E-Sports @ OnRPG: April 25th Report – Swedish Strength
By Umar Farooq (Kluey), OnRPG Journalist
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and honestly, it’s nice to be back. There were so many extremely awesome things that occurred this week plus a couple of days and it’s going to be hard to fit them all in this one short column. Anyhow, we’re going to cover the following: Dreamhack Stockholm Starcraft II, GSL Code S focusing on ‘The King in the North’ Naniwa and DotA 2 going F2P.
(All VODs can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/SpoilerFreeSC/comments/sn7b7/completed_event_dreamhack_open_stockholm_2012/)
Going into Dreamhack Day 1, I had no intention whatsoever of waking up a bit early to watch. And no offense to Dreamhack, the early parts of Day 1 kind of sucked. The tournament was supposed to be a 128 player open format but only around 80 people actually showed up. Furthermore, there was no group that had two favourites killing each other. That being said, MaNa from Team Mousesports did drop 0-2 to an unknown player who goes by the alias of ‘ProxyPanda’. Moving forward, we had some interesting games. Group stage #2 consists of groups with 4 players with the top 2 moving on. Because of that, there was no group with 3 top players so not many upsets were witnessed. One player, aTnCloud, did fall but he was not a favourite to win the tournament. Before the day ended, we had sort of a ‘showmatch’ series. It would be Morrow vs. elfi, Hyun vs. Naniwa and Genius vs. PuMa. Oddly enough, Naniwa dropped 0-2 to Hyun in some very disappointing games. Naniwa played some of the worst PvZ that we’ve seen from him in Game 1 and did a sloppy 4-gateway attack in Game 2. To his defense, in an interview later on he explained how because of his GSL groups he hasn’t practiced PvZ in a month. To me, this is a legitimate reason to play so bad. Hyun is an extremely good opponent and anything but a 4-gate coin flip would’ve lost.
Going onwards into Day 2, Group Stage #3 had begun. This is where Hyun, SaSe and PuMa were in the same group, Naniwa, Genius and Nerchio in another group. So without further ado, let the upsets begin? TLO falls in Group E to some Finnish player named Protosser. MaNa falls to Monster and elfi. PuMa falls to Swedish player named Forsen. Naniwa falls to Nerchio, sLviko and Genius. And with that done, we’re left with our Ro16.
Not too many upsets happen at this point. Nerchio has extremely good ZvZ and thus takes out Hyun. Shortly after, he falls to Monster in a series he should’ve won. Both games that Monster won were because of Nerchio making mistakes rather than Monster playing well. Ret takes out Genius 2-1. The one game that Genius did win was a huge blunder from Ret. He left his Broodlord’s exposed and they all got sniped. This left us with ThorZaIN vs Monster and Polt vs Ret semifinals. ThorZaIN, our hometown hero at this point as he is the last Swede, tore through Socke and was looking strong. He then went on to beat Monster in a close 2-1 series. Ret unfortunately fell to the TvZ sniper, Polt.
This left us with our epic finals. Korea vs. Sweden, the two strongest countries in Starcraft II were about to clash. Game one was a heart breaker. Polt straight up outplayed ThorZaIN and it looked like an easy 3-0 victory for Polt. But, ThorZaIN went on to win the next 3 games decisively! He held off Polt’s timing’s and had brilliant strategic counter attacks. The final game, ThorZaIN pulled out the spoon. He contained Polt on two bases until he had four. Polt, slowly dying to the spoon, tried to retaliate but failed and had to tap out. ThorZaIN is our Dreamhack Stockholm champion!
GSL Code S Season 2
After many months of no foreigners in Code S, hope was lost. Anyone who thought a foreigner would win the GSL would be crazy. This season, that’s changed. One of the reasons is definitely the new format. A monthly GSL requires you to be in Korea and practicing for the GSL at all times. With the seasonal approach, there’s no reason you can’t do the GSL and foreign events. Furthermore, IdrA and Sen both failed to even win a single game last season.
This season, NaNiwa from team Quantic was given a seed into Code S. What did he make of it? He placed first in his group, dropping only one set to Puzzle in the Ro32, against players like IMMVP and Ryung. In the Ro16, he placed first again dropping not even a single set. Naniwa will be facing MVP in the Ro8 and everyone’s eyes will be on him. If he wins, he will match Jinro’s semifinal appearance way back when. It will be even more amazing now then it was for Jinro as the game was much less developed as it is now. The real task will be breaking the barrier and making it to the finals. If he does that, Naniwa will be the first foreigner ever to make it to the finals of a GSL.
More surprising news from GSL; HerO makes it to the Ro8 in his first appearance. It’s good to see that Hero has overcome his nerves and can show his best form in tournament play. Even more surprising, there are no more Zergs this season! Leenock and July were both knocked out in Group B leaving no Zergs left.
DotA 2 will be F2P! What does this mean for E-Sports?
So it was recently announced that DotA 2 will be free to play with a ‘twist’. What the twist may be is not known for sure but a famous ‘data miner’ known as CybordMatt has dug up indications of an in-game shop selling cosmetic changes similar to ‘skins’ in games like League of Legends and HoN.
What does that mean in an E-Sports stand point? It’s a double edged sword. The two games that we’ll use to compare are League of Legends and Starcraft II. LoL is a F2P with available cosmetic changes that charge money. Starcraft II on the other hand is a strictly P2P game that offers nothing to a player with real life money.
The League of Legends E-Sports scene runs off of ad revenue. The number of concurrent viewers in that game is astounding. What they suffer from is the fact that the community generally sucks. The majority of people who play that game aren’t exactly extremely active or passionate about the game. Because of this, sponsors will think twice before going into League of Legends. Will someone who doesn’t really care about this team buy my product just because they see it on a stream? Probably not. The sponsorship value per person is quite different from a game like…
Starcraft II. Blizzard used a B2P business model where you pay a large sum of money (for a gamer) once and never have to pay again until the expansion comes out which is pretty much a new game. This is also a double edged sword. Anyone who buys the game is passionate about it and will spend a good amount of time in it. A sponsor also acknowledges the fact that players will buy a product just because his/her favourite player uses it. That being said, the numbers should be low. Starcraft II is a good spectator game so it does have fans that don’t actually play the game but even so, the numbers are less than League of Legends.
So which is better? It’s hard to say. Valve is usually really good at figuring out how to balance these types of things and it’ll be interesting to see what they end up doing. Regardless of what they chose, DotA 2’s E-Sport scene will be successful. It’s a solid competitive game that is fun to watch and that’s what a good E-Sport requires.