On the eve of the return of the Proleague, I have to ask a question: Why on earth haven’t GOM decided to cut down on the individual leagues and created a proper StarCraft II team league?
Almost all Code S finals are one sided snoozefests punctuated by the occasional funny Tastosis moment, but GSTLs are recieved with huge fanfare, hype and tesnsion filled matches that can give easy player storylines (Prime in GSTL1 playoffs, CreatorPrime bursting into tears, DongRaeGu being Bisu of SC2, etc). In Broodwar there is less emphasis on the individual leagues – MSL and OSL running 3-4 per year, generally one every ~3 months. Of course, since OGN and MBC (well, until recently with MBC…) both run starleagues, there’s two chances for players to compete in individual leagues. This is ok for SCBW, because the Korean market is much, much more developed and mature and the infrastructure is set in place to allow two individual leagues.
Without teamleagues, teams are pretty much nothing more than a bunch of players training together. The lower ranked, unknown players never have a chance to be recognised as skilled players, and it gives people stuff to discuss, fantasy-play, and create content around. Maybe I’m just delusional, but here’s what I could imagine:
Let’s imagine if GOM changed to this:
- 4 Code S seasons every year, each lasting about the same amount of time current seasons take. Broadcast the top 32, get rid of Code A and just have OSL/MSL style Survivor tournaments.
- A ~9 month long team league, 2 or 3 times a week while Code S is on, and perhaps more days while no Code S. I’d prefer all proleague (WC3L style) rather than winners league (NGL style), but fans seem to love WL.
- Basically, copying the SCBW format.
GOM can better use the money they throw into the individual leagues (read: ~50% of the prize money being awarded going to 2 players) by creating a proper team league. It will attract more views, more content, cost less, give money to teams that can prove they deserve it, allow more unknown players the chance to shine in the public eye, and it will give the Code S seasons some prestige that I think it needs.