Community Backlash Over HCS Open LANs
The details for the North American HCS Pro League have finally been released! You can read about it here at the official HCS website. One potentially exciting announcement is the reveal that this season will finally be featuring open LAN events that anyone can attend, something that the community has been begging for since the end of the Halo World Championship.
In addition to the online open circuit, there will be two open LAN events. The first, taking place at the Esports Arena in Santa Ana, California on Oct. 7-9, is HCS Orange County. Here the HCS Pro League teams will be seeded in the championship bracket and the amateur scene has the opportunity to play through the tournament to face off against them. One month later, on Nov. 18-20, amateur teams will again get this opportunity at HCS Las Vegas, hosted by PGL. Both LANs will also feature FFA tournaments for both amateur and pro players.
While this has been something that the community has looked forward to for a long time, there is one noticeable concern: both events are on the west coast.
Fans of the scene have pointed out that historically east coast and midwest tournaments have always had the highest turnouts. There’s a reason that in the past, organizers such as MLG predominantly kept events on the eastern side of the country. The justification for their location is clear, ESL’s North American division is headquartered in Los Angeles, this is the most convenient situation for them.
But the truth is, this is rather problematic for the greater scene. This isolates a very large population of the competitive Halo community. Flights are expensive and teams are much more willing to drive four eight hours than fly to the other side of the country.
A more optimal solution would have been having one event on the east coast and one event on the west. This gives teams that can’t afford to fly on both sides of the country the opportunity to still earn open circuit points and qualify for the open circuit finals.
Unfortunately it seems like the ship has sailed here. Events take months to plan and this season has already been set in stone. Hopefully in the future ESL takes this sort of thing into consideration and makes the HCS more accessible to everyone.
What do you think about these open LAN events? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @GAMURScom.
Patrick Cowley can be contacted on Twitter, @PtrckCowley.