Posts Tagged ‘Starcraft 2’

420345_487354251322265_1295994216_n

 

Today on Sunday 24th Feb 2013, a new UK-based Starcraft 2 team launched. The e-Sports arena in the UK is one that is growing has the potential to be a pretty big scene. The people behind Roar Gaming recognize this and will be looking to encourage e-Sports to grow.

You can follow them on the following outlets

Twitter – https://twitter.com/roargaming

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/RoarGaming

TwitchTV – http://www.twitch.tv/roargaming

If you are interested in Starcraft 2 or the e-Sport scene as a whole then please show these guys support and follow them. It’ll be greatly appreciated.

Read below for their launch statement

(more…)

 About a month a go I noticed a post on Google+ where UK Game retailer, GAME was asking those in the UK what their opinion was of E-Sports after linking an article from the Guardian about the Blizzard World Championships. An interesting (in my opinion) discussion arose and the impression that I got from them is that they are genuinely interested in E-Sports and developing E-Sports in the United Kingdom. Low and behold today the good folks from GAME sent me some new on Google+ that for the next few weeks they will be hosting an amateur Starcraft 2 tournament.

Read below for the information from their Facebook page. (TLDR? Non-professional Starcraft 2 player? Fancy a tournament? Carry on reading)

(more…)

Recently there has been a growing voice about the so called state of both the Starcraft 2 scene and the eSport scene as a whole. This prompted top SC2 player Grubby (@followGrubby on Twitter) to write the following letter.

 “Open letter to the community about viewership tournament fatigue in sc2 eSports

This is an attempt to see if there is a possibility for a concerted effort to help improve upon an aspect of eSports, in this case StarCraft II eSports. There are so many theories that come to mind, but each has its merits and disadvantages. Recently and regularly I read descriptions of problems in our world of SC 2 eSports. That is happening because of our community’s PASSION, which is great. One problem I’ve read about (whether the majority sees it as one or not, I find that hard to accurately judge) is “viewer tournament fatigue”. Just to explain, the concept here would be that the scene is suffering (yes, suffering, not blossoming) under the stress of too many tournaments; of oversaturation, and thus in extension suffering of a reduced significance of any one tournament. Is this a problem, or not? And if it is, and should be done about it, if anything? If you care about the eSports scene, or care to add your voice, I’d love to read your opinion (point 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6: other). 

Public discussions have been had many a time over this topic and other topics similar to it, but because of the complexity of the problem, I’d like to absorb your input and maybe come up with a comprehensive plan, or just keep it in mind so that I may see what I can do to improve the scene by, at any point in the future, like nudging it into the correct direction. I could try to accomplish solutions behind the scenes, or thru airing opinions on vblogs, I don’t know yet. For now, see this as a survey or even a school sociology finals exam question (it’s starting to look like one). Heh, hey, may e I’ll grade your answer!

For this item, public discussion is allowed, even encouraged – hell, you’re a free (wo)man – but for the purposes of this I’d like to request an answer to my email address contact@followgrubby.com so I can keep the discussion pure and without input or fear of judgment from 3rd parties. So if you want me to reply – though a reply is not guaranteed; I can’t predict the response size from the community – I will only do so by email. Looking forward to your reply!

———–

Your name and nickname:

Q: Let’s for a moment say that tournament fatigue of the viewer is a realistic problem. What will improve SC2 eSports the most according to you, and help fix this problem?

(1) more quality and quantity tournament coverage is needed on TeamLiquid/ESFI World/other sites so that the tournament and player stories get developed more. I can still choose to watch tournament A, B, or C or all three; when I do, I can easily find previews, power ranks and results as well as interviews and pictures.

(2) We need to have less tournaments around. Delayed gratification will make the next tournament that much better. With too many tournaments around, I don’t know what to follow anymore. 

(3) tournaments need to become more well rounded; the time that *just* providing a proving grounds for top players for 1-4 days was enough, is over. The responsibility lies not with independent coverage, but in the production value, post-production value and pre-hype and side shows that tournaments themselves deliver. I will watch a lot more tournaments and streams if only every tournament had the production, self-generated hype or ‘feel’ of (for instance WCS EU). 

(4) The same points as in point 3, but adding the following: 
Every party has a responsibility to improve the viewership experience for the audience. This means a fan needs to tell his friends about SC2/tourneys/eSports; a tournament organization needs to raise her own production value; a player needs to go above and beyond “just playing” by becoming actually involved; would-be writers, people from the community with passion need to start covering tourneys; etc; basically anyone who can do anything needs to start doing it. 
The theme of point 4 is: “We dont have time to let the hype and growth of (SC2) eSports die off or decline before *maybe* it gets super big in the year 2030 after our own active followership.” 

(5) There is no problem of oversaturation. The market of supply & demand will sort itself out eventually. Tournaments that don’t provide enough quality or have enough improvements will concludingly have low viewership, therefore die off and make room for the new. The same with players who don’t perform; they, too, will be replaced by the new. The circle of life will naturally work itself out, as will the circle of eSports life. No amount of theorizing is going to change anything about the direction that eSports is going to be taking, whatever that may be.

6) other. The solution is:

———–

Greets,
Grubby”

I found this to be a very interesting read. I had heard some people complain about “too many Starcraft tournaments”, but some of the others came as a bit of a surprise to me.

I had come up with a couple of my own thoughts on how to improve the scene. One of these, Grubby quite rightly said would be extremely hard to fund and get backing for. However, I would still like to share them with you

GOVERNING BODY

I can see why some people say that the Starcraft 2 scene is too “chaotic”. Whilst I don’t believe that the scene has too many tournaments I do believe that they’d benefit from better organisation. The best comparison I can come up with is that I see the Starcraft 2 scene like Tennis.

Like Tennis? Well think about it. You have your majors (WCS and MLG to name two) and then you have other tournaments all the same. Some of these don’t have the same prestige as the more popular ones, but they are still able to coexist. I personally think that the scene would benefit from an overall governing, or organisational body.

What would happen is that if someone or some company wanted to run a professional Starcraft 2 tournament then they would apply to this body who would look at available dates, factoring in free slots on the calendar to the “prestige” of a tournament that might already be in that slot. This might cause some tournaments to clash but that’s not always a bad thing as it would allow some lesser known or even unknown player to have their moment of fame and possibly give them their breakthrough.

I think the dates of for the “majors” could be set aside for them. While this may be unfair in some eyes, I see it as a reward for high production values.

Bringing The Scene Together

This brings me onto my second idea. Right now I think that the scene is too fractured. There are tournaments here, there and everywhere, but there isn’t one place to catch them or to keep up with the latest Starcraft/eSport news. Individual fan sites try their best and I know places like Team Liquid try to keep some sort of schedule, but I’d hazard a guess that it’s not a complete schedule and it’s not very visible (I for one, stumbled across their website by total accident one day).

So why not have a dedicated Starcraft 2/eSports channel? On this channel there could be live events from tournaments as well as highlights from others with interviews and analysis.

Granted this would be a massive undertaking and I’m aware that the majority of tournaments are on Twitch, but to me they still feel too scattered. I’m not against competitions having their own streaming channel but accompanied by an overall channel, would be beneficial I believe.

With a dedicated channel there would be proper listings and schedule. Think about this. You are checking the channels website (let’s just call it eSport Central for now), and you are looking at the upcoming schedule… “Oh look ASUS ROG is on a 9am my time on Saturday, I’ll watch that” or “Great! They have an interview with Stefano at 7pm on Thursday, I’ll be there for that”. I don’t see how this could be bad for the scene?

CONCLUSION

Personally I don’t think that neither the Starcraft or the eSport scene is over saturated, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look for improvements right?

Thanks to the Gkick Network for letting me post this on my own blog.

The almighty Kerrigan!

As many of you know I’ve been an avid World of Warcraft player for the last 7 years. Over the last year or so (Since Cataclysm really), my interest in WoW has taken a bit of a knock, to the point where I rarely pick it up now. I have recently got my US shaman to level 85, but apart from that, that’s it. Now Blizzard recently quietly released a game called “Diablo 3” (if you Google it, the game may pop up deep in the search engine), but that’s  not the game I want to talk about. The game I want to talk about is one I picked up about three weeks ago. Starcraft 2. I used to be a massive fan of the Command and Conquer series, and this may surprise people, but I never played Warcraft 3.

Now granted I’m late to the party here, but when I saw that the HMV website was selling Starcraft 2 for £19.99, I couldn’t resist and I had to see what the big fuss is about. I haven’t even tried the online aspect of the game yet and so far I’m campaigning on “normal” difficulty and that’s what I’ll be basing my opinion so far. I plan to finish the game on normal then go onto a higher difficulty so when and if I do finally hit the online game, I won’t suck harder than seeing Justin Bieber with yet another bloody trending topic on Twitter.

The Gameplay

When you do the missions, you are virtually immersed for the get go. Some have pretty slow starts, but there isn’t a mission where you sit there going “so yeah? And?” Send your SCV’s to start gathering mats/building structures and then building a force to go complete the mission. The gameplay is smooth and even on my medium level laptop graphic card, it can easily handle multiple things happening at once. A lot of the time you can use brute force to complete a mission but on timed missions or those where resources are limited you need to decided which military units to build to complete the missions. It’s thoroughly enjoyable and I admit there’s nothing better than sending your forces in and watching them overwhelm your enemies. The Gameplay however, whilst incredibly enjoyable isn’t what I enjoy the most. It’s the cut scenes in between missions that sell the game for me.

Cutscenes and Characters

This shouldn’t really come as a shock that these are what causes me the greatest enjoyment in the game. It’s pretty hard to argue that Blizzard are one of the, if not THE best CGI cut scene creators in the business. The story can be dramatic, but also has a hell of a lot of humour, especially from the news reports.

I’m not going to go through all of the characters, but I’ll list my favourite 3.

Jim Raynor

 Jim Raynor is your typical “tormented hero”. A man who is trying to correct the present whilst fighting the demons from his past. He is now arch enemies with two people he was once close too (one out of the choice, the other not). He’s a troubled man who does what he think is for the best. A rebel against the Terran leadership who classes him as a terrorist, he is determined to topple the regime both out of a sense of justice and also revenge for the one he holds dear the most. A war veteran who has the charisma that makes you want to fall in line with.

Matt Horner

Captain Horner is second in command to Raynor, and whilst he never leaves the vessel he commands, quite often he’ll be the voice of reason for Raynor. When Raynor wants to do something stupid or if he’s sinking deeper into his own thoughts, Matt is usually the one who picks him up and snaps him out of it. He has an extremely amusing moment in my eyes, I won’t tell you what, all I will say for those who have seen it. Matt and Jim are having a discussion about marriage.

I should note here that honourable mentions go out to Tychus, Arcturus and Valerien, but for me there’s only one winner for my favourite character…

Sarah Kerrigan “The Queen of Blades”

Kerrigan as a human.

Before I write my piece, you should see the status of Kerrigan that Blizzard have erected in France. Go check it out on the Gkick Network.

First off I just want to say that the way Blizzard build this character and the story around her is amazing, parts of it is strangely familiar, which I’ll touch up on later,  but nonetheless it’s fantastic. Kerrigan is a former soldier who used to fight alongside Raynor and Arcturus. On a fateful day she was betrayed by Arcturus and left to die, however, the Zerg didn’t kill her. Instead the took her back to the Zerg home world and infested her, turning her into the “Queen of Blades” (the picture at the top of this post). When the former leader of the Zerg, “The Overmind”, perished she took command of the Zerg. Despite this, I find it hard to hate her. She’s that kick ass sort of villain that you have to love.

Now I had never played Starcraft before I purchased Starcraft 2 and didn’t know a thing about any of the characters, but in this game Blizzard do such a good job telling the story that pretty soon after you start playing, you know who she is and what her story is. I know Blizzard based her loosely on Medusa but for me the whole situation has me thinking of another good guy turned bad. Arthus in the Warcraft universe.

Let me explain. You have two characters here, one who got betrayed by her people, and one who felt betrayed by his people. They both became “infested” with evil, both wielding awesome powers and both with a huge army to command (Arthas with the Scourge and Kerrigan with the Zerg). In my opinion both have pretty sad stories (I harp on about this a fair bit but I seriously can not recommend Christie Golden’s “Arthas : Rise of the Lich King” enough. As I was saying, both of their stories make you feel sorry for them in a way. The other part that jumps out at me are the main people they are fighting. “Jilted lovers” shall we say. In the Warcraft universe there was Jaina’s love for Arthas, and in the Starcraft universe, even though it’s not explicitly said, Raynor’s love for Kerrigan. In this sort of way you can see how the two characters have pretty similar traits.

That doesn’t stop Kerrigan from being awesome though, and it’s no surprise that she has been voted “one of video’s games greatest baddies”. For someone who was initially meant to be a “throw away character”, I’m pleased that Metzen and co saw her potential. I’m also pretty glad that she’s going to be the main character in the first Starcraft expansion.

Final Thoughts

At the time of writing this I’m currently bashing my head against the quest “all in”, I’m not going to go into details here. I must say that Starcraft 2 is probably the most enjoyable game I’ve picked up recently and I really wish I had picked it up earlier. I know a lot of people are buried in the Diablo universe at the moment, but having played that, I genuinely think that Starcraft 2 is Blizzard’s finest piece of work since The Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft and I can’t wait to play the expansion.