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Posts with tag e-sports

Hearthstone tournament now open to all

Yesterday we reported about the oddity of a Hearthstone tournament that didn't allow women to compete. The reason? The International e-Sports Federation wanted gaming to be recognized as a "true sport," and was following the professional sports model of gender division. With fewer women competitors than men, this led to tournaments with a large selection of gaming events for men, but few for women -- in the case of this tournament, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Ultra Street Fighter IV were all men-only events.

While e-Sports are often gender-divided (competitive StarCraft is notable in this regard), the idea of a men-only Hearthstone tournament was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back. Among many others, Blizzard spoke out against IeSF policy, telling VentureBeat, "One of our goals with e-sports is to ensure that there's a vibrant and also inclusive community around our games. We do not allow the use of our games in tournaments that do not support this, and are working with our partners to ensure they share the same goal."

The end result is that the IeSF has reversed the policy, and offers events open to all genders as well as women-only events to encourage the participation of women in the male-dominated field of pro gaming. It's a setup that's similar to the competitive chess scene, which has both a World Chess Championship in which anyone can compete and a Women's World Chess Championship. Now, at the 6th e-Sports World Championship BAKU 2014, men and women will be able to compete together in StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone tournaments, while there's also a women's only StarCraft 2 tournament. Time to get your game on!

Filed under: News items, Hearthstone Insider

Hearthstone tournament bans female competitors

No girls are allowed to compete in Finland's Assembly Summer 2014 Dota 2, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and Hearthstone tournaments, which are open to men only. According to the International e-Sports Federation's rules, the genders of competitors in e-sports are separated to help the competition be recognized as a "true sport." In response to complaints, the IeSF posted the following on their Facebook page: "The decision to divide male and female competitions was made in accordance with international sports authorities, as part of our effort to promote e-Sports as a legitimate sports."

And while this means separate but equal style treatment for some events, for others -- like Hearthstone -- it means women simply can't compete at all. At Assembly Summer 2014, women aren't allowed into these tournaments because if they won, they wouldn't be allowed into the IeSF men-only world finals. Markus Koskivirta, head admin of the Assembly Summer 2014 Hearthstone IeSF Qualifier, speaking to PC Gamer, said that the Finnish eSports Federation is lobbying for equal rights for male and female gamers... but with the long and strange tradition of segregated e-sports (StarCraft competition often has such divisions), that could be a long time coming.

Though the IeSF says it wants to promote female gamers by hosting women's only events, the end result of this is to keep women on the outskirts of pro gaming by relegating their participation to smaller events and smaller stages. All this goes towards suggesting that women aren't good enough to compete with the men -- something that in an all-digital "sport" is difficult, at best, to justify.

We all love the same games, so why can't we play them together?

Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: Do you follow competitive WoW?

Breakfast Topic Do you follow competitive WoW
Just because World of Warcraft doesn't have its own tab on Major League Gaming (MLG) doesn't mean there's no such thing as competitive WoW. While relatively few WoW players crack into competitive arena PvP and the game's not currently part of the e-sports circuit, WoW Insider's interview with Venruki, a member of last year's Battle.net World Championship champion 3v3 team, reveals a world of devoted players with intense focus.

But do other players care? A post about competitive gaming on Blizzard's official forums reveals that plenty of them do. The thread has become a highly rated post with enthusiastic player feedback. Whether or not the game will receive tweaks to help it become a compelling e-sport that attracts viewers, however, remains to be seen.

Do you follow competitive WoW? Do you read with curiosity when you spot something about WoW as an e-sport, or does the topic leave you cold?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

World champion gladiator Venruki cracks open arena PvP

World champion gladiator Venruki talks arena PvP
There's more than one World of Warcraft within Azeroth. The high-stakes realm of competitive arena play is one such microscosm. Compared to WoW's gargantuan PvE player base, relatively few players delve very deeply into arena play, and an extensive fandom for arenas as an e-sport has been slow to catch on. So when Blizzard took the Battle.net World Championship to Shanghai last month, the StarCraft II-crazed event cracked the door wider for gladiators from World of Warcraft.

At stake: international dominance and a prize pool of nearly $200,000. The BWC threw the top 10 WoW 3v3 arena teams from across the world into a high-pressure, best-of-five round robin series. The top four teams emerged to face a brutal double-elimination bracket for the global championship. When the void zones dispersed, one team remained: Bring It, a North American team composed of frost mage Venruki (Elliott Venczel of Calgary, Canada), BlizzCon veteran and warlock Snutz (Kelvin Nguyen, also of Canada), and well-known PvP shaman Kollektiv (Timothy Yen, United States). We caught up with Venruki to crack the high-stakes world of WoW arena as an e-sport.

WoW Insider: Congratulations on your win! I'm guessing you've been kicking back and taking it easy since the championship?

Venruki: Thank you very much! I have been taking it easy since the championship. It's funny though, I thought after BWC was over I could finally take a break from World of Warcraft ... Recently seems like I play more than I did before. I'm still having a lot of fun with the game.

How do you go about preparing for a championship like the BWC, anyway?

Because the game was on the new expansion Mists of Pandaria, I knew that I had to play ... a lot. I practiced over 1,000 games of 3v3 arena in the couple of months I had to prepare. When my team was on, I played with them; otherwise I would practice with whomever I could find. I knew that to do well, it was going to take knowing the game inside and out.

Read more →

Filed under: PvP, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Arena tourneys need more Blizzard support?

Here's an interesting post on GotGame that sounds different from almost everything we've heard about professional Arena tourneys and Blizzard so far. Whenever we've talked to anyone involved with Arena tournaments, they've always told us Blizzard is very supportive of the events. But this post alleges otherwise -- they say that Blizzard is falling short of professional Arena support.

There are two main complaints: first, that Blizzard doesn't supply any onsite Arena servers. We know this is true -- Blizzard has event servers that they use for events like this, kept offsite so they don't have to set them up all the time. But GotGame claims that this causes problems -- as much as 300+ ping, which in the quick world of Arena matches, is practically unplayable. We're not sure why Blizzard doesn't allow setups on site, but that seems like a reasonable step to take if they're serious about making professional Arena big.

The second is a little tougher: this post claims that Blizzard has brought the pro Arena servers up to the Season 4 patch, but locked the gear down at Season 2. Our own Zach Yonzon says he's not sure where the Arenas are -- he doesn't believe that official Arena matches are underway after Wrath yet, and if that's true, then Blizzard may already be updating this (bringing the gear on the realms up to level 80 levels to match the talents). But either way, it's strange to hear someone say that Blizzard isn't supporting professional Arena matches correctly. You'd think that if they were as into supporting WoW as an e-sport as they say, that they'd address some of these concerns.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Contests, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

15 Minutes of Fame: e-sportscaster tracks WoW tournies


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

First off, let's establish this for the record: yes, there are people out there who play World of Warcraft professionally. There are pro teams, well known player personalities and an entire tournament scene. And behind it all, there are podcasters – "e-casters" – reporting on every twist and turn.

Meet JP McDaniel, a 22-year-old college journalism major and podcaster for ArenaCast. JP has combined the game he loves with school and work in what he hopes will be a springboard to a print journalism career in gaming. He's managed to roll his main up to 80 in the midst of podcasting, news updates, tournament travel and his studies. We talked with JP about his road into e-casting and his perspectives on where e-sports -- and competitive WoW, in particular -- are heading.

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Filed under: Podcasting, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

SK Gaming splits into separate PvE and PvP guilds

We received news yesterday that SK Gaming, the multinational raiding and arena juggernaut, has decided to split into separate PvE and PvP branches. Well, perhaps that's a little misleading. SK Gaming had partnered with the famed Curse of EU-Veknilash (the same people behind Curse Gaming and World of Raids), and their combined efforts resulted in three world-firsts in Sunwell under the SK Gaming tag (Felmyst, M'uru, and Kil'Jaeden). That success aside, they reached the decision that the pursuit of competitive raiding and e-sport supremacy under the auspice of the same guild just wasn't working, and that the game demanded an entirely different vision and means of guild organization for each goal.

According to Mekon, the guild master of the former PvE branch (which remains on EU-Veknilash but is now renamed "Put Your Name Here" -- you can't accuse them of not having a sense of humor), it was the PvE players' decision to leave, "absolutely nothing changes within the guild," and they will continue to pursue world firsts in Wrath. We interviewed Neg, one of their resto Shamans, not long after they got their world-first Kil'Jaeden kill. This was less than a month after the major U.S. raiding guild Death and Taxes had gone the way of the dinosaur, and Neg had some insightful observations concerning what was happening to raiding guilds with Wrath of the Lich King on the not-too-distant horizon.

At the time I privately hoped that other major raid guilds wouldn't suffer D&T's fate, and...well, this isn't really it, I suppose. Both sides of SK Gaming will continue to operate, just independently of each other (from both an organizational and financial perspective). If nothing else I find it a fairly thought-provoking commentary on the degree of Blizzard's success attempting to legitimize arena as a true e-sport, and how the game's top players see the PvP side of the game increasingly disconnected from its PvE counterpart.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, News items, PvP, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

2nd Qualifying round of the official 3v3 Arena Tournament ends

In the midst of the hubbub over the Worldwide Invitational 3v3 Arena tournament and the MLG PC Circuit tournaments in San Diego and Orlando, the official 3v3 Arena Tournament seems to have fallen by the wayside -- At the least, people don't seem to remember it much.

It looks like it's looking to burst back onto the scene in a big way, though, as Blizzard announced the end of the 2nd qualifying round of the tournament today. The next round will see the winning teams from the 1st and 2nd qualifying rounds facing off in live matches in Boston, Madrid, Seoul, and Taipei in the coming months.

The list of first round winners has some familiar faces in it already. MLG San Diego winners Frag Dominant will be competing in the Boston event, WWI winner Council of Mages will be competing in Seoul, and WWI runner up Improved Clicks will be headed to Madrid. There's no word yet on which teams won the 2nd round, or when the next round's matches will take place, or whether we'll get live streaming from the events. We'll be sure to let you know all the details right here as soon as they're available though.

Filed under: Events, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

European Arena Tournament 1st qualifying round ends, 2nd round begins

Slorkuz has posted some information of interest for European PvPers. The first qualifying round of the Arena Tournament is over, with the second one beginning today, May 21st, and lasting until June 2nd. You can sign up at the European Information page (for Americans, our information page is here). Ranked matches for this round will be starting on June 16th and last until July 16th, so you should have plenty of time to prepare and practice, and plenty of time to get in your matches.

Remember, if you win, that's a good 25,000 dollars in the bank. Not bad for a bit of 3v3, if you're already into it. Good luck to all competitors!

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

Bornakk speaks on the whole esports thing

So a while back, Tom Chilton talked about turning WoW into a "viable Esports platform" in an interview with Gamespy, and lots of players did not take it well. Some time later, the fire has still not died down. Darqchild of the Perenolde server posted another complaint about this the other day, expressing a belief that the creation of a 2nd rule set and the domination of the esports concept had already gone with the implementation of a Tournament server.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Classes, Buffs, Arena

[1.Local]: This week in WoW Insider comments

WoW Insider serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

PvP was very much on readers' minds this week: Blizzard's balance of focus on PvP vs. PvE content, new Arena gear requirements, the e-sport aspirations of WoW's PvP system ... We bring you a sampling of those, as well as plenty of other tidbits that readers poked at over the last week: meanie players who kill ogres, loot drama, even roleplaying coverage.

As always, be sure to dive into the comments area and add your own thoughts – unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Interviews, [1.Local]

Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 tickets on sale today

Tickets for the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, being held this year in Paris, France, are now on sale according to the official website. The event, taking place on June 28th and 29th, promises to be a big one. Not only will there be invitational tournaments, but you can expect developer panels, auctions, loot galore, and the thing we're most looking forward, playable versions of Wrath of the Lich King and Starcraft 2.

If you have any chance of being able to make it out to the City of Lights this summer, we'd strongly recommend buying a ticket, it sounds like it's going to be a blast for Blizzard fans, whether competitive tournament play is your thing or not. We'd also recommend staying tuned to WoW Insider for all the latest information on this event and the Wrath of the Lich King expansion!

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

Blood Sport: Is WoW turning into a PvP game?


V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Looking at some of the upcoming class changes in patch 2.4, I can't help but feel that many of them are driven by PvP - particularly Arena - issues. Blizzard is undoubtedly trying to level the playing field for the classes before the 3v3 Arena Tournament, tentatively set to begin in April. That's a very short time to iron out problems and further imbalances that the patch will bring.

A design philosophy that Blizzard has insisted on from the beginning is that each class should play similarly in both PvP and PvP. Tom Chilton (Lead Designer, or Kalgan) said at last year's Blizzcon that the game "shouldn't have significantly different rules for spells in PvP vs PvE."

"Slower" water in Arenas is the latest change that depart from this philosophy, in addition to PvP-only diminishing returns, and PvP-oriented stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. However, since many class changes apply to both PvP and PvE, PvE players seem to be "dragged" along by changes meant to tune their classes' PvP performance. Shamans and druids seem to be most affected this patch with changes to Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, Call of Thunder for shamans, and Lifebloom for druids.

Read more →

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Classes, Blood Sport (Arena PvP), Arena

Blizzard announces a 3v3 arena tournament

Blizzard announced today that they will be hosting a 3v3 Tourney beginning in April with international qualifiers and some pretty hefty cash prizes at the end. After paying an entrance fee, teams will compete in qualifying tournaments with other teams from their region for cash prizes totaling $27,000 before proceeding to the global championship, where the grand prize will be $75,000. The twist is that this tournament will take place on dedicated servers in which participants will play with pre-made level 70 characters. You can read the FAQ here.

It sounds like this Tournament will be something that PvP Enthusiasts will want to watch with interest. The entrance fee should ensure that most of the field is made of dedicated players, or at least players who are somewhat sure of their ability, and the establishment of pre-made characters to ensure a "level" playing field should definitely lead to some exciting matches in which we'll see how differences in skill can make or break an arena match. However, It may also bring to light class and talent discrepancies as we watch which team make-ups rise to the top and which fall. Since we already know that additional class changes will be coming to 2.4.0, we certainly have to wonder if Blizzard will try to make some last minute class adjustments to this patch in preparation for this tournament, or if they'll use data from this tournament in making further decisions on class balance.

But either way, if you fancy yourself to be pretty decent at 3v3 Arena play and think you're willing to part with a bit of money to try and win a lot MORE money, it sounds like you'll want to keep an eye out for the sign-ups for this.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, News items, PvP, Contests, Arena

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