E-Sports @ OnRPG: February 29th Report
By Umar Farooq (Kluey), OnRPG Journalist
The busiest week of E-Sports in 2012 hosting events as big (and controversial) as MLG Winter Arena and as action packed as ASUS ROG Winter 2012 along with one of the most anticipated GSL finals. These types of weeks only come so often and are to be reflected upon greatly. Once again, Spoiler alerts! If you have not seen MLG Winter Arena, ASUS ROG Winter 2012 or GSL Ro.4, go watch them and come back! They are most definitely worth watching.
MLG Winter Arena
Apart from TeamLiquid’s epic and awkward (especially HuK) interviews (see: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=315956), MLG went pretty smoothly. It started out fantastically. The quality was unparalleled to a live broadcast ever done before. Dreamhack might’ve come close but MLG’s 1080p was flawless. We had epic moments such as the Naniwa PvZ marathon, HuK doing well once again with his unappealing play style and most notably, MarineKingPrime, the Kong of Starcraft II has finally won a tournament. Yes, you heard correctly, the Kong took first place and in an impressive manner as well. Taking out Losira, Naniwa, Violet, PartinG, HuK and then, the ZvT beast, DongRaeGu is no easy feat. I’ve heard stories about him ripping through GSL winners on the Korean ladder and him secretly being an extremely feared player and this MLG shows that he has now overcome his nerves. I expect MKP to go fairly far into GSL Code S and at the very least secure his spot.
One of the major problems in my opinion was the countless ways to get around the PPV stream. Some could do some private browsing trick and bypass the PPV stream while others watched re-streams on smaller streaming websites. How many of these people would’ve bought the PPV if this option wasn’t available? No one knows. Sundance has said he’s happy that people get to watch his event no matter what and I really respect that as it shows he appreciates viewers and that this is not just a business for him.
As for the next MLG, I honestly hope they reduce the price or create ways to help people afford it. MLG is not large enough yet for that kind of price. A system that I personally think would really work is an online pooling system. I can pool money for Superbowl with neighbours or close friends because they can come over and watch. The closest friend I have that watches E-Sports lives in another continent. If there was an online pooling system where 2-5 people could pool money together, the sales would increase rapidly. I can find 5 people online willing to pitch in $4 to watch MLG easily and that to me is very convenient. The other option that I would be satisfied with is an optioned PPV. Quality from 240p to 480p is half the price of 720p and up. This way, people who can afford a pricey price tag will still be getting more but people who can’t afford it will still be able to watch.
ASUS ROG Winter 2012
ASUS ROG, in a way, shot themselves in the foot by making their event in the same weekend as MLG. You’re basically splitting the viewership of two events. That being said, one was PPV so, they didn’t do too bad boasting 50k unique viewers on a single stream. The event itself was nowhere near at the skill level of MLG. MLG flew in a tremendous amount talent, enough to be able to be compared to GSL talent. Regardless, you could see that the players were filtered out and the top 8 were clearly skilful. The greatest upset of this event was Liquid_HerO. While it could be debated that he lost to the eventual winner of the tournament and that’s a good tournament, HerO is as good as, if not better, than Polt. If you’ve ever watched HerO play PvT on his stream, it’s sick fast. The only player who can keep up is a Broodwar prodigy, PuMa. PuMa practiced with Flash and other top players. The mechanics you need to practice with Flash alone is unimaginable. So why didn’t HerO get first place? Nerves. His lack of confidence in a booth is killing him. Players like IdrA and NesTea feel no difference from their personal computer and a MLG competitor’s booth. HerO will go up against GanZi for a spot in Code S and it will truly be a test to see if he has overcome his nerves.
GSL Season 1 Finals
The first non-IM team kill finals, the closest PvZ match-up in a GSL final and finally, the first DRG finals. DRG is in my opinion the best player in the world as of right now. He has good mechanics, sick game sense and little to no nerves. Genius on the other hand is weird. He’s always been good but just randomly he makes it to finals. No one saw it coming, not even the great Artosis. Is he good enough to steal the well deserved GSL final from DRG? I don’t know but most likely not. DRG wants this bad and everyone knows he deserves it.
My Prediction: 4-3 DRG.
Notable Events to look out for
Because of how lengthy these weekly columns are becoming due to the overflow of events, this will become a sub category. I’ll briefly go over what you should look out for and the dates of these events.
IPL 4: Las Vegas! Should you watch this? Hmm, let’s take a look at IPL. Great games, great players, great production, great stream and great fillers (no MLG crowd shots). Now, if that wasn’t enough already, GSTL finals will be at IPL. Yes, that means they will fly an entire team out to IPL. Why wouldn’t one watch IPL? Date: April 6th, 2012.
Red Bull LAN: Orlando! Worth watching? If you have time. Red Bull LANS aren’t the main event of E-Sports. It’s mainly for people who are trying to improve. I’ll definitely drop by when some of my favourite Protoss players are playing but there’s no reason to watch every game of Red Bull LAN. That being said, Red Bull is pretty wealthy and could pull something crazy so expect a spectacle! Date: March 16th, 2012.