StarCraft’s WCS moves to Europe

Blizzard’s premiere StarCraft 2 tournament, the World Championship Series (WCS), has hit a snag yet again

Photo by Deiby/Flickr

Blizzard’s premiere StarCraft 2 tournament, the World Championship Series (WCS), has hit a snag yet again. The producer of the North American section of their tournament, the North American StarLeague, is backing out of their role, according to an announcement posted late Friday.

If the news seems all too familiar, it is. Last year, Major League Gaming did the exact same thing. And several months later, MLG dropped StarCraft 2 from their championship event altogether.

The North American StarLeague stepped up in MLG’s absence to run the majority of the tournament, with some help from Blizzard. In NASL’s statement at the time, the group said that “when the opportunity arose to become the official partner for [WCS North America], we were elated.” The community welcomed the NASL with open arms, and by all rights the rest of the year was a success for the scene.

But now, it looks like NASL’s involvement with StarCraft 2 is over. The reasons provided are vague: “Fate has scouted our fast expand, and our time broadcasting StarCraft has come to an end,” NASL’s statement says, using a bit of in-game terminology.

Blizzard’s response was to immediately find a replacement. It handed over the season to the Cologne, Germany-based Electronic Sports League (ESL).

The ESL, producer for the European side of the tournament, have a lot more stability, and have had no problems running WCS Europe, along with Riot Games’ League of Legends tournament, the League Championship Series.

The strangest twist is that for now, it looks like the plan will be for the players to go to ESL, instead of the other way around. “The WCS America Round of 16 will be… played live at the ESL studio in Cologne,” Blizzard confirmed, “[We’ve] already begun working with players to assist with the new travel requirements to Germany.”

The American tournament will likely return to home soil at some point, but Blizzard gave no specifics in its announcement.