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Posts with tag pro-gaming

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

Major League Gaming crowns Button Bashers in Anaheim

Major League Gaming wrapped up a tournament in Anaheim, California (we hear some Blizzard folks were headed over to watch), and a Korean team called Button Bashers came out on top, vanquishing SK Gaming's EU team and a team from Check Six. The Button Bashers team is made of a undead mage named Orangemarmalade (the same one that pulled off that wild 2 vs. 1 victory a while back), and Numberone and Hiren, an undead priest and rogue. So yes, an RMP team finished off the tourney at the top, continuing their domation of the arena. SK.EU's druid, warlock, and death knight couldn't stand up to the onslaught. MLG's GotFrag website has lots and lots of info about the teams and tourney, including wrapups from each day of the weekend, and a big gallery of pictures to look through.

MLG passed out $24,000 in cash and prizes to all of the winning teams -- congrats to all of them. Next up, MLG is headed off to Orlando, FL to run their fifth event of the season in January.

Filed under: Mage, Priest, Rogue, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Arena

SK Gaming wins MLG Columbus


The dominance of Rogue/Mage/Priest continues as SK Gaming defeated eMazing Gaming's faceroll Unholy/BM/Holy comp in the Major League Gaming Columbus Grand Finals 6-3 (best of 11 counting previous matchups). SK Gaming took home the $9,000 Grand Prize in the first leg of the MLG 2009 pro circuit, proving that the US still has a competitive RMP team. Europe's RMP contingent, Ensidia, barely missed the Finals after dropping to eMG in the prior round.

Some of the teams didn't do so well despite expectations, such as two-time MLG winners Fnatic, who were playing without their Warrior, Rhaegyn. Fnatic did rather poorly, playing a Rogue/Warlock/Shaman comp that simply couldn't match up against the dominant RMPs or even eMG's Death Knight/Hunter/Paladin. Evil Geniuses also played below par, but there really have to be teams that occupy the bottom of the standings. The good news is that teams collect points through all MLG legs to tally at the end of the season, so we might see some changes in the next MLG stops.

All the matches were streamed through three different sites via Octoshape, but the streams were choppy and often stalled more than it did in the first two days of the tournament. It came to the point where the matches were simply unwatchable, which is a shame because there were some pretty good games on the last day. The shoutcasters did an excellent job commentating on the matches but camerawork and the pace of the games were just too fast at times to appreciate. Arena Tournaments could benefit greatly from instant replays, slow motion, and camera angles beyond the third person view. Replays should be available on GotFrag soon.

Filed under: Events, News items, PvP, Arena

MLG Columbus Day Two concludes


The second day of competition at the Major League Gaming 2009 Pro Circuit has just wrapped up, with SK Gaming leading all teams with a 5-1 record followed closely by eMazing Gaming and Europe's Ensidia with identical 4-1 slates. The entire event was streamed live through MLG's site, as well as GotFrag and MMO Champion, and if you missed them there are short recaps of the matches over at GotFrag, as well as a brief match overview. The Arena Tournament uses a best-of-five format where no maps are played twice, which is a great concession to the fact that some team comps play better in particular maps.

Over $15,000 are at stake in the tournament, with the first place winner taking home $9,000. It's been an exciting two days so far, and even though the Rogue/Mage/Priest comp continues to exert its dominance in the format, the current environment has also opened up to relatively newer comps such as Rogue/Warlock/Shaman and Death Knight/Hunter/Paladin. Day three will see which team comes out on top and takes home the prize, with the rest of the matches in this roundrobin tournament streamed live tomorrow at 9am EST.

Filed under: Events, PvP, Arena

Victory from the jaws of defeat


Hate Arenas all you want, but I love it for the fact that you will sometimes see the grandest display of skill and mastery of the game in PvP and when those moments happen... it's magic. How appropriate then, that the most magical moment in quite possibly all professional Arena Tournament history was performed by none other than a Mage. It's a phenomenal comeback tale that ranks right up there with the greatest comebacks in sports -- and not just eSports.

Team H O N was down 1-2 against SK-Gaming Asia, better known as the Council of Mages, winners of the Worldwide Invitational in Paris. Both teams from Korea sported the same RMP comps, with some spec changes in between matches to keep everyone guessing. In the fourth match, played in the Ruins of Lordaeron, SK-Gaming showed superb control despite H O N going offensive in the first few minutes... so superb, in fact, that at one point the shoutcasters were already congratulating SK-Gaming. If you've kept abreast of the tiny bits of the ESL Global Finals here at WoW Insider, you'd already know that H O N won the tournament so it should be no spoiler that they escaped from being down 1-2 to tie and eventually win it all.

That's not the magical moment, though. You have to see it for yourself. Don't worry, the video might be long (that's just the first part of the match) but the most jawdropping moment happens right before the four minute mark. The movie may well be Moviewatch material if only because it's so unbelievable you're tempted to think it's all machinima. But the coolest thing about it is that it's not, and OrangeMarmalade will be celebrated as one of the greatest PvP Mages of all time.

Read more →

Filed under: Events, PvP, Arena

ESL Arena tournament Finals kicks off in Germany


The Intel Extreme Masters World of Warcraft Arena tournament will be culminating at the CeBit in Hanover, Germany from March 3rd to 8th, featuring the European Continental Finals as well as the Global Finals, which will determine the overall winner of the 3v3 Arena tournament. The event closes the third season of a globe-hopping event that spanned Dubai to Chengdu to Los Angeles, and a total of $280,000 in prizes is ready for the taking.

The event in Hannover is significant in that it will be the first Level 80 tournament on the pro level, with special rules changes to reduce the effects of RNG. One example is banning speccing into talents like Hunters' T.N.T., Mages' Impact, or Priests' Blackout. ESL has also elected to exclude the new Arena maps -- the gimmicky Dalaran Sewer and Orgrimmar Arena -- from the tournament. This should make the competition notably different from live realms.

The Electronic Sports League will feature live streaming videos of the matches throughout the event, with live commentary from the ESL hosts. Archives of matches throughout the tournament can also be viewed on the site or on youtube, even including popular clips outside of matches such as Swarm's infamous nerdrage breakdown. The program can be viewed through the ESL TV, as well as the live stream of all the matches. All games will be broadcast in English.

Filed under: Events, News items, PvP, Arena

Nihilum Arena wins CGS Championship


The premiere 3v3 Arena team from Europe of Cherez, Beasteh, and Hydra -- aka Nihilum Arena -- won top honors at the recently concluded Championship Gaming Series Arena Tournament. This win comes after their notable absence from MLG Orlando despite a 2nd place finish in San Diego. Considering the purse for the MLG series is $12,000 (and an HP Blackbird for each team member), Nihilum fortunately participated in this tournament, winning a whopping $25,000.

Frag Dominant Duelists continued their strong showing on the pro circuit, finishing 2nd again after falling to Orz in MLG Orlando about a week ago, and placing first in MLG San Diego. FD-DGFG ran a double healer Rogue, Druid, Priest comp, taking home $12,500 after their defeat to Nihilum Arena's Hunter, Druid, and Priest. Two runner-up teams took home $6,250 apiece. The tournament used a format that pitted Europe's against the United States' best in the finals.

The coverage was different from the MLG series, being much more friendly to viewers not overly familiar with the game or Arena tournaments, with extensive previews of the characters used by the players, and an overview of the Arena maps prior to matches. The shoutcasting was also much more casual-friendly, at a significantly slower pace than the MLG coverage. The choice of the infamous Leeroy Jenkins to commentate was definitely a marketing move, with more than a few mistakes (calling Scatter Shot Distracting Shot, saying Ice Block's cooldown as 2 mins vs. the correct 5, being fooled by Cherez' Feign Death, etc.). The level of analysis wasn't as deep as MLG's, which featured Arena pros for commentating. Camera view was also an overhead style as opposed to the third person view used by MLG. Both tournaments had good points, and it's exciting to see Arena play gaining a stronger foothold in the pro gaming scene.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Arena

The Art of War(craft): How WoW as an eSport can actually work


If you're even moderately interested in Arenas, I hope you caught the live stream of MLG Orlando yesterday, hosted by GotFrag TV. The stream quality was much better than the one from the Worldwide Invitational, and it was truly entertaining, um... television. A lot of video entertainment is available through the web these days, and GotFrag TV has been providing topnotch coverage of the Major League Gaming World of Warcraft Arena tournament series. As a student of Arenas, I've found the coverage to be extremely fun and educational. This is competition at its highest level, where players actually get paid, or win money, for playing. And just like any sport, there are a few special elements that make it interesting to watch.

The stars

Every sport has its stars. You have athletes like Tiger Woods being the face of golf, or Kobe Bryant being the guy you either love or hate in basketball (for the record, I've been a Kobe fan since he got drafted by the Hornets in 1996), or even Maria Sharapova for tennis, who doesn't even necessarily have to win in order to be fun to watch (I mean, look at Anna Kournikova). Tournaments, when they're in a televised LAN format -- as opposed to online, such as the Blizzard-sponsored 2008 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament -- means that audiences will actually get a glimpse of the players behind the characters. Just like sports stars, these players need to have some special quality that holds the interest of fans. Let's go through a few examples.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Arena

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