9 things ESWC has to change
ESWC - 365 days time to change
This article represents only the author's opinions, not necessarily those of Team Acer.
ESWC was THE tournament back in the day, alongside WCG. Everybody wanted to win it, to say that they truly won a world championship. In today's eSports world there are a lot of tournaments calling themselves a world championship, but sadly the Electronic Sports World Cup is not one that deserves the title. Since 2008, when they didn't pay out their prize money, the tournament has gotten worse every year. I do see some potential in the ESWC, even though its image has been tarnished by the problems experienced by competitors and spectators in the last few years. Here are 9 things they definitely have to change:
1. Keep promises
"Soon." It is like the little child answering his mother when she wants him to wash the dishes or put his socks away from the living room floor. You can compare this "soon" to the most common phrase from the administrators: "For sure." Everybody who received this answer directly had to facepalm after day one at ESWC - not just the players, but also the press.
Just to list a simple example: A good journalist will check everything before the tournament via e-mail to make sure he has proof if something goes wrong or he doesn't get his press pass. One colleague of me wanted to be on the very safe side, so before the event he checked if he needed to bring an RJ45 network cable to access the internet. He was told that there would be cables in the press area for sure. Of course, you can guess the end of the story - there were no cables to be found, and he had to work on Wi-Fi, which was more offline than online. Of course, promising a cable is just a small thing, but making a journalist mad is probably not the best thing to do if you want positive publicity about your event afterwards.
2. Treat the players well
If players complain about being treated badly in an interview, it's never a good time. When I talked to TargA at the ESWC, not even asking him to make the comparison, he just told me that ESWC is far away from events like DreamHack or other big tournaments around the world. 'They really treat the players badly' is a sentence no organization wants to hear or read - at this year's ESWC nearly every player said it.
But why? It all started with the toilet story of mousesports' CS:GO team. Their team captain Troubley wanted to go to the toilet after their game, but he was not allowed to leave the player's area, as an admin told him they needed to keep to their schedule (check #8 later). Okay, due to the the amount of people waiting at the toilets it would have taken him 10 minutes to be back, but still - Are you serious, ESWC? To not allow a player to go to the toilet is probably the dumbest thing you can do. We are all just human, and no one should be deprived of this basic human right.
On a note: Team Alternate's female CS:GO team was allowed to go to the toilet the next day. mousesports' approx noticed this and asked the admins why women are allowed to go and men aren't - they didn't give him an answer.
3. Cooperate with the eSports press
Everywhere in life people and organizations invite the press to their events to get PR and get exposure via every important platform. Next to the players, who make your tournament watchable, the press is the second important thing on your 'Who do I have to be friendly to-list'. Being friendly means you allow the press to enter the players area and don't say: 'Sorry, there are only real press like French TV in there.' With this sentence the guy who was responsible for the press area lost everything. There should never be a division into eSports press and 'normal' press, because first of all eSports press is normal and secondly we do have the knowledge, not the random French TV channel.
If the press is not allowed to go into the players area, they won't be able to talk to the players much, watch the games and write analyses of them - they will miss a lot of content, which is not good for the organizations they work for and not good for ESWC itself. After all, the more articles and related content there is about the tournament, the more people online will talk about it. Has anyone seen more than 10 Reddit posts about the ESWC? MLG had about 10 times more in one day.
Just remember: The event will be brought home by the eSports press (next to the streams), not by anyone else. Notice how much you really need the press.
4. Draw the groups, don't 'make them'
Even though this world championship is hosted in France every time and people want to see Stephano & Co getting the trophy in the end: Don't cheat on the groups or brackets, don't change them to make it easier for the French players to go through - everyone will notice.
The solution for this point is easy: Draw the groups in public, maybe on stream, not in the last corner of the admin place where no one sees anything. A bracket drawing can be exciting - use this possibility.
5. Don't just give seats to PGW (Paris Games Week) visitors
The ESWC player and press area was about 15 * 80 metres - this is way too small. Of course the mainstage and the number of seats in front of it was huge, but you thought 'let's make a huge screen and get the PGW visitor's attention on this way' - wrong way to do it.
At least 50 % of the crowd was sitting there, because they really needed a place to sit. You could see parents with their 6 year old children sitting in the last row, because there was nothing to sit on in the whole area, except the restaurants and in front of the ESWC main stage. A world cup should not take place in between an unknown number of Microsoft Xbox booths. It deserved its own space. Get your own hall or make sure to have a clear division between PGW and ESWC. A world championship should not be a place for families to relax - it should be something big for the fans and players.
6. Get a chillout area
TwitchTV has shown how amazing players lounges can be – create one! The players lounge or an area in general where the players can calm down, get free drinks and maybe fruit is something every player will have in his head for the upcoming years. All the players appreciate chillout zones to just have a timeout from their fans and the games itself. Some of them might want to practise a bit, so make sure to have about 10 PCs in there – since players were not allowed to go in the players area at ESWC this year before their games this would be a good solution.7. Don't change the schedule however you want, work as a team
Not just the players, but also the media needs to know the exact schedule. At nearly every event there is some delay, from a few minutes up to a few hours, but this is something people got used to – being on time is sometimes not possible, because every game has its individual length.
At ESWC there was a different problem with the schedule. Of course the matches happened mostly on time (if players don't go to the toilet it's probably pretty easy), but just moving games to any time you want to have something happening on the mainstage is not the best for the players. Stephano, for example, had already had everything set-up in the player's area for more than 30 minutes until the admins told him to pack his stuff and go to the main stage. That was about 15:00, while his stage match against SortOf was planned for 18:00 – in the end they played at 16:30.
8. Cast in English
ESWC wants to be a real world championship - and it once was one. Why is it only cast in French? If you want to be international and not limit yourself to French viewers and visitors, then casting in English is the way to go. Even the players (and they don't see much of it) complain about this fact, because their fanbase complains about it. IronSquid has shown that you can have a quintessentially French tournament and still provide excellent English commentary. IronSquid get recognized around the world, even though it just has a small offline final compared to ESWC.
On another note: dailymotion is probably not the best platform to host your streams. A lot of people complained about it - why don't you just use one of the big and known hosts like own3d.tv or twitch.tv? Probably the quality would improve just by changing the host.
9. Change your name
ESWC is actually not worthy of calling itself a world championship. For me, it was more or less a small disorganized French LAN event. If you want to stop people laughing about you calling yourself a world championship, change your name or improve a lot.