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ESL promise bright future for WoW

By Sebastian 'gosey' Selin
Jan 25, 2008 05:47


ImageThe WoW PvP scene got a huge setback when the WSVG announced its closure, although just a few months later ESL gave everyone hope as they hosted an invitational 3vs3 tournament at Dreamhack. The tournament was a huge success and the World of Warcraft community screams for more details about what to come, and that's why SK Gaming brings you an interview with David "Shawn" K, head admin for World of Warcraft at the ESL.

The ESL hosted a 3vs3 tournament at Dreamhack, which in my eyes atleast was very successful. Howcome that you decided to pick up wow and how was the response afterwards?
I was really happy how the tournament worked out as well. We already gathered some experience with WoW as a competitive game in last summer when we hosted the Season 1 Europe Finals in Hamburg. The spectating was really difficult back then because there was no observation-addon at all and the format was 5vs5. Nonetheless we believed in WoW as a possible eSports-game and that's why we were happy to hold the 3vs3-tourney with the help of Blizzard half a year later. The free stream with expert co-moderators was a huge enhancement as well as the improved observer-UI. The overall response was really good although a lot was organized on very short notice. That's why I believe that there is still a lot of room for improvement, both organization- and coverage-wise.

Does ESL have any plans to host more wow tournaments?
"Our first step will be an online tournament on an event realm that Blizzard is providing us with."

Since the public's response to the Dreamhack tournament was really positive we definitely plan to stick to WoW. One of the big goals that we have is to establish a 'pro'-scene, especially for European teams. The American scene is a lot more evolved right now with their small offline-tournaments on a regular basis, their infamous BG9 and their 'star-players' that actively write blogs and discuss strategies. The European scene is a lot more cluttered right now and only a handful of teams could prove their worth on a more international level. Our first step will be an online tournament on an event realm that Blizzard is providing us with. There is not set date for that yet but it's definitely going to happen quite soon.

An event realm, sounds interesting! Care to elaborate on that?
WoW does not have any kind of custom game option that you usually know from eSport-games and players are spread among dozens of servers. The only way to make sure that only those teams play against each other that you want to is to get them on a special server – an even realm. Those are regular servers but only visible to special accounts. Those accounts have all eight classes at level 70 and every character has thousands of gold and bags packed with all possible PvP-items to chose from. When the players are done with setting up both teams queue up at the same time, join the same arena and there is no risk of interfering.

How many teams do you plan on having in the online tournaments and how will they be selected?
We are currently thinking about a tournament-mode that can feature 30 or more teams. We are in contact with some of the best European teams and keep an eye on the rankings in the most competitive battlegroups. We might have a sign-up period so teams can apply to take part in the tournament. Basically the more teams are interested in taking part in it the better.

So if you're ranked high on the SK100 you have a good shot on getting a spot? ;)
Definitely! Although I'd wish you would implement a filter for US/EU/Asia-servers anytime soon for that - would make it even more awesome. ;)

It's funny that you mention it, by the way. Since it's not really decided which format will be that 'main-bracket' for WoW. It used to be 5vs5, right now it is 3vs3 but Blizzard is still trying to balance each and every aspect of Arena-PvP. That's why it's important to ba able to compete in every possible bracket instead of concentrating on only one aspect of Arena-PvP.

ImageSo the ESL will keep the 3vs3 format then I guess?
The upcoming online-tournament will keep the 3vs3-format, yes.

What game type will be used, double elimination brackets, group stage or a ladder maybe?
Our first idea was to combine the random and rated arena matches that WoW-players and -teams are used to with a regular eSport-tournament. To accomplish that we need two stages. The first will be a time trial:
Three hours of regular Arena matches for all invited teams. Teams log on to the event realm, queue up for "Rated 3on3 Arena" and play as much as they like. After three hours no new arena matches may be started and a ranking will be made according to the ratings that the teams accomplished.

The second stage will only feature the best eight teams from the first playday. Those will battle it out in a regular single-elimination/Best of Five tournament.

On Dreamhack you only allowed 3 players per team which most people seemed as a good rule change, are there any other rules that you plan on changing?
"We are considering to prohibit stacking classes"

I wasn't happy at all with the time it took to respec and switch compositions between games during Dreamhack. That's why we will introduce a tighter time-limit there. We are considering to prohibit stacking classes because steamrolling certain compositions with dual-Rogue during Dreamhack felt a bit cheesy. Besides those points we will stick to what we used in Sweden.

You mentioned an online tournament, are there any plans on having weekly/monthly tournaments and what about offline tournaments?
There are future plans for both. We will have to see how much work such online tournaments actually are to decide if we can have them on a regular basis. Personally, I'd love to see more tournaments with a much more evolved coverage for it.


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