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No Lyn, Moon or Sky, WC3L still worth it?

By Lawrence Benedict 'Malystryx' Phillips
May 20, 2009 15:19


ImageWe’ve witnessed the next stage of evolution of the WC3L and now we must face the indirect consequences, a LAN finals without Jang Jae “Moon” Ho, June “Lyn” Park or Xiaofeng “Sky” Li.

"The WC3L format change means that now line-ups are predicable as are the match-ups"
The change to the WC3L was announced necessary given the mood of the participating organisations, and one which has left the WC3L perhaps not a higher priority for players as the first season of the NGL ONE 1on1.

The reality is the NGL ONE came out the winner with its decision to go for a 1on1 league, while the WC3L still labelled a team league is a shadow of its former glory, is no longer able to captivate the audience as it once did with a choice of format turning novelty into conventional. The WC3L format change means that now line-ups are predicable as are the match-ups, removing any suspense or risk-factor.

ImageIn the past, the line-ups would be dependant on maps, meaning that seeding played an integral role in giving the team an advantage of disadvantage, throwing in an element of chance and a possibility for a surprise player choice to cause the tides of fate to be shifted.

Now no player can avoid another, and most teams resort to using only two players – with three of the four LAN teams doing so at the finals this weekend – making the WC3L more of a doubles competition than a team league and far from the strong 1on1 competition the NGL is running as it is missing so many star names.

The WC3L could be forgiven for the way it turned out as it is much easier in hindsight to say the choice of format was poor, but when they outlined that a clan war could be played with a minimum of two players, it should have been foreseen that clans would literally do that, and possibly even for the entire season.

Although the WC3L presented the tournament, the rosters of the various teams and which players they choose to compete are of course out of their control. The WC3L was forced to adapt its tournament because of the teams participating rather than through their own free will, the salary bubble burst and thus the feasibility of supporting 4-5 players in the same team.

Nevertheless a season ridden with orc mirror matches has rolled on by until suddenly we're presented with the fruits of its 11 playdays of labour, the WC3L Season XV Finals, but will we sit up and suddenly take notice? Will it be able to provide the suspense and excitement even without the Asian high flyers gracing the stage?

"The ESL will have to work hard to shift the seemingly indifferent attitude of its audience"
The ESL will have to work hard to shift the seemingly indifferent attitude of the audience to its long-standing Warcraft3 league, grabbing the attention of jaded WC3L fans who now turn to the NGL 1on1 league for the thrills they seek.

The choice of location seems a good one, compared to the previous WC3L/PGL combo in Chengdu which saw the players competing in the North Pole and having to use heaters and large jackets to keep their blood flowing. This time it will be in the Happy Valley theme park in the Chinese capital, which although lying outside of the heart of the city is still a bold message for what they hope to achieve.

ImageThe Finals will feature WCG2008 gold medalist Manuel 'Grubby' Schenkhuizen and bronze medalist Dmitriy 'Happy' Kostin, the PGL Season IV winner Weiliang 'Fly' Lu and the ESWC Masters of Cheonan victor Pedro 'LucifroN' Moreno Durán, which are certainly not B-List Warcraft3 celebrities.

There may be no Sky, Lyn or Moon but these are the individuals who have stolen the titles from them.

With match-ups so predictable the main storyline for this WC3L will be if nGize – who remained undefeated this season – can continue their run in an offline environment. The predictability of line-ups is what will go against ESL in making the WC3L Finals a spectacle worth getting up early in Europe for.

Is WC3L still worth our attention? Yes, there are all the ingredients at the Offline finals for a good show; will nGize keep on going? Could Fly or FoV’s offline skills push Mousesports through the bracket? Will Grubby unleash the beast in the Happy Valley? are all good plot lines.

However, it will need its format to be tweeked if it hopes for any chance of survival beyond the playoffs, perhaps even scrapping the format for a similar 1on1 format as the NGL chose. Could Season XV be the last season the WC3L follows a team format?

The once awe-inspiring flame that was the WC3L is slowly dwindling, and unless the ESL can provide fresh kindling, in the form of a new creative direction, the ESL may well be forced to snuff the flame out for good. Lest it burn down their legacy. For now let us look towards the upcoming finals and hope that the ESL can make us remember what made the WC3L worthy of our attention.

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What do you think, does the WC3L need to change format? If so what to?


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