We know that some of you might be unfamiliar with how a Pro Circuit Live Competition works. Whether you’re coming as a competitor, or as a spectator, there’s a lot to take in. To get you ready for the National Championships in Providence on November 18-20, the NOS MLG Performance Center is pleased to bring you this handy guide that should explain everything: from how to sign up, to why you should go, to what you should do when you get there. By the time you finish reading this, you’ll have all the knowledge of a seasoned veteran and you’ll be ready to roll when you join us in Providence.

1. What is a Pro Circuit Live Competition?

At an MLG Pro Circuit Live Competition, thousands of players and spectators come together for three days packed with everything a gamer could ever want. When you first walk into the venue you’ll see three giant Main Stages, one for each game; each surrounded by dozens upon dozens of gaming stations, promo booths chock full of free stuff, and floor areas dedicated to special events, sneak previews of upcoming games, and tons more. Whether you’re spectating or competing, you can meet the pros, get their autographs, and stand just feet away and watch as they play. It's almost impossible to describe the atmosphere of a live competition. Imagine being in a room with thousands of your friends, watching the top players in the world competing right before your eyes—and getting the chance to compete against them.

The MLG Pro Circuit currently has four titles: Call of Duty: Black Ops for the PS3, Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360, and StarCraft 2 and  League of Legends on PC. In 2011, we've held five Regular Season weekends, all leading up to this: the National Championship weekend. This tournament that showcases the best of the best.

An MLG Pro Circuit Live Competition is the ultimate place to be a gamer. Coming to compete? The best pros in the country (and sometimes the world) will be there, and you’ll get the chance to play against them. Playing online gives you plenty of chances to play against your friends, beat total strangers, and improve your skills, but there’s nothing like a live competition. If you’re coming to compete, you can play for three days straight—you don’t even have to sleep if you don’t want to. If you’re spectating, you’ll find a wealth of things to do and see: all in the company of people who love gaming as much as you do.

2. What happens when I compete live?

You’ll be a part of a huge field of players and teams, and hundreds of spectators, all together in the same giant venue, all staying in the same hotel. You’ll get the chance to spend three days going head-to-head with some of the best in the world, in front of a hugely enthusiastic that will hang out your every move.

Here are just a few of the things you can look forward to when you play at a Pro Circuit Competition:

  • You’ll have the chance to make a name for yourself and test yourself against the game’s best players
  • It’s a nonstop weekend of gaming: loads of tournament play, hours of free play if you happen to get eliminated, and tons of people looking for some after-hours LAN action each night.
  • Almost $150,000 in prizes is on the line at the National Championships.

3. What happens when I attend as a spectator?

You'll get full access to everything that's going on all weekend. Watch matches taking place on the Main Stages, on the Featured Stations, and on the floor. If you're a StarCraft 2 fan, you can watch all the action from three screens on the Main Stage, with two screens streaming from the players' POVs. There are also a variety of activity booths offering free play, sneak previews of new games, and contests. Promotions and giveaways run all weekend; you could go home with a pile of free gear and samples of tons of products, from gum all the way to gaming equipment.

4. I’ve never played live; will I be competitive?

A lot of the people there will be attending for the first time. Not everyone is a pro or a veteran. You’ll have the chance to play against people of widely varying levels of experience and talent; the odds are, if you’re motivated enough to come out to a Live Competition, you’ll be good enough to play at one. Do you play online on GameBattles? That’s an excellent way to get experience and improve your skills, and if you’ve done well there, you’ll probably find that you can play just as well live. You’ll have to adjust to the intensity and atmosphere of a live event, but a bit of adrenaline never hurt anybody.

5. I play on GameBattles; what does playing online have to do with playing live on the Pro Circuit?

Playing on GameBattles is fantastic practice for playing live, and participating in Online Qualifiers will earn you Rank Points that will help improve your seed in the bracket when you play live. However, the team you play with on GB has nothing to do with the team you bring to the Pro Circuit, unless you want it to. You and your GB team can come to Providence and play together if you want to, or you can put together a new team made up of whoever you like. And please note: you do not have to play in an Online Qualifier to compete live, but it can help you raise your game, and your seed.

5. Does playing in an MLG Providence Online Qualifier on GameBattles mean I’m signed up for the MLG Providence Pro Circuit?

No. These are separate things; you will still have to get a team pass. Signing up for an Online Qualifier does not automatically sign you up to play Live.

6. How does a Live tournament work?

Each game has two brackets, and the tournament is double elimination. If you lose once, you won’t be knocked out; you’ll have a chance to work your way back through the bracket.  The Open Bracket is seeded by Rank Points; any team/player without them will be seeded randomly. The Championship Bracket at the National Championships is comprised of the Season's Top 16 players or teams, by rank points.

Obviously, the number of tournament games you get to play depends on how well you do. You could go all the way to the top, but if you do get knocked out, don’t worry; there will be stations available for free play throughout the weekend.

7. What is it like to be a competitor? 

It's intense. The brackets are large, the competition is fierce, and the days are long. Come prepared; you will be in the venue for quite a while, and you or your coach or manager should bring water and snacks to help keep you going. Food is available both within the venue and immediately outside, but having something on hand if you want to take a quick break can be quite helpful. 

If you want to leave the venue, speak to your Tournament Admin. They will be able to tell you exactly how long you have before your next match, so that you can leave if you need to, without worrying about when you'll be playing next. Most players will have plenty of downtime to practice, to relax, to see the sights in the venue and to mingle.

8. How do I attend as a spectator?

Just buy a venue spectator pass. This pass entitles you to watch all the action, from the minute doors open on Friday to the minute the tournament ends on Sunday. It also allows you to participate in all contests, promotions, giveaways and special events. 

9. What do I do once I get there?

When you arrive at the enue on the day of the Event, just head to the check-in line for competitors or for spectators. We’ll have your team or individual competitor pass (or your spectator pass) reserved under your name and the MLG ID you used to buy it, and we’ll search for your name and give you your pass. Full details about what you need to bring to get into the Event (photo ID, etc) will be emailed to you once you buy a pass.

13. Can I compete or spectate if I’m under 18?

Yes! Everyone is welcome. Competitors under 18 should check out the parental consent form for further details.

14. Where exactly is the tournament being held?

The venue is the Rhode Island Convention Center, 1 Sabin Street, Providence, RI


We hope you’ve found this guide helpful and that you’re now prepared for all the excitement of a Pro Circuit Live Competition!  Head over to the NOS Performance Center for tips and tricks that’ll help you improve your game and get you in fighting shape for MLG Providence.