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BenTan

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  • Country: Bulgaria
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    BenTan

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  1. Regarding the Warcraft 3 scene, there are a few general problems. In the first place, there is a huge gap in player base skill levels, especially in the Western scene. There is one near-unbeatable player (Happy), and then there are a handful of people who can take a map or two out of him, while at the same time they rarely drop maps versus lower-tiered competitors (Foggy, HawK, Blade, for instance). This has caused problems in many events that get farmed by these players. For instance, the ESL Open Cups Europe, which are arguably the most recognizable 1-day solo tournaments in the scene, have seen very low participation numbers, and generally low viewership, even when B2W cast them. Participants there rarely go above 30, with some cups seeing fewer than 20 players check in. In ESL Open Cups Asia (practically Korea, Chinese players usually have problems signing up) it's even worse, because there the skill gap between the best few players and the next tier players is even larger. At the same time, number of participants, and I believe even viewership numbers, have been significantly higher with ESL Open Cups America - that, with the American community being by far the smallest. The same pattern has been observed with the 4Players (previously SCILL) cups. These cups are divided into different skill levels, having caps for skill (measured by Elo rating or by MMR), and the cups that have seen the highest participation numbers have always been the ones with the lowest skill cap, while the cups with the highest skill cap have always seen very low participation numbers. All in all, the problem of the large skill gap is significant, and it discourages both participation, and viewership since there is no drama or suspense. Thus, when organizing a tournament, it seems like it's best to have a specific target. However, attracting high-skill players may require higher prize money + may require you to work around their desired schedules. If your target is to have higher participation numbers and more unpredictability - then skill cap needs to be set. The second problem is related to timing. While this is not great from the point of view of scheduling streams (i.e. you may not be able to do the stream scheduling many days in advance), it is great for participation. Warcraft 3 is a game in which the player base is largely comprised of working adults with real-life commitments. Thus, adhering to a rigid schedule, or participating in competitive events after work, isn't ideal. Letting players decide on their own schedule has seen some great success in events organized for non-professional players (and again - there is just a handful of this tier players outside of Asia). Matches have also seen decent viewership, even if not streamed at long-prescheduled times. The third problem is related to personalities. This might play well if you decide to go with show matches for the long-run. The Warcraft 3 audience of casual viewers is generally not familiar with the personas behind the nicknames, and this has always been a huge miss. Adding a more personal touch to events would bring in more viewership I believe. The last problem I want to mention is related to the skill and understanding of the casters. Warcraft 3 is a complicated game. Not many people can claim that they understand it well enough to be able to analyze games properly even via replays, let alone live. This requires that any casters are significantly above average level players. I believe one of the major disadvantages of B2W, and why they haven't been able to grow their audience by as much as they potentially could, is that Neo's understanding of the game is rather poor. Yes, he can narrate what's going on, but most people can see the item that has just been picked up even without him mentioning it. The real fragment missing is the answer to the "then what" question. Having such a skilled caster would be especially important if you decide to go with show matches. Otherwise, the value of the content will diminish as the audience will not be able to properly appreciate the high level of skill of the players participating in these matches. Just my 2 cents.
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