Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Why Starcraft 2 Cannot Compete With LOL

Every day almost, League of Legends is always top of the list in the viewers count on Twitch.tv. Why is this?

Well, here is an interesting video by Khaldor, a caster for Starcraft 2 explaining why, comparing it to Starcraft 1: Brood War.

I find this analysis really interesting especially the cultural explanation of the free accounts in the "PC Bangs" (Internet Cafes).

League of Legends is a free game. It combines the idea of the Korean PC Bangs, but on top of that makes it world wide. Turning the traditional way of making money from selling games, Riot instead came up with the idea of making their game free to play, but then pay for add on's later on instead.

Another reason for its popularity, is that it is a team game. That is also why Dota's successful too. Players don't really like to lose, and playing a game like Starcraft where it is almost always your own fault isn't to everyone's taste. Blame your teammates!

Despite all this, I'm super happy with the new expansion for Starcraft, Heart of the Swarm. The games are way more exciting to watch and the new units and redistribution of costs to some upgrades turns the game on its head as new strategies are developed and evolved. I'm truly biased, but I really do think that Starcraft games are more exciting then LOL, where at the very least an average Joe who's never watched any eSports can see both games, and most probably understand roughly what is going on in Starcraft over LOL.

So in summary; (for those TL;DR)

- League of Legends is free to download and play.
- It is therefore free to play in the PC Bangs in Korea.
- Because it is free it is therefore a lot of more popular and more people are into it.
- It is a team game which makes it more of a social game, and also makes the loses put the blame on other players! (Not yourself) =D

World Championship of Starcraft (WCS)

Another big difference between League of Legends and Starcraft is that Riot pretty much has all the power in terms of the pro tournaments. They control everything. Blizzard was primarily involved in making the game and that was it. So in turn a bunch of independent institutions decided that they liked the games and wanted tournaments. 

In 2013, Blizzard decided that more structure was needed and collaborated with all these companies to not just form a new structure, but also tried its hardest to not leave out and bulldoze away those other independents.

Now the structure follows the format of the GSL in Korea, which is universally accepted as the fairest format.

There are 3 main regions to play for; Korea, America, and Europe, and that will accumulate into top 16 players combine into a world title. There are 3 seasons in a year, and points are collected for the ultimate final tournament of the year.

Each player has to choose what region that they want to play in, and they have to stick within that region for the year. One of the criticisms of this format is that some Koreans will simply choose the non Korean region because it is easier. Since the Koreans are the best, it will most likely happen that they will dominate Europe and American region, making it kind of meaningless in terms of the fact that you are playing in that region. However, a balance needs to be made in terms of the quality of games for the viewership. It will be interesting to see the viewing numbers for these other regions... so far its has been good!

Each region has the same format - a Premier League and a Challenger League. The Premier League is the best of the best in that region and they fight it out to see who is the best in that region. The Challenger League are those players who are trying to qualify for the Premier League.

Top 16 of all 3 regions of the Premier Leagues qualify for a Season finals, which determines who the best player overall is for that Season. Points are collected throughout the year to tally towards the final end of year tournament.

Blizzard has got in contact with other Tournament Organisers and collaborated their efforts to be included in the process. One of the biggest problems without a standardized format was the scheduling conflicts between these events. Now it is a lot more organised. MLG is helping to do the American League, ESF is helping with the European League, and GomTV the Korean. On top of that there will still be other tournaments going on such as MLG, DreamHack, Homestory Cup and Intel Extreme Masters Series.

The European League has just finished with MVP taking it down beating the Frenchmen Stephano. At least there was one European in the finals, unlike the American League which right now has 8 players in the running, of which consists of 6 Koreans, an European, and an Australian! No Americans there!!

Here's a cool clip from the European event in the Semi Final. The Korean Terran loaded up all his units into the dropships so that the mines would hit the Zerg units, however his plan backfired when the splash damage of the mines also hit his own units!

I'm really enjoying Starcraft 2 right now, there is actually too much content to keep up with!! Poker wise... err not so good lol, which is why I'm not really talking much about it these days. But I will get Supernova soon, I'm around 65k VPPs atm. It is looking that I will evaluate what I want to do after I get my bonuses, I actually want to play Starcraft a lot more these days but cant since I'm playing poker, so we'll have to see what will happen when I get there.