MLG 2012 Pro Circuit Season Details: Introducing Regional Qualifiers, Arena Tournaments, And Winter Championships


Posted January 19, 2012 - By Leah Jackson

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Gears of War 3 and League of Legends Tournaments Coming To MLG Raleigh August 26-28 -- Watch The Live Stream On G4TV.com

Major League Gaming have announced their 2012 Pro Circuit season structure and it's drastically different than what we saw from the eSports league last year. MLG was the premiere eSports league in 2011, garnering over 3.5 million stream viewers throughout tournament weekends, but this year the league has hit a turning point and they're doing things differently. The new structure for the ninth MLG season will be divided into four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The change from the 2011 to 2012 season is a great step forward for the company, and will bring more eSports coverage to fans while celebrating the hard work of competitive gamers.

"We’re finally at a place where we have an engaged community," said MLG Co-Founder and CEO Sundance DiGiovanni. "This allows for more regular competition, players getting a chance to do more, and brands getting supported more frequently. This is something we’d hoped to do sooner in our lifetime as a company. More competition means more regular events, and that's pretty cool."
As of right now the only game that has been confirmed for MLG 2012 is Blizzard Entertainment's real-time strategy game StarCraft 2, which was by far the most popular title at all of the MLG Pro Circuit events last year. However, DiGiovanni did mention the league is currently looking at first-person-shooters and fighting games for the Pro Circuit season this year and we'll have more details to follow that soon. For now, let's break down how the StarCraft 2 Winter Season is going to work.

The Winter Season will start out with an online regional qualifier tournament consisting of 138 players from three different regions. These games won't be streamed by MLG, but according to DiGiovanni, players and community commentators will be encouraged to stream their own games.

The regionals will take place on January 31 - February 2 in Europe, February 3-5 for Korea and Taiwan, and February 6-8 in North America. Don't worry if your region isn't included at the start, as DiGiovanni has confirmed that the second season could feature multiple arenas. MLG has a lot of opportunity to customize this format as they see fit for whatever arises in the future.

The regional qualifiers will be invite only, and what's interesting is MLG is basing their invites on players results as a whole last year, not just from MLG events. "We want to recognize [players] elsewhere. The goal this year is to elevate the players," said DiGiovanni. Therefore, MLG wants to recognize player's accomplishments within other tournaments like Dreamhack, NASL, IPL, and all of the other headlining tournaments from last year based on results.

This is the first time the eSports industry has done something like this, and it will allow MLG the chance to be able to feature the absolute best group of competitive gamers out there on one stage. "By having more meaningful matches there is more of an opportunity to create content," said DiGiovanni. On top of that, MLG is also currently talking to team managers and players on a case by case basis to determine whether or not they'll be invited to the qualifier.

The Top 8 players from each of the Winter Regional Online Qualifiers, as well as the Top 8 players from MLG Providence 2011 will then progress to a live-streamed Arena event in New York City on February 24-26 with a $26,000 prize pool on the line. MLG will be covering all of the expenses for these 16 players, including their travel and hotel costs. It can be a huge drain on teams to send their players off to events, so by covering player expenses it's a nice payday for the players and teams. "We want the top level players to be compensated for their time," said DiGiovanni. He continued by explaining that not only is this great for players, but it's also great for the community as it will allow the best of the best players to compete under one roof without the stress of getting there.

MLG 2012 Pro Circuit Season Details: Introducing Regional Qualifiers, Arena Tournaments, and Winter Championships

Aside from the competing in the Winter Regional Online Qualifiers for cash, players will also be competing for seeding points at the MLG Winter Championships which will take place March 23-25 in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus event will be like the Pro Circuit events from 2011 that fans could attend. It will be  a large-scale live streamed event with some of the best casters in the industry and will be open to the public. This is also where the MLG Open Bracket will take place and anyone will be able to compete for an (as of right now) undetermined amount of prize money. Considering MLG listens to the community my guess is that the prize pool will be quite substantial this year for the Winter Championships.

MLG doesn't want players to be able to coast on a win from a long time ago all the way through to the end of the season. This will ensure that players are always putting their best foot forward in order to give the fans the most exciting experiences possible.

“Our 2012 MLG Pro Circuit season is poised to be our most robust to date – with even more competition online and in person, more broadcasts and more of the world’s best players,” said Sundance DiGiovanni. “We listened to our community and players to update our Pro Circuit format and ensure that placement in tournaments was a direct result of player performance. Our new Pro Circuit structure is designed to further the world of e-sports and take competitive gaming to a new level.”


eSports Talkabout - Pro Gaming Roundup »

Now that we're all clear on what's going down regarding the Winter StarCraft 2 MLG Pro Circuit season, we're just going to have to wait to see what MLG has in store for the future of the circuit. DiGiovanni did mention that even though the first MLG Winter Championship would be in Columbus, it isn't the only place they're going to be holding the large-scale events this year. He didn't hint at where the others would take place, but if you're not an Ohio native this means that MLG could potentially be coming to a city near you.

DiGiovanni also hinted at other titles that may be making their way to the circuit. My guess is that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and League of Legends will be making their pro circuit returns, as will Halo, with either Reach or Combat Evolved Anniversary. Newcomers could potentially include Mortal Kombat, Dota 2, and Gears of War 3. As the details on the 2012 MLG season continue to trickle in we'll be sure to let you know all of the information.


In the meantime, if you want to help support MLG, the best thing you can do is purchase a MLG membership which are only available at GameStop locations nationwide. According to DiGiovanni, the best way you can support MLG is to buy a membership. The company is currently adjusting how they deal with memberships, but as of right now a MLG Memberships give you access to high quality streams, discount at the MLG store, preferred access at MLG events, and more.

And there you have it. What do you think about the changes that MLG have made to their event structure? Do you like the changes and believe that MLG needed a fresh start, or do you think that she should have stuck to what they were doing last year, as that seemed to work out pretty well for them? As for me I think that the new structure will be a bit stressful for players, especially if they don't get invited to the qualifiers, but it will be absolutely great for the community.

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MLG 2012 Pro Circuit Season Details: Introducing Regional Qualifiers, Arena Tournaments, And Winter Championships


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