Major League Gaming: How The League Can Improve

Yesterday Sundance DiGiovanni tweeted the following message:

What would you change about MLG to make it better? Constructive thoughtful and serious responses please.

Of course, I responded with a few suggestions but I was much more interested in viewing what other people were suggesting.  I was specifically looking for some common areas that players, spectators, and fans of the league want to see improved.

After reviewing the last 16 or so hours of tweets, I am going to elaborate on some of the extremely thoughtful suggestions, discuss why I disagree with others and offer some extensive information on my own suggestions.

I apologize in advance for not re-posting everyone’s concerns.  I provided common themes and grouped some individual thoughts where I thought applicable.

Alter or Eliminate The Combine Number of Events

First off, let me say I do not believe adding more events is a great thing.  To anyone that tweeted they want more events, I would really analyze the crowd that MLG draws in for competition.  Pro Players do NOT make enough money to travel to more events.  Adding one or two events to the circuit does nothing, but diminish the amount of potential earnings for players not within the Top 3 placings for almost all the other games besides Halo.  Please take the time to evaluate my Budgeting and Financial Planning article.  Even as a Pro Player with mediocre earnings, we spent quite a bit traveling to FIVE events last year. I would guess that 95% of the MLG crowd does not have a financially backed sponsorship.  Can you imagine how much it would cost to travel to 8-10 events.

I actually think the Combine is detrimental to the health of the league.  Teams and players receive minimal coverage (I’ll discuss more on that later), it takes away from the attendance of MLG Pro Circuit events, and their is not much money in it for the players.  It’s not sustainable for an aspiring amateur, their parents, or other players to travel to Combine events AND Pro Circuit events.

Please MLG re-evaluate the impact it has on players.  Doritos or any other company that tries to throw money at the league in order to brand their own “circuit” is not always the best idea.

Improve on Pro Player Team Changes/Mentality

This is a big one and one of my personal pet peeves.  In high school and collegiate sports, players that leave a school are forced to wait an ENTIRE (sometimes two in same conference collegiate sports) season before they are eligible for competition.

MLG needs to put the clamps down on these team changes.  I mean no disrespect to the other Pro Players, but I cannot stomach the thought of calling ourselves “Professionals” when we do anything but that with Rampant team changes.  How in the world are fans of each teams suppose to connect with a team if every other event there is a team change.

Even at the Professional level there are cut-off dates for trades during the season.  Furthermore most team changes are made during the OFFSEASON!

I propose they put a SEVERE penalty on team changes. My proposed ideas:

  • Forcing teams to “sit-out” or become ineligible for 1 event after changing rosters more than 2 times during the season.
  • Forcing players to lose a half of their “points” for switching teams more than 2 times during the season.
  • Forcing Pro teams to lose up to half of their points for switching players more than 2 times during the season.
  • Create a cut-off date for teams after the second Pro Circuit event.  No TRADE PERIOD.

As a former Gears of War player, captain, collegiate athlete, and someone who has a deeply ingrained “team loyalty” mentality — the amount of team swapping that goes on within MLG is unacceptable on every level imagineable.  The Pro Players are creating a mentality that it is “normal” and “acceptable” and it diminishes the quality of competition.  As it stands, I do not believe enough emphasis is placed on nurturing Pro Players’ mentality in this regard.

Improving MLG Online Properties

Gamebattles

Gamebattles is such a huge tool that is not utilized to its full potential.  The Gamebattles staff is not very good — that’s the nicest way for me to put it.  There is not an urgency or sense of importance with Online tournaments, rules, or disputes.

The tournament credits system is flawed and it raises questions on the practices involved within the organization.  Payouts are meager, admins do not handle tournament disputes with the amount of importance that they should, and they are understaffed for tournaments.  The credit system does not add up, mirroring Microsoft’s MS point system.  The payout for players should be significantly higher and needs to be thoroughly reviewed.  Admins and rule administration is not consistent.  Some admins are very involved with each respective community and others could care less.

During the Battlefield tournament, my most recent, the rules were not thoroughly investigated and there were tactics that should have been banned that were not.

My Proposed ideas:

  • Re-evaluate the credit system
  • Increase Online payout
  • Increase exposure for top teams across various games

GotFrag

GotFrag has never been the same since MLG bought the news site.  I used to check it frequently, but I have not checked the website in maybe two years.  The content is not very good and hasn’t been for awhile.

If MLG is going to be the “news” destination website, then start doing more work.  Hire the correct writers and staff to make coverage more important.  Quality outdoes quantity, so finding the right people is important.

Transparency on Game / Rule Selection

I tweeted a post on Gamer’s Corner that was within the MLG forums.  CLAP, being the typical Clap we’ve become accustom to, basically abused his authority and power in a discussion surrounding legitimate concerns on MLG’s process of selecting rules.  I am not defending comments that were said about Killa_KC or the MLG Staff but there does need to be more transparency with rules and game selection.

What people tweeted about:

  • Bracket System
  • Pro Players retaining points after constant team switching
  • Not having explanation for rules selected

I think the community deserves an explanation and breakdown of why rules were selected, especially on popular titles (Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, etc).  This falls in line with my Gamebattles feelings.  Rules are not thoroughly discussed on every level imagined and the players competing year-in and year-out deserve a better explanation.

Lastly, I think Clap is doing a not-so-good job on the  MLG forums, in terms of PR and talking with the community. I have heard so many Clap horror stories that after awhile it just gets old.  Please understand the difference between constructive criticism and downright disrespectful and unnecessary discussion.  Many of the people from 4-5 years ago are grown ups now and for the most part, understand how to communicate.

You closed one of my threads because I, along with others, made valid (in no way disrespectful) opinion about the use of controllers in MLG.

Improving MLG Event Experience

Post Game Analysis & Statistics

The quality of post-game analysis needs to greatly improve.  I can understand the limitations within games for displaying statistics, however many a people posted about improving post game analysis.

This includes the amount of interviews going on with Pro Players, getting involved with “how” teams won each game.  How did they practice? What did they change? What are/were player roles?

Player Interviews

During commercial breaks, at least on the stream, their are a set number of advertisements being displayed for each event.  Why not mix in player interviews?  People watching the stream like seeing and hearing from players.

Seating Arrangements

Of all the things to improve, this should not be a high priority, but IT IS!  We have been complaining about seating arrangements since I have been involved with MLG — that’s almost 5 years now.  This SHOULD NOT be an issue.  I read more tweets about “not enough seating” than any other suggestion.

Improve the seating arrangement.  During the ’09 Finals you can watch my video for the Gears of War players.  There was one bench for spectators — one bench.

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Stream

The stream needs to be consistent.  Consistent seems to be a constant theme here.  The Octoshape (I left Octagon for humor) system is buggy, you all can use a Justin.tv embed and almost have better quality — it’s really that bad at times.  The HQ is not the best and I dislike the lack of quality on the other streams.

The staff on some of the games are not as good and it shows.  Hiring relevant staff members with the correct knowledge and skill set is probably difficult, but I think it would greatly improve the overall quality of each stream.

I think some people are asking for too many options on the stream.  When I think about a watching a football game, I do not have the options that some people asked to have implemented.  What we get with most sports broadcasts is a one-way communication channel.  MLG is already a two-way communication — being broadcast on TV would reduce it back to a one-way communication.  Sometimes other sports leagues allow you to “tune-in” to the players, sometimes they don’t.  There is no “tune-in” option on Football Games and I think asking MLG to provide that option is a little overboard.




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About K.L.

Major League Gaming Pro 2007 -2010. Captain of AmazYn. Editor-in-Chief of ReflectzYn. YouTube Partner. All around techy dude.