We're fast approaching the launch of Blizzard's unified Starcraft 2 eSports league , the 2013 World Championship Series. The WCS Korea is already underway, and within the next few weeks, both WCS Europe and WCS America will be providing free streamed Heart of the Swarm matches for viewers worldwide. Today they've announced the kick-off dates for each part of the upcoming season, and revealed the adjusted selection process being used to pick the inaugural competitors.
With no previous league to select WCS Europe and America contestants from, this first season will work slightly differently to future events. 24 players will be invited to each region based on their performance in previous tournaments, with 8 further players being picked based on their placement in a special qualifying round. The full 32 will then move on to the full season.
Blizzard explain how that the subsequent league will work: "The rest of Season 1 will then play out via the same structure planned for future seasons. The top 8 players in each region will compete in their region's finals, which will be a weekend offline event. Once all three regional finals have concluded, the top performers from each region will battle in an epic global Season Finals at a live event hosted by one of the regions.
"To seed that event, the top 6 players from the host region will be joined by the top 5 players from each of the two other regions to engage in a fierce tournament in order to crown the best StarCraft II player in the world for that season."
The full dates for the first season's events are below:
- April 4: Korea - League play begins
- April 14: Europe - Special qualifiers begin
- April 20: America - Special qualifiers begin
- April 23: Europe - League play begins (round of 32)
- April 28: America - League play begins (round of 32)
- May 14: Korea - Regional league finals begin (round of 8)
- May 25: Europe - Regional league finals begin (round of 8)
- May 31: America - Regional league finals begin (round of 8)
For more details, read Rich's interview with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime on the thinking behind the new WCS structure.