IPL 3 Origins: A First Look
The first day if IPL 3 concluded on October 6th, receiving large amounts of critical acclaim. The IGN Pro League has done marvelously in listening to their viewers and adding features based on their requests in the past. So far, in the live event, there has been very little which needs changing, as the quality has been top notch.
The producers of IPL have done marvelously in taking away from the both the good and the bad of past live events such as MLG, NASL Finals, (North American Star League) GSL, (Global Starcraft League; Korean Based) and many others. For instance, many fans criticized the last MLG for lack of content in between games as well as large amounts of down time. IPL 3’s downtime is very insignificant, and, the small amount of it which does exist, is filled in with interviews from the players and top 10 plays from the IPL Online Qualifiers. Moreover, as requested, IPL decided to add $6,000 more of prize money to the groups stages of the tournament, adding up to make a total of $120,000 in prize money distributed amongst the players.
IPL 3 not only brings production quality to the table, but top tier players as well. With Korean progamers such as JYP and Ryung making their debut in the Western SC2 scene, as well as other top quality Koreans and foreigners such as oGs.MC, EG.HuK, Mill.Stephano, EG.PuMa, Liquid’HerO, liquid’Ret, EG.IdrA, mouz.Thorzain, and many more. With such a solid lineup of players, IPL 3 is guaranteed to deliver games portraying the highest echelon of skill within the restraints of the current meta-game.
Another beautiful thing about IPL 3 is the tournament format. The tournament is first divided up into 2 subsections. Pool play and the Open Bracket. There are 4 groups in pool play, with each group consisting of 4 players. In each group there are two players who were personally invited to the tournament, and 2 players from the Online Qualifier tournament, which had been going on for quite some time before the IPL 3 live event. All 16 players from Pool Play advance to the Champion’s Bracket, and are seeded in accordance with their performance via best of 3 series against each player in their group.
The Open Bracket consists of a whopping 256 players, with 4 winner’s brackets and 4 loser’s brackets, allowing for a best of 3 double elimination style bracket. The top 16 players — the finalists of each of the sub-brackets — will advance to the Champion’s Bracket, with seeds 1 & 2 being handed out to the finalists of each Winner’s Bracket, and 2 & 4 to the finalists of each Loser’s Bracket. Each of the 4 sets of Loser’s and Winner’s sub-brackets from the Open Bracket is converged with one of the brackets in which the groups of Pool Play were assigned, in the Champion’s Bracket, where seeds will be matched accordingly.
The Champion’s Bracket is single elimination and consists of 32 players. The Round of 32, 16, and 8, will be played out in best of 3 series, with a best of 5 semifinals, and a best of 7 finals. The way in which this format is fleshed out is really great. It gives everyone a very good chance of advancing into the Champion’s Bracket, and also ensures that the finals will be a legitimate best of 7, and not an extended series (Extended Series rule: Best of 7 series starting 2-0 or 2-1 based on result of previous meeting.) which has produced very dull finals in past tournaments.
Despite numerous issues with Blizzard’s Battle.net servers, the tournament has thus far been absolutely amazing. IPL 3 has handled the disconnects and downtime due to these issues incredibly, having some of our favorite pros play Starcraft: Brood War over LAN. For those not quite as up to date on the situation, Blizzard decided not to implement LAN with Starcraft 2, creating a massive headache for live tournaments across the globe. As a huge fan of SC2 and live events, I could rant for days about LAN and Starcraft 2, but I’ll save everyone a wall of text and simply say that I strongly disagree with Blizzard’s decision to not implement LAN. However, to put us back on topic, I’m incredibly excited for the rest of what’s to come from IPL 3 and look forward to the bright future of Starcraft 2 and eSports. I also strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t yet, to check out IPL 3. Links to the live stream and schedule can be found in the beginning of this post.