In a blog released earlier today, Kelby May, the Counter Logic Gaming General Manager, stated that the region locking issue that was a sore spot for many StarCraft fans in the 2013 World Championship Series may continue to be an issue in 2014. May wrote:
"Well, at Blizzcon I had the pleasure of talking to a friend of mine (who will remain unnamed), who works on the Blizzard eSports team. I was excited to hear their plans for the following year of WCS, as I was sure that the declining viewership ratings and constant complaints from the pro and fan community would inspire Blizzard to make some slight, yet incredibly significant changes to their format and see StarCraft revived."
"What I got from the conversation was it seems that there will be no changes to region locking coming in 2014, and that Blizzard feels that they know what the fans want better than the fans do. Now, I simply disagree with these opinions, and while these views do not necessarily reflect the view of Blizzard eSports as a whole, if they do echo the rhetoric currently being pushed by Blizzard internally, it saddens me greatly."
While there are three regions of competition for the WCS, a lack of region locking lead Korean players to play in the North American and European regions for easier competition. Many top players in North America and Europe retired this year after waning opportunities made it less viable for them to dedicate themselves to careers as progamers.
onGamers reached out to Blizzard for a comment, and we will update this post when they respond.
Editor's Update: Blizzard responded to our request for comment by noting, "We haven't finalized plans on WCS 2014 but hope to have details announced soon."
Editor's Update: Below is a portion from Kim Phan's segment of the StarCraft II Update Panel at BlizzCon that may be relevant to the topic at hand. It was transcribed from a video that we don't own.
"So to give you a little bit of a hint in what we're going to, or what we'd like to do, for next year is we're going to designate a significant portion of our WCS qualifier spots to people who live in a certain region. Which means those dedicated regions will always have a guaranteed spot into WCS. What I mean by realistic is that they still have to prove their skill, they still have to perform well, and their skill level will get tested every step of the way in order for them to advance further along into the system. I know you guys want to hear more, and I really, really can't wait to share some of those details, but they'll be coming soon."
Editor's Update: Kelby may just updated his original blog with the following:
Amendment: I’d like to point out that I’ve since followed up with Blizzard on this topic and it seems there was some misconstrued information which came from our conversation. In regards to region locking specifically it would be best to reference Kim’s comments during the WCS panel at Blizzcon until an official announcement is made.
Photo Credit: battle.net