Major esports often have the luxury of spending weeks to run their premier events. For less-established games like TF2, though, the scene often has to compress its biggest tournaments into the space of a weekend, which requires great consideration for the format of such events.
With Season 1 of the Overwatch League in the books and the expansion cities for Season 2 being announced, no time seems better than now to begin speculating on what Season 2 might look like.
There’s always some level of controversy over the whitelist, and over the past week or so the focus has been drawn to the favorite of Medics everywhere: Crusader’s Crossbow.
People have massively differing views on what its effect has been to the competitive meta, and without detailed stats it’s impossible to reliably quantify any stats, so the debate is subjective.
The ruleset announced for ESA Rewind make for a difficult schedule. I decided to take a look at how badly it messes things up.
First, for reference, the relevant part of the ESA Rewind ruleset that makes for difficult scheduling.
Ruleset: 45 minute timelimit, 5 round winlimit 5cp/4 round winlimit koth, two 120 second tactical pauses allowed per team per map
Each map thus needs to be allocated 45 minutes of time plus 8 minutes for tactical pauses (with both teams having 2 timeouts that last 2 minutes each), resulting in 53 minutes needing to be set aside per map. Thus, at bare minimum (and at risk of being unable to accommodate severe delays), single maps need to be given 1 hour each, and best-of-three series need to be given 3 hours each.
Three hours per series is difficult to schedule as it stands, but on top of things Rewind is a two-day tournament, which is very limited on time to begin with.
The recent ESEA Invite grand finals were historic in a way:
First time in @ESEA TF2 history that an upper bracket team has won the grand finals despite losing the first series.— tsc (@thesupremecmdr) August 19, 2016
This actually spawned a discussion on the upper bracket advantage immediately following the game, in which the power of the upper bracket advantage was questioned as being too significant to overcome.
Fast forward a bit, and we get to Insomnia58. The eventual champions of Crowns eSports Club got into a heated discussion with the admins about what they perceived to be a lack of an advantage going into the best-of-five grand finals. After some wrangling, Full Tilt generously agreed to give up their map ban in exchange for being allowed to pick the first and third maps of the series.
As should be apparent, there’s a lot of controversy on what an upper bracket advantage should look like. I’ve given this a bunch of thought even before this has come up now as it’s a very difficult problem to solve.