In a hotly debated, widely contested discussion on whether or not Blizzard should ‘region lock’ their World Championship Series in competitive StarCraft II, a highly anticipated – but ultimately unexpected – announcement was released today.
As WCS 2014 is nearing conclusion, it was revealed today that WCS 2015 will have a strict residency requirement. Players will be required to be legal residents of the region they are competing in.
The full announcement was as follows:
WCS 2014 has been one of our most exciting competitions yet! As we near the finale of Season 3 on the road to the StarCraft II Global Finals, we’d like to share a few details covering major changes for WCS 2015 that will affect the players and the WCS competition. We will share more information about 2015 as soon as possible. But we wanted to share the following changes immediately so players can start planning for next year.
For WCS 2015 we will be resetting all points, Challenger, and Premier slots. All players will be required to participate in their respective regional qualifiers to be a part of WCS 2015 Season 1.
Redistribution of the Ladder Wildcard Qualifier Slots
With the success of the regional qualifier system, we have decided to remove the 2014 Ladder Wildcard slots for WCS America and WCS Europe. The regional slot distribution will be released at a later date. All players in each league must adhere to the residency requirements.
Starting in 2015, all WCS players must be legal residents of the region they choose to play in. This means that players must obtain necessary visas if they decide to reside and play in non-native regions.
We are continuing to shape our WCS 2015 plans so stay tuned for additional news. We will be sharing a comprehensive WCS 2015 announcement later this year.
As exciting an opportunity as this may afford many players, it also invariably has detractors and will create difficulties for others. Blizzard no doubt has further revisions to the WCS format planned for next year, but it is unlikely that additional details will be provided until the Global Finals at BlizzCon in November.
What are your thoughts on this change? Is it a positive, creating benefits back to North American and European players? Is it fair to the South Koreans living in those regions and on contracts with foreign teams? What will this mean for the Asia-Pacific countries, who are currently lumped in with the NA region? Give us your thoughts in the comments.