MLG 2013 Format Going in the Wrong Direction
Written by @GoSuGlon
Today, MLG announced how players would qualify for the MLG Dallas Heart of the Swarm tournament - the first of its kind that will premier the weekend after release for the game. With many people expecting that Heart of the Swarm will create a boom in Starcraft II similar to that of Brood Wars did in Starcraft I, almost all heads are pointed towards opening weekend to experience the action. However, 2013's first MLG comes bitter-sweet. It doesn't have an open qualification system.
Many fans dream of seeing their top players battle it out in important matches where both pride and money are on the line. However, a recurring problem in 2012 was the consistency of these matchups - simply put, every tournament had 95% of the same storylines as every other tournament, little was new or fresh. We would see the same players in the finals of a major tournament, almost all the same in the top 8, and a very similar group of players in the round of 32 in nearly every tournament. Yes, rematches can be epic. They can be full of suspense and stick viewers to their computer screens watching to see if their favorite player could win again or take revenge. However, when the same players play again and again, it becomes monotonous, and interest waned quickly.
Instead of MLG taking steps to address this problem, here they have exacerbated it. Before, MLG would seed players into the main tournament above everyone else, but still give new blood a chance to make a name for themselves by breaking in through the open bracket. In 2013's MLG, we will see AGAIN the same players as previous MLGs, and AGAIN play out similar scenarios of player brackets that we have already previously seen. The importance of having openness in a tournament is that it creates new storylines, and. not only that, actually increases the level of skill in a tournament. New players introduce new strategies, and an open tournament pushes the best players to the top.
MLG in 2013 will rely on Heart of the Swarm alone to introduce freshness and interest. However, in such a tournament, the weekend after a new game is introduced (after a sizable beta), we need to have player diversity. Old players bring old ways of thought - new players introduce strategies and concepts that were not previously thought of. And besides - we want the best players to be competing in the most important tournament of the year (you heard me - this MLG has the possibility of being the most important of 2013 in terms of player recognition potential).
MLG has attempted to back up their invitational system by saying that it's impossible to have an online open bracket during a beta. However, this is just lazy. IPL is having a series (you heard me - SEVERAL) of online qualifiers for their Heart of the Swarm part of the tournament. DURING the beta. MLG does not have an excuse for a lack of an open qualifier - and I hope that they find some way of correcting their mistake for MLG Dallas (through expanding the bracket).