Tag: Starcraft 2

Advice: Running an eSports Booth

The other weekend I was in the Twin Cities (MN) for a Teh Pwn Gaming / CSL StarCraft 2 tournament (you can read about it here). It was a ton of fun and I wanted to share a particular aspect about it that might be of interest to some young entrepreneurs out there. Here’s what I learned about running an event booth.

The story begins on Facebook. I was contacted by my friend Evva, the president of Teh Pwn, and she asked me if I wanted a booth for the up-coming event. I was initially concerned about agreeing because my operation is small, obscure, and the opposite of well-funded (one of those grassroots, indie-style operations). Anyways, I pictured myself next to Antec, ASUS, and NOS whose booths were epic, decked out with kick-ass banners and voluptuous women distributing tons of free swag. Needless to say I was afraid of looking inadequate and cheap. But Evva assured me that everything would be fine and it was a great opportunity to network and share my website. So I agreed.

To prepare I ordered business cards, spray-painted some t-shirts, and packed my laptop. It was a pretty low-key package, but figured it would do. However, upon arrival I checked out my setup and realized I forgot some sort of banner. Oops… But we ended up making a banner out of cardboard paper which looked pretty legit from a distance. If you do this, make sure it’s cool within your industry. Fortunately eSports is pretty young so I don’t think it was a big deal.

The best part about my setup was probably the business cards. I would highly recommend getting some. Why? Because you can get a ton of them for relatively cheap and you’ll always have something to give out. If you just bring t-shirts, what happens after they’re all gone? Now there’s nothing for people to look at later and be reminded of your organization. Definitely order some.

Bringing a laptop was another great idea. It helped to physically show my site rather than just explaining it. If you don’t have one, find someone who does and borrow it. If you’re in technology, Internet, web, whatever, you need a device to show off your work.

One thing I wish I would have done differently is buy professionally made t-shirts. The ones we were wearing looked legit from a distance, but up-close looked cheap. I also wish we would have had some extras to give out. The NOS booth ran through all their free stuff right away because people wanted it. And in exchange they Liked them on Facebook and checked in on Foursquare. Not a bad deal in my opinion.

Overall, if you’re thinking about representing yourself at an event. The more professional you can be the better. I’m unfortunately locked down by a small budget so I have to pick and choose, but if you’re not, definitely get everything made professionally. A nice banner, solid business cards, free t-shirts, and a laptop will go a long way. But even if you can’t do that, just go anyways. I still ended up meeting a ton of cool people and networked with other organizations. Don’t doubt yourself, it’ll be fun and everyone is a lot nicer and more supportive than you think.

Other Tags: CSL, StarCraft II, SC2, TPG

Collegiate StarLeague & Teh Pwn Gaming Midwest Meltdown

Date: March 3-4, 2012
Location: St. Paul Student Center, St. Paul, MN

This weekend I had the pleasure of representing The Spawn Room at another Teh Pwn Gaming StarCraft 2 tournament. I had been to their previous 2011 StarCraft 2 Open so I was excited to see another high quality tournament. Along with me were my close friends and fellow SpawnRoomers Mitch “Legacy” Tallman and Joe “Gerba” Ohnstad.

Day 1

The first day was a Collegiate Star League qualifier involving several regional Universities. Registered were the Universities of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Wisconsin-Madison, Case Western Reserve, Cincinnati, West Illinois, Chicago, St. Olaf, Iowa State, University of Iowa, and Mankato State. Needless to say, it was a full-house with a lot of great talent fighting for a spot in the CSL playoffs.

Like many LANs, the day’s matches were delayed due to unforeseeable networking issues. From what I heard, the venue was only supplied with a limited amount of IP addresses. Instead of 12-16 per table, they got 12 overall, which clearly isn’t enough for dozens of players. Fortunately a work-around was implemented and the tournament began a couple hours behind schedule. As usual, LAN mode would probably solve something like this.

“Team TSR” spent the first day of the event meeting the other sponsors and casually talking to various people at our booth. I met Evan from Fancy Pants Gangsters, a local Internet broadcaster, Nick and Dennis from Antec, Elling from Asus, and Robert from Device Unknown. They were all really friendly and great to talk to. I want to give a special shoutout to the Antec for traveling from San Francisco for this tournament and bringing a ridiculous amount of swag to give away! That’s some eSports dedication right there. I also had the pleasure of chatting with Dan, the NOS representative I met last year. His booth was decked out with free give-aways, NOS energy, a console gaming area, and some lovely girls helping gamers choose the right beverage. Overall it was a great setup for the sponsors and definitely an improvement over last year.

The matches were pretty solid from what I saw, although it was a little difficult to follow. Since games displayed individual player names, I had no idea which teams were actually competing. And as for someone who only watches big SC2 pro tournaments, the CSL format was a little confusing at first. Of course after reading the description on the site it made sense, but personally I’d prefer a more standard 1v1 bo3 winners-losers bracket.

The production quality was again very high for a regional tournament and is probably the highest you’re going to find around this neck of the woods. The only two problems that persisted the length of the event was variable sound and stage lighting. From our booth, it was somewhat hard to hear the casters and often times we got lost trying to figure out what was happening. This problem isn’t easy to solve however. If the speakers were too loud, the players may hear the casters narrating their games. Ideally, we could have watched the stream, but unfortunately the University wireless was too slow. The other main problem was the lighting on the projector screen. It was too high and washed out the image. Had that been lowered or removed, the screen would have been much clearer. I’m assuming this was the case because the casters needed light?

Day 2

Day 2 launched the Open tournament. This was what we were really looking forward to since familiar names were competing. Players like redground, Nozick, EroSennin, stips, storm, PsychonautQQ, JaPz, happyhobo, and Ssok were listed among many others. There were also some “known players” registered: puCK from Convergence Gaming and Everize from Team Dynamic, Complexity’s goswser was listed but couldn’t make it (non-cash prize pool?). In total, there were 56 registers players, down from approximately 73 that registered last year. After talking with a few it sounds like many were focusing less on StarCraft and more on school and jobs right now.

Matches began with a round robin that guaranteed at least 6 games for every competing player. This was a really smart idea on part of TPG for two reasons. One, every player got to play their money’s worth of games, and two, the spectators got a chance to see who the top skilled players were. It was fun watching the results and picking out who was likely to make it through.

After the round robin, they proceeded with a tiebreaker series for all 4-2-0 players. This was a little confusing because according to Challonge, the top 8 were already chosen using the “tiebreaker score”. This decision, while offering more exciting games, ultimately resulted in two problems. First, the two 4-2-0 players seeded the highest, now had to compete again for spots they probably should have had automatically. Luckily for them, they ended up both winning that bracket and securing their spots. And the second problem was that it took so long that the top 8 losers bracket had to be dropped to save time (although consolation matches were played off stream). Either way it resulted in good matches, but ideally the top players should have a chance to come back after a loss.

Top 8 ended up consisting of: Everize, Sports, Moa, Moosegills, puCK, Daydream, sTrike, and redground. They each fought a bo3 elimination round leaving Everize vs Moa and puCK vs redground. Everize was probably favored over Moa in terms of skill, but both had a lot of support in the stream. As for puCK and redground it’s hard to say. Redground is like a local hero and clearly a talented player, but puCK is rostered on an official eSports team. The next bo3 went underway and resulted in explosive cheers from redground’s station. He went 2-1 over puCK and would face Everize (2-0 over Moa) in the finals. puCK and Moa would also play a series resulting in a third place win for puCK.

The finals were pretty awesome from a spectators POV. Everize started the series with a relatively quick 2-0 over redground, and it seemed like he was going to walk away with an easy win. It seemed like his drop play and constant harass was just too much for redground to deal with. But he wasn’t ready to give up quite yet and turned the tables taking two games from Everize. As each moment passed by, people began to get more excited as they saw the almost impossible opportunity for redground to take the tournament. The final match was pretty back and forth at the beginning and looked promising for both players. But unfortunately redground’s army couldn’t stop his opponents and the series ended 3-2 in favor of Everize.

Overall this years event was solid and an improvement in almost every way. The mini-MLG setup gave it a very legitimate feel and allowed spectators to mingle amongst the players. The games, especially the top 8, were exciting and well casted (from what I caught). The layout for sponsors and partners was excellent, the staff was friendly and helpful, and the coordinators were constantly at work. In fact, the biggest shoutout I want to give is to Evva and everyone who made this possible. Events like this are invaluable to helping build eSports and introduce new people to the scene. Thanks for all your hard work!

Resources

CSL Bracket Swiss Bracket Tiebreaker Bracket Top 8 #1 Top 8 #2

Stream VODs on Twitch

TPG Facebook / Twitter / TSR Facebook / Twitter

Other Tags: TPG, StarCraft II, SC2, CSL

Major League Gaming Winter Arena (2012), Pay-Per-View Experience

This weekend I had the pleasure of watching the MLG Winter Arena, something I hadn’t initially planned on doing. It was Friday morning and I was trying to decide whether to click the big, yellow pay button on Twitch.tv. $20 for a traditionally free event just didn’t seem worth it, especially since there was ASUS ROG and a pile of work in front of me. But as I stared at the MLG logo I realized that I couldn’t miss it. There’s just something about MLG events that’s too appealing to pass up. So here is my experience as an eSports Pay-Per-Viewer.

The Platform

The first thing you noticed after launching the live stream was their new interface. It was sleek and sexy, and intelligently designed. I was actually very surprised because generally these kind of in-house things suck. But this overlay for the Arena was awesome. The designer Kyle Magee (@KyleJMagee) did a fantastic job and you can tell he definitely spent time thinking about how people would use it. So the first shout out I want to give is to him.

The performance throughout the tournament was adequate. There were very few lag spikes (except during the finals), and the 1080p stream was crystal clear. The biggest technical problem was the multiple login requests from Twitch.tv. If the stream you were watching asked for your credentials, it killed the other streams and you’d have to login multiple times. Fortunately the Twitch staff got that fixed up after Friday.

Overall the visual and auditory experience was something I would expect from ESPN or another corporate entity. The graphics, transitions, music, pre-show content, everything was very impressive and a huge leap for eSports. I laughed to myself as I recalled opening multiple tabs, resizing windows, and manually switching audio to watch games for last years events. Not anymore ladies and gentlemen, not anymore!

The Casters

As always the casting team by MLG did an amazing job. The line up was: Nick “Tasteless” Plott, Dan “Artosis” Stemkoski, Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, JP “itmeJP” McDaniel, Rob “robpsimpson” Simpson, Tobias “TumbaSC” Sherman, and Tim “Robintivo” Frazier. Oh and yes, Day[9] wasn’t there, apparently his schedule didn’t work with the event. They also had players like Paulo “CatZ” Vizcarra and Manuel “Grubby” Schenkhuizen casting games as well. It was a great line up and had some hilarious moments all weekend long.

Perhaps the coolest part of the casting setup was the main stream and the “side-table” (is there an official name?). After two main casters covered a game, they would turn to an additional two casters that would talk about their analysis. It was an awesome little back-and-forth that added a lot to the viewing experience.

Overall the Arena was very professional in terms of its casting selection. Everyone looked sharp (although not everyone thought so) and casted great. The only change I would make here, and it was originally stated by iNcontroL, was the “low production” white rooms:

Really don’t like the white room casting thing for MLG. Has a low production feel to it. @MLG @MLGSundance — otherwise great so far!

— Geoff Robinson (@EGiNcontroL) February 25, 2012

The Games and Players

I’m not going to break down individual games since there’s plenty of coverage out there, but I will say that they were awesome! Some of the biggest names in StarCraft were battling it out this weekend, so game after game was a treat to watch. If you couldn’t afford, or refused to pay the $20 PPV charge, you’ll definitely want to check out these games once they’re released.

I tuned into ASUS ROG this weekend as well, but when you compared brackets it was easy to see which tournament was more appealing. Don’t get me wrong, there were some big names at Assembly, and their tournament was great, but MLG’s line-up was just so sick.

Another feature that added interactiveness to the matches was their use of the @Poll service for phones and Twitter. Before and during matches you could send in your vote for who was going to win (or who you wanted to win). It added another level of fun to the tournament but wasn’t explained very well. The first few I sent failed because I didn’t realize you were ONLY supposed to put “@Poll ######” NOT “@Poll PLAYERNAME ######”. So I missed some vital voting sessions but it all worked out in the end. They also had a Twitter account @MLGAllAccess which was giving out prizes for guessing when players would GG and how long matches would run. Another great idea.

Lastly MLG made sure to reduce down-time as much as possible by providing on-screen brackets, match overviews and updates, and interviews with players. It all flowed smoothly and definitely was in improvement over having commercials or graphics and music.

And for those of you who know @G4MR on Twitter, he wrote up a recommended games list on his blog. Check it out. I’ll be sure to add more links if I find some good ones.

So was it worth the $20?

Yes and no. This event was a great idea, it was run amazingly well, and delivered an experience I am happy to pay for. But here’s where we draw the line. On the one side you have people serious about eSports, like myself, the players, die-hard fans, etc. We are the people this event was successful for. On the other side you have the vast majority of StarCraft 2 fans, a group unwilling to pay for this event. For them, PPV may not be worth it.

But I believe this is a great step for legitimizing eSports. Any industry that has depth offers more to those who continually pursue it. We often times see the world at a surface level, thinking that that’s as far as it goes. “eSports is about free content”, “this will ruin eSports”, “no one wants this”, etc. And that’s a perfectly valid reaction to be honest. We have expectations for MLG and they changed them. But I think the problem isn’t that this event cost money, it was that our perspective of the event was never clear. We shouldn’t look at these Arena’s as a traditional tournament. It’s something entirely new, designed for a new audience, and providing a new level of content. I think the outrage that surrounded this Arena was unjust because people weren’t looking at it the right way. These Arena’s are a great idea because they showcase which organizations and individuals are serious about eSports and/or StarCraft. They give serious news sites and blogs a chance to publish “exclusive” content that will help drive viewers to their site. “Who won? What matches were good? How was the experience? Did anything crazy happen?” These questions can only be answered by people who are trying to make headway in this industry. Someone had to do it first, and MLG got plenty of negative press for it, but I think it turned out great and really showed the world that eSports isn’t a joke and it’s not going to die, because there’s serious business behind it (or at least potential).

So, what I’m trying to say, is that PPV did some good this weekend and catered to a more serious audience. It has the potential to help eSports grow tremendously as long as we treat it properly. If all events start going PPV, no one will win and eSports will shrink drastically. If we find a nice balance of free and PPV events the industry will entice new talent through the lure of profitable ventures and become something worth doing for a lot more people.

A list of other random things

Here is a list of other random things that didn’t fit into the main article:

Prior to, and during the event, a philanthropist thread on Reddit was helping poor gamers get PPV passes! What a generous community of awesome people. :)

Minor improvements to the overlay could be: mouse disappears after x-amount of time (mine wasn’t doing this for some reason). Indicate we are logged into Twitch.tv and have a premium pass. Ensure that whoever is playing right now is listed somewhere. Occasionally the “update message” wasn’t displaying who was playing on each stream.

In case you didn’t know: the first game each day was free to watch, then a “pay wall” went up. There were no commercials, only website ads on the info panels (panels you could open and close at will). Every match was available to watch live.

Of the “80 hours of content” or whatever they advertised, I watched around 25 hours myself. I don’t think it was really possible to watch more than that: Friday ~4pm-12am, Saturday ~12pm-9pm, Sunday 12pm-7pm. Does that look right?

Sundance mentioned two important things. One, the event was successful and there will be more. And two, there might be an Arena event for LoL in the works?

MKP didn’t know he won at first. It was a very weird ending to the event and brings up a good point: players need to learn how to win and lose better! Show some emotion guys, it’s kind of awkward otherwise. I know, I know, he was overwhelmed, blah blah blah. Just throw up a fist or something.

“As Video Gaming Goes Pro, Viewers Pay Up” – NPR interview with Husky. Tweeted during the event, haven’t actually listened to it quite yet.

And GameSpot coverage by Slasher. This is a great step for GameSpot, recognizing eSports and helping out.

Other Tags: MLG, StarCraft II, SC2, PPV

The Spawn Room + StarCraft 2 team Hugs and Kisses

You may have noticed a few days ago, with the verison 0.1.4 patch, that an additional link was added to our welcome page network and the footer “Friends” section. As of today, The Spawn Room is officially partnered with the North American StarCraft 2 team Hugs and Kisses! You can find out more about this team on their Liquipedia page which has a detailed description of their StarCraft history. I would also encourage you to take a moment and follow them on Twitter and visit their website (where you can find our Spawn Room logo!).

I would also like to take this time to mention that a new page is being developed for sponsors, friends, and partners that will be uploaded later this week. So keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for reading!

Other Tags: StarCraft II, SC2, North America, NA

Major League Gaming Anaheim 2011 – Wrap Up Coverage

Championship Sunday has ended and MLG Anaheim has come to a close. Now it’s time to sort through the mess and find the best videos, photos, articles, and posts floating around the webs. Check back here for updates! Note: this is primarily Starcraft 2 information. If you’re here for Halo: Reach or Call of Duty: Black Ops, well you’re in the wrong place.

If you’re looking for tournament brackets and results, then you’ll want to check out Team Liquid’s coverage page. If you’re looking for replay packs, MLG announced that they will NOT be providing them! Instead they will be distributed to casters who will broadcast them on their channels. People were extremely happy about this as you would imagine…

Videos

I think the first and most obvious link I should provide is to MLG’s official video sources: MLG.TV and YouTube.

Anaheim’s introduction was extra special with day9 and djwheat exchanging an intimate moment.

The Anaheim relay race (DeMusliM got a wee bit injured).

I thought this was funny: Idra turns his back after JP asks him and Cruncher to shake hands.

In case you missed it: Jinro’s nuke against Choya (HD).

And of course day9 and djwheat dancing.

For a mix of videos coming out of Anaheim, you’ll want to check out pro team channels and organizations publishing on YouTube: compLexityINSIDER, myEGnet, Hyper Crew TV, ESFI World

Of course teams and big fancy eSports organizations aren’t the only ones pumping out videos from the event. Individual gamers, fans, and rando’s are putting up stuff on YouTube as well: AskJoshy, rakakase, itmeJP

NEW: Jason Lake interviewed about eSports by ESFI

Top Photos and Galleries

This is a sweet interactive 360 panorama of the venue floor. And another panoramic view.

Obviously the best photos will undoubtedly be from eSports teams and organizations since they have the budgets to afford nice cameras, so check these sources out first: Evil Geniuses, compLexity, HyperCrewTV, WellPlayed.org Twitpic / Flickr, ESFI, MLGSC2Scores, CheckSix, Sixjax

And just as with the videos, individual photographers are uploading as well: Joshtacular, SirScoots, Leah Jackson, Anna Prosser

The Astro Gaming booth always looks so awesome.

You might have heard of QXC and his sign.

miniwheat makes an appearance.

I think they ended up adding some more chairs for the SC2 crowd, but I’m sure it wasn’t remotely enough.

NEW: an epic picture of day9.

NEW: rofl, race change.

Best Articles and Posts

If you’re interested in reading some personal accounts of the MLG Anaheim experience, blogs are probably your best friend. Here are some I ran across: compLexity’s blogs

Can White-Ra do the impossible

Miscellaneous

I think overall the event went really well and, almost as expected, began breaking previous stream records. MLGLee and Sundance both tweeted something about it (and another from Sundance). The fans and viewers seemed pleased overall with a few complaints here and there about memberships not working. Of course you’ll have some people who do nothing but bitch (like this guy).

I was hoping I’d come across some funny and/or witty tweets as I watched the #MLG hashtag search on Twitter, but most people just reported things. Anyway, I think this ended up being my favorite tweet of the event.

The first comment on this photo is pretty straightforward.

Also be sure to keep an eye on sites like SC2 Ratings which can help you determine which games to watch if you missed some.

The longest match was between Boxer and Rain lasting an epic 1:12:56 (game time).

If there’s anything I missed let me know. And over the week following the event I’ll be keeping an eye on various sources and add anything interesting I come across. Other thanks for reading and see you online!

Other Tags: MLG, COD BLOPS, StarCraft II, SC2, Pro Circuit

Major League Gaming Anaheim 2011 – Articles and Posts

Authors and fans will be clacking away all weekend publishing an array of articles ranging from total crap to delectably awesome. We’ll do our best to sort through them all and deliver what you need.

NOTE: This article will be updated all weekend, so refer back for changes.

(Source : Article : Author)

Articles

Cadred : MLG Anaheim Preview : mYNDIG

ESFI : The top 3 top 5s for MLG Anaheim 2011 : Derek Staley

ESFI : ThisIsJimmy battles MLG Anaheim Open Bracket : Ted Ottey

Posts

MLG : MLG Pro Circuit Replays

coL : compLexity Gaming blogs : various

FNATIC : FNATIC blogs : various

TL : No replays released from Anaheim : various

Tweets [sic]

For fun I thought I’d post my favorite tweets from this weekend (in order of when I found them).

“Just ate a lot of crab. Now time to go home, take my pants off and enjoy a night of StarCraft 2.” - mrgibb

“Lol so many fuckin bros here its gross” - diego_armijo

“Glad to see all of the 8 halo fans in California made it out today to spectate” - JeremysCoLd

“looking forward to watching #MLGtonight, and for the first time since i started following (2006) i will not be watching a console game” - sasmacdonald

“Boner atm because im at #mlg anaheim right before it kicks off!” - Spiritombreeder

Other Tags: MLG, COD BLOPS, StarCraft II, SC2, Pro Circuit

Major League Gaming Anaheim 2011 – Photos and Video

As MLG Anaheim rages on, both eSports organizations and players snap, crackle, and pop out images left and right. We’ll do our best to find and aggregate these sources all in one spot.

NOTE: This article will be updated all weekend, so refer back for changes.

(where applicable – Source : Media : Author)

Photos taken by organizations

Evil Geniuses : photos on yfrog

compLexity : photos on yfrog

Hyper Crew : photos on yfrog

WellPlayed.org : photos on twitpic flickr

ESFI : photos on twitpic

MLGSc2Scores : photos on twitpic

check6 : photos on twitpic

Photos taken by individuals

MLGLee : photos on twitpic

MLGBen : photos on twitpic

MLG_SolidJake : photos on yfrog

SirScoots : photos on yfrog

Leah Jackson : photos on yfrog

Anna Prosser : photos on yfrog

Brent Ruiz : photos on twitpic

David Bentz : photos on twitpic

mlgcassO : photos on twitpic

Vincent Samaco : photos on twitpic

SrPablo : photos on twitpic

WolfEcho : photos on twitpic

Mark Julio : photos on twitpic

Adam Schodde : photos on yfrog

ArKiVe_ : panoramic view of the venue

Videos taken by organizations

coL : videos on youtube

G4TV : eSports Roundup With Major League Gaming: Talkabout : Leah Jackson

Hyper Crew: MLG Anaheim 2011 Entrance Line

Videos taken by individuals

MLGAnTiPRO : MLG Relay Race Anaheim 2011

IBesTMaN : Team Liquid Relay Race – MLG Anaheim Part 1 and Part 2 (longer 2 part version)

Other Tags: MLG, COD BLOPS, StarCraft II, SC2, Pro Circuit

Shout Out: Teh Pwn Gaming

Here comes another intermittent Website Wednesday post. This time we’ll be looking at the Teh Pwn Gaming Club, a student organization hosted on the University of Minnesota campus. You may recall them from a previous article I wrote covering their epic Starcraft 2 tournament. Well it seems only appropriate now that I write up one of these mini-articles since we recently began exchanging links. If you navigate your way over to the Friends, Partners, and Sponsors page on the right, you’ll find their link and a little description about them. Check it out!

Now for a quick history lesson. ;) Teh Pwn Gaming was founded May 3rd, 2010 by Evva Kraikul and Nicolaas Vanmeerten. Since its inception, the club has hosted a variety of successful events with games like Starcraft 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Super Smash Bros Brawl. Often times with kick ass swag and prizes for the tournament winners! But their gaming isn’t limited to just modern platforms, they also encourage gamers to hook up and play on consoles as old as the original Nintendo! So no matter what kind of gamer you are, TPG will surely fit your needs. And if that’s not enough of a reason for you to join, maybe taking a peak at their sponsors page will change your mind. Teh Pwn Gaming has managed to tie in some major deals with NOS Energy, Microsoft, Major League Gaming and more! Very impressive indeed. So hurry and take a look at their meeting information, get connected, and plan for some of their upcoming events! (Plus maybe we’ll be lucky enough to bump into each other at their next big event!).

You can also connect with Teh Pwn Gaming on Facebook and Twitter. Cheers!

Other Tags: TPG, UMN, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, StarCraft II, SC2

Major League Gaming: Columbus (2011) – My Live Experience

The weekend has wrapped up and MLG Columbus is officially over. I had the pleasure of attending in person and I wanted to enlighten my readers with my thoughts, insights, and suggestions.

First, if you have the money, DON’T drive. Myself and three others drove 11+ hours to get to MLG, in a small car on horribly bumpy roads (apparently Illinois doesn’t actually use the toll money to improve their highways). If you are going to drive: DON’T drive back hung over on the hottest day EVER with NO air conditioning! Monday’s 11 hour car ride back was disgustingly hot and sticky…

Second, upon arriving in the host city, make sure you actually check out the hotels connected to the convention center. When we arrived we chcked out the Drury, expecting it to be booked or extremely expensive. Instead they had rooms for a reasonable price that included free breakfast and dinner! It was a pretty sweet deal.

Now onto the actual convention. The lines to get in were pretty long. You’ll either want to get a VIP ticket like I did, arrive really early, or arrive after the doors have opened. Otherwise you’ll be standing for quite awhile. The upside to standing around is that you can meet other gamers and if you’re lucky the players.

Which brings me to my next point: meeting the pros, casters, and community “celebrities” for the first time was actually pretty weird. You kind of realize that these are real people and not just mystical figures you see on streams and casts. One thing to note here is that if you’re planning on meeting the casters, guess again. They are even more busy than the pros and constantly behind-the-scenes working. A few rare times you’ll catch them running around, half-awake, frantically trying to figure something out. My recommendation, say hi, but let them be so they can do their job. If you stick around long enough, they’ll more than likely have a moment to pop out, sign autographs or talk with you.

Speaking of casters, I heard the stream was pretty good this time. The only real upset I heard was when that epic storm hit and flooded part of the convention center. But otherwise it was good, right?

Now let’s talk about the matches. First be prepared, after attending a live event like this, to forever be disappointed with watching streams and replays alone. The roar of the crowd added such powerful emotions to each match, it was simply amazing. The first day when we got seats at the main stage I literally almost teared up to see how much passion and intensity was surging through the crowd. eSports at its finest. I would say the best moments were: the opening match between Idra and MC, TLO’s nuke against IncontroL, the Moon vs Slush baneling landmines, MMA destroying his own command center, the Losira Nydus worm network against MC (starts at 1:00:00), the speech Sundance gave us just before the final matches, and the final matches themselves. Obviously there were plenty more, but these ones really stick out in my head as ones where the crowd went absolutely nuts.

Personally the most disappointing thing about MLG was Idra. Here’s why. When you were growing up did you watch Indiana Jones (the 3 originals)? Well I did and I loved them. Harrison Ford is the man, and I had such a great time pretending I was an adventurer like him. Well when I heard they were making a new movie, I was obviously ecstatic. I eagerly awaited the release and when I finally saw it I was crushed. So much build up, so much anticipation, and then BAM! My world crumbled around me (thanks Spielberg, you asshole). Anyways, this is what Idra’s matches were like. I like watching him, I rooted for him all event, and I was so excited for his game against MC. But when it finally happened he early GG’d and just gave them away. I couldn’t believe it. All this hype just to be completely thrown away. That was by far the low part of the weekend for me.

Alright those are the few fleeting thoughts and opinions I wanted to throw down in an article. Now it’s time for what I normally do on Spawn Room and provide you with a long list of resources so you can find everything you need to review this epic event! As usual, if I miss anything that needs to be included, email, Tweet, or Facebook me a message. Thanks for reading!

Brackets and Results

The full championship braket and open bracket on MLG.

The leaderboards on MLG.

Comprehensive team results on Team Liquid.

Matches and Videos

Official MLG Columbus VOD’s on MLG.

MMA Hadoukens Idra (or Kamehameha, whatever).

YouTube channels with coverage: MLG, Team Liquid, WellPlayed, AskJoshy, Team Complexity, Cyber Sports Network, Edward Starcraft, Evil Geniuses, and ESFI World.

HuskyStarcraft also covered a few matches. MrGlobalHD uploaded a bunch (or all) of the matches on YouTube.

Photos and Image Galleries

Official MLG photo albums.

Team photo galleries: Team Dignitas, Team Complexity, Team FNATIC, vVv Gaming

The Calm Before the Storm by Team Sixjax.

WellPlayed on yfrog. AskJoshy on twitpic. StarCrackShow on yfrog.

Raelcun’s two photo threads on Team Liquid: one and two (warning: may take awhile to load).

Miscellaneous

All you need to get ready for MLG Columbus by MLG.

Sixjax Gaming has a few MLG blog posts that are interesting and full of pictures.

NEW: Milkis, the translator for the Koreans, wrote up a two part article/post on Team Liquid: Part 1 | Part 2

Note: I’ll be adding more to this article as I find useful or interesting things to add.

Other Tags: MLG, Pro Circuit, COD BLOPS, StarCraft II, SC2, LoL

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