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  • Writer's pictureHigh School Esports League

2024-25 High School Esports League Competition Roadmap


This Fall, the High School Esports League returns with more games, updated formats, new experiences, and more pathways to victory so your students can experience success. The 2023-24 school year was our best and biggest to date, and we also learned a TON from our many new initiatives, so let’s take a deep dive into what you can expect from HSEL for 2024 - 2025.


New Games and Modes!

We are continuing to talk to multiple publishers over the summer in an attempt to bring more games to the High School Esports League. But, rather than keeping you waiting, we’re excited to announce two additions now:


Fortnite

Fortnite will return to the High School Esports League, and unlike past competitions, in a season-long format! The Fall Major will feature 2 vs 2 Boxfight, while the Spring Major will feature 2 vs 2 Zone Wars. Both competitions will be free to compete!


Fortnite

Minecraft Bed Wars

This has been a popular request for a few years! We are excited to supplement Minecraft Survival Games with Bed Wars in the Spring of 2025. We will first introduce Bed Wars in a head-to-head two-team format as a “beta test” / proof of concept. It gets a bit trickier to create a four-team match in terms of both matchmaking and scoring, so we’d like to ensure this game mode will be supported by schools before adding it to the development team’s roadmap. 


Minecraft

Season Length and Make-up Rounds 

The change of the season length to six weeks was met with very positive feedback – until it was time to seed the playoffs. Tiebreaking statistics became a major talking point for folks at the 3-3 and 4-2 lines. Next year, we’ll re-introduce a 7th regular season match to better differentiate participants on the leaderboard.


However, the season’s calendar will not be extended. The make-up week will be combined with week 7, and participants will have the option of queueing twice on the last day if necessary.


For example, Rocket League has three queue times (3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 5:00 PM). One of those queue times will be a roster’s official “Week 7” match, while any additional queues may be used to make up a missing match.


Competition Tiers

Last year, we introduced our three-tier structure for HSEL competition: Premier, Major, and Intramural. We’re happy to announce that all the 3 tiers will return for the 24-25 school year! We are continuing to iterate on how these structures and how they work together. Here’s when you can find each tier:


  • Fall 

    • Major, Intramural 

  • Winter

    • Winter will continue to be an alternative season; we will experiment with different formats and games. Stay tuned for more information!

  • Spring 

    • Premier, Major, Intramural 


A High School Esports League school finishes their esports lab build.

High School Esports League Formats

Major

This tier is where the majority of our schools compete, and it’s not going anywhere! This Fall, you will notice 2 major (pun intended) changes:


  1. Year-round vs. Seasonal Games 

We always want to provide more games; it’s an essential part of our philosophy behind “more opportunities for success”, but we also want to avoid overwhelming our community with too much happening at once. This is why we’ve taken the top ~75% of our games (by popularity) and cemented them as year-round titles. Year-round games with consistent modes between Fall and Spring will continue to feed into the official HSEL Nationals event (e.g. Rocket League 3v3). 


The remaining games from our existing lineup will become seasonal, which leaves room for us to bring in exciting new additions to the lineup, while still ensuring that the smaller games have their opportunity to shine! For more information, check out the Yearly Calendar which now contains information about which games are offered each season. 


  1. Expanding the 3 Regions to More Games

“Atlantic/Pacific '' is no more! As HSEL continues to grow, we now believe that all games with the “Atlantic/Pacific'' setup in 23-24 can support the 3 region setup for 24-25. For the sake of simplicity: all year-round titles will feature a regional division structure either for the entire season, or at least for playoffs. This means that there will be more winners and playoff brackets than ever before!


Note: all seasonal games (unless otherwise noted) will be hosted as nationwide tournaments.


Premier

So why is there no Premier in the Fall? While the idea of Premier was praised, the spring season was a much better experience than the fall. It was difficult for schools to get their programs up and running in time to play in a qualifier (especially those that do not start until after Labor Day). Instead, we will lean on the Fall Major playoffs to act as a promotion mechanism, while retaining an open qualifier in February for schools that perhaps cannot play in fall. 


For any Premier competition, all participants meeting either of the following criteria in a Premier league game will receive an invitation to the Spring Premier season:


  • Reaching the top 8 (quarterfinals) in a Fall Major Champ Bracket 

  • Achieve top 4 in the Spring Premier Open Qualifiers (2/3 - 2/21)


With these adjustments, Premier regions will now mirror their Major tier counterparts, replacing “Atlantic/Pacific” with “East/Central/West”. This means that each region will have a total 12 participants (per title), split into 2 groups of 6. We’ll have more information on what this means for HSEL Nationals qualification once we get closer to the end of 2024.


Before moving on, we want to reaffirm that HSEL Premier is not only meant to be for the highest skilled players, but also the most committed schools. To help cement this, we will be introducing new rules surrounding Premier -- more information later, under “Rule Changes”. 


Intramural

Intramural has proven to be a valuable entry point for schools looking to foster and develop beginner talent, or those looking for a more casual–yet structured–experience. Now that we have a strong proof of concept, we’ll be looking to iterate on Intramural meaningful ways that promote participation, development, and accessibility. For instance, VALORANT in Intramural will feature the “Swiftplay” mode and move to a Best of 3, allowing players to familiarize themselves with more maps and agents during a match, but without the extended time commitment of a full traditional length series. Rocket League will remain 2v2 as a way to give players more time on the ball during matches while still having a teamplay element involved. This philosophy will extend to all of the titles that support a large enough population to host an Intramural level of play, so make sure to stay tuned for more information!


A high school esports league school finishes their esports lab build.

Rule Changes

Player and Coach Code of Conduct

We are updating the Player and Coach Code of Conducts and moving them into the General Tournament Rules. Along with this, we are clarifying the expectations for students and coaches interacting with tournament officials during live matches and disputes in order to resume play as quickly as possible. 


Unplayed and Unscored Matches 

We’re adding clarification to the “Unplayed Matches” rule to account for matches that are unscored. See rule 2.11.5.1 in HSEL General Rules for more information.


Premier Reschedule Rules

With the first year of Premier officially in the books, we have seen a main point of contention being reschedules, and the frequency of which they are requested. HSEL Premier competitions are for the best and most established competitive teams. With this in mind, to ensure all participants have timely notice of their schedule, the next season of HSEL Premier will have stricter requirements for rescheduling matches. More information will be released closer to the end of 2024.


Game-specific Rules

As always, we’ll take a deep dive through all the rulebooks over the summer. If you’d like to see something changed, now is the time to send us your feedback!


Which competitions will be free to enter?

We are committed to ensuring students have access to esports, and the following competitions will be offered for free participation in 2024-25:

  • 10 Minute Chess

  • Apex Legends

  • Fortnite Boxfight

  • Fortnite Zone Wars

  • Rocket League 2v2 

  • Rocket League 3v3


Access plans are available now. Avoid the back to school rush and renew your school today!


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