World Team League (WTL) organizers SCBOY were kind enough to provide me with one of their WTL Gift Boxes for the 2021 Winter season free of charge, so I thought I'd give you a short review of the contents and what this box might mean for the future of SC2.
Let's look at some context first, shall we? As some of you may know, SCBOY long dreamed about creating a sustainable tournament ecosystem, first with cooperation from Blizzard/Netease by successfully pushing for a War Chest with in-game goodies to support their team league, and now by selling a gift box filled with WTL merch to fans who want to support the league. In China, these measures have been hugely successful – as is apparent by WTL expanding further and further over the years. Just recently they've announced a second league to act as qualification tournament for the main event, as well as a special 2v2 tournament. One definitely gets the impression that SCBOY directly reinvest whatever money they can get their hands on into the scene, which is reassuring.
With the WTL Gift Boxes, they've decided to go international for the first time with one of their crowdfunding measures.
Checking the WTL Winter 2021 Gift Box
So, with that bit of history out of the way: What does the WTL Winter 2021 Gift Box contain?
- 1x WTL Playing Card Set
- 4x Invictus Gaming Buttons
- 1x Commemorative WTL Coin + Presentation Stand
- 1x WTL Cup
- 1x Commemorative Greetings Card + Protection Plates
- 1x WTL Mouse Pad
- 5x WTL Face Mask
Remember those WCS Trading Cards people still like to fawn about on Twitter or Reddit on occasion? Yeah, this box contains something similar with a WTL themes playing card set. All four suits are there, complete with Zerg, Terran, Protoss, and Random symbols. King, Queen, and Jack of each suit are the highlights of the deck, as each of these contains artwork representing one of the league's players. BIG PROBLEM with that: Dark is not one of these, so 0/10, would not recommend. Kidding – with Rogue retiring, him representing DPG on there is a very cool memory.
XYFANS will be happy to hear that he's represented on one of the four Invictus Gaming buttons – it's finally time to show your allegiance!
The WTL Cup will make a fine addition to my BlizzCon 2016 Stein, but if you need another coffee or teacup for actual usage, then this will do the job perfectly fine as well while spreading the glory of SC2. Mouse pads and face masks are always useful, and the commemorative coin (a big-ass coin!) is looking very nice and shiny.
This is exactly the kind of nerdy collectible stuff that we love, isn't it? SCBOY knows us oh so well. I can't really speak about the ordering experience for anyone who buys the box, since I didn't go through that process, but if you're open to ordering such a box in the future to support WTL, I can safely say that the contents themselves certainly won't disappoint you in terms of creativity and quality. It's perfect swag for any SC2 fan. Packaging was totally fine, everything arrived here intact.
What it might mean for the future
The future of our scene is uncertain. We don't know if Blizzard and ESL are able and willing to further invest in the pro scene and how much investment we'd be looking at. We don't know what will happen to Blizzard in general once Microsoft takes over at some point next year, provided regulators don't stop the deal. We don't know if new sponsors such as Shopify, which itself had to lay off lots of people recently, will be able to provide as much long-term support as some people thought.
From that perspective this experiment by SCBOY is a very valuable one for our scene as a whole – we might well be looking at a possible way to keep the scene sustained over the years to come. Perhaps this is the way to go for other organizers out there as well.
Personally, I'm glad there is finally a way to support WTL directly and wish SCBOY best of luck in keeping it going for a long time. It's been the most enjoyable tournament to follow for me in the entire scene for the last couple of years.
For a sneak peak into the WTL Summer 2022 Gift Box and how to order it, check out WTL's Twitter account.