Competitive NS2

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The logo of the NSL

The Natural Selection League (NSL) is the main instance of competitive play (6 vs 6) in the NS2 community. It is staffed entirely by Volunteers.[1] Major NS2 tournaments have been held by the NSL or run with its assistance. Keep in mind that other instances used to run similar events such as AusNS2.

History

The ENSL originated from the NS1 competitive community where in 2005 which now has its own Discord server, it was created as a fork of the French league and named as the ENSL (European Natural Selection League).

From its formation until the end of NS1 competitive play in 2010, It hosted 15 seasons, 16 Night Cups, 2 Nation Cups (in 2007 and 2009), various exhibition matches and several other small competitions.

When NS2 was released in October of 2012, there was already a small competitive community formed from beta-testers and the league was able to quickly re-establish itself as a major hub for competitive play to be organised. After discussions on which countries would be supported by the league, it was decided that the name would change from ENSL to NSL as it is known today, to reflect the fact that teams are accepted on a world-wide basis.[2]

League Structure

The NSL follows a standard group tournament ranking system where teams with a similar skill group are separated into divisions and play one season per calendar year. The number of divisions in the NSL for a season will vary based on the amount of competing teams. Usually, each team will play an even-number of matches and each team will play every other team once.[3] Due to the current amount of active teams, the NSL decided to drop the division format and opt for a ladder system, starting with Season 14. This format, that includes different variations, implements one division that encompasses all the teams that signed up for a season and offers them the ability to battle the teams that are just above in ranks.

Scoring

Matches are played across 2 maps with 2 rounds played on each map. Teams are awarded 1 point for every round won.

As shown in the example above, the possible score a team can take from any competitive game is 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 points. Depending on what ladder format is picked for a season, additional points may be attributed to teams. For instance, Season 14 assigned 4 points for every played matches, as an incentive to schedule their matches.

Map Pool

The map pool (maps that may be selected for competitive matches) generally changes with each respective season but has been constant these last seasons. In order to observe a better balanced and competitive gameplay, some maps come with preselected spawns. For example, no Alien North spawn on Tram.


CompMod

NSL matches are played on a different balance that fits more a 6 v 6 gameplay. It is currently maintained by the NSL staff which has the final say on what goes in or out.

The vision of the Natural Selection League (NSL) Competitive Modification (CompMod) is to enable fun, fair and balanced play in a 6v6 environment, while remaining as accessible to new players as possible.

To do this the team commits to remaining transparent in all changes, to be open to discussion, feedback and criticism, and above all else, to strive to attain enjoyable play for all members of the competitive community, regardless of skill level.

Examples of major changes:

  • Neurotoxin (adds 15% attack speed penalty, replaces Crush);
  • Shotgun spread (spread changed to 10 from 8.5);
  • Skulk bite cones (lowered to (0.7, 1) from (1.2, 1.2) (Width x Height);
  • Gorge slide

Full changelog at ensl.org/compmod


NSL Gathers

Gathers are pick-up games where you can sign up to play a competitive 6 vs 6 NS2 game with other players from the league which are not necessarily part of a team. Because these games are much more demanding, and arguably more fun. You can get a taste of what NS2 used to be as a competitive game, pinnacle of FPS games. Nearly all players who play gathers regularly prefer them over public. Gather games tend to be more balanced, too, as captains pick the teams and admins might intervene to avoid boring walkovers. If you're looking for a team, that's the best place to start and get accustomed to NSL players.

Gathers happen regularly, you only need to make an account on the NSL website and sign up on the gather page.


Tournaments

Regular seasons aside, the NSL has been running various tournaments:

  • Newcomer tournaments (restricted to newer players that never participated in NS2 competitive play before);
  • Custom Map Cup (6 v 6 on maps that are not on the seasons map pool, whether they're official or not, such as Caged or Fracture);
  • Skulks with Shotguns (an excited mod that fits perfectly for competitive play!);
  • Nations Cup (a battle of Nations in a 6 v 6 format) ;
  • ProgMod tournament (incoming - a very atypical balance that differs significantly from vanilla NS2)


NS2 World Championship

If other competitive live tournaments occurred before the NS2WC (e.g. NSL Invitational or the Natural Selection 2 European Open), the latest was the largest one-time event that we have seen on NS2 so far. It took place end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 in Cologne (Germany) and couldn't happen without the great help of community donators, UWE support and NVIDIA/Intel contributions. You can find out more about the cost of the competition here. Community donators were rewarded with a shiny Earth badge depending on the amount of the contribution (following the same system of the Reinforced program) and NS2WC shoulder patches (representing the 4 semi-finalist teams logos: Godar, Snails, Titus and Saunamen).

Amazing games were played and casted before the semi-finals and final in Cologne but the excitement reached its climax during the live events streamed and commented by WasabiOne, blind & RedDog. Titus Gaming (North America) and Legendary Snails (France) made it to the final. The latest team came out victorious and earned the 5.000$ price cash.

Rumors have come across the NS2 community of a new World Championship. UWE is currently looking for sponsors to make it happen.

NS2WC Logo.png


Media

The NSL operates several media channels to allow viewing of competitive events.

Notes

  1. NSL Staff list - http://www.ensl.org/about/staff (Retrieved 20/07/15).
  2. NSL NS1 History - http://www.ensl.org/articles/401 (Retrieved 20/07/15).
  3. NSL NS2 History - http://www.ensl.org/contests/historical/NS2 (Retrieved 20/07/15).