WESG 2018: The Black Sheep of Pro-Tournaments

With only a month before WESG 2018 is set to begin, you may be wondering, what is WESG? Well, WESG, or the World Electronic Sports Games, is an esports tournament hosted by Alibaba featuring CS:GO, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and of course, StarCraft II. In this upcoming tournament, WESG 2018 is set to begin on March 11, 2019, despite the tournament’s misleading nomenclature.

If you haven’t heard about this tournament before today, I wouldn’t be surprised – it is, after all, a relatively new tournament (This year marks its second appearance). But even so, it’s odd for a tournament with a prize pool that rivals IEM Katowice to receive so little press coverage. Maybe it’s because Alibaba’s isn’t used to the esports arena yet and they’re underestimating the importance of marketing and PR. Businesses have growing pains when they branch out to new territory. It’s possible, but what I don’t understand is why Blizzard’s so quiet about this.

Just last week and change ago, Blizzard outlined their plan for esports in 2019, and there was no mention of this tournament. None whatsoever. That means that despite WESG being a premier tournament, Blizzard is not associated with its development despite HALF of the tournament games featured here being Blizzard titles. Does that make any sense to you?

Blizzard clearly has an interest (Or should have an interest) in developing WESG as a major tournament and Blizzard certainly has the experience necessary to run a marketing and PR campaign and assist with tournament logistics, especially considering that they basically founded modern esports. So why hasn’t Alibaba reached out to Blizzard (or vice-versa) for assistance or cross-promotion? Blizzard partnered with Intel, that’s what IEM Katowice is (Intel Extreme Masters). I found this situation very odd.

So, I reached out to my contact at Blizzard esports PR for a comment and received no response.

Of course, when I reached out, that was before ActiBlizzard axed 8% of the organization and gutted administration and community support, so maybe this result’s not that surprising.

Here’s what we do know though: WESG 2018 is not a sanctioned Blizzard tournament and does not award any WCS points (Unlike IEM Katowice). Why it’s unsanctioned remains a mystery. You’d think Blizzard would want to partner with Alibaba and promote a tournament this big (World-class competitors are here, including Maru, Serral, and Dark to name a few) but evidently, they don’t, and Blizzard remains tight-lipped on this matter.

But enough about the company gossip. For those of you who are interested in who made it through the StarCraft II qualifiers, here is the spoiler list for attendees: (Please note that this list is not final and may be subject to change)

WESG 2018 is set to begin on March 11, 2019, roughly one week after IEM Katowice XIII and ends on March 17, 2019. You can watch the stream here on Youtube, or you can watch it on Twitch here or here. The platform for watching these streams leave much to be desired, as some of the replays are cross-platform and are hard to navigate (ex. Hearthstone stream goes to StarCraft II).


Image via: Starladder