The news is out over most of the planned events this year leading up to Smite’s World Championship, and this time there’s a new, official, Smite Console League that replaces last year’s questionable console tournament.
Smite Pro League (SPL)
Once again Hi-Rez has decided to ditch a massive prize pool at the end of the line, favoring instead to spread prize money throughout their different tournaments. One of those tournaments is the Spring Split, an open-bracket tournament currently underway for new teams of players, both old and new, used to fill spots in the Pro League left by teams that either disbanded or otherwise dropped out.
After the Spring Split there will be a separate tournament held during the summer, though that one’s still in the planning phase, and after the summer tournament will come the Fall Split. The teams that come out of the Spring Split will join teams already established and fight it out in a format similar to the Spring Split. The top teams here will then go to a LAN event to qualify for Smite’s 2017 World Championship.
So it’s Spring Split > Fall Split > World Championship, wish a Summer tournament.
Smite Console League (SCL)
Last year’s console league was a bit of a mess and was put together by MLG instead of Hi-Rez themselves. While I cna’t find anything saying they won’t have a hand in this league, it looks very much like something being put together and ran by the developers themselves this time.
During Spring, the SCL qualifiers will be taking place, and the best teams will be invited to the Summer Split. After the Summer Split will come the Fall Split, though there’s no details on how teams will qualify, and after that will be the World Championship.
This leaves the SCL with Spring Qualifiers > Summer Split > World Championship.
New Rule: Console Players Won’t Run Into Losing PC Teams
In a highly controversial change of mind, a new rule was announced after the last World Championship stating that players who compete in one split will be platform-locked for the remainder of that tournament.
- Once a player competes at a professional level AKA compete in one game of the PC SPL or Xbox SCL, that player will be locked to that gaming platform for the remainder of 2016 – including SWC
- Players may compete in relegations, qualifiers or challenger cup of either platform until they play in a one of the two SMITE Pro Leagues.
Now, if you decide to compete on one platform at anytime, you’re locked in for the season. This rule, or at least a version of it, was highly requested when team EnYyUs entered the previous console league and swept the entire competition easily - with their roster being almost entirely made of their PC players. The team was knocked out in the 2015 Super Regionals, an elimination tournament held before the World Championship, but soon after they grouped together with a different fifth player to compete again.
This wouldn’t sound quite as bad until realizing that they were the top team leading up to them getting eliminated, with arguably some of the world’s best PC players. Many people called fowl, saying that PC players who played in the console tournament only did it to run over the new console talent for a free win. Weaken, the team’s jungler, denied this and argued his team practiced regularly leading up to their matches and took it just as seriously as the PC Pro League, also stating they wanted the community to not be separate and for talent to cross over freely.
Personally I think it’s a great change that was needed. While this isn’t a First-Person-Shooter, it is a game that still requires a certain mastery of it’s mechanics to be competitive. The game might run and play well on a console, but the change in control schemes creates an inherently different meta-game, one that PC players with plenty of experience on the base game can adapt to relatively easily. Now talented console gamers have a chance to grow and be rewarded more.
I plan on highlighting teams and probably roster/sponsor changes in another post later on, things are starting to settle now but I’m not a hardcore follower of every player in Smite’s Pro Leagues, so bear with me!