Season 3 of the ESV Korean Weekly has begun and I have ESV.Diamond here to give us an inside look into what to expect in the coming weeks.
You had big, BIG names in previous ESV Korean Weeklys. Code S level players such as: Leenock, Oz, Fin, Huk the list goes on
Season 3 has begun. Already we have names such as GanZi, Stc, Jinro and Gumiho.
Are the big names key to the Korean Weekly, or do you feel that it’s a tournament for rising stars as seen with players such as Taeja?
Hello! First off thank you for your time today! It’s easy to say we have had big names in the weekly before, but most of them — HuK aside — were in the weekly before they were big stars. Leenock was playing before his great MLG and GSL runs, Fin’s first SC2 tournament was the Korean Weekly, etc. I think the Korean Weekly helps players get lined up to the path of success.
Even if you look at at the NA scene and players like HuK, they all basically started in an event I ran in the beta called “ITL”. I think my events since beta have created a breeding ground for success, and having players both up and coming and already established is important as well as unique formats. When you are new to tournaments, knowing that you could be playing Code Z Scrub #3 in one round, and then a GSL Champion the next, creates a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for players, and helps them get over it. When you go to events like MLG or IPL you are going to be playing in similar scenarios, so having a tournament that does all that for you every single week is great experience for players of all levels.
There are changes this season. 8 weeks of games with $200 a week prize pools culminating in a massive $3500 Grand Prix.
This is a great move for the Korean Weekly. Did you make the decision for a longer season for a greater viewer experience?
The longer season was something that was supposed to roll around in Season 2. However Season 2 was a bit of a test for the new Grand Prix format (and was a success), so I wanted to get it rolling as fast as possible, thus the “half-season” that was Season 2.
As far as making it a better viewing experience? I think this is a much more complete solution and will have more time to find those up and coming players like Taeja. Keeping qualifiers on only four weeks is very restricting, whereas eight weeks should be better for all.
Another change you have made is to include longer matches. With BO3s for every game until the semi finals we are going to see so much more content. I personally wanted to see the Gumiho vs Huk BO3 rather than a BO1 from Week 1 Season 2.
What made you move towards more matches, was it just more content for the fans?
Frankly put, I do not see BO1s as an indicator of skill, ever.
However, when first coming up with the Korean Weekly, I looked at the TL Open system and what they did (as those were AWESOME tournaments) and took some of the rules straight from them. That was one of the rules. Knowing that these tournaments were going to be lengthy and hard to run, I decdided that the TL Open system was a perfect fit (bo1 until Round of 32).
This was a good decision at the time, as the concept of Weekly tournaments was still new in Korea, so Korean Weekly tournament normally took about 8-10 to run which is a long time for a small 32/64 man bracket. As the players became more used to the system, the tournaments now normally only take 3-6 hours to run, and the actual “flow” is much better. So for this season, things were running good enough that we could add on the extra few games.
Accordingly, I think the quality of games will be better, and if someone goes out Round 1, they actually lost a whole series, not just dropped one game. If you look at the most dominant player in the history of the Korean Weekly, Liquid`Taeja, he tended to either make Top 4, or lose in the Bo1 rounds. That’s too high a variance for me personally and now that the logistics work, this was a no brainer.
The action has already started featuring some massive names already! We’ve seen GanZi, TheStc and Symbol rocking the week.
Who will we be seeing featured in the next few weeks of play?
I can confirm CoCa is back in the Weekly!
I am very happy about that. Expect to see over the course of the season most of the Korean pro scene.
One thing I like to point out is this tournament system is designed to appeal to all but the Top 3% of the Korean scene. It is well known that the GSL prize pool is prize heavy, and aside for the Korean Weekly there is really no other individual leagues in Korea to help spread the wealth and fame around. The guys like MC, MvP, NesTea, MMA, etc (Top 3%) have little to gain from joining this tournament. They are getting invited to EVERY foreign tournament, winning massive prize pools, and have little need for the extra cash or fame. Almost every single other player in Korea needs that extra help.
There are players like SlayerS.Crank, who may be the hottest up and coming Protoss in Korea; he has 400 followers on Twitter, does not get foreign tournament invites, and likely makes little to no salary or travel. Guys like that need the new fans and some actual cash in their pockets.
While this tournament was created with the concept of more of a focus on injecting cash into the Korean scene, ESV TV and the Korean Weekly have become the go-to spot to get a looking glass into the future of Korean players and have become very popular. Players that started and were raised in the Korean Weekly system are going on to great things like Taeja now being signed to Liquid.
So we are going to work more this season on promoting players.
One thing we have been doing already is a new thing we call “ESV Player Spotlight” (original name, I know…), where we get random replays from less known players and cast them with the intention of featuring them on our YouTube. Obviously, this only helps everyone, so we have nothing to lose and it’s great to give back to the player base that helped us get this popular.
There have already been some amazing games between players such as Top and Jinro standing out in my mind and big name matches such as GanZi vs Gumiho in the semis!
It’s so great seeing so many high quality matches one after another, cast after cast.
It’s one of the defining features of the Korean Weekly, do you feel that the amount of content you can deliver really sets you apart from competitors?
I feel it’s a combination of a lot of things. Lots of content is always good, but I can put up 1000 games a day of Bronze players playing, and no one will care because it’s not quality content.
The biggest selling point is obviously the insane quality of games. Most tournaments (even major lans) have one or two of what I call “dead rounds” where you have lots of pros beating up on inferior players and just are terrible games (or worse, two inferior players playing). Just taking a very quick glance at the Week 2 brackets for Round 1, I see Rain vs. CoCa, Sage vs Life, San vs. asd, and Ryung vs. TOP as highlight matches. What other individual league have opening round games that are that good of games? The answer is there is none. I know when I watch most bracket based tournaments, I tune in about an hour after it starts to avoid the dead rounds, with the Korean Weekly, you can tune in any round at any time and see top level players battling it out.
Other selling points are things like good casting, great graphics, the best map pool in Starcraft II, and more. It’s really a complete package for online tournaments.
With a big movement towards subscriptions in the StarCraft 2 scene, the Korean Weekly has its own subscription that provides months of content for a small price.
What can viewers expect for the subscription?
Quite a bit. What everyone is very interested in is the replays access. You get ALL the replays from the entire tournament on a weekly basis. That is worth the $20 for 3 months alone.
The rest of the stuff is here: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=327503
Thank you for your time, and thank you to our new sponsor, Tt eSPORTS! I am so happy to have them sponsoring this tournament.