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HCS London 4v4 Format

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AUGUST 5 UPDATE

Last week, we launched the HCS London Event Hub page and detailed the format and eligibility for the 4v4 tournament. Following the announcement, we received a few more questions and feedback about eligibility and format, and I wanted to clarify as best as I can.

Before we jump into that, I’d like to go back and touch on some of the things I talked about in last week’s post. Philosophically, we don’t envision the future of HCS to be completely region locked like it has been for some tournaments. We know that open international play is important for the competitive landscape, and we’re excited to see the EU and NA rivalry reach new heights as well as see where the ANZ and LATAM regions stack up. For some events however, there are unique circumstances where we feel it’s important to make certain format and eligibility decisions. For HCS London, we felt it was important for the EU community to have an event they can call their own. It’s also an important qualification event for DreamHack Denver (specific format details for Denver are still to come) much like the Halo World Championship qualifiers. Combined with the direct feedback we received from the top EU players at DreamHack Atlanta and via a player survey, we felt this was the best route for this tournament. To the NA players who are looking for some international competition, we hope you’ll join us in Denver for what’s sure to be an amazing tournament.  

In the last week, we received questions from folks in the Middle East and Africa about whether they would be eligible to compete. The answer is yes. Just like the HaloWC Qualifier in February, HCS London is open only to players residing in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa). This also remains true in terms of team composition. A team can be comprised only of players from the EMEA region, and not a 3/4’s split with players from NA/ANZ/LATAM. These eligibility rules also apply to the FFA tournament.

HCS London is more than half way sold out, and from what I hear this is shaping up to be the biggest EU Halo event in quite a few years. One final effort is all that remains.

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Hey everyone, Tashi here with an update and details on the 4v4 format for HCS London.

When we announced HCS London, Pro League and Open Circuit players from North America took notice and asked if they’d be able to compete in the event. Since then, we’ve had lengthy discussions here at 343 and with Gfinity to determine if that was the right thing to do for this particular tournament, and what that format would look like if we did. We also spoke to European players this past weekend in Atlanta, and sent out a survey to European pros to get additional thoughts.

After weeks of deliberation and data collecting, HCS London will be region locked to European teams only. Here’s why:

  • Today, North American players are the dominant region in the world. European players expressed concerns with sacrificing prizing to North American teams for this tournament.
  • HCS London is a qualifying event for DreamHack Denver, and we heard feedback from players who expressed concerns about how adding teams from outside regions would take away potential spots in HCS London for European teams looking to qualify.
  • Going into Fall season in Europe we said that one of our key goals was to, “Add a premium open LAN for the European community to call their own and rally behind”. HCS London is that event.

We absolutely value and understand that international play is crucial for regions outside of North America to strengthen. Last weekend in Atlanta, we saw teams and players from Europe, Australia, and Mexico travel to test their might against North America’s finest. The Fall Finals 2017 at DreamHack Denver will be another battleground for open international play. Strengthening the international scene as a whole is a goal of ours for Halo esports, and is something we’re looking to support more in the future. This includes North American teams playing in other regions.

With eligibility sorted, I want to talk about the format for HCS London. With the uniting of Pro League and Open Circuit leagues, we think this is an important time to also reunite the community and level the playing field. For HCS London, all 32 teams will be playing in one open bracket, rather than a having a select few starting in a championship bracket. There a few reasons we thought this was the best route for this tournament:

  • Only the Top 3 teams from HCS London will earn a trip to DreamHack Denver, and we felt it was important that all teams started from the same position considering the format overhaul between seasons. This is also feedback we received during Halo World Championship 2017 qualification. Note: Teams will still be seeded by HCS points earned in online cups prior to the event. HCS London will also award points that will help seed the LCQ where the 4th team qualifying for DreamHack Denver will be determined.
  • While online cups are a great place for teams to get points, practice, and earn some cash, we felt the stakes for HCS London were so great that online cups should not heavily impact the event's format.

I also wanted to touch on the bracket locking at 32 teams total. While some might feel that this is limiting the potential of the tournament, it’s important to set clear goals and benchmarks for tournament growth over time. The HaloWC Qualifier: London tournament featured fewer than 32 teams, and reaching this goal would be a success. Should passes sell out quickly with great demand, we will then discuss potential options to increase the cap size with Gfinity. As such, I would recommend securing your team pass right away. Lastly, setting a cap from the start enables us to put a schedule in place and share it with the players and community ahead of time. This also allows us to ensure a great experience for competitors, spectators, and viewers at home. If there’s no cap in place, the schedule can be in flux for a longer period of time, which ultimately leads to late communication and last-minute changes to accommodate team count.

With that said, I’m expecting a full 32-team bracket for HCS London and believe the community will come out to support just as they did in Atlanta last weekend. I can’t wait to see everyone there!

Thanks,

Tashi

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