The first Smite World Championship takes place in Atlanta in early January. Two teams qualified from the EU Regionals this weekend; six more will join them from North America, China, Latin America and Brazil. The community-supported prize pool just topped $1.3m and is still climbing. It's looking like the first major international tournament for Hi-Rez's god brawler will match the prize pool for the third Dota 2 International, an impressive sum for a relatively young e-sport.
Hi-Rez revealed the distribution of the prize pool today, along with some new information on the rewards that fans will receive for contributing to the growing total. The breakdown is as follows:
- 1st place: 50%
- 2nd place: 20%
- 3rd place: 15%
- 4th place: 10%
- 5th-8th place: 1.25%
An important distinction to note, here, is that despite having a prize pool on par with other major MOBA tournaments there are only eight teams in contention for that sum. That allows the winner to take away a substantial prize while still ensuring that bottom-place finishers get something (unlike The International, where frequently the bottom eight get nothing at all.) This is something I've heard requested by pro players in various games: guaranteed prizes, even relatively small ones, provide a financial incentive to keep going that helps a scene's stability.
Hi-Rez's approach to e-sports sits neatly between Valve's fondness for crowdsourcing and Riot's fondness for centralised control. If you're interested in either League of Legends or Dota 2 it's worth paying attention to the growth of Smite as an example of a middle-ground approach that could potentially yield some lessons for pro scenes elsewhere.
The Smite World Championship prize pool is inflated by community participation in an event called The Odyssey, which is still ongoing. The final reward for supporters will be a community-designed angelic theme for Thanatos that changes as the match goes on. Here's a pic.