By Tashi -
Hey everyone, Tashi here with some HCS updates. The Halo esports team is working closely with UGC to put the finishing touches on the upcoming event in St Louis, as well as prepping for Halo World Championship qualification in other regions. While the final details of the official handbook are on the way, I wanted to share some updates on items we know are important to you as you prepare for qualification.
Age Limit Updates
For some time now we have received questions regarding age limit for official HCS competition including the Halo World Championship. After working closely with our partners at ESL, as well as legal teams, I’m pleased to share the updated age limits, effective immediately:
- North America - 13 years of age
- Latin America - 18 years of age
- Australia - 15 years of age
- New Zealand - 13 years of age
- Europe - 16 years of age
Whether you’re continuing your competitive career or just beginning, we're excited to see all of the talent that comes out to compete in this world’s Halo World Championship.
North America Qualification Format Updates
In just a few weeks, the Halo World Championship Qualifier: St Louis kicks off, and excitement is starting to build as the roster shuffle is in full effect. After the Halo World Championship announcements at the NA HCS Pro League Finals, we received feedback from players about the qualification format for North America. In the original format, the Top 3 teams at the St. Louis qualifier would have gone directly to the Halo World Championship 2017 Finals, and as such would not be permitted to participate in the rest of the HaloWC qualification period. After further discussions both internally and with HCS players, it was clear that this format was too restrictive as it prevented winning teams from continuing to compete, and would’ve divided the top teams rather than brought them together for a final qualifier. To alleviate these issues, we’re updating the format in North America. At St. Louis, teams will no longer directly qualify for the HaloWC Finals, and will instead receive crucial HCS seeding points for the online events that follow, the qualifier in Las Vegas, and the Last Chance Qualifier at the end. For Las Vegas, the Top 6 teams (previously Top 3) will now be qualified directly to the Halo World Championship Finals, as that championship bracket will serve as the region’s main qualifier. To reiterate, while no direct spots will be awarded in St. Louis, there is $50,000 up for grabs along with the HCS points.
Map and Playlist Updates
We’ve also been keeping an eye on player feedback regarding maps and weapon placement, and will be implementing the following changes to the final HaloWC map & game type rotation. These updated map variants are now available in the ‘Official HCS’ File Share so that teams may scrim this weekend, and will be available in the Team Arena playlist on Tuesday, January 10 when Team Arena Winter Preview flips over to Team Arena, and the January-February 2017 in-game season begins.
On Truth, we’re removing the Battle Rifles that were placed under the bases in the most recent update. While this change intially attempted to improve “push-pull” flow between teams, further play and feedback determined that a single BR in the original location (the Top Mid entry to Pink 2) and an overall reduction in rifles will provide for optimal game flow.
On Plaza, we’ve moved the newly placed Plasma Grenades from Loop to their previous location to ensure a balanced start between teams.
On Eden, we’ve swapped the default Rocket Launcher for the SPNKr Rocket Launcher. This change improves the flow of Slayer matches while also bringing parity to the Rocket Launchers placed on both Strongholds and Slayer variants.
These updated map variants are once again available in the ‘Official HCS’ File Share.
Before I close, I also wanted to touch on feedback from the Australia & New Zealand region regarding the lack of a LAN qualifier. Bringing an official HCS LAN event to the Australia & New Zealand region, either open or otherwise, was a priority for us for HaloWC and is something we will continue to work on for future events. Unfortunately for HaloWC Qualification, logistics with tournament partners and the other global events taking place prevented us from putting on a live show down under. While we would have liked to pull off a qualification LAN, we are aware of and passionate about the immense talent in the region, and will continue to explore options for 2017 and later.
If you’re at St. Louis either to compete or watch, please say hi! I’m happy to chat and answer any questions that I can. Stay tuned for more HCS updates over the course of HaloWC qualifiers!