Blizzard has announced that StarCraft 2 automated tournaments, first revealed as a planned update in November 2014, will be added to the game in the next Legacy of the Void beta update. Blizzard said it's "been hard at work on building this feature into something truly promising," and the time has come to show it off.
That's not to suggest that the new feature is anywhere near finished. "Please keep in mind that everything you see here is a very early implementation of Automated Tournaments. There are still features to be added, bugs to be fixed, and feedback to be received," Blizzard wrote. "Nevertheless, we felt that it was time to offer this feature to our players so that we could gather the testing and feedback needed to ensure that Automated Tournaments ends up becoming the best feature possible."
Automated tournaments will run in two different formats: a three-round, single-elimination bracket on Monday through Thursday, and a six-round, group-stage set up on Friday through Sunday. The three-rounders are expected to take 60 to 90 minutes to complete, while the weekend tournaments will eat up three to four hours. You can only join one tournament at a time, and you'll want to be sure you've got enough time for the whole thing, as once it begins, "you are locked into that tournament even if you log out or close your client; any matches you do not play will be automatically forfeit."
Each match will be limited to 25 minutes, which Blizzard said roughly equates to a 35 minute game in Heart of the Swarm because of changes to the game clock in Legacy of the Void. If the game isn't concluded before the time limit is hit, victory will go to whoever has the highest experience point total, gained by earning money, and building and destroying units. Eventually, Blizzard plans to have players automatically connected to a private chat channel with others in the tournament, and to have Automated Tournament rewards that will be visible elsewhere in the game.
"Due to the nature of this feature, it is more difficult to get a lot of internal playtesting compared to other parts of the game. Please do your best to try out various combinations and let us know if you find any bugs!" Blizzard wrote. "Automated Tournaments should provide a gripping experience for those who value high-stakes StarCraft II competition. So if you enjoy the competitive side of StarCraft II, we hope you are as excited to try out the new game mode as we are to hear your thoughts."
Full details are up at Battle.net.