Massively multiplayer role-playing game Guild Wars 2 is further embracing its competitive scene. Developer ArenaNet announced today that the game will receive a new eSports league in collaboration with the Electronic Sports League.
Guild Wars 2's Pro League will feature eight teams from across North America and Europe competing for a total prize pool of $400,000. The League will consist of two seasons comprising seven weeks each, leading up to a finale in which the two best North American teams will challenge the top European pair.
The second season of the League will culminate in the Guild Wars 2 World Championship, which ArenaNet promises will offer its "largest tournament prize pool to date."
Qualifiers will be held starting in mid-November to grab four of the team slots, with the remaining half going to teams that have either participated in the game's previous World Tournament Series Finals or are highly ranked in the Go4GuildWars2 Cups. The latter event will be held from Oct. 18 until Oct. 25.
The Pro League will be open to all Guild Wars 2 players age 16 and up. ArenaNet hopes to offer everyone a fair chance at making it into the competition, both with the low minimum age requirement as well as the new Guild Challenger League. This will run concurrently, and its top competitors will have the chance to prove themselves against the lowest-ranked Pro League teams for a shot at claiming their spots.
The PC game will also receive a balance update prior to each new season of the Pro League to ensure a stable metagame. ArenaNet encourages players to stay tuned for more information on that and how to participate in the upcoming qualifiers.
Guild Wars 2's latest expansion, Heart of Thorns, arrives Oct. 23. It will feature raids for the first time. While this expansion will be paid, the base game itself began offering free accounts in August. While these users face certain restrictions, like more limited inventory space, ArenaNet president Jim O'Brien told us at the time that these customers still receive "more than 40 major content releases for free, no monthly fees."