ESL Pro Tour - StarCraft II Patch Notes Fall Season
DreamHack StarCraft II Masters: Fall has completed and Winter qualifiers are underway. Congratulations to Reynor on his EPT Season Final victory and his success in shooting up to the #1 Ranked EPT competitor.
To continue our initiative from earlier this year we’ve once again evaluated our tournament from an internal and external perspective. We’ve combined our own thoughts on best practices together with a collection of community feedback to make changes on the most discussed topics surrounding the competition and broadcast ahead of the upcoming season.
Player Eligibility revisited
An ongoing conversation and the second time this has made the patch notes. This is specific to our citizenship ruling which accommodates players who live outside the region they are participating within. We won’t be taking action for the Winter season in 2020 but understand the topic inside out and this topic will be addressed in the 2021 system together with our expected other adjustments to EPT.
The reason why we decided against making changes ahead of the Winter competition is twofold, firstly, we do not feel comfortable changing regional eligibility when we are over half way through the 2020/2021 season. Secondly and most importantly, in order to address the specific discussion around the Oceania and Rest of Asia region we would be required to carve out a regional specific rule while globally the system is working fine, which we are not willing to make.
To explain our thought process further, please take a read at our current regionality rules in brief state this with the full rule book here:
188.8.131.52 Eligibility in a Sub-Region
Participation in any Sub-Region (e.g. in DH SC2 Masters) is allowed for citizens of countries belonging to that Sub-Region and to players who have permanent residency in such country (i.e. being legally qualified for permanent residency in such country and having lived in such country for at least one year at the time of the first match of the competition).
If a player not fulfilling these requirements can clearly prove their permanent residency in an eligible country otherwise, ESL may grant an exception. This will usually only happen in cases where the player has no other chance to take part in competitions leading into the Masters Championship.
Globally the StarCraft ecosystem has facilitated this type of ruling for the majority of its existence. Specifically players who reside in South Korea who are allowed to compete within EPT (WCS) regional qualifiers from aboard. This approach is the foundation of the 184.108.40.206 ruling.
In keeping our rules fair and consistent for all competitors, we do not wish to create regional specific sub-ruling. Therefore dual citizenship holders will remain to be treated equally to those citizens who reside within the region. While this rule exists, we will continue to provide as fair as possible conditions for all players to complete. It is important to note that at no point can a citizen living abroad from the region they are competing in be at a server advantage:
- No player playing from inside their home region will ever be put at a ping disadvantage against someone outside the region.
- No player playing from inside their home region will ever be forced onto a server that would not also be a valid choice for players both residing inside the region.
With that said and as stated above, we will be changing our approach in 2021 together with other significant changes to the system. For additional transparency our initial thoughts are:
*There will be two methods of participation with a region:
- Permanent residency within the region you are located at the time of matches
- Citizenship within the region you are located at the time of matches.
*Exceptions can be made if an EPT tournament related obligation (e.g. GSL matches) prevent you from travelling to the other region for matches, in that case citizens can play in the region of their citizenship from abroad under the same conditions that we currently have.
This effectively would mean that players studying abroad would need to be participating in the region they’re living in during the season, but would not limit them from traveling home if they wish to join their local scene from where they are from. This would also include stipulations for players unable to travel due to GSL commitments, so those in Korea training would be able to maintain both a GSL schedule as well as play in their region of origin.
Highlighting event long stories better
We highlighted some of the challenges of the format at the end of last season and what our plans were to alleviate these concerns to viewers, and we did see noted improvement here though there are areas we would like to focus on in the coming weeks to keep upgrading.
On the broadcast side having graphics on screen to help show the process of the groups helped (possibly too much as we had some hiccups in covering action!) and our next focus will be what we tell outside on air. Our aim is to bring more to the fans through pieces like more social media coverage surrounding exact schedules, standings so everyone can follow even when not watching live, more organized VOD playlists, and having more communication surrounding our end-of-groups event weekend for the NA and EU divisions. There are a lot of exciting things happening and we want to express that for people not watching the entirety of each play date.
As we head towards the end of the year and look to close out the 2020-21 ESL Pro Tour season it’s even more important in the coming days, since each match will begin to lock in who is invited to Katowice in either the Round of 24, or Round of 36. We’re ramping up the intensity and hope to bring you more to showcase that.
Information on future seasonal scheduling
For DH SC2 Masters: Winter, detailed dates are below. Specific start times per region are still work in progress though can expect very similar to the Fall season, however noting that there will be some natural differences in start times due to Daylight Savings taking place in different regions on different dates, which will disrupt the flow of our schedule slightly.
- Divisions & dates:
- OCE & RoA: October 21-25
- TW/HK: October 21-25
- Latin America: October 21-25
- China: October 27 - November 1
- Europe: October 21 - November 8
- Week 1: October 21-25
- Week 2: October 27 - November 1
- Week 3: November 3-8
- North America: October 27 - November 8
- Week 1: October 27 - November 1
- Week 2: November 3-8
- Season Finals: November 10-15
New Playoffs Finals seeding structure
The only significant rule we are looking to adjust going into the Winter season will be how we handle bracket seeding for our playoff matches. The previous two seasons saw Reynor and Serral, our top two for EPT points, fall into the same side of the bracket due to their finishes in groups and our luck on the draw for how these players placed into the bracket.
Going forward, we will be taking our group winners and separating the top 2 players by EPT points in two pools and placing them apart from one another. We went ahead and did this with our Season Finals bracket and were comfortable with moving this forward to all brackets in the future.
We appreciate community feedback and encourage others who may be reading this to join in and help us build this product together. We’ll continue to monitor and tweak in order to keep improving the experience for all.
All updates discussed above will be reflected in the regulation & rulebook ahead of Season 2.