StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft Arena Battle.net World Championships start tonight!
Players and teams from all around the world have competed in over 30 feeder tournaments leading up to the Battle.net World Championships, Blizzard's flagship tournament for their two largest competitive titles, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty and World of Warcraft Arena.
Of course, most of the focus is on the StarCraft 2 event, as its one of the most hyped tournaments this year with global representation from 16 countries and five continents. The prize pool is a whopping $250,000 - and sure, you might scoff and say Riot offered more, but that was for a team game - with the first place champion taking home $100,000.
Tonight, the group stage of the SC2 event kicks off. The 32 qualified players were randomly assigned groups earlier this month:
Personal highlights of mine include Group H, which is home to the North American champion Scarlett and Group E, home of fan favorite Greg "Idra" Fields and Stephano, the European Champ. Check out the full group listing below:
But how does all this work? Blizzard's provided a few infographics that'll help me explain. Basically, the first two people and the second set of two square off. The winner of each of these matches fight each other, and the losers fight each other. Then the loser of the winner's round fights the loser of the loser's round. The loser of that match places fourth in the group and will drop out of the tournament. The loser of the Winner’s match and the winner of the Loser’s match will face each other in a fifth match. The winner gets second place in the group and advances to the next round. The loser places third in the group and will drop out of the tournament. Basically it's all just a really confusing way of saying if a player loses twice in the group stage, he (or she, in Scarlett's case) is out of the tournament.
After this stage we enter the playoffs, which in a departure from tradition is only single elimination. The first and second place qualifiers from each group are placed on opposite ends of the bracket to prevent an early group stage rematch. This stage will take place tomorrow, and indeed, is when the competition truly heats up. As there is only one chance each player gets you can expect to see some really interesting strategies as the night proceeds.
I mentioned the prize money they are competing for, but there's gotta be a trophy, right? There is. The Gosu Trophy. This bad boy was lovingly crafted by the creative minds in Blizzard's art department and will reside at Blizzard HQ with the players who win engraved on the base for all to see. Blizzard recently did a featurette on this piece which was pretty interesting, check it out!
So where can you watch? Good question: I've got the stream embedded below with the schedule following. Don't miss this! Even if you're a League of Legends or FGC fan you owe it to yourself to support eSports in all its forms.
Day 1 (All times in PST)
6:00 p.m. - Friday - Opening Ceremony
6:45 p.m. - Friday - Group Play Begins
9:45 p.m. - Friday - 15 Minute Break
10:00 p.m. - Friday - Group Play Resumes
5:00 a.m. - Saturday - Day 1 Concludes
Day 2 (All times in PST)
5:30 p.m. - Saturday - Broadcast starts with Round of 16
8:30 p.m. - Saturday - Quarter Final
10:00 p.m. - Saturday - Semi Final
12:00 a.m. - Sunday - Third Place Match
2:00 a.m. - Sunday - Grand Final
4:00 a.m. - Sunday - Award Ceremony
4:30 a.m. - Sunday - BWC Concludes