Good luck, have fun.
July 27, 2011 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Every spectator area was full with people. There were just so. many. people. Then someone started the wave. The wave. For me, that's the moment e-sports made it in the west. I was there. The second you do the fucking wave at a StarCraft match in NORTH AMERICA, e-sports has come to fruition.

- Reddit user Kevinflo recalls the StarCraft 2 match ups (1, 2 and 3) between MC and LosirA at this June’s MLG Columbus.

StarCraft2 takes center stage at this weekend’s MLG Anaheim. It has been a crazy year in StarCraft pro-gaming and, with Columbus boasting 450K, Anaheim may be poised to break a half a million unique stream viewers.

Don’t fancy spectating from your computer? Check out your local BarCraft scene and cheer along in the company of fans.
posted by Loser (97 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm just about the furthest thing from a sports fan, but when this was posted during the open beta I finally understood what drives my stepdad to freak out about baseball. Getting to watch top players compete is an amazing thing.
posted by lekvar at 12:38 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am trying and failing to find out schedule and streaming info for MLG Anaheim. All I want to know is when the finals are, and can I stream this on my computer?
posted by Imperfect at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2011


GODDAMNIT, the MOMENT after I post, I find it: http://pro.majorleaguegaming.com/competitions/22#watch_it_live_online
posted by Imperfect at 12:46 PM on July 27, 2011


Metafilter totally got me into watching SC2 videos, the ones hosted by Husky and HD are quite good. The result is surprisingly engaging, I probably watch an hour of these a week, and I didn't like the actual game that much.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:47 PM on July 27, 2011


Crap. Now I know that soon, in some household somewhere, some kid won't be able to watch his favorite Saturday programs because Dad has to watch e-sports all afternoon.

This is the evil of organized sports. It was that way when I was a kid, and it will always be thus.
posted by happyroach at 12:50 PM on July 27, 2011


Meetup?
posted by Arbac at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2011


I just made Platinum league last night. Everyone congratulate me.
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Btw, I'm calling it now: Destiny shocks everyone and makes it out of the open bracket.
posted by empath at 12:57 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is way, way more interesting than the that baseball instant replay shit.
posted by odinsdream at 12:58 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


yay, more reasons for people to stay at home and watch tv. Instead of football, it's now zerg rushes.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 1:00 PM on July 27, 2011


Here's the crowd after Huk won the Dreamhack finals a month or so ago.
posted by empath at 1:01 PM on July 27, 2011


I just made Platinum league last night. Everyone congratulate me.

Me too! Internet high fives all around.
posted by sparkletone at 1:07 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I refuse to believe that "e-sports" is a word.
posted by octothorpe at 1:08 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Destiny shocks everyone and makes it out of the open bracket.

I'd love to see that; the Open Bracket looks pretty dicey though.
posted by Loser at 1:12 PM on July 27, 2011


Oh wow empath, I watched that live during my lunch at work, and had to go around explaining breathlessly to my co-workers what I had just watched.

HuK's my fave, and those were some tense games, especially the final.
posted by Imperfect at 1:14 PM on July 27, 2011


Here's the crowd after Huk won the Dreamhack finals a month or so ago.

Some context as to why the crowd was going insane for those who don't follow sc2: Huk is a Canadian guy who went to Korea about a year ago to train and compete there. He's been doing better and better in the main, huge-money tournament in Korea, but hasn't shown any huge results (yet?), and hadn't done much in non-Korean tournaments since some wins last year.

In the mean time, lots of non-Korean tournaments have been doing whatever they can to get some of the big-name Korean players to come play in their events. When the Koreans show up, due to their harder core practice regimen, among other things, they tend to do extremely well at these non-Korean tournaments. The big storyline for that Dreamhack tournament ended up being Huk playing in his first non-Korean event in quite some time, and ending up taking the win over a bunch of extremely tough competition.

That's part of the reason. It also helped that the games he played against Moon (a Korean) in that finals were extremely exciting (ending up going to the final match of a best of 5).

MLG Anaheim has a pretty ridiculous list of players, and some of the best casting talent around will be commentating the games. Should be good times.
posted by sparkletone at 1:14 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A classic e-sports moment from 2004 - in Street Fighter III, Daigo (playing as Ken (the guy)) has almost no health, and must rhythmically parry every attack from Justin (playing as Chun-Li (the lady)) to survive.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:17 PM on July 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


PS. Here's a video of the commentary of the final game of Dreamhack so you can see what came before the couple thousand people screaming a bunch.
posted by sparkletone at 1:18 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A classic e-sports moment from 2004 - in Street Fighter III, Daigo (playing as Ken (the guy)) has almost no health, and must rhythmically parry every attack from Justin (playing as Chun-Li (the lady)) to survive.

Talked about (via links in the comments, not the main post) twice before here. In fact, I was just looking at those posts because this post reminded me that I'd heard something about Daigo recently and was seeing if there was any previous Mefi discussion on him.
posted by kmz at 1:21 PM on July 27, 2011


Oh, and I posted this before and it got mostly ignored, but:

Teevox is the absolute jam for watching e-sports.
posted by empath at 1:24 PM on July 27, 2011


East Manitoba Regional Kabaddi Champion '94:

daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.
posted by sinnesloeschen at 1:25 PM on July 27, 2011


Just throwing in with those who are saying things along the line of "Oh, so that's why sports fans get so excited." This is something I'm going to actively prevent from being a huge time sink for me.
posted by owtytrof at 1:29 PM on July 27, 2011


Also, this Idra rage quit (linked in the FPP, but I'm liking it again), is the best thing. Basically his opponent accidentally blew up his own expansion and then attacked out of desperation, Idra didn't know that the expansion was gone, so he quit the game after the battle didn't go as well as he hoped, thinking that he was way behind, when in reality, he had the game completely won. The look of shock on the crowds face is classic.


You'd think he'd have learned after the last MLG, where he quit a game he had won vs huk after huk hallucinated a bunch of fake voidrays.
posted by empath at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just throwing in with those who are saying things along the line of "Oh, so that's why sports fans get so excited."

I'd never really thought of it that way after starting to get into sc2, until my girlfriend (jokingly) stated as I was checking on tournament results while waiting for a train, "Ugh. It's like I'm suddenly dating a sports fan."
posted by sparkletone at 1:32 PM on July 27, 2011


I can't stand Idra. He's brilliant, but he's such a knob.
posted by neuromodulator at 1:32 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is way, way more interesting than the that baseball instant replay shit.

That's a great way to frame it to make sure the jocks don't make fun of you. Why does everything have to be a goddamn zero-sum game?
posted by yerfatma at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2011


What I love about pro-Starcraft is that it's a story generating machine. There's all the international rivalries, there's rivalries between players who use the different races in the game, there's pro-team rivalries, there's conflict between individual players, and that's even before the game starts. Once the game starts, the genius of it is that you, as a viewer no more about what's going on than either player, which makes you feel smart, and puts you on edge, because you know when a player is making a terrible mistake -- for example if he's doing a greedy, economy heavy build, while his opponent is massing up a hidden army of air units in his base that he'll have no way to defend against if he doesn't scout it.

Destiny in particular is going to be fun to root for, because he's largely known as a 'personality' because of his stream, but he's gotten spectacularly good recently because he's been able to stream games full time for a living. He's beaten some major pros on the ladder and in minor tournaments, including Huk and Korean players, but he's never had anything close to a decent tournament result yet. He's developed a really unique style that relies on infestors (spell-casting units) which is exciting to watch because it relies so much on quick thinking and really precise control. He wins games all the time where he looks like he's way behind because he's so good at making efficient use of his and thinking ahead, but if he makes one mistake, it makes him look terrible. His main advantage in this tourney, I think, is that nobody is going to take him seriously, so he's going to be able to steal some games from better players, I think.
posted by empath at 1:39 PM on July 27, 2011


I personally only watch broadcasts of MLB players playing Street Fighter II and Starcraft pros playing baseball.

None of them are very good at it, it's weird.
posted by kmz at 1:41 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is way, way more interesting than the that baseball instant replay shit.

It's actually really similar. That's why SCII works so well as a spectator event, it can deliver the same kind of stimuli that traditional sports do.
posted by atrazine at 1:43 PM on July 27, 2011


Dude, infestors are so OP, Destiny should have no problems...
posted by Windopaene at 1:45 PM on July 27, 2011


Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?
posted by scruss at 1:46 PM on July 27, 2011


His main advantage in this tourney, I think, is that nobody is going to take him seriously, so he's going to be able to steal some games from better players, I think.

That's some of it, I think. He's a very stylistic player right now, who does stuff that basically no other zeros are doing. He's been streaming it the whole time (there's even a whole 60-90 minute day[9] show about his zerg vs protoss), so surely anyone who's aware of him will have some idea of what he typically does in each of the match ups but at the same time.... His style doesn't seem to be very well figured out in terms of responses.

We've seen other players come out of the woodwork with an unusual/new style of play, only to have them fade eventually when the problem of dealing with their types of builds gets figured out. I'm not saying Destiny is one of those that will fade away soon necessarily. Just that I think this weekend in particular will be a big chance for him to turn a lot of heads before people have figured out what the responses to his ways of playing are.

Pretty sure I'll have trouble not rooting for Dong Rae Gu to take the whole thing this weekend though.
posted by sparkletone at 1:48 PM on July 27, 2011


Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?

For the spectator, the amount of activity is exactly the same whether you're watching baseball, football, or Starcraft.

On the other hand, if you're an audience member at the Price is Right, you just might get to " COME ON DOWN!"

So clearly watching The Price is Right live is the superior choice.
posted by kmz at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?

I think it makes more sense if you've grown up with British daytime television aka Snooker and darts championships. Oooooone Huuuuuuundred and Eighty!
posted by atrazine at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2011


Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?

People watch other people play all kinds of games. Some involve more physical exertion than others. How is it any different than watching, say, high level poker (which seems to be extremely popular, I think?), or men driving around in a big circle for a few hours?
posted by sparkletone at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it makes more sense if you've grown up with British daytime television aka Snooker and darts championships. Oooooone Huuuuuuundred and Eighty!

I always preferred Beer Darts.
posted by kmz at 1:53 PM on July 27, 2011


This match seems to be the Reddit/Starcraft pick for 'best game of Starcraft 2's first year'
posted by anthill at 2:05 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just made Platinum league last night. Everyone congratulate me.
Congrats. When I got the game I placed in Silver, and after a losing streak I decided to practice my macro in order to build up a big MMM ball basically as fast as possible. And it worked. I was able to steam roll opponents, for a while. Then the scoring system caught up, started putting me against better players, and I lost. And then it re-ranked me as bronze. And, it turned out, my macro skills majorly atrophied after not playing, so now when I go in I get destroyed.

(oh, and on the new 'season' they had me play one placement game, which I lost, then they placed me in silver again...? Maybe because I survived long enough)
Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?

I would argue that playing video games seems less 'brain rotting' then simply watching TV.

And the games are fun to watch. Like other people have said, the way people get excited about real sports 'makes sense' now
posted by delmoi at 2:08 PM on July 27, 2011


This match seems to be the Reddit/Starcraft pick for 'best game of Starcraft 2's first year'

I could name some that I prefer, but that one is definitely up there. Super high level play, lots of back and forth, and goes down to the wire with a crazy finish. Good times.

Pity about the GSL finals always sucking. There's one this weekend even! I like the story line (the best zerg in the world facing off against what amounts to his protege), but ... I'm expecting it to be pretty one-sided like all the GSL finals have been.

I don't think the videos are free, but the NASL finals probably take it for best tournament finals to date (when it comes to the games anyway).
posted by sparkletone at 2:11 PM on July 27, 2011


His style doesn't seem to be very well figured out in terms of responses.

His infestor timing push vs protoss is brutal, but I've seen Protoss on the ladder who know him blind counter him by opening with a fast obs and high templar into archons.

Copying his infestor build is actually what got me out of high silver into Platinum, even though I'm terribad with infestors and get them killed for nothing constantly.
posted by empath at 2:14 PM on July 27, 2011


Pity about the GSL finals always sucking.

I think part of the problem is that SC2 isn't super well balanced yet, and the Koreans due to huge amounts of practice and refinement and a play-to-win attitude tend toward degenerate metagames where one strategy is completely dominant, so you have lots of all-in gambles and super-rehearsed timing pushes, and not a lot of reactive, creative play, which is just boring. It's always more interesting at the lower levels. And Huk is always interesting. I'm amazed how much of his personality comes out just from watching how he uses his scouting probe.
posted by empath at 2:17 PM on July 27, 2011


A classic e-sports moment from 2004 - in Street Fighter III, Daigo (playing as Ken (the guy)) has almost no health, and must rhythmically parry every attack from Justin (playing as Chun-Li (the lady)) to survive.

Capcom is re-releasing the game on Xbox Live and PSN this year, and they're including a training mode where you can try to duplicate Daigo's feat. Emphasis on try.
posted by Sibrax at 2:19 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


degenerate metagames where one strategy is completely dominant,

That was true in older GSLs (see: The 2rax scv all in-fest that was GSL2 or 3), I'm not convinced it's true now.

It seems like they've had a lot of... bad luck with the brackets. Someone from one side of the bracket will get to the finals based on their strongest matchup, only to run into someone who's either more well rounded or who plays the race they're weakest against. Like in the May GSL, Inca got to the finals on the back of his very strong PvP... only to run into Nestea who not only isn't Protoss but is one of the most well-rounded players in the world. Inca got crushed.

There's more to it than that, and I guess you're probably at least partially right. Still, it's funny how consistently bad their finals have been. I have hope for this season's finals because while the GSL finals have always been bad, the semifinals have usually been ridiculous (example: That nestea vs sC game someone posted). This time around, the semifinals were both quite one-sided so .... That means the finals have to be good!

Right? ... Right?

Also: Someone who isn't me talk about how fucking awesome the GSL team league has been/continues to be.
posted by sparkletone at 2:25 PM on July 27, 2011


I really enjoyed NaNiwa vs. ThorzaiN from TSL3 this year, but I think that was partially from watching the series develop. Still, a really good series. If anyone is reading this thread and has never watched any high level Starcraft, it's as good a place to start as any. There's a high cash prize on the line (which always helps make things feel dramatic), and a series between two players helps you see what varies from game to game.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:45 PM on July 27, 2011


Ok these pro live commentators (as opposed to the youtube streamers) are hilarious! wehre'd they find these guys? the Ocho?!
posted by stratastar at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2011


statastar? Which ones? Tasteless and Artosis from the GSL? They're old-school broodwar players. Tasteless is also Day[9]'s older brother.

Here's Day[9] talking about growing up with Starcraft intercut with scenes of them all in a tournament 6 years ago.
posted by empath at 3:08 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would argue that playing video games seems less 'brain rotting' then simply watching TV.

Well, not to overanalyze scruss's statement, but there is a difference between inactivity and brain rot. You can work on an assembly line all day, and it can be brain rotting, but not inactive. At the same time, you can watch TV or read or play a video game and that could be inactive but not brain rotting. Well, it's less true for games, especially since we have the Wii and the Kinect now.

But it is sort of interesting, especially since some consider video games as a temporary escape. So, basically when someone gets into watching someone play a video game, he or she potentially is living vicariously though someone that is living vicariously through a fictional avatar.
posted by FJT at 3:14 PM on July 27, 2011


I watch because I play and it helps my game improve. And starcraft is not about escape and living vicariously through a character in the same way that watching a movie is. It's no more escape than playing chess is. It's a pure mind-vs-mind contest of skill. I'm actually finding it incredibly stressful as I rise up the ladder and play against better and better players. It's not remotely relaxing.
posted by empath at 3:19 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watch because it may be the best sport on earth. :p
posted by neuromodulator at 3:26 PM on July 27, 2011


Destiny vs Rain show match is live here, btw.

Destiny just lost to 2 rax cheese on metalopolis, but he made it surprisingly close after getting contained on one base.
posted by empath at 3:31 PM on July 27, 2011


I'm actually finding it incredibly stressful as I rise up the ladder and play against better and better players. It's not remotely relaxing.

I haven't found it incredibly stressful exactly, but it's most certainly not the same sort of relaxing that, say, laying on the couch and reading would be. It's more like "playing tennis to blow off some steam" relaxing.

I've never had the common fear of the ladder though.
posted by sparkletone at 3:33 PM on July 27, 2011


There used to be a channel called GameplayHD on my dish a while back, that i enjoyed watching every so often. They showed the tournaments, along with other behind the scene things, of various games (Starcraft, Warcraft, Counterstrike, Guild Wars, etc) and it at times was fascinating. Seeing how seriously the Koreans take it, and how FAST they manage their units was mind blowing. It also clearly showed why every single time i played that i got my ass handed to me. ;)

Not being a sport person, i laugh when jocks make fun of these people. Sports fans cosplay (cheese heads, colors, painted), get really worked up over meaningless numbers (who scored what when), and hell, riot over losses or wins (which is pathetic really, more so than any game).
posted by usagizero at 3:37 PM on July 27, 2011


I watch because I play and it helps my game improve. And starcraft is not about escape and living vicariously through a character in the same way that watching a movie is.

I've thought of that, which is why I mentioned "watching someone play a video game" in general and didn't narrowly define it in terms of video game competition or ladder competition.

Though, StarCraft does feature a single player campaign story that has spawned fan fiction as well as licensed comic books and novels.

It's a pure mind-vs-mind contest of skill.

Really? SC and most competitive video games are real time, which does involve reflex, muscle memory, and being able to accurately use a pointing instrument (mouse). Chess and other board games, don't.
posted by FJT at 3:39 PM on July 27, 2011


Great post, thanks -- I've watched a ton of MLG's Halo (3, Reach) coverage and always enjoyed it. It helps improve game strategy and it's just fun to watch. I don't know SC2 well enough to understand half of what's going on, but I've played enough RTS to see how good these competitors are. Very cool.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 3:43 PM on July 27, 2011


For a brief demonstration of what usagizero means when he talks about how quickly the koreans control their units, this video gives a good quick demonstration.

People unfamiliar with the games though should note that SC2 is far less demanding than Broodwar in this regard due to the interface doing more for you. For instance, in Broodwar, you can only select one building at a time. So to make 5 marines out of 5 barracks in Broodwar, you have to individually select the 5 buildings and hit the hotkey to make a marine. In SC2, you can select more than one building at a time, and so the number of actions required is far smaller.

I believe the generally accepted range to do everything in sc2 that you need to do to play at a masters league (something like top 5% of the player population) is in the 80-100 range. Some pros don't play much faster than that. Others roll at around 200 or more, though I'm not sure how much the extra apm helps past a certain point.
posted by sparkletone at 3:48 PM on July 27, 2011


Basically his opponent accidentally blew up his own expansion and then attacked out of desperation, Idra didn't know that the expansion was gone, so he quit the game after the battle didn't go as well as he hoped, thinking that he was way behind, when in reality, he had the game completely won.

This event reminded me, oddly enough, of the ST:TNG episode where Data beats that guy at that game by playing for a draw, rather than playing to win. It's the same kind of principle at work: Idra was assuming the guy was making good tactical decisions, and if that guy was in a position to throw that size army around, Idra was indeed done for. But because the guy was not operating under normal strategic rules, Idra's assumption about what it meant for game-state was wrong.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:50 PM on July 27, 2011


Really? SC and most competitive video games are real time, which does involve reflex, muscle memory, and being able to accurately use a pointing instrument (mouse).

I dunno, I have about 150 apm, which is about what some of the mid-level pros have. It doesn't take that long to get up to that speed. It's more about the kinds of decisions you make, and the ability to keep track of multiple things at once. Starcraft, more than any other game, is about being able to keep multiple trains of thought going at once -- you're controlling several groups of units, developing an economy and long term strategy, deploying short term tactics (including controlling individual units), trying to figure out what you're opponent is thinking, etc..


I think the best part of it is that there doesn't seem to be a skill ceiling. No matter how fast or how smart you are, you could always do more and better, just because of the amount of units you're controlling, and the pace of the game.
posted by empath at 3:51 PM on July 27, 2011


One of the latest Day9 episodes featured a pro showing at 350 average apm with spikes in the 550 range. It was truly absurd to see... I just don't understand how apm over 200 helps that much; as someone else above said, the interface does so much of your work for you nowadays. Even in micro battles, I figure around 250 is going to be where you can get the most out of your apm.
posted by TheMidnightHobo at 3:57 PM on July 27, 2011


350 average apm with spikes in the 550 range. It was truly absurd to see... I just don't understand how apm over 200 helps that much;

The thing that stuck out to me about all those actions was they could things all over the map quickly. "Over here do this. Over there do that. Go there and fight those while doing this over here." Something i've never been able to pull off. It's like bam, bam, bam! Done. Me i'm "okay, now i have to move this, wait! What's that guy doing??" ;)

For a brief demonstration of what usagizero means when he talks about how quickly the koreans control their units, this video gives a good quick demonstration .

Yep. When i saw it, it was Starcraft 1, and even faster looking, but daaaaamn... O_o
posted by usagizero at 4:12 PM on July 27, 2011


I'm going to print this out and read it while I shit.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:24 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


300-400 APM spikes is nothing special, I assure you. Say Terran vs Protoss, the battle starts and this is what you do

A) doubletap Ghosts hotkey to select and centre screen (1)(2)
B) select EMP hotkey and left click location to land it (3)(4)
C) repeat step 2 twice more (5)(6)(7)(8)
D) double tap your marine control group (9)(10) and stim (11)

That's 10 actions within 1 second, yielding a spike of 660APM. Watching it on screen, if you see marines engage battle and wait anything more than 1-2 seconds before stimming, you'd be going, why in the world didn't you stim them earlier? And if you wait more than 1-2 seconds before EMPing, you'd go, why didn't you EMP earlier, since you'll be wasting your first 1-2 seconds of damage on shields that would have been taking out by the EMP anyway? Point is, you need that kind of APM otherwise you look really sloppy.

If you've fought hundreds or even thousands of battles before, that set of keypresses will have been ingrained in your muscle memory - you always start with EMP and stim...

---

I basically walked into Starcraft 2 with no knowledge of the game, only having played Starcraft 1 donkeys years ago, and managed to immediately muddle my way to Platinum randoming, all because the principles are exactly the same (thanks Blizzard!) - and this is all you need to know to be good at the game -

1. there's only 3 ways to spend money - Econ, Tech, Army
2. to "win", your army needs to be X% larger than his due to defensive advantage. at all times evaluate
..2a. if your army is larger than his, attack and win right there.
..2b. if your army is smaller than his, build just enough to hold his attack, and splurge on econ. with a stronger econ you will win by sheer numbers of units in the end.

Forget the complicated units and strategies, you can hit Diamond league building the first tier units if you just master the basics. Heck I didn't even know what warpgates while I was fighting Diamond players...

---

I once saw a Silver player playing SC2 and a part of me died inside. He played Terran and did not scout at all - he started by walling his ramp, building bunch of siege tanks, marines, maruders, sold the bunker and attacked the enemy base and won.

I felt like smacking him and asking - on what basis did you wall your ramp and play defensively? The enemy could have fast expanded with no units and you would have lost that game right there. On what basis did you decide to build siege tank tech, what if the enemy was going heavy air units? On what basis did you decide to build 15 workers instead of 20 workers? And most amazingly, on what basis, did you randomly decide that you had "enough" units and move out to attack the enemy? Why not 5 minutes earlier? Why not 5 minutes later?

It honestly didn't look like a strategy game because there was no strategy to it. In fact it looked like someone playing solitaire. The game is about taking inputs (scouting the enemy, seeing what he's doing)... internalizing that information, and making a strategic decision, acting on it, seeing the results, and evaluating the outcome. THIS is how you improve at the game. If you take scouting out of the equation and you just build whatever the heck you feel like building, the feedback loop is severed - he is effectively getting NO feedback about whether what he's doing is right or wrong, and thus cannot improve. Whether he wins or loses the battle at the end of the day, there is nothing to tell him whether he's doing something right or wrong, because there was no basis for any of his decisions anyway. Actually, what's even worse is players who scout the enemy just because they are told "you need to scout" but have no idea how to process or react to the information they've just gained, so they've just wasted resources scouting and got nothing of value in return. He sees an early double gas and has no idea what that means to him, or scouts no gas and has no idea what that means either.

And that was how I knew he would never reach Gold league.
posted by xdvesper at 4:48 PM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


atrazine: "I think it makes more sense if you've grown up with British daytime television aka Snooker and darts championships."

I was watching TV late at night one time and came across a British darts championship on one of the ESPN channels. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. The dramatic lighting! The swooping camera work! Remarkable. But the greatest thing -- the thing that really made it memorable -- was the color commentary.

"He's like a panzer in a kindergarden!!!"

"He's taking a walk in the park with a dog and a chimp!!!"

Actual quotes, those.
posted by brundlefly at 4:52 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really? SC and most competitive video games are real time, which does involve reflex, muscle memory, and being able to accurately use a pointing instrument (mouse). Chess and other board games, don't.

I agree it's not 100% mental, but in a way it's as cerebral a game as tennis, which is to say, very - speed and reflexes may be important, but once you get past a certain competency there's a dynamic, multi-variable metagame being played. And like tennis, as DFW once put it, it's an intimate, abstracted mano-a-mano duel where the greatest moments involve using finesse to trump brute force.
posted by marco_nj at 4:55 PM on July 27, 2011


He played Terran and did not scout at all - he started by walling his ramp, building bunch of siege tanks, marines, maruders, sold the bunker and attacked the enemy base and won.

I learned how to play on Zerg. You don't have the option to win that way. You just survive until you win.
posted by empath at 5:23 PM on July 27, 2011


I think it’s pretty much just like watching people play any other game. Only it’s a game with a very limited fan base, that almost surely won’t be around in a couple of years, and certainly not in it’s present form. Sort of like being an arena soccer fan, if it wasn’t anything like soccer, and you knew for sure it was going away soon. Make that badminton instead.
posted by bongo_x at 5:58 PM on July 27, 2011


@bongo_x: I think it’s pretty much just like watching people play any other game. Only it’s a game with a very limited fan base, that almost surely won’t be around in a couple of years, and certainly not in it’s present form.

You are aware that the previous iteration, StarCraft Brood War came out in 1998 and there are still tournaments for it around? SC2 ain't going anywhere any time soon.

Although you are sorta right in that it will be changing every so often, what with Blizzard planning on "update" expansion packs every few years, each one relating to one of the three races.
posted by TheMidnightHobo at 6:10 PM on July 27, 2011


empath - they're amusing because while they know the game their color commentary is so... just weird.

Thanks for the background.
posted by stratastar at 8:24 PM on July 27, 2011


Wait, people watch other people playing computer games? Isn't this the very definition of inactivity?

No, the very definition of inactivity is reading a thread where people comment on people watching people playing video games.

Especially if I don't play the video game in question.
posted by happyroach at 8:26 PM on July 27, 2011



That's a great way to frame it to make sure the jocks don't make fun of you. Why does everything have to be a goddamn zero-sum game?


Read whatever you want to out of my comment. I genuinely am more interested in this than I was in the instant replay bullshit of a few days ago. That's all there is to it - a personal opinion shared on a website that we read together. Jesus - what is this, high school?
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 PM on July 27, 2011


Hah, I'm a bit tipsy and exhausted from finishing stuff up for Anaheim, so I'll out myself- I work at MLG. The wave was pretty great. But the Idra vs MMA match in Pool Play, when MMA wrecked his own gold CC... if you've never heard 2000 people shout-moaning in shock at once, I highly recommend that you do so. Man, that was awesome. We sit backstage behind a curtain and watch on giant monitors, and literally all work stopped for a minute during that game. We were all just gasping for air.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:31 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


This match seems to be the Reddit/Starcraft pick for 'best game of Starcraft 2's first year'
posted by anthill at 2:05 PM on July 27 [1 favorite +] [!]


The pro-ness on display in the gameplay really makes the amateurish casting all the more jarring.
posted by thedaniel at 11:05 PM on July 27, 2011


You get used to Tastosis after awhile. They're really good at calling the games, but they have some quirks. I mean those two guys have been friends since they were like 15 and have been living in Korea for a couple of years, and have done nothing but play starcraft for the past 10 decade... They're a bit... different. But I find them charming.
posted by empath at 11:11 PM on July 27, 2011


This is pretty much like watching rugby for me: I have no idea what's going on.

Enjoy.
posted by LordSludge at 11:16 PM on July 27, 2011


I know Halo ain't cool 'round these parts any more but this weekend's Anaheim event is also hosting a Reach tournament including the so-far unbeatable Instinct (aka "The God Squad"), the "classic" Str8 Rippin lineup of T2, Legit, Elamite and Neighbor and the return of Walshy with his new Turning Point squad. Should be lots of fun!
posted by NeonSurge at 10:49 AM on July 28, 2011


I know Halo ain't cool 'round these parts any more

I dunno. I've tried watching the Halo streams while sc2 is on break and... Certainly the players are skilled and I can follow most of what's going on, I think FPS games have a huge problem with observability that makes it hard for people that don't already know the game to follow what's going on. There's no good way to show observers where all the players are in the map in a way that makes things exciting, etc. Fighting games don't have this problem for obvious reasons, and even in something as relatively complex as sc2, you can at least tell which guy has the bigger army, more bases, etc., even if you don't know anything about the units or anything else.

But those Halo players are still pretty goddam scary at Halo! It was fun reading stories from Columbus about everyone who was there to watch Halo and the other games sticking around to watch the SC2 finals since they were held last, filling every seat in the venue.
posted by sparkletone at 11:05 AM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


TF2 makes a decent spectator game, mostly because of the spectacularly well done level and character design. I'd prefer it over halo, personally, but I guess they need to support consoles.
posted by empath at 11:13 AM on July 28, 2011


Okay, who is watching it?
posted by empath at 6:25 PM on July 29, 2011


Watching what? What did I miss?
posted by neuromodulator at 8:09 PM on July 29, 2011


neuro, the live feed from MLG Anaheim is on now, and will be for the next few hours. The big discussion right now seems to be a blue-flame hellion strategy that Slayer have developed, totally disrupting the zerg economies they've faced so far. I would have known very few words in that sentence before this evening.
posted by persona at 9:02 PM on July 29, 2011


It also wrecked Select in a straight up TVT game.
posted by empath at 10:33 PM on July 29, 2011


Damn Idra dominated Incontrol.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:56 PM on July 29, 2011


Some people get upset by spoilers for tournament finals results, so all I'll say about the GSL finals is this: The score not withstanding, but I think these were the best games of any of the finals so far. If you have access to the VODs, you should watch them. Especially if you're zerg.

MLG's been good so far. That hellion/marine timing is scary as shit. Pleasantly surprised that Boxer is 3-0 in his group (it's hard to pick him usually as a winner against truly skilled players these days, but at the same time, he is also someone it's hard not to root for). Ret going 3-0 in his group is a pleasant surprise as well.
posted by sparkletone at 4:12 AM on July 30, 2011


MLG starts back up in about 15 minutes, though I'm going to miss the early part of the day due to having lunch with some relatives. The open bracket play has already resumed though.

I've been looking through the brackets. Destiny got knocked down to losers pretty early on yesterday by a Protoss that's on the same team as HasHe and Spanishiwa, and hasn't played his first match for today yet.

Really curious to see how today goes on all kinds of levels. It's looking like there's a chance Jinro and Tyler could meet in the open winners bracket. It'll be interesting to see if the korean domination of the tournament so far continues to hold (I'm still rooting for DRG to take the whole thing, and want Boxer to do really well also).
posted by sparkletone at 10:47 AM on July 30, 2011


I'd love to see Tyler do really well, myself.
posted by neuromodulator at 11:21 AM on July 30, 2011


Tyler's made it out of the open bracket and into group play after some exciting games against choya! Boxer is undefeated in his pool, as is DRG. Second day has been pretty interesting so far. Destiny and some other notable players still alive in the lower open bracket.
posted by sparkletone at 3:16 PM on July 30, 2011


Destiny just got knocked out :(
posted by empath at 3:53 PM on July 30, 2011


I have to share something with you guys because it annoys me and the only thing that will make it better is knowing it's annoying you too.

Have you seen Extras? It's this scene here that's relevant.

You know how many times he says, "I've seen everything?" Now you'll notice how many times they say "seen everything" in every single Starcraft match, and you'll think of Patrick Stewart every time, too.
posted by neuromodulator at 6:50 PM on July 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best part of the weekend so far (right behind Jinro's epic nukes) has been White-ra's fight to get into the championship. (White-ra is a Ukrainian protoss player, and at age 30 is one of the oldest Starcraft pros around. He's attracted a cult following for his friendly personality, sportsmanship and of course special tactics.)

Anyway, White-ra won his first match on Friday but showed up 15 minutes late for the next one and got disqualified. His opponent, gimix, offered to play anyway, and White-ra asked if he could just forfeit the first game of the best-of-3, but the organizers refused to budge and gave gimix the 2-0 forfeit win. The tournament is double-elimination and so White-ra was dropped into the lower-division bracket. Word has it that he was so frustrated with the forfeit that he almost quit, but his fans convinced him to keep playing.

As it happens, gimix also got knocked out of the winners' bracket, and the two players were matched against each other a second time on Saturday afternoon. The tournament rules in this situation call for an extended series, i.e. a best-of-7 with gimix starting with a two game advantage. Gimix decided this was "kind of silly" since he hadn't actually defeated White-ra the first time. So he decided to throw the first two rounds with an SCV all-in, tying up the score 2-2. White-ra ended up winning the remaining two games fair and square, with gimix getting eliminated from the tournament but earning the lifelong respect of SC2 nerds everywhere.

As of Saturday night, White-ra has just finished a non-stop winning streak of ten best-of-3 series in a row — eliminating, among others, sixjaxMajOr, EGDeMuslim and coLDrewbie.
posted by teraflop at 12:00 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


While I agree that this is a good story and that Gimix is a great guy, I do think the judges are right to not let it be Gimix's choice. If they let it be his choice, while it would work out great in this specific scenario (because of Gimix's intent), it means that the next time a situation like this arises, it's on the guy in Gimix's shoes to be a dick or not. Sometimes the right thing to do is for the authority figure to make the decision to be a dick, not because being a dick is preferable, but because it's best to take the responsibility of being a dick or not off the non-authority figures.

To put it another way, from a real-world example I've run into: let's say at the place I work, somebody wants to take vacation on a day when several other staff members have already booked vacations. So she goes to the boss, and says, "Only neuromodulator is here on Friday. Is it okay if I take Friday off and leave him alone?" And my boss says, "Ask him if he's okay with it."

If I'm going to say, "Yes," like Gimix did, that's okay and "ask neuromodulator" sounds like a sensible solution. But what if I wanted to say, "No,"? Then the boss has put the refusal to my co-worker on me, rather than taking the decision on themselves, and suddenly I'm the bad guy in the scenario. And it shouldn't be on me: that creates awkwardness between me and my co-worker. That's what my boss if for. My boss is supposed to have that relationship with us.

So, anyway, I don't mean to take away from what Gimix did; that's great. But I think his calling the rules "stupid" is a bit short-sighted.
posted by neuromodulator at 2:22 AM on July 31, 2011


So, anyway, I don't mean to take away from what Gimix did; that's great. But I think his calling the rules "stupid" is a bit short-sighted.

My interpretation of what Gimix was saying was not that the judges were being silly for being impartial/inflexible about the DQ ruling. He was saying that it was silly for him to have a 2 game advantage in an extended series since they'd never really played in the first place.

As I'm sure you know, the extended series has been a pretty controversial part of the MLG format. That Gimix wanted to play White-ra straight up as they would've done the first time yesterday is admirable. Not the biggest story of the tournament so far, but a nice little one.

Speaking of White-ra: Getting to see White-ra's face when the crowd started chanting his name before his last match yesterday was pretty awesome. He was clearly pretty touched by the fan appreciation.

He's up first today, playing Select, who I think he can take given how badly Select's been playing this MLG. You can see the bracket for today here. I'm kind of pulling for a boxer/drg finals (even though I don't think Boxer's tvz is good enough to take on DRG in that matchup), but we'll see how things turn out. Tyler doing really well this MLG after slumping a bit has been fun to watch as well. Hoping he can at least make it into the money for this one.
posted by sparkletone at 10:15 AM on July 31, 2011


I thought White-Ra was going to blow that second game when he was chronoboosting an inactive forge and he missed that gateway-to-warpgate conversion. Hopefully the win will get him back to full efficiency.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:46 AM on July 31, 2011


Oh wow that Rain/Boxer game 1!
posted by empath at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2011


Has boxer won anything big lately?
posted by neuromodulator at 2:03 PM on July 31, 2011


Top 6: All Korean.

I think the MLG seed system is pretty messed up. Incontrol didn't win a single match the entire tournament and still ends up in like 22nd place? absurd.
posted by empath at 9:26 PM on July 31, 2011


I felt like there were some brilliant games all the way through, but that the metagame itself was the most boring I've ever seen it. The emphasis on hellion play just sucked all the life out of everything. That's not to say that even the final TvTs weren't superb, but still. Where my Protoss and Zerg peeps at?

Props to MMA for an outstanding run.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:45 PM on July 31, 2011


Has boxer won anything big lately?

As far as I know, he doesn't have any major SC2 tournament wins, just a bunch of very respectable results (going deep in a couple GSLs, top 32 in nasl and winning his group, 3rd at this MLG, etc). He wasn't able to practice for a bit while dealing with a shoulder injury that's mentioned in that Boxer's Wings documentary. I imagine running/coaching/scouting/whatever for Slayers takes up a good amount of time too. Still, he came damn close to a shot at 1st place, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking home 3rd in that kind of company.

I really think he would've beaten MMA if he'd just learn that there's this building called an armory and it lets you make your hellions and tanks kill shit faster while living longer. I've seen him lose TvTs like that before. He hangs on like you wouldn't believe, or is even ahead, and he eventually just gets worn down as the other guy ends up with 3/3 whatever and he hasn't upgraded anything.

I think the MLG seed system is pretty messed up. Incontrol didn't win a single match the entire tournament and still ends up in like 22nd place? absurd.

I agree that the seeding system is maybe a little too forgiving but that second sentence is false. He did lose all his pool play games, but he also took out Choya in the championship bracket. Haypro lost a ton this weekend too, but I'm totally willing to forgive him pretty much anything for taking out Cruncher.

I think one of the somewhat overlooked stories of this tournament is that "wbc" or wannabecool guy. Like. He doesn't seem to be on a team, I don't think he's a wc3 pro or an old BW guy (right?)... And yet he came out of the open bracket and took out several FXO players and Machine before falling 2-1 to Socke.

In any case, it was a good tournament and a fun weekend, even if the finals were a bit forgettable (mostly due to what I think are odd format choices on MLG's part that lead frequently to somewhat short grand finals).

PS. I'm pretty sure I added my name and character code on the sc2 MeFightClub thread, but in case anyone wants to play with a plat-ish zerg (with terrrrrrrrrible offraces), I'm sparkletone.148.
posted by sparkletone at 6:00 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ret is just beautiful to watch right now. Amazing.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:54 AM on August 14, 2011


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