On November the 10th, the StarCraft II saga will come to and end with the release of the last part of the trilogy – Legacy of the Void. The final game will bring with it not only what is hopefully an epic single player campaign, but also a somewhat revitalised multiplayer experience. There are new units waiting to be toyed with, and generally, just new ways to get lost in Blizzard’s RTS – one example being the brand new automated tournament feature.
One of the major reasons we’re developing tournaments is because we heard the demand from the community for them, and we wanted to deliver on that. Another reason is that StarCraft II is a competitive game at its core, and tournaments are the ultimate expression of the StarCraft competitive experience. We want everyone to experience the eSports competitive scene for themselves and to feel the joy of bringing home a trophy.
Sounds quite rad, except that when I play StarCraft II multiplayer myself, it only holds my attention for a few weeks. The main reason is of course, simply, that I am a train wreck when it comes to micromanagement.
I steer away almost entirely from playing 1v1, because I lose again and again, and thus, lose any desire to play. Blizzard don’t want that feeling to exist with tournaments, and are going about making it balanced enough to keep even the greenest of players hooked.
Warcraft III tournaments use Swiss style matchmaking, in which players with similar records are matched against each other, and only one player can become champion. Ultimately, this style of matchmaking means only the highest skilled players can win, causing an ugly cycle where less skilled players continually lose, and eventually stop participating in tournaments altogether.
One way we felt we could address the issue was by grouping players of similar skill together in smaller tournaments. Holding multiple small tournaments at once means more than one player can win. In addition, grouping players by skill means the most skilled players aren’t the only ones who stand a chance at winning.
To differentiate winners of tournaments of varying skill levels, each tournament has a difficulty level determined by the player in the highest league for that tournament. Grouping players also distinguishes tournaments from the ladder, since it removes anonymity and lets players see who they’re up against (just like in real tournaments).
I think it’s a difficult feat to pull off, but if done properly, I think I, along with many others, might just get lost in competitive solo StarCraft II for a good long time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind losing, but when I get Zergling rushed for the 12035th time, I become a teeny bit disheartened. Hopefully this new tournament system will be more balanced, allowing me a win enough to want to play more.
That’s just me though. What do you think? Do automated tournaments sounds good? If you’d like to read about the feature in more detail, you can do so right here.
Last Updated: October 22, 2015