It’s a great week to be an eSports fan as major tournaments for DOTA 2 and Starcraft II are currently underway. Let’s get right to it with tournament primers for those of you who are watching for the first time and a recap of the action so far.
The International 3
The International 3 is the DOTA 2 World Championship event. It’s organized by Valve and takes place at Benaroyal Hall in Seattle. 16 teams entered the tournament this weekend. (13 teams are selected by Valve, the other three spots are decided through qualifying tournaments. A wild card match for the 16th spot was held on August 2, the first official day of The International.)
Invictus Gaming (2012 winner)Orange.NeolutionAllianceFnaticTeam LiquidNatus Vincere (2011 winner)Team ZenithTeam DignitasVirtus.ProLGD Gaming.IntDKInvasion MUFCTongFumousesports (West Qualifier Winner)LGD-Gaming (East Qualifier Winner)RattleSnake (Wild Card Winner)
The preliminaries started over the weekend and conclude today, August 5. Prelims consist of group play with the 16 teams split into two groups of eight. After today’s matches, the top four teams from each group advance to the double elimination main event which starts Wednesday, August 7.
The standings going into today:
Group A:Natus Vincere 10-2Team DK 8-4Fnatic 8-4Team Dignitas 7-5LGD Gaming 7-5Team Zenith 4-8mousesports 4-8MUFC 0-12
Group BAlliance 12-0Orange Esports 8-4Team Liquid 7-5Invictus Gaming 6-6TongFu 6-6LGD International 4-8Rattlesnake 3-9Virtus Pro 2-10
Alliance and Natus Vincere seem to be assured of a spot in the main event but after that the seeding is still up in the air. Perhaps the most interesting development so far is that last year’s champion, Invictus Gaming, is on the borderline for qualification to the main event and will need to play well today for a chance to defend their title.
To add to the drama, Invictus will be going against Team Liquid today, who is ahead of them in the standings. Bu TongFu, the team currently tied with Invictus for the fourth and final qualifying spot out of Group B, only has to play Wild Card qualifier Rattlesnake who so far has not had a strong showing.
You can check final results for today’s matches as they come in on the official site. Twitch and many DOTA 2 fan sites are also streaming today’s matches live, and of course you can always watch from inside the DOTA 2 client. As an added bonus, if you are watching from the in game client or on a Twitch account that is linked to your DOTA 2 account, you’ll get in-game item drops for your own characters as certain events unfold.
The eight advancing teams will play through the main event, culminating in the Grand Finals on Sunday August 11.
The drama this year is higher than ever before thanks the highest prize purse in the history of eSports. $2.8 million is on the line this week and the money is heavily skewed towards those who finish near the top.
Even splitting those numbers up across all five players on each team, there is some serious money at stake for every single player.
Valve put up $1.6 million of its own money for this prize pool but the rest has been funded by fans purchasing the Compendium off of Dota2.com. The Compendium serves as a guide to the tournament but also lets players make their own predictions for what will happen. Think of it as fantasy football for eSports. $2.50 of every Compendium purchased goes into the prize pool. The winnings could continue to grow by the end of the week as the interactive book is still for sale.
World Championship Series
The other major event coming up next weekend is the Starcraft II Season 2 World Championship Series Regional Finals on August 10 and 11. (Yes, it’s running at the same time as The International 3. Blizzard swears it’s not intentional.)
Blizzard has split the WCS into three regions: Korea, America and Europe. The winners of each region will be well positioned for an opportunity to go to the Global Finals at Blizzcon this November where a world champion will be crowned.
One controversy that has erupted over the course of 2013 is the fact that even though Blizzard split the tournament into regions in order to try and grow the game outside of South Korea, the company did not prevent players from registering for a region outside their home country. As such, many South Korean players registered for the Europe or America region to avoid the much more difficult Korean region.
The current standings show 14 of the 16 players who would qualify for the Global Finals if the event started today are from South Korea but six of those 14 are qualifying through either the European or American brackets.
If Blizzard truly wants to grow eSports in other parts of the world, the company should consider region-locking the event next year. Giving fans a player from their own country to cheer for would go a long way towards increasing the passion for the game. (The highest ranked American player is in 75th place.)
Then again, there are some fans who say that would be unfair because it could prevent some of the best players in the world from advancing to the Global Finals.
The Regional Finals can be watched on Twitch or on the WCS official site.
eSports Nation will have a full recap of winners and losers from both DOTA 2 and Starcraft II tournaments next Monday.
Video X Games Fallout
Last week, eSports Nation reported that Flocker knocked off Chris G in the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Finals at the Video X Games in St. Maarten. The past week has been a rough one for the fighting game community as charges of collusion have been alleged against both Flocker and Chris G by some in the community. The drama stemmed from the fact that Chris G did not use his most frequently played main characters in the finals, which would seem to be an odd time to switch to your B team. Gamers who watched the event have tweeted over the past week that the final match looked uninspired. To be fair, both players have said that they did nothing wrong and Chris G noted that he has used his alternate team plenty of times before.
In the aftermath of the Video X Games, Shoryuken.com released a statement in conjunction with other FGC sponsors saying that all major tournaments need to implement an official anti-collusion rule or they will be not be given media coverage by community fan sites. Interestingly, Video X Games was not listed as one of the tournaments that agreed to the new rule, but the tournament said they would be adding this policy when I reached out to them on Twitter.
Collusion and pot-sharing are issues that have plagued the fighting game community for some time. Den of Geek will be taking a more in-depth look at the history of collusion allegations in fighting game tournaments and the potential long term consequences of the practice in a feature later this week.