La notizia che parte degli introiti del sesto Bottino di Guerra sarebbero andati ad un torneo a squadre ha rallegrato moltissimi giocatori di StarCraft II. Al tempo stesso, ha però provocato una reazione amareggiata da parte delle realtà professionistiche, che hanno scritto una lettera aperta diretta a Blizzard Entertainment.
Il promotore della lettera è KJ “Freeedom” Garcia, fondatore e proprietario del team PSISTORM Gaming. Egli scrive di essere consapevole che l’evento proposto da Blizzard non abbia grandi velleità e che si sta proponendo innanzitutto come dedicato alla comunità; al tempo stesso rimarca la potenziale occasione che si sprecherebbe lasciando il torneo così com’è.
Garcia argomenta che negli ultimi anni è stato principalmente grazie al lavoro di reclutamento e supporto dei team che StarCraft II ha mantenuto un flusso di nuovi aspiranti professionisti. Lavoro che verrebbe attivamente scoraggiato da un torneo che sembrerebbe concentrarsi sulle singole personalità coinvolte. La sua soluzione ideale sarebbe trasformare la War Chest Team League da una “clan war” a una vera e propria divisione, con tanto di gironi di qualificazione che porterebbero l’evento ad abbracciare diversi mesi.
Sempre secondo l’autore della lettera, per aiutare concretamente i team professionistici dovrebbero seguire anche altre iniziative: canali di monetizzazione diretta rivolti ai team, classifiche online delle squadre e anche canali di comunicazione diretta tra la software house e i proprietari delle organizzazioni.
Questa iniziativa ha raccolto seguito da oriente e da occidente. Gli altri firmatari sono stati: Alpha X, Raise Your Edge Gaming, Cascade, 3D Clan, Black Night, Archangel, Team eXoN, b100 esports, Reason Gaming e Starcom, a cui in seguito si è aggiunto anche Kosmos Esports.
Mentre scriviamo non c’è ancora stata una risposta da Blizzard, che ultimamente sta percorrendo la strada della delega per le sue scene più marginali: c’è già l’accordo con ESL per StarCraft II e WarCraft III e con Battlefy per le qualificazioni degli Hearthstone Masters; addirittura sembra che gli Overwatch Contenders possano aprirsi alle terze parti. Solo la Overwatch League sembra ancora totalmente in mano all’amministrazione centrale.
An open letter to Blizzard Entertainment from professional StarCraft II teams
On June 11th, Blizzard, in collaboration with WardiTV, announced a brand new War Chest Team League, which would be the first StarCraft II team league directly supported by the main publisher since GSTL (ANZ Proleague and GTC have been sponsored by other Blizzard branches).
There is no denying that bringing back a team-based tournament is great news overall, as the scene could really benefit from having more highly funded team events. That being said, on behalf of existing SC2 teams, we would like to raise our concerns with how this is being implemented.
Seeing a team league with $150,000 behind it (operations + prize pooling) that excludes current professional teams is disappointing from the perspective of us team owners. While we do understand that this is supposed to be a fun community event, this format disregards current teams that would really benefit from this sort of event. Blizzard could do more to support the SC2 teams, and unfortunately the War Chest Team League is a big missed opportunity for them to do so.
Teams play an integral role in the development of SC2 players, and we would like Blizzard to provide more support for the teams that help the very players who make up the professional scene.
The role of professional teams in StarCraft II
For more than 20 years of its esports history, StarCraft has mainly been an individual discipline. Given the lack of regular major team events, the contribution of professional teams to the development of the SC2 competitive scene seems less obvious and noticeable to the general public, but is no less important. A regular SC2 viewer might not pay any attention to a particular player’s clan tag, but every viewer is interested in seeing fresh blood compete at the highest levels of the SC2 scene.
Professional teams play a great role in that process: they scout young talent, provide them with financial support, and give them opportunities to travel to and participate in major tournaments. Without this support, up-and-coming players find it much more difficult to develop into players who are able to challenge the professional scene’s elite players. Teams provided younger players like Astrea, Clem, Future, Reynor, SKillous, and Vanya support in order to help them succeed.
While Blizzard has already done a great job of growing the competitive scene with the WCS system and passing the torch onto ESL with the ESL Pro Tour, the majority of players only get a chance to travel to and participate in these major tournaments because of their teams’ financial support. That support provided by teams is often not a profitable business, so support from the developer is necessary to offset these costs and help keep the scene in a healthy place.
War Chest Team League format: its pros and cons
According to the official announcement, the format of this team league event will include 9 casters drafting teams with 4 players each, for a total of 36 players. As you can see, this format excludes existing professional teams. This team league format reduces our motivation to keep our teams running, as representation from players is a major part of running our teams in the first place. Moreover, it may make actual teams less appealing to existing and prospective sponsors.
There are certainly positive sides of such a format for this tournament: a deeper involvement of casters in the team format makes it easier to raise $150k from the sale of War Chests. It also allows to introduce a very likeable format of team competitions to the wider audience. Still, we are wondering if there is another way to get casters involved along with providing more support for existing professional teams.
Proposed changes to War Chest Team League format
We urge Blizzard to review the current format of the War Chest Team League and allow professional teams to participate in it. To do so, we would like to propose the following changes:
- Run an open qualification process with any team allowed to participate as long as they meet a certain criteria (ex: teams must have full GM rosters).
- Divide the teams into several divisions (based on overall EPT points) and run several seasons throughout the entire year. This will provide stable team competition throughout the year and give teams stronger reason to continue operating and to bolster their rosters. Between seasons, run new qualifiers to give new teams opportunities to participate and prevent existing teams from remaining complacent.
- Another way of getting casters involved: after the qualifications are over, casters can choose a team they want to work with, then they can work together to produce content. Otherwise, Blizzard can host another “all-star” event with the caster/player teams.
We are very happy that Blizzard has once again turned their attention to team competitions and are ready to make every effort to produce a great show out of it. Anyway, in order to achieve that, #LetTeamsPlay in StarCraft II. Please, #LetTeamsPlay in your league!
Further Suggestions to acknowledge and support teams
Along with our proposed changes to the War Chest Team League above, we would also like to bring your attention to Blizzard’s lack of support for teams in general. To address this concern, we would like to propose the following changes.
- Provide professional teams with monetization options as long as they meet certain criteria. These monetization options being in the form of selling in-game items. For example, allowing teams to upload graphics such as logo designs, player pictures or other assets to function as in-game portraits or sprays that would be sold. Perhaps also team themed consoles. There is a precedent for this, with Blizzard commissioning player portraits for players who have qualified for BlizzCon as well as flag portraits for Nation Wars.
- Create an official teams’ standing based on player performances and results so that teams would have more visibility and relevance. Perhaps also reward top performing teams at the end of year with a competition or modest prize money. OSC has run this before in the past – OSC Team Championship 2018 .
- Establish a direct line of communication between teams and Blizzard (i.e. a private Discord server with Blizzard and team owners/managers).
Thank you very much.
Raise Your Edge Gaming
Archangel Team eXoN
2. https://www.scboy.com/?thread-121861.htm (Statements by SCBoy‘s Xiaose expressing his disapproval and threatening the boycott by Chinese teams and their players. Translation below)New statement included below.
Xiaose’s translation 1 > First comment – Don’t understand the meaning of this tournament . If you want an all star tournament then just straight up invite 36 players, It would be so awesome if it’s a 150k tournament. If Blizzard wants a team league, just announce that any teams can enter, who cares whatever team it is, just make clear what server it will be played on, so teams can form player rosters to participate according to region/ time zone. Give requirements on how to qualify for the team league, for example at least 3 people or more are needed for a team to qualify and hold qualifiers. If the tournament goes well then many more teams will be willing to invest more on the players, get contracts with more players in order to participate. I think teams like ENCE or Ting with only a single player will want to sign more players to participate. In short we might lose neeb or serral because they are the only players on their team, but in the long run that’s how we should grow starcraft. TBH, all star with 36 people doesn’t differentiate much from 1v1 leagues with 36 people. The only difference is that the format changed to team league format, but it’s not a real team league. Players will only band together for the money, then disband immediately. I don’t know who thought up this format, This is so stupid. > Second comment – We will also make chinese clubs/teams to protest against this tournament format. If you want team league, then make it sound, don’t make random shit up. It’s 150k prize pool, if at least 3 players are needed for teams to participate, then team owners will probably sign contracts with more Korean,American and EU players. Third comment – If NA/EU and chinese teams all ban their players from participating in this tournament, then the tournament won’t be held, players with no clubs are almost non-existent.
EDIT: Xiaose’s original post has been deleted. Here is the new one: https://www.scboy.com/?thread-123330.htm#post_1851550
Translation tweet: https://twitter.com/GregoryFeng91/status/1272954674514030593
I hope Blizzard can make more investment in world’s SC2 teams and build a better team system. I did not know much about this 150,000 dollars team tournament at first, only read a post about it in our forum and I mistakenly thought it was a new team league made by Blizzard. Then I learned that this tournament might only be a show match for 10th anniversary of SC2 and I fully support it. I also hope Blizzard can learn that there are lots of teams working hard in the world through this incident, and hope Blizzard can take more care of them.