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How are VALORANT's changes are impacting TOs like NESO?

Courtesy of Riot Games

Things sure have been quiet at NESO since the conclusion of the Summer Invitational last August where we saw Flex Gaming secure a victory against Team Reckaroo in the grand finale. However, the VALORANT scene has a whole has been extremely volatile for tournament organizers, and the recent changes made by Riot Games certainly has both limited TOs and shifted the priority of the community in general.

We've witnessed a near collapse of part of the tier 1 and tier 2 scene in the wake of the franchising announcements, NSG lose its official contract with riot games, and new regulations regarding hosting an event series. These factors impact the way a tournament organizer can operate, and we've been working to respond to them at NESO.

The announcement earlier in 2022 of the release of limited franchising slots had created a lot of hopeful organizations, as well as a lot of dread from those without much of a chance of securing one. We witnessed even the biggest tier 1 organizations fail to secure a slot or lose their previously secured slot due to a variety of reasons, as well as tier 2 organizations who would've previously been seen as some of the best in their region failing to be able to continue to compete at the highest levels of play. In effect, Riot had finally taken the reins back to control the tier 1 scene, and who could be a part of it.

Coutesy of Riot Games & Knights Arena

Teams and players weren't the only ones cut out by these changes, but also TOs who were effectively forced out of being able to host events at the tier 1 level. In particular, we saw Nerd Street Gamers, who had a near monopoly on the highest level of play below official VCT matches, fall from their throne in the wake of franchising and the loss of their official contracting rights with Riot Games to Knights Arena.

In addition, Riot Games released new regulations and has been actively discouraging hosting a longer event series than four to five tournaments as to avoid competition with VCT or Game Changers. The rest of these regulations are minor shifts for TOs, but we're still having to actively respond and work to stay within them.

Courtesy of the LCS

All of these factors have changed the way TOs can operate while within VALORANT, but they are certainly not entirely unique problems. We've witnessed the League of Legends scene rapidly shift in the last four years without much room for a lot of non-official tournaments organizers in North America outside of the collegiate or high school esports scene. This doesn't mean TOs cannot operate in League of Legends, in-fact I'd argue the scene is in a very healthy spot at the moment, however it does mean that TOs must be creative in their approach to hosting League of Legends tournaments. The goal for Riot Games is to bring that healthy ecosystem to VALORANT, but it isn't going to be an immediate change.

NESO has been quietly watching and drafting its mad plans to return to hosting VALORANT tournaments in the wake of VALORANT's changes. We're proud to announce that we will be returning slowly over the course of December of 2022, and into January of 2023, with the release of our new premier club.

We will be hosting tournaments weekly on Thursdays through Sundays, with Thursday through Saturday featuring a $250 prize pool and Sunday starting with a $500 prize pool. We plan to adjust and update this prizing over the course of early 2023, with plans to raise the Sunday prizing to $1,000 and possibly increase Thursday through Saturday up to $500. Furthermore, we'll start by capping the allow entry into these tournaments at 16 teams, and only offering entry to those who become a part of our premier club.

For 19.99/month NESO will allow any team to compete in every premier tournament without having any additional entry fees. This means we're prioritizing our teams being able to consistently compete against eachother in smaller, more focused tournaments. We're hoping this reduces the amount of time teams are having to spend between matches, allows teams to better schedule their planned events, and allows them to consistently compete on days which they don't typically have a tournament.

We'll be monitoring how these changes impact gameplay and our community, but overall we've seen positive responses. NESO is proud to be a North American grassroots organization, and as more details are released over the coming month, you'll see the strives we're taking to improve the quality of our events. Thank you for supporting NESO, and stay tuned as we continue to work hard.


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