The Halo World Championship is back in 2018 with a new primary partner. MLG, owned by Activision Blizzard, has taken over and will organize much of the major parts of this season, including the Orlando Open and the World Championship finals.
There's a mix of online and LAN play, huge sums of money and the world's finest Halo players involved. The action is already underway, so here's a quick roundup of the key facts you need to know.
What is the Halo World Championship?
The official competitive tournament for Halo 5: Guardians, the Halo World Championship will in 2018 begin with online play in January and culminate in the World Championship finals in April.
Every team competing is hoping to capture one of just 16 spots at the World Championship.
- 9 teams from North America
- 4 teams from Europe and the Middle East
- 2 teams from Australia and New Zealand
- 1 team from Latin America
Qualification for the World Championship finals will occur through regional finals events, with online competitions used in advance of both these and the Orlando Open to determine seedings for qualifier events as well as which teams are eligible for free travel and accommodation. Online play takes place through MLG's Gamebattles service, and there are a series of 2K tournaments to help teams boost their points (with 2,000 awarded to the winners).
How much prize money is on offer?
In short, a lot. The World Championship finals will boast a prize pool of a staggering $1million, while prize money is also on offer in the smaller events leading up to this.
The regional finals for LATAM, ANZ, and EU all have a $25,000 prize pool, while the North American region has a chance at $50,000.
The Orlando Open, the first big LAN event of the season also has a $50,000 prize pool.
Initially, Halo WC competition is online only, with weekly 2K tournaments taking place in each region. Additionally, teams can play Gamebattles "ladder" matches every day against any other teams doing the same to earn more points. Five points are awarded to each winning team, with a maximum of 35 points per day allowed.
The Orlando Open will feature the top 12 teams from the online play as well as last season's HCS 2017 Fall finals broken down as such:
- 8 teams from North America.
- 2 teams from Europe and the Middle East.
- 1 team from Australia and New Zealand.
- 1 team from Latin America.
The event is open to any team from around the world, though, with a 96 team open bracket feeding four teams into the pool play and four more teams into the Championship bracket.
From here on out there will be regional qualifiers to seal spots at the World Championship finals. The dates and locations are:
- Feb 23-25 – London
- March 9-11 – Sydney
- March 17-18 – Mexico City
- March 23-25 – Columbus
The 2018 Halo World Championship season then comes to a close with the grand finals in Seattle from April 13 - April 15.
How to watch
The best way to watch is to get down to one of the live events and take it all in! But obviously that's not practical for everyone, so thankfully there are a couple of ways to watch the action online.
The weekly 2K tournaments are also being featured online, which is great news for fans of competitive Halo. Everything will be broadcast on Twitch and Mixer so you can watch from a PC, phone, tablet or your console. Make sure to subscribe to the channels linked below.
How to join in
If you're thinking "I'd like a piece of that," then the good news is, you can. The structure set up by MLG echoes that of the Gears Pro Circuit and the Call of Duty World League, both of which the company organizes. It's easy to get involved.
If you've got a team the first place to start is daily Gamebattles matchups. You can't qualify for the bigger events without earning points, and Gamebattles is the way to get started. From there, it's taking part in the weekly 2K tournaments.
It's worth investigating what your regional partners (Gfinity in Europe, Gamelta in LATAM and ESL Australia) might be doing around their respective regional finals, too. Even if you're not taking part in the main event, there might still be a way to get involved. In London, for example, Gfinity will be hosting a "free-for-all" tournament where you can even turn up on your own and make a name for yourself as well as win a share of $5,000.
And if you're an absolute beginner, it all starts with getting Halo 5: Guardians. It's currently just $19.99 on the Microsoft Store, or free with the Xbox Game Pass (opens in new tab).
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Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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