To open – a quandry…
So, a no games week this week. What am I going to talk about? ‘What can he possibly witter on about now?!’ I hear you cry.
Well don’t worry, I thought of something.
Something big on the horizon…
So it’s kind of a big week in the X-Wing world. It’s the very first world championships since 2.0 was launched.
This week you are likely to see an awful lot of posts, blogs and podcasts as hundreds of people from all over the world go to Minnesota in the USA and compete against the best players in the world.
Confessions of a n00b…
I have to be honest, when I first got into X-Wing I had no idea about any of the competitive gaming culture that exists. None at all. The thought that your ‘average joe’ who plays a geeky game for fun could be competing in an international tournament just never occurred to me. I still remember, while my youngest son was getting into Pokémon, being told that the world championship winner could earn significant prize money. For playing what was (at the time, in my incorrect opinion) a child’s card game. In fact, the total prize fund for the 2019 Pokémon World Championship was $500,000. Yes, you read it right. Half a millions dollars. Half.A.Million.
Clearly my views on this have changed. Having seen the complexity of what different cards have on the makeup and strength of a Pokémon deck and how it should be played (as in, with no small degree of skill) I appreciate much more that in that game a huge amount of dedication, knowledge and passion is required to really challenge yourself to be the best you can be.
You are invited…
Over our time playing X-Wing I have seen that this is also the case in the game I have come to love. I really enjoy reading blogs of those who travel far and wide to different stores entering tournaments in search of that win that will get them their invite.
You see, for those who don’t know (and after all, that’s partly who I’m writing for, as well as for myself), Worlds is an invite only tournament. As far as I’m aware this is a new thing for 2.0, previously you could just buy yourself a ticket just like any other tournament and turn up. But now in order to get an invite you need to have won or placed pretty high in an official tournament. The System Open Series events boasted a top prize of an expenses paid trip to Worlds, quite a big deal considering the cost of international travel that many are more than willing to pay to attend.
Another change for this year (or so I’ve gathered from various podcasts anyway!) is that the venue has changed. Previously FFG (JARGON ALERT!) ran this event literally in-house which meant that space was limited but this year they have taken the event to a different location so that they can fit more players in. I heard on a podcast discussing Worlds that they estimate that around 400 invites have gone out worldwide. How many of these are actually going? I guess only FFG knows at this point.
Add to this another factor – the Last Chance Qualifier. As FFG have secured more space they are looking to make the most of it and try to make it the largest gathering of X-Wing players ever. And why not? So they have laid on an additional tournament they day before Worlds begins and from this tournament at least the top 64 will qualify for Worlds, possibly more depending on space I assume. Does this cheapen the achievement of winning your way to a Worlds invite? Maybe. Does anyone care if it means that more people can take part in this huge international celebration of X-Wing? Probably not then.
What it says to me is that a rather large number of people love this game and the community it has spawned so very much that they are willing to sacrifice rather a lot of time and money to go and see new places and meet new people while pushing little plastic spaceships around a table and rolling dice.
Why should I care?
Well, far be it from me to tell you what you should or shouldn’t care about but let me give a few reasons why maybe what’s going on a Worlds should possibly be one of them.
Firstly, the top top players in the world will be there. The very best of the very best. Better yet, many of the games will be live streamed (by the ever excellent Gold Squadron Podcast and FFG themselves). I have already talked about how to get better and while I may not have directly mentioned ‘watching super good players do their thing’ I think it goes without saying that watching how these players do their thing can help you to improve. Even if it’s just looking at decisions they take over actions or whether to engage/disengage in certain circumstances.
Want to see what lists are strong in the current meta? (JARGON ALERT!) Check out list fortress! Want to see how those lists are played? Check out some streams! Worlds players will (probably?!) have spent a long time deliberating over what list to take and what tactics to employ as they pit themselves against other strong players. We are in a very interesting point with the meta at the moment as the Nantex Class Starfighter has recently hit the scene with few major tournaments scheduled before Worlds begins. Will it affect the meta? Will anyone play it? Will it even win the whole thing? Nobody knows!! And that in itself makes everything that little bit more interesting.
As I’ve already blogged about, one of the things that makes X-wing such a great game is the community. Over the next week many people who very rarely get to see each other in person will be meeting up, hanging out, taking selfies and competing for bragging rights.
And it will be glorious.
For them, of course, but also for the wider community as the rest of us look in through the window at what’s happening and we start to realise that, actually, we can have this at our own store, in our own community. That we don’t need to travel thousands of miles to be able to hang out with other people who love this game and have fun spending time together. That we can have our own Worlds every week in our very own ‘home’.
Though, let’s face it, it would be great to go some day, wouldn’t it!
Ok, but what about me?
If, like me, you are very VERY far from even thinking about going to Worlds, how can you get involved? Well, thankfully there is a very active and friendly online community who can help with that.
Over the next week (or maybe longer!) we are very likely to get a huge amount of Facebook and Reddit posts discussing lists and tactics, checking what faction is performing best and asking who has made the cut. This will be followed by MANY gushy posts from Worlds players about meeting new people and old friends and of course the obligatory swag post pictures. And it will all be amazing.
As I mentioned, Gold Squadron Podcast will be live streaming lots of games over the course of the tournament and those games will eventually make their way to the YouTube channel for watching later.
You can also expect a large influx of blogs and podcasts to start popping up in the days that follow full of battle reports and analysis and forecasts of what lists we will start to see as people try to replicate the success of the top lists.
And we will lap it all up.
So please, let’s all appreciate what we are about to experience, it’s likely to be another year before we see this level of X-Wing love again.