Blizzard has announced that the 2016 StarCraft 2 World Championship Series prize pool will surpass $2 million, including a WCS Global Finals pot totaling $500,000. The upcoming season will see a number of format changes as well, including a move to two separate standings in the point system.
The top tier of competition will be seen in the WCS Korea Standings, which will include players from the GSL and SSL tournaments in Korea and will also be open to anyone who can compete at that level. The WCS Circuit Standings, meanwhile, "will provide a proving ground for stars in other regions through a variety of tournaments around the world." WCS Circuit tournaments will be "residency-locked," to help encourage the development of players from other regions. At the end of the season, the top eight players from each of the two streams will take part in the WCS Global Playoffs to determine the participants in the Global Finals.
Blizzard is also offering a direct path to the Global Finals, separate from the point standings, to the winners of the "most prestigious" StarCraft 2 events of the year. A total of seven spots are open, four for WCS Korea to the Season One and Two winners of the GSL and SSL, and three for the WCS Circuit, for the winners of the Winter, Spring, and Summer Championships. The remaining entries in the Global Finals will go to the top point-scorers in each Standing, four from WCS Korea and five from WCS Circuit.
The 2016 season will also see a move away from studio broadcasts in favor of increased focus on, and support for, live events. That means Blizzard will provide "bonus prize pool support" directly to some WCS Circuit Events, Regional Challengers, and the WCS Circuit Championships, and will also offer support to eligible players to enable them to travel to and compete in events.
A number of other, smaller changes are planned for the 2016, including plans for GSL/SSL cross-finals to determine a single, ultimate champion. A full and very detailed breakdown of what's coming is up at Battle.net.