EVO 2016 Review

EVO 2016 Review

Written by: King DX on July 24, 2016.
EVO 2016 has officially come and gone. The Evolution 2016 tournament took place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Mandalay Event Center. This tournament was no doubt the biggest in the long line of EVO’s history. It was ran incredibly smooth with judges sometimes allowing casual matches before the next set of pools began. With over 5,000 entrants in Capcom’s latest Street Fighter entry (Street Fighter V) and the tons of people that showed up for Smash, it’s clear that Mr. Wizard did a great job of organizing the event. The tournament was full of highlights and laced with very talented players from across the globe. We won't spoil all of the action but Sundays Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 grand finals ended with a surprising final boss. You can check out the crazy moment below if you'd like.

"I felt myself connecting more with people on the street playing Pokemon Go than attending EVO 2016"

From food inside of the venue, sending out pools early, making sure systems were updated and the host of indie games on display, you have to give credit where credit is due. This is how a tournament should be run, hands down the cleanest event that I have ever been to.

Now the downside… For all of the good things EVO had going for it there were a few problems and I fear these may repeat themselves if we don’t speak on it. The venues were great, The venues locations were atrocious. What I mean is that the venues geographical location to each other made the tournament a nightmare. Tons of guest stayed at the Mandalay Bay… (read as Delano) because the Evolution site offered deals for reduced cost because of the tournament. The problem with this is that the first two days of the tournament were held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The convention center was roughly 5 miles away from the Mandalay Bay. By car it would take you about 15-20 mins from the Mandalay because of traffic. If you were on foot then you had to travel to the MGM(15-20 mins on foot), catch a monorail (15 mins) and then walk another 10 mins from the monorail to the actual floor where the games were being played. Thats about a 40 min distance for most people who came, carrying around any fight sticks or converters that they may need. Compared to other events like CEO or Final Round, this is a big inconvenience and one that I heard many gamers besides myself bring up. You have to understand that the problem here is that normally at a tournament you start to know a ton of participants, these competitors that you meet have games all throughout the day and the fun comes from walking around the venue floor and interacting with these players, cheering them on as they fight. With 2/3 of the event being so far away from my actual hotel room, I found myself not wanting to keep making the incredibly long trip back to Las Vegas Convention Center. This IMO took away a large part of the tournaments enjoyment.

Now I’m not sure if this is because Mr. Wizard could not find a venue big enough at a hotel to accommodate all of the people or perhaps the Mandalay Bay event center was just for ESPN, regardless I think a case could be made that it was a money related issue. Understandably EVO is run as a business because it is a business and all businesses are there to make money, duh. The fact that there were 2 tickets that you needed to purchase now instead of 1 was jaw dropping to many. With people who actually participated claiming to be unable to get a ticket for the Sundays main event. This extra ticket for the main event is going to become a trend now and I think it is a horrible trend that should end with EVO 2016. It seems quite obvious to me that there was enough space at LACC to host the grand finals Sunday. Mandalay was simply to put on a show for ESPN2. Now I won't claim that I know the business dealing between ESPN and EVO but I am certain that ESPN paid money to the EVO organizers to show the event on TV. Considering ESPN made Fuudo change his characters costume, its obvious they had some say as to how the event was being ran and that normally only happens after a company has given you some type of monetary investment. If my assumption is right and ESPN did give money to the EVO organizers then the cost of the Mandalay Bay Event Center should not have been passed off to the participants. Now perhaps this was somehow an oversight and Mr. Wizard and team never thought about how two tickets may effect the players but I honestly don't think he cared. Honestly my problem here is there have been several times in the past where Mr. Wizard has made some questionable decisions and hasn’t really ever offered up an apology. Back in 2013 the UMvC3 pools that started at 8am were ran in 2 out 3 sets, only to have the rules changed to 3 out of 5 for the 10 am pools. That same year EVO was listed at being held at the Paris hotel when in fact it was at Bailey’s. While the two hotels are connected there was a quite noticeable price difference and I suspect that information was known to Mr. Wizard who could have informed the players. There have also been several times when top players have been added to the pools into the very late hours of the event and a few other occurrences. The rules and the way tournaments should operate in general appear to be bendable to Mr. Wizards will and this is where I worry.

EVO is the example that other tournament organizers look at. The FGC going e-sports is completely ok but I don’t think it should be at the expense of the long time supporters. Just because EVO is the biggest event does not mean it can not be dethroned or that it is the only event. I don’t want Mr. Wizard and crew to think gamers will blindly just accept whatever is put in front of us just because it’s EVO. The people who feel the impact of things like this are not the top players, its the guys and gals that actually bring in enough money to keep the event thriving. Hopefully next year Mr. Wizard and crew will keep the players in mind first and put the corporate BS on the back burner. Evo was easily the best run event I have ever seen but it took a step backwards in terms of having a feeling of union among the players. I felt myself connecting more with people on the street playing Pokemon Go than attending EVO 2016.
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