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We're doing some preliminary planning for an SE organized uber pro-level online tournament and would like feedback, suggestions, criticisms...

  • The game is either StarCraft 2, Battlefield 3 or League of Legends (good reasons for one or the other?)
  • Up to 64 teams may enter (unless there's way more entries than we anticipate)- part of the bracket will be dedicated for teams led by you, and the rest will be for invited pro teams
  • SE would feature two livestreams, the leaderboard/results bracket, and other stuff on a tournament page
  • Prize dough to the top finishers
  • You invite pro gamers you worship and SE will invite top gamers/teams as well.
  • Tournament may last something like a week with match timing and all organized by SE and public on the tournament page
  • Separate prize pools for SE users

The point of this tournament is not to necessarily recruit new users to the site, but to market the Gaming.SE site to new and influential people that otherwise would not see or hear about the site.

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    League of Legends is free, that's a big pro for it – juan Feb 8 '12 at 18:59
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    To be realistic about this, the cash prize to top finishers means cash prize to the pros that get invited. You might be better off sponsoring an existing big event that pros go to, and putting up some money to get some SEers here to go. – Ian Pugsley Feb 8 '12 at 19:21
  • Good point. Should probably have separate prize pools for users and pros. – Seth Rogers Feb 8 '12 at 19:23
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Why are you doing this? It seems like an expensive thing to do for publicity, and it probably wont draw people to the actual site, the competition yes, but most people probably wont end up joining the site afterwards.

On top of this we already have a gaming event we do weekly here, we think it's quite successful and we do it on a 0 budget. We even record most of it and put it on our YouTube channel. And that could do with some publicising.

Now I do think this is a good idea, but it doesn't seem like the most efficient one, especially as we are already doing similar things as it is.

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    +1 for pushing what "we" (not me actually) already do – juan Feb 8 '12 at 19:10
  • not to mention, if I want to see pro level steamed games there's already plenty out there for me to get my hands on. – l I Feb 8 '12 at 19:11
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    Actually investing (time or money) in our existing efforts would probably have a higher ROI – Ivo Flipse Feb 8 '12 at 19:13
  • See the update on the post. It should absolutely be integrated into the existing gaming events, perhaps as a type of championship. – Seth Rogers Feb 8 '12 at 19:19
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    I would hardly call Game On! a "success", and it does next-to-nothing as far as promoting the site. Community-building, perhaps, but not growing. – Nick T Feb 8 '12 at 20:05
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    The community gaming events are really great and should definitely be featured more. However, I don't quite understand what the hesitation is with inviting pro gamers to a larger and publicized gaming event? – Seth Rogers Feb 8 '12 at 20:08
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    @SethRogers The only thing I'm worried about is just how hard "our teams" would get obliterated :P – badp Feb 8 '12 at 20:36
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    @NickT If we were to even put half the money we'd need to 'attract pros' then we'd probably end up with something better than people coming and taking our prize money. – Ronan Feb 8 '12 at 21:20
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Rather than aiming for the true pros, maybe we should aim for a more "pro-am" level, since those users are more likely to mesh with this site in general. Maybe we could do something in conjunction with the After Hours Gaming League? They normally play for charity prizes, so maybe we could sponsor some matches between Gaming users and AHGL players with prizes going to charities? We could then split some of the marketing burden with them as well. Not sure exactly how it would work, I just think it might be a better match than the actual pro-circuits. If it helps, I work for the company that has the champion Starcraft 2 team in the league (I am not part of the team though).

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Echoing Ronan, a tournament wouldn't harm the site by any means, but I think one by us, unless spectacularly large from either a player point of view (a la GeForce SC2 Pro/Am), prize pool, or big names (like a big pool, requires big money), would get totally lost in the noise.

I've long felt that this site is ill-suited for the extremely top-tier players of many competitive games. Such games, like SC2 or LoL, have a metagame that becomes increasingly important (almost dominant) at high levels that constantly changes, so questions dealing with it would be extremely localized in time. Discussions (not Q/A) are better suited in those cases.

However, that's where only 1% of the players are, and we are perfect for the 99%. I believe our focus is more breadth, not depth, and focusing heavily on top-tier play in specific games via a tournament seems counter to that. The plebeian Skyrim/MW3 and SWTOR promotions have seemed tremendously effective, finding ways to augment that seems more efficient.

As Oak suggests, viewers will mostly be ordinary gamers (the 99%), and interested in other games (like me watching SC2 tournaments), but these people will be playing on established games (fewer questions to be asked, most being the localized ones I mention), and their other interests will be fragmented.

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    Sponsoring a tournament is not done to lure the players in, it's done to lure the spectators in. You don't sponsor a football club if you want the players to like you, you do it if you like the fans to like you. You make a good point about not being lost in the noise, though. – Oak Feb 8 '12 at 21:43
  • @Oak spectators follow players. Without anyone of-note playing, your viewership is going to be abysmal as the competition is increasingly fierce. A half-ass tournament isn't that fun to watch. – Nick T Feb 8 '12 at 21:44
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    Agreed - I'm just saying, I disagree with your 2nd and 3rd paragraph that seem to hint that hosting tournament for pros won't draw the non-pros. Unless I misunderstood you. – Oak Feb 8 '12 at 21:48
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    @Oak I don't think that a tournament would be actively bad, I just think that a tournament seems ineffective. It might encourage those fleeting meta-game questions, which are better discussed at existing specialized sites (e.g. TL). Competing for that enthusiast audience just seems like a lost cause. That said, I'm watching IEM Sao Paulo and I don't really play SC2 much anymore. – Nick T Feb 8 '12 at 21:58
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I think that sponsoring a tournament is a great idea. I'm not entirely sure if we should also actually organize the tournament or not - I guess that depends if we have someone willing to invest the effort in it (and, preferably, with experience in tournament-organizing). So I think that first of all, if anyone knows of a good tournament she thinks we can sponsor (e.g. a tournament you yourself are watching!), please list it here somewhere.

I have another idea which may be a little more radical - maybe we should go for a game which is slightly less popular than those mentioned, primarily because, as Nick said, otherwise we may get lost in the crowd of other sponsors. Also, it might give us publicity in circles we may wish to penetrate. For examples, I'm sure we could run a Minecraft tournament successfully :)

Just musing, though.

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    We should definitely have a Minecraft "build"-style tournament. – Invader Skoodge Feb 8 '12 at 22:30
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A few twists on this idea, sort of combined with the other live stream idea. We don't necessarily have to have a ton of pros for a game, but it would be awesome to provide an opportunity for most amateur players to play some patches against the pros just to show the skill level difference.

  1. Pro vs amateurs: Throw in some handicaps to make it entertaining, such as a 3v1 in Starcraft(this has been done already but I can't seem to find the link right now). Add in some gentleman's rules like no 3v1 cheese rush or something.

  2. Winner vs pro: The winner of the pro-am tournament gets a shot to play against a pro player.

Live stream this and follow it up with a Q/A session with questions from registered GSE users.

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