Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2014 - 02:39 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Starcraft II, WCS, blizzard, blizzcon, esports
The StarCraft II World Championship Series is Blizzard's official method of conglomerating numerous tournaments, including their own, into a canonized ranking system. Players get points for winning various Intel Extreme Masters, Red Bull Battle Grounds, DreamHack events, GSL seasons, and so forth. Beyond the prize money of each event, points are awarded to sort a global standings list. These points, beyond bragging rights, lead to an invitation to the year's final tournament at BlizzCon.
The system has drawn some criticism, however. One specific complaint is that players are allowed to partake in any region of their choosing. This seems to lead to tactical placement of players relative to other ones, rather than actual geography. Moreover, this allows players to join in servers that they are not anywhere near to, introducing lag in the online components. If I remember correctly, the rules stated that, unless both players chose to play on a server that was outside the region (ex: a South Korean server for two competitors in WCS America), the server would default to the region (America in the previous example). For 2015, Blizzard is requiring that all players must be legal residents of the region they choose to play in. The reasons for this decision do not seem to be publicly explained, but it should discourage the shuffling of players for logistical advantages.
The other, major change is that all participants of WCS 2015 need to qualify. Previously, if I (again) remember correctly, while points were reset, some placements in leagues carried over. This time, if a player is in any given league, they fought to get there from the very bottom. If anything, I expect this became necessary when the decision was made to change residency requirements.
WCS 2014 isn't over yet, though. It will close with BlizzCon on November 8th.
Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2013 - 02:31 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WCS, Starcraft II, Blizzcon 2013
The last match to decide the 16 StarCraft II players competing at Blizzcon is starting just about right now. This match-up, a best-of-five series between NaNiwa and Revival, was not an expected event. Over the whole of 2013, both players accumulated 3200 "WCS Points" which puts them in a tie for 16th place. As far as I can tell, Blizzard is hosting the event.
A little retro...
The WCS Global Finals have a prize pool of $250,000 USD. Whoever wins will be able to compete for up to $100,000 and, of course, the title of "Best StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm Player in the World, 2013". Just attending the competition guarantees you at least $5000. All of this is on top of whatever else the player won over the last 10-or-so months.
You can check out the tie-breaker series, if you go quickly, by checking out their website. Blizzcon is taking place this weekend, Friday and Saturday, and is usually where Blizzard announces new titles. Hopefully it will be a big event to make up for the last year's hiatus.
Update 1: NaNiwa goes up 1-0 after crushing Revival with a quick push. Really quick. On to game 2. ((I will continue to update as the series goes on.))
Update 2: NaNiwa got a little greedy in getting a third base and Revival punished him for it. His third base got wrecked and his attack upgrade got denied. Revival, with a big lead, spent a lot of resources getting workers to increase his lead. NaNiwa, with very few options besides a 2-base push, massed up a bunch of blink stalkers.
As it turns out, Revival spent too much resources on workers and not enough on units to defend. NaNiwa is up 2-0. Revival now needs to win 3-in-a-row or he's out of Blizzcon contention. On to game 3!
Update 3: Revival pushed NaNiwa at both the second an third base with a large swell of zerglings and roaches. Eventually he broke NaNiwa's third. The attacking force could not leave though. NaNiwa used his forcefields to block their exit and kill them off. He then massed 2-attack blink stalkers and crushed Revival. 3-0 for NaNiwa with three straight 2-base blink stalker crushes.
The Round of 16 matchups for Blizzcon are:
- Soulkey (Z) vs NaNiwa (P)
- Bomber (T) vs MMA (T)
- Hero (P) vs sOs (P)
- Polt (T) vs Alive (T)
- Dear (P) vs Taeja (T)
- Jaedong (Z) vs MVP (T)
- Maru (T) vs MC (P)
- INnoVation (T) vs duckdeok (P)
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 4, 2013 - 03:44 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WCS, starcraft 2, HoTS
A little eye-rest before another barrage of Computex news...
Blizzard took over the canon StarCraft II tournament scene as of last year. The goal was to create a unified ranking system between every tournament and help participants deal with scheduling, a problem in recent years. Throughout the entire year, Blizzard is hosting the 2013 StarCraft II World Championship Series. They seem to like breaking rankings into seasons and the 2013 series, alone, will incorporate three of them leading to the year's grand finals in November.
One year per series; three seasons and a grand finals per year; three regional tournaments and a finale per season. This season's finals will take place this weekend, June 8th and 9th, in South Korea.
Tournaments in Europe, Korea, and North America chose the 16 competitors for the 2013 Season 1 Finals this weekend in Korea. The top five competitors in each tournament (top six for Korea) earned their invite. In all: 3 Protoss, 5 Terrans, and 8 Zerg will be participating. I guess their hearts are only half of the swarm.
If the regional matches were any indication, the seasonal finals should be a very entertaining bridge between Computex coverage and E3 2013. Players are getting much better at the game mechanics while still being able to surprise their opponents and even the audience with unusual strategies. Players exploit windows of weakness in their opponents with a moment of strength; the entertainment mostly comes from seeing each player attempt to delay or lengthen those windows all while hiding their own weak periods into times where the opponent is unable to reasonably exploit it.
What are your opinions of "eSports"? Good concept, bad name?