SoCal Regionals 2016 Aftermath and Thank You!

SoCal Regionals 2016 Aftermath and Thank You!

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SoCal Regionals 2016 has come to an end, featuring the most international competition we have ever seen in SoCal. We have increased registration for titles all around and we could not have done this without your trust in us as organizers and we’re honored to keep the tradition of competition alive. In order to maintain your trust, we have to address all issues some of you may have encountered during your weekend.

 

Guilty Gear Xrd: Revelator

 

First off, we want to address the issues which affected the Revelator community. We had about an hour and a half late start with Revelator due to Mortal Kombat XL going over our scheduled time slot. We were going to utilize the same PS4s that were used for MKXL for the Revelator tournament but MKXL was still in Winners Finals and nearing top 16 of their pools. While finding out that MKXL was about to overflow Revelator pool times, we made a decision to start Revelator upstairs which only had 3-4 active set ups. The King of Fighters tournament also overflowed into Revelator’s stream time due to slow bracket progression. These issues caused a domino effect in eating up pool start time as well as stream time for Revelator on Saturday.

 

Players saw that we were downloading Revelator onto some PS4 units, which is absolutely true. Half of the units planned for the tournament had Revelator already installed while the others had the game purchased but not fully installed. This was a complete oversight from our end and is very unfortunate because out of every SCR, we have never had this issue.

 

Last but not least, Revelator was not on the main stage at SoCal Regionals this year and many players felt that was a big blow to the Anime community. We would love to feature every single title on the main stage but scheduling was extremely difficult this year without going into the midnight hour on Sunday Finals day. The King of Fighters XIV Top 8 took over 3 hours to finish and had already delayed Street Fighter V’s original 6PM showcase. Our intention was not to put Anime/Revelator in the back burner at all. We opted to showcase the entire Revelator Top 16 and Top 8 on Finals day for extended coverage on leveluplive2 whereas most titles only got top 8 on Sunday.

 

We apologize for our approach in supporting the Revelator community this year. It was not satisfactory and we will be hard at work on solutions for the issues that occurred, which will be addressed next.

 

We will do our best not to split the pools upstairs and downstairs for any one title. Due to the space limitations of the venue, we had to place two tournament stations on the second floor to reduce the sardine-can effect on the first floor. All pools for any game should be within the area of one main tournament director and the bracket admins. This way, there will be less confusion and running around to find out when and where you play. We will also have more routers in place for our bracket runners near poor signal locations and have paper brackets as a backup.

 

All downloaded copies of games and DLC will be thoroughly checked during set up day. We cannot afford to have the same issues delaying any tournament game.

 

For main stage showcase, we cannot promise every single title will have Sunday for their showcase. We may have to use Saturday for some titles, similar to what we have done for Killer Instinct which worked out very well. If communities are willing to compromise a morning/early afternoon slot on Sunday to be featured on Saturday night for Finals, then more titles can be presented on the main stage. We will leave it to community feedback to help us decide if this is a good idea or not. Providing options is better than arbitrarily choosing a community to not feature on the main stage. Please send us your thoughts on Finals day.

 

We love the Anime community and have supported many popular Anime titles in previous Level Up events. We are planning something special in the near future for the Anime community and will reach out to prominent members of the scene to assist us in making things right. In addition, we are also offering SoCal Revelator players a 1 month FREE competitor pass at Weds Night Fights starting this week. You will only be required to pay for the $5 prize pool. Please mention to eSports Arena staff that you are a Revelator competitor and you must coordinate your tournament entry with our Tournament Director to be eligible.

 

The King of Fighters XIV

 

The KOFXIV tournament ran very late throughout Saturday due to inexperience of players running the pools, players turning tournament stations into head-2-head stations, and poor WIFI signals for the bracket admins. KOFXIV is a title that is notorious for lasting a very long time, but add to that the issue of poor WIFI signals and lowered amount of stations, you have a trainwreck of issues with scheduling.

 

We apologize to the King of Fighters community and will have dedicated staff to run the pools the next time around. In addition, we will have more units for each pool to have more matches run in tandem. We are also adding either an additional router near our bracket admins or go old school and have paper brackets ready for use as a back up.

 

FloKO

 

Next up, the FloKO tournament platform. Why are we using it? Why fix something that isn’t broken? We are well aware you have questions. We have utilized many tournament platforms in the past and we’re not afraid to try something new if it benefits the community in the long haul; from using paper brackets, Challonge, Xfire, smashGG, and now to FloKO. FloKO has the capability to handle 1,000+ competitors on their platform with various formats. Weds Night Fights was a testing bed to assist with their amazing stream coverage for all pool stations for SoCal Regionals. FloKO is not perfect, but the concept of having every single match streamed in a tournament is fascinating to us. You could follow your favorite players and see their path to the big stage which makes for a better story line instead of just numbered results.

 

There are features where FloKO can improve on, including the user interface, loading screens, dropdowns, and lingo we use at tournaments. FloKO is currently hard at work making adjustments to their platform and welcome all feedback to improve the experience.

 

By all means, we are not saying FloKO is the prefered platform to use at every event right now. However, if all important issues are worked on and improvements are made, we may have one of the most innovative platforms to catch 100% of tournament matches.

 

Planning SoCal Regionals

 

SCR 2016 was the hardest tournament to plan for our team and what a journey it has been to host it. We had ambitious goals with SoCal Regionals this year; working around the venue size to accommodate all guests, selecting less games, and the Block Party. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges we went through.

 

The venue size was the most immediate concern and we knew many players were going to have their doubts about it. We wanted to bring back the FGC tight knit feel we had from SCR 2014; something that the players noticed was absent from SCR 2015. Last year’s SCR was a great tournament, but something felt missing and everyone shared the same sentiment. Seeing how well the community responded to Weds Night Fights at eSports Arena, we knew we can replicate the same nostalgic feeling from previous SCR events. We spent many weeks observing WNF during Season Premieres and special nights where the entire main floor had action. Level Up co-founder, Jimmy Nguyen, was hard at work making sure every possible location in the venue was fully utilized for SCR and thanks to him, the response was very positive from everyone having enough room to play, walk to supporter booths, and enjoy the tournament.

 

The game selection was another challenge to deal with this year. In 2015, we saw a rather large decline in attendants for many titles compared to 2014. Perhaps the community is burnt out on playing multiple titles or games were getting old. Whatever the case is, we saw this as an opportunity to focus on titles that require attention due to their growth patterns. In other words, less is more and grow from there.

 

We tried scaling back a little too much by not initially including Killer Instinct and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. We shared our thoughts about space limitations prior but the community at large was very unhappy with our decision. We talked with prominent leaders of both communities and worked out the addition of the titles on Friday night. Not the best of days for some players but the communities compromised and as a result, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Killer Instinct had some of the best Top 8 action we have seen at SCR.

 

The Block Party was the most ambitious project we had for SCR. Planning something brand new with a ton of resources is risky but we felt it was very much needed to stand out from just a normal tournament. We learned a lot from creating the street layout with our friends at The Gamer’s Guild and going over the essentials. Sharing ideas with contractors, Red Bull, Machinima, the DJs, and World-8 has also given us a good sense of direction on what would be cool for the community to enjoy. After all of the approvals and working with eSports Arena to assist with city ordinances, permits, and fire inspectors, we are extremely grateful everything worked out. Would we do it again? That would depend on community feedback. We really appreciate all thoughts on The Block Party so we could improve it in the future.

Thank You!

 

We want to thank our guests traveling from all over the world as well as our local SoCal residents for taking care of everyone at SCR. Fighting game events are a huge family reunion stemming from over 20+ years of grassroots competition. From Arcades, houses of friends, lan centers, and ballrooms, no matter where we play or who we play against, we can universally communicate through fighting games. Huge shoutout to our hard working staff making sure our guests had a good time and adjusting to many challenges on the way. Special thanks goes out to our SCR partners which give our scene opportunities for growth and have been super helpful throughout event planning and execution. Thank you again and see you in 2017!

 

Please feel free to send us feedback about SoCal Regionals 2016 and how we can improve on our community email admin@levelup-series.com

 

About Alex Valle

Alex Valle is a key figure in the fighting game community and has been a top player since 1995. With both player and community experience, he provides the cohesion element that is needed to bring existing communities together and form new ones.