WCS2015_WCS_897x280

We’re days away from crowning the StarCraft II WCS Global Champion; the final touch on what has been a spectacular year of worldwide competition. After battles all over the planet, it all comes to a head for the top 16 players at the World Championship Series Global Finals culminating at BlizzCon this November.

As WCS 2014 builds towards its thrilling conclusion, we wanted to share details on what’s happening in 2015.

In collaboration with our partners and key figures in the eSports community, we’ve come up with changes that we hope will improve the WCS experience and continue fostering a vibrant StarCraft II eSports ecosystem.

In 2015, StarCraft II WCS will consist of three primary leagues, each running three seasons: a new, unified WCS Premier League and two global individual leagues in Korea. WCS Europe, WCS America and other eligible countries and regions will merge into a single WCS Premier League with dedicated slots for players from different regions. In Korea, the GSL returns along with a new individual league from SPOTV Games and both will be open to players from around the world who want to take on the challenge of competing in the “Capital of eSports”.

The global WCS Standings will remain as the tracking system that ties league competition and partner events together. A year-end WCS Global Finals for players at the top of the WCS Standings will continue to crown the undisputed WCS champion. The global prize pool for WCS 2015 will stay intact at $1.6 million and will be distributed between the WCS Premier League and global leagues in Korea.

Previously, we announced a WCS points reset, residency requirements, and removal of ladder qualifier slots for WCS 2015. This blog goes into detail about the full list of changes we’re making and why those changes have been made.

A Unified WCS Premier League

In addition to residency requirements, the World Championship Series competition will now be unified into one premier league to bring together the world’s leading StarCraft II pro-players living outside of Korea. The WCS Premier League will spotlight and reward the best performing players around the world and test their skills against each other in a live studio environment. By bringing together 32 players from multiple regions and introducing on-site competition for the round of 32, the unified Premier League takes on a more global feel and the level of competition will intensify for players and viewers alike.

WCS Qualifiers and Challenger will now take place in 6 different regions to provide the 32 direct spots into the new WCS Premier League:

format_2015_wcsregions_v2

*In Season 1, regional qualifiers will provide all Challenger players, which then feed into WCS Premier League (edited on 12/16/2014)
**In Season 2 and 3, the Premier League Champion will retain his position, and therefore that region’s challenger will receive one fewer spot (edited on 2/9/2015)

WCS Premier League Format

Format_WCS_PREMIERLEAGUE_2015_2_KP

  • Regional Qualifier matches will be played Online
  • Regional Challenger matches will be played Online
  • Premier League RO32 Group Stage will be played onsite at the ESL Studios. Four groups will be played in the ESL Burbank studio in the US, and four groups will be played in the ESL Cologne studio in Germany.
  • The 16 Players advancing from the RO32 will be compete onsite at a live venue location for the Season Finals event.

WCS Premier League Residency Requirements

In order to compete in the WCS Premier League, all participants must be a resident of a country within the home regions for regional qualifiers into WCS Challenger. All participants in WCS will be required to verify their Battle.net account and proof of residency:

Eligible countries and regions:

  • Europe, Africa, Middle East
  • North America (USA, Canada)
  • China
  • Latin America
  • Oceania, Southeast Asia
  • Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau

*For eligibility inquiries regarding countries not listed above, you can contact esportsteam@blizzard.com

Battle.net account verification:

  • The country of residence in each player’s Battle.net account must show an eligible country within the region they wish to compete before the season begins. 
  • The player’s BattleTag must match those of their public persona and be pre-approved by tournament administrators.
  • Participants are required to play all tournaments and ladder games from the country listed on the account during the tournament season.  Blizzard will check IP connections at its discretion.
  • Participants that need to travel outside of their country of residence during the tournament will be required to provide details to Blizzard for review.

Proof of residency verification:

Eligibility for Citizens: If the player is a citizen of an eligible country for the WCS Premier League, the player must provide a copy of a valid photo ID with a current address within the country.

  • Examples of acceptable identification
    • Government-issued drivers license
    • Military photo identification card
    • Passport
    • Health card with photo (Canada, Australia, New Zealand)
    • Voter registration card with photo (Mexico)
    • Health card (Denmark)
    • Young Scot Card (Scotland)
    • Family book (Spain)
    • Bank card with owner’s signature and picture on reverse (Norway/Sweden)
  • Examples of non-acceptable identification
    • Expired identification
    • School-issued photo identification card
    • Gym membership card
    • Library card
    • Public transportation cards
    • Private ID cards

Eligibility for non-Citizens: If the player is a foreign resident of an eligible country for the WCS Premier League, the player must submit a copy of their passport along with a valid resident visa for the eligible country for an evaluation of their residency status. The visa must be acquired before the start of the qualifiers and is only considered valid if it allows the player to stay in the region, work in the region, and earn prize money in the region.

  • Examples of acceptable identification
    • Professional athlete visa
    • Work visa
    • Student visa
  • Examples of non-acceptable identification
    • Expired visa
    • Working holiday visa
    • General tourist/visitor visa

Global Premier Leagues in Korea

In Korea, there will now be two individual leagues connected to the WCS system: GSL and SPOTV Games Individual League. As the acknowledged leader in eSports infrastructure and legacy, Korea is the home of the best StarCraft II players in the world and is undoubtedly the most competitive region. In an effort to increase the opportunities to compete in Korea, players will be able to participate in both GSL and SPOTV Games’ league simultaneously. This system not only provides an increase in possibilities for Korean players but also offers global openings to professional players who seek to play in the most competitive region. With more opportunities to earn WCS points and more high profile matches, the competition in Korea’s two leagues should reach a new level of intensity.

GSL operated by GOM eXP (3 Seasons)

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StarCraft II Individual League operated by SPOTV Games (3 Seasons)

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WCS Global Events

WCS partner events were successful last year at tying in tournaments outside the WCS league structure into the overall WCS umbrella. The WCS Points System will be adjusted to balance the points between GSL, SPOTV Games Individual League, and WCS Premier League. The points distribution for the partner WCS Global Events will remain the same (7000, 4000, 1800), but the requirements for WCS Global Events have been updated and more defined.

Requirements

WCS Global Events

Map Pool

WCS Season Maps (same as ladder during the WCS season)

The qualifiers should use the same map pool as the actual onsite event. If this is not possible due to the timeline of the qualifier and a map pool update, the live map pool should be used for the qualifier. This is not a requirement during the WCS off-season.

Number of players

  • 16+ Tournament Players
  • Players from Qualifiers (that did not Qualify to the actual Tournament) do not count towards Tournament Players

Global Qualifiers

  • WCS Events with 32 or more players: At least 25% of the total spots must be attainable through an open qualifier
  • WCS Events with less than 32 players: At least 8 spots must be attainable through an open qualifier
  • Global Qualifiers cannot be other WCS Global Events
  • Global Online Qualifiers must not have a cap or limit to players
  • Global Onsite Qualifiers must have a minimum of 64 players
  • The Global Qualifiers dates must be published in English at least one week prior to the start of the qualifier tournament

Format

  • In addition to the required Global Qualifiers, WCS partners may invite additional players at their discretion
  • Any player in the tournament that did not qualify through a Global Qualifier will be considered an invitee
  • Invitees may not be seeded into the Top 8 and will only earn points after advancing a round
  • Players participating in all stages of the qualifiers cannot be eliminated from a single game loss
  • WCS Events must use pre-approved tournament formats as listed in the WCS Handbook
  • Other formats may be approved by Blizzard during the application process

Points

  • WCS points can only be awarded after advancing at least one round within the tournament (as defined in the WCS Handbook).
  • Different formats will have different definitions of a round.

Player Rights

Conform to the WCS Global Events Player Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Branding

WCS and Blizzard Branding
Total WCS Point Pool

7000

4000

1800

WCS Points for 1st place

1500

750

300

Prize pool minimum

$75,000

$25,000

$10,000

No. of players on-site

8+

8+

4+

Global Stream/Broadcasting

Free 720p in English

Free 720p in English

Free 480p in Local Language

On-Site Casters

Required

Required

Optional

Sound Dampening

Required

Required

Required

Live Audience

Required

Required

Optional

Become a WCS Partner
If you’re interested in setting up a partner tournament that feeds into the WCS ranking system, please contact us at sc-tourneyinfo@Blizzard.com

**Note that meeting the requirements listed above does not automatically grant you partner status—we’d like to work with you directly to ensure your event fits well into the schedule and doesn’t overlap other partner events. Exceptions to the requirements may be made under the discretion of Blizzard.

WCS 2015 Summary

In summary, the 2015 StarCraft II World Championship Series will feature:

  • A unified WCS Premier league with residency requirements
  • Two global premier leagues in Korea: GSL by GOM eXP and SPOTV Games Individual League
  • Updated WCS Global Events requirements for partner tournaments

As before, the world’s best StarCraft II pros will compete in these leagues and global events to earn cash prizes and WCS points to bolster their individual rankings. We’ll continue to broadcast all of these top-level StarCraft II eSports competitions, and the entire system will climax at an exciting year-end championship tournament featuring the top-ranked players.

We expect to announce the full WCS schedule, prize pool breakdown, and points distribution for 2015 soon, as well as details about the first qualifier events and WCS Global Events for 2015, which will take place following BlizzCon.