IPL3: Origins – Part 2

3 Nov

The view of Atlantic City that we rarely saw, being holed up in a dark room watching video games for days on end...

(…continued from Part 1)

A late night quickly turned into an early morning, and thankfully there was a lobby shop that made greasy breakfast subs to power us through the morning.  Unfortunately, everything shut down just when it was about to start.  At first, it looked like the casino had lost internet (everyone was glad to blame Comcast), but in reality a truck hit a communications pole and took out internet to the entire southern half of New Jersey. We only found this out after making the trek to the main stage, where we saw that the tournament was dead at Caesar’s.  Everyone ran back to the Qualifier Room to see if internet was still on at Bally’s.  It wasn’t, but some players were playing training scenarios or solitaire.  Twitter was our connection for updates, but informational tweets were few and far between.

Solitaire... best training for StarCraft EVAR

In early the afternoon, out of sheer boredom, HuK challenged Boxer to a show game of Brood War LAN.  Boxer laughed it off at first, because Brood War (the first expansion to the original StarCraft) was a game that was massively popular in South Korea.  Not to mention that this game made Boxer internationally famous, as he was possibly the best player in the world.  Although some SC2 players such Sheth also began their careers in Brood War, HuK had limited experience.  This game is still dominant in South Korea, and Boxer, though he also transitioned to SC2, was still very good at it.  When he agreed to play, the crowd drew to him immediately.  It was a welcome diversion.

Teh Boxer, sharing his wisd0m.

Finally, the internet came back on and we all rushed to the Main Stage.  However, because games were so far behind, great match-ups were not only being held there, but at the Bally’s Stage and Qualifier Room as well!  As new games were announced, the throngs ran back and forth, hoping to be able to make the best battles.  It became a long afternoon and evening of gaming.  The IGN Girls Happy Hour was hosted again, but drinks were limited (apparently we drank them under on Thursday… and that was with many fans still yet to arrive).  With the one ticket limit and a massive line, the next round of drinks were easier sought in the Qualifier Room.  We bumped into Sheth and he, being the mannered gentleman that he is, gave us a voucher to use.  (The players were given these as an ‘apology’ for the internet being down, and he assured us he had a few more to spare!)  We thanked him kindly and made sure to cheer Sheth to Victory over DeMuslim later that night.

DeMuslim/Sheth montage looks epic

After that match, I got a rush when Sheth waved to us – somehow even though I learned that pro gamers are just normal people, they still seem like they are superstars when they are on stage.  Suddenly it was after 10 at night, and it made sense to eat again.  As I mentioned in my Otakon post, conventions typically lead one to eat less, and less often.  After time was made for food, there were only a few more matches, and the rooms began to close for the night.  We opted for an early night, being exhausted from running about all day, and also expecting much more action on Saturday and Sunday.

The first mothership of the tournament, courtesy of White-Ra. The crowd screamed when it appeared. ^^

That sleep was absolutely precious, as the weekend wore down everyone.  Allegedly, casters’ schedules were switched, as some stayed out later than may be proper. But that didn’t stop anyone (well, except Idra, who was too tired to finish his qualifying set on Friday, as he was ‘Still on China time’).  Breakfast was another greasy breakfast sub.  Saturday morning’s sub crowd had groups of players in their team shirts, and it was fun to watch them prepare for the momentous marathon of games. It was the Round of 32, where the brackets began to be narrowed through double elimination matches, almost all of which were held at Circus Maximus.  There were giveaways of sponsor items – most notably Visine (for tired gamer eyes) and Panasonic 3D monitors (which you had to have retweeted infinitely to win).  Whereas Panasonic was a bit annoying to see in all the tweets, its sponsorship was massive, and was appreciated.  Visine, however, was so out of place for a ‘typical sponsorship’, (although it made sense), that it became a meme.  Casters would give it shout-outs and the crowd would shout ‘Visine!’ back.  Though the normal crowd signs were shown (memetic phrases cheering on players), there was now one that said ‘Visine Fighting’.  IPN also had dedicated streams showing behind-the-scene action.  Their video teams nearly ran me down a couple times, as cable and camera guys doggedly trailed a long-haired Asian girl who chatted endlessly about the tournament. It was annoying, but I heard that those who had to watch at home loved it.

Geeks... an auditorium full of geeks...

The games ticked on and on, hours passing by without note. Food and drink were had by all in our seats, in order not to miss a moment.  Then, the game of all epic-ness was had.  Stefano (Team Millennium) versus Kiwikaki (Team Reign).  As the second game of the set of three dragged on, positions for both players began to fill the map.  The entire crowd began to anticipate a good ending to such a long ‘macro’ game.  Massive armies battled, some retreating, some poking in for a little damage at a time.  A mothership appeared and recalled its units from battle, sparing them damage. Resources dwindled, and it began to look like, if nothing big happened soon, it could be a rare tie.  Everyone was on their feet, cheering at the top of their voices at every unit death.  Instead, Kiwikaki rallied the last of his forces, and created an ‘Archon Toilet‘, where he ‘flushed’ all nearby units into a temporary black-hole. When they reappeared, Stepahno’s forces were stunned and Kiwi dealt the killing blow. The crowd’s cheer was deafening – screaming, whistling, applauding!  It morphed into a chant for Kiwi.  We were amazed at such an epic battle, and there was still one game to go!

Ok, my best pic of Stephano / Kiwikaki makes Stephano look like a demon zombie. /FAIL

After that amazing battle, Stephano won the set.  The night wound down quickly after such a high.  Many a player that were fan favourites were eliminated.  White-Ra fought hard, but was defeated. So were Idra, Sheth, Boxer…  Some new kid named Lucky was knocking out the big names left and right.  He was Korean and spoke via an interpreter (they were all awesome, by the way… not many would know how to translate stuff like Zerg, banelings, Blue-flame Hellian, etc.).  He said he chose his name to give him luck, and it was working!  I fell in love.  He was in to the Sunday round of 8, along with Ret, Puma, the STC, Idra, Stephano, Inori and MMA.  We all left Caesar’s excited, but wondering if Sunday’s games would hold up to that epic Stephano/Kiwikaki game. That night was another riot at the WWW.  Wild frivolity, lots of lanyards, lots of IGN girls in fancy cocktail dresses.

Yeah, that was a really nice placement...

On Sunday we toughed out an early wake-up to watch yet another full 12+ hours of StarCraft from our cushy seats at Circus Maximus.  Drinks were had, and the morning games were all very quick series, leaving a lot of time to fill.  For many of the breaks, IPL interviews were screened, but at one point, the camera interview chick, Lani, had a show match against David Ting, General Manager of eSports at IGN, who went by the gamer tag Deathlord.  It was amusing, but this comparison really drove home just how much higher a caliber of players were in the tournament.

HuK looking hardcore. Unlike Lani. Via IGN Facebook.

The games were good, but not as epic as Stephano/Kiwikaki.  Lucky plowed his way through the field, as did Stephano, and then they remained, the final two.  There was a break for the League of Legends (LoL) Final, which almost everyone used to get some dinner.  The final itself was a beat down – even though it was a best of 7, Stephano handily won.  The crowd went wild, chanting his name and screaming support.  It was joyous, with so many geeks cheering on their digital hero, and seeing Stephano overwhelmed with a sense of victory as well as a $30k check.  He was speechless, and we were as well (but rather hoarse from cheering).  This was a marked victory because he was a ‘foreigner’ (non-Korean) winning in a tournament with Koreans entered in… many of whom are the best in the world.  Also, HuK, a foreigner had won MLG Orlando, making this two in a row.  The home crowd was elated – foreigners winning was another ringing endorsement for e-Sports in the US.

Yay Stephano! Just don't mind the crazily clapping chick.

Twitch.TV hosted a private after party, where there were StarCraft themed drinks and karaoke.  A player named Select sang and was epic.  Conversations flowed freely and a last few connections were made between all who shared this experience.

Behold, the horrible tasting, but pretty looking, cocktails!

Then open bar ended and the party sadly departed.  Like any convention’s end, there was a sense of loss, but the weekend was also exhausting and it felt right for it to be wearing down.  Some migrated to the WWW, and others went to their separate room parties.  Stephano was in one such party, not being old enough to drink in the US yet (but he could in his homeland of France).  It was a disappointment not to carry him on our shoulders in victory, but I’m sure he still had a good time with the other under-21s.  The experience was incredible, and I am glad I went, but it was so intense that I don’t think I could attend many of these tournaments unless I started playing the game.

OBTW the Mothership REALLY sucked. It's the polar opposite to the in-game unit. SRSLY ><

With great tournament results like this, I hope that the US can take yet another step toward geeks taking over the world, by following Korea’s footsteps and showing video game matches on television!  Until then, I’ll keep watching tournaments online and supporting my local Barcraft, FTW!
Advertisements

One Response to “IPL3: Origins – Part 2”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. IPL3: Origins – Part 1 « districtgeek - 3 November 2011

    […] We all had at least one thing in common, and it was a great starting ground. – Still to come: Part 2! Share this:ShareFacebookRedditStumbleUponTwitterDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: