Gears 5 Esports Handbook

1. INTRODUCTION

2. CODE OF CONDUCT

 

3. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY

 

4. PLAYER & TEAM RESTRICTIONS

 

5. COMPETITIVE PLATFORM

 

6. COMPETITIVE STRUCTURE

 

7. ONLINE COMPETITION

 

 

 

8. LIVE EVENTS

 

9. MEDIA

 

10. TRAVEL AWARDS

 

11. RULE & CONDUCT VIOLATIONS


1. INTRODUCTION

The Gears Esports Handbook (“Handbook” or “Rules”) of the Gears Esports Program (“Gears Esports”) applies to all Teams, Team Owners, Team Managers, Coaches, Players, and Substitutes (“Participants”) who are actively participating in any event related to Gears Esports.

The Gears Esports Administration (“Administration”) consists of the following parties: The Coalition, Microsoft, and PGL.

The Gears Esports Program consists of all online and offline activities (“Competitions”) that are governed by the Gears Esports Handbook and operated on the official Gears Esports Online Platform unless otherwise indicated by the Administration.

Administration reserves the right to change or update the Gears Esports Program, Handbook and Code of Conduct at any time.

 

2. CODE OF CONDUCT

All Participants are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on the Administration, Press, Sponsors, Attendees, and other Participants being represented.

By participating in Gears Esports, Participants agree to abide by the Gears Esports Code of Conduct. The official Gears Esports Code of Conduct can be found here.

 

2.1 CHEATING AND GAMEPLAY

No forms of cheating will be tolerated. This includes software modification, hardware modification, match fixing, hacking, exploiting game glitches, impersonation (including playing under another Player’s account), collusion, or any other behavior as determined by the Administration or Tournament Organizer. Any type of cheating will result in a Team disqualification from the Competition as well as other disciplinary measures determined by the Administration or Tournament Organizer.

Participants may not intentionally delay or slow gameplay, including but not limited to stalling, disconnecting network cables, interruption of network connectivity, or any other known or unknown manner of tampering with gameplay. Any intentional delay will result in in a Team disqualification from the Competition. All Players must connect to their match lobby in at least 15 minutes from the start of their scheduled match start, otherwise their Team will be disqualified from the Competition.

 

2.2 DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

The use of drugs or alcohol may lead to disruptive behavior. Players believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during tournament hours may be removed from the tournament at the discretion of the Administration or tournament organizer. No references to illegal substances will be tolerated.

 

2.3 SPORTSMANSHIP

Players must not use obscene gestures, language, or offensive comments during tournament activity, including:

  • Hate speech or discriminatory behavior
  • Violent or physical aggression or behavior
  • Threats
  • Sexual harassment of any kind
  • Racist or sexist words, phrases, or gestures
  • Extreme profanity
  • Any “sound-alike” or “look-alike” words or phrases that reference these topics
  • Any other type of conduct deemed inappropriate at the discretion of the Administration or tournament organizer

All players are expected to be respectful of the staff of the Administration, Tournament Organizers, Sponsors, and/or Partners at all times.

 

2.4 COMPETITIVE INTEGRITY

Participants are expected to compete at the best of their ability at all times during Gears Esports competition.

 

2.5 BETTING AND GAMBLING

Participants may not conduct or promote betting or gambling on any Gears Esports match. Participants may not benefit directly or indirectly from betting or gambling on any Gears Esports match. Any Participants found in violation of these rules will be penalized per Section #12 of this Handbook.

 

3. PLAYER ELIGIBILITY

A “Player” is any person who is registered on the roster for a Team during Gears Esports competition. Players must meet the following requirements in their entirety in order to be eligible to compete. Players who do not meet these requirements will be deemed ineligible and will be removed from the Gears Esports Program until the requirements are met.

Administration reserves the right to investigate Player information when eligibility is in question. Players should be prepared to provide a copy of personal identification or other applicable documents to verify that these requirements are met.

 

3.1 AGE

The Gears Esports Program is for players 18+ with the following exceptions:

  • Players 17 years of age may participate in all live events and online competitions, including Pro League, with parental consent.
  • Players 16 years of age may compete in all other online competitions with parental consent. These players may also compete in live events with parental consent unless prohibited by local law, which is currently the case for events in Mexico.
    Players 16 years of age are not eligible to compete in the Pro League.
  • Players aged 13 to 15 may compete in online competition with parental consent, but are not eligible to compete in Pro League. These players may also attend live events as a spectator with the direct supervision of a parent or guardian, however they are not eligible to compete.

 

3.2 REGION & RESIDENCY

Players must reside in the Region that they compete in for all online play.

Players are entitled to switch Regions if their citizenship or legal residence changes. Players looking to switch from one Region to another must email g5esports-admin@service.microsoft.com.

 

3.2.1 REGIONS

Regions are as defined below:

 

North America

Canada

United States

 

Latin America

Belize

Colombia

Costa Rica

Dominican Republic

El Salvador

Guatemala

Haiti

Honduras

Nicaragua

Mexico

Panama

Puerto Rico

 

Europe

Åland

Albania

Algeria

Andorra

Angola

Armenia

Austria

Belgium

Benin

Bosnia Herzegovina

Botswana

Bulgaria

Burkina Faso

Burundi

Cabo Verde

Cameroon

Central African Republic (CAR)

Chad

Comoros

Cote d’Ivoire

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Denmark

Djibouti

Egypt

Equatorial Guinea

Eritrea

Estonia

Eswatini

Ethiopia

Faroe Islands

Finland

France

Gabon

Gambia

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Greenland

Guinea

Guinea-Bissau

Hungary

Iceland

Isle of Man

Israel

Italy

Kenya

Latvia

Lesotho

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Macedonia

Madagascar

Malawi

Mali

Malta

Mauritania

Mauritius

Moldova

Monaco

Montenegro

Morocco

Mozambique

Namibia

Netherlands

Niger

Nigeria

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Republic of Ireland

Republic of the Congo

Romania

Russia

Rwanda

Sao Tome and Principe

San Marino

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Senegal

Seychelles

Sierra Leone

Slovakia

Slovenia

Somalia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Tanzania

Togo

Tunisia

Turkey

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom

Vatican City

Zambia

Zimbabwe

 

South America

Argentina

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Ecuador

French Guiana

Guyana

Paraguay

Peru

Suriname

Uruguay

Venezuela

 

Asia-Pacific

Australia

Bangladesh

Bhutan

Brunei

Cambodia

China

Fiji

French Polynesia

Guam

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Japan

Laos

Macau

Malaysia

Maldives

Mongolia

Myanmar

Nepal

New Caledonia

New Zealand

Northern Mariana Islands

Pakistan

Papua New Guinea

Philippines

Samoa

Singapore

Solomon Islands

South Korea

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Thailand

Timor-Leste

Vanuatu

Vietnam

 

*African countries please choose Europe > Saudi Arabia as your region on the Online Platform until further notice. Thank you for your understanding.

 

3.3 EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION

Players may not be employees of Administration or Affiliates at any point during any competition. Former employees of The Coalition, Microsoft, or any vendors that participated in the development of Gears 5 are not eligible to participate in the Gears Esports competitions within 6 months of their final employment date.

 

4. PLAYER & TEAM RESTRICTIONS

4.1 PLAYER & TEAM NAMES

Player Names and Team Names may not contain:

  • Obscene or suggestive language
  • Corporation, company, sponsor, product, or services names
  • The Coalition, Microsoft, PGL, or any shorthand of the aforementioned
  • Gears of War and Gears Esports derivatives that may cause confusion during gameplay

Administration reserves the right to restrict or change Team and Player names for any reason.

 

4.2 SPONSORSHIPS

Players and teams may acquire sponsorship. Administration reserves the right to restrict sponsor involvement.

All sponsorships must abide by the guidelines defined by Microsoft’s Creative Acceptance Policy.

Administration may allow sponsorship exceptions in some cases with prior approval. Teams need to contact gearsesports@microsoft.com to request exceptions.

 

5. COMPETITIVE PLATFORM

All Matches are to be played on Xbox One with controller, unless otherwise stated.

 

5.1 GAME SIZE

All Matches are to be played 5v5, unless otherwise stated.

 

5.2 GAME MODE

All Matches are to be played on Gears 5’s Escalation game mode, unless otherwise stated.

 

5.3 MAPS

All Games are to be played on one of the following Maps:

  • Asylum
  • Bunker
  • District
  • Exhibit
  • Icebound
  • Training Grounds
  • Vasgar

Administration reserves the right to change Maps at any time.

 

5.4 MAP & HOST SELECTION
5.4.1 BEST OF 1

The Higher Seeded Team will choose to act as Team A or Team B during the Map Ban process.

The Map Ban process is as follows:

  1. Team A bans 1 Map 
  2. Team B bans 1 Map 
  3. Team B bans 1 Map 
  4. Team A bans 1 Map 
  5. Team A bans 1 Map 
  6. Team B bans 1 Map
  7. Remaining Map becomes Map 1
  8. Team A picks Faction for Map 1
     

*For Online: Team that picks faction will Host match.

*For Offline: Match must be hosted on Neutral Host.

 

5.4.2 BEST OF 3

The Higher Seeded Team will choose to act as Team A or Team B during the Map Ban process.

The Map Ban process is as follows:

  1. Team A bans 1 Map
  2. Team B bans 1 Map
  3. Team B picks Map 1
  4. Team A picks Faction for Map 1
  5. Team A picks Map 2
  6. Team B picks Faction for Map 2
  7. Team A bans 1 Map
  8. Team B bans 1 Map
  9. Remaining Map becomes Map 3
  10. Team A picks Faction for Map 3
     

*For Online: Team that picks faction will Host match.

*For Offline: Match must be hosted on Neutral Host.

 

5.5 GAME SETTINGS

The Host & Players will abide by the following settings.

 

5.5.1 ESCALATION SETTINGS

Fill with Bots: Off

Bot Difficulty: Beginner

Round Score Limit: 250

Respawn Escalation: -1 Second

Friendly Fire: On

Weapon Respawns: After Pickup

Aim Assist: Assist Disabled

Use Lives: On

Initial Lives: 5

Max Lives: 5

Restore Game (LAN): Off

 

5.5.2 WEAPON SUBSTITUTIONS

None

 

5.5.3 STARTING LOADOUT
  1. Lancer
  2. Gnasher
  3. Snub Pistol

 

5.6 CHARACTER AND WEAPON SKIN RESTRICTIONS
  • Each Team is only allowed one iteration of any character on their Team at one time, irrespective of character skin. For example, “Esports Kait” is the same as “Armored Kait”.
  • A single COG Team is only allowed 2 female characters.
  • A single COG Team cannot have one Player using a Marcus skin and another using Batista.

The following Character skins are banned from Gears Esports play:

  • Terminator T-800 (Swarm)
  • Terminator Rev-9 (Swarm)

The following weapon skins are banned from Gears Esports play:

  • Black Phantom

Skin violations must be flagged to Tournament admins on Discord prior to the end of the map the violation occurs on. In the event a violation is confirmed, the disputing Team will have the option to restart the Map. Disputing Teams must be able to provide video proof of the violation otherwise the dispute will not be considered.

Administration reserves the right to restrict additional Character and Weapon skins at any time.

 

5.7 UNIVERSAL MATCH RULES
5.7.1 SPECTATOR RULES

All Spectators, whether streaming or not, must be approved by both teams. Between each Map either Team may request the Spectator be removed from the match. This request must be honored by the lobby’s host.

If Spectators wish to stream, please make sure to check Section 9.1.1 Broadcast Rules.

 

5.7.2 PLAYER DISCONNECTS

If a single Player disconnects at the beginning of a round (prior to any Player’s being killed, rings being captured or a power weapon being picked up), Teams should attempt to return to their spawns and allow the Player to reconnect. Once the Player reconnects, the Player should be killed by his/her Team until they have the correct number of lives. If Teams cannot confirm or agree upon the correct number of lives, then that Player is to begin with 3 lives. Once the Player has the correct amount of lives and the Teams are ready to go, the Captains should use Xbox Live messaging or in-game chat to agree on an in-game time to begin play.

If more than one Player disconnects, or a Player disconnects after another Player has been killed, a ring has been captured or a power weapon has been picked up, the process is as follows:

  1. Round is to be finished with the Players still in the lobby.
  2. At the end of the round, Teams are required to take a screenshot or video of the scoreboard and the overhead map with the current weapon placements.
  3. At the start of the next round, the host is to return all Players to the Lobby.
  4. Once all Players have entered the lobby and the game has been launched, Teams should recreate the weapon placements and round score through to the round the Player(s) disconnected. The COG team should dominate each round by capturing all three rings until they’ve reached the correct round score, then the Swarm team. Please note that weapon selections made following the round Player(s) disconnected are not considered “current” and can be changed. Only weapon placements made prior to the round Player(s) disconnected must be honored.
  5. At the start of the next round, Players should kill one another using friendly fire until every Player has one more life than they did at the end of the round before the restart. In the event Teams cannot confirm or agree upon the lives remaining for any given Player, that Player is to begin with 3 lives.

Once both Teams are ready, the Captains should use Xbox Live messaging or in-game chat to agree upon an in-game time to recommence play.

 

6. COMPETITIVE STRUCTURE

6.1 2019-2020 SEASON STRUCTURE

The 2019-2020 Season will be divided into 4 Quarters, each approximately 10 weeks long. Throughout each Quarter, teams will compete in Regional Ladders, Weekly Online Tournaments and Live Local events for cash, points, travel awards and more, while the top teams in North America, Latin America and Europe compete in Pro League play. Each Quarter will conclude with a live Major Event, where the top Regional Tournament and Ladder teams will have the opportunity to compete against the Pro League teams for cash prizing. The season will conclude with a World Championship, where a 2019-2020 Gears Esports Champion will be crowned.

 

6.2 ONLINE PLATFORM

All official Gears Esports competition will be managed on the official Gears Esports Online Platform, unless otherwise stated by the Administration.

 

6.3 ROSTER RULES
  • A Participant can have more than one Team at the same time.
  • A Team can compete in more than one Competition at the same time.
  • A Participant (Player, Coach, or Team Manager) can only be on one Team for a single Competition. For instance, a single Participant cannot be on one Team as a Player, and another Team as a Coach, Player or Team Manager in the same Online Tournament.
  • A Team cannot have more than 5 Players, 1 Coach and 1 Team Manager at any given time.
  • A Player can also be Captain.
  • Team rosters may become locked depending on the type of Competition. If a Team’s roster is locked, nobody can join or leave the Team. Teams wishing to change their rosters in this instance will need to contact the Administration via Discord.
  • Team members can leave their Team without the consent of the Team Manager.
  • The Team Manager can remove a Player from the Team without the consent of the Player.

 

6.4 ROSTER RESTRICTIONS

Teams participating in Ladder competition must have a minimum of 3 Players that have been a Player on that Team for at least 1 week, or that were part of the original roster upon joining the Competition. Leaving the Team will be forbidden if it cannot ensure this state.

Teams participating in Weekly Online Tournament competition must have a minimum of 3 Players that have been a Player on that Team for at least 2 weeks, or that were part of the original roster upon joining their first Competition. Leaving the Team will be forbidden if it cannot ensure this state.

Teams or Players wishing to change their rosters while they’re locked will need to contact the Administration via Discord.

 

6.5 TEAM MANAGER REQUIREMENTS

Team Managers are required to provide a Discord username prior to registering for a Competition, and use the PGL Discord for all Match related discussions such as map picks and bans.

Team Managers must allow for communication over Xbox Live from admins when necessary. All communications from PGL Admins will come from the Xbox Live Account: PGL Gears Admin.

 

6.6 TEAM MANAGER REPLACEMENT

In the event a Team wishes to replace their Team Manager, they may do so with a majority vote. In order to do this, Teams must do the following:

  1. A Player from the Team submits a ticket on Discord to request a Team Manager change, or does so by emailing support@gears.gg.
  2. Once acknowledged, Players invite the ‘PGL Gears Admin’ Xbox Live account into a group chat with two or more other Players from the Team.
  3. All Players in the chat agree that they’d like to remove the Team Manager.
  4. Admin verifies Gamertags and approves the request.
  5. Players should leave their current roster and form a new team.
  6. The Player who initially reached out informs the PGL Admin of the new Team’s name using the same method of communication used in step one (Discord or email).
  7. The Admin moves the Challenger Points to the new Team.

 

7. ONLINE COMPETITION

7.1 LADDERS

Ladders are a type of Competition that lets participants challenge each other, play matches and climb in ranking. Ladder standings will be used to qualify teams for Travel Awards to Major Events and Pro League eligibility in applicable regions. Ladder standings will also be used to establish seeding at Events.

 

7.1.1 ROSTER RESTRICTIONS

Teams participating in Ladder Competition can make as many roster changes as they’d like, however they must have a minimum of 3 Players that have been a Player on that Team for at least 1 week, or that were part of the original roster upon joining the Ladder Competition. Leaving the Team is forbidden if it cannot ensure this state. Teams or Players wishing to change their rosters in this instance will need to contact the Administration via Discord.

 

7.1.2 PLAYER RESTRICTIONS

When a Player joins a Team, the Player enters a “Restriction Period” that lasts 3 days.

If the Player plays a match and then leaves the Team, the Player is not allowed to join another Team until the Restriction Period has ended.

If the Player does not play a match and leaves the Team, the Restriction Period is annulled and the Player is allowed to join another Team immediately.

 

7.1.3 RANKING

A Team’s ranking on their Ladder is based on an ELO system. This system evaluates the level of each Team by attributing them a rating. The difference in ratings between two Teams is used to predict the outcome of a match. This prediction is then used when a match is played to identify how the ratings of the Teams should change. The rating is a number that can therefore increase or decrease.

These are the settings used for the ELO system:

  • Participants start with a base rating (1000 by default).
  • Each match will increase/decrease the rating of the participants from 0 up to K (40 by default).
  • The distribution of points between 0 and K will depend on a normal distribution established on a specific rating difference “D” (400 by default).
  • Administration reserves the right to adjust these values for any Region at any time.

 

7.1.4 MATCH FORMAT

All Ladder matches are to be played as Best of 3.

 

7.1.5 CHALLENGES

“Challenges” aim to pair two Teams together. Once a pairing has been made, a match is created and the Teams are able to play and report the result.

A Challenge is performed by targeting another Team in the ranking. Team’s looking to play immediately are encouraged to use the Ladder channel for their Region on Discord.

A Challenge cannot be performed when the rating difference between two Teams exceeds 400.

A Challenge can be accepted or refused by the challenged Team.

A Challenge can be cancelled by its initiator if the Challenge has not been answered yet.

A Team cannot have more than 5 pending Challenges at the same time.

A Team cannot be re-challenged for 2 days, whether the Challenge was accepted or refused.

When a Challenge is accepted, a match is created with both Teams. They must then organize themselves to play their match and report the result.

 

7.1.6 MATCH PROCESS

The Captain of a Team is able to challenge another Team directly using the online platform. Once this challenge has been accepted, the standard match process is as detailed below. Teams looking for immediate matches are encouraged to use the Ladder channel for their Region on Discord.

  1. After registering on a Ladder, Team Managers are able to send Challenges to other Teams. These Challenges create a Pending Request that the other Team may Accept or Decline. Once the Challenge is Accepted, a Match is created and has to be played. Team’s looking to play immediately are encouraged to use the Ladder channel for their Region on Discord to find other Teams looking for matches at that time.
  2. Once a Match is accepted, Team Managers should use Discord to establish a time and date for their match by joining the Discord channel for their region’s Ladder and messaging the opposing Team. The Discord username for Team Managers can be found in that Match’s “Match” screen on the Online Platform. If Players are having difficulty contacting the opposing Team over Discord, they should contact an admin in their region’s Ladder channel on Discord.
  3. Before the start of their match, Team Managers should use Discord to conduct their map picks/bans and identify the hosts.
  4. Matches then play out at the agreed upon time, using the maps and hosts selected during the pick/ban process.
  5. Following each map, both teams should collect video proof of the match result. Please click here for information on how to record video clips, and please click here for information on how to share them.
  6. Once the match is completed, the winning Team reports the result on the Online Platform. Match results can then be disputed by the “losing Team” if incorrect information is entered. Disputing Teams will be expected to provide video proof, otherwise the dispute will not be considered. In the event a Team is found to have reported a false win, the Team will be disqualified from the Competition and forced to restart.

Please report any urgent issues to the Administration by joining your Region’s Ladder Discord channel and submitting a ticket with PGL’s admin team.

 

7.1.7 PENALTIES

Penalties that may be enforced to ensure teams do not avoid Challenges or manipulate their rank and/or rating:

  • A Challenge refused by a Team that has not played any match on their Ladder in 7 days incurs an “inactivity penalty”. This penalty equals 10% of K (4 points by default).
  • A Challenge that has not been answered after 4 days expires and incurs a “behavior penalty”. This penalty equals 10% of K (4 points by default).
  • A match in the Ladder that is not played 7 days after the Challenge has been accepted will be removed and incur a “no-show penalty” to both teams. This penalty equals 10% of K.

 

7.1.8 TRAVEL AWARDS

Three weeks prior to each Major Event, the top 6 teams on each regional Ladder will compete in a double elimination playoff tournament to determine which Team is awarded with travel to the next Major Event. This tournament will take place on the Saturday prior to the Travel Awards roster lock (November 16th, for the San Diego Major) at:

  • North America: 11 AM PT
  • Latin America: 11 AM CT
  • Europe: 11 AM UTC
  • South America: 11 AM BRT
  • Asia Pacific: 11 AM AEST

Teams will be Seeded based on their Ladder rank, with the top two teams getting a first round bye.

Travel (flights and accommodations) is only included for 5 Players.

Please see section 10. Travel Awards for more information.

 

7.1.9 LADDER RESET

In North America, Latin America and Europe, the Ladder will reset at the end of the Pro League Qualification.

In South America and Asia Pacific, the Ladder will reset on the first day of Pro League Qualification.

 

7.2 WEEKLY TOURNAMENTS

Weekly Online Tournaments will take place on Sunday in each Region. Weekly Online Tournaments are single elimination. Teams will earn Challenger Points based on their tournament results. Challenger Point standings are used to qualify teams for travel to events and Pro League eligibility the following Quarter. Challenger Points will also be used seed Live Events and Weekly Online Tournaments.

Teams will be required to register for their region’s weekly tournaments using the Online Platform.

In order to accrue Challenger Points each week, participants must register tournament using the same Team each week.

 

7.2.1 ROSTER RESTRICTIONS

Teams participating in Weekly Online Tournament competition must have a minimum of 3 Players that have been a Player on that Team for at least 2 weeks, or that were part of the original roster upon joining their first Online Tournament Competition. Leaving the Team is forbidden if it cannot ensure this state.  Teams or Players wishing to change their rosters in this instance will need to contact the Administration via Discord.

 

7.2.2 TOURNAMENT STRUCTURE

Teams are seeded into the Weekly Online Tournaments using their Challenger Point total. If a Team doesn’t have any Challenger Points, they will be seeded randomly at the end of the bracket.

All rounds up to the Quarter Finals are played Best of 1. Quarter Finals, Semi-Finals and Grand Finals are Best of 3. This rule is in place to ensure Tournaments run in a timely fashion. Therefore Teams who violate this rule will receive a forfeit and be disqualified from the Competition.

 

7.2.3 IMPORTANT WEEKLY ONLINE TOURNAMENT TIMES

Registration for Weekly Online Tournaments will end on the Sunday of each tournament at:

  • North America: 3:00 AM PT
  • Latin America: 3:00 AM CT
  • Europe: 3:00 AM UTC
  • South America: 3:00 AM BRT
  • Asia Pacific: 3:00 AM AEST

Weekly Online Tournaments will begin on the Sunday at:

  • North America: 11:00 AM PT
  • Latin America: 11:00 AM CT
  • Europe: 11:00 AM UTC
  • South America: 11:00 AM BRT
  • Asia Pacific: 11:00 AM AEST

To avoid delays and ensure tournaments are run in a timely fashion, Teams are expected to complete their matches for each round by a specific time. Times for each round are as follows, using the same regional time zones listed above:

  • Round 1 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 12:30 PM.
  • Round 2 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 2 PM.
  • Round 3 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 3:30 PM.
  • Round 4 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 5 PM.
  • Round 5 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 6:30 PM.
  • Round 6 – All matches are expected to have concluded by 8 PM.

Please note that these times are for best of 1 rounds only. Best of 3 rounds (Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, Grand Finals) will be allotted additional time.

In the event a match goes beyond a time limit posted above without the approval of a PGL admin, both teams will be given a forfeit and removed from the competition. PGL admins will take the following steps to help avoid unnecessary double forfeits:

  1. If a match result has not been posted 15 minutes prior to the set time above, PGL admins will attempt to contact Team Managers using Discord and Xbox Live from the ‘PGL Gears Admin’ Xbox Live account.
  2. If no response is given to either attempt within 10 minutes, PGL admins will attempt to email the Team Managers.
  3. If no response is given by the time limit posted above then both Teams will receive a forfeit.

Teams are encouraged to reach out to admins immediately if they feel their Match will take longer than the time allotted. Teams agreeing to play best of 3 matches prior to the Quarter Finals will not be excused per section 7.2.2 of this Handbook.

 

7.2.4 ONLINE TOURNAMENT PROCESS

Matchups are established by the tournament brackets, which will be available on the online platform by the 11 AM tournament start time in each region. The tournament and match process is as follows: 

  1. All first round matches are scheduled to begin at 11 AM (please see section 7.2.3 Weekly Online Tournament Times to confirm your Region’s time zone). Team Managers will be given a 10 minute grace period to log onto the official Discord and begin the map pick/ban process and select hosts. The top Team in the bracket match-up is the higher seed.
  2. Players will have 10 minutes to connect to the Match lobby following the map pick/ban process. If a Team doesn’t have all Players in the lobby after this time they will be disqualified from the Competition unless otherwise approved by the Administration. Players who are having issues connecting to a server should report their issue to an admin in their Region’s OLT Discord channel.
  3. The Match then plays out on the maps selected during the pick/ban process.
  4. Following each map, both teams should collect video proof. Please click here for information on how to record video clips, and please click here for information on how to share them.
  5. Once the match is completed, the winning team reports the result on the online platform. Match results can then be disputed by the “losing Team” if incorrect information is entered. Disputing Teams will be expected to provide video proof, otherwise the dispute will not be considered. In the event a Team is found to have reported a false win, the Team will be disqualified from the Competition, have all of their Challenger Points removed and be banned from competing the following week.
  6. The winning Team then waits until their next match has been established in the Brackets and then repeat the process until the tournament has concluded. Each Team will be allowed a 15 minute break following each series.
  7. Once the next match has been assigned, Players will have 15 minutes in addition to the remainder of their 15 post-match break to complete the match pick/ban process and enter the lobby. As one delay can potentially delay the rest of the tournament, if a Team is not in the lobby at this time they will be disqualified from the Competition.

Please report any urgent issues to the Administration by joining your Region’s OLT Discord channel and submitting a ticket with PGL’s admin team.

 

7.2.5 CASH AND TRAVEL AWARDS

Each weekly Online Tournament will award $250 (USD) to the winning Team, which will be paid out to all Players following the final Online Tournament each month.

On the Monday after each Online Tournament, PGL admins will send an email to all winning players to collect the information required to process prizing, and links to forms that will need to be digitally signed. Players over the age of 18 will also be required to provide a copy of their photo ID card to payments@pglesports.com, while players under the age of 18 will be required to provide a signed parental consent form. After the final online tournament each month, PGL will send a ‘Prize winner declaration and release’ form to all winners for signatures, which will contain all the prizing won during that month. Payments will be made within 30 days of all forms having been signed and received.

The Team with the most Challenger Points at the Travel Award lock in each Region will also be awarded with travel to the next Major Event.

The Travel Awards lock takes place on the Monday three weeks prior to an event.

Travel (flights and accommodation) is only included for 5 Players.

Please see section 10. Travel Awards for more information.

 

7.2.6 CHALLENGER POINT DISTRIBUTION

1st – 200 Points

2nd – 120 Points

3rd-4th – 80 Points

5th-8th – 60 Points

9th-16th – 40 Points

17th-32nd – 10 Points

33rd-64th – 5 Points

 

7.2.7 CHALLENGER POINTS RESET

In North America, Latin America and Europe, Challenger Points will reset at the end of the Pro League Qualification.

In South America and Asia Pacific, Challenger Points will reset on the first day of Pro League Qualification.

 

7.3 PRO LEAGUE

The 2019-2020 Season will introduce a new Pro League structure to the North American, Latin American and European Regions.

The Pro League will consist of 4 Divisions: North America Alpha, North America Bravo, Latin America and Europe, and each Division will have 4 teams.

Each Quarter will begin with an Online Qualification period, during which time the top teams from each region will compete online for the opportunity to join the Pro League. Once Pro League Divisions have been established, teams in each Division will compete against each other in Online and/or Live competition for cash and seeding at the next Major Event.

Following the Major Event, the bottom placed Team from each Division is relegated and forced to compete for their Pro League spot against their region’s top online Ladder and Challenger Point Tournament teams.

 

7.3.1 PRO LEAGUE QUALIFICATION
Fall Quarter

Qualification will take place over 5 weeks.

Three of four Pro League teams for each Division are determined by the Challenger Point standings from the regional Weekly Online Tournaments at the end of the Qualification Period. Teams that have qualified for the Pro League through Challenger Points will have until 11:59 PM PT on Monday, October 21st to finalize their rosters for Pro League play.

The final Pro League Team in each Region is determined by a double elimination tournament between the top 6 teams on that Region’s Ladder, with the top 2 teams receiving a first round bye going at the start of the tournament. The winner of the tournament will qualify for the final Pro League spot in Europe and Latin America, while the top Winner’s Bracket and top Loser’s Bracket teams will qualify for the Pro League in North America. This tournament will take place at 11:00 AM PT(North America)/CT(Latin America)/GMT (Europe) on Saturday, October 26th, and the winning Teams will be expected to participate with their Pro League roster unless otherwise approved by the Administration.

Once qualified, North American teams will be put into Divisions as follows:

Alpha
• #1 ranked Challenger Points Team
• Loser’s Bracket Ladder Team
• #3 ranked Challenger Points Team
• #5 ranked Challenger Points Team


Bravo
• Winner’s Bracket Ladder Team
• #2 ranked Challenger Points Team
• #4 ranked Challenger Points Team
• #6 ranked Challenger Points Team

 

Winter, Spring, and Summer Quarters

Qualification takes place over the course of two consecutive Saturdays. For the Winter Quarter, Qualification begins on January 11th, 2020. For Spring and Summer Quarters, Qualification begins the Saturday following the last Major Event.

Qualification will consist of two stages: a 4-round Swiss Bracket, and a double elimination playoff. In addition to establishing seeding, only the top 6 teams from the Swiss Bracket move on to the stage two playoff tournament. Final Swiss Bracket standings are based on number of wins, followed by head-to-head records, number of maps won, and then overall round differential. The winner of the playoff tournament qualifies for the Pro League in Europe and Latin America, while the top Winner’s Bracket and top Loser’s Bracket teams qualify for the final Pro League in North America.

The following teams are eligible to compete in Pro League Qualification:

For Europe and Latin America:

  • The relegated Pro League Team from the previous Quarter
  • The top placing Open Bracket Team from the last Major Event.
  • The top 5 teams based on Challenger Points standings at the Pro League Qualification lock.
  • The top 5 teams based on Ladder standings at the Pro League Qualification lock.

For North America:

  • The two relegated Pro League teams from the previous Quarter
  • The top placing Open Bracket Team from the last Major Event.*
  • The top 5 teams based on Challenger Points standings at the Pro League Qualification lock.*
  • The top 5 teams based on Ladder standings at the Pro League Qualification lock.*

UPDATE: Due to delays with the Online Platform’s Ladder match finder feature, we will be only qualifying Teams based on Challenger Point standings for the Winter Pro League qualifier. This means that 10 teams will qualify from Challenger Point standings in Europe and Latin America, and 9 teams in North America due to the two Pro League divisions.

* In North America, the qualification spot awarded to the top placing Open Bracket Team will replace one of the qualification spots otherwise held for teams based on Challenger Points or Ladder standings. The spot that is replaced is based on which online Competition the Open Bracket Team is ranked highest in. For instance, if they’re ranked 8th in their regional Ladder standings, and 12th in Challenger Points standings, then they will take one of the Ladder spots, and only the top 4 teams from the Ladder standings qualifies for Pro League eligibility. If the Team is unranked in both, they take one of the Challenger Points teams, and only the top 4 Teams from the Ladder standings will qualify for Pro League eligibility.

In the event there is no Open Bracket Team from a Region, that spot will go to the next best team in the Challenger Point standings.

The Pro League Qualification lock takes place at 11:59 AM PT on the Sunday prior to Major Events.

The Administration reserves the right to adjust Qualification processes at any time.

 

7.3.2 QUARTER PLAY

Pro League play for each Quarter takes place in the 6-7 weeks following Qualification, during which time each Team plays every other Team in their division twice. Teams are awarded one point for each win in online Pro League play, and Division standings at the end of Quarter Play are used to establish Swiss Bracket seeding at the next Major Event.

 

7.3.3 PRO LEAGUE PRIZING AND TRAVEL AWARDS

Teams are guaranteed at least $5,000 upon making the Pro League, in addition to Travel Awards and Championship Bracket seeding in the next Major Event.

Travel Awards (travel and accommodations) for Pro League teams includes 5 Players and 1 Coach OR Team Manager. Teams must attend the Major Event for their Quarter to receive any and/or all Prizing. Please see section 10. Travel Awards for more information.

Prizing is be awarded based on the final results from online Pro League Quarter Play:

1st – $10,000

2nd – $8,000

3rd – $7,000

4th – $5,000

Teams must still be in the Pro League at the end of the Quarter to qualify for any and/or all Prizing. The Administration reserves the right to withhold Prizing from Teams and/or Players for any reason.

 

7.3.4 RELEGATION

The bottom placing team based on the final standings from each Division is relegated and forced to requalify for their Pro League spot against the top Challenger teams from their Region.

Final standings are based on Quarter Play points and Event results. In addition to the points acquired during Quarter Play, teams are awarded with additional points based on their Major Event placing relative to the rest of their division:

Top – 5 Points

Second Best – 2 Points

Third Best – 1 Point

Bottom – 0 Points

The team that wins the Major Event also receives an additional 4 points to ensure they qualify for their Pro League next Quarter.

 

7.3.5 ROSTER LOCKS

All teams, including relegated teams, are allowed to make two roster changes prior to the end of qualification phase (must keep 3 Players). If more than two roster changes are made then the Team forfeits their place in their Pro League and will be ineligible to participate in the upcoming Quarter.

Following qualification, rosters are locked for the duration of the Quarter.

 

7.3.6 MID-QUARTER PROMOTION

If a Pro League Team drops out or is otherwise removed from Pro League competition prior to the start of week 5, then a Promotional Tournament may be administered to fill out the Pro League.

Promotional Tournaments consist of a double elimination tournament between the top 4 teams based on Challenger Points standings, and the top 4 teams based on Ladder standings in that region.

If a Team drops out after week 5, or is unable to attend the event due to emergency, the top Teams based on Challenger Points and Ladder standings from that Region compete in a Best of 3 match to determine who begins in Swiss Bracket at the next Major Event.

If two teams drop out after week 5 then both the top Ladder and top Challenger Points teams begin in Swiss Bracket at the next Major Event.

 

7.3.7 PRO LEAGUE ELIGIBILITY

Pro League Teams are ineligible to compete in any competition that awards Challenger Points or travel prizing including regional tournaments and ladders.

If a Player from a Pro League Team violates this rule, the Team will automatically forfeit their next Pro League match.

If a Challenger Team violates this rule by playing with a Pro League Player they will competing in any Online Challenger Tournament will lose any Challenger Points awarded during that Competition, while Ladder teams will receive a forfeit for any match played with the Pro League Player(s).

 

7.3.8 PLAYER AGREEMENTS

All Pro League Players are required to sign a Player Agreement with the Administration to be eligible for Pro League prizing.

 

7.3.10 MATCH STREAMING AND SCHEDULING

All Pro League Players are required to stream all Pro League matches, and must allow Administration and official Observers access to their lobbies upon request.

Players on Pro League Teams must be available to play matches during their Region’s established match day and times:

  • North America – Sundays, 11 AM PT, 1:30 PM PT, 4 PM PT, 6:30 PM PT
  • Europe – Monday, 6 PM GMT, 8:30 PM GMT
  • Mexico – Monday 6 PM CT, 8:30 PM CT

Administration may allow streaming exceptions with prior approval. Players/Teams need to contact gearsesports@microsoft.com to request exceptions.

Please see section 9.1 Broadcasted Matches for more information.

 

7.3.11 MEDIA REQUIREMENTS

Pro League teams are required to be available for scheduled media content and photo shoots. Teams and Players may not refuse participation and any such behavior or tardiness may result in disciplinary action, including a penalty.

Please see section 9.2 Media Appearances for more information.

 

8. LIVE EVENTS

8.1 REGIONALS

Regional Events are live events only open to non-Pro League Players from the Region the event is taking place.

 

8.1.1 Challenger Points Prizing

In addition to cash and Travel Awards prizing, Regional events may also award Challenger Points. Teams must register for the Regional event on the Online Platform using the same Team they compete in the online Weekly Tournaments with in order to receive Challenger Point prizing.

 

Point Distribution for 16-31 Team Events

1st – 200 Points

2nd – 120 Points

3rd – 90 Points

4th – 80 Points

5th-8th – 60 Points

9th-16th – 40 Points

17th-32nd – 10 Points

33rd-64th – 5 Points

 

Point Distribution for 32+ Team Events

1st – 500 Points

2nd – 300 Points

3rd – 200 Points

4th – 160 Points

5th-6th – 100 Points

7th-8th – 80 Points

9th-12nd – 55 Points

13th-16th – 35 Points

17th-24th – 25 Points

25th-32nd – 15 Points

 

8.1.2 TRAVEL AWARDS PRIZING

Regional Events may reward Travel Awards to the next Major Event.

Travel Awards (flights and accommodation) are included for 5 Players and 1 Coach or Team Manager.

Please see section 10. Travel Awards for more information.

 

8.2 MAJOR EVENTS

All Major Events, including the World Championship, will be Open Events and divided into two phases: Seeding Phase and Championship Bracket.

 

8.2.1 SEEDING PHASE

During Seeding Phase, Pro League teams compete against each other in Swiss Bracket play for Championship Bracket seeding, while all other teams compete for the final 8 Championship Bracket spots in Open Bracket competition.

 

Swiss Bracket

Pro League teams are divided into two Pools and seeded based on the results from online play during the preceding Quarter as follows:

Pool A

  • Region A – #1
  • Region B – #1
  • Region C – #2
  • Region D – #2
  • Region A – #3
  • Region B – #3
  • Region C – #4
  • Region D – #4

Pool B

  • Region C – #1
  • Region D – #1
  • Region A – #2
  • Region B – #2
  • Region C – #3
  • Region D – #3
  • Region A – #4
  • Region B – #4

Each Major Event, the Regions in each Pool change. The Regions representing A, B, C and D will be as follows:

  • Fall Quarter Major – A: North America Alpha, B: Latin America, C: North America Bravo, D: Europe
  • Winter Quarter Major – A: Latin America, B: North America Bravo, C: Europe, D: North America Alpha
  • Spring Quarter Major – A: Europe, B: Latin America, C: North America Alpha, D: North America Bravo

During Seeding Phase each Team in each Pool play 3 rounds of matches in Swiss Bracket-style competition.

Championship Bracket seeding order is established by the final Swiss Bracket standings. Final Swiss Bracket standings are based on number of wins, followed by head-to-head records, number of maps won, and then overall round differential.

 

Open Bracket

The Open Bracket is double elimination.

Open Bracket seeding is completed in tiers:

  • Tier 1: Challenger Points Travel teams from North America, Latin America and Europe
  • Tier 2: Ladder Travel teams from North America, Latin America and Europe
  • Tier 3: Challenger Points Travel teams from South America and Asia Pacific
  • Tier 4: Ladder Travel teams from South America and Asia Pacific
  • Tier 5: Regional Event Champions (if applicable)
  • Tier 6: Top 5 Challenger Points/Ladder teams from all Regions
  • Tier 7: Top 10 Challenger Points/Ladder teams from all Regions
  • Tier 8: Top 15 Challenger Points/Ladder teams from all Regions
  • Tier 9: Top 25 Challenger Points/Ladder teams from all Regions
  • Tier 10: Top 50 Challenger Points/Ladder teams from all Regions

Each Tier seeds teams based on their Region. Regional order:

  1. North America
  2. Latin America
  3. Europe
  4. South America
  5. Asia Pacific

All remaining teams are seeded based on their Challenger Point and Ladder standings (whichever is highest). In the instance that two or more teams have the same ranks, the teams are seeded based on Region, with Challenger Point standings taking priority over Ladder rankings. Regional order:

  1. North America
  2. Latin America
  3. Europe
  4. South America
  5. Asia Pacific

Unranked teams and/or teams that get their pass following the Open Bracket Seeding Lock are randomly seeded at the end of the bracket.

The final 4 Winners Bracket teams and final 4 Losers Bracket teams qualify for the Championship Bracket. Qualifying teams are divided into Pools randomly, with the Open Winners Bracket teams being seeded 9th and 10th, and the Open Losers Bracket teams being seeded 11th and 12th.

 

8.2.2 CHAMPIONSHIP PHASE

Championship Phase consists of a single elimination bracket seeded based on results from the Seeding Phase.

The top 4 teams from each Swiss Bracket pool receive a bye in the first round, while the bottom 4 teams play the Open Bracket challengers. The Championship Bracket then plays out until one Team is left standing.

 

8.2.3 SIDE TOURNAMENTS

Information coming soon.

 

8.3 MICROSOFT STORE TOURNAMENTS

The 2019-2020 season will have a number of events open to non-Pro League teams, and local competitions hosted at Microsoft Stores. Click here for more information.

 

9. MEDIA 

9.1 BROADCASTED MATCHES 

Administration reserves the right to broadcast any Gears Esports match, whether it be live or online.

All Pro League Players are required to stream all Pro League matches from their own channels.

Participants cannot refuse broadcasts authorized by Administration.

Administration reserves the right to reschedule any Gears Esports match to accommodate a specific broadcast time. Participants cannot refuse this reschedule.

Refusing to allow Administration to broadcast or reschedule any match may result in a penalty.

 

9.1.1 BROADCAST MATCH RULES

These rules only apply to broadcast matches and override any other conflicting rules.

Stream Delay: All broadcasts, including the Player streams for Pro League matches, must have a one minute delay.

Match Scheduling: Players are required to be online and ready to play 30 minutes before their scheduled time. A scheduled match may be moved back if previous broadcast matches are running behind schedule, but players should still be ready to play 30 minutes before their original scheduled start time. 

Player Communication: All players involved with broadcast matches will be directed to join a Discord channel. All match communication between staff members and players should happen in the assigned Discord channel. 

 

9.2 MEDIA APPEARANCES 

For Gears Esports Events, teams may be required to be available for scheduled media content and photoshoots. Teams may be required to be in Administration approved uniform. Best efforts will be made to provide media and photoshoot details prior to arrival. Teams may need to be flexible depending on shooting schedules. Teams and Players may not refuse participation and any such behavior or tardiness may result in disciplinary action, including a penalty. Teams will be required to arrive and depart on specified days in order fulfill Media Day requirements.

For Match Interviews, each teams must nominate at least one Player to be available for interviews before, during, or after any Gears Esports match. Nominated Players may not refuse to conduct an interview.

 

10. TRAVEL AWARDS

Travel Awards will be awarded to all Pro League teams, as well as the Team with the most Challenger Points at the Travel Awards lock and the Team that wins the Travel Awards Ladder playoff in all regions.

Only teams that meet the minimum age requirements for the respective event will be eligible to receive Travel Awards.

Roster changes made after the Travel Awards roster lock may result in partial or zero Team Travel Awards funding.

The Travel Awards lock takes place on the Monday three weeks prior to an event.

Teams unable to travel may opt for a cash prize of $2,500.

Teams with Players who are ineligible to receive Travel Coverage will be required to take the $2,500 cash option.

The Administration reserves the right to adjust Travel Awards prizing at any time.

 

10.1. PROCESS
  • PGL will book hotel and flights for all Teams.
  • Teams will be required to obtain their own Visas and other necessary travel documents. PGL will assist and provide assisting documentation when required. Please contact hospitality@pglesports.com with any questions concerning Travel Awards .
  • Hotel Travel Awards will include 3 rooms per Team with 2 double beds per room. Hotel Travel Awards will begin on Wednesday night and go through to Sunday night for Pro League teams, and Thursday night through Sunday night for Challenger teams starting in the Open Bracket.
  • All Pro League teams are required to arrive on or before the Wednesday of the event, and are required to be available all day on Thursday and Friday (prior to matches) for Media Day coverage. Teams who do not arrive at their designated media day time with their full roster will be penalized.

 

11. RULE & CONDUCT VIOLATIONS 

By participating in Gears Esports or an Administration sanctioned or sponsored online or live event, Players agree to be bound by the final decisions of the Tournament Organizer, Administration, and anyone acting on the Administration’s behalf.

Administration and/or Tournament Organizers can, at their sole discretion, take the following disciplinary actions depending on the severity of the infraction:

  • Partial or full removal of any Points obtained in any Competition on the Online Platform.
  • Instant removal from an online or live tournament, ladder or event.
  • Partial or full removal of Travel Awards.
  • Suspension or ban from the Gears Esports Program, as well as some or all Gears Esports events.
  • Withholding of partial or full prize money.
  • Temporary or permanent suspension from: Xbox Live, Gears of War game platforms and services, and/or participation in a Gears Esports, Gears of War, and/or Microsoft online or live tournaments or events.
  • Pursue prosecution with the law or authoritative bodies for any illegal activities.

Click here for the Gears Esports Code of Conduct.