Last weekend’s DreamHack Anaheim 2020 Open Cup drew in the best and brightest Warcraft III layers. Among them, Swedish player Marcus ‘ThorZaIN’ Eklöf.
On the cusp of potentially securing an arguable career highlight, the Warcraft 3 pro saw his hopes dashed by performance issues.
Having reached the playoffs, ThorZain faced the favorite to win the competition, Korean professional Moon, in a best of three series.
Two heated games saw each player land a win leaving the match up open. In the third game, ThorZaIN had victory in sight. A win would catapult him to the semi-finals. Yet, the game came to a sudden end when ThorZaIN disconnected from the game.
The tournament organizers called a rematch. In an attempt to rectify the performance issues, Moon and ThorZaIN played the match with the graphics reverted to the classic version of Warcraft 3. ThorZaIN took a commanding lead but disconnected once more.
The two players jumped into a fifth and final game free of any disconnections. Moon came out on top and advanced to the semi-finals.
ThorZain was unceremoniously booted from the competition, losing out on a potential prize pool of $2000 to $7500, and the bragging rights afforded from besting one of the best Warcraft 3 players in the world. And this, despite being ahead in three out of a total five games.
The disconnection issues hit other match ups throughout the competition. Pro player and DreamHack competitor, Matt “lnclnerator” Schlenker, took to Reddit to highlight a very similar experience.
Being here in Anaheim, I can tell you these drops have been happening the entire tournament. In my first BO3 vs. SoSorryMan, we played five games, with two drops after 20-minute games – absolutely unacceptable. Blizzard was here yesterday and saw it, knew about it, and left, and no one from their side bothered to do anything about it or even acknowledge its existence.
Blizzard’s inability to offer a stable build for a professional-level offline competition is the latest chapter in Warcraft 3: Reforged troubled journey.
The events at DreamHack won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed Reforged’s disastrous launch. Performance issues and missing features left many players disappointed by the game, prompting a wave of refunds.
While the performance issues at DreamHack will hamper a resurgence of the competitive Warcraft 3 eSports scene, the impact on ThorZaIN is a much more personal one. Eklöf authored the following tweet following this weekend’s events;
Rallying behind the player, the community has set up a GoFundMe page with the intention of raising the minimum amount ThorZaIN would have bagged had he won his match up against Moon.
Whether Blizzard will be pushed to finally fix the issues playing the game after such a high-profile failure remains to be seen.