The World Electronic Sports Games is an annual esports event organised by Alisports of China. The event is unique in the esports calendar year in more ways than one. As we see a stronger push towards esports in China, the WESG attains more significance with each passing year. The Chinese government supports esports and has actually ensured the establishment of infrastructure for the future of esports in the country.
However, the WESG event has always had its fair share of controversies. For Western teams, they have had problems with the format, the distribution of prize pools, accommodation amongst other things. WESG uses a different format than that of most of the other esports events. It has a basic rule which is to have teams with players from the same nationality. It creates a ‘World Cup’ Style event allowing fans to cheer for the players from their country. There are almost no other Tournaments organisers using this approach to the game. We usually see established teams competing against each other in tournaments. There are many International teams in existence today and successfully at that.
The differentiating factor is the focus on national teams and players for WESG. Each team has players from the same country and that allows these ‘national teams’ to play against each other. Following the Olympic standard, WESG ensures that fans from one country support their local scene and players. It has a broad reach and we would not have seen teams like Viva Algeria on such a big stage without WESG.
World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) was established in 2016 as an international esports tournament by Alisports. WESG currently possess the highest prize pool of any third-party tournament. The competition differs greatly from that of other commercial tournaments by following the Olympic standard, emphasizing on national pride, and encouraging fans to partake in the competition.
As per their website, WESG also has the highest prize pool of any third-party event organiser. The WESG 2018 has a prize pool of $890,000 with the first place team receiving a total of $500,000. This prize pool is one of the biggest reasons for the top teams attending this tournament.
The events also allow currently established teams to participate in the tournament. However, the condition of same nationality players remains and it narrows the number of teams that can participate. WESG 2018 sees established teams such as G2, Mibr, Fnatic, Valiance and many others. In fact, the top four teams at WESG 2018 are all pre-established teams.
The WESG Format
Apart from the same nationality clause, they also use a different format for the tournament. The Group stage originally had 32 teams in participation. These teams were divided into eight groups of four teams each. However, just before the start of the tournament, five teams dropped out of the event. NIP, ENCE, k23, Isurus Gaming and MVP.Pk decided to pull out of the tournament.
Each of the eight groups had four teams on paper. The round-robin format from each group saw two teams move to the playoffs. The matches in the Group stage were BO2 matches which would allow for a clear ruleset in the event of a tie for the second place. The Playoffs were a single elimination Best of Three series. The tournament format is different and there are advantages as well as disadvantages to the format. With proper seeding of teams, this format was really strong. However, WESG did not have a great seeding for their 2018 event. Certain groups saw exceptionally strong teams put together while other groups were very weak in comparison. It would create one-sided match-ups in the playoffs and not allow for fair competition between the best teams.
Drawing from physical sports, will this unique format succeed?
The inspiration for the tournament format comes from the Olympics in regular sports. The WESG events have already carved out a space for themselves in the packed calendar year. They include multiple game titles such as Dota 2, CS: GO amongst others.
The probability of their success depends heavily on the organisation of their events. Over the past few years, we have seen multiple problems with WESG tournaments. There are always professional players tweeting about the poor quality of accommodation and the lack of good PCs at the event.
The huge prize pool is surely one of the biggest draws for teams attending the event. However, it is also a case of national pride as players get to represent their home country. In CS: GO, different nations have different histories. However, there is always an opportunity for new teams and talent from lesser known countries to leave a mark.
Each year, we see more and more well-known teams attend the WESG tournaments. The case for national pride coupled with the huge prize pool is a huge incentive for most of the teams. However, WESG still needs to fix the various problems in their events. If these problems persist in the upcoming years, we might not see top tier teams attend the event. This would lead to fewer eyeballs and less income from the event. The events would not be sustainable for Alisports and would die a gradual death. Considering the huge prize pool, fixing the various problems with the event should not be a big problem for the organisers. However, they lack the experience of organizing events on such a large scale and that is the reason why we see so many issues.
Esports does not need the Olympics, it can create its own version
The essence of the Olympics is to create harmony between countries using sports as a common factor. The new generation needs the Olympics in more ways than one. The single uniting factor of the Olympics and the innocent joy it brings to citizens of a country has seen countless stories of inspiration across the years.
However, with time, the interest of the average citizen is shifting from regular sports to video games and esports. In the last year, Olympics has expressed hesitation to include ‘violent video games’ into the Olympic fold. This decision is a very unfortunate one which contradicts some of the existing sports in the Olympics at present. However, what is their loss could be our gain. It would be a wonderful opportunity for esports to start its own Olympics [ although it cannot use the same name]. WESG is an attempt to do the same and it already includes a wide variety of games. The following games are a part of WESG at present.
- Counter-Strike Global Offensive
- Dota 2
- Starcraft 2
The tournament also includes competition for female professionals in Counterstrike and Hearthstone. In the future, we hope Alisports can fix the various obstacles that seem to accompany WESG year after year. If the do manage to do that, it will be an opportunity for Alisports to establish themselves in esports and carve a place for themselves using WESG events. Do you think national teams and the format for WESG is a recipe for success? Would you like to see your national team in the tournaments? Let us know in comments below.