Blizzard announces Starcraft II World Championship Series 2016

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Tis’ be the season of giving, and Blizzard are laying it on thick this year. With last month’s release of Legacy of The Void, Starcraft II fans were offered a glimpse of hope as the game they know and love resurged from the ashes. I know I always say Starcraft II is dead, but the truth is it just went into hibernation.

Blizzard, on the other hand, has big plans for 2016, and these include bigger and better tournaments ending in the World Championship Series and a $1.6  -$2 million prize pool.

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Fortunately for Starcraft II fans, this is only the beginning. The 2016 leg of the famous Korean tournament GSL kicked off this week, and it’s only going to grow from here. 2016 promised to be the year of Starcraft II. A new expansion means new beginnings for Blizzard, and that’s what they hope to bring in 2016.

Significant Changes

According to Blizzard, these are the highlighted changes coming in 2016.

Bigger total prize pool
This year, the Blizzard-sponsored prize pool is being increased from $1.6 million in 2015 to over $2 million in 2016—with the prize pool for the WCS Global Finals now totaling $500,000.

Two tournament standings
The WCS point system will now be split into two standings. The WCS Korea Standings, representing the highest level of competition, will include players participating in the GSL and SSL tournaments in Korea. They’ll be open to any player willing to take up the challenge of league play.

The WCS Circuit Standings, an evolution of the previous year’s WCS Premier League, will provide a proving ground for stars in other regions through a variety of tournaments around the world. These tournaments will be residency-locked to help focus on providing more opportunities to expose, develop, and celebrate the top talent from regions outside of Korea.

At the end of the year, eight players will move on from each system to participate in the WCS Global Playoffs. We’re hoping this split provides true global representation in the WCS Global Playoffs, where the best players from the various regions will be represented. The WCS Global Finals will still feature the best players, regardless of region, as only the top eight from the WCS Global Playoffs will move on to battle it out on the main stage of the WCS Global Finals.

With the above points in mind, this is how the format will work in 2016.

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There will also be significant global events incorporate in the WCS Circuit. Each tournament will feature bigger prize pools, and better events. The two events are split into the Korean Circuit, and International Global Circuit.

WCS CIRCUIT EVENTS
WCS Circuit Events will represent a wide range of tournament sizes from traditional $25,000 tournaments to the $150,000 Championships. Players will travel all over the world to shape their skills and hone their strategies. These events are split into two tiers: 5000-point events and 2500-point events. The level of the event is directly tied to the size of the prize pool and the regional requirements.

Each WCS Circuit Event will be an international affair that also highlights the passion of local StarCraft II players. Organizers will be free to allocate the regional spots not supported via paid travel and accommodations by Blizzard. For more information on the WCS Circuit Event requirements, check out the Requirements blog.

This is exactly what Starcraft II needs to rise to former glory, and with Blizzard’s new eSports department focusing primarily on competitive tournaments under their own titles, we can be sure that this is only the beginning.

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Last Updated: December 18, 2015

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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