Earlier today, SiegeGG received information (from a team that wished to remain anonymous) with regards to the week 1 map pool for the APAC region.
Ubisoft had previously announced that the overall map pool would be reduced to 7 maps for Season 8. Skyscraper, Kafe, and Chalet would be departing from the current pool, with Villa being the only entry. This leaves the map pool as follows: Bank, Border, Clubhouse (reworked), Coastline, Consulate, Oregon, and Villa.
They had then further announced that between every play day, Ubisoft would be banning the maps that both teams had played in the previous play day. However, since this relies on the team having played a match previously, it meant that for the first week, two maps would be randomly auto-banned from the 7-map pool.
As such, APAC’s first week map pool is out, with the following five maps for all eight teams to choose from: Bank, Coastline, Border, Consulate, and Oregon.
The exclusion of the two newest, and least-practiced maps seems less than random, but is welcome nonetheless. With Clubhouse’s rework and Villa’s existence only beginning with Season 8 of the Pro League, excluding the two until teams have had further practice is a wise choice. Teams would have had to rely on scrimming the maps only in the Technical Test Server previously, and will get less than a week to practice on them once Operation Para Bellum drops this Thursday.
Also confirmed to SiegeGG earlier today was the switch from a Best-of-1 (Bo1) format to a Best-of-2 (Bo2) format for the APAC region.
As previously revealed, APAC would be having a fairly different season schedule to the Pro League than the other three regions. The regular season will start on the 13th of June, but instead of having one play day per week and running for 14 weeks, it will have 2 play days per week and run for 7 weeks.
This means that the final online Pro League play day for the APAC region will be on the 26th of July. While initially ESL had decided to follow other regions with a Bo1 format, thereby having four games every play day, they have now switched to a Bo2 format after consultation with the Pro League teams. There will be no change to the LAN format, though, with it sticking to a single-elimination Bo3 format.
This new online format is not too far a departure from the originally announced Bo1, and has many benefits for everyone involved. While each team would have played every other team in the league on two separate play days (and probably two separate play weeks) in two different Bo1 games, now each team will play every other team only once, but in a Bo2 game. Two maps are still played between the same teams, although there will no longer be a chance for teams to rematch on the exact same map, nor will there be a chance to analyse the same opponent between two play days.
With the teams not playing each other before-and-after the Year 3 Season 3 DLC operators and map, there is functionally little difference. In fact, now, teams only have to play a single team per week, and only have to play once a week, allowing them to hone their preparation more finely for each opponent. It also gives them more time outside of the Pro League games. Production staff and ESL admins, too, will have to spend less time waiting for teams to join the lobby with only four teams involved each day, down from all eight. Spectators, meanwhile, still get to see each team play once a week.
With the Bo2 system, there will be some functional changes to how the weekly 5-map pool, and map veto system works.
With the current Bo3 system and 9-map pool, map vetoes are carried out as follows:
X Ban, Y Ban, X Ban, Y Ban, X Ban, Y Ban, X Pick, Y Pick, Auto-Pick Decider.
With a Bo1 system and 5-map pool, map vetoes would be carried out as follows:
X Ban, Y Ban, X Ban, Y Ban, Auto-Pick Map to be Played.
Of note is that the Bo1 ban system means that the team conducting bans second is essentially picking the map to be played from the two remaining options.
With a Bo2 system and 5-map pool, though, map vetoes will presumably be carried out as follows:
X Ban, Y Ban, X Pick, Y Pick, 5th Map Auto-Banned.
Furthermore, with the weekly 5-map pool involving two maps being banned from the previous week, it is assumed that the two banned maps would be the maps picked by each team in the previous play day.
Week 1: A (pick: Bank) vs B (pick: Oregon) and X (pick: Villa) vs Y (pick: Border).
Week 2: A vs X (banned maps: Bank and Villa) and B vs Y (banned maps: Oregon and Border).
In the event that two teams picked the same map in the previous week, Ubisoft would ban a second map at random. Continuing the previous example, if A and X both had picked Bank, the banned maps for the A vs X match would be Bank and a random selection from the remaining six maps.
As far as points scoring goes, though, it will still be following the Bo1 system. The new Pro League format dictates that whichever team wins 6 out of 10 possible rounds first, wins the map. If both teams finish the 10 rounds in a tie (i.e. a 5-5 score), the map is considered drawn. As such, while teams will be playing both maps back-to-back, they will still be scored as per the Bo1 system. A won map will net a team 3 points, while a drawn map will net both teams 1 point each.
This yields the following permutations:
- A 2-0 map score means the winning team gets 6 points (3 points per map won, one team won both maps)
- A 1-1 map score means both teams get 3 points each (both teams won a map each)
- A 1.5-0.5 map score means one team gets 4 points (3 points for winning a map, 1 point for drawing the other), while the other team gets 1 point (lost a map, and drew the other)
- A 0.5-0.5 map score means both teams get 2 points each (both maps drawn, 1 point awarded per map)
While these changes set APAC further apart from other regions, they are somewhat necessary with the fact that the region is four sub-regions combined and needs an APAC LAN to decide the two teams representing it at the global LAN finals. The changes are sure to be welcome for many, but opposition is surely to be expected from some.