Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Braves rather than Kvaldir Raiders and Brave Archers.
It’s likely an attempt by Blizzard to bring esports to the “other” sports crowd, though some are skeptical. According to one player who participated in a Winter Tavern Hero Qualifier at a BWW, waiters interrupted the players and “there were a few disconnects.” Kotaku reached out to Blizzard, which assured fans that the venues had undergone a vetting process that included a “review of the physical space and internet stability, among other factors.”
I get that Blizzard wants to promote its games to a wider audience (and, unlike seemingly everyone else, I actually like Buffalo Wild Wings and sports bars in general), but this is still an odd choice. Worse, it seems like the kind of thing that might benefit the company but greatly inconveniences the players, which is kind of a crappy thing to do — especially when $25,000 is at stake. Blizzard used to show StarCraft II events in BWW locations, so maybe that could be a option for future Hearthstone events that would better serve all parties involved.