NEWS | Scoper | Battlefield | March 2, 2013
Competing on an international level has been a hot topic of debate in the local community since the onset of the Battlefield 3 Clanbase XVI Nations Cup tournament. To give some background on the tournament itself, it typically takes place once per year and plays host to a number of
Competing on an international level has been a hot topic of debate in the local community since the onset of the Battlefield 3 Clanbase XVI Nations Cup tournament.
To give some background on the tournament itself, it typically takes place once per year and plays host to a number of teams from around the globe. Each country gets a nominated captain from the community, and that captain then picks his team from players within the same country. Each country gets a nominated captain from the community, and that captain then picks his team from players within the same country. The selection procedure works differently in South Africa with teams having competed in the Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) local trials to win the right to represent the country. It is mostly European teams that take part, with South Africa representing one of only four non-EU teams of the total 28 that are competing in 2013. The teams are then split into groups of four before reaching a playoff stage.
The important aspect to note is the ruleset. Locally, the mostly widely supported tournament (the Do Gaming league) has adopted a map list that excludes all of the larger air maps – this includes maps such as Kharg Island, Caspian Border and Operation Firestorm which all feature jets and choppers as well as more armour than what is seen on other maps. The Nations Cup tournament includes these maps, as they are a staple part of many 8v8 conquest tournaments in Europe. This immediately flags a disadvantage for South Africa when competing against EU teams – SA teams simply do not have competitive exposure to a large portion of the map list. This would be more manageable in a scenario of having to play new ground maps that are akin to what we play locally, but it is a vast change in play style on the air maps.
This raises the question of whether South Africa can truly compete in this format of the game internationally. As with any competitive game, teams need to gain exposure to a certain style of play (particularly new maps) over a period of time in order to build their proficiency in it. Unfortunately for us, the Do Gaming league will only feature two legs in the 2013 season and implementing such a change would be massively unsettling to the existing local teams. Not only this, but there is certainly a large portion of the local community that feels we should not be playing these maps regardless. Why is this? Simple – there are those of the belief that these maps are not competitive. Those who have not experienced these maps against highly competitive teams hold the view that there are too many vehicles to make use of given only 8 players per team. Furthermore, there is a deep-rooted belief (stemming back to Battlefield 2 days) that jets are overpowered and that they can only be countered through an opposing jet of equal or greater skill.
Delving a little deeper into the maps and the strategies therein, there are arguments to be heard from both sides. While there is no use in adjusting the local ruleset at this stage considering that Battlefield 4 will be released in 2014, it is worth keeping an open mind for the future. In my opinion, air maps offer a strategic depth that is not available on the ground maps. Now, this is not necessarily to say that the local scene needs another layer of competitive options over and above what is already in place, but it is to say that there is a level of dynamism evident in these maps that is rather refreshing. With many more assets on each map, it becomes a game of chess as to how each category of asset controls the other. For example, jets and helicopters can control the flow of tank movement but at the same time can easily influence the amount of uptime an opponent’s air vehicles get.
In order to compete on these maps, European teams are often seen recruiting players in a style that is very different to the one adopted locally. Local teams typically build a line-up which comprises of four infantry players and four armour players, with substitutes used to plug the gaps wherever need be. International teams on the other hand pick a handful of players that specialise either as infantry only or in a particular vehicle. For example, one such EU team could comprise of 2 jets players, 2 chopper players, 4 tank players and 10 infantry players.
I have chosen to ignore the topic of ping imbalances (SA typically pings about 200ms to EU based BF3 servers) because of the fact that exposure and strategic considerations are arguably more important than the actual results of the games in a tournament with no prizes such as the Nations Cup. Over time, South Africa will only be able to stamp its mark on the international community through exposure to foreign rulesets that mirror the EU and Asian scenes more closely, and in turn then compete at foreign events with the ultimate goal of attending a LAN.
The question boils down to, do we want to remain a community that is satisfied within our own seemingly competitive mindset or do we want to embrace a long-term way of thinking that will ultimately help us integrate into an international community? Drop us a comment and share your views regarding how we can prepare to compete more efficiently in the international eSports arena.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bravado Gaming.