Starcraft II and League of Legends chosen for IEM Season 7
By Rod Breslau, aka Slasher
Electronic Sports League's Intel Extreme Masters drops Counter-Strike for first time in series history; new season kicks off at GamesCom.
Two of the biggest competitive PC titles right now, Starcraft II and League of Legends, have been chosen as the two official games for Season 7 of Electronic Sports League's Intel Extreme Masters, which kicks off at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany, August 15-19. While those are the two most prominent games in PC e-sports right now, ESL will be the first league to date to have only these two games for its entire season.
"We're not really married to any particular number of games in the Intel Extreme Masters," ESL director of pro gaming Michal "Carmac" Blicharz told GameSpot. "This season our main goal is to really up the quality of what we do, and we needed focus for that. Focus is something that will allow us to create an epic experience for the SC2 and LOL communities. It's a foundation that we are building for the next season."
This will be the first ESL season since Season 3 that it has had only two official game titles instead of three. Two weeks ago, ESL dropped Counter-Strike 1.6 from its game list after six seasons with the title. It was the only game that had been featured in every season. Quake Live was removed the year before.
"For a truly global project like ours, with events on four different continents and many different countries, we require game titles with professional players and teams from all corners of the world," Blicharz said in a statement. "In the recent years of Counter-Strike 1.6, the game has retained its status of a top professional game in Europe but declined in other parts of the world. This was evident at our events outside of Europe."
The season will start in GamesCom with a Starcraft II tournament and wrap up with the IEM World Championships at the German trade show CeBIT, just as it has done every year. Blicharz sees no reason to switch, especially with the rise of live streaming.
"Every season we break streaming records at GamesCom and at CeBIT. It's not easy to give up on that," he said to GameSpot. "GamesCom is the largest event of its kind in Europe and one of the largest in the world, and ESL is probably the biggest exhibitor at all of GamesCom."
The selection process for the GamesCom event calls for online qualifiers in Europe, North America, and Asia, which will yield a pool of 24 players from around the world. An additional eight players will then be culled from an open bracket tournament at GamesCom itself, resulting in a full 32-player bracket. The action will begin July 12, with the broadcasting schedule and prize money to be detailed soon.
This is actually pretty big -- it feels like the death of competitive FPS. Who else as prominent as the ESL can you think of that supports Quake and CS still? I don't know of anything outside of Asia now.
@Cedstick IMHO, this should just be what tells the big game companies that what they are doing is bad for their long term. Hopefully more game companies will start focusing on actually making good games instead of making derpy formula stories with pretty over-rated graphics.
@echoexit "Sport" is a loose term. "The International Olympic Committee (through ARISF) recognises both chess and bridge as bona fide sports, and SportAccord, the international sports federation association, recognises five non-physical sports,"Additionally, the term is completely irrelevant. The point is that games like Starcraft 2, Guilty Gear, etc involve difficult physical skills(even if they dont involve large muscles strength, pulling off things with precise timing or micromanaging your economy, your construction, moving a bunch of units around prior to a battle to get a favorable position, managing "casters" in another battle, managing another set of "casters" in the same battle, moving reinforcements, and scouting ALL IN THE SAME 5 SECONDS requires lots of focus, extremely fast thinking and moving. If you ever play guilty gear or starcraft 2 at an intermediate level, appreciating this is easy. While they dont involve raw strength, players train quite intensely especially for starcraft 2 to be able to keep up a level of speed and precision when competing, while being more mental than individuals doing pole vaults.), mind games, intricate strategies, unique new tactics that the other player may have never seen employed before, and careful attention to who the player is fighting in terms of their individual tendencies and what that player is used to in terms of what their competition usually does.Anyone who has played a fighting game or a good RTS at a decent level, or even tried to play something like Guilty Gear, can appreciate the immense skill that goes on.I take it you're just not very familiar with genres like RTS and Fighting games(You probably think of fighting games as "button mashers" and grossly oversimplify RTSes similarly) and so you cant appreciate any tournament footage of them, even if you've seen any. I used to be extremely skeptical of both being played seriously, just like you, but after enjoying and understanding their incredible depth(competing in such games presents something superior to any single player mode, since the challenges improve further and further organically as you face opponents who grow and think just like you) I now enjoy watching players more skilled and knowledgeable than I facing each other.