What is the TSL?
The TSL is the biggest online StarCraft: Brood War tournament outside of Korea. Broadcast live with English commentators and over $10,000 in prize money, the TSL allows everyone from the biggest names in the foreign scene to the newest unknown player to compete and win.
The current TSL season is already running. More information can be found here
What is Starcraft/Broodwar?
In early 1998 Blizzard Entertainment released the "Real-Time Strategy" game StarCraft. Later that year, they released the expansion pack for StarCraft, named Brood War. StarCraft and Brood War have sold over 10 million copies internationally.
StarCraft has earned extensive critical acclaim, including many "Game of the Year" awards. Gamespot named it one of the "greatest games of all time." StarCraft's expansion pack, Brood War, has also won multiple awards, proving itself to be one of the best expansion packs ever.
What are e-Sports?
Electronic sports is a term that describes video games which are played at a competitive/professional level.
E-Sports have been around as long as gaming has, as a result of the competitive spirit that so many gamers possess. And while e-Sports stayed small during the age of arcade games, technological advances in the last decade has led to a "boom" in competitive gaming. The most prominent example of e-sports may be the professional StarCraft: Brood War leagues in South Korea.
Just how big is starcraft in South Korea?
Professional StarCraft in South Korea began in early 2000. Large corporate sponsors like Samsung and SK Telecom immediately began forming competitive teams, with top players earning 6 figure salaries. Large events drew crowds in the tens of thousands.
Today, StarCraft is as big as ever in South Korea. With hundreds of thousands of fans and two television channels devoted entirely to competitive StarCraft, this 10 year old game has become a mainstream part of Korean culture, an online "chess on steroids."
If you're curious about some history of StarCraft in South Korea, some great information can be found here
An example of a recent broadcast can be found here:
+ Show Spoiler [Click to show] +
How big is StarCraft outside of South Korea?
Outside of South Korea, the StarCraft scene has been limited. While many people still play the game, the only country outside of South Korea that has had regular tournaments is China, and even there the professional scene is small compared to in South Korea.
Other than the World Cyber Games, there have been no regular tournaments or leagues for non-Koreans to compete in. Without professional leagues to draw players together, there is little reason to devote the time and energy it takes to become a top player. For this reason, the elite starcraft players have been almost exclusively South Korean. It is rare to see a top foreign player beat a top South Korean player in a tournament (though it does sometimes happen).
What makes StarCraft such a good spectator sport?
Once you understand the basic game mechanics, it is very easy to follow what is happening in the game. Competitive StarCraft games are like chess with more action and the more you learn about the game the more there is to appreciate.
StarCraft has the fast-paced action of FPS type games, but with very deep and intellectually-challenging strategy that comes with good RTS games. And since it uses 2-dimensional graphics instead of overly complex 3d graphics, it is much easier for less experienced observers to keep up with the action.
One of the greatest aspects of StarCraft is that it involves a level of strategy where an experienced watcher is able to notice the same great moves and tactics as an experienced player.
How is the game played?
A multiplayer game of StarCraft can be played with 2-8 players, though for competitive purposes most games are one-on-one.
There are three races to pick from, each with different structures, units, and skills. The variation in the races makes for a wide array of situations and strategies.
In tournaments, maps are decided beforehand, and top players tend to develop strategies that will work best on that map.
The basis of the game is to harvest resources, use the resources to expand your presence through both military type power and economic type power, and then to destroy your enemy.
Who is sponsoring the TSL?
The TSL is being sponsored by Razer, and organized by TeamLiquid.net. Cash prizes for the first season of the TSL total $10,000.
What is Teamliquid.net?
TeamLiquid.net is the top English site for following the professional StarCraft scene. The TeamLiquid.net community is composed of thousands of people from all over the world, with only one common bond: we all think that StarCraft is awesome.
Who is competing in the TSL?
For more information on who is competing in this season's TSL, or anything else regarding the TSL, check the TSL forums here
Where do I go to watch the games?
A link to the stream[s] will be posted shortly before the action begins, on May 10th. There is a timer counting down to the action at the top of the page.