New Zealand recently defeated Canada to enter into the top eight of the Hearthstone Global Games. Its next match will be against arguably the best team in the competition, the United States, for a chance at the top four. Given the competition started with 48 teams, NZ has done unbelievably well to make it this far. Not that Blizzard's seeding rules helped, disadvantaging countries with fewer tournament points from individual players.
If you want to check out New Zealand's matches against Canada, you can check out the Twitch video below. It goes down to the wire, so make sure you're comfortable.
SlayerMax, playing for New Zealand, won the series in the final "ace" match against Canadian player Purple.
A win's a good thing, right? Well, it could have been a different story, if Blizzard's seeding rules looked at HGG wins and losses alone, instead of factoring in tournament points for individual players.
Replying to a Reddit post from Austrian player JohnnyStone about Blizzard's treatment of HGG players in general, SlayerMax outlines the problems with this system:
...I just sent an email to the Esports team with similar concerns. Especially the way that teams have been seeded for phase 3 of HGG. In the rule book it says that seeding was done by match records (3-0, 2-1, 1-2) followed by the total of HCT Spring Season Points of each country.
I don't think that is a fair rule at all. HGG is supposed to be a mix of competitive players and popular players, so teams that have players who were voted in based on popularity are automatically disadvantaged. Secondly and more importantly, this tournament is supposed to be fair for every country.
This rule disadvantages smaller countries (like New Zealand) because we do not have nearly the same amount of opportunities to earn HCT points (no major tournaments at all). Seems incredibly unfair to me, and I am very unhappy that we were seeded 4th despite having the second best Win/Loss ratio in phase 1 and tied best W/L phase 2 (tied with China). Why are HCT points relevant at all in this stage of the tournament?
It feels like we worked so hard to get these results (as you did) and we are not seeing any reward for our efforts in the early stages of this competition. And so heartbreaking working for 8 weeks to face a single elimination round.
(e) In the third Stage, the remaining sixteen (16) National Teams will be seeded by their respective countries cumulative 2017 Spring HC Rank (all HC points of all players in the country for the 2017 Spring HC Rank) and their finishes in the second stage (with higher finishes receiving a higher seeding) into one Single Elimination sixteen (16) team bracket. They will play two rounds this way in order to narrow to the top four (4) ‘National Teams’, these top four (4) will advance to the Hearthstone Global Games Finals Tournament.
While the differences in seeding may have ultimately been minor, SlayerMax's point still stands — the rankings for the later stages of the Global Games should be based on the performance of the teams and not the individual players.
The schedule has also been handled haphazardly, as JohnnyStone highlights in his post:
RO16 match vs Ukraine (1-3) Schedule released on Saturday, telling us to play on Wednesday 4pm as the first match. Then schedule gets changed again short notice, surprise: now we are playing a day earlier: on Tuesday, likely starting time between 4 and 5pm. At 3pm we get pressured to start the game immediately. Just doesn't feel good playing under these conditions.
Running such a massive competition, you're going to run into issues. It happens. But considering there's $US300,000 up for grabs, well, it's a disappointing effort coming from a company such as Blizzard.